Hey everyone, this is Kevin with TexElec! I just wanted to let everyone know I’ll be attending the Midwest Vintage Computer Festival on September 11th and 12th in Elmhurst, IL. I’ll be at the 8-Bit Guy’s Booth with him and the Commander X16 prototype. If you have a minute, stop by, squeeze through the crowd of people who aren’t there to see me, and say hi. David told me a few weeks back that LGR will be at the booth directly next to us. So, if you’re wondering who the weird spare guy standing between the two famous people is, well, that would be me. 🙂
We recently announced the release of our latest sound card, the Resound New Wave MCA is our recreation of TubeTimes Snark Barker MCA for the microchannel bus. I made a video discussing the differences in our card, installation in a IBM Model 70 & some demos thrown in too. If you have a moment, take a look and see it in action!
We’ve been working on this card for many months now, and I will need to type documentation longer than the Magna Carta to describe all of the features and caveats of this card. Honestly any Sound Blaster MCA or variant will encounter varying issues on different microchannel machines. But more on that later.
Thanks so much to Eric (aka TubeTimeUS) for the design of the original Snark Barker MCA and some assistance along the way. I decided to modify the card to be surface-mount and add an OPL3 instead of the original OPL2. I also removed the microphone input to save a little cost and used the same premium opamp circuit I use on our other Resound cards. In addition, I modified the roll-off filter used on the original Sound Blaster to a higher frequency. It may cause noise on some lower quality samples, but 22 & 44khz samples sound much less muddy. There were a few other minor changes, but they do not affect functionality. All the parts have finally showed up after numerous delays, but for now, here is a quick video of the card in action!
We should have them on sale in a few days after posting this video, so stay tuned and thanks for taking a look!
This video describes how the SNES adapter works for The 8-Bit Guy’s new game Attack of the PETSCII ROBOTS. It discusses the pinout for the connector, how it was designed to work on multiple systems and how to connect the power and audio to the Commodore Pet. There is also some bonus footage at the end showing the construction of the adapters. Thanks for watching!
First, we have the adapters back in stock! More importantly, we want to make you aware of a small issue.
If you have one of the original adapters with a yellow resistor pack, and you are having issues, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to chat with you about fixing this issue.
Please read Kevin’s details below, we have also added this information to the top of the product description:
The first batch of floppy adapters we sold had a few reported issues, so I took some time earlier this week to perform more extensive tests. With only one adapter and one standard floppy or HxC, they work very reliably from several tests. I was able to get some combinations of floppy drives to work using two adapters, but they did hesitate at times and could cause disk read errors. Others would not work together at all, or only one drive would work properly. The original design seems to be unreliable in certain combinations. After some analysis we changed the resistor pack values to a less aggressive value and now all my standard floppies work together fine or standalone.
There is one bit of bad news however, the adapter will not work as a second or primary drive while using an original IBM drive. I thought I had tested this before, but I realize now that I only made sure the drive would get through post, which it will without issue. However, it will not work with one of the adapters installed. This is what bogged me down this week and why we are a little later than planned on the release of the second batch. Sadly though, I have not been able to answer why and at this point I want to make sure anyone who wants an adapter understands the limitations. Fortunately, I suspect most folks are looking for a single drive to work in the PS/2, and it is certainly fine for that.
LGR has allowed me to procrastinate on another video I should have made to show this card! He does a quick blerb on our new Resound 2 MCA OPL3! It’s a great way to see the installation of the card, as well as a demo of it in action. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVFl2v_TS3E
Here is a link to the card in our store: https://texelec.com/product/resound-2-opl3-mca-for-adlib-compatible-card-for-ibm-ps-2-microchannel-computers/
And thanks again Clint!
Pardon the mess, but it works! Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself, here is our latest working prototype the Resound 2 MCA! What is it? It’s a stereo Yamaha OPL3 (OPL2/Adlib compatible) sound card for the IBM PS/2 microchannel bus! I don’t usually like to show prototypes, but it was just too exciting hearing sound from a PS/2 machine this evening, so I had to show it!
TubeTime recently completed a replica of the Adlib for the MCA bus and I was very interested in the heart of his card, the P82C611 MCA bus controller. After doing quite a bit of deciphering of datasheets and schematics I was able to adapt the OPL3 chip to work on it just fine! The P82C611, while a bit difficult to get a hold of, does give me a lot of ideas… 🙂
I am performing a few minor fixes to the card, and I will be send off for them very soon and hope to have them available for sale within a month!
BTW… We have several new products coming out soon. I was doing a lot of design work during the lockdown, and a few things are about to hit the pipeline. Stay tuned for more updates soon!
The overwhelming majority of our parts come from Mouser Electronics. They have a great online ordering process and the shipping times are great. They are also located relatively close to us so if needed we can run up and get some parts. This being said there are times when we just can’t find the parts we need there. We build cards for vintage machines so sometimes parts like chips and even connectors are discontinued or on their way out and the prices are just too high to even consider purchasing in bulk. In these cases, we will check Octopart for vendors who may have stock of these discontinued parts. On a side note, if you ever decide to start seriously getting quotes from these vendors dealing in obsolete parts, be prepared for an influx of phone calls from several vendors with suspiciously similar prices and sometimes added fees once the price has been agreed upon.
When these part gathering efforts are fruitless, we turn to eBay. This is a risk as there are many grey market chips on eBay so a lot of research and testing is involved. To explain it in more depth we have made a video about our experience with grey market chips as it is a lengthy and detailed discussion. That being said, we go through a rigorous process to ensure each card we build is fully functioning. This is the same for all of our products, not just the few that use hard to find parts. Not only do Kevin and I test parts when we get them in, but we also test every single card we build before it hits the door to you!
I would also like to take this time to acknowledge the conversation surrounding grey market chips in the vintage/retro community. As you may have already seen, Clint aka LGR released a video on his LGR Blerbs channel a few days ago discussing “fake” chips. He was intrigued by this subject matter after seeing a video made by David of Plogue. If you watch that video you will see Clint talking about cards made by companies like us and our SAAYM card was shown specifically. Needless to say, we felt it was very important to respond with our point of view. Therefore, Kevin and I have spent a few days preparing a video to go into more detail about grey market chips and our personal experience. The video also touches on our involvement with the Commander X16 as well as the birth of the SAAYM card. Please take some time to watch our video. After we were named specifically by Clint, we felt we needed to make certain that our current and future customers know that we are running our business in a transparent manner, with only good intentions.
Thank you for your time and kind regards!