PlaySoniq announced

by wolf_ on 21-06-2010, 00:19
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

These are exciting times for MSX hardware. A day ago we reported about OPL4 Shockwave and Powergraph, and then SuperSoniqs bangs the door with their latest hardware project: PlaySoniq; lotsa fun things on a PCB which can open doors to new possibilities. Features are:

  • Sega 315-5246 Audio/Video chip (found in latest Sega Master System II game consoles)
  • PAL/NTSC Encoder (50/60Hz real-time software switchable)
  • MOS Technology 6581 or 8580 Sound Interface Device (SID), also found in the Commodore 64/128
  • Up to 128 Megabit RAM (16MB) addressable memory
  • Memory switchable between MSX or Sega Master System mode
  • Spartan FPGA running at 80Mhz
  • SCC/SCC-I (in FPGA) + 512KB Konami mapper, compatible with romload, loadrom and others
  • JTAG Connector
  • PSG to SCC redirecting in FPGA hardware, software switchable
  • Real-time Joystick, Keyboard and OPLL to MSX remapping when in Sega Master System mode
  • Support for around 400 Sega Master System, SC-1000 and SG-3000 games
  • Software switch for VDP addresses: MSX1 Mirror mode, SEGA (Franky) or Colecovision mode
  • Total of 13 extra sound-channels, SID filter controllable
  • Gold plated slot-connector for durability

This new product is targeted for August, and the price will probably not be steep; it would fit anyone's budget. Pictures about this product and a little video can all be seen at SuperSoniqs.

Relevant link: SuperSoniqs

Comments (25)

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

21-06-2010, 10:28

* Sega 315-5246 Audio/Video chip (found in latest Sega Master System II game consoles)
Does this mean that PlaySoniq now has both Sega PSG + Sega FM included? I just know that later SMS models had FM chip.

* MOS Technology 6581 or 8580 Sound Interface Device (SID), also found in the Commodore 64/128.
LOL!

* SCC/SCC-I (in FPGA) + 512KB Konami mapper, compatible with romload, loadrom and others
* PSG to SCC redirecting in FPGA hardware, software switchable
What this means? Is it really "Now you can play ANY psg song and hear it played in SCC"Question I guess not. I guess this is mainly for demo/game makers or play just few old psg songs in SCC?

* Real-time Joystick, Keyboard and OPLL to MSX remapping when in Sega Master System mode.
To make it possible to use joysticks and keyboard on MSX (without any slowdown in joy/key reading) while playing some SMS game on MSX?

* Software switch for VDP addresses: MSX1 Mirror mode, SEGA (Franky) or Colecovision mode
Is it now possible to play ALL Colecovision games on MSX? Mission emulator gives chance to play many Coleco games but not all....

* Total of 13 extra sound-channels, SID filter controllable
So, is there MSX-BASIC extension for programming SID from MSX-BASIC without any machine code knowledge?Question

AND, is there MSX-BASIC extension for programming BOTH PSGs (MSX´s PSG and Sega´s PSG) from MSX-BASIC to PLAY SIX PSG CHANNELS AT SAME TIME without any machine code knowledge?Question

We’ll do our utmost best to keep the final sale price between a Moonsound and a OPL4 shockwave ;-)
So what are the current prices of Moonsound and OPL4 shockwaveQuestion

By konamiman

Paladin (929)

konamiman's picture

21-06-2010, 10:44

Come on guys... it's nice to have turn-your-MSX-into-a-space-shuttle cards, but how much do we have to wait to see someone making a simple, cheap, damn USB host card??? Crying

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9689)

wolf_'s picture

21-06-2010, 10:45

Like a Nowind, you mean? Or something else?

By konamiman

Paladin (929)

konamiman's picture

21-06-2010, 10:49

Nowind is intended to communicate with a PC. I want a USB host card, to plug any USB device directly on my MSX.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

21-06-2010, 10:59

We need space shuttle cards for MSX, as whole space shuttle program is soon gonna be closed after almost thirty years. Crying

Hmm... that sentence didn´t make much sense... maybe I was dreaming using such MSX space shuttle card for flying into space and getting much money from companies by carrying their stuff into space. Smile Or something like that... Wink

By pitpan

Prophet (3131)

pitpan's picture

21-06-2010, 12:09

A hi-tec expansion for any MSX computer. It could be interesting from a user's point of view 'cause it gives you access to an already sound software base, such as the SMS catalogue. Congratulations to the makers.

