Re: [stella] VCS Hard Drive

Subject: Re: [stella] VCS Hard Drive
From: Rob <kudla@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 19:53:14 -0500
On Sunday 19 January 2003 18:56, Adam Wozniak wrote:
> As you probably know, MP3 is a lossy compression algorithm.  Better to
> store them as .bin and convert them to WAV on the fly; .bin is the most
> "compressed" format you'll get for the data.

Yeah, I think we've been over this before.  Look, I'm a musician.  I've been 
using MP3 since early 1996, probably before most of you even heard of it, and 
was using MPEG layer 2 compression for 3 or 4 years before that.  (MPEG 
compression using a 386.... now that was hilarious.)  Of course it's better 
to use .bin and convert them on the fly, but my Atari and my PC will always 
been in different rooms from one another, so I was and still am looking for 
alternatives to that approach.

Shortly after getting my Cuttle Cart I made a CD with the 1500 or so rom 
images I had at the time, converted to mp3 format (courtesy of makewav, the 
LAME mp3 encoder, and a little perl script I wrote), and used a cheap MP3 CD 
player (which I still use as a car MP3 player) to make a cuttle jukebox, 
basically.  The vast, vast majority of the MP3's worked, despite the number 
of people who suggested I not try because it couldn't possibly work at all 
and I could get much better sound from my CD's if I just color in the bottom 
with a green magic marker.  (Sorry, that was from another newsgroup.)  
Converting the MP3's back to WAV and looking at the waveforms side by side, 
it's very apparent which transitions have been smoothed or eliminated by the 
codec even at the highest bitrates and I'm amazed more games weren't 
affected.  It's really a tribute to the Cuttle's design and/or the 
Supercharger encoding format.

Nonetheless, I've given up on MP3 for this (I want it all to be on a single 
device or piece of media, and no small, cheap audio player exists that can 
mix MP3's and uncompressed mono WAV files or even red book audio tracks) and 
have been looking for a small computing device with enough capacity to store 
every Cuttle Cart compatible rom image out there and feed them to the Cuttle 
using some version of makewav.  I know people are using 486 laptops and the 
like for this, but I'm looking for something that can sit comfortably on top 
of my 4-switch 2600.  And only after Glenn made his post last night did I 
realize I have such a device, namely the Helio, in my possession already.

Now, if I don't get that to work (if the Helio's combination 
headphone/microphone jack is of too poor quality or its DAC isn't up to snuff 
or for some reason its audio device can't handle taking output from makewav 
through a pipe, since there's certainly no RAM space for an uncompressed 
waveform on that thing) I'll keep looking for either a compression format 
supported by small, cheap devices that doesn't freak out the Cuttle, or a 
small, cheap, high capacity device that will let me mix and match MP3's and 
uncompressed WAV files.  Or maybe I'll get one of the first generation Wince 
devices that you can load Linux on from ebay, and do it that way.  I dunno.   
But MP3 does work for more than 8 out of 10 games, and there's no reason some 
other similar method (like Ogg) might not work for some or all of the 
remaining ones.

Sorry for the recap, but it seems every time I mention my Cuttle experiences 
and aspirations on the list I get a post like yours back, and feel the need 
to dump the history.


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