shmups.system11.org

Shmups Forum
 
* FAQ    * Search
 * Register  * Login 
It is currently Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:44 am View unanswered posts
View active topics



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:05 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 97
Location: TX
When I play an adventure with SCUMMvm, I always have it configured to send the music out to my USB MIDI interface as General MIDI to my SoundCanvas (a Roland SC-880) to be rendered outboard. I get a far superior soundtrack this way. The comparison to the built-in software synthesizer is night and day. Sam and Max is a great first game to test this on; it has such a great jazz soundtrack from the first moment.

I was wondering if anyone else still used real computer music modules for their old PC and Macintosh games, and what hardware they favored. I'm a big fan of the SC-880. It fits in my 19 inch rack and it sounds fantastic, supporting GS extensions and even MT32 emulation. This particular member of the SoundCanvas family is capable of 64 simultaneous voices on 32 simultaneous instruments/channels. It has two independent MIDI implementations to make this possible. I also like to connect this module to my nice physical MIDI controller keyboard just for playing. The sounds are diverse and rich, and the on-board effects engine is quite robust. Check the links for a taste:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9QrzZ4gd5M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-veKI4Feus

and another video for if you have no idea what I am talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVq4rSEjgnA


I was considering doing a whole write-up on the topic of 'Computer Music' and its present relevance to our hobby. This is how to get the best possible music quality out of DOS games, and I'm all about getting the best. Is anyone interested? I don't want to spend so much effort if there is no interest. The video above is okay, but I don't like videos, I like to read, and I could make a very good webpage on the topic. I want to take things deeper.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:30 pm 



Joined: 23 Sep 2020
Posts: 28
I have a DB60XG installed on my Vortex II. Does a decent job with GM and the occasional XG track.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:16 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2016
Posts: 1905
I prefer a genuine Sound Blaster/Adlib MIDI sound, myself. Although, there are lots of people that are very excited about DOS sound.

Here's a cool thread at abandonia:
http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?t=33813
_________________
We apologise for the inconvenience


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:27 pm 



Joined: 02 Mar 2017
Posts: 1170
In my mind the problem with chasing all this accuracy is it easily gets kinda crazy. You would literally need like 10+ different MIDI boxes and/or sound cards to really get everything 'as the game developers and/or composers meant it to be' as they commonly used many different devices for composition and playback over the years.

When researching all this I turned to the people on Vogon's retro computing forum where they turned out to be very fanatical about this. There you are literally a noob if you *only* have 2 or 3 (usually ISA) sound cards and/or MIDI-type devices hooked up to your retro PC as that's simply not enough to accurately get the sound for all these games lol... (they're really not that bad - Vogons people are actually awesome but they do go to extravagant lengths like I'm talking about above).

For myself personally (who only wanted to go down the rabbit whole a small, but decent depth) I settled on a DreamBlaster S2 and X2 add-on cards (which does GM/SC-55 mkII type stuff beautifully) which plug into my ESS ES1869F (or 68) ISA sound cards, then a real external MT-32 for those earlier games since the SC-55/88Pro(basically your 880) can't quite do the older MT-32 non-general MIDI stuff properly (plus I got it for super cheap on Craigslist ;). Still might pickup a SC-55 mkII simply because I think it looks retro and cool ;)


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:45 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 97
Location: TX
SoundBlaster got good eventually, although later versions are very different sounding to earlier ones. Not all SoundBlasters are created equally, although the same is true for GM modules. Still, I think that the higher end GM modules from Yamaha and Roland are the pinnacle of this sort. SB gets a bonus for the usually built-in MIDI/Joystick port, and real FM synthesis, Genesis-style. Oh, and that near-universal compatibility.
Good GM/GS/XG modules have a flavor more akin to the SNES or Squaresoft PSX music, but with more options/effects, and better DACs. Also they are not as ubiquitously supported.
I was thinking of making some recordings from my module and posting them uncompressed for comparisons. I would love to A/B some of these great tracks. Are you able to record audio? I do not have a real SoundBlaster at the moment.

Qjkxbmwvz, your card should be pretty good from what little I can read about it. I would love to hear its output.

Dochartaigh, I really do not care about accuracy, just quality (when it comes to computer games and their music). I have been very interested in the Dreamblaster, and the modern OPL implementations that I have seen, but I don't want to keep an old 586 just for games. I have too much stuff for my small space already, and I do like my consoles and synthesizers. I actually prefer old adventures in SCUMMvm anyway, and it makes GM/GS easy. I just need to find out how to make it work in DOSBOX.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:47 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 2451
Location: Kentucky
So are there no software emulation options these days that don't require you to buy/hook up a MIDI processor and vintage sound card for decent instrumentation? Games play and look fine in say ScummVM, but if you want good audio for certain MIDI-based titles you have to have a lot of old equipment?