On the other hand, I think that programming for such a collage of hardware is going to be pretty difficult. And I prefer not to think about the MSXness of such an extension.

Nevertheless, interesting.

Just one question: the Spartan is already used to support all the included stuff, or is it supposed to be programmed and act as an extra component?

By Sander

Ambassador (1830)

Sander's picture

21-06-2010, 14:21

@MäSäXi: FM support for MSX-Music or external FM-PAC. There's no internal OPLL on this card. In theory someone could program the FPGA for this. All PSG output can be redirected, there's no if's. We don't program basic extensions (as told before). Hopefully some developers will ;-) Coleco games will benefit from VDP addressing and compatible soundchip on this card. There's no out of the box support. It's a Franky on Colecovision atm ;-) However, smart FPGA programming could change this.
For the keyboard remapping and such: the monitoring/remapping speed is adjustable. Most games work like a charm with the defaut settings.
@Konamiman: don't be a weenie. You also only program/make what you think is fun. Don't blame others for doing the same. Smile
@Pitpan: Thanks! This FPGA is pretty much crammed, but it's up to the VHDL programmer to optimise things or cannibalize features to get more space for new projects.

By boomlinde

Resident (54)

boomlinde's picture

21-06-2010, 14:49

Gold plated connector for durability? As if we would ever take this cartridge out Smile

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

21-06-2010, 18:35

Sander, I know somebody else must do the BASIC extensions. I was wishing that after BASIC extensions would be ready, they would be added into this Playsoniq cartridge. Smile So there would be no need for loading such things from disk. I am afraiding, that in worst case, I´ll buy playsoniq, but nobody will never program BASIC extensions to use Sega PSG and SID straight from MSX-BASIC, simple way.

Sorry, but there´s something I didn´t understood though from your answer. Can we play Colecovision´s game .ROM files on MSX already (by inserting playsoniq and loading Coleco´s game roms from disk) or is there something which prevents this yet?

By Ivan

Ascended (9008)

Ivan's picture

21-06-2010, 20:38

Gold plated connector for durability? As if we would ever take this cartridge out Well, I have a Zemina 4Mbits RAM cartridge and the connector is not in very good condition... (of course it isn't gold plated). If I'm not mistaken Konami carts do have gold plated connectors.

By spl

Paragon (1461)

spl's picture

22-06-2010, 07:41

Konamiman: I prefer this "too much in one cart" than... "I need more slots and space". Now with 3 slots (I have a 2 slot minislotexpander made by UsuarioMSX2) in my 8245 I am not able to do the same I can do with the 1chipMSX, for example.

By spl

Paragon (1461)

spl's picture

22-06-2010, 08:39

This card + sd card reader = My 8245 working as never has work ^^

By sinus

Expert (71)

sinus's picture

22-06-2010, 09:24

I really like the fact that software already exists for this extension: wise VDP choice allowing MSX1 games just to be visualy improved, a whole SEGA software universe to be used/developped on MSX, existing PSG musics played as SCC(i), MSX music filtered with SID (isn't it?), SID music now accessable... Just plug it and run better and more.
Standard wise: MSX meets SEGA and Commodore... SEGA's VDP being an alternative evolution to MSX1's, welcome colours/scrolling/sprites this way!
Ok, it may not fullfill some people's expectations concerning mass storage or network (USB, flash cards...), but such an amount of memory, RAM and konami mapped flashable ROM, giving MSX from 1st generation real facilities: provided you have a mass storage solution, I can't find anything to complain about. Very well done!
Now it depends on what "affordable" means to everyone... Tongue

By Ivan

Ascended (9008)

Ivan's picture

22-06-2010, 09:47

I prefer this "too much in one cart" than... "I need more slots and space"I do agree. Btw, is it 100% compatible with Franky?

By konamiman

Paladin (929)

konamiman's picture

22-06-2010, 10:24

@spl: Me too. I'm not complaining about having many features in one cart; quite the opposite, I love the idea. But I think that one of the features on one of these multi-featured cards (I speak generically, not necessarily about the PlaySoniq card) should be an USB port. I had the hope that if I cry strong enough, maybe someone will make it. Tongue

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

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22-06-2010, 10:26

As a BASIC programmer, only thing which keeps worrying me, is that can *I* program something using playsoniq?

