MATRIXSYNTH: Open Amiga Sampler - NEW Amiga hardware announcement!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Open Amiga Sampler - NEW Amiga hardware announcement!


"Introducing the Open Amiga Sampler - an affordable, open-source, 8-bit/mono, parallel port sampler for the Commodore Amiga featuring stereo mixdown and an input preamp with physical gain control.

Schematics, documentation, parts list and custom PCB files are available at:

By mnstrmnch and syphus/Up Rough

Music: syphus/Up Rough"

This one is in via @deejayiwan

via github

"What are Amiga samplers?

Over the course of the Commodore Amiga's active lifespan, a great many samplers (also known variously as sampler carts/cartridges, sound cards, audio digitisers, audio interfaces, etc) were manufactured to exploit audio capabilities that were unmatched by any other home computer of its time. In 1989 an Amiga 500 with a cheap 8bit parallel-port sampler gave you the means to produce professional sounding music in your bedroom for a few hundred pounds - about the same as it cost to hire a recording studio for a few days. Acid house and techno were exploding; hardcore, jungle and drum'n'bass were just around the corner. Even if your sample-based Amiga music wasn't quite professional sounding by the standards of audiophiles and hi-fi enthusiasts and the old-fashioned music industry, it was probably good enough for underground clubs and illegal raves! Countless dance, bass and electronic music superstars got their start with an Amiga and a cheap sampler.

Some samplers back then cost a lot of money and offered advanced features or higher quality than the rest, although there was (and still is) a fundamental limit to the sound quality it's possible to squeeze out of an Amiga. This project is a clone of the typical low-budget sampler design that flooded the market in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They're often referred to as 'carts', but they're actually not cartridges: they're usually small 25-pin parallel port dongles whose circuit boards and connectors are housed in the type of plastic shell that systems like the C64 and the VIC-20 used as cartridge housings. But some manufacturers called them cartridges, and we've been calling them carts for decades, so we'll stick with that. Some live in separate boxes attached by a parallel extension cable to the Amiga's printer port, and some connect to both parallel and serial ports, or even to a joystick port, as a hacky but clever way of getting up to 16bit resolution. Interesting stuff, but out of this project's scope for now!

The common features of these cheap sampler carts were:

8bit sample resolution
Stereo or mono
Typical maximum sampling rate of ~55Khz in mono (~37Khz for stereo)
Usually claimed to feature impressive SNR, anti-aliasing filters, and special ~90Khz frequency modes (sometimes these claims were even true!)
The feature set of the Open Amiga Sampler is:

8bit sample resolution
Typical maximum sampling rate of ~52Khz
Input amplifier with variable gain"

See github for more.

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