Author Topic: ChinnyVision: The True Story Of How Amstrad Bought Sinclair  (Read 5083 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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OK I've stuck this in 'other retro' even though its about Amstrad.


30 years ago this week it was announced that Amstrad had bought the Sinclair computer brand for 5 million pounds. But what was the story behind it? Well I've put together a short video to tell the story:


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGzqvyKYVVI[/youtube]


My main source is the David Thomas book so if you've read it you won't learn much new.
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Offline Zoe Robinson

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This is a really good documentary. :D

Offline chinnyhill10

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This is a really good documentary. :D


Cheers. CPC fans will note all but one of the backing tunes are from my CPC 6128. I wanted the split channels and cleaner audio so I could do a quick remaster on each of them. Just a little reverb, EQ and altering of the mix. The only one that is from a Speccy is the Commando music which is both a Speccy and an emulator (seriously, have you heard the AY output of a real +2?  :o  )


It is a bit different and something I don't plan to repeat. But the other week I heard someone going on about how it took 3 months for the deal to happen which was patently untrue. Although Amstrad did know Sinclair were in trouble (as did the rest of the world), it was that meeting in Hong Kong in mid March 1986 that set the ball rolling. deal was done in a little over 2 weeks.


Even the BBC the other day said Amstrad bought all of Sinclair. They didn't, it was just the name and the computers.


As I always say, it's down to us as a community to put the right info/message out there otherwise we get drowned out. It's like all the rumours especially in AA that Amstrad would drop the CPC. All complete rubbish but people believed it.
« Last Edit: 00:06, 13 April 16 by chinnyhill10 »
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Offline 1024MAK

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seriously, have you heard the AY output of a real +2?
Yes, the hardware people at Amstrad made a few errors with the +2 grey (one version board has three transistors inserted the wrong way around!), then on the +3 and some +2 black machines they messed up part of the audio circuitry. Was fixed on later +2B machines, and the rare +3B machines (well, rare in the UK).

Mark
Looking forward to summer in Somerset :-)

Offline sigh

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This is truly excellent Chinny.

The part about Sinclair not owning the programming on the chips must of made Sugar groan in frustration.

So - you made this video to clear up false info; that's good! Maybe if I make enough false claims about what happened to the Plus machines, I can force you to do a documentary on that! :P

Offline Zoe Robinson

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Maybe if I make enough false claims about what happened to the Plus machines, I can force you to do a documentary on that! :P


I heard that early Plus machines have "Chinny was here" etched into the ROMs and if you press certain keys in the right order, Lord Sugar will pop up on the screen and tell you you're fired.

Offline MaV

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Nice video!
I haven't read the book by David Thomas, so for me there's been quite a few insights into the story. :)

PS: I subscribed ... finally!
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Offline chinnyhill10

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This is truly excellent Chinny.

The part about Sinclair not owning the programming on the chips must of made Sugar groan in frustration.

So - you made this video to clear up false info; that's good! Maybe if I make enough false claims about what happened to the Plus machines, I can force you to do a documentary on that! :P


There will be a 464+ review at some stage. Want to get back to the 'normal' reviews first though. Speed King on Friday on 5 formats. That's what I enjoy doing. Stuff like the Sinclair video was born out the frustration of others getting a fascinating story wrong. If Amstrad really had taken 3 months to do the deal (the tipping point of me making this video when I heard that said) the story would probably be rather boring.
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Offline khaz

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Yes, the hardware people at Amstrad made a few errors with the +2 grey (one version board has three transistors inserted the wrong way around!), then on the +3 and some +2 black machines they messed up part of the audio circuitry. Was fixed on later +2B machines, and the rare +3B machines (well, rare in the UK).

Mark

Is it documented somewhere, so that +2 machines can be fixed?

Offline Dabz

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lol@Lord Sugar being told to "Leave the room" :D


Dabz

Offline 1024MAK

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Is it documented somewhere, so that +2 machines can be fixed?
Yes, a thread about the grey +2 on WoS here.

When I find the link, I will add it for the black +2 audio problems as well.

Mark
Looking forward to summer in Somerset :-)

Offline chinnyhill10

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Yes, a thread about the grey +2 on WoS here.

When I find the link, I will add it for the black +2 audio problems as well.

Mark


Alot of the AY systems have slightly odd audio. I find the CPC cleanest. The MSX has a slightly crunchy output and the ST seems to be slightly dynamically compressed compared to the CPC. You can often hear this on my videos where the CPC, MSX, Speccy and ST have the same tune. CPC is always the cleanest.
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Offline seanb

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Looking forward to watching this but before I do I have to check that this isn't another video made purely to bitch about Alan Sugar like some other "story of Amstrad" videos were.
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Offline 1024MAK

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Looking forward to watching this but before I do I have to check that this isn't another video made purely to bitch about Alan Sugar like some other "story of Amstrad" videos were.
It's not. Watch it NOW  :laugh:










<Back to serious mode>
Well recommended.
Mark



« Last Edit: 14:04, 13 April 16 by 1024MAK »
Looking forward to summer in Somerset :-)

Offline 1024MAK

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Alot of the AY systems have slightly odd audio. I find the CPC cleanest. The MSX has a slightly crunchy output and the ST seems to be slightly dynamically compressed compared to the CPC. You can often hear this on my videos where the CPC, MSX, Speccy and ST have the same tune. CPC is always the cleanest.
The Atari ST/STFM/STE may sound a little different, because it uses the Yamaha YM2149F. I don't know what the MSX uses. And of course, each different machine has different audio circuitry after the AY / YM chip...

