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DJ rig with two Amiga 1200 PCs (cdm.link)
123 points by glitcher on July 27, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 50 comments

Mixxx can mix modules, though needs to be compiled with modplug=1 in the scons arguments. AUR mixxx-git and Fedora RPM Fusion packages at least have that enabled.

- https://www.mixxx.org

There's also Chipdisco, in Java, but mono (one channel for preview, one for live).

- https://echolevel.co.uk/post/1486312636973-Chipdisco

Some links to module repos and a download script:

- https://gist.github.com/milkmiruku/32a9d023c3e05fdb41c4dc8a9...

I love mixxx. It's an awesome program. I really appreciate the work that's gone into it. Especially after adding 4 decks and additional effects plugins. Combined with JACK it becomes extremely powerful It's definitely fully capable of competing with serato or traitor. I'm really impressed and very appreciative o all the work the devs have put into mixxx.

Actually, how does sound work on the Amiga? Is it more like ASIO or JACK in the way it works? Or something totally different?

On the Amiga there are four channels of audio playback that can play sample data from memory using DMA at varying rates. You just set up a sample address, a loop point and the playback rate in some registers and the hardware does the rest.

It's not really comparable. There's no driver or abstraction (or memory protection, or anything) on the Amiga - you're bit-banging against the hardware directly.

There is a driver, has been for the past 25 years: AHI. It then has specialised drivers for different types of hardware, Paula included. Sotware targeting AHI has audio hardware abstracted away. The user picks the output driver, which could be one of the Amiga audio cards which AHI supports or the Paula chip. For all intents and purposes, AHI treats the Paula chip as yet another audio card.

Ok thanks, I suppose that makes sense. I guess the Amiga didn't have a lot of room for that. Though i've heard it was one of the best multimedia computers of it's time. I've always thought digital audio was cool. Especially stuff from back then with limits hardware had.

There seems to be a bit of a 'renaissance' at least for some jungle producers to produce on the gear as used in the early 90s.

Amigas feature prominently




N.b. the Mixxx method [using libmodplug] renders the modules as a regular stereo track in memory, so no subtrack muting/etc.

When I was in my early 20's (in the early 2000's) I did a lot of DJing at raves, one thing that really stuck with me was one night the 'DJ' after me had a toolbox. He plugged it in to the mixing board and opened it up and it had 8 gameboys in it (original Gameboy), and that's what he performed his set using. It was pretty amazing to see.

Finnish artist Huoratron used to perform with Gameboys around 2002-2008. Maybe him?

Was it DJ Scotch Egg by any chance?

I honestly don't remember, we're talking like 15 years ago or so. If he was using gameboys around that time it's certainly possible, there couldn't have been too many people doing it.

For anyone wanting to make music on Game Boy, check out LSDJ.


DJ Scotch Egg is a Japanese fella who doesn't mind crowdsurfing even when there is hardly anyone there. Even if the music isn't your cup of tea (it isn't really mine), just the person himself is worth checking out.


Oh man that is the oddest set I've watched in a while. I absolutely love it.

It makes me want to hook my Gameboy and midi controllers / keyboard's back up to my Atari STfm

Article is wrong about Amigas having mono output. Every Amiga model has stereo output. It was one of the many things that set it apart.

Indeed. But the Amiga had hard panning: two voices played on the left output (and only there), while the other two on the right. And listening to music on headphones was always awkward because of that.

Perhaps the author meant that they use a special cable to blend the two outputs a bit (e.g. 70/30% like some software MOD players do). Or perhaps the tracker plays the same sample on two voices?

Looking at the demo video, it does look like they have a splitter plugged into one of the audio outputs.

Edit: I seem to remember that later Amiga models automatically mix to mono if only one connector was in use. They must be doing this because of the hard panning. It makes sense for a DJ, too, because at times you might be wearing headphones only on one ear.

> Perhaps the author meant that they use a special cable to > blend the two outputs a bit (e.g. 70/30% like some software > MOD players do).

That's what Ravi shows in the video at 4:30.

(semirelated): The Amiga, all the way back to the Amiga 1000 from 1985, had 4 channel (2 on the left, 2 on the right, no configuration here), 8-bit DMA output with a 6-bit analog amplifier.

I've heard claims that the 6-bit analog amplifier was sufficiently precise that you could combine two 8-bit channels into one 14-bit channel (in 1985!) per stereo channel. I guess it's possible, but I still question this. Anyone here know if that's actually true?

Very much looks like it's true, but I don't know when that trick first was discovered:


Gotta love Retro Man Cave, delightfully British.

Edit: On a different note, i would love to see a ssd based "floppy" that was loaded with the solid clunk of the 3.5" floppy.


But i was thinking more of using the whole surface area of a floppy as a PCB and cover it with flash chips.

Back in the 90s on weekends my dad would bring home one of the PCs from the high school where he taught. Other students at the school had access to it so it became a weird sort of communication portal. My mates would cycle over with a backpack full of discs and we would install, say Dune II on the machine and send it back to school. One day it arrived with a tracker, a load of mods, and some demoscene files and it totally blew our minds. From then on I wanted to write software.

I do recall slightly later in the 90s seeing guys using a PC with a tracker at a forest rave. Probably didn't have the pitch control etc so they were probably using it alongside decks. Nice to see that there's still work going on to make "modern" tracker software for djing.

This brings me back. Anyone remember Future Crew demos?