Will there be a day, when *I* can program SID or Sega PSG straight from BASIC?

Or get access to Sega´s colour palette/whatever, again from BASIC? (I know, I can use MSX2 for thatWink anyway, I am more interested about SID and Sega PSGSmile)

Ages ago, originally I made a little wish here, if I could have one (or more) PSG chip fitted inside cartridge to get more PSG channels and my another wish was to get SID into MSX, accessible directly from MSX-BASIC. (this second wish felt more like utopistic dream....)

Now my both wishes have came true...... Smile

Only thing is, if I can ever use those marvelous things, from BASIC?

Ok, maybe someone will make MSX-tracker for SID. But it is not the same thing as playing and fooling with SID using some PLAY-like command. I am not used to tracker way of making music. (or then there is no easy enough tracker available)

I think someone (from supersoniqs?) said many months ago, that someone (not from supersoniqs, I don´t remember who) is willing to work or working on BASIC extension, for Sega PSG or SID, I don´t remember which one.... Is that still true? Is there any BASIC extension(s) yet, which is partly made or finished? And who is working on them?

playsoniqs will cost quite a lot of money, so I wanna be sure, that *I* can actually use it! Of course I can try and play some Sega SC-1000/3000 and Master System games, but when that novelty wears off, I would surely like to try to make some experiments with SID!!!! and Sega PSG too!!!! Smile Yeah, I can put some .SID files into disk and play them on my MSX, but I would like to make my own SID songs of course.... Smile

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5011)

NYYRIKKI's picture

23-06-2010, 16:04

Will there be a day, when *I* can program SID or Sega PSG straight from BASIC?
The SID is just as easy to use from MSX-BASIC than it is from C64 BASIC. Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9689)

wolf_'s picture

23-06-2010, 16:28

Including effects, parameter changes, notes etc. per interrupt? Because I don't see myself making a densely detailed chiptune in MML..

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

23-06-2010, 20:25

I was hoping something like maybe a bit simplified version of our familiar music macro language... So are you making this BASIC extension for SID, wolf? Or did you just mean, that it´s quite a big job to do?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9689)

wolf_'s picture

23-06-2010, 20:44

Nop, what I meant was that it's nearly, if not totally, impossible to create dense detailed chip tunes in MML. Either because BASIC is too slow, or because it's just insane to control pitch, volume and possibly more parameters each int during the whole tune. That's what music tools in asm are for. So, even if someone would be able to operate SID parameters in BASIC using some kinda extended MML (kinda like the extra MML codes we get with the FM-PAC), we'd not be able to get everything out of the chip. From that point of view I doubt the importance of BASIC MML for SID. It would be smarter to make a normal tool (like Vortex Tracker, Moonblaster or whatever you like) and make a BASIC replayer for such tunes.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5319)

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24-06-2010, 02:18

What I think MaSaXi means (tell me if I'm wrong, buddy), is just be able to do something like,

10 _MUSIC (1,0,2,2,2) (<-- just assuming a way to call SID here, same for #3)
20 PLAY #3, "T50 V15 L4 O4 CDEC CDEC EFG2 EFG2"
30 PLAY #3,"L8 GAGFE4C4 GAGFE4C4 L4 CGC2 CGC2"

...only probably a bit more sophisticated work than "Frère Jacques", with possibly more than one channel, even. Wink

(BTW if you'd really wanna test - make it _MUSIC (1,0,1,1,1) and replace PLAY#3 with PLAY#2. Ofcourse you'll have the FM-PAC present and working, because you'll go to hell if you do not Wink if you insist on PSG, just delete line 10 and remove the "#3," at both lines - don't forget removing the comma)

Anyway, sure, it can be fun to play with, but I'd almost bet my balls that no-one wants to do a composition in any way attaining Daglish or Benn-like work in this (MML/BASIC/MuSiCa) way.
You want to? Try! Tongue
You'll end up in the same hall of fame like the guy who did the Manbow cover (amongst other songs BTW). Smile
Yes, the professional guys got payed for it - let's see how much you like to do it when it's just for fun. Wink

I have never seen, applied in any BASIC language, the arpeggios - do you know what I mean? (called 'ornaments' in VT II), you know, the trick to indicate, or at least suggest harmony/intervals/chords which decides a major deal of the overall sound in ZX-Spectrum/Commodore 64 sounds or their MSX PSG conversions.
'Western' chiptunes, generally.
Actually, I do not think it is easy in (MSX-)BASIC, since you have to 'hang' it on the skeleton of the tempo at that time. Try calculating that stuff in BASIC!
You'll probably have to depend on software written in a more efficient language; even more so - being able to handle things on interrupt frequency and cycles/second.

