Atari ST computers?

For computer based music makers. Discussions about plug-ins and stand alone computer synth gear.
PPG_HOSHII!
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 5:40 am
Location: Dallas
Contact:

Atari ST computers?

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:26 pm

I have heard that people still use old Atari computers like the ST in music creation.
I know that these computers are cheap these days and I was wondering if anybody can tell me what are the advantages to using one of these. I have an external sequencer (roland MC-500) is it easy to compose songs on these old Atari computers? Are they fairly simple to use?

Thanks,



:)

User avatar
JBug
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:24 am
Gear: Kurzweil K2000S
Roland JX 10 with PG800
Roland D50
Roland JD800
Yamaha DX7IIFD
Yamaha CS2X
Location: Toronto

Post by JBug » Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:05 pm

Hi,

I have had a Atari STf for over 15 years now and i sometimes use it. I mostly use it for DX heaven to load sounds on my TX816 but i sometimes like to use the original Cubase on it.

I like the idea of having a computer with dedicated midi in and out on it.

It is fairly easy to use. I think that the TOS, the operating system, has the best of mack and windows (for 15 years ago mind you).

The sequencers available for the ST are not nearly as sofisticated as those of today but i find them more intuitive and the learning curve is almost nil.

They are pretty cheqp so you won't risk much by buying one and giving it a try. I'm sure you'll find that recording and editing MIDI on the ST is much easier and quick that on your MC.

Have fun.

PPG_HOSHII!
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 5:40 am
Location: Dallas
Contact:

Atari ST computers

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:45 am

Well, that sounds interesting. :o
Thanks for the reply.
Does anybody else have something to add on this subject?

User avatar
JBug
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:24 am
Gear: Kurzweil K2000S
Roland JX 10 with PG800
Roland D50
Roland JD800
Yamaha DX7IIFD
Yamaha CS2X
Location: Toronto

Post by JBug » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:09 am

Another cool sequencer i use is Master Tracks Pro. Very intuitive.
Sorry, i forgot to mention it before . . .My memory fades with age . . . :roll:

User avatar
Anaki_Muon
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:59 am
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Post by Anaki_Muon » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:46 pm

Advanatges? I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Atari ST-series of computers has a dedicated chip for MIDI-timing, resulting in the most rock-solid timing for your instruments compared to 99% of modern computers (exceptions, I know of none, but I assume there must be some).
Korg MS20 & Wavestation A/D, Roland Juno 60 & Juno 106 & MKS50 & D110 & MC202, Ensoniq EPS, Yamaha FB01, SP07b, Casio CZ5000 & SK1, Alesis Micron, Cakewalk Z3ta+, Propellerhead Reason, Garriton Personal Orchestra

User avatar
MarkyG
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 10:29 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Post by MarkyG » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:59 pm

This topic came in at the right time. I was soon to make a topic asking the question, "Are there any MIDI Timecode chips made for modern computers?"

Well, are there?

BTW, Notator is apparently the greatest piece of production software for the ST. And better yet, a couple of Joes are still making updaates for it.
Roland S-760, Korg Electribe EA-1, Moog Source, Waldorf MicroQ, Yamaha TX7, Roland VP-9000 and Novation A-Station.

Not sure what to get next.



It's more fun to compute.

JUGEL
No Longer Registered

Post by JUGEL » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:19 pm

and isn't it better/tighter than hardware?

Actually .. I've heard that the Roland MC-series is still the tightest(MC-4).

all hear say and hoopla though, don't know if it's true

User avatar
Anaki_Muon
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:59 am
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Post by Anaki_Muon » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:26 pm

The MC-4 is VC isn't it? VC, by it's very nature, is going to give tighter results than MIDI ever could. But the ST, along with some old DAT machines, use specific chips in MIDI timing, which is always going to give tighter results than software timing can. I've often wondered if there are any modern soundcards that have chips in them specifically for handling MIDI timing, but it would cause one to wonder if the sofware (like Cubase, or whatever) would opt to ignore the chip and instead use their own internal software for it anyhow.
Korg MS20 & Wavestation A/D, Roland Juno 60 & Juno 106 & MKS50 & D110 & MC202, Ensoniq EPS, Yamaha FB01, SP07b, Casio CZ5000 & SK1, Alesis Micron, Cakewalk Z3ta+, Propellerhead Reason, Garriton Personal Orchestra

User avatar
memo
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 3:53 am
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Post by memo » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:58 pm

Anaki_Muon wrote:Advanatges? I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Atari ST-series of computers has a dedicated chip for MIDI-timing, resulting in the most rock-solid timing for your instruments compared to 99% of modern computers (exceptions, I know of none, but I assume there must be some).
The idea that Atari machines offer the best timing is a carry-over from the days of Windows 95/98, and Mac systems, both of which provided terrible MIDI timing in part to their handling of interrupts and busing data.

It was certainly true then. But it's relevance is no longer valid, despite the information persisting.

Modern machines with good MIDI interfaces (particularly when running Logic) provide the best possible external MIDI timing available.

The order of timing is something like:

1) Internal/Softsynth (sample accurate) and CV
2) Modern PC/Mac with high quality interfaces
3) Atari ST and some other dedicated hardware units (MPC)
4) Older PC/Mac systems and interfaces, other dedicated units, etc.

Some dedicated hardware units can have great timing when triggering their own sound source (like the MPC) and can place higher than Modern PCs... but other dedicated hardware units are quite sloppy, particularly the Kurzweil K2000.

