Resolved Macintosh 512Ke Audio jack port. What for? Uses of classic macs as sound devices?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by tevion5, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. tevion5, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    tevion5 macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #1
    As an audiophile, I'd love to find some use for my vintage mac as a sound device. There seems to be very little info on its sound capabilities. I have many questions, for example:

    -Is it a stereo or mono jack?

    -What sound file formats does it support (if any :p) I doubt mp3 (seeing as the average mp3 is roughly 15 times the size of the OS!), but maybe MIDI perhaps? ogg? Anything?!

    -What music software is there available for the old 1-4 versions of SystemSoftware? iTunes and Protools ancestors.

    -It has an 8-bit sound processor I believe. What does that mean exactly? My current audio card on my MacBook Pro is 24-bit. I'm assuming this limits the complexity of the audio that can be played back. If so what, will everything this mac produces sound like a platformer game's soundtrack or could it ever playback a heavily compressed version of Strawberry Fields Forever?

    Hopefully somebody here will be able to answer a 1 or 2 of my questions as googling the topic yields absolutely nothing. Any additional info about about the audio capabilities of these classic macs will be greatly appreciated, thanks :D
     
  2. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #2
    First, stop calling yourself an audiophile. Sorry, but if you don't definitely know the difference between 24-bit and 8-bit audio, that just ain't gonna fly. That's like a "car enthusiast" not knowing the difference between a 3-cylinder and a 12-cylinder car.


    As for the abilities:

    22 KHz, 8-bit, monoaural audio. AKA: Not very good. (Think 1/8th the quality of a CD.)

    "The computer" doesn't support any specific sound file formats. (That's true for all computers - all computers output just plain "raw waveform audio", or sometimes MIDI or synthesized,) the software does.

    What software is available? Not much. The only codecs you'll be able to play with that limited processing power is raw audio (WAV/AIFF.) It has no native MIDI processor or synthesizer, but there were serial-to-MIDI adapters, so it could output MIDI files to an external synthesizer (digital piano for example.) Not enough CPU power to do MIDI synthesis, though - so about "platformers game soundtrack" from a MIDI file, nothing that sounds like a real instrument at all. You can outright forget about MP3 or OGG.

    It can do sound effects from raw audio, though. Again, it'll be low-quality (sound like a fourth-generation audio-cassette copy,) but it can play audio.

    The major limiting factor is storage. The 512Ke has an 800 KB floppy drive. Raw audio at full fidelity of the system (8-bit, 22 KHz, mono,) uses 22 KB per second. So assuming you have a second floppy drive and have your boot drive and sound playing app on that drive, and JUST audio on the second drive, you could fit about 36 seconds of audio. Only problem is - the floppy disk isn't fast enough to play it back live from the floppy!

    By using lower-quality audio (11 KHz really is the lowest that would be listenable at all,) you could fit a little over a minute of audio, and it just MIGHT be enough for the floppy drive to keep up.

    On early Macs, usually you had simple CPU-synthesized music (about the quality of that platformers game soundtrack,) plus a few short digitized sound effects.

    Here are a couple YouTube videos of games on old Macintoshes (all of these are a Macintosh SE - same CPU, more RAM, and usually a hard drive):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVtYVyyX5NY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvh0agHVLHQ

    And one of it playing synthesized music:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6WEB7fTPRY
     
  3. napabar macrumors 6502

    napabar

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #3

    Can you provide the name of which software plays WAV/AIFF on a Mac 512K/512Ke? I have searched for it before and came up lacking.
     
  4. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    "No escape from Reality..."
    #4
    Actually, most Audiophiles shy away from Digital Audio, hence many wouldn't know much about DA specs to begin with...
     
  5. tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    Okay, sorry. I just meant I'm a producer working with protools for over a year, study music, have my own 50/60's R 'n' R band for 3 years and hate the sound quality of average consumer audio devices and enjoy collecting vinyl records. I write a lot of music and play Piano, Sax, Clarinet and Guitar. So while have very much to learn clearly about digital bit rates, I'm at least an "enthusiast" thank you very much. ;)

    Excellent answer though, exactly what I was looking for. Could not find virtually any of this info online. :)
     
  6. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #6
    You see, to me, you're a professional then, not an "audiophile", and as a professional, you have different priorities and knowledge area specialties. I wouldn't argue one bit with your professionally-focused knowledge (unless you tried to tell me a Sax and a Clarinet were "basically the same thing", then I'd call you out to being a fraud as a professional. ;) )

    That's like saying a car enthusiast doesn't know the difference between a distributor less ignition and a direct ignition engine, sorry. Even antique car enthusiasts would know the difference there. Now (to go back to my 'enthusiast vs. professional' bit) - a professional antique car mechanic would know that they exist, but might not know the deep-down details. That's what happened here. And I would argue the OP was selling himself short saying "audiophile". To me "audiophile" means "amateur enthusiast of audio".
     
  7. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    Kelso, Wa
    #7
    You are way smarter than 99% of us

    Anonymous you are just too smart for hobbyists. I wish I had half the knowledge you have with the ability to use it. I know what you are saying here but it just astounds me as I don't even think I could articulate even close to the way you do.

    Keep the knowledge coming, I am listening as intently as I can.
     
  8. Hugh macrumors 6502a

    Hugh

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    #8
    I'm not sure if a 512k/512ke can run the softwear. But if can run on such a Mac, you would be able to play MOD files. The one I used to use works greet!

    Also if you have a hard drive, install System 7.0 or System 7.0.2. This will allows you to play sound files, that are in system file formatt. You can even make them your system beep.

    I don't remember the name of the software is, I want to say it was call 'SoudApp'. This app will allow you play sound all kind sound files.
    I will try find some of apps that help to play sound files.

    Hugh
     
  9. napabar macrumors 6502

    napabar

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #9
    A Mac 512K/512Ke cannot run system 7 and cannot run SoundApp.
     
  10. Hugh macrumors 6502a

    Hugh

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    #10
    Well I couldn't remember if they could or not, it must be the Mac Plus that I'm thinking of then.

    Hugh
     

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