Emulating Atari ST on a Macintosh

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In September '97 I finally replaced my Atari STFM with an Apple Macintosh 6360/160 PPC (the so-called "Multimedia Performa"). Sweet!

Over the years the Performa was upgraded with: Sonnet G3/400 CPU, to 136 MB RAM, 13 GB HD, Voodoo3 2000 Video card, Yamaha 400t CD-R, and (finally) a 24x CD-ROM. Towards the end running Mac OS 9.2.2. I got a good run with it until the seven year old 6360 started giving problems at the end of 2004.

Then I got an iMac 2GHz G5, 17", 160 Gb HD, 2 GB RAM, updated with OSX Leopard. (Nice, but no Classic environment.) In retrospect, I should've stuck with the original OSX Tiger on that machine.

Since April 2010 I have a iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 21", 4 GB RAM, running OSX Snow Leopard. (Some older PPC based software is broken, but most still runs in Rosetta.) I couldn't see any good reason to upgrade to OSX to Lion or Mountain Lion on this now-old machine.

But then, in late 2013 OSX Mavericks came on the scene as a free upgrade. Rosetta isn't supported so I lost the use all my PPC software. Apart from that, the newest OSX Sierra has been sweet since I upgraded to 8GB RAM!

I've enjoyed trying some of the Mac-based Atari ST emulators. You could ask why I bother?

One reason for using these is to salvage some old files from Atari and move them into a Macintosh environment.

Another reason is that some specialized music software written for old synthesizers never made it to newer computing platforms. For instance, what modern software can edit patches on a 1980's Casio CZ-1 synthesizer?

Emulators for Macintosh I know about are:

Downloads can be found at Tim's Atari World


Passport Master Tracks Pro 3.6

The freeware ST emulator NoSTalgia is a complete emulation, but doesn't access the Mac hardware (e.g. floppy drive - if you have one) so well.

The older Version 0.65 worked best for me on Mac OS 9.x. It was good to communicate using OMS over MIDI with my old Casio CZ-1. (The newer Version 1.42 works with Quicktime Music Instruments, but OMS is greyed out.)

Another cool thing to do is use Atari-based music patch software to edit the sounds of some synthesizers via MIDI. CZ Rider and CZ Android worked well with my old Casio CZ-1 and Mac OS 9.x/OMS on my old Performa 6360.

On OSX, Version 1.42 "sort-of" works. My main problem is MIDI is only output to Quicktime Instruments. I need to spend more time with it. I'm liking using monochrome settings for "serious" applications.

The new Version 1.52 for Mac OSX was released recently, with improvements. My only wish is for "real" MIDI in/out via OSX Core Audio.

This emulator is my favorite for music applications and some games. Unfortunately, the Mac's joysticks don't work with it, so you're stuck using the keypad for games.

A big plus is NoSTalgia can take screenshots.

NoSTalgia can access the Mac MIDI port using Quicktime, (or via OMS on OS 9.x), which is way-cool if you've got a heap of old sequencer files to work with. I was pleased the public release of Passport's Master Tracks Pro 3.6 works well. (On OSX the MIDI in/out seems broken.)

The DuST program for Macintosh is useful to convert ST floppies into disk images before loading. This is a very slow way to move files between the ST and Mac.

An easier way is to drag the HDD-C icon in the NoSTalgia Folder onto Mac OS 9's Disk Copy program. The File Exchange Extension must be enabled for this trick to work.

To make things easier, I keep an alias for Disk Copy in the Mac's NoSTalgia folder. Open the disk image, and swap files as normal on a Mac.

The trick is to drag all copies of the disk image to the trash before restarting NoSTalgia.

On OSX it is easy to just open the NoSTalgia HDD-C file with Apple's DiskimageMounter.app and do the same thing. Just double-click on the HD image to open it, then copy the downloaded ST file to the desired directory location.

Once again, NoSTalgia should not be running while doing this.


Aranym Desktop

ARanyM (Atari Running any Machine) is an Open Source project that can run Atari TOS/GEM on most modern computer hardware.

The latest MacAranym uses Emutos and hard disk images with FreeMINT, TERRADESK 3.86, XAAES, BOXKITE etc. to make a stable TOS system, along with some other free software packages. Maybe it's a bit like an Atari Falcon on my iMac?

I had a lot of trouble getting it to work at first. Something to do with the config file and hard drive setup was a puzzle. The docs refer mostly to a Linux setup.

During my holidays in early June 2012 I was able to use the Pack_3D to get a working installation on the iMac. (It worked first time for me.)

Games aren't working for me in the higher resolutions.

Neither is MIDI. (A common problem with emulators on OSX.)



The open source project Hatari is still under development. XQuartz is needed to run the latest version on OSX Mavericks. Also SDL.

It seems to be very compatible on OS X. So far I haven't been able to set up a HD.

It doesn't seem ready for music applications though. MIDI has basic output to external devices, but there's no input yet.

The latest version I've tried is Hatari 1.7.0a. It "goes", but I'd really like to get the HD working.


NoSTalgia running 
Magic 5 and GEMBENCH

The German language MagicMac 6 Demo works well on a PPC with Mac OS 9.x for about 15 minutes until it times out.

Since it's so old, it might be hard to locate a copy of this....

This extremely expensive commercial program is the one to get if you are into running Atari DTP or internet applications in emulated conditions. Maybe you've got some old Calamus DTP files to rescue?

The application lets you access the Mac fonts, floppy drive, and serial ports directly. Most serious applications run well, but not many games or MIDI applications.

I've set it up with NVDI and other AUTO and Control Panels to make one kick-ass emulated TOS machine!

On 18 January 1998 I connected to the WWW on my old Performa 6360 Mac using the MagicMac Demo and STING/CAB for my very first time! I thought that was quite an achievement, if somewhat pointless.

This internet software setup for Atari ST is described here.

Since MagicMac was a Classic application, I haven't tried this on my newer machines.

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Information provided by David Macpherson
Brisbane, Australia.