In the Spectrum +2 machines, one of the problems is the relative audio levels between the AY chip and the sound from the ULA. Also the rubbish way that they add the audio to the UHF. Now some of these faults are carried over from the Spectrum+ 128k machine. But in the black +2A (some board versions only) and the +3 (but not the +3B), someone messed up again with the audio circuitry (badly biased transistor audio amplifier) these machines have really bad sound.

Mark
Looking forward to summer in Somerset :-)

Offline chinnyhill10

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Looking forward to watching this but before I do I have to check that this isn't another video made purely to bitch about Alan Sugar like some other "story of Amstrad" videos were.


Lets just say a certain video made me so angry and was so hopelessly inaccurate and biased that I had to produce this one.........
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Offline chinnyhill10

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The Atari ST/STFM/STE may sound a little different, because it uses the Yamaha YM2149F. I don't know what the MSX uses. And of course, each different machine has different audio circuitry after the AY / YM chip...

In the Spectrum +2 machines, one of the problems is the relative audio levels between the AY chip and the sound from the ULA. Also the rubbish way that they add the audio to the UHF. Now some of these faults are carried over from the Spectrum+ 128k machine. But in the black +2A (some board versions only) and the +3 (but not the +3B), someone messed up again with the audio circuitry (badly biased transistor audio amplifier) these machines have really bad sound.

Mark


I wonder with the Speccy if they didn't always put the best people on the job. I know they had good people on the grey +2 but it was knocked together so quickly. I wonder if the cost downs were done in the Far East or if it was a manufacturing screw up by Orion. We all know the 464 had prototypes made, but there would have been no time for the +2 and perhaps they didn't bother for the cost down +2a and +3.


The likes of Commodore and Atari had hundreds of engineers. Amstrad had a very small team working on several products at once (all the computers + all the other lines they did). Arguably it was lack of testing that lead to the PC2000 fiasco because surely those problems should have been caught before it went to market. I know the courts say it wasn't Amstrads fault but it is astonishing to think it was the public was caught the problems and not Amstrad.
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Offline 1024MAK

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Right, there are various mods for the correction of the black +2A and +3 sound, here are some links:-

Video [youtube]http://youtu.be/nl_mg9hpoEw[/youtube]

ZX Net, modify to the &quot;B&quot; spec
ZX Net, modify to the "B" spec

Another way...
Includes link to above site
And another!


Other issues and fixes (for the Spectrum+128k, +2 grey, +2 black and +3 (Download PDF)

Mark
Looking forward to summer in Somerset :-)

Offline seanb

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I'll have to do that fix
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Offline seanb

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Finally watched it and loved it.
I see it has 1 dislike.


Hope that's not sour grapes from a certain someone.
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Offline dodogildo

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Very good documentary. Nice editing.

Offline chinnyhill10

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Finally watched it and loved it.
I see it has 1 dislike.


Hope that's not sour grapes from a certain someone.


As ever, the single down vote came from Germany. Same pattern with many CPC videos I do. 40% of all downvotes on the channel seem to come from Germany and only on CPC based videos.

It matters not. Youtube prefers any engagement over no engagement. That's why those music videos that have millions of down votes still get pushed on the sidebar. They are doing me a favour.
« Last Edit: 11:57, 16 April 16 by chinnyhill10 »
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Offline EgoTrip

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As ever, the single down vote came from Germany. Same pattern with many CPC videos I do. 40% of all downvotes on the channel seem to come from Germany and only on CPC based videos.

It matters not. Youtube prefers any engagement over no engagement. That's why those music videos that have millions of down votes still get pushed on the sidebar. They are doing me a favour.

That's strange. Must be a glitch in YouTube or something, as I have a few videos with a single German downvote. Can't possibly think what else would cause that.
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Offline Gryzor

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Offline Vyper68

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Re: ChinnyVision: The True Story Of How Amstrad Bought Sinclair
« Reply #24 on: 10:48, 15 January 18 »
Yes, the hardware people at Amstrad made a few errors with the +2 grey (one version board has three transistors inserted the wrong way around!), then on the +3 and some +2 black machines they messed up part of the audio circuitry. Was fixed on later +2B machines, and the rare +3B machines (well, rare in the UK).

Mark

I can second that my +2B sounds OK compared to a 464 - I have seen videos of +2A's & +3's where the sound is horrendous. I remember at the time there was some comment about +2A's having audio issues but i had no idea they were as bad as that. Back then i was quite happy with my 128K Toastrack and RF Output on a B & W portable.
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