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Yamaha C1 Music Computer / Voyetra Sequencer Gold Plus
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Author Yamaha C1 Music Computer / Voyetra Sequencer Gold Plus
hageir
Hehe,
this has to be the weirdest piece in my studio.



It's a MIDI Equipped Sequencer Laptop from Yamaha.
It's got 8 hardwired MIDI Outs, 2 Ins & 1 Thru

It's an old DOS format computer, Kraftwerk used one for their 90s live shows...
It came in the original bag+manuals and a copy of Voyetra Sequencer Gold Plus! I'm getting some drivers (SAPI & VAPI) to try it out. Finally got a USB floppy drive LOL

Has anyone used one of these babies (or should I say grandmammy's) before?

What about the Voyetra Sequencers?

Hehe,

-Geir Helgi
1nput0utput
That is weird. I've never seen one before.
hageir
1nput0utput wrote:
That is weird. I've never seen one before.


Sure is!
I've heard about hardwired MIDI ports and this is one of those machines!

I'm having a hard time with DOS though, it's been ages since I touched that OS grin

Trying to copy the MIDI drivers from one floppy to another,
LOL blast from the past type-o-shiz Rockin' Banana!
hageir
Just found a special Yamaha C1 "CAPI" driver on one of the disks (utility) which enables the MIDI interface applause
Trying out this ancient sequencer with my Monomachine and it seems to have a very smooth feel to it!

I'm gonna go through the manual and check what all the key commands are.
Looks like daddy's got a new sequencer in the house!! AWW YEAH!
crawling wind
Voyetra Sequencer Plus was my first PC sequencer - in my Acer 286 with mpu-401 compatible midi adapter. Probably talking 1986 or so. It was totally fun, and a machine running that stuff has to be way cool!
hageir
Check this:
http://geirhelgi.com/a/SEQPLUS.WAV
love love love love
crawling wind
that would be the one! w00t
hageir
crawling wind wrote:
that would be the one! w00t


Awesome, I swear it has a smooth feel to it,
the over-all swing and timing of the whole thing!
Can't beat hardware sequencers! thumbs up
meatcliff
I was trying to find one of these a few years ago, but they're pretty uncommon unlike the MSX based Yamaha CX5m computers (which themselves are mostly a waste of time unless you're hardcore into their FM gear)

the Voyetra sequencer looks great from this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_p4IgBD5oE powerful, but simple enough to be fun.

I recently got all set up with an Atari 1040STe running Logic/Notator + Cubase and it was exactly what I needed. I love the Elektron sequencers, but sometimes you just need higher timing resolution for CC sweeps or a few long linear tracks to layer on top of the loops. These older sequencers are a great next step without getting a modern computer and all the complications/temptations they come with.

Biggest roadblock I've found with stuff like this is upgrading to newer media for an HDD or FDD replacement.
hageir
meatcliff wrote:
I was trying to find one of these a few years ago, but they're pretty uncommon unlike the MSX based Yamaha CX5m computers (which themselves are mostly a waste of time unless you're hardcore into their FM gear)

the Voyetra sequencer looks great from this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_p4IgBD5oE powerful, but simple enough to be fun.

I recently got all set up with an Atari 1040STe running Logic/Notator + Cubase and it was exactly what I needed. I love the Elektron sequencers, but sometimes you just need higher resolution for CCs or a few long linear tracks to layer on top of the loops. These older sequencers are a great next step without getting a modern computer and all the complications/temptations they come with.

Biggest roadblock I've found with stuff like this is upgrading to newer media for an HDD or FDD replacement.


Rare indeed! I've seen those CX5m's but they probably have different software..
I got mine on eBauy, it was a girl selling her brother's old stuff.

It's kind of slow, because of the floppy drive (HxC Floppy Emulator? LOL)

I just threw in some random notes and did some random editing (before I go to sleep) and it's got some really funky options regarding editing MIDI
There's also a step-record mode and it can loop hehe

Oooh, I've been thinking about getting Notator for my Atari (it's in storage, only bought it to use it as a sequencer) It definitely is a step up with the GUI and all that (although the C1 supports a mouse)
The C1 is ancient!

Here's some old DOS sequencer that can also run on the Yamaha C1,
maybe I'll try it out smile
http://www.deepsignalstudios.com/textures-sng-midi-file-conversion

I wonder how hard it would be to write/create a NEW sequencer for DOS?
Something that would be up to date with workflow, just to get some sequences running because the timing feels awesome on this old computer!

