Roland MT-200

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-6-04 @ 04:23

So, I have an opportunity to get an MT-200 for what seems like a good price ($40 plus a couple hours of driving). I know this is more of a professional\recording oriented device, but would it work similarly to an SC55 or SC88 as far as vintage gaming is concerned? I see that they are GM and GS capable. The main thing they seem to be lacking would be audio inputs to mix sound from other devices, which my SC7 has (though only one is working on mine).

Anyone know how it would compare to one of the more "traditional" Roland devices?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby stamasd » 2016-6-04 @ 11:25

TBH I had never eard of the MT-200 until now, and information is scarce. Roland even doesn't list it in their archive: http://www.rolandus.com/support/manual_archive/

According to this it should have at least a SC equivalent inside, plus other goodies: https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-12503655.html

edit: found the manual http://www.manualslib.com/manual/694665 ... =11#manual
Seems like it would be equivalent to a SC-55 based on the numbers of voices, tones and drumsets.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-6-04 @ 13:56

Yeah, that's about as much as I could find on it as well.

I'm trying to decide if it'd be worth the time and money to drive that far to get it (about 2 1/2 hours of highway driving one way).

Basically, the main reasons I'm considering it are that it is GS capable (it has the GS logo on the front at least), where as my SC7 is only GM. I don't know if this matters much for games.

Also, if eBay is any indicator, these are worth quite a bit more than $40. One sold recently for over $200 AS IS untested.

I do have an interest in learning how to play the piano\keyboard and creating MIDI music at some point (I have some ideas for AGS games and would love to have authentic Roland music), but I don't know if this really does anything that couldn't be achieved by plugging my MT32 and SC7 into the Roland UM ONE I bought for my PC.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-6-10 @ 17:58

Well, I just wanted to post an update on the MT-200.

I went on my all day trip to pick up some items from a couple of classified ads, and one was the highly unusual and somewhat rare Roland MT-200. When I got it home, I cleaned it up and it looks to be in excellent physical condition. It did come with some nice cables and other misc things, but sadly no other Roland parts, or even the power brick. By some massively freaky coincidence, one of the other things I got on my trip down there was a box of old video games and systems from someone else. In it was a Sega Genesis 1 with a power brick that is exactly the same spec as the one that the MT-200 needed (9v, 1200ma, center negative, and the right size). Upon testing it, I see that the MT200 works PERFECTLY. The audio is clean and clear from both outputs, the volume slider has no noise at all when adjusting. It has some minor scrapes here and there but its basically as good as I'd expect to find something this old. It even had a floppy disk dated 1999 containing a neat track that someone wrote on the MT200.

After some fiddling and looking at the manual I got it to play music from my DOS computer and it sounds really nice!

I'll post some pictures of it later on. I plan on opening it to make sure the internals are okay before I do anything else with it.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby stamasd » 2016-6-10 @ 18:25

Congratulations, sounds like a great find.
I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-6-10 @ 18:38

Thanks! Yeah, it was totally worth the $40 and the time to get it.

EDIT: Actually, I think I'm wrong about my assessment of the battery below... I just tested the battery with a DMM (in circuit) and it is still reading 2.9v. Upon testing the unit again, it appears that it just doesn't save certain settings. Namely, the one that tells it to sync the timing with an external midi device (which I don't need for simple playback). Other settings seem to save! So I actually won't have to replace the battery just yet... thank goodness. :lol: How on earth do these things last so long? Is it possible that it was replaced already?

I did notice that it doesn't seem to be keeping its settings... which is understandable for a 25 year old piece of electronics. Upon opening it I see that it has a CR2450 battery in an orange wrapper of some kind... seemingly soldered in place! Is there any easy way to replace these? I have tons of CR2032s, and could probably steal a 2032 socket off of an old motherboard, but I doubt they attach the same way. Also, a CR2450 likely holds its charge for significantly longer and I'd rather not have to do this again in a few years... should I go with one of those instead? How would I attach it?

If anyone is familiar with these kinds of things, tips would be much appreciated.

Roland MT200 Internals 2016-06-10 008 (2560x1920).jpg


Here are some pictures of the internals. I forgot to take some of the outside before tearing into it though... heh.

https://goo.gl/photos/dbZEszLWH5DUiFwH6

Its interesting to note that it seems to have a standard PC floppy drive (34pins, jumpers, 4 pin power connector) but has no twist in the cable... presumably because there's only one drive..?

