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A9home turns the volume up

By Chris Williams. Published: 8th Apr 2006, 15:18:25 | Permalink | Printable

Alive with the sound of music

Some headphones and computer codeA9home owners have reported this weekend that their ARM9 powered computers can finally output sound. Developers AdvantageSix released a Flash ROM upgrade to their beta testers earlier in the week via their website.

One drobe.co.uk reader said: "I downloaded and re-flashed the OS last night and was delighted to find that sound now works. So far I have only had time to test it with Maestro, but it sounds good through my lo-fi desktop amp and speakers."

Others have managed to use AMPlayer and DigitalCD for MP3 playback, and played Star Fighter 3000 with the usually game play noises raging in the background. The A9home features no speakers, only a headphone out socket.

According to Ad6's Matt Edgar, the company are releasing the upgrade to a number of users to assess the impact of the update before sending the upgrade to others.

He said: "It's nice that it's available, and I guess that's one of the more noticeable features of the current updates. It's not something we've been making a fuss about because we are doing a gradual roll-out - some people have it and some don't yet.

"Feedback is mostly very positive, but there are some issues to look at."

It's understood the audio chipset is the PC standard AC97, as found on most motherboards including the Castle Iyonix. The A9home, launched to selected paying beta testers last year, was designed by Simtec and based heavily on their integrated module product line. AdvantageSix are currently producing variants of the A9 range for OEM clients, and recently added Bluetooth support for one of them. The team are aiming for an official launch of the A9home in May, in time for the Wakefield show. Silent and fan-less, the diminutive A9home could be used as a simple but effective music station, especially with a wireless network adapter fitted.

Ad6's developers are already on top of various graphics acceleration updates and features, and other issues such as harnessing the computer's DMA capabilities are hoped to be next on the company's to-do list. In an interesting twist, Matt contacted the GCCSDK developers suggesting that future versions of 32bit RISC OS 4 will feature tighter memory protections - limiting the damage a faulty application can do to the rest of the desktop.

Links

A9 website

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Discussion

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Right, who is going to be the first person to stick an A9 and LCD screen in a car as an MP3 jukebox?

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 10/4/06 9:09AM
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well, if it had vidoe out i could pop it on top of the video progetor in the pub and have somekinda funky things going on on the big screen

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 10/4/06 10:39AM
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Now that The A9 has sound, can it be used as a karaoke system wih a TV set (using a good old SCART cable) ?

 is a RISC OS UserArc310 on 10/4/06 11:58AM
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The Advantage 6 stand should be pretty busy at Wakefield! Lets hope they are working on the finishing touches to the first production A9's before testing the A9 Karaoke system they have been waiting to unleash on the world...

Seriously, a quizz game like Buzz using bluetooth controllers would be pretty cool I think. A Frontrow (Apple Mac) type system for viewing photos and playing music without getting out of the chair is something else the A9 might be suited to. With most good LCD TV's having VGA inputs this kind of thing could have some potential.

Nice work Advantage Six!

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 11/4/06 9:31AM
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