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Old 21 May 2012, 15:59   #1
Hedefar
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Amiga 600 for music production?

Hi there.
First post - hopefully many more will come if my plan goes well!

I'm a musician with many fond childhood memories of my Amiga 600 a long time ago.
When I hear those sounds today... I'm like a cat in a bag of catnip!

So I'm planning to buy an Amiga to produce some music on it (and play games) and this is where I need your advice.
There is a cheap A600 close to me and I will get it tonight if your replies are positive!

The questions!

1 - I see that there are very few used A600 for sale here in Denmark. Does that mean that they broke down because of poor quality or were they just sold less than A500?

2 - Will A600 be able to handle the music software well (trackers and maybe other types?) that was being used in those days?

3 - Should I consider getting certain expansions?

4 - It's easy to find software online with a PC for emulators... but is it easy to get it onto the Amiga as well?


With fingers crossed for some good advice, thanks in advance!
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Old 21 May 2012, 16:54   #2
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A600 hasn`t numpad (needed by some Trackers for sample selection). If you can live without go for it, else take a A1200 or A4000. If the A600 hasn`t 2MB Chip Ram then you will need it. Depends on Software you want to use (e.g. Protracker uses Chip for samples).

My suggestion for a minimal setup: 4GB CF card as HD. Some expansion ram (4MB or more).
You can setup the CF under WinUAE (you should find some threads about this here) and install your software there. Maybe the easiest way to get software on you real Amiga.

If you want trackers that support more then 4 channels you will need an accelrator and maybe a soundcard for 16bit.

If you want to use Midi it might be different.

The best would if you can try it out by a friend or someone else with a real Amiga.

For games you may need WHDLoad.
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Old 21 May 2012, 17:15   #3
Hedefar
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Thanks for the quick answer daxb!

Do you know how big the difference in sound would be if I would go for the free solution and just set the whole thing up in WinUAE?
It seems that it would be much easier but would it be as good?
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Old 21 May 2012, 23:31   #4
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Sorry, I don`t know. No experiences with WinUAE here but you can setup what you like and then you will see if that makes you happy.
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Old 22 May 2012, 11:58   #5
Hedefar
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Ok. Thank you for your help
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Old 22 May 2012, 12:43   #6
fgh
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Welcome back in the game!

1: The a500 arrived before and was sold in much higher numbers, that's why you see more of them still. You'll find a600's on ebay.de, ebay.co.uk or amibay.
Today I find a600's more convenient since they have an IDE controller and a PCMCIA port.

2: What daxb said! Only music I ever made on amiga was in protracker when I was a kid.
But I used to listen to MOD tunes back then, and I find that WinUAE reproduces their sound very well (far better than windows MOD players)
However, using real hardware is more FUN

3: As daxb said you need a chip RAM expansion. These go in the trapdoor and are all 1mb, giving you a total of 2mb chip RAM.
A brand new expansion is A604 from icomp.de, but used old types are cheaper.
Options for more fast RAM and CPU speed:
  • 2 or 4mb PCMCIA SRAM cards. Bit rare but works well.
  • ACA630 from icomp.de: Brand new product with fast 68030 CPU and 32MB ram.
  • Older accellerators like Apollo 630.
It's common to use flash storage as HDD nowadays (cheap, silent and low power).
I prefer SD cards over CF cards as they are more compatible and have no firmware that can act up. (Adapters from £1 +shipping if you can wait 4-5 weeks for delivery from China)
4GB cards require no software considerations. 8GB cards requires a patch of the IDE driver or the use of PFS3 file system (which is a lot better anyway).

4: To transfer files from a PC, I prefer using FAT16/32 formatted CF cards with a PCMCIA-CF adapter.
These adapters also start at £1 +shipping
You can use SD here as well, but adapters are more expensive, and are either the wrong type (32bit Cardbus) or do not support SDHC cards.

Software to check outHave fun!
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Old 22 May 2012, 19:58   #7
Hedefar
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Thank you for your very thorough and informative reply.
It is much appreciated!

My friend is picking up the Amiga right this moment and I just can't wait to get it home!

Would you say that the PCMCIA-CF adapter costing 1£ serves the same purpose as this EasyADF (except this supports SD too) which costs quite a bit more?

And would this CF-HD be a good choice?

