ATARI FALCON

What is the Falcon?

It's a computer, which was created by Atari in 1992, equipped with a DSP, enabling Steinberg to develop their Cubase program further - into hard disk recording on the Atari platform. I've used a Falcon system in my studio for several years with great results and I'd recommend it to anyone who's more comfortable with the Atari system than with PC or Mac, since it really works very well and is very reliable. The sad part is that Steinberg don't update Cubase for Atari anymore, but naturally they can't continue supporting a platform where no new machines are sold, so I understand their point of view fully.
My own Falcon system had, among other things, 8 independent balanced outputs and two balanced inputs. It was also equipped with an S/Pdif interface, 4 extra midi out ports, a CD-writer, over 5GB of HD space and much more. So even though I had a PC that should have worked rather well with VST, I continued using the Falcon for quite a long time for my music making, since it's always been a more stable system, without soundcard problems and glitches between midi and audio. The PC version has become better and better, so now even I've made a switch - more about my current computer setup on the studio page.


What's needed to get started with HD-recording on the Falcon?

 

About my own Falcon machine

My Falcon was housed in a full tower, to make sure that most of the things I needed could fit inside the case. I added an interface for standard PC-keyboards, as well as an interface for a PC-mouse - since they are of higher quality than the original Atari keyboard and mouse.

Because I have a small company (Holmerup Musik & Data) and still sell some Atari related products (not to mention the nostalgic reasons ;) ), I still have a Falcon - but in a standard case and with external harddisk and CD-ROM.

Standard Falcon

The hard disks etc were as follows...
EIDE:
Quantum Fireball 1.3GB + 2.1GB
SCSI:
Conner 2.1GB, Toshiba 12X CD-ROM, Philips CDD2600 CD-writer, external Iomega Zip-drive.
The computer was accellerated a little bit with a Speed resolution card, which gave me a CPU speed of up to 36MHz, an FPU speed of 32MHz and a bus speed of up to 18MHz. It also enabled higher screen resolutions, like 800*600, which I used most frequently. I waited in vain for new accellerators from CENTEK, TITAN DESIGNS and WIZZTRONICS, which were claimed to give an awsome speed enhancement. Centek's CenturboII seems to work ok even though there are some problems installing it in some Falcons, but the other ones haven't seen the light of day yet.

The extra music equipment for my computer was the following:

Philip Rees 3M Mergebox, to be able to record midi from three sources at the same time.
S/Pdif interface for connecting to digital sources with both coaxial and optical connections in and out.
MO-4 gives 4 extra midi outputs (totally 80 midi channels together with the built-in midi port).
  • Here you'll find the latest driver for MO-4, to put in the MROS-folder.
    JAM-8 has 8 separate balanced outputs with professional data.
    JAM-IN2 has two balanced inputs with equally professional data.
    Roland CS-10 micro monitor for times when I didn't feel like starting up the whole studio when working only with midi.
    C-lab Combiner gave me the possibility to have up to four cartridges (for CAF, ZeroX and DeNoiser - the last one was empty) connected at the same time. I had to modify the Combiner a bit to be able to use it in my tower-housed Falcon, though.

    Notes