Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: What would it take fron Amiga to play MP3
Andrew1971 16:24 28th November 2011
As title says just curious because of the music capabilities
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Harrison 17:23 28th November 2011
A standard A1200 would not be able to cope with playing an MP3. An Amiga with at least a 68030 accelerator would probably be able to play them, but you wouldn't be able to do much else whilst they were playing. The basic music capacities of the Amiga is 4 channel 8-bit stereo audio split with 2 channels wired to the left and 2 to the right. You can get hardware to expand this to 16bit audio using a standard developed for the Amiga called AHI. This was a late sound format developed and used by later versions of workbench from 3.9 onwards, and also supported in the last games released in the later 90's, but you again need a fairly expanded Amiga to utilise it.
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burns flipper 14:04 29th November 2011
I used to play mp3's on my '060. I know that's overkill for your question, but they played just fine. I'm sure I had AHI set up on WB3.1, which gave me 14-bit output. There was definitely a 14 in there somewhere.

To create mp3's, I would have to first rip the .cda track to a raw sound file format, then use some free software off Aminet to convert to mp3. It would take 1 hour to encode 1 minute of song.
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Harrison 15:06 29th November 2011
I hour per minute using an 060? That is mad, but we do often forget how long we were prepared to wait years ago to do tasks we now take for granted as being performed in next to no time.

Think how fast you can rip a whole CD to MP3 these days. Or how quickly you can copy whole directories of files between drives.

This also reminds me of the early days of CD-R. Burning a CD on a pentium 2 in Win 98 or a Mac with OS8 at the time was very unstable and you had to close all other background tasks down, disable the screensaver or monitor timeout settings, close virus scanner, and then setup the disc to burn, click start and take your hands off everything and let it run. Moving the mouse could cause a crash or buffer underrun. And it was just as bad when the first DVD-R drives appeared. The software for those was even more unstable that with CD and authoring a DVD video disc was a complete nightmare. The other day I created a DVD in Adobe Encore and was thinking back about this. It used to take a whole day of trial and error in a program called DVDIt! to make a DVD video disc back at the start of the 2000's, and even then it might not work, and it would take hours to transcode the final production before even attempting to burn the disc. Now in Encore you setup your timeline in Premiere, select to export to Encore, it instantly appears in the timeline with chapter markers in place from Premiere, you add a menu easy which takes 10 minutes if you know what you are doing, then pop a DVD-R in and click build... 15 minutes later you have you completed disc. It is amazing the progress of computer hardware over the past 15 years.
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Stephen Coates 17:51 29th November 2011
My Amiga has played MP3s through Paula. It was an A1200 with 50MHz 68030 and 128MB RAM. I used AmigaAmp, set to 8 bit (and possibly mono). It worked, but sound quality was poor.
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Andrew1971 20:22 29th November 2011
Hi All
Well i am a little suprised that it can play no matter how low the quality of sound is. I seem to remember that someone said that you would need a minium of 100mhz processor to play MP3's. One down now the next one. Playing DVD's
Many Thanks
Andrew1971
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J T 21:41 29th November 2011
Originally Posted by Harrison:
It is amazing the progress of computer hardware over the past 15 years.
Plus, the DVD will happily burn away while also torrenting and web browsing, and other stuff too probably...

I'm still amazed at how much more powerful a modern smartphone is than my first PC, or even the laptop my wife had when she was at uni. Staggering.
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Harrison 00:37 30th November 2011
Definitely regarding smartphones. We have mobile devices now that are far more powerful than the Amiga ever was, with so much different technology all crammed into a single little device. It is the sci-fi of our youth becoming reality. Today's smartphones can do so much more than even the Pentium 2 400MHz PC running Windows 98 I had in 1998. They are all mostly 1GHz these days too. That really does amaze me.
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Andrew1971 08:39 30th November 2011
Hi All
I just goes to show how good the programmers were/are to make use of such limited hardware. Nowadays anything below 1Ghz is simply to slow so not worh having.
And shows how sloppy some programmers are when you need lots of cpu power,big hard drives,loads of memory just to do something simple.
Many Thanks
Andrew1971
[Reply]
Harrison 16:07 30th November 2011
True, although for the power of smartphones you could argue that the coders are doing similar things with them these days to produce the apps we are seeing. I'm sure a lot of the coders also started out on the Amiga or ST. And it is worth mentioning that ST coders had to be even better than Amiga ones as that system had to process everything though its 8MHz CPU, whereas for the Amiga, its CPU only needed to process data, and all video and audio processing could be passed out the custom chip set, which had DMA, so again no need to bother the CPU. So the ST had a huge disadvantage, but owners expected the same games and applications. Just shows how ahead of its time the amiga was.
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