I've been laughing out loud since I found that CAPI driver and started some random sequence just to hear it in action LOL I can't believe I didn't try this out sooner!
meatcliff
http://markuskunn.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/yamaha-c1-the-kraftwerk-com puter/ leads me to believe that HxC would work, but a hard drive replacement could be tricky - the actual details in the blog post are a bit sparse.

maybe some of the dos downloads on hitsquad still work too http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/freeware/dos/

as for programming a new sequencer, i think it's one of those things that if you have to ask, it's probably too hard hihi however, a midi-only dos version of something similar to LGPT would be amazing on the C1 and should be doable.

If you're interested in Notator SL for the Atari let me know! I've got a spare SL dongle with disks and manuals I was about to put up for sale.
TheDegenerateElite
I still use this guy for some sequencing with a Commodore 64.

The Moog Song Producer (These are not my pictures)



Here's the Midi ports 1 in, 1 thru, 4 outs:




and the 1/4" - 2 foot, 8 drum trigger, in/out clock, in/out clock disable



You can use the drum triggers as gates, or by fancy programming as limited cv outs, though you are better off using a midi/cv.
Used to be easy to find on eBay, but I don't seem em much anymore.
CJ Miller
The C1 has a reputation as a solid unit. I looked into buying one a few years back when my crunky DOS laptop died, but couldn't source one in my desired price range. Most laptops of that vintage deviate slightly from the PC standard, so not all DOS hardware and software is likely to work with them. But I am guessing there is enough to be useful. There is *a lot* of useful, free DOS software out there, including interesting sequencers. And if you want to roll your own, it is one of the easiest environments to program in.

I had a CX5M and C64 setup with Moog Song Producer which I sold last year to pay the bills. Never got to even use the CX5M. The C64 was fun, but I never really used the Moog unit with it. I still have another C64 around here somewhere.

And, for further ancient laptop fun, I have a broken Atari STacy. I first popped it open so long ago, I can only hope I still have all of the parts to it. I am moving now, so I look forward to sorting through my retro tech soon.
hageir
meatcliff wrote:
http://markuskunn.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/yamaha-c1-the-kraftwerk-com puter/ leads me to believe that HxC would work, but a hard drive replacement could be tricky - the actual details in the blog post are a bit sparse.

maybe some of the dos downloads on hitsquad still work too http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/freeware/dos/

as for programming a new sequencer, i think it's one of those things that if you have to ask, it's probably too hard hihi however, a midi-only dos version of something similar to LGPT would be amazing on the C1 and should be doable.

If you're interested in Notator SL for the Atari let me know! I've got a spare SL dongle with disks and manuals I was about to put up for sale.


I've just tried it a little bit, I'm getting the hang of it, it's quite easy to make some nice patterns, it would probably be easiest to sample those nice grooves and then edit them as audio in a modern application but oh boy is the timing slick on this laptop, it's making me smile! And the look of the operating system I love it!
I love 80s low resolution graphics and working on some music in that environment is like a dream come true, hah
It's really, really straight forward and the fact that the playback loop system always starts at bar 1 and has an extra empty measure/bar behind it is quite strange, it's like you would press stop twice (to rewind) and then wait a bit and then press play so it always alternates/rotates the loop you're working on so you don't get too bored with it? hah
I'm gonna record a real quick dirty random demo of some random sequences and drums I just did before I go out for some coffee… Gonna give the Atari a thought, maybe this older-school machine will be my focus for now woah
I think I'll just stick with this for now, it's probably way too much of a hassle to program a MIDI sequencer from scratch…
But then again, it could be really simple just to program some patterns which you would either export the midi from or record the actual timing and "playing" of the synths..

TheDegenerateElite wrote:
I still use this guy for some sequencing with a Commodore 64.

The Moog Song Producer (These are not my pictures)



Here's the Midi ports 1 in, 1 thru, 4 outs:




and the 1/4" - 2 foot, 8 drum trigger, in/out clock, in/out clock disable



You can use the drum triggers as gates, or by fancy programming as limited cv outs, though you are better off using a midi/cv.
Used to be easy to find on eBay, but I don't seem em much anymore.


That is one seriously ill sequencer! How simple it looks (the interface)
Complex MIDI converter for the time razz
Amazing stuff dude you can sync a whole yard of drum machines with that thing hahaha
Morley
I always wanted a C1. Keep missing them on ebay IF they turn up.
StepLogik
Funny to see the comments on the solid timing of old software running on ancient single-task operating systems lol people have become so accustomed to the timing slop of preemptive operating systems that it is almost jarring when you hear a sequencer that can actually keep time.

