MP3 cartridge for MSX - Price announced

by Ivan on 25-03-2007, 13:50
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

Source: MSX Forum

Three days ago Jos van den Biggelaar (a.k.a. Yobi in our forum) announced in this thread of our active MSX Forum the price of the MP3 cartridge for MSX that he and Dennis Koller (DD in our forum) have been working on. They actually have developed two MP3 cartridges so users can buy the one that fits better their needs:

  • A base model for 65 euros (86.50 USD, £44)
  • An extended model with a Philips I2C interface and mixer functions for 85 euros (113 USD, £58)

Both cartridges come cased. If you are interested in buying this cool piece of hardware for MSX send an email to Jos: yobi@xs4all.nl.

Relevant link: MP3 cartridge for MSX (forum thread)

Comments (41)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2007, 14:30

Relevant to mention is that for anything volume-related (e.g. fade in/out) one probably needs that 2nd chip. Because volume is a kinda essential parameter for anything, I consider this chip a must..

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

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25-03-2007, 17:18

What about the case? Is it small or big?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2007, 18:13

iirc it's that sunrise case, e.g. the one used for CF, G9k, Moonsound, etc.

By spl

Paragon (1470)

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25-03-2007, 18:19

Wolf, you can use a external mixer for volume up and down, for example, simple volume controls on external speakers....

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2007, 18:37

You don't want that.. you really don't..

By Yobi

Master (149)

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25-03-2007, 20:51

With the extra I2C function mixer you have an stereo line-input witch you can mix with the mp3 channels.
The is also the possibility to use other I2C functions. USB, I/O control etc. But you have to make them yourself.

I like the extra mixer because now i don't need an external mixer. For me very handy. Mixing Moonsound and MP3. Cool

By spl

Paragon (1470)

spl's picture

26-03-2007, 07:24

Yes, I absolutely understand you, but my question is that if it's really more than an option. If it's really needed, change my pre-order for a "complete" card.

Yours,

By pitpan

Prophet (3145)

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26-03-2007, 11:40

Too expensive. And I really don't see the point.

By spl

Paragon (1470)

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26-03-2007, 16:36

Pitpan, remember that as always is a very limitated series hardware. Sure that it's as cheaper as the developpers are able to. And... it's incredible how good thigs we will be able to do with this MP3 cart, including MSX 2 - Turboduo-like games. Impressive.

By pitpan

Prophet (3145)

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26-03-2007, 17:36

Again. If a game uses this MP3 for having a fully sampled BSO its size would be over 200 MB. And how do we distribute this? It will requiere FAT16 and fast loading devices. But loading from CF-IDE a file over 5 MB can be painfull. Crying

Your MSX equipment for such a game will be over 600 € (Turbo-R, MP3 cart, CF-IDE). And that is the price of a brand new PS3 console. Want to compare the specs? Wink

I want my MSX to stick to older chips, because it brings me the feeling that I want. I need it to be retro. If it sounds like a CD but plays like an 80s computer, it won't be a balanced game.

By wolf_

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26-03-2007, 17:59

If a game uses this MP3 for having a fully sampled BSO its size would be over 200 MB

80 MB orso, just see how big the average movie OST is on p2p.. Tongue And I think 128kbps will do in this case, so it might as well be 50MB. And I've yet to see a game with the scope of a movie, perhaps half an hour is quite a lot already -> 30MB it'll be.

But loading from CF-IDE a file over 5 MB can be painfull.
Iirc it's not loading but streaming

Your MSX equipment for such a game will be over 600 € (Turbo-R, MP3 cart, CF-IDE). And that is the price of a brand new PS3 console. Want to compare the specs?

But we already have this tR (or another MSX type) and CF-IDE, so what we really pay is the price of this MP3 device..

I want my MSX to stick to older chips, because it brings me the feeling that I want. I need it to be retro. If it sounds like a CD but plays like an 80s computer, it won't be a balanced game.

So, shall we trash the Moonsound then? That's an 13yo cartridge already, and I bet the definition of the OPL4 chip is even older. The Amiga could already do samples in the 80's. Exactly what do you define as 'retro'? MSX1/PSG-only?

The modern vs retro balance in games might be valid, but that largely depends on the creators, it's up to the -in this case- composer to keep the balance. Perhaps it motivates gfx'ians to do better gfx tho, to keep up with the sound.. ^_^

By KNM

Master (172)

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26-03-2007, 19:45

This cart will ROCK!!!I like the classic feel of PSG(and SCC) tunes,but for MSX2 or higher this device could boost the gaming experience into amazing results.HannibalHannibalHannibal

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

26-03-2007, 20:51

With this cartridge you can hear any PSG, SCC, SCC+, MSX-MUSIC, MSX-AUDIO, MIDI, PCM, OPL4,... sound.

Then it is the best MSX sound cartridge available to date! LOL!

