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SID "Clones" List/Sources/Experiences


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On 1/16/2021 at 2:35 AM, Rio said:

As I understand it, the second or triple SID mode is only available in conjunction with the 2SID card and a special wiring, right?

If you really wanted to, you could tap the primary Arm2SID and route the cables yourself to get into 2nd / 3rd SID capabilities.

There's some fairly useful documentation on the site: https://www.retrocomp.cz/produkt?id=20



However, IMHO having the second (dummy) Arm2SID is a much more convenient choice for managing 2*SID stereo audio.


Edited by dwestbury
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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought two pairs of ARM2SIDs, here's my experience.

The first thing to say is: in my opinion one should not buy one ARM2SID for their MBSID for any reason. Buy two ARMSIDs instead. If it's true as dwestbury says a few messages above — and it would seem to be true — then the other chip in an ARM2SID pair is a dummy which makes no actual sound; instead the sound of the main chip is just doubled. Obviously that doesn't produce a stereo sound, only a louder mono sound. Maybe that's what a C64/128 user needs, but it's the wrong solution for an MBSID.

Fortunately I could use the main ARMSID from each pair I bought to make one independent pair where each chip produces its own sound. And that sound is very good, I do recommend it (just check dwestbury's sound samples above). Unfortunately I effectively paid almost double the price for two ARMSIDs because I could use only half of what I bought (ARMSID = 28€ vs ARM2SID = 48€). But that's the nature of DIY sometimes :-)  Hopefully this "research" will benefit someone else!

As to the installation, it was a drop-in affair — no configuration needed on an actual Commodore 64/128 (which I don't have). Not sure whether it makes any difference, but I'm giving them 9VDC and that seems to work.

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Hmm I think the issue might be related to needing to update the MBSID firmware. Looking at the ARM2SID page, this jumps out at me:

"Expander emulation is possible only if the adapter or board supports DFxx addressing on the second socket (e.g. MixSID and ULTIMATE-64)."

This would imply to me that MBSID doesn't do this out of the box, but likely could with some modifications.


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it is quite different. If you use ARM2SID with the second SID2 socket, connect it with provided 6 pin wire, and configure it to SOCKET configuration (it is by default) it behaves in 2 SID sockets as 2 SIDs. No doubling the output, ARM2SID has enough processing power so it can process 3 SIDs inside, so in 2 SOCKET configuration it processes both SIDs (the chip select and R/W is brought to the main chip by the wire) and sends the second SID audio back to the SID2 socket by another wire. Thus ARM2SID in socket configuration with SID2 socket and the 6pin wire behaves exactly as 2 ARMSIDs. You can set in configuration one as 8580 and the other one as 6581 or adjust filters and digifix independently.

The option on picture that dwestbury published above with directly connected wires is for implementing ARM2SID to C64 or similar and when you provide all the addressing by wires, it does not need any stereo adapter and it supports stereo or 3SID or FM emulation, but it needs the additional wires for addressing. With the 2 SOCKET configuration, it can work only as a stereo, not dual mono as jjonas says. The second SID2 socket provides input and output for the 2nd SID emulation, even it is an empty socket conversion placeholder.

Best regards

Martin Lukasek
ARMSID technical suppot

Edited by Martin Lukasek
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NOBOMI reminded me one more feature that can make the second SID (the SID2 socket) play the same music as on the first one. If you do not send any notes to the second SID2 and play only to the first main ARM2SID, it switches itself after 15s to dual mono mode to provide music on both channels, which can make a confusion, that it plays mono. It does not, it just plays the same notes on the second emulated SID.

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Hi Martin,

thanks for your input into the discussion!

My message was based on my direct (and relatively uninformed otherwise) experience, where putting an ARM2SID pair into my MB6582 SID synth (connected with the included cable, and replacing two 6581 SIDs which produced a stereo sound) resulted in a mono sound, while putting two "main" chips (taken from two ARM2SID pairs) into the same sockets (without the connecting cable) resulted in a stereo sound. I didn't change any settings in the chips, or in the synth.

