Hard-core musical applications of antique Commodore 64 computers continue to spread. There are plenty of pristine C64s out there, so there’s something beautiful about seeing these heavily modified computers get a second life.

First up, the superb DIY and circuit bending blog Get LoFi has gotten their hands on the new Prophet64 music cartridge for the C64. “Circuitmaster” set out to review the cartridge and wound up building modified hardware to make it easier to control, affixing knobs to the top of the computer. If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll find resources for how to duplicate the effort:

Knob Mod for Prophet64

(Check out his Radio Shack finds, too — affordable electronics supplies from Radio Shack, that aren’t wildly overpriced? Who knew?)

Make gets the scoop (via flickr) on a fantastic controller for Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ software. Honestly, not only is it cool that this fellow stuck this in a C64 case, but I have to say this is one of the most logical looking DJ controllers I’ve seen. I miss the presence of some kind of scratch controller, but otherwise, Native Instruments, M-Audio, Roland, et al, take a good look at this one.

NI Traktor MIDI Controller, Via a C64 Case

Both of these projects are based on the classic MIDIbox SID, which converts the C64’s beloved SID synth chip into a usable MIDI interface, complete with interface, friendly knobs, and lots of flashing lights. (Thanks to Wisefire for pointing this out. And, incidentally, MIDIbox is especially cool as it’s an entire community, not just a single project.)


These are not projects for the feint-of-heart, but they’re fun to look at even for the weak-hearted. I’ll be back with a report on the Prophet64 cartridge; I heard my cart has shipped. I’m anxious to use it with a 1351 mouse, but I’m having trouble tracking one down; if any of you are selling used C64 stuff or know good sources, let me know. In the meantime, back to scouring eBay.

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  • I bought a 1351 just to use with the Prophet64, and (although I cannot say for sure until the freekin manuals come out) it seems that it really only is useful with the sequencer. Seems like a pair of C64 paddles would be the best thing to have for the other programs.

    My favorite gripe about it is that the bass-synth program defaults with synth parameters that result in silence. You have to tweak the uh – envelope? I don't have it in front of me right now, but it took me a while to figure this one out. A one page button summary would go a real long way right now… but I'm still happy with it, and impressed.


  • wisefire

    both the traktor controller and the synth below that, ARE actually Midibox based.. so its very logical that it would remind you of it.. none the less.. glad to have the community get some attention!!

  • Wisefire, thanks. Sorry, I missed the obvious. 😉

  • that traktor controller is so damn cool!

    I want one!

  • retstylz

    those are badass. the alpha mod is crazy! check it out at http://www.bigmech.com/misc/c64mods/