By Yobi

Master (149)

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26-03-2007, 21:18

Note:

There are now only 2 MP3 players left!
So be fast with your preorder.
I think we have to make some more? LOL!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

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26-03-2007, 23:04

I still haven't decided which one to buy. And now only 2 left?! Crazy

By Yobi

Master (149)

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27-03-2007, 07:07

NYYRIKKI has the last 2 MP3players. So for now sold out

By ro

Scribe (4479)

ro's picture

27-03-2007, 08:29

screw NYK! Evil

I agree with the retro point of view. I've got me a nifty PC that'll play them MP3s for me to dance to. Don't need no facelift on my MSX to do exactly the same; dance 'till my feet drop. PSG rules, SCC too... FM is okay, OPL4.. neh... the rest is just shitty non-retro. BOOOOH!

Still, it's a nice project Wink
Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By jltursan

Prophet (2542)

jltursan's picture

27-03-2007, 15:27

I think we have to make some more?

Undoubtly. It's sad; but cut down the production now and the cart will become a geek gadget owned by so few people that will not worth to create software for it...

By Prodatron

Paragon (1797)

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27-03-2007, 22:48

@Pitpan: In my opinion a system is retro, if the core is still the same from the old days. The periphery can be as crazy and powerful as you want, as long as the core system is still the one from the 80ies. I don't like the SuperCPU for the C64, as it replaces the complete core, adding a 16bit computer and using the old computer only as a terminal. But I like to have Moonsound, IDE interface with gigabyte-sized harddiscs, GFX9000, USB, Ethernet etc. conntected to my MSX, as it's still the 8bit Z80 which has to control and manage all the stuff.
You don't need a TurboR for the MP3 card, on a standard MSX2 you should have 75% CPU time left when playing 128kbit MP3s. You don't need to preload anything when playing a 5MB MP3 as you will load and play it on the fly. FAT16 is not a problem at all for the MSX, and even FAT32 is possible (maybe currently only in SymbOS).
I was just dreaming about such a card all the time and I am so glad, that it will be produced now!!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

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27-03-2007, 23:05

Yobi, are you going to produce more MP3 cartridges?

By Yobi

Master (149)

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28-03-2007, 07:08

We hope that we can start this weekend.

By Abi

Hero (600)

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29-03-2007, 21:37

Damn too late, normaly i am online everyday, now i wasn't for 3 days and see what happened Sad((((
I hope you will make more !!!!

By pitpan

Prophet (3145)

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30-03-2007, 00:16

75% CPU time left is not a good deal. But, anyway, it requires IDE, CF or SCSI drive support. Unless you want to hear your MP3 with a lovely floppy disk drive noise as background music Sad

And again, how are you supposed to distribute a game? In a preformatted CF card? That would be nice indeed. But once again, does it suppose a real advance when compared to ancient MSX games? Have you ever played the original DEUS EX MACHINE game? Or being a bit more honest, what about SCSI or IDE connected to a CD drive? You can also control it and replay songs without extra CPU cost and it also provides a huge for data. Has any game been published in this format appart from the Brazilian DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS?

If *ANYONE* considers this device to be useful and is willing to pay for it, that is enough reason to design and produce it. But let me just say that I don't see the point about it.

Consider that for the value of the "big" MP3 player, you can get a GFX9000, am I right? And I consider it to be a superior piece of hardware. However, after long years, not a single complete game has been produced for GFX9000. And we all agree that *EXCELLENT* games could be produced using its features... What's happening then?

Pretty easy answer: *ANY* hardware device needs *SOFTWARE SUPPORT*. Therefore, hardware makers do need to convince software producers to grant success. If not, you will get just another piece of expensive techno scrap.

Or would you use the MSX as your basic MP3 replayer? Would you sell your iPods now? Would you code a MSX-iTunes? If you just want to listen a song you would simply upload it into your USB MP3 replayer.

I would admit that I am a bit harsh. But sincerely I don't see the point yet. Despite the "ooh it's cool" factor, I am really missing it all Sad

By wolf_

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30-03-2007, 00:41

Well, there's a certain difference between a GFX card and a soundcard. It was easy to support the Moonsound, if someone wouldn't have one he would just miss the sound, but not the game. It's different with the G9k: no G9k -> no game. So people were perhaps a bit scary about making a g9k-only game.

Next: the G9k came out, some years before the silent years, not directly before, but still close enough to the silent years to prevent a solid development evolution in the scene. Also, remember the G9k was first advertised as a card for tR-only? That can't have been good from a MSX2 point of view. Would things be different if it was marketed as an all-system card from the beginning? We don't know..

Also: the G9k provides better gfx options, stuff that was a pain on 2/2+ was suddenly easy to do, like scrolling, multilayer, colored sprites, etc. But that doesn't mean that making a game is easy! That part has been overlooked by many people. While the screen updates might be better, more smooth, and easier, making an RPG or a shooter is still as big a job as it was without G9k.

