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Old 11 January 2019, 15:25   #101
frank_b
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IIRC the STe allows for 50KHz sample playback, is that correct?
Yes. 6.25, 12.5, 25, and 50 khz stereo and mono. It has treble, base, volume and stereo panning support and can mix its audio with the YM. It can play a sample from anywhere in the ST RAM range. 4 meg on the STe and 10 meg on theTT. The audio quality on module playback is excellent. On par with the Amiga. Costs CPU time though. I bet Atari added it just for sample sound effects in games.
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Old 13 January 2019, 02:47   #102
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The C64 remixes are also often better than originals, if done properly.
often = never
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Old 13 January 2019, 03:16   #103
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often = never
I'd generally agree, but this cover of Delta blows the original away in my opinion.

[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 13 January 2019, 15:16   #104
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Pandy71, POKEY is NOTHING like the ST chip. POKEY is a Jay Miner creation, therefore, unique. And it generally sounds better.
Foebane, while POKEY is a Jay Miner creation, it was never meant to do music.
It has four channels with 8 bits of resolution and is totally untempered, which means that it can hardly ever produce a clean note. By combining two channels, you gain a clean 16-bit resolution, but then you're down to two channels effectively.

As unique as the POKEY sounds, it generally sounds a lot worse than the AY chip.
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Old 13 January 2019, 18:05   #105
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Foebane, while POKEY is a Jay Miner creation, it was never meant to do music.
It has four channels with 8 bits of resolution and is totally untempered, which means that it can hardly ever produce a clean note. By combining two channels, you gain a clean 16-bit resolution, but then you're down to two channels effectively.

As unique as the POKEY sounds, it generally sounds a lot worse than the AY chip.
Yeah. The AY is at least in key. The Pokey always sounds out of tune to my ears.
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Old 13 January 2019, 19:06   #106
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Originally Posted by idrougge View Post
As unique as the POKEY sounds, it generally sounds a lot worse than the AY chip.
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Originally Posted by frank_b View Post
Yeah. The AY is at least in key. The Pokey always sounds out of tune to my ears.
I don't really notice it being out of key. What annoys me about it is that if two notes on different channels are exactly the same pitch, then they can cancel each other out, so you get silence. It's really silly, but I still like the POKEY sound more than AY. For one thing, that wonderful bass that POKEY has that AY doesn't.
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Old 13 January 2019, 19:42   #107
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Crownland on both for comparison.

pokey
[ Show youtube player ]

ym
[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 13 January 2019, 22:44   #108
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Exactly, Frank. POKEY is better.

Maybe POKEY would be seen as lesser if it weren't for DISTORTION 12 (in Atari BASIC) which can be used for very effective bass notes. Listen to the bass in Warhawk or Zybex, for an idea of what I mean.

And to whoever said that POKEY was not designed for music, well, exactly, that's the sign of a good GENERAL PURPOSE sound chip, that it can do music AND sound FX equally well. Same with Paula. Shame the same can't be said for SID, as its sound FX are generally crap. Show me otherwise.
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Old 13 January 2019, 23:10   #109
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Hmmmm... POKEY in 4 channel mode doesn't have the ability to play back sounds at the correct frequencies to be in tune*, though. Some notes work, but equally a whole bunch don't. Combining two channels into a 16 bit one fixes this, but leaves you with just two channels. I'm not 'anti-POKEY', but this limited selection of frequencies is clearly a major disadvantage for playing back music.

*) on POKEY 4 channel mode the frequency is selected using an 8 bit register so there are only 256 different frequencies to choose from - add in the frequency range supported and you'll quickly see it can't work well for music
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Old 13 January 2019, 23:17   #110
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Yeah. The bass on the pokey version is out of tune! That seems to be typical on most tunes that I've heard. The YM is better. You're not getting something like this out of a pokey [ Show youtube player ] Listen to the SID voice at 59 seconds in. All the SID voice stuff from Tao of Cream sounds great [ Show youtube player ]

Modern YM stuff sounds much better these days with SID voice
[ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by frank_b; 13 January 2019 at 23:29.
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Old 14 January 2019, 00:19   #111
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Yeah. The bass on the pokey version is out of tune! That seems to be typical on most tunes that I've heard. The YM is better. You're not getting something like this out of a pokey [ Show youtube player ]
That's not bass. THIS is bass! (never mind the distortion, that's the video and no doubt Altirra emulation)

[ Show youtube player ]

I prefer the latter sound to the former, that's for sure!
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Old 14 January 2019, 03:41   #112
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Then even Intel 8253 can be considered as "GENERAL PURPOSE sound chip"...
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Old 14 January 2019, 07:19   #113
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That's not bass. THIS is bass!
Not very impressive I'm afraid. The AY is capable of far better (in fact I've even heard the 2600 TIA produce better bass than this).

