New here: Atari ST for music making

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New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby gsus » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:36 pm

Hello people!
Unfortunately, I didn't seem to find a section for newbies, so I chose to write here. ;)

The boring stuff:
I make music as a hobby, and I love it. I have no special genre, but I do loads of electronic stuff. I currently use a microKORG (which has MIDI capability) and Ableton Live, plus heaps of VSTs and an audio interface.
I have watched several Atari videos, and listened to many vintage/retro tracks, and I believe an Atari ST (the one with the MIDI ports if I am right) would be a good addition to my setup.

The questions:
  • What exactly do I need? Just the machine itself, plus the mouse? And which cables are used for the current?
  • How is an Atari is connected to a TV set? Also, the whole monochromatic vs multicolor thing confuses me!
  • I thought about buying through eBay. I found some Atari STs, at an affordable price. How much are those babies actually worth?
  • How is audio handled on an Atari ST? Which outputs and which inputs, if any?
  • I would like to add a sampler. Any suggestions?

I will be very thankful for your answer, or for a direction on where on the web I can find information about this machine.
:cheers:

ppera

Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby ppera » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:48 pm

Hi, and welcome to forum :D

I'm not music-oriented Atari user, so will talk just general things:

You need some Atari ST(E) machine (better go on STE), with mouse, and monitor !
As music SW usually works in monochrome mode TV is not a solution. Instead old Atari monochrome monitor (as SM124, 125) you may go on some VGA monitor (even new, LCD will work with proper cable). Color mode works on TVs too (but not on monochrome monitors, or ordinary VGA), and is mostly for gaming.
ST(FM) has only mono audio out. On video out connector. STE has additional RCA stereo outputs.
There is mono audio input too on video connector. Don't expect some high quality there.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby pop » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:50 pm

Amongst other things plenty of midi related softeare here http://tamw.atari-users.net/ :)

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:35 pm

ppera wrote:
Your STE has additional RCA stereo outputs.

There is mono audio input too on video connector. Don't expect some high quality there.


I did not know that, so when you say mono audio input....do you mean something you could connect things to and sample from? Obviously this would only be 8 bit audio but back in the day it would have been a cheap solution.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby gsus » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:56 pm

Thanks for your fast answer, ppera! You already made lots of stuff clear to me. And pop, thanks for the link, am looking through the site right now!

So, now I know what model I need, how much money should I spend on such a machine?

Thank you again for answering!

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby d0us » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:57 am

Hi,

It really depends on what you want out of it.

The people who use the ST for MIDI in no way use it for 'retro' audio. They use midi software which is on a par with those available on mac and pc. These programs usually benefit (sometimes require) from 4mb and a monochrome monitor. Very few of these programs use the Atari audio. see the link above

On the flipside you have a community of users wishing to use the ST's 'retro' audio output. For this you can either user a chiptracker like musicmon or maxymiser to utilize the Atari's internal soundchip synth. This is a 3 channel voice generator (but with maxymiser you can use 3+2 sample channels). You can also use a a tracker like octalyser (STE only) that act like 4-8 channel sample sequencers. see http://www.dhs.nu.

In the above scenario you can sync the ST to ableton live via midi or you can use ableton as a sequencer and treat the Atari ST as a standalone synth/sampler.

ppera

Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby ppera » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:04 pm

Shredder11 wrote:I did not know that, so when you say mono audio input....do you mean something you could connect things to and sample from? Obviously this would only be 8 bit audio but back in the day it would have been a cheap solution.


No sampling. It is just simple mixer, very primitive made.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby pamplemousse_mk2 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:07 pm

Hello,

I'm new in Atari ST hardware. My cousin gived me yesterday his old Atari 520 STE. I plan to use it with Maxymiser and to plug it to my Ableton set-up. I think I will need to upgrade its ram. Which SIMM should I buy? Is it SIMM 30 pins? I have seen a person selling four Samsung KMM591000AN-8 30PIN SIMM 1MB 70NS. I hope they are good for the STE.

Thanks.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby StickHead » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:02 pm

Please note: making chip music with MaxYMiser and using the STs Midi capability are two very different beasts - do not get them confused, the music they create will appeal to completely different audiences! :wink:

There is a good page about upgrading the STEs memory on the wiki: http://www.atari-forum.com/wiki/index.php/STE_SIMM_Memory_Upgrade

