JoeAtari wrote:Regarding the Midiman Macman boxes, yes I have the black screen if I turn on the falcon with the box plugged to the LAN port. In order to use the Macman you must load Cubase first and then plug the box to the LAN port on the Falcon (you also need the driver active in your MROS folder). I also tried a serial A/B switch box so that I wouldn't have to continually unplug and re-plug the cable, but that experiment failed. Perhaps not all the lines are connected straight through on that serial box designed for the old Macs.
I wonder if the black screen problem also affects the MegaSTE and TT? They have a software switch to enable/disable the LAN port, so depending which state it powers up in it may not have the problem.
I've got an idea what causes the problem, though without a Falcon I can't confirm it. The Macman generates a constant 1MHz clock signal on the handshaking input pin. The Atari can be configured to cause an interrupt whenever the handshaking pin changes state. So if TOS enables the interrupt, it will lock up because it can't handle interrupts at 1MHz. One solution is to patch TOS to fix that problem.
If you feel like doing some experimental modding, then it might be worth breaking the connection to the handshaking input pin (pin 2 on the mini DIN). This will stop the clock reaching the Atari, and should stop the black screen problem. There is one potential problem though. Cubase may be relying on this clock to generate MIDI data, in which case breaking the connection will stop the Macman from working. Unlike the Mac, the Atari has another means of generating a suitable clock. If Cubase uses that method, then pin 2 is unnecessary.
AFAIK, the performance of the Macman interface should be fine - unless Steinberg made a serious mistake in their software. The problematic Macintosh interfaces are those 8/10 input+output rack mount devices like those made by Opcode, Emagic and MOTU. The Mac's modem/printer port simply doesn't have the bandwidth required to address that many ins and outs.
If you don't mind doing a little soldering on your Falcon, it's even possible to get another MIDI output with no components needed. The MODEM.DRV (Export) driver should in theory work on the Falcon - but because it uses the MFP chip which is not connected to any external connectors on the Falcon, you can't access the MIDI output. I haven't tried this, so if you do the mod make sure it can be reversed! You need to cut the trace leading to pin 13 of the 74LS06 (U11). Then directly solder a wire onto pin 13, and solder the other end to pin 9 of the MFP. You can then get an additional MIDI output on the MIDI output socket, replacing the existing MIDI thru function. You need to be careful when cutting the trace to pin 13 - there are three connections to pin 13, and it's important those three traces remain connected to each other after doing the cut. I'm not sure at which point on the board they join. If you're lucky, they'll join well away from U11. If you're unlucky, they will all connect to pin 13 of U11 and you'll need to cut all traces and install a jumper wire to join the traces together while keeping them disconnected from pin 13. Where you might run into trouble is with the MODEM.DRV resetting the DSP unexpectedly. You might be able to avoid this by only using a particular one of the three MIDI outputs that MODEM.DRV provides to Cubase. If not, MODEM.DRV will need patching (should be fairly simple). You can test this before doing the mod by running MODEM.DRV, routing MIDI to it and seeing if the DSP continues to work.
I can't remember if you commented on any of the threads where I talk about designing a new MIDI expander for the Atari? Here's one of them: viewtopic.php?f=111&t=33275
Initially, I'll be using the Friend Chip MM1 driver for Cubase - which has been confirmed to work with the Falcon. I think it will also work on the CT60 - if not, I can patch it easily.
The objective is to create something that's a bit cheaper than an old Soundpool device, not to mention much more easy to get hold of. AFAIK, the only other eight-output MIDI expander on the Atari is the Friend Chip MM1 - which is about as rare as they get.