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:55 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 12488
Location: Germany
Quote:
So are there no software emulation options these days that don't require you to buy/hook up a MIDI processor and vintage sound card for decent instrumentation?

I experimented with this a few years ago. Followed a video YT videos and basically built an external mini-PC with all the midi emulators on it. This way I hook it up like an external midi box to all kinds of hardware, but the unit itself was running the midi emus. Works great. 99% of the original quality, since the all the sounds for the emus are sampled from original midi modules, are based on official roland VST plug-ins or are based on the original rom files from the midi modules.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:05 am 


User avatar

Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 97
Location: TX
bobrocks95 wrote:
So are there no software emulation options these days that don't require you to buy/hook up a MIDI processor and vintage sound card for decent instrumentation? Games play and look fine in say ScummVM, but if you want good audio for certain MIDI-based titles you have to have a lot of old equipment?


There are, but I prefer hardware for a few reasons, one of which being that it is more accessible for when I want to play keyboards or use Reason. It is easier to interface with classic hardware and professional audio gear. I am a recording engineer by trade, so I have a decent rack full of dynamics processors, mic pres, and time-based effects units that I can integrate into my gaming setup thanks to it's outboard nature. Keep in mind that GM/GS were premium solutions, and no games require them.

Fluidsynth is what SCUMMvm uses by default, and it is not terrible. There is an official virtual version of the SoundCanvas series by Roland, and it sounds great. I have heard that it is not very stable, though, and I think it needs a VST host. Soundblaster was an internal solution, and it worked quite well, especially the AWE32 cards which are based on the E-MU Proteus series.

If you like your audio, you can keep your audio. You may, however, want to explore the higher-end experiences available.

Fudoh's approach is certainly one way to do it, and it makes the software configuration aspect simpler when going the virtual route for sure . Just keep in mind, if going this way, that there are many, many General MIDI and GS capable virtual synthesizers available. I wouldn't tie myself down to just Roland or Yamaha's offerings. The world of virtual synthesis (VST, AU, Reason) is quite vast, and undoubtedly a better sounding (but less "faithful") offering exists.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:30 am 


User avatar

Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 2398
Location: Montréal, Canada
If it's just Yamaha XG, that's pretty easy. Yamaha S-YXG50 has been packaged into a portable VST DLL, which you can load on a modern 64-bit Windows 10 machine using a VST midi driver (and selected with CoolSoft MIDIMapper). It takes just a few minutes to configure and any game designed for XG will sound great with it.

You can find the VST file and instructions here: https://veg.by/en/projects/syxg50/

And the VST driver (that lets you use a VST plugin as a Windows midi synth) is a dead link and can be found here: https://mega.nz/file/EcBVGYbB#WC8a4pQLR ... hpKmv9mMZs

And the CoolSoft MIDI mapper can be found here: https://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/midimapper

All in all it just takes a few minutes to set up. Then you can use it from games that support GM or XG, or from DosBox, or whatever. Or from MIDI players if you want to play MIDI files.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:33 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Lol, I own:
CM-64
CM-500
SN-U110-07
SN-U110-10
SC-55MkII
SC-88Pro
SY22
TG100
MU2000EX
PLG100-SG
PLG150-AN
PLG150-DR
SG01k
GZ-50M
NS5R
Pocket Studio 5
Dreamblaster X2

If you're into MIDI, Sharp X68000 is the absolute king.
MSX MIDI-PAC2 is also a ton of fun to play with. SG01k gets my vote for best addition when you get bored of Roland/Yamaha. It's a beast that sounds like nothing else.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:13 am 



Joined: 23 Sep 2020
Posts: 28
Dochartaigh wrote:
...they do go to extravagant lengths...


Whereas we would never do that. We only mod TVs, collect obscure monitors, and desolder processors to interpose custom boards between them and consoles' motherboards.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:12 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 16 Jun 2020
Posts: 80
bobrocks95 wrote:
So are there no software emulation options these days that don't require you to buy/hook up a MIDI processor and vintage sound card for decent instrumentation?


