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Old 09 September 2005, 00:02   #1
thinlega
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Who designed Paula?

I saw this on a music board...redering to bob yannes (c64 sid designer)...

"He later also designed the Amiga's PAULA, which pretty much reminds of a
shrinked version of the DOC soundchip, which is the heart of SDP-1,
Mirage, ESQ-1, and SQ80"

I dont think this is right.....but I am not sure?? any ideas??
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Old 12 September 2005, 17:20   #2
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It is not correct.. Bob Yannes wasn't involved in the Amiga's design in any way. It was a team totally outside CBM (and Yannes had left CBM anyway soon after the C-64 was completed in 82).

The Paula isn't really a synth chip at least not anything like the old Ensoniq synths or the SID chip. It only plays back samples.

I'm afraid I can't help with the designer's name. Probably that's written in some Amiga history article on the net.. It could have been Jay Miner, but I only know for sure that Jay did the Agnus.
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Old 12 September 2005, 17:30   #3
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According to Wikipedia Jay Miner may have indeed designed and/or helped design at least the OCS at his days when Amiga was still a separate company from CBM

Scroll down to the bottom and find a link about Jay Miner.
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Old 12 September 2005, 20:07   #4
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thanks for the replys guys....very interesting stuff.

I think people tend to think that the amiga has a synth chip due to the chip tunes sounding very much like the sid?
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Old 12 September 2005, 20:56   #5
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Yeah, but isn't that what a Chip Tune is supposed to sound like, a synthesizer

It's much like the older ISA days for PC's when you purchased just a SB16 or similar sound card you got synth and not samples.

You had to upgrade to a sample supported card like the SB32 or above or my favorite card at that time was the Ensoniq Soundscape.

If you had to compare a synth tune vs. a sampled tune, there really is no comparison, unless of course you listen to them over the cheap ass puny speakers that many people still use today
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Old 13 September 2005, 10:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
I'm afraid I can't help with the designer's name. Probably that's written in some Amiga history article on the net.. It could have been Jay Miner, but I only know for sure that Jay did the Agnus.
Judging from this interview, I think you may be right. Seems that Jay Miner was perhaps responsible for all the major custom chips in the A1000. Interestingly, a couple of the custom chips had different names in the A1000 prototype. Paula was actually called Portia.

Last edited by DrBong; 14 September 2005 at 19:05.
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Old 13 September 2005, 11:36   #7
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Paula was Paula in the A1000.. It was Portia in the Lorraine prototype.

Also Denise was Daphne in the wire wrapped proto.

The name Agnus comes from Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God.. Jay Miner seemed to be quite a religious fellow.
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Old 13 September 2005, 14:36   #8
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Also what i can remember, is that the chips were given aliases when the amiga was still in development by Hi-Toro to fool the competition.. and if someone could've heard over a phone conversation between the developers, it wouldn't give away the specs.. like: "How's denise/paula/gary doing?" like talking about a person instead of the particular chip inside the back-then "project amiga" later sold to commodore..
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Old 13 September 2005, 15:21   #9
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With reference to the original post I'm firmly in agreement with Jope, the relevant facts are known i.e. Yannes had left C= after the SID was completed and that he never worked for Hi-Toro/Amiga.

What I think might have happened is that this quote (or one very similar):
Quote:
Ensoniq is one American manufacturer that understands the value of building custom chips.
Founded in the early '80s by some engineers from Commodore
[Bruce Crockett, Al Charpentier, and Bob Yannes], Ensoniq's first product
(a software drum machine) was aimed at the home computer market.
Bob Yannes, on of Ensoniq's cofounders, was responsible for designing
the Commodore 64's three-voice synth chip. In 1982 he designed a portion
of a PC that was similar to the sound synthesizer that ended up in the Amiga.
It was this chip the 'Q chip'. And Paula was born.
from Exotica was misread and chinese whispers took care of the rest.

By comparing the info from the Jay Miner interview that DrBong linked and the Amiga's patent application I think it would be fairly safe to say that the Paula chip was designed by Jay Miner, Joseph Decuir and Ronald Nicholson.
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Old 13 September 2005, 16:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmijo
It's much like the older ISA days for PC's when you purchased just a SB16 or similar sound card you got synth and not samples.

You had to upgrade to a sample supported card like the SB32 or above or my favorite card at that time was the Ensoniq Soundscape.
By the way, all SoundBlasters do/did samples.. That was their cutting edge against the first popular card, the AdLib (which the SB also emulated). The first ones were 8bit/mono, then later on 8bit/stereo and the SB16 was the first 16bit/stereo SB.