On top of this, all I need is an additional megabyte of chip memory and I should be ready to get started with trackers (except for those that need numpad), right?

Again, thanks for helping me out!
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Old 22 May 2012, 21:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedefar View Post
On top of this, all I need is an additional megabyte of chip memory and I should be ready to get started with trackers (except for those that need numpad), right?
You can also start with only 1MB ChipRam. Maybe it is enough for you, else upgrade to 2MB. Numpad isn`t necessary but choosing samples is more comfortable. You can always click by mouse through all samples.
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Old 22 May 2012, 21:52   #9
Akira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
A600 hasn`t numpad (needed by some Trackers for sample selection)
Which tracker NEEDS a numpad for that? I think this is just a preference. To use a tracker on the A600, you can select the samples using other key combos or the good old mouse.

Now that I have a numpad, I never use it, it's confusing for me. I use CTRL+arrow keys in Protracker and that's all (or a MIDI note).

Quote:
If the A600 hasn`t 2MB Chip Ram then you will need it.
Again, you don't NEED it. Of course the more the merrier, but you don't NEED 2MB to use trackers, people have done a lot with 1MB and even 512KB.



My A600 works great for Protracker. I do have a 2MB Chip RAM expansion, a CF HD (but only 256MB, I don't NEED 4GB, it's way too much), and a PCMCIA card reader with a 256MB SD card where I actually store all the data (for easy file transfer with the PC).


I'd recommend you getting the stock one with at least a PCMCIA SD or CF solution. That alone will give you a lot of fun times with trackers. Then expand as you see fit.
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Old 22 May 2012, 22:39   #10
Hedefar
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Thanks guys, you're the best!

But I'm still wondering, should I spend the extra cash to get this EasyADF PCMCIA Multi-Card Transfer Kit which includes some clever software instead of this one which costs a fraction of the price?

If you suggest the cheap one, what will I need to do to get it working?

Akira, do you have some of your music online? I'm curious

Again, thanks for the help!
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Old 22 May 2012, 23:18   #11
prowler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedefar View Post
If you suggest the cheap one, what will I need to do to get it working?
AmigaKit sell the EasyADF software separately.
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Old 22 May 2012, 23:42   #12
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Great, thanks prowler!
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Old 23 May 2012, 00:10   #13
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@Akira:
Read my post one minute before yours.
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Old 23 May 2012, 02:14   #14
Akira
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Originally Posted by daxb View Post
@Akira:
Read my post one minute before yours.
We were writing at the same time

Hedefar: you can hear stuff at http://soundcloud.com/8gb (not all, rather, most not Protracker, though)
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Old 23 May 2012, 10:13   #15
fgh
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For the PCMCIA to CF/SD adapter, the only difference is the easyADF software.
I've never used it, and while I am sure it is good at what it does, the software is not required to transfer files between your pc and amiga.
It seems what it does is create adf images from floppy disks and write images back to disk.
There are also free alternatives on aminet that do the same thing.

Now for their CF Harddrive kit, it's convenient that it is already partitioned, but you just need a workbench disk to do it yourself.

The (free) driver for accessing CF/SD cards via PCMCIA is called compactflash.device (CFD) and is found on aminet.
I assume this driver is included on the EasyADF disk. I don't know if they have stored it on the pre-partitioned CF HDD as well.

Buying everything from ebay you have to figure out how to get the CFD drivers onto your harddrive.
If your amiga comes with workbench 2.1 it has crossdos and can read pc formatted DD floppy disks.
Another option is to mount the CF/SD card in your PC and access it with WinUAE, but you would probably need some instructions or research.

Delivery time should be much shorter from amigakit than from china though, and it's always good to support the few amiga dealers that are left

As for the chip RAM, at least it is nice to have to be flexible.
If you want to run WHDLoad games, many of them require 2mb chip, as WHDLoad eats some chip RAM itself.
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Old 23 May 2012, 21:38   #16
Hedefar
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Akira, very interesting stuff

fgh, very useful info! Thanks!

Things are beginning to make sense to me more and more.
I am 33 and haven't touched an Amiga since I was around 14, so it's been around 19 years... and back then I only used it for games so it feels like I am a newbie with computers.
All those Microsoft courses through the years won't help me now and I really appreciate that you guys are here!
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