There's Munt for MT-32 and Roland's own SoundCanvas VA for SC-55/88 emulation.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:47 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 2398
Location: Montréal, Canada
And see my prior post for software emulation of XG cards on modern machines.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:49 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Testing out the Buran sound bank for Dreamblaster with Ghouls'n Ghosts.
Beautiful sound!
https://youtu.be/1hoFB7cndu8


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:34 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 119
Location: Manchester, UK
My Windows 98/Dos retro laptop (Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300) has an XG midi Yamaha YMF744B-R built into it. Great for general midi and also has a real OPL3 as a bonus.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:10 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Super Street Fighter 2 on DreamBlaster:
https://youtu.be/tgQ3p_uREpc


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:23 pm 



Joined: 07 Feb 2013
Posts: 288
I'm using SC88 and Cm64 with my MSX & X68K. There's supposedly some FMT midi support as well.
I don't know if I am using the SC88 correctly as most games supported SC55 and I don't know if I am actually using the proper SC55 instruments on my SC88 or not. Do any of you know if I have to do something for this?
Soundtracks sound absolutely massive with the midi modules. Games which don't support the midi modules have to fight for channels when SFX are being played, making for example drums or bass line removed while the sfx is played making the music somewhat annoying to listen to. Sometimes I prefer the built-in soundchip (yamaha) over the midi soundtracks.
But I really love using in both of my midi modules at the same time and tuning in the perfect volumes when using both at same time. Plus selecting the correct midi-option for each game.
You have to select in game options: Standard, midi-MT32, midi-CM32 or midi-SC55 in the games.

For ScummVM IMO they should allow for using WAV/MP3 music soundtracks which can be of someone prerecording their midi modules for all songs. Would be very cool, but repeating songs can be troublesome.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:37 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Elrinth wrote:
I'm using SC88 and Cm64 with my MSX & X68K. There's supposedly some FMT midi support as well.
I don't know if I am using the SC88 correctly as most games supported SC55 and I don't know if I am actually using the proper SC55 instruments on my SC88 or not. Do any of you know if I have to do something for this?
Soundtracks sound absolutely massive with the midi modules. Games which don't support the midi modules have to fight for channels when SFX are being played, making for example drums or bass line removed while the sfx is played making the music somewhat annoying to listen to. Sometimes I prefer the built-in soundchip (yamaha) over the midi soundtracks.
But I really love using in both of my midi modules at the same time and tuning in the perfect volumes when using both at same time. Plus selecting the correct midi-option for each game.
You have to select in game options: Standard, midi-MT32, midi-CM32 or midi-SC55 in the games.

For ScummVM IMO they should allow for using WAV/MP3 music soundtracks which can be of someone prerecording their midi modules for all songs. Would be very cool, but repeating songs can be troublesome.


Just push the SC-55 Map button on the 88 front panel to make it sound identical to a 55MkII. Be aware though MkII does have some minor differences from an original 55, but most people would never notice.

For FM Towns:
Genocide Squared: Contains a full remake of Genocide 1 (best version of the game by far) and Genocide 2 (missing parallax from x68k version oddly enough). This version adds SC-55 option for both games, where on X68K Genocide 1 was FM only and Genocide 2 was MT-32.

J. B. Harold Murder Club DX: SC-55 support, also full English text. Best version of the game.

Xak III: Supports SC-55 or CM-64. Interestingly enough the CM-64 version was directly recorded as redbook audio for the PCEngine version. SC-55 version is exclusive though.

Illusion City: MT-32 like the other versions, though I feel the FM is superior.

There are also a bunch of Western DOS ports like Stronghold and the Lord of the Rings games, but they only support Serial MIDI, while the above games all use internal I/O interface boards. There are several different I/O boards, including one with a built in SC-55 daughter board so no module is required.


Last edited by SuperDeadite on Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:00 am 



Joined: 07 Feb 2013
Posts: 288
I dont think there is such a button on the SC88VL. But I'm guessing somewhere in the manual maybe there is information how to reset to SC55 instruments.

Very cool information there about Genocide on the FMT etc!


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:30 am 


User avatar

Joined: 25 May 2014
Posts: 634
Elrinth wrote:
For ScummVM IMO they should allow for using WAV/MP3 music soundtracks which can be of someone prerecording their midi modules for all songs.

That can become quite complicated for some games with dynamic music, for example Monkey Island 2: In Woodtick in the beginning of the game, the music seamlessly transitions between different variations depending on the location you're in. It can also transition into multiple endings of a theme so it can always end it no matter how long the player took to navigate through a dialogue tree and IIRC some animations are linked to the music so they are always accompanied by the correct sting.
_________________
GCVideo releases: https://github.com/ikorb/gcvideo/releases


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:30 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Elrinth wrote:
I dont think there is such a button on the SC88VL. But I'm guessing somewhere in the manual maybe there is information how to reset to SC55 instruments.

Very cool information there about Genocide on the FMT etc!


