10 thoughts on “Commodore Amiga MIDI Myth Busting

  1. I had something that was called a MIDI/Sampler. It was an external box that connected to the Amiga’s parallel and serial ports via flat cables. As the name suggests, it also provided an analog audio input (8-bit sampling via parallel port), since the Amiga only had audio outputs built in.

  2. Is it just me or is that “boss music” bear more than a passing resemblance to the Lambada… Or would that be the other way around?

  3. I actually started my composing career on the Amiga 500 with Soundtracker. It was not hard to get a MIDI Interface but the Amiga was always lacking really good MIDI software!
    I started with Deluxe Music and Sonix – but they weren’t good enough. I ended up using Dr.Ts KCS (Keyboard Controlled Sequencer) and synth editor. That was pretty much OK, but crashed too often. The Amiga never had a really stable timing too. So I waited for Steinberg’s 24 to finally come out for the Amiga. But then one day I saw the new Cubase on the Atari at the music shop – and that was that! Good bye Amiga, hello Mega STE (+ Midex) and I had the most stable and grooving sequencer for years to come! (I swear, it NEVER crashed on me, ever!)

    1. Yep, it wasn’t just that the Atari ST line had MIDI built-in, and because of that, it had MIDI-supporting software right out of the gate, but that the timing was rock solid–still better than what you can get with high-end modern computers. There was a test performed not too long ago that proved that.

      Because the musicians bought it, since MIDI software was available, more companies made MIDI software first for the ST or ported to it. It’s a snowball effect. All reinforced by the rock solid MIDI timing, and the stable OS, which the main publishers of MIDI software created their own multitasking environments for running their various software simultaneously. Musicians, for the most part, only deeply cared about multitasking MIDI programs at the same time.

      Funny to finally hear of someone who switched from Amiga to ST. I got an Amiga 6 years after my ST, and used them both, but knew one person, and heard of others, who got rid of their STs for Amigas.

    2. I forgot to mention that the Atari ST monochrome high resolution and monitor were part of the success of MIDI on the ST. MIDI software didn’t need color, but it did need high resolution. The Atari ST provided 640×400 @ 71.25Hz, which was very easy to look at–much better than 60Hz. The Amiga had to interlace to provide 640×400, which provided 30Hz in NTSC territories and 25Hz in PAL territories.

    3. I had Sonix & KCS, and they never crashed on me. And rock solid timing with KCS on the Amiga. What exactly were you doing that it wasn’t rock solid? You know the electronics of the MIDI for the Amiga are built in. Adding a plug in port for the 5-din MIDI connector is hardly like adding a full MIDI interface for one of the other computer platforms.

      Sonix offered excellent subtractive synthesis for the time. I had a hardware sampler attachment, and Ensoniq Mirage disk converter, FM, additive synthesis and a great drum machine. These were things the Atari ST in 1985 couldn’t dream of. Far more interesting to me than some MIDI tape recorder system like Cubase.

  4. MIDI to me was for a totally different purpose. With an Amiga, I didn’t need to buy thousands of dollars worth of real synthesizers. I could run software synthesizers. The Atari ST could not to do this. My interest was in performing live music, not recording it. The Amiga was by far the best platform for this, and software synths thanks to the Amiga are more popular than ever and taken for granted in VST format, iOS and other formats. Thousands are made now to not only sound like expensive synthesizers, but even to emulate them for replacement. Even made by the big companies like Korg, Moog, Roland, etc.

    I purchased a sampler for my Amiga 1000, had a better MIDI interface than what Atari offered and had lots of great Amiga MIDI software for doing things Atari ST’s could not do!

    Even to this day, the software synthesizer (in modern PC formats) accounts for 85% of the keyboard sounds in my bands, though I own 10 professional MIDI keyboards, computers are generating most of my sounds anyway! Very convenient, portable, etc. Also, even the Amiga could emulate real synthesizers. I bought a large collection of sounds made for real synths to use on my Amiga instead! In the 80s, “Only Amiga makes it possible”.

    I’ll be performing at America’s largest casino next month, and thanks the Amiga, I’m the musician I am!

  5. The best musical machine in my personal history. I continue using my CD 32 – Sx 32 pro expansion with Bars and Pipes Pro 2.5b, Octamed and Protracker. It control all my audio studio: two pcs with samplitude and reason, one 2480 Roland an a 1880 in a midi net. In the other midi net, it controls13 synths recording in music sequence. Is a superb machine: amiga forever !!

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