DesignLab 1.0.8 and RetroCade 1.3 Released!

We just completed a new release of DesignLab and RetroCade Synth.

DesignLab 1.0.8 has the following changes:

DesignLab 1.0.8 – 2017.01.04
[DesignLab Libraries]
-Added a new Video Audio Player example.
-Fixes for RetroCade Synth libraries.

RetroCade Synth 1.3 has the following changes:

1/4/2017      Version 1.3.1
-Fix for some LCDs that have contrast issues.

4/21/2015      Version 1.3
-Updated MIDI library to better handle NoteOffs.
-Moved to ZPUino 2.0 with a DesignLab schematic.

1/29/2014      Version 1.2
-Moved to Papilio Schematic Library and drew up a schematic of the RetroCade system.
-Added Analog mode to the LCD.
-Made joystick interaction for smallFS more intuitive. Cannot do the same for SD Card access without a lot of rework…

 

Synth secrets revealed!

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Synthesizer fans are usually fond of programming them. In the following article, you’ll find out about the author’s approach to program every instrument at a time. Moreover, when reproducing the complex sounds of a particular instrument, the author breaks up the formulas into several articles and details how he got the results.

Via hackaday.com

“Really Dumb” MIDI Monitor For RetroCade

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Forum member Offroad recently hit us up with an example project, which is  based on the Papilio Pro and the RetroCade Synth. He’s calling it the Really Dumb MIDI Monitor.  This deserves a bit of explanation:

For starters, Offroad explains what he means by the term, “really dumb meaning: All the fun stuff like printf(“%02c”, byte) happens in RTL state machines…”

The project includes a simple MIDI parser for note on-/off messages. It remembers the state of all keys (all channels are combined, “omni mode”). Maybe this could be useful for some MIDI music experiments with minimal fuss: Excluding UARTs and FIFO (reused modules), the actual RTL code that does all the work is only about two screen lengths.

Here are a couple of links to the actual examples that he created, so make sure to click through and check them out for yourself.

  • Papilio Pro MIDI Monitor – (zip file)
  • meepMeep – (zip file) – This one is a MIDI monitor that actually makes an audible impression with an 18-bit saw waveform.  Offroad says it sounds like a Farfisa!  (See image above) Yikes indeed!

Do any of you guys have anything interesting that you’re working on for the RetroCade?  We’d love to hear about it!  Feel free to post to the forums, or comment on this post!  Right on.

(via the forums, and thanks to Offroad)

 

RetroCade V1.1: C64 SID Analog Filters are here!

Breaking news! The long awaited implementation of the analog filters for C64 SID chip are here! The new V1.1 RetroCade release includes everything you need to play SID files from your SD card and enjoy the new analog filters. Grab a copy of the Windows Installer and start enjoying the SID goodness. Not a Windows user, don’t despair, we are working on a Mac and Linux release as we speak. We will make another announcement sometime next week once they are ready.

 

Special thanks to Alvaro Lopes for writing the VHDL to implement the analog filters and for porting the tinySID library so we can emulate the C64 and play back SID files!

 

Keep in mind this is the first release of the SID filters and there are bound to be some bugs. Please drop by the forum and let us know about any SID files that don’t sound right.

Firing Up The RetroCade Synth: First Impressions

We found another great article by Phillip Howard from Raspberry Pi @ Gadgetoid, this time on Getting Started With The Papilio RetroCade Synth. In the image above, you can see the RedroCade MegaWing plugged into its host Papilio Pro. This is the setup that Phillip used for the purposes of his article.

After some initial fussing with Windows 8 drivers and dealing with a reversed polarity situation from MIDI note on/off commands, Philip found himself having a genuinely great time with the synth. Let’s check out some of his findings from the article:

The beauty of the RetroCade is not that is incorporates an FPGA clone of the legendary Commodore 64 SID and Yamaha YN-2169 chip, but that both these hardware implementations, and the Arduino-like Sketch used to drive them are completely open and user-editable.

Playing with the RetroCade was a nice, Friday-friendly introduction to Papilio and once everything was up and running it was really a joy to play. The synthesizer is alarmingly powerful, and exudes nostalgia, but the software has both room for improvement and the opportunity for any user to delve in and make those improvements.

We really appreciate the kind words and your candor, Philip. I know that many people are excited to give the whole synthesizer hacking thing a go, and your article shows that it is really not as difficult as one might imagine it to be.

This is a great segue to a new blog series we will be sharing with you during the coming weeks in this space. We will be sharing a first-timer’s efforts in using the Papilio Pro, the Retrocade Synth, and the LogicStart! Should be interesting!

You can check out Phillip’s full article on his RetroCade experiences here.

(via Raspberry Pi @ Gadgetoid)