On the wiki, Greenious wrote:Most SIMMs work, although the STE can only use 256kb & 1 mb SIMMs. Parity is not used in the STE and SIMMs with parity work as well, but have been known to cause problems for some. The speed should be 120ns or faster, usually speed is not a problem, since slower SIMMs are somewhat rare.
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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby simbo » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:03 am

use faster or equal to 80ns 30 pin simms
120ns is borderline for the ste
at big demand they cause bus glitching and packet loss on the ports
esp the hdd and later periferals will suffer from slower than 80ns ram

some will say but but

but ive done the tests and 80ns or better is best
things like cubase and other sequencers that use mono mode need this headroom on the ram
becouse monomode runs the fastest and requires more real ram use and also ram based instructions use
for low level drivers

i think the ste alround was my best music machine
a well kept ste sits there for hours and doesnt moan atall
never makes a noise and never answers back


i think ultrasatandisk is worth adding to your shopping list and get there now get it in jun/jul

also if you want to use midi youll need if you want multiple instuments
a midi breakout box{or a midi3} and a midi merger unit
you can build these for 20 or buy for £20 or less on ebay

i use midi for real work and trackers etc for loops with the ste and 4mb you can load samples of your loops
most people offload them to a sampler like a S1000 or 2000 etc.. or even a pc

electronic cow is a good site for loop making stuff
http://atari.music.free.fr/

you build music in layers bass >> treble


mostly these days people use a pc that syncs to the atari midi clock that has the master keyboard actions and thrus
and basicaly the atari has become a second triggerable sequencer and loop maker for raw 16 bit the pc for things like rebirth and reason
BUT and its a big BUT
pcs have lost the edge with time keeping
having an atari as master midi sync solves this issue
.....

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby pamplemousse_mk2 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:00 pm

StickHead wrote:Please note: making chip music with MaxYMiser and using the STs Midi capability are two very different beasts - do not get them confused, the music they create will appeal to completely different audiences! :wink:


Basically, what I would like to do with the STE is using its sound chip as a synthesizer and making loops. Perhaps also using it as a lo-fi sampler. And it will be synchonized with the midi clock of my Mac. This is how I use my C64 and MSSIAH. Currently, I can't test Maxymiser because I have no disk drive for my Mac, but the next week-end, a friend of mine will give me disk drive and I will be able to download Maximiser and put it on a disk and try it. I think what I would like to do is possible with Maxymiser, isn't it?

StickHead wrote:There is a good page about upgrading the STEs memory on the wiki: http://www.atari-forum.com/wiki/index.php/STE_SIMM_Memory_Upgrade


Thanks for this link, I will give a look.

simbo wrote:electronic cow is a good site for loop making stuff
http://atari.music.free.fr/


Thanks for this link too.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby fengland » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:12 pm

Does anyone know of a way to run a midi sequencer on an STf which can control the internal YM chip as well as sequencing external midi instruments?

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:14 pm

Hmmm....maybe one of the better trackers can do this, although I am not a tracker kind of musician so others here will help you I am sure. Also some of the Electronic Cow software uses the soundchip as a full on synthesiser. Infact many of their programs will be of interest to you, after you have carefully read the features of each one. Checkout the link below:

http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/electronic_cow/cownet.shtml

You may not find one program that can do it all, but two MIDI sync'd or just used together should do it.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby nativ » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:18 pm

Almost what you are after :-

http://ds.dial.pipex.com/electronic_cow/cownet.shtml

Sound Chip Synth ( Mini Moo )

I don't think it can be run as and Acc from within a sequencer. worth a try though!

I was speaking to GWEM about this kind of software (EPSS for YM), needs more reasearch still.


Have fun!

Regards
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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:27 pm

E.P.S.S. is a great little sampler plugin for Cubase. I've not tried it on my Falcon yet due to problems getting Cubase Audio to record anything. E.P.S.S. needs plenty of CPU power to work well enough though; I would not recommend struggling along on a 8MHz machine, but 16MHz should be ok.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby nativ » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:31 pm

Shredder11 wrote:E.P.S.S. is a great little sampler plugin for Cubase. I've not tried it on my Falcon yet due to problems getting Cubase Audio to record anything. E.P.S.S. needs plenty of CPU power to work well enough though; I would not recommend struggling along on a 8MHz machine, but 16MHz should be ok.



Have you seen the Dynamite Demo?

http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=30915

Think this was an EPSS demo too

http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=30916

or here

http://www.pennskog.com/niclas/atari/unit17/
Atari STFM 512 / STe 4MB / Mega ST+DSP / Falcon 4MB 16Mhz 68882 - DVD/CDRW/ZIP/DAT - FDI / Jaguar / Lynx 1&2 / 7800 / 2600 / XE 130+SD Card // Sega Dreamcast / Mega2+CD2 // Apple G4

http://soundcloud.com/nativ ~ http://soundcloud.com/nativ-1 ~ http://soundcloud.com/knot_music
http://soundcloud.com/push-sounds ~ http://soundcloud.com/push-records

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Nutking » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:33 pm

ppera wrote:.
There is mono audio input too on video connector. Don't expect some high quality there.