In addition, how many pixelmasters do we have left? Not too many I guess. It even seems that the MSX1 is stealing away all the 2/2+/g9k potential.. Tongue

So, those are -imho- the reasons why there're no real games (and hardly anything else) for this card.

As for the performance, we've yet to see whether an MP3 can be played using a constant CPU load per int, or per 2 ints. Could be a tricky one btw. It's actually this artifact that can make or break the device.. if it breaks, then what's left is an iPod. Whether that's worthy to have is for everyone to decide.

Advantages are obvious: quality music (potentially), and the game can run without it prolly. And if CD-quality breaks with retro-laws, then one could at least mix/master/soup-up the retro music into an mp3 file, but those are all artistic choices to be made by the relevant persons.

By snout

Ascended (15184)

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30-03-2007, 11:46

Pitpan: to me the MP3 player is indeed mostly 'cool factor'. I was too late for ordering one, but if and when there'll be another batch I'm most likely going to order one. I do share your point of view though, add an MPEG2 cartridge for MSX and we'll be able to show awesome things on MSX that have little or nothing to do with MSX at all. It's a thin line between boosting MSX's capabilities and degrading MSX to a mere power supply.

By SLotman

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30-03-2007, 20:47


Has any game been published in this format appart from the Brazilian DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS?

Don't forget about Knightmare Gold Wink

By syntax_error

Resident (51)

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31-03-2007, 09:41

Hello Yobi, if you going to produce more MP3 cartridges, pls keep one for me. i sent a email to u. before i sent a email also for the first batch. CryingCrying

sssyntax_error@yahoo.com

By spl

Paragon (1470)

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31-03-2007, 14:45

Snout: now that you say "mpeg2 card"... remember the LASER DISC for MSX and the games produced for it...

By Yobi

Master (149)

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31-03-2007, 15:36

We can say that the will be more players. But when?... We don't know jet. Crying

By Abi

Hero (600)

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31-03-2007, 20:18

mmm i ordered one here also:
http://www.msx.org/forumtopic7066.html
and here:
http://www.msx.org/forumtopic7065.html
So i assume you already count me in :)

By Latok

msx guru (3836)

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01-04-2007, 22:35

I'd like to know the same. Whether I'm on the first batch-list....Yobi? Smile

By Yobi

Master (149)

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02-04-2007, 07:11

I made a list with email addresses. So please mail me.

By Samor

Prophet (2106)

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02-04-2007, 13:12

It was easy to support the Moonsound, if someone wouldn't have one he would just miss the sound, but not the game.

even so, I consider the sound in a game to be a rather important factor. In fact, absence of it is a reason for me to not play a game. I guess not everyone thinks about it like that, but to me no sound, or the wrong sound, can go great ways into breaking a game (which is also why I really don't like the licensed music in many new (I mean, not-msx Wink ) games, it's just thrown in without taking the game into consideration).
Simply put, when making a game for a certain platform, it's nice if the sound is available to many users, that is, assuming there went some effort into it. Fortunately, due to its relative popularity and the availability in emulators, most people can enjoy moonsound these days.

By Prodatron

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03-04-2007, 00:34

I think this discussion is becoming too seriouse.
Imagine the MSX would only have an 1-bit beeper like the old PCs had. But it was already possible to play real "high quality" music (like MOD-files) with this 1bit-beeper, if the PC and the frequency/sample rate was fast enough! Of course people didn't like it and bought a Soundblaster. IMHO it's the same with the MSX and the MP3 card: You can already make cool sounds with the PSG, but the MP3 ist just a groundbreaking piece of hardware allowing to play real cool music on the MSX.
In any case the MSX is the worst example for "Retro-Hardware", as it is the most modern and most powerfull 8bit machine ever built on this planet, so why putting us back with such discussions? Tongue

By wolf_

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03-04-2007, 02:12

Because of all these modern extensions, MSX is hard to categorise, that's true. In Sphere/Wings/Coral2 I loaded modern 2004++ samples into a 1994 soundcard, which was plugged into a 1987 MSX2 that has a CPU based on a pre-80's concept.. I mean, WTF! Tongue

By Yobi

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04-04-2007, 12:12

By Prodatron

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06-04-2007, 01:39

Wolf, very good illustration, that's how it is Smile

By spl

Paragon (1470)

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08-04-2007, 05:27

Good pictures, Yobi Big smile. A question: why two audio connectors? Also, I am totally agree with Prodatron Smile

By Yobi

Master (149)

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08-04-2007, 10:51

Stereo line in
Stereo line out

By spl

Paragon (1470)

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08-04-2007, 13:19

Good Big smile

By Sd-Snatcher

Hero (582)

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09-04-2007, 15:52

Line In, only for mixing?