Bigsoftier

A couple of questions

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Hi,

Not being an FPGA programmer and even, to my external shame, being a total nooby when it comes to electronics in general, my main interest is using RetroCade Synth as a authentic sounding source for chip tunes. With that in mind I would be eternally grateful if you could answer these few questions...

Apart from using the VSTI/Midi interface, what other methods are there for accessing the various features of the emulated chips? For example, do any trackers access the board directly?

Is there the possibility of adding USB midi to the board in someway?

I am familiar with C using Windows mainly, what would be my best option to access the various ports of the sound chips from my PC?

Many thanks for answering,

Ian

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The Retrocade ZPUino code implements two MIDI interfaces, one for the MIDI ports on the board and one on the FTDI UART connected to the FPGA, this is what the windows dashboard uses to control the synth.

 

Adding USB MIDI in any way other than buying a USB midi adapter and plugging it into the ports will not be easy, so take this as a no for now.

 

You could access the exposed sound chips the same way that the dashboard does by speaking MIDI over the UART connection, alternatively you could write a different sketch for the board that provides a more suitable interface and use that.

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Hello Ian,

 

It should be very doable to change the sketch, which is c++ code, so that it can be controlled by any tracker that has support for controlling external chips. You just need to figure out what the tracker is outputting, whether it be MIDI or serial port data, and then we can update the sketch to respond to that data.

 

As far as having the Retrocade show up as a MIDI device when you plug it in, unfortunately that will not work because the FT2232 USB chip does not support that. But, like Omni says, you can get a USB MIDI dongle and plug it into your USB port on the computer and the other end into the MIDI port of the Retrocade.

 

I do remember having some success with running some software that turns the virtual serial port into a MIDI device, but I never wrote a tutorial about it and don't remember the exact details anymore, I think I used loopMIDI.

 

Hope that helps,

Jack.

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Oh, and by the way, these new tutorials might be right up your alley:

Papilio Schematic Library - C64 SID Chip

Papilio Schematic Library - YM2149 Chip

Papilio Schematic Library - Amiga Mod Files

 

I will be making another tutorial soon that shows you how to make the RetroCade FPGA design using the schematic library.

 

Jack.

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I do remember having some success with running some software that turns the virtual serial port into a MIDI device, but I never wrote a tutorial about it and don't remember the exact details anymore, I think I used loopMIDI.

 

What Jack is referring to here can be accomplished by a conjunction of loopMIDI and the dashboard, you set the dashboard to take a MIDI input and use loopMIDI to create a MIDI device that can be set as that input but also used as an output for the desired program.

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Actually, I forgot that I have five boards here that just need the joystick caps... I set them aside because we were out of joystick caps, but we have them in stock now so those five boards are ready to go!

 

I just updated the store with the stock.

 

Jack.

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Actually, I forgot that I have five boards here that just need the joystick caps... I set them aside because we were out of joystick caps, but we have them in stock now so those five boards are ready to go!

 

I just updated the store with the stock.

 

Jack.

 

 

Are those joystick caps available separately? I managed to break one of mine a while back.

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