QuadSID, the beginning
A good friend of mine (Antti) had sent some image links of my Midibox SID some time this spring to a friend of his (Petri) , who in turn got curious whether it’d be possible for me to help him construct the quad version of Midibox SID V2. Petri was planning on his thesis and had decided tha paper should focus on the impact of programming routines to musical aspects of game music on the C64. The Midibox SID was of course the main tool to be used for reconstructing various sounds etc. Having more synth-like user interface, the Midibox SID allows for a more musician-friendly (traditional) approach to the features of the SID chip than whatever software is available for C64. So, towards the end of june I ended up discussing briefly about the project with Petri over the phone. At that time I explained how complex a project the quad version is and adviced to look into other options as well, despite them being less musician-friendly (or whatever). We then left the issue at that and I pretty much assumed it was the last I’d hear from this project.
Much to my surprise, things took a second turn during september as Petri contacted me asking how I felt about the whole deal and whether we should carry on with it or not. As he had already started acquiring C64s for the project, I didn’t want to turn him down straight up so I went on to explain the amount of work needed to complete the project in detail. Despite having bought some C64s, it wouldn’t be too late to look for other people to help (thesis deadline is spring 2005) or even choose a completely other topic..
Usually, people with no experience in DIY synth projects tend to see the overall process as a trivial “acquire parts – solder – enjoy the end results” kind of thing. Something that it, most of the times, unfortunately isn’t. Especially with enclosures and assembly, you end up improvising quite a lot on-the-fly as each DIY project is unique. Also, the price of certain parts might come as a complete surprise to some; despite the average ICs, resistors and caps are cheap it’s usually the parts that make up the user interface that end up mounting to far more bigger sums. Anyway, I compiled a complete list of parts and told Petri to ask around for prices from the local shops. We spent september and october discussing various constructional options. Eventually, the project was outlined like this:
- Petri gathers all the parts and labels the front panel, I handle the rest of the construction.
- Use board kits bought from the folks who sell Midibox kits at the Ucapps forum (cuts down the amount of work).
- House the electronics to a breadbox C64 (more compact).
- Use a C64 PSU and the power/joystick connector section of the motherboard (recycling <3).
- Include four banksticks for patch storage.
As the project is now, I have most of the parts at hand and will begin construction shortly. Stay tuned for more ;) ..