HyperSID: Commodore 64 Music Synth For Your PC
By James Grahame
The Commodore SID chip is perhaps the most famous sound generator of the 8-bit era. Its 3 channels of analog audio created kept Commodore owners from going slowly mad while waiting for their 1541 disk drives to load games at a snail's pace. As a result, the chip's distinctive sound influenced a generation of electronic musicians and game designers and has remained constantly in demand since its debut in 1982.
HyperSID is a stand-alone MIDI-driven hardware unit that contains a microcontroller and a SID chip. A companion software plug-in lets you edit and play genuine SID sounds from within your favorite computer-based music recording program, integrating 8-bit sound with 21st century technology.
The hardware support all versions of the SID chip (8580 / 6582 / 6581) and includes a balanced mono audio output. The OS can be upgraded via serial port and the front panel backlight brightness can be controlled by MIDI events.
The software incorporates a flexible preset manager with save and load functionality. It can run as a stand-alone program or as an integrated VST instrument. There's even an ultra-fast arpeggiator which can produce classic multi-note arpeggios at a tempo of up to 4000 bpm.
The program is donationware, while the HyperSID hardware costs $299 with a pre-installed SID chip. If you have ninja soldering skills, you can buy a bare board for only $49 and build it from scratch.HyperSID hybrid sound synthesizer system