What could explain this? Do you think it can be explained by looking at the ARM2SID pair alone, or should the MBSID harware and firmware be considered as well?

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If you have ARM2SID connected by cable to SID2 and place both to two sockets, it should play stereo the same way as two SIDs. If it does not, then there is something wrong. Was the cable fitted correctly on both sides? Are you able to check configuration in some C64? It should be configured this way by default. Could you give me your order number? I will check it. ARM2SID without cable behaves the same way as ARMSID, it is just a little bit expensive ;-)

Edited by Martin Lukasek
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This video shows you how to use a C64 to configure your ARM2SIDs for full stereo, using Socket mode.

If you want to fast-forward through the “discovery, trial and error”, skip to ~28:00


Once your ARM2SID configuration is saved to the internal flash memory, you can move them into your MIDIbox for Stereo pleasure... 



Edited by dwestbury
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I am sorry for my mistake. The default configuration is set to WIRE, so it is necessary to change the configuration to SOCKET, as dwestbury said. You can use any C64/C128 related computer. We had the SOCKET as default configuration initially, but later we changed the default, as it could cause conflicts in some particular wire configurations, while WIRE is always ok, just the second SID is not addressed in the second socket. If you make a note while ordering the ARM2SID to you order, I can send the ARM2SID configured as SOCKET.


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2 hours ago, Noise-Generator said:

Thank you for making this clear, Martin. 

The question is still unanswered if itˋs possible to use Vice via Asid with a Midibox SID to configure DSP Clone Settings instead of a real C64.

Good question, I don't always want to lift the SIDs out of the C64 socket to do configurations or even possible future firmware update for the ARMSID. but I can hardly imagine it because there is a simple protocol behind it.

Edited by Rio
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I'm in the same predicament, I bought the ARM2SID for my MB-6582 but are stuck with the double mono and have no Commodore at hand.
It would be great to able to send a string from MIOS studio to change the configuration to SOCKET.

BTW the Arm2SID arrived very fast, sounds extremely good , comes in a nice little box and even has a printed manual. Kudos retrocomp.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After some CRAZY international shipping delays (>4 months), my SwinSID Ultimates have finally shown up!



My first observation was "Jeeze, they've jammed a lot of tech into these bad boys", from the top-to-bottom and on both sides...

I count two MCUs (an Atmel Mega 168PA and an ATtiny85), plus a Xilinx CPLD (sort of like a small FPGA).

Then there's three LEDs (Red, Green and Yellow - one for each SID voice), and that massive crystal oscillator (the SG615).

IMG_2498.thumb.jpg.8fea00eecd7b2cca8b414e9c6ef43f88.jpg          IMG_2499.thumb.jpg.a8b9c3a5675cd3c94fff0ef815d009e6.jpg


Visually, they come across as being 'a bit over engineered', especially when you compare them to the elegant and pro looking ARM2SIDs. Given all the parts, they wind up costing ~$10 USD more than the ARMSID (assuming you can even find them).

We all know that beauty is only skin deep and looks can be deceiving, so best to dig right into the sound quality...

I decided it would be easiest (and quickest) to test these from my Ultimate 64, because it has Zif sockets and an integrated SID player that supports stereo tracks (e.g., all the 2SID and 3SID tracks from the High Voltage SID Collection)... 

As always, interested to hear any thoughts & comments...


  • The real SIDs are 8580 R5
  • The SwinSID Ultimates are both configured to emulate 8580
  • The ARM2SIDs are cable-connected, in "Stereo Socket Mode", with both configured to emulate 8580



Edited by dwestbury
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@Noise-Generator Thought you might want to add the SIDKick, Teensy-based SID Clone to your master list.

...From Github: https://github.com/frntc/SIDKick


SIDKick is a drop-in replacement for the SID sound chips used in C64s and C128s based on a Teensy 4.1. It is able to emulate two SIDs (6581 and/or 8580) and a Sound Expander (offering Yamaha OPL-based FM sound) at the same time. It makes no compromises with regard to quality: the emulation is based on reSID and fmOPL. It also comes with a few extras.