It's just that if you wanted your .MID tunes to sound nice, you had to get a wavetable card like the SB AWE32, or perhaps the Gravis Ultrasound or Roland MT-32.

Midi was popular on the PC, because it offloaded the processing and mixing to the sound card. The early PCs didn't have too much horsepower to mix the samples with the CPU. That's the reason most old DOS demos want a Gravis Ultrasound, they didn't have CPU cycles available for mixing the MOD channels to stereo, and the Ultrasound was the only card back then that had also sample mixing in hardware.

AdLib didn't do samples, it had FM synth only.

Last edited by Jope; 13 September 2005 at 16:14.
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Old 13 September 2005, 18:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
By the way, all SoundBlasters do/did samples.. That was their cutting edge against the first popular card, the AdLib (which the SB also emulated). The first ones were 8bit/mono, then later on 8bit/stereo and the SB16 was the first 16bit/stereo SB.

It's just that if you wanted your .MID tunes to sound nice, you had to get a wavetable card like the SB AWE32, or perhaps the Gravis Ultrasound or Roland MT-32.

Midi was popular on the PC, because it offloaded the processing and mixing to the sound card. The early PCs didn't have too much horsepower to mix the samples with the CPU. That's the reason most old DOS demos want a Gravis Ultrasound, they didn't have CPU cycles available for mixing the MOD channels to stereo, and the Ultrasound was the only card back then that had also sample mixing in hardware.

AdLib didn't do samples, it had FM synth only.
That's it, I was using incorrect terminology there, I meant wavetables vs. samples

If you ever want to really hear the difference in the sound capabilites, then load up an old DOS Box with Doom I/II and setup the sound for standard SB/Adlib audio then switch over to the MIDI wavetable samples and here what you've been missing
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Old 13 September 2005, 19:36   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmijo
If you ever want to really hear the difference in the sound capabilites, then load up an old DOS Box with Doom I/II and setup the sound for standard SB/Adlib audio then switch over to the MIDI wavetable samples and here what you've been missing
And you'll hear equally shit music.

I'm not a fan.
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Old 13 September 2005, 20:15   #13
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Originally Posted by FromWithin
And you'll hear equally shit music.

I'm not a fan.
One opinion, like music itself, it's very subjective
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Old 13 September 2005, 22:35   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
The name Agnus comes from Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God.. Jay Miner seemed to be quite a religious fellow.
I thought it went like this:
PAULA: Peripheral And UART Logic Array
AGNUS: Address Generator
DENISE: Display ENable
GARY: GAte arRaY

Or have I just made that up?
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Old 14 September 2005, 16:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
I thought it went like this:
PAULA: Peripheral And UART Logic Array
AGNUS: Address Generator
DENISE: Display ENable
GARY: GAte arRaY

Or have I just made that up?
They are backronyms of sorts.

GARY was designed at CBM by Dave Haynie, so it's name was probably designed to correspond to it's task from the beginning. :-)
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Old 14 September 2005, 19:03   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
Paula was Paula in the A1000.. It was Portia in the Lorraine prototype.

Also Denise was Daphne in the wire wrapped proto.
Quite right.....I misread the interview. I almost opened up one my A1000s to check Paula too because I couldn't remember it being named anything else!
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Old 15 September 2005, 19:23   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
Midi was popular on the PC, because it offloaded the processing and mixing to the sound card. The early PCs didn't have too much horsepower to mix the samples with the CPU. That's the reason most old DOS demos want a Gravis Ultrasound, they didn't have CPU cycles available for mixing the MOD channels to stereo, and the Ultrasound was the only card back then that had also sample mixing in hardware.
Funny to think that PC's stuck to MIDI even up to the days of the 486/Pentium, while the Amiga with it's 8Mhz CPU did all it's music with samples from the outset. Just goes to show how right the design was.
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Old 16 September 2005, 01:28   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OddbOd
I think it would be fairly safe to say that the Paula chip was designed by Jay Miner, Joseph Decuir and Ronald Nicholson.
I worked w/ Ron Nicholson at SGI briefly on the same project. Heh, we were actually both laid off at the same time. I never got the chance to ask him about the Amiga.
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Old 16 September 2005, 17:45   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demoniac
I worked w/ Ron Nicholson at SGI briefly on the same project. Heh, we were actually both laid off at the same time. I never got the chance to ask him about the Amiga.
That would have been a great discussion, wish I was there too but alas, I never got the chance to rub elbows with anybody that helped design the Amiga
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