Keep in mind I'm listening on a fairly high end Yamaha hi-fi system with a subwoofer.
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Old 14 January 2019, 07:25   #114
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OK.

Praise Paula.
Praise AY.
Praise SID.


Fuck POKEY.

That seems to be the general consensus: to treat every aspect of the Atari 8-Bit series like shit, to the extent that very soon, no-one will remember it.

Don't forget, however, that without the A8 series, there would be no Amiga. The former was practically a simpler prototype of the latter, with the same principles of sprites and copper, etc.
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Old 14 January 2019, 07:26   #115
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In fact I actually quite like the POKEY and I think that it's out-of-tune notes are a cool quirk rather than a disadvantage.
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Old 14 January 2019, 08:01   #116
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That seems to be the general consensus: to treat every aspect of the Atari 8-Bit series like shit, to the extent that very soon, no-one will remember it.
The 8 bit atari scene is more active than the Amiga or the ST.
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Old 14 January 2019, 11:26   #117
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The 8 bit atari scene is more active than the Amiga or the ST.
I know, and it innovates still. I saw this just yesterday, and it's possibly the best 8-bit Bad Apple demo of the lot, especially the audio, which is an actual audiocassette played through the datacorder:

https://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=78721
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Old 14 January 2019, 11:38   #118
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And to whoever said that POKEY was not designed for music, well, exactly, that's the sign of a good GENERAL PURPOSE sound chip, that it can do music AND sound FX equally well. Same with Paula. Shame the same can't be said for SID, as its sound FX are generally crap. Show me otherwise.
The POKEY was only designed for sound effects and simple monotonous melodies (sacrificing channels for 16-bit tuning). Even the VIC-20 had a better thought-out disposition of its sound channels. And you cannot even blame the POKEY's age, since the AY-3-8910 or Texas SN76489 are just as old.
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Old 14 January 2019, 12:03   #119
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That seems to be the general consensus: to treat every aspect of the Atari 8-Bit series like shit, to the extent that very soon, no-one will remember it.
I don't think that's a fair representation of what's going on here. No one is arguing that POKEY is a terrible chip, just that it wasn't designed first and foremost for playing back music. You can do some pretty interesting things with POKEY, however it has limits and ignoring them would be a bit odd IMHO (especially as some people, myself included, are rather sensitive to music not being in tune).

This is very similar to how we've been discussing the limits of the AY/SID/Paula in this thread without regarding any of them as bad chips. Now the limits of POKEY also entered the discussion, that is all.

As an example of something POKEY does well: it's clearly better suited for SFX than the SID is and is apparently much easier to program for as well. This doesn't change it's not great for music playback though - it just has mostly different strengths and that is OK.



----
On a different subject (saves me having two posts in a row):

I feel that part of what a person (people in this thread included) will see as a good synth chip will be heavily influenced by what they were exposed to when these chips were new. Owned a C64 predominantly*? You'll probably like the SID better than any of the others mentioned. Owned an Atari 8 bit predominantly*? You'll probably like POKEY more, etc.

Case in point: several people I know had an AdLib card for their PC back in the day and absolutely love the sound it makes. I never had one myself and to this day find even tunes presented as 'really good' to be rather underwhelming (especially the horror that is 'drums', yuck!). Likewise, these people never owned a C64 and tend to have similar feelings about SID sound.

In my experience, I'd say it takes some effort to learn to like or love the sound of new console/computer synth chips years after their release.

Had this with the Mega Drive myself, I only got one a few years back and initially hated the sound it produced. I'm still not a fan of all parts of the MD 'sound', but some of it has grown on me and I can now enjoy tunes like the ones Hewitson presented earlier - even though I still feel the 'arcade/ym style' sound is usually rather overrated.

Do note, this is not an attack against that style or those sound chips, it's just meant to underscore my earlier point - I feel a large part of this discussion is subjective.

*) this would go much more for a system you owned in your 'formative years'.

Last edited by roondar; 14 January 2019 at 12:12.
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Old 14 January 2019, 12:58   #120
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I expressed this earlier - compare comparable, trying to compare incomparable things you need to be very careful and use values in proper context - i don't judge POKEY quality, also don't judge AY quality but based purely on technical specification they are rather sound (FX) than music oriented, SID is different class as it is music oriented (simplified subtractive, hybrid i.e. digital+analog synthesizer).
Paula is completely different principle and as system with variable sampling rate can be sound and music at the same time. User is limited only by available general CPU or additional DSP processing power.
Falcon can't be compared with Paula but it can be compared with Amiga equipped with Delfina (or similar, DSP based) audio card.
Adlib (based Yamaha FM synthesizer i.e. additive synthesizer) - is another, different topic, by principle using same technology as famous Yamaha DX7.
DSP based synthesizers are most versatile type of audio devices as they can emulate ANY type of synthesis.
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