Currently its features include:

  • 6581 and/or 8580 emulation based on reSID 0.16 or reSID 1.0 (configurable)
  • 2nd-SID address at $d400, $d420, $d500, $d420 + $d500 simultaneously, $de00, $df00
  • Sound Expander/FM emulation based on fmOPL (at $df00)
  • paddle/mouse support
  • built-in configuration menu (launch with "SYS 54301")
  • built-in PRG launcher (via menu)
  • 10 different profiles, switchable on-the-fly via an optional button (otherwise via menu), "SAM" will tell you which you selected
  • sound output via Teensy MQS (PWM) or high-quality using a PT8211/TM8211-DAC, filters, and an operational amplifier
  • output available at connectors (stereo) or routed through the mainboard (mono)






I haven't tried this one yet, but I do eventually plan to when time permits...


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@dwestburyYes, I came across this project, too, these days at https://www.forum64.de/index.php?thread/106775-projektvorstellung-sidkick/&postID=1638424#post1638424 (german) and wanted to post this first here, as a post (as I'm doing it now..)


A Teensy 4.1 is a lot bigger (longer) than a SID. However, workarounds may be possible, I can't check the space inside a MB6582, so someone who have should/could care about that.

This is why the FreeSID is based at Teensy 4.0 because it fits great (like a SID)


The difference between the FreeSID and SIDkick is that the Teensy 4.1 has some more DSP-Power (up to 4x SIDs) but how to connect and use the 4 with a MBox SID, I don't know.

The Emulation of the SIDkick is based at Resid, which is the SID Emulator inside the VICE Emulator.

The Emulation of the FreeSID is Code by the Inventor Matthias.

Both Codes are Free (I'm not really sure about Resid, because Matthias said he donˋt want to use Resid because itˋs not Open Source.) Well I'm not exactly informed about that but you can load Code inside both whichever you like but there is not a lot of choice atm if you can't code or modify it by yourself. 

I couldn't find a picture with a full build but you can see the SIDkick in this Vid inside a C64 with Soundexamples



Edited by Noise-Generator
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  • 1 month later...

For anyone that's been considering the ARMSID or ARM2SID, but didn't want the headache of having to maintain a working C64 to configure them, the guys at Retrocomp have come up with a novel solution for you...



It's basically a DIY Arduino shield that enables you manage the whole configuration process through a simple terminal 



Source code available here:


Partial kits available here:



I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, the SID Clone wars are over and the clear winner is ARMSID.

1. The sound is very close to the real deal, in either 6581 and 8580 mode. IMHO, it's even better than the SwinSID Ultimate (listen to examples above in this thread)

2. The design is by far the cleanest and sleekest, all the way through to packaging, delivery, quality documentation, vendor support, etc.

3. The size and form-factor are very close to a real SID, so it will fit anywhere a SID does, unlike some of the clunkier clones 

4. It's jumper-less and auto-detects the correct SID emulation mode, depending on the input voltage It receives. The mode can be overridden however, using the aforementioned config editor (imagine an 8580 in a Breadbin or a 6581 in a C64c / G).

5. The price for an ARMSID is absolutely reasonable and you can save a few $$ if you need dual SID pairs, by going with the ARM2SID

6.  It provides support for analog paddles if you happen to have a real C64


And NO, I am in no way affiliated with Retrocomp or the ARMSID, but I just think these guys have done a terrific job on this... Kudos...




Edited by dwestbury
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@Rio I totally agree. 

it seems that Martin from Retrocomp is really looking out for Midiboxers with a solution like this.

I've just learned that there's a special ARM2SID firmware in beta testing for use with synths like the MB-6582.

Apparently it will support even faster chip addressing for performance and it completely disables the auto-dual-mono-switch, which doesn't make sense for synths which require full time stereo (e.g., dedicated left and right SID channels).

I've asked for early access to it, so I hope to find some time to test it out.



Edited by dwestbury
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