Dear Jim, can you fix it for me to have music on my c64...?

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Dear Jim, can you fix it for me to have music on my c64...?

Post by Commie_User » 06/08/2009 - 22:46

I received an email from someone called Lyam a night or two ago wanting to set up a studio-centred C64 music system from scratch. I thought we should help him out and so I've invited him here after giving him the chance to say no.

The preamble begins:

Hello,
I would love to start to get into making music on my Commodore 64, but i dont know where to to start, could you help me please? At the moment i use my gameboy collection, zx spectrum and computer I know there are a load of trackers, does that mean i need external floppy disk / cassette drive? Then how do i burn the tracker onto the 5 and whatever inch floppy or cassette? I would be extremely grateful for your help to point me in the right direction. Also, links to useful websites (online stores, info etc.) would be awsome. Finally, do you have any spares that you could sell me?

I look forward to a reply,
Lyam / Chip-Monk


I answered:

Hello Lyam
Thanks for writing to me. As a Commie fan I'm always pleased to help other ones. How did you come upon me by the way?

You've asked a whole maze of questions there, off in all directions at once. First things first, how do you want to approach your music making? I use a few, but you can touch the processor metal by coding with Assembler, use WYSIWYG programs to enter and arrange your compositions onscreen in conventional notation, or you can just record to the 64 with a MIDI keyboard or play the SID via MIDI and the computer's own keyboard.

Music can be saved in various ways, it depends on the job.

And no, I have no spare gear. Truth be told, I like to keep a nuclear larder of 64 stuff so you'd best look on Ebay. There's still lots there.
Regards
Michael


He came back with:

Using a C64 on screen tracker would be great. I do not have a midi controller or a program that supports midi (although i'm soon gunna try out the Ableton free trial). I guess WYSIWYG programs are what i need. I would be greatful for help. Oh yeah, i think i found your site through wikipedia, or a link of a site that was linked to wikipedia. Any interesting C64 sites that you could recommend? Also they is an original floppy disk drive for commodore 64 the first one, umm 1541 (i think), its going for £10 includin postage, is it worth bidding on it?
Thanks


So, of course, I said to him...

Before we go any further I'd like to answer your letters with the help of other forum members at a place called Commodore Remix. Dependent on what you decide to do, others may have better advice than I on certain things. We're all very friendly and we like to help.

But for now I'd say bid for that disk drive you've got your eye on. Almost regardless of the condition, £��ro��rth ta�� chance, though you've not included the link to the Ebay bid.


At which point he replied:
Also, is £6 a�o� ���������r���� m��v����n��ha�i�i n� to buy before i can make music (on screen tracker)? will i need a cassette thing (if so, how much should i pay):
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Commodore-64-Pers ... 286.c0.m14
or this (same thing)
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Commodore-C64-Dat ... 286.c0.m14
Sorry for the questions and thanks for the quick replies



And this is what I've said in the latest, hoping I'm not taking too much of a liberty:

I'd say anything under £10, � lo� as ��rks,� a ��bu�o�t y� Com�� b��o t�land��e li��Get � or��SU�n�ass�e de��d yo�l b�olli�soon enough. Once the computer's back on its wheels you can then start sniffing round for the bargains in good condition. I suspect you'll need to buy a handful before you end up with gear that's not too worn out. It has been a while since production ceased after all.

Later on you can also check out something like the C64TPC, which is a serial networking device allowing you to load programs into your 64 from a contemporary computer in place of a disk drive. Similar devices are also available and we can perhaps look into those a little later.

As far as the music making goes, the first question has to be what experience have you had before in computer-based musicianship? Many WYSIWYG programs are available for the Commodore 64 and they, as with PC-based programs of the same type, take different approaches. Have another look at my NTL homepage to see which programs catch your eye. I've linked to dozens: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.br ... Record.htm.

As for MIDI controllers, the joystick socket on your PC is the interface you're after. If you own a recording soundcard without one, just grab yourself any old cheap soundcard with the joystick socket off Ebay, for as little as perhaps a fiver, and slot that in alongside your decent soundcard. On the Commodore 64 side things are a lot scarcer, but not impossible to get. Try to get the Sonus currently on Ebay: http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trks ... re+64+midi. With the two computers connected, you can now have them talk to each other - as long as you're using programs which take advantage of the MIDI channels.

This is where things stop because we need to know whether you want to use your C64 as a MIDI sequencer, MIDI-synth or composition tool. You may tell us you only need to run the line out to your mixer and ignore the MIDI completely.

Further on from there we can look at how to make a finished CD master of your music, which is presumably what you mean when you ask how to 'burn the tracker onto the 5 and whatever inch floppy or cassette'.

In the meantime, go to the C64 Remix forum and register yourself. It's quick, free and allows the others to pitch in with their suggestions too, though I hope it won't be a flurry because I've given you enough to read already. I assume it's OK, though if it isn't I'll wipe the column with my advice right away.

search.php?keywords=&terms=all&author=C ... mit=Search
Regards
Michael

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Re: Dear Jim, can you fix it for me to have music on my c64.

Post by Commie_User » 07/08/2009 - 16:57

Looks like the guy's OK for the moment. So here's where we stop:

Thank you for all your help, i really appreciate it. One last question to ask though, i see many datacassette decks on ebay and they seem to go very cheap with low postage, but which would be more useful to me, the floppy disk drives or the cassette decks?

DEIDRE SAYS:

Your query on datassettes depends on whether your favourite software comes on tape or not. If you need one, buy one. But for most things a disk drive is preferable in all cases.

As I say, buy the hardware you need (be it the old stuff or new hardware like the MSSIAH or the flash drives, etc.), look at my page and the ones I link to for the software you want to try out and download them. After that you can copy them to a floppy disk, or load them into the C64 directly from your PC, to start beavering through the options until you hit on the solution which is best for you.

Glad I've been of help. Any time, even if you're stuck again after a good few months. I'd pop to the forums from time to time if I were you because once you start on the C64 you'll be interested to know all sorts of things. (Link to topic: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6985.)

My page: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.br ... Record.htm. It links you to all the things I've found handy, including data transfer to spares shops to the most mind-boggling software archives I've known.

Good luck
.

So that's that then. I suspect he may need more advice but I'm gratified there are people out there who find my bits and pieces a help. They did me after all.

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