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Old 22 October 2019, 01:31   #819
Bruce Abbott
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Hastings, New Zealand
Posts: 286
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
But you change compatibility with leaving musician they went to systems that support multi channel and 16 bit 44,1kHz. I really missed that doing music on my A1200. On the other hand a hardware synthesizer + drum machine + effect device would make the A1200 more better.
The Atari ST was very popular among musicians even though it only had a crappy AY sound chip. Why? Because it had MIDI ports. Real musicians had a synthesizer keyboard that they wanted to hook up to the computer, and the ST had that capability out of the box.

Ironically the Amiga's superior sound made it less popular with musicians, because the MIDI cable was an extra you had to purchase and you could (just) get away with using only internal sound in a music program. If only Commodore had put MIDI sockets in the Amiga, or bundled machines with a MIDI cable, things might have been different. Instead they bundled a music program with the A500 that merely made people wish for more internal sound channels!

But in the end that was a good thing, because it encouraged Amiga musicians to make the most out of Paula's 4 channels. It's why we now have such a huge selection of awesome MOD files that play on any Amiga, not just those with a particular sound card or MIDI device.

Yes, the A1200 could have had a hardware synthesizer + drum machine + effect device, plus a 16 bit stereo CODEC etc. etc. all 100% with Paula or even as a separate device with its own memory, but it would have significantly raised the price and delayed the machine's release - for a market that was already lost.

To gauge how much Amigans were prepared to pay for advanced sound you only have to look at what they did (or didn't) put up money for. Professional users were already using high-end sound cards for video production etc., but unlike the PC market few A1200 owners were willing to shell out on a hard drive or extra memory to run games, and even fewer considered buying any of the add-on sound products that were available. The tiny Amiga market compared to PCs meant that game developers couldn't afford to limit their sales to a small fraction of it. And again the fact that the Amiga's sound was already 'good enough' ironically made owners less interested in upgrading.

The A1200 was designed to be a compatible replacement for the A500, not for high-end professional use. But if you wanted more it was easy enough. I bought a cheap MIDI synthesizer, and built my own MIDI cable from parts costing ~$15. At one time I also had an Aura plugged into the PCMCIA port, but it was just a novelty as I had no real use for 16 bit recording and playback.

I think the main reason many Amiga owners pined for more advanced sound was PC envy. All those big numbers made them feel inadequate, even though a suitably equipped Amiga was quite capable of meeting their actual needs. But that is what drove the PC market too - the difference being that PC owners were willing to pay for it.
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