When dedicated hardware units, even the MPC, are triggering external sources via MIDI, they are no more accurate than Ataris.

User avatar
Anaki_Muon
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:59 am
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Post by Anaki_Muon » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:27 pm

Well, it's been explained to me quite differently.

For example, if I run Cubase through my MOTU MIDI interfece the whole rig is relying on the software code in Cubase for timing. This code is subject to the will of the CPU in my computer, which (given that it's running WinXP especially, but all OS's would be subject to this) can be slowed down as a result of other software running alongside it (such as VST's, VSTi's) or even backend software operations from the OS. The fact is the CPU of a computer basically only works on one task at a time, so anything, from displaying a new window to the timer counting down, technically skew the accuracy of timing-based software. Luckily this is usually minimal, and not noticable by human ears- but it all depends on what you're doing.

The Atari ST, and some older DAT machines, on the other hand rely on a dedicated microchip for timing, which isn't subject to such software/OS slowdown because it is designed to only work on such information handling.

Then end.

EDIT: I almost forgot. There is a disadvtage to the Atari in this respect- it effectively limits the amount of tracks that can be sending MIDI, with no work-around possible. Of course, for most people this isn't a problem.
Korg MS20 & Wavestation A/D, Roland Juno 60 & Juno 106 & MKS50 & D110 & MC202, Ensoniq EPS, Yamaha FB01, SP07b, Casio CZ5000 & SK1, Alesis Micron, Cakewalk Z3ta+, Propellerhead Reason, Garriton Personal Orchestra

User avatar
memo
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 3:53 am
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Post by memo » Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:01 am

Anaki_Muon wrote:This code is subject to the will of the CPU in my computer, which (given that it's running WinXP especially, but all OS's would be subject to this) can be slowed down as a result of other software running alongside it (such as VST's, VSTi's)
1) I think a fair comparison would be a modern PC/Mac running just MIDI sequencing software, since we're comparing the Atari's raw timing ability against the PC/Mac world, not a multitasking test.

2) New systems have MIDI timestamping, which takes care of the old problems that plagued older systems, even when multitasking with VSTis and system operations.

3) A "dedicated processor" doesn't necessarily mean that it's faster. My old Sega Genesis has a dedicated graphics processor, but my PC can run through algorithms faster and better even in a software/Direct-X only mode (no hardware assitance).

The primary issues with MIDI is the serial implementation of the dataflow, and that's a problem whatever the system used. Since Ataris typically aren't running complicated sequences with CCs, SysEx, etc, and modern systems often do, it can be misleading.

Try loading a multitrack sequence with lots of CC data into an Atari, compare it to a PC running Logic with timestamped MIDI, and see which one does better.

User avatar
Anaki_Muon
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:59 am
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Post by Anaki_Muon » Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:59 am

Yes, that seems to make sense... except it's completely wrong. Graphic code/routines between a Sega Genesis and a new PC has changed greatly over the years. MIDI hasn't really changed at all since it was first created.

Modern PC's more than make for this- most of the time. The Atari ST on the other hand, is always going to be able to garuntee a certain amount of channels.
Korg MS20 & Wavestation A/D, Roland Juno 60 & Juno 106 & MKS50 & D110 & MC202, Ensoniq EPS, Yamaha FB01, SP07b, Casio CZ5000 & SK1, Alesis Micron, Cakewalk Z3ta+, Propellerhead Reason, Garriton Personal Orchestra

User avatar
memo
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 3:53 am
Location: Berkeley, CA
Contact:

Post by memo » Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:26 am

Anaki_Muon wrote:Yes, that seems to make sense... except it's completely wrong. Graphic code/routines between a Sega Genesis and a new PC has changed greatly over the years. MIDI hasn't really changed at all since it was first created.
I think it's totally awesome that you ignored my points on modern MIDI timestamping and concentrated on a literal interpretation of a simple analogy.

The point is that you could take a basic, stripped down "guaranteed" track that an Atari could play, and run it through Logic w/AMT (Active MIDI Transmission), and the Atari would have no advantage. Alternatively, you could run a complex sequence and Logic would have every advantage.

Or you could just shout "OMG, yous must hav an ATARI - they the shiiiiit" as loud as you can, despite it being irrelevant for the last 5 years.

User avatar
Anaki_Muon
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:59 am
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Post by Anaki_Muon » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:54 am

Hey now, I have an Atari ST and I don't use it for MIDI sequencing (gaming, actually). My use of my PC never pushes it the point where it would be an issue, at least to my ears (and that's all that counts).

I didn't completely ignore your points about MIDI-timestamping, hence my statement "Modern PC's more than make for this- most of the time". I am simply pointing out the way microchips and software runtimes work in general- besides I've met some people who've claimed this was an issue for the type of work they did, to their ears, the latter point I can't argue with.
Korg MS20 & Wavestation A/D, Roland Juno 60 & Juno 106 & MKS50 & D110 & MC202, Ensoniq EPS, Yamaha FB01, SP07b, Casio CZ5000 & SK1, Alesis Micron, Cakewalk Z3ta+, Propellerhead Reason, Garriton Personal Orchestra

User avatar
mwbassguy
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:32 am
Real name: Justin
Location: nyc
Contact:

Post by mwbassguy » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:37 am

do people really need microsecond level midi precision? im sure even a midi track running in studio vision pro on a 33mhz mac quadra is more stable than anything an ordinary person would play by hand.
an avatar and a sig make one's posts more easily recognizable.

Post Reply