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Date   : Sun, 19 Nov 2006 17:05:38 +0000
From   : splodge@... (Richard Gellman)
Subject: Envelope command in Basic V


Minor update... I've just tried the ENVELOPE statement on my A4000 with 
14 dummy parameters. It doesn't do anything (as per the wikipedia 
article), but does not error either. The Risc OS manual, which lists all 
Basic statements, omits ENVELOPE, so it appears to have been left for 
compatibility with previous versions of Basic.

-- Richard

Richard Gellman wrote:
> Tim Matthews wrote:
>> Hi chaps,
>> I've just been browsing Wikipedia as one does, and read: "the ENVELOPE
>> keyword from BASIC V onwards is a command which takes fourteen numeric
>> parameters and does nothing".
>> Is this right? Why? So how does one get fancy sounds in Basic V?
> Not right at all in fact.
> ENVELOPE does not exist on Basic V (the Archimedes version of Basic) as 
> the sound system is different from the 8-bit micro. ENVELOPE on the BBC 
> Micro has been available from BASIC I, and takes an envelope number, and 
> 13 parameters to define the pattern of a sound. One set defines pitch 
> variations, the other amplitude variations.
> Anything for reasonably close violin sound to the sound of your 
> favourite police chopper can be created. Internally, the OS uses these 
> parameters to control the pitch and amplitude of the given channel (in 
> the SOUND statement) to follow the defined pattern. The sound chip can 
> only generate square wave tones (on 3 channels) or noise (channel 0), 
> and can't do complex digital audio*.
> The sound system on the Archimedes on the other hand, has an 8-channel 
> 44kHz digital audio system, run by VIDC. Sound patterns are defined by 
> modules which create sound wave data on demand as required by the OS 
> (and in turn, Basic V). Given that this sound pattern could be anything, 
> trying to get it to conform to an ENVELOPE would be seen as mildly 
> pointless (would you want a police siren to vary wildly in pitch?).
> Getting a "fancy sound" in Basic V pretty much involves writing your own 
> module in ARM assembly, though you may find a number of examples of 
> skeleton source code (i.e. "enter your wave data here" programs) that 
> can make things easier.
> The wikipedia article is clearly somewhat misguided :)
> -- Richard
> * It is actually possible to get the SN76489AN chip to do digital audio, 
> as is demonstrated by Bonecruncher's loading screen, and also SPEECH! 
> This isn't true digital audio, as the chip can only do tones & noise, 
> but involves setting the tone to some ridiculously high non-audible 
> frequency, so that the speaker cone appears to sit at a halfway point, 
> then vary the amplitude rapidly (i.e. beyond the capabilities of SOUND 
> and ENVELOPE, so machine code) to make that half-way point move up and 
> down. The result to our ears is reasonable analogue audio wave.
>> Curiously,
>> Tim.
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