Also, the power button is... terrifying! It is connected to a 7 inch long black plastic stick that presses the button soldered to the back of the board. YIKES. I'm so afraid that I'll break it...

One other thing. The floppy drive definitely works, but it seems odd that the activity light is always on when the unit is turned on. It never goes out. I'm not sure if that's a problem or not, but I was always pretty diligent about not messing with floppy disks\drives when the light was on. I can't image that it requires you to turn it off to insert or remove the disk, because it would make it highly inconvenient if you did something and forgot to insert the disk and couldn't save your work.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-6-11 @ 00:06

Okay, I've uploaded more pictures to this gallery!

https://goo.gl/photos/dbZEszLWH5DUiFwH6

The other items in the picture were included in the box of stuff with the Roland... aside from the three CDROMs... those were $1 each from the same place. I figured I'd grab them since they were odd and cheap. The one thing I forgot to include in the pictures that was in the box was an amazingly old-school programmable Memorex CP8 universal remote with the manual. It has an LCD screen and can "record" signals from other remotes... and it looks like its from the 80s! Its like a Logitech Harmony, only 20-30 years older... I'll add pics of it later if I think of it. I'm pretty sure it was used to control some other equipment owned by the musicians that used the MT200.

After cleaning it up and removing the sticky velcro strips from the bottom (GooGone FTW!) I must say it's in wonderful condition.

Roland MT200 2016-06-10 008 (2560x1920).jpg


After reading through the manual I found online, it looks like the floppy disk light has a dim state and a bright state. When the drive is "ready" it is dim, when it is being accessed it is "bright". It's basically the same as any other floppy drive, except that its dim rather than off. Kind of strange, but at least I know there's nothing wrong with it. I'm honestly blown away by the lack of problems with this thing. It could be as much as 22 years old (the manual is dated 1994) and it works like new.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby keropi » 2016-6-11 @ 09:36

Regarding the battery question, yes it is possible to desolder the old one and put a socket in it's place. There is nothing special involved, just be careful to solder the socket with the correct polarity.
The CR2450 battery in the unit is a 3v lithium one with 620mAh capacity - nothing special just the solder version of it.
The CR2032 that you want to use will work fine but only has 225mAh capacity which means it will dry up sooner.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-10-02 @ 20:50

I've been tinkering with this thing a lot more recently and I've noticed that I'm getting some incorrect sounds when playing GM music through it. I'm testing with the Descent sound setup program, simply by hitting enter to start and stop the music test. My PC is a K6-2 500 and the MIDI data is coming through a Midiman MM401.

Basically, it sounds like reverb effects get stuck on some times, or the track will start with notes (the distorted guitar at the beginning) dragging on like they are being held too long or are STILL playing from the last time (even though the track has stopped and there's silence before it starts), or a long note will hang for the entire song. It seems to mostly do this when I stop and restart the track. I have a 3 way AV switch hooked up between the MT200, SC7 and MT32. I can flip through them back and forth (they are all getting the MIDI signal simultaneously) and only the MT200 has these problems. I have my midi devices daisy chained through the "THRU" ports as follows: Midiman MM401 -> MT200 -> MT32 -> SC7... so the MT200 also has the least amount of cabling\devices between it and the source and yet it is the only one to have these issues. It also doesn't go away if I disconnect the device from the MT200's THRU port.

It would seem that it HAS to be something specific to the device, as the problems are happening on it alone and aren't being passed on to the others. Turning it off and turning it back on fixes the problem... until it happens again, either by stopping and restarting a track, or if a certain note happens to get stuck playing.

I don't know if this is just a side effect of the device doing its own thing, intended for recording\remixing tracks, or if it is actually faulty.

I will say, this is a really cool device but I get the feeling it wasn't ever totally meant as a stand alone midi sequencer, attached to a computer. It is definitely more geared toward actually using it for recording, cutting and mixing tracks using the floppy drive.

I got it for a really good price and it seems to be worth quite a bit on eBay, but I'd probably trade it for a nice SC-88 or SC-55MKII. I am interested in composing music at some point, but I'm certainly going to be using modern MIDI software on my PC for that.

Has anyone ever experienced the GM playback problems I've mentioned above?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Rhuwyn » 2016-10-02 @ 22:38

stamasd wrote:Congratulations, sounds like a great find.



I just wanna say...I love your signature.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby stamasd » 2016-10-02 @ 23:20

Rhuwyn wrote:
stamasd wrote:Congratulations, sounds like a great find.



I just wanna say...I love your signature.


