VOGONS


The Roland CM-500 GS/LA Sound Module

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Reply 20 of 38, by HunterZ

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robertmo: Thanks for the tip. As I mentioned, I was actually able to get it to run at 22.7msec for a while, but eventually it froze and I had to reboot. I connected it through MIDI-Yoke/MIDI-OX and had to raise the latency to 68.0msec to get it to sound good. I guess that's not too bad considering the default is 453.5msec!

I've been using it to play the DOS CD-ROM version of X-Wing in DOSBox. It's been too long (15 years?) since I heard that game on my cousin's SCC-1 to remember if it's as good.

Reply 21 of 38, by tbcarey

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Congratulations on your purchase! Sounds like the market for sound modules must be in a demanding place at the moment, though. I got an SC-88 Pro for $55 on ebay last summer. No defects whatsoever, brand new and unused; only problem was that it was missing a power supply, but a quick trip to Radio Shack did the job. 😀

Reply 22 of 38, by HunterZ

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tbcarey: Yeah you must be right. MT-32's are going for around $50 give or take, and any SC synths are going for the $200+ range.

Won an MT-32 on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem … item=7334187100

Unfortunately it was my second choice, and only includes the unit and power supply. I was trying for a much cooler deal on the 4th that came with all the original manuals and software as well, but was hanging out at a friend-of-a-friend's BBQ and missed the auction by 2 minutes. Not too big a deal though, as I already downloaded manuals for the MT-32 and SC-88 from Roland's web site.

There's a CM-64 up for auction ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem … item=7334377211 ), but I think the CM series look incredibly boring with their beige, displayless boxes, and I'd prolly get no use out of the included CA-30. Probably not really worth the $100 ($75+shipping of $25) he's asking for a starting price either (at least, not for the CM-64 by itself).

The SC-88 supposedly shipped a day or two ago, so I'm hoping it gets here before the weekend. Payment for the MT-32 hasn't even been accepted yet, so I don't expect to get it until sometime next week at the earliest.

Off-topic: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem … item=8202318947

Reply 23 of 38, by Alkarion

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A friend of mine bought an MT-32 in 2003 for me while he was in the US. It came with all the stuff, but he didn't care to bring along the original box. I also bought an MPU-401 but it was a PS/2 card or something like this and I couldn't use it. So I had to plug the MT-32 in my Win XP machine. That meant I had to use Dosbox which I wanted anyway but back then Wing Commander 2 didn't run under Dosbox. (WC 2 would've run if I had only known about the loadfix workaround (WC2 wouldn't run with maximal convential memory))

Later I got a CM-64 for the incredible price of 40$. I like the CM-64 because it's much less noisy which is good for recordings. The MT-32 has a noticeable background hiss while the CM-64 has crystal clear sound.

Reply 25 of 38, by SuperDeadite

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For LA synth games use Position B (CM-64 simulation) mode. For GM or GS use Position C (CM-300) mode.

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, Dreamblaster X2, McFly

Reply 27 of 38, by Cloudschatze

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I'm partial to Mode A, which treats the CM-500 as a MIDI-chained CM-300 + CM-32L(N) pairing. This mode allows for 'switching' via software means, wherewith the desired synth can be transparently selected as part of the batch file routine for a given game.

Reply 28 of 38, by Retroit

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I recently got my MT-32 (old) and CM-64 modules, but no floppy with software for them. Could somebody share images / copies of original Roland floppies for this modules here on vogons? Also I'm looking for DOS editor for Korg NX5R/NS5R. Thank in advice for a help

Reply 29 of 38, by newtmonkey

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I have a CM-500 but it seems to have a strange hanging note issue that is not caused by my MIDI interface (tried both an AWE32 and PCMIDI card—both my MT32 and SC55 work fine on both of these FYI). I notice it most often when I play Wing Commander 1, where if my ship gets damaged (causing a loud sound) the game will then continue to play what sounds like a high-pitched horn instrument until I exit from the game.

I know that some games (mostly older Sierra games) require that certain channels be turned off or you get garbage notes playing. Maybe that might resolve it. Has anyone else encountered this?

Reply 30 of 38, by Retroit

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newtmonkey wrote on 2021-08-03, 15:13:

I have a CM-500 but it seems to have a strange hanging note issue that is not caused by my MIDI interface (tried both an AWE32 and PCMIDI card—both my MT32 and SC55 work fine on both of these FYI). I notice it most often when I play Wing Commander 1, where if my ship gets damaged (causing a loud sound) the game will then continue to play what sounds like a high-pitched horn instrument until I exit from the game.

I know that some games (mostly older Sierra games) require that certain channels be turned off or you get garbage notes playing. Maybe that might resolve it. Has anyone else encountered this?

You can check CM-500 buy connecting it to the another computer with DosBox or ScamVM and test how games play MIDI. It also could be a bad capacistors in the sound module or card. I can't check this as mine CM-500 is still in delivery

Reply 31 of 38, by carlostex

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Cloudschatze wrote on 2021-07-30, 19:39:

I'm partial to Mode A, which treats the CM-500 as a MIDI-chained CM-300 + CM-32L(N) pairing. This mode allows for 'switching' via software means, wherewith the desired synth can be transparently selected as part of the batch file routine for a given game.

Wow, i wasn't aware of this! I'm not too bothered by the faster vibrato on the LA part, so this is genuinely a nice solution!