Oh you have the 88VL. In that case you probably have to setup the unit by sysex. Not to hard, but a bit annoying for game use. Normal 88 and Pro have buttons to make such changes instant.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:12 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2015
Posts: 61
Location: Toronto, Canada
Elrinth wrote:
I dont think there is such a button on the SC88VL. But I'm guessing somewhere in the manual maybe there is information how to reset to SC55 instruments.

Very cool information there about Genocide on the FMT etc!


There is a "SC-55 Map" button on mine ...? I guess there are some variants of the SC-88VL without?

Image


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:41 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
That's what I thought, even the ST models (no screen) have the button afaik. Be aware though there is both map mode and compatibility mode (which is a special button combination). Map mode only changes the instrument banks, compatibility mode makes an 88 act just like a 55mk2 would.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:19 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2015
Posts: 61
Location: Toronto, Canada
Ah, that's good to know! I knew that the "map" button had limitations, but did not know about the SC55mk2 compatibility mode. Very cool, thanks! :)

EDIT: I do not believe the SC-88VL specifically has this compatibility mode actually. I see the function description referenced in the SC-88 Pro's manual on page 113, but it is not referenced in the SC-88VL's manual at all (or if it is, it's called something completely different or I just derped and cannot find it, heh).

The button combo equivalents that works for other functions, like the CM-64 sound map, which is [SELECT] + [INSTRUMENT <] on the Pro but is [POWER On] + [INSTRUMENT <] on the VL (because the VL does not have a "Select" button at all) works for every mode except the compatibility mode. Oh well.


Last edited by Gered on Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:44 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
Was feeling experimental, so here's the DreamBlaster X2 connected to the MSX MIDI-PAC2 using the game Undeadline. MIDI-PAC2 is a device that intercepts MSX PSG and FM data and then generates and outputs a MIDI file in real time. Allowing the user to have MIDI music in games that have no MIDI support at all.
https://youtu.be/ziaivtfnpIk

Gered wrote:
Ah, that's good to know! I knew that the "map" button had limitations, but did not know about the SC55mk2 compatibility mode. Very cool, thanks! :)


I only have the 88Pro myself, so not certain on the lower end models but anyways:

Switch modes:

Hold SELECT and press "Part >" = GM mode
Hold SELECT and press "Instrument <" = CM-64 mode
Hold SELECT and press "Instrument >" = GS mode

(ALL = yes, MUTE = no)

Factory reset:

Hold SELECT and press "Instrument <" and "Instrument >" at the same time

(ALL = yes, MUTE = no)

Switching patches:

First of all, since most people don't seem to know that, just pressing "SC-55 Map" or "SC-88 Map" does not change GM patches! It only changes the mapping of the additional instruments in native mode. For GM playback, this is completely irrelevant. The only difference you may hear is due to capital tone fallback, which is affected by this.

To change GM patches and make the SC-88 Pro sound exactly like the SC-55 or SC-88, you must first enter compatibility mode:

Hold SELECT and press ALL; ALL will be blinking indicating compatibility mode

Now you can use the "SC-55 Map" and "SC-88 Map" buttons to make the SC-88 Pro sound like a SC-55 Mk.II or SC-88.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:47 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2015
Posts: 61
Location: Toronto, Canada
Ah, sorry yeah we were writing posts at the same time, haha. I just edited my post above. The compatibility mode is on the 88 Pro, but not the VL apparently. Oh well!


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:20 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
And finally MSX Valis 2, using MIDI-PAC to convert the FM tunes to MIDI for the DreamBlaster as usual,
however I've kept it's world famous PSG drums intact. Really happy with this one. This will be the last
DreamBlaster vid for awhile unless I get some requests. I have a new toy coming in this week though :)

https://youtu.be/iX6qWfVznbI


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:18 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 587
So what am I going to be able to do with my new SC-88 arriving next week??


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:45 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 711
That would depend on what hardware you have. For modern PC use you will need some kind of MIDI interface that supports your OS, and the cables needed to hook everything together.

With an 88 you can play just about any MIDI written for GM or GS.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Who still uses Computer Music? -GM/GS/XG...
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:16 am 



Joined: 07 Feb 2013
Posts: 288
Ok, so I need to invest in a SC88 Pro then... Damnit. I went for the 88VL as it's much thinner and I need the space in my already crammed area.
Wish I never sold my SC55 :P
Image

Ps I saw your video on the Dreamblaster and that smaller chip which you wrote had really bad midi. :) I was wondering, in which module did you install the Dreamblaster?


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], peterwright1234 and 11 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Space Pilot 3K template by Jakob Persson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group