Oh well, as the Japanese monks have shown us - it's possible to define user FM synthesis (SW/@63) voices in BASIC; usually in DATA lines -
pitchbends too, noise envelopes for PSG too, but, heck.. it's sooooo much work.

I suppose a program like MuSiCa can easily be adapted to send data to the SID.

Anyway, if you like (the sound of) the SID chip and wanna fiddle with it in BASIC, it's probably fun to play with it in this way.
I couldn't tell ya, actually I like most MSX PSG versions over the original C64 SID versions more, I'm sorry. Tongue

Controlling the SID fully from BASIC would be even more insane-locked-up-monk work than it usually would be with controlling PSG / FM-PAC alone. Smile
Commands from an interface like BASIC have to be re-directed to (a) certain chip(s) and vice versa.
After all, SID has no 'voice' presets even to start from, has it? Only 4 waveforms and 3 audio oscillators (with dedicated volume control) and some additional filter options built-in, IIRC.

The SID is a sort of a wildcard; no guarantees given regarding general sound standard;
it's a noise/vibrance generator with some extras to influence frequency & envelope and some other parameters which make your ears bleed from different angles according to set variable, and actual output sound depends on how much abuse the plastic casing of your C64 can take before the glue starts to melt and your stuff implodes all together. Big smile
I kid, I kid (a bit, but partly it adheres to the point I want to make).

Anyway, a clear, musically efficient and user-friendly tracker should be not too much of a big deal to program for some coders with some notion on how music - and frequencies - work.
I still dream of a combined effort resulting from Sergei Bulba, [WYZ] and wolf_;
Those guys know what's it about, both musically and code-wise, and still I have the feeling I'm even forgetting some people.

All jokes which I made aside - let's see what the MSX cpu can pull, together with a demo or a game, and then assisted by more sound channels than usuallly. Smile

Let's hope. Wink

P.S. if anyone likes the sound of 6 channels MSX/Sega PSG plus SCC plus FM-PAC plus MSX-Audio plus SID, then - if he isn't in the looney bin yet - I would wage to go control the traffic naked at my main street. Big smile

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

24-06-2010, 10:00

Yes, your words were mostly same as my unspoken words, demonseed. Smile

Yes, I was thinking something similar as that PLAY #3.

To be more precise, I was thinking something like, that it would be nice enough even to just

PLAY #3,"CCCR8ER8DDDR8FR8EER8DDR8CCCCR8"

(well, probably I would do more "sophisticated" songs too, of course Tongue that was just an example!Wink)

I didn´t include any T or L or M or S into PLAY - command purposely. I know nothing about programming of programming languages, with exceptions what I have read from books or internet pages about old times, so I can´t say how hard such things could be develop to use SID from MSX-BASIC. In THEORY, it feels like it could be done, but of course SID´s T and M and S probably should have DIFFERENT values than MSX MML has.

And for now, it´s time to say something to prevent further misunderstandings.

I am ***NOT*** expecting MSX-BASIC extension which could give me FULL control of SID!!!! Smile

NO!

I am not expecting it either, that I could fully do what I exactly want with existing MSX´s MML! Tongue I am used to the fact, that MSX´s MML gives just some possibilities, you can do very nice and interesting compositions with it, but it is very limiting, of course.

It would be nice to get "free" from chains of PSG, as on SID, you can use different S value for each channel. (Of Course there is no MML like "S" thing on SID, this is just for examples sakeWink)

What I am trying to say, I would be glad for being able to "just" use CDEFGAB # + - O. Of course it would be nice to T, L, S and M too. BUT I am ***NOT*** wishing to have possibility to use EVERY FEATURE of SID from MML-like PLAY command.

What I mean, is that I think I would be glad to make skeleton of song using familiar style PLAY #3 command and use POKE (or some equivalent, if someone is willing to make better command for SID) to give needed "colour" to song´s sound. Do you understand what kind of thing I am trying to tell about? This is quite hard to tell by using language which is not my native language.

