It’s « I love the 80s » time for fans of the musical sounds of the Commodore 64: the HardSID PCI card repurposes the actual synth chips used in the original C64 (not new chips or emulation), and gives you full MIDI control on your Windows PC or Mac tower. Why would you want use the guts of an ancient, obsolete computer? Aside from fans of C64 game music, the SID has earned a cult following as a surprisingly good analog synth — emulation doesn’t do it justice. The C64’s creators had originally intended this as an all-purpose « synth on a chip » for arcade games. The HardSID cards have been available in limited quantities to the European market for some time, but createdigitalmusic has gotten a report that US manufacturing and distribution is coming this summer for around $250 retail (I go into the whole geeky history of the SID chip there, as well). More details should be available soon, closer to official distribution.
Peter Kirn regularly covers the latest, and oddest, in technology for music making.