evo64 Is The Ultimate Audiophile Upgrade For The Commodore 64

Is ‘audiophile’ 8-bit sound an oxymoron?

That’s one of the questions raised by a new upgrade for the classic Commodore 64 computer.

In his latest video, The 8-Bit Guy takes a look at evo64 – a modernized and upgraded circuit board that’s designed to let you get higher-quality audio and video.

Options range from stereo sound to a tube-based pre-amp.

The evo64 offers dual SIDs, for full stereo sound, the Triode64 audio pre-amp module (optional), the NuTube64 audio pre-amp module (based on the Korg NuTube 6P1) and ClearVideo64c for video clarity.

The upgrades are for hardcore enthusiasts, with prices ranging up to $1,000. See the evo64 site for details.

Is ‘audiophile’ 8-bit sound an oxymoron? Share your thoughts in the comments!

27 thoughts on “evo64 Is The Ultimate Audiophile Upgrade For The Commodore 64

  1. there is a market for literally every boutique idea. it might only be one entity, but there you go! in a another life, that could have been me.

  2. Given that the name of this blog is “Synthtopia” and not “Retrogamemania”, I fail to see the point of this “adware”. For years, Impact Soundworks original “Super Audio Cart” has been available as a freebie, and the more inclusive “Super Audio Cart PC” is probably still available for about $100. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a computer gamer (although I was into adventure games, more so as a creator, in the 70s and early 80s), although I would probably be the age of much of the market for such a device. So, I guess that some people here may have fond memories of playing video games on their Commodores and Ataris and even may want to spend $1000 to upgrade their ancient computers so that the games play marginally better. However, since a great many of the people here appear to be 22 years old or younger, and have probably never even seen a Commodore-64, I fail to see the point of this.

    1. John

      Most of our readers will understand that there are many synthesists that are into 8-bit synthesis and chiptune gear, and that the C64 was a all-purpose computer, not a dedicated gaming platform.

      If you’re not familiar with this niche, look into chiptune, lofi, 8-bit sound, etc.

      1. I’m replying at this time because I haven’t seen any of the other comments here until I just back pedaled here from today’s Commodore 64 rerun. Yes, I am familiar with the “chiptune” culture, and I understand the utility of “chiptune music”. My point was that you don’t need a Commodore 64, an Amiga, or an old DOS PC to get a much more versatile starting point for your chiptune endeavors. Also, coming from a computer background where there wasn’t any alternative (within reason) to 8-bit digital audio, and having developed audio expansion board products for the Apple-II bus, I think I probably understand the format better than most people here.

    2. dude, have you never heard of chiptune?! synthcart?? trackers??? tired of your hot takes, dude… you don’t have to comment on everything… ESPECIALLY the things you don’t understand.

      1. I’m pretty sure that I understand 8-bit audio a little better than you, my friend. Some of the comments made here really make me chuckle.

  3. For all that work you could just get a vst, for audio production. I think the noise is part of the nostalgia, but it’s my own humble opinion. There are tools like Izotope that can remove it, so I thought this ground has been mostly covered. The new ARM SID’s from ARMSID, are great! That alone is amazing that someone spent the time to reverse engineer them. That was a huge help in accessing that iconic sound, with minimal noise. Hopefully they will last forever. Check back in 30 or so years.

    1. Nostalgia for sure. The world in which technology is clearly holding true to Moore’s Law and is increasingly dominated by AI and other technologies that most of us will never understand creates so much noise, it can be comforting to keep a foot or at least a toe in the familiar times gone by. Witness the resurgence of vinyl as a very visible indication of that need. We have comfort food and perhaps people are seeking “comfort tech.”

    2. gee, as if the Sid wasn’t bad enough on its own, lets add tubes to create distortion to make it even more annoying.
      who is going to pay 1000$ for this piece of audio junk?

        1. It sounds like orange lemonade and peanut flips,
          thats what I used to consume when I was listening to that.
          These days I prefer ritz crackers and cream cheese. ^^

          1. its not that I dont see value in Rob Hubbards tunes, thats what everybody has still sticking in the ears, but that has nothing to do with the Sid. Rob Hubbard is a great musician and thats it. The Sid is still beepy shit. ^^

          2. isn’t that just circus peanuts in a blender?

            I love ‘easy cheese’ cheese in a can, with black twizzlers – just bite off the end and shoot the cheese inside. awesome!

      1. @lala: SID music is pretty divisive for sure. About 95% is unlistenable cheese. But as a 3-oscillator monosynth, the SID (especially the 8580 / 6582) is spectacular.

        1. how to say, its hard to use it in a none ironic way.
          u use it once for the gag (haha, nasty sound, sounds like my childhood) and then what?
          you see what I mean

  4. As someone who likes retro games and audiophile stuff at the same time… IMHO the Korg tube (made by the legend of VFD Noritaki) is wasted here. As much as SID chips are loved by people, it is just far too “rough” to let anything subtle like that tube show through.

    Still, I like it that this exists in our world, just that the tube would have been better used with a higher fidelity source.

    1. i don’t see how adding a tube to the signal (not as an amp) making it “audiophile” (the one i know will not like that idea)
      but if it will be possible to drive it more it can be interesting for musicians, i see there is also a triode version…

  5. Given the last batch of Therapsids sold out in less then 12 hours and the crazy prices for a Sid Station, there is definitely a market for this.

    Very cool upgrade, especially if you use a Mssiah cart with it. Definitely want one.

  6. On a stock C64, the SID is wired directly to the audio output. There is no amplification, no buffer … the chip provides the line output. So if I want to enhance my SID sound with tubes or anything else, I will do the processing externally. I could envision this board being advantageous if the saturation levels were programmable or something, but they’re not.

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