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Old 18 April 2018, 22:52   #1
José
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Error on Lex site ? Toccata is only half duplex I think...

I think I detected an error on amiga.resource.cx site (great site by the way). Been long since I once had a Toccata and I seem to remember that it was not full duplex, however it's described there as being able to record and play at the same time.
Anyone can confirm ?
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Old 19 April 2018, 10:17   #2
DrBong
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Well, the U.S. advert for the Toccata on the website says that it is capable of simultaneous recording and playback. You'd hope that Macrosystem got it right in their adverts! I never owned a Toccata myself (and only knew one guy in Cyprus on Galaxynet who did), but the sound card was considered state of the art on the Amiga until the Delfina cards came along a few years later.

Sound cards were exorbitantly expensive on the Amiga at the time and, consequently, few people had them. I was lucky enough to pick up a "cheap" Delfina Lite secondhand around 1998 off AmiBench and was blown away by how much better it was than Paula! A year later Napster arrived on the scene and I couldn't throw enough MP3s at the Delfina card!!
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Old 19 April 2018, 12:59   #3
José
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I think there's a big chance that add is wrong, I couldn't record and play at the same time when I had one... Sure could've been me, but I don't think so, I think I confirmed it at the time but on forums with others but can't find any info about it...
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Old 19 April 2018, 21:50   #4
DrBong
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You may well be right! There's nothing to suggest simultaneous recording and playback in the English version of the Toccata manual (see posts #9 and #10), which I found a little sparse TBH. Additionally, there's this very telling paragraph in the CU Amiga review from April '96:

"Macrosystem are currently working on new software that will feature simultaneous recording and playback through the card, along with 'multiplexing' routines that allow for a number of channels to be output at the same time."

MacroSystem probably never delivered the software promised to achieve simultaneous recording & playback. IIRC the Toccata card was bundled with a special customised version of Samplitude, which wasn't exactly the best and somewhat unintuitive. ]

Anyway, it's hard to determine from the manual and decent sources like the BBOAH / Amiga Hardware Database and magazine reviews whether the Toccata, irrespective of software support, actually had suitable hardware specs (i.e. full duplex) to pull off simultaneous recording & playback. It may well may not have - if the absence of duplexing info. is anything to go by - but at the end of the day the best hardware peripherals from a technical standpoint are only as good as the software supporting them.

Last edited by DrBong; 20 April 2018 at 21:57. Reason: Fixed grammar!
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Old 20 April 2018, 21:33   #5
Toni Wilen
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Codec chip used in Toccata (AD1848) can do simultaneous playback and recording but it requires dual DMA channel support.

I don't know how AD1848 to/from on board buffer RAM DMA is implemented but I guess it could support full duplex but possibly only in 8-bit or 16-bit in halved sample rate.
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Old 20 April 2018, 22:53   #6
DrBong
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Thanks Toni for the informative explanation! It sounds like the Toccata was a little underdone in terms of specs and software support (for professional use, at least) compared to its only real competition at the time in the form of the AD516 by Sunrize Industries. The trouble was that the AD516 was 2.5-3x the price of the Toccata and manufactured in the U.S. As a result, MacroSystem probably saw an opportunity to sell a cheaper "high-end" sound card in Europe and trade on their great reputation for quality products (e.g. Warp Engine, Retina gfx card, V-Lab Motion card).....but unfortunately cut some corners on hardware/software support.

Logically, MacroSystem should've released a next gen version of the Toccata to realise the full potential of its R&D, but instead they retreated from the Amiga sound card market and 12-18 months following the Toccata's release they had ceased its manufacturing. This paved the way for the Delfina, Prelude and Repulse cards released in the ensuing few years to reach greater heights, which they largely did IMHO.
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Old 26 April 2018, 12:21   #7
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Also the Toccata was sold togethler with the Vlab motion, to record video and sound at the same time.

I know three persons that had (or have) a Toccata, two of them also had a Vlab Motion.
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