I do. They ushered a new era on the PC, where PC finally had something that could compare with the demo quality of Amiga demos.

To be more concrete, it was "Second Reality" that they did it with:


and here's Future Crew making it:


Europe and Summer school holidays. Perfect time to code.

I am amazed by the support of the Amiga long after it died. They are still making stuff for it.

A500, A600, A1200 motherboards can be placed into a Checkmate 1500 Plus case to be used like a desktop PC:


Maybe I should say desktop Amiga like the Amiga 2000 was.

Monkey Island on the Amiga, happy memories. Insert floppy disk number 11 :D

They removed the stump joke from later (CD onward?) editions because it generated too many calls to support about missing disks. Damn shame! :)

Yes that's a hilarious one. I seem to only remember that it was disk 22 though. See: http://asset-5.soupcdn.com/asset/1692/9226_5a7c_640.png

I wonder why audio software seems to be a bigger deal in Europe.

A lot of the early demo scene was based over here, especially in Northern Europe. Lots of those had music, and I guess that kind of low level programming lured people into doing low level programming for things like DAWs.

this is fantastic - love the sound of these tunes.

chiptunes, man.

Not necessarily; Amiga can play four channels of 8-bit sample output of arbitrary length, limited only by the available CHIP RAM, at 22 KHz (or thereabouts).

A chip tune is generated by a specialized sound chip, like the MOS 6581 which can normally not play sampled output, although that barrier has been broken in the last few years by tweaking the sound volume at high rates.

Ironically enough, the "chip tune" nomenclature comes from the Amiga where very short sampled sounds which played would generate chirps and blirps akin to the Yamaha and SID chips, but for reasons other than one might think: chip tunes were at first made out of necessity, because the overall intro in front of the crack had to be small since there usually wasn't much space on the cracked game's disk.

But all Amigas can play stereo digitised samples in a 2 + 2 channel configuration.

‘Amiga PCs’ is an oxymoron.

No it isn't; Amiga is a personal computer, very much so.

We didn't call the Amiga a PC back in the day because of IBM PC XT and PC AT computers, but nowadays when people don't even know anything other than a Windows and a MacOS based computer, it's a different story. Now it can be said that it's a personal computer, because that's what it is, just with an architecture superior to IBM PC clones.

Home computers were never personal in any interpretation of the word. They were mostly shared among family members which is why unlike PCs were made to play both games and run software.

Calling a home computer a PC is showing a fundamental lack of understanding not only what PC is and was but more importantly what home computer was and why its named home computer and not pc or game computer or whatever.

I would say the other way around, disputing what I wrote shows a fundamental lack of understanding the time period in which these personal computers came: it was a personal computer at home which the average person could finally afford. A computer that did not cost one million dollars but could run the same types of computations. In that sense, home computers of the day were personal computers, and they were designed to be generic enough to also be able to generate audio, perform desktop publishing and play games as well. The big machines like the General Electric and the PDP-1 and later on PDP-9 and PDP-11 were the breeding ground for the nascent game industry, since the very first games were programmed on them, so in that sense, playing on one's home computer doesn't make it any less of a personal computer. Personal computing is a usage paradigm, and we sure used our home computers for personal computing. And usually only one person used the machine back in the day.

Multiple people using the same system didn't come around until the advent of the average Joe going onto the InterNet.

Are you saying the Amigas weren't personal computers?

You are missing the context completely. At the time (late 80s, early 90s) Amigas were one of the main alternative against "PCs", so nobody would have said "Amiga PC". Just like you dont say "Mac PC".

I owned an A500 and it's true I never called it a PC. However, the context appeared to me being a Hacker News thread — a place where I would not expect anybody to deny the Amigas were personal computers.

I have no problem calling Macs personal computers — because they are. The whole Mac vs. PC debacle was a misnomer if anything.

Amiga had the IBM PC Bridgecard to run DOS and Windows on it. (I think it even ran OS/2 and others).

The only PC that Commodore made was the Colt series. It was a PC compatible that Commodore botched in marketing by saying "It is not a PC Clone, it is a Commodore!" of course it was a PC Clone that is what people wanted.

That is untrue. They had the Commodore PC-10 and -20 series, at least in Europe. I still remember the start up beep of my PC-20 —— it sported a 8088 Intel cpu at 4.75MHz.

After the ESCOM buyout they produced a bunch of PCs for the UK market (maybe others) branded as Commodore.

Edit: Mine came with dual boot OS/2 Warp and Windows 95.

I don't live in the UK so I didn't know about the PC clones by Commodore in the UK.

I was talking about Commodore before they got bought out by Escom ect.

I almost bought a PC Colt but got a generic 386DX PC a friend of mine sold me used that was cheaper.

"PC" was a very clear label for "(mostly) IBM PC compatible" systems. They're all various forms of personal computers, but not meant when people say "PC".

It's really a testament to the success of the IBM PC that people now attach the "PC" label to any non-Apple home computer.

The other way around: the term 'Personal Computer' existed years before the IBM, and they were running scared down in Boca Raton, so they tried to co-opt the term. Chaplin or not, many of us wanted nothing to do with Big Blue and its 27 feet of manuals.

Its 'success', like that of MS, is down to religion.

Preps popcorn bowl...


From Wiki:

The Amiga is a family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985. The original ... The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became one of the leading home computers of the ...

I am not invested in any of this. Always enjoy these types of discussions. They show a little about our roots.

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