Use the replay cartridge or the like for sampling. The variety consists of mono, stereo, 8 or 16 bit. They are sometimes on e-bay :D
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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Mal7921 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:54 pm

One of the best sample cartridges I had was actually the STOS Maestro one, even though it arrived with a faulty connection to the input (Brand new too!). However once fixed (With a quick solder), it worked flawlessly and produced a sound that was a little cleaner than the other 8 bit samplers of the time.

A sequencer that also allowed you to use the ST as a sound source was Sequencer One, which allowed the playback of samples from the ST as well as controlling external synths through MIDI. This feature worked on all ST's though was better if you used an STe.
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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby pinkman » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:33 am

gsus wrote:Hello people!
Unfortunately, I didn't seem to find a section for newbies, so I chose to write here. ;)

The boring stuff:
I make music as a hobby, and I love it. I have no special genre, but I do loads of electronic stuff. I currently use a microKORG (which has MIDI capability) and Ableton Live, plus heaps of VSTs and an audio interface.
I have watched several Atari videos, and listened to many vintage/retro tracks, and I believe an Atari ST (the one with the MIDI ports if I am right) would be a good addition to my setup.

The questions:
  • What exactly do I need? Just the machine itself, plus the mouse? And which cables are used for the current?
  • How is an Atari is connected to a TV set? Also, the whole monochromatic vs multicolor thing confuses me!
  • I thought about buying through eBay. I found some Atari STs, at an affordable price. How much are those babies actually worth?
  • How is audio handled on an Atari ST? Which outputs and which inputs, if any?
  • I would like to add a sampler. Any suggestions?

I will be very thankful for your answer, or for a direction on where on the web I can find information about this machine.
:cheers:


you cannot use atari with a tv set if you want to make some "serious"music you can use an atari st with a Monochrome monitor for MIDI using cubase or notator.if you need to record your stuff you have to do it with other equipment(DAT,CD_R,PC)you will definately need an analog mixer to pre-amplify your synths,modules before you record them unless you record to a pc equiped with an audio card and on board preamlifiers.The famous thing about atari is its MIDI timing ...it sounds more human to some people that's why many people use it even today.PC's are too tight lets say when it comes to timing.you can sequence everything(MIDI) with your atari....but don't record with it.ATARI ST lets you focus on making music ...the PC's and MAc distract you with all the fancy things you can do.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:15 pm

pinkman wrote:[The famous thing about atari is its MIDI timing ...it sounds more human to some people that's why many people use it even today.PC's are too tight lets say when it comes to timing.you can sequence everything(MIDI) with your atari....but don't record with it.ATARI ST lets you focus on making music ...the PC's and MAc distract you with all the fancy things you can do.



The other famous thing would be the total silence; no whirring fans or rattling cases or buzzer beeps ruining your recording via microphones. As for MIDI tightness, the ST is actually tighter than a PC and that is a good thing because you have more control over the feel, and ultimately it is you who controls the feel of the music. Oh and yes PCs have way too many distractions, one of the worst offenders being the internet! :wink: :lol:

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby nativ » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:31 pm

Shredder11 wrote:
pinkman wrote:[The famous thing about atari is its MIDI timing ...it sounds more human to some people that's why many people use it even today.PC's are too tight lets say when it comes to timing.you can sequence everything(MIDI) with your atari....but don't record with it.ATARI ST lets you focus on making music ...the PC's and MAc distract you with all the fancy things you can do.



The other famous thing would be the total silence; no whirring fans or rattling cases or buzzer beeps ruining your recording via microphones. As for MIDI tightness, the ST is actually tighter than a PC and that is a good thing because you have more control over the feel, and ultimately it is you who controls the feel of the music. Oh and yes PCs have way too many distractions, one of the worst offenders being the internet! :wink: :lol:



Err I made the excuse of getting a Dreamcast as it has 64 channel sound ( Cubase does 64 Midi tracks ) and a DSP like the Falcon... anyway I have got to STOP playing on it! most recent addition was Midway arcade vol 1 with Sinistar Arrrrrrgh! Just picked up the PCee version of that too! :D


By the time you have ramped up your PCee processor to cope with sequencing and VST you might have got an ST and a Phat Synth/sampler and gone on holiday !

Additions like extra MIDI outs are useful but not always needed if you have a sampler / and know your way around your setup. :D

regards

http://www.soundcloud.com/nativ-1
http://soundcloud.com/push-records

All created with an ATARI!
Atari STFM 512 / STe 4MB / Mega ST+DSP / Falcon 4MB 16Mhz 68882 - DVD/CDRW/ZIP/DAT - FDI / Jaguar / Lynx 1&2 / 7800 / 2600 / XE 130+SD Card // Sega Dreamcast / Mega2+CD2 // Apple G4

http://soundcloud.com/nativ ~ http://soundcloud.com/nativ-1 ~ http://soundcloud.com/knot_music
http://soundcloud.com/push-sounds ~ http://soundcloud.com/push-records

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:42 pm

nativ wrote:Additions like extra MIDI outs are useful but not always needed if you have a sampler / and know your way around your setup. :D


For me personally and the kinds of music I create, extra MIDI OUTs and quality MIDI Merge boxes are essential . I would say my MIDI setup is fairly modest when compared to others; I have six rackmount synths; a master keyboard synth; a drum machine with pads; a drum pad controller; a hardware sequencer; Atari STE or Falcon 030; guitar rack FX; guitar floor pedalboard and not to mention anything else I add in the future!

