Retro-Corner: Recording samples with a homemade Amiga audio digitizer

Retro-Corner: Recording samples with a homemade Amiga audio digitizer

The key to the success of the C64 successor was not only the then groundbreaking graphics of the Commodore Amiga, but also the music and the sound effects that enriched the games. In contrast to its predecessors and the competition, thanks to the Amiga sound chip Paula, it was designed directly for the output of four voices as digital 8-bit samples.

Gone are the days of simple waveforms and filter games – the sounds and instruments became more natural and multi-faceted. Of course, you could also play back short samples with simple waveforms, emulating the synthesizer sounds of the predecessors and saving storage space at the same time.

Thanks to its musical capabilities, the Amiga created a whole generation of musicians and producers. The software of choice were the trackers, with which you could program the songs with the appropriate samples (or the instruments), the pitch and effects, so to speak. The hackers of the time threw themselves into this way of programming music, beyond the usual notation. And even today there are MIDI musical instruments that allow this type of programming of music.

Octamed was one of the most popular trackers.

There was only one problem: How do you get new instrument samples on the Amiga? Or how could you get samples of the current hits from the current vinyl or from the radio? Soon there were digitizers that connected via the parallel port and were based on analog-to-digital converter (A/D) converter chips. At the parallel port, it was difficult to achieve the necessary sample frequencies of around 50kHz with 8-bit, this was state of the art until further notice.

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