Sunday, February 6, 2011

1541 Floppy Drive Music

[Updated October 3, 2011]
I FINALLY got my Commodore 64 up and running this weekend and although I didn't have a chance to play any of my games yet (damn work and Superbowl parties!) I did format a new 5 1/4" floppy disk on my 1541 disk drive (ah for the days when "floppy" disks were truly floppy!).

The noise that the drive heads made reminded me of a couple of little homegrown programs that somebody wrote way back in the day (I think I downloaded mine from a local BBS) that vibrated the floppy drive heads at various speeds to actually play songs from the vibration itself - sans speakers! Does anyone else remember this?

I didn't really want to subject my "new" 1541 to that sort of punishment right off the bat, but I thought someone out there might have a video of it on YouTube and of course, they do. Check out "Bicycle Built for Two" on the Commodore 1541 drive - it's pretty low so you might need to turn up your volume.

And as I was searching for that video on YouTube I was pleasently surprised to discover that someone did the same thing for a 3.5" floppy drive. And this one gets a little extra nerd cred since it is playing a lot cooler song - Darth Vader's Imperial March from Star Wars.

...and finally, I would be remiss in my overview of the data storage hardware music scene if I failed to mention that someone has apparently brought Anakin's dark tune to the current generation by hacking a hard drive to play it.

[10/3/2011 Update - I came across this new video by a gent (er - I assume a gent) named SileNT.  SileNT gives us yet another Imperial March played on floppies but the new twist is that he has two floppies wired together to play two separate parts simultaneously so you get a full melody. Pretty neat stuff.

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Fallguy40 said...

interesting. I don't remember this but cool. Have fun on your C-64.

Who were you going for in the Super Bowl? We were pulling for the Pack here at Casa Fallguy.

MadPlanet said...

As Michael Vick would say - I didn't have a dog in that fight. Just an excuse to get together and drink a few beers and eat buffalo wings and chili. Mrs. MP was rooting for the Steelers. Everyone else there was for the Packers.

Mik said...

This is just mad: I like it!

MadPlanet said...

Yeah - probably not the best thing in the world for the drive heads but cool nonetheless!

Paradroyd said...

I don't think I ever had anything like that for the 1541, but I had something almost just like that that did the same thing with the Amiga 1010 disk drive. I couldn't believe the high-pitched whistles coming from the drive. It was cool but scary at the same time. I kind of panicked and turned the computer off as soon as I heard it.

Incidentally, I just pulled my C64 out of a box too for the first time in 10 years. I converted most of my 5.25 disks to D64 images years ago, so I probably won't use the 1541 much. I'm going to buy a 1541 ultimate cartridge II for the 64 and just use it with images. That way I'll have all of the images on an SD card and it'll take up a lot less room, but I'll still get the advantages of using a real 64.

MadPlanet said...

I heard about those 1541 ultimate cartridges a while back and they looked very cool. Only problem at the time was that my old C64 was long gone. But recently I found one at a garage sale with a 1541 and a big bunch of games so I might revisit getting one of those cartridges pretty soon for all my image files. But for a while at least I'm gonna rock it old-style with the real floppies.

Gary H said...

this was a top 10 defining moment of having a 1541..

right up there there the 1st time I had a game with vorpal toolkit/loader, skyrocketing the stock speed of a 1541 to over 1500%

or the epyx fast load cartridge

MadPlanet said...

Thanks for the comment Gary. I always wanted to get one of those Epyx Fastload cartridges, but never did. And I don't even remember the Vorpal Toolkit I'm afraid although it does sound vaguely familiar. I pretty much was just forced to sit there and wait it out. But agreed on the top 10 1541 moment for the Bicycle song - it was pretty darn cool/impressive at the time!

1oclubs said...

Ouch "gets a little extra nerd cred since it is playing a lot cooler song". When does a star wars song beat 2001? Program is here and it blatantly talks about hal, also "Bicycles built for two" is also "dasiy dasiy". Here is a louder version:

MadPlanet said...

Yeah fair enough 1oclubs, to be honest I had completely forgotten about Hal singing "Daisy" when I posted that so yeah that definitely bumps its cred back up. And thanks for the links! But I stand by my statement - in answer to your question of since when does a Star Wars song beat 2001? Since May 1977. :)