Thanks. Been using it on and off for the past 20 years.
I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-10-02 @ 23:52

Rhuwyn wrote:
stamasd wrote:Congratulations, sounds like a great find.



I just wanna say...I love your signature.

Holy crap... I was just thinking to myself "Come on... I was hoping for a reply to my thread!" ... and then I read the signature...

... that made my day! :lol: :blush: :happy:
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby stamasd » 2016-10-03 @ 00:36

Here's a real reply. You may be the only one here having one of those. Honestly I looked it up on ebay but the prices have turned me off. I hope I'm wrong though.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-10-03 @ 01:19

stamasd wrote:Here's a real reply. You may be the only one here having one of those. Honestly I looked it up on ebay but the prices have turned me off. I hope I'm wrong though.


Yeah, they seem quite rare... which is why I drove two hours to pick it up for $40, going only by a local classified ad.

I would like to be able to fix it.

Are there any problems that you guys have ever experienced with other Roland GM\GS modules that caused similar symptoms?

If it is something like bad capacitors etc., I'd certainly try to fix it myself... its the diagnosing that is way over my head.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-10-28 @ 03:03

Okay, I found something really important that doesn't appear to be in the manual for the MT-200.

http://www.bossus.com/support/knowledge_base/201957849

MT-200: Initializing - Restoring the Factory Settings
Tags: factory, mt-200
The following procedure will clear the internal memory and reload the factory settings:

Caution! All User information will be lost. Be sure to back up any information you wish to keep.

1. While holding REPEAT, SONG and PLAY, turn the MT-200 on. The display shows "T-1." Release the buttons.

2. Use the ROTARY dial or the FWD/BWD buttons to select "T-15."

3. Press PLAY.

4. Press REC. This will complete the Factory Reset.

Note: Never turn off the power during a Factory Reset. This may result in corrupted internal data and may prevent the power from being turned on again.


I've looked multiple times and found nothing about a factory setting menu in this thing's manual. It might be in there, but it isn't anywhere I'd expect it to be.

Sadly, resetting the device doesn't seem to fix the hanging notes. I did make a rather important discovery though. When playing plain old .mid files from a floppy disk (super cool by the way), playback seems fine. Some files don't seem to properly tell the MT200 what tempo to use, but aside from that, I can start and stop them with no hanging notes. It is apparently just a limitation of using the device connected to a computer and starting and stopping files abruptly. Its strange that the SC7 doesn't seem to be affected by this at all, but whatever... the MT200 is an incredibly complex device with a lot of functions that are way over my head. Its clearly intended for playing tracks a specific way, recording and editing.

It is really really awesome to play familiar MIDI tracks (like Doom E1M1), transpose the notes to raise and lower the pitch of the song, adjust tempo on the fly, change instruments and be able to play, pause and restart the song all on the device. All this seems to work great.

Also, in the factory menu there are 15 categories ranging from firmware version (T-1), clock settings, internal chip diagnostics, button, led and LCD diagnostics, to effect tests and the factory reset function (T-15). Factory reset does seem to work, but it doesn't seem to effect everything. The time and date stay the same. Astonishingly, the time and date on this device were very close... enough to be a difference in overseas time zones plus 5 minutes. The Firmware version is showing as "1.00 92/04/21". So, probably April 21 1992 firmware date. If this thing is that old and has kept the time and date for 24 years, that's pretty impressive. Also, all of the internal diagnostics check out OK.

While it is fun to use it to play MIDI files, I don't see myself just keeping it around for that purpose, as there are still some compatibility quirks with newer\sloppier .mid files that wouldn't exist when using a modern PC with a USB to MIDI interface connected to an SC55. Besides, I doubt I'll make use of the editing and recording functions myself.

Anyone know where I could go to find someone who may be interested in a nifty device like this? Its not something that I'd expect to be valuable in retro gaming circles... maybe a retro synth\recording site?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Cloudschatze » 2016-10-28 @ 06:41

It sounds like the version 1.00 firmware may include erroneous "All Notes Off" behavior. You might check with Roland to see what the last firmware release for the MT-200 is, and what issues were fixed in the various versions.

If that's not the case though, there are a few things to check (that you're probably already doing correctly):

Do you have the "PIANO SW" on the back of the unit set to "INT," and are you using the "MIDI(AUX)" input?

Can you check the following MIDI settings? (Since you've done the factory reset, these should be set to the "On" defaults.):

AUX IN AFT: On
AUX IN BEND: On
AUX IN CTRL: On
