Snack 'N' Hack


Enter the 80’s
January 31, 2011, 1:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve had an idea to build an 80’s music player for a long time, but I’ve struggled with the exact meaning of that.  Originally, I wanted to build a digital music player only using 80’s parts, but memory was a hugely limiting factor of the 80’s (and likely why digital music players didn’t emerge until the CD).  Magnetic tapes can’t (to my knowledge) be pushed fast enough reliably to stream digital music – and they offer better quality as analog devices anyway.  So came the compromise:

I’m pursuing the project using an SD card, but this could be done with ROM chips and a switching chip (like the late-released Nintendo games with Memory Mappers).  The fact that it is POSSIBLE to do it in an authentic way has allowed me to pursue the project (maybe one day I’ll produce cartridges to prove that it is possible).

I’ve also begun to use fritzing – and I generally like it – though the parts selection is a little limited.

This is an obviously unfinished fritzing picture of the project.  I didn’t make the huge SD card, but I appreciate the guy that did: Commenter 37 http://code.google.com/p/fritzing/issues/detail?id=875.

The chip on the breadboard is an AY-3-8910 programmable sound generator.  This type of chip was very popular in the 80s because they required less memory to operate (in all senses) than DAC chips. This particular chip was used in the Apple II sound card MockingBoard. Eventually, I plan on using the work of the MSX crew with their Viterbi algorithm to have a nice digital format.  A secondary goal is to build this in an Atari Cartridge and have a sub-routine that provides visualizations on a real ATARI.

The TigerNome project is on hold indefinitely.  I recently realized that the pad-based touchscreens associated with Android offer a really good platform for a lot of my input ideas, and I don’t have to buy additional hardware.

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