Also, if you like the feel/workflow of these old school sequencers, be sure to check out the roland mv-8800 with the external monitor and mouse. It's just like an old version of cubase running on an Atari. Superb timing, and no hassles from the OS.
TheDegenerateElite
To be fair, the Moog software blew. You really had to save a lot using Song Producer, which was their Midi seq because it could lock up easily.

The Drum software wasn't as bad.

But good old Dr. Ts sequencer worked awesome with this unit. Hell, the variations of Dr. Ts worked awesome with anything.
crawling wind
Wow - that really takes me back in time. I have a real fondness for those old programs.

meatcliff wrote:
the Voyetra sequencer looks great from this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_p4IgBD5oE powerful, but simple enough to be fun.

hageir
StepLogik wrote:
Funny to see the comments on the solid timing of old software running on ancient single-task operating systems lol people have become so accustomed to the timing slop of preemptive operating systems that it is almost jarring when you hear a sequencer that can actually keep time.

Also, if you like the feel/workflow of these old school sequencers, be sure to check out the roland mv-8800 with the external monitor and mouse. It's just like an old version of cubase running on an Atari. Superb timing, and no hassles from the OS.


There is one of those Rolands here locally which might be for sale,
the owner mentioned exactly that; cubase in a hardware sequencer box smile

Don't get me wrong, I've also used hardware (non-computer type) sequencers and for example: Ableton Live+USB MIDI.
I guess all sequencers can be tight or sloppy, depending on the setup..

On the C1 (& Atari, etc.) the MIDI ports are hardwired to the motherboard, not a third party plugin type… It's like the printer port on old PCs, it does everything super "right" because it's first nature for that PC hehe
I suggest you read this little review:
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/2010/03/08/sequencing-atari-st-cubase- 2-0/

The main thing about the C1+Voyetra is that it has it's own characteristic swing/feel to it, it's the like some kind of accent on the 1st hit which makes the sequencer become more alive, it's tiny detailed little "quirks".
But the best thing is that it's strictly being used as a dedicated MIDI sequencer;
no internet, no games & movies hehe

It's like an MPC with a Monochrome screen and a keyboard!
Because the operating system is so simple and to the point it just seems to handle events more easily.

COOL BEANS!!
StepLogik
hageir wrote:

On the C1 (& Atari, etc.) the MIDI ports are hardwired to the motherboard, not a third party plugin type… It's like the printer port on old PCs, it does everything super "right" because it's first nature for that PC hehe


More specifically, the MIDI ports aren't connected to the CPU via any intermediate layers. Old-school MIDI ports used either serial or parallel port which sat right on the main bus and were directly addressed via the software. If you sent a byte to a serial port, then the CPU did it right then and there with very, very little getting in the way.

Compare to a modern OS with numerous hardware (USB) and software (Drivers) abstraction layers - each of which is scheduled by the OS and can be blocked by whatever else might be going on at the same time (such as the thousands of lines of javascript needed to make Facebook work in your browser!).
hageir
StepLogik wrote:
hageir wrote:

On the C1 (& Atari, etc.) the MIDI ports are hardwired to the motherboard, not a third party plugin type… It's like the printer port on old PCs, it does everything super "right" because it's first nature for that PC hehe


More specifically, the MIDI ports aren't connected to the CPU via any intermediate layers. Old-school MIDI ports used either serial or parallel port which sat right on the main bus and were directly addressed via the software. If you sent a byte to a serial port, then the CPU did it right then and there with very, very little getting in the way.

Compare to a modern OS with numerous hardware (USB) and software (Drivers) abstraction layers - each of which is scheduled by the OS and can be blocked by whatever else might be going on at the same time (such as the thousands of lines of javascript needed to make Facebook work in your browser!).


Exactly headbang
So maybe setting up a modern computer (with USB and all that)
and only using it for sequencing (nothing else installed) would probably give it a more solid performance spinning

I've thought about getting an old 90s PC laptop (preferably really small) which would have Seq24 installed and nothing else and just use it as a sequencer…
http://filter24.org/seq24/shots.html
themastero
Does anyone have the schematics for the Yamaha C1 ?
I have one, but still dead after a battery leak, and couldn't find the service manual yet !
cry
Sir Ruff
themastero wrote:
Does anyone have the schematics for the Yamaha C1 ?
I have one, but still dead after a battery leak, and couldn't find the service manual yet !
cry


Would also be curious about those--guessing they are not going to be easily found.

I am trying to get rid of my two currently non-functional units if anyone is interested!
chaocrator
C1 was used by The Sisters Of Mercy for a long time.
Eldritch also said that Voyetra sequencer is rock solid, and he managed to crash it only a couple of times.
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