Reply 32 of 38, by newtmonkey

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Retroit wrote on 2021-08-03, 15:19:

You can check CM-500 buy connecting it to the another computer with DosBox or ScamVM and test how games play MIDI. It also could be a bad capacistors in the sound module or card. I can't check this as mine CM-500 is still in delivery

Thanks! I checked and it does the same thing with dosbox running on my Windows PC. That narrows it down a bit, so it's either an issue with the extra channels that play on the CM-500 (as with some of the earlier Sierra games) or an issue with my CM-500 in particular. I'll open it up one of these days (soon) and check the caps for leaking, etc.

Reply 33 of 38, by Retroit

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newtmonkey wrote on 2021-08-12, 16:05:
Retroit wrote on 2021-08-03, 15:19:

You can check CM-500 buy connecting it to the another computer with DosBox or ScamVM and test how games play MIDI. It also could be a bad capacistors in the sound module or card. I can't check this as mine CM-500 is still in delivery

Thanks! I checked and it does the same thing with dosbox running on my Windows PC. That narrows it down a bit, so it's either an issue with the extra channels that play on the CM-500 (as with some of the earlier Sierra games) or an issue with my CM-500 in particular. I'll open it up one of these days (soon) and check the caps for leaking, etc.

I forgot to to mention about USB to MIDI cables if you use one. If it cheap, try an original Roland UM1-MKII cable. The same with MIDI cable for Game port connection. Check this options before doing any changes inside CM-500. Also I found that some sound modules also have a hanging bug in case when you play midi file from midi player and stop it in the some point before it finished. I found this effect on Roland SC-88VL and CM-64 (I have to recheck this). I suspect that hanging note bug is mostly program issue rather than hardware. As turning note off is responsibility of developer or musician.

Reply 34 of 38, by Spikey

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"That narrows it down a bit, so it's either an issue with the extra channels that play on the CM-500 (as with some of the earlier Sierra games)"

Just to explain this, the reason this "bug" occurs is that 16-channel MIDI wasn't really a thing in 1988-1991, so Sierra composers put Adlib, PC Speaker and other conversions on 1 and 11-16, channels that the MT-32 doesn't have (2-10 only). So having those channels on means you hear duplicate and incorrect music in addition to the correct parts.

Doubtful that this is the case here, but I haven't played the WC games.

Reply 35 of 38, by newtmonkey

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Spikey wrote on 2021-08-18, 11:38:

Just to explain this, the reason this "bug" occurs is that 16-channel MIDI wasn't really a thing in 1988-1991, so Sierra composers put Adlib, PC Speaker and other conversions on 1 and 11-16, channels that the MT-32 doesn't have (2-10 only). So having those channels on means you hear duplicate and incorrect music in addition to the correct parts.

Doubtful that this is the case here, but I haven't played the WC games.

That's interesting, thanks for the information. I am thinking it's pretty likely that my CM-500 is dying/defective, which is sad, but I have an MT-32 and SC-55 so it's not the end of the world.

Reply 36 of 38, by newtmonkey

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I've been doing some testing with my CM-500 on an actual DOS machine (with PCMIDI card), and I am experiencing two issues specifically with Wing Commander (and so far, Wing Commander ONLY). I have my L1 and L2 caches disabled, so the game is running at the correct speed. I don't get any of these issues when I use my MT-32. Wing Commander was installed from original floppies.

  1. The sound effects are wrong (guns produce a ringing sound)
  2. I experience a note hanging issue, where suddenly a droning horn like sound starts playing, and from that point never stops

(1) can be remedied, strangely, by running SoftMPU before running the game
(2) requires that I power cycle the CM-500 to end the droning, but then of course all the instruments are wrong after doing so

The same issues occur with the CM-500 when playing WC in dosbox AND PCEMU on my Windows 10 PC (connected with Roland UMONE MIDI-USB cable).

I checked the CM-500 for leaky caps, but it looks extremely clean inside. I also got a replacement genuine power supply from Roland, just to be sure. I haven't had any issues with any other games (yet) on the CM-500, so I'm wondering if this is a weird incompatibility with Wing Commander and the CM-500 (or the specific version of the CM-500 I'm using).

Reply 37 of 38, by newtmonkey

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As a follow-up to my post above:

[EDIT] I spoke too soon! This hanging note issue has suddenly been occurring frequently in pretty much any game I've tried, whether in mode B or mode C. It seemed to get worse and worse as time went one, occurring more quickly and more frequently the more I played. It even began occurring in Doom, which I remember running fine on my CM-500 previously. Sadly, I think my CM-500 is just failing. I'll miss those CM sounds in Ultima Underworld and Might & Magic III/IV 😭

I spent a hour or so randomly playing games, some in mode B and others in mode C, and the only game that gave me trouble is Wing Commander. There has got to be strange incompatibility with that specific game and my specific CM-500. Really bizarre.

I've replaced my SC-55mkii with the CM-500 for the time being. I also have my MT-32 hooked up as well. This way, I have access to three Roland synths at any time depending on the game:

Games composed for MT-32: Actual MT-32
Games that use the extra CM instruments: CM-500 mode C
Games composed for SC-55: CM-500 mode B

Although I was hoping I could replace both the MT-32 and SC55 with the CM-500 (really pressed for space), I guess I'm fine with this.