To manage all that I have an Edirol UM-880 MIDI Merge and Patch unit in my rack, along with Philip Rees 2M and Little 2M MIDI Merge boxs, plus a Philip Rees V10 MIDI THRU box. Also a small MIDI two way switch box to select between the hardware sequencer or Atari MIDI OUT playback. The Atari has a MIDEX+ and an extra MIDI OUT in the modem port.

I've thought about getting a sampler for years but could never find a use for one, i.e. a reason to buy one. From what I can see you either get one for loading up high quality orchestral stuff, synths etc or alternatively to do loop based music which is of no use to me. My modules and expansion boards give me all the sounds I could ever need, plus I am a musician who has spent years learning to play guitar and keyboard, so loop based sampling has no place in what I do.

So to summarise, seperate MIDI IN, OUT and THRU are very necessary to maintain solid timing and performance in general. 8)

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby nativ » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:07 pm

I started out playing around with Noisetracker on the ST so the ability to transform loop edit warp sounds is at the core of what I do, I can essentially use the Sampler as a fully featured tracker, except the edit features aren't really as good as when tracking! Though that maybe because you can get so very closely involved with the tracks.

Don't mention adding anything else! I have my sights set on another Korg, I can do alot with the X5D, it covers some synthesis and GM stuff. but I did play on a prophecy and trinity in the past and a JP8000 all of which got me hooked! :D
Novation stuff looked tempting but never really leapt into action for me? I think it was a case of a modern primitive, which after owning a Casio CZ and now VZ I am not really interested in something like a Roland Juno does it so much better!

I am playing around with some MAC's!!!!! at the moment with the potential of using an old laptop live, the one I have got uses a 68030 @33 so it's still vaguly related to Atari?

I'd love for my audio side to work better in my studio, I had hoped Cubase Audio would fill the gap, hasn't really done it though. Other thoughts are using an ADAT 8 track or HI8 8 Track and syncing it up the quality is good enough for sure. any suggestions?

Cheers
Atari STFM 512 / STe 4MB / Mega ST+DSP / Falcon 4MB 16Mhz 68882 - DVD/CDRW/ZIP/DAT - FDI / Jaguar / Lynx 1&2 / 7800 / 2600 / XE 130+SD Card // Sega Dreamcast / Mega2+CD2 // Apple G4

http://soundcloud.com/nativ ~ http://soundcloud.com/nativ-1 ~ http://soundcloud.com/knot_music
http://soundcloud.com/push-sounds ~ http://soundcloud.com/push-records

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby Shredder11 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:04 pm

nativ wrote:I'd love for my audio side to work better in my studio, I had hoped Cubase Audio would fill the gap, hasn't really done it though. Other thoughts are using an ADAT 8 track or HI8 8 Track and syncing it up the quality is good enough for sure. any suggestions?

Cheers


You want to sync up an ADAT based device? I never had any ADAT stuff as when I moved from cassette to digital multitracking, it was with the Fostex DMT8 v2 (the original curvy model, NOT the crappy DMT8-VL!). You could pick up a Fostex D108 rackmount multi-track on Ebay, which has ADAT, SCSI 2 and 8 tracks and solid as anything; very basic editing but then that is what PCs are best at. The Fostex stuff is modular by design, so space permitting you can keep adding more units for more tracks etc.

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Re: New here: Atari ST for music making

Postby nativ » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:36 pm

I think we had a fostex d108 at college, I haven't moved from cassette to anything?! I started of digital and I am considering the options :) At least with the ADAT you can keep an archive of projects just have the issue of seek time. Unless the 108 has the ability to backup to CD ?

Also looking at a Tascam 488/688 possibly?
Atari STFM 512 / STe 4MB / Mega ST+DSP / Falcon 4MB 16Mhz 68882 - DVD/CDRW/ZIP/DAT - FDI / Jaguar / Lynx 1&2 / 7800 / 2600 / XE 130+SD Card // Sega Dreamcast / Mega2+CD2 // Apple G4

http://soundcloud.com/nativ ~ http://soundcloud.com/nativ-1 ~ http://soundcloud.com/knot_music
http://soundcloud.com/push-sounds ~ http://soundcloud.com/push-records


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