On Commodore 64, you had to think everything in NUMBERS. You entered numbers to data statements to present each note, bit same way as you could use "N" on PLAY - command. I am wishing to have those numbers turned to CDEFGAB and # and + and - and O. And YES, I know that you will have to think EVERYTHING in numbers if you wanna do music on Commodore 64, I am wishing to have some simpler way to play music on SID.

Another thing which some of you may think wrongly, is that I am ***NOT*** wishing to make exactly what Rob Hubbard and others done in the eighties!!!!!!!! You must be foolish to even think I could dream doing something like that using MSX-BASIC!!!! Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue

What I am wishing, is this:

THAT I COULD, BY USING MSX-BASIC, DO THE SAME WITH SID WHAT I CAN DO WITH PSG.

I ***KNOW*** that I can´t do same with MSX-BASIC as you can do with Vortex Tracker II. Smile I am not expecting same like result (read again what I said about you being foolish to even think about such thingsTongue)

I can do nice little songs with nice and interesting sound, by just using MSX-BASIC. Though it soon gets harder to keep interesting sounds when I try to use another channels, because restrictions of PSG. It would be nice to compose multichannel music, without PSG´s restrictions, and having SID sound!!

I don´t mean that SID extension for MSX-BASIC should be exactly like our familiar MML. If you must program it bit different way, you´ll have to do it that way. But I think I will be happy, as long as it is EASY enough to use!

P.S. if anyone likes the sound of 6 channels MSX/Sega PSG plus SCC plus FM-PAC plus MSX-Audio plus SID, then - if he isn't in the looney bin yet - I would wage to go control the traffic naked at my main street.

Demonseed, I bet you are NOT police officer, so it is very easy to promise such things, as they wouldn´t allow you to do that even when correctly dressed! Tongue

But otherwise, if you can do it, I may like that sound! Smile (and I don´t mean the sound which happens when you control the traffic naked at your main streetTongue) (by the way, I don´t know where you live demonseed, so I can´t know how much traffic there is on your main street... if you live on the side of some lonely, mostly forgotten gravel road in the backwoods, it´s very easy to give such promises!!!!Tongue) But to be more truthful, I would drop those FM-PAC and MSX-Audio off, as they probably would badly SPOIL the sounds of six PSG channels + SCC + SID. Smile

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

24-06-2010, 10:34

So, even if someone would be able to operate SID parameters in BASIC using some kinda extended MML (kinda like the extra MML codes we get with the FM-PAC), we'd not be able to get everything out of the chip.

Yes, I understand that. So what? I can´t get everything out of PSG chip either with MML. Smile And still MML had given me many enjoyable moments. (and very frustrating ones too... of course, but it´s mostly because of PSG´s restrictions in my case)

From that point of view I doubt the importance of BASIC MML for SID.

It would have been funny to hear those words from some japanese MSX exec in 1982, telling there´s no sense to make MML for MSX-BASIC since you would not be able to get everything out of the PSG! Tongue

TRY to imagine 1980s MSX world WITHOUT MML! (it´s a very sad world...) Crying

It would be smarter to make a normal tool (like Vortex Tracker, Moonblaster or whatever you like) and make a BASIC replayer for such tunes.

Yes, it´s a very good idea! Smile But it´s only for those who can use trackers though.

What I am pointing at is, it would be nice that both tracker using musicians and MSX-BASIC users could have possibility to make SID songs!!! Smile

To me it´s really important to have a way to make SID music on MSX, the way it would have been in 1983, if such SID-MSX cartridge would have been existing in the old days. Smile If the japanese had made such SID-MSX cartridge, I think that they could have used something similar MSX-BASIC extension as MML. Cannot think japanese making SID-MSX cartridge and giving MSX-BASIC extension which only gives you control by using ONLY odd POKEs.

By boomlinde

Resident (54)

boomlinde's picture

24-06-2010, 11:20

Best bets on SID music IMO:

* Built in 6510 core in the FPGA with some basic C64 emulation set up - ready to run existing SID tunes.
* Z80 replay routine for goattracker SNG files.

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

27-06-2010, 07:01

This is already possible look for swisid at http://www.swinkels.tvtom.pl/swinsid/
Only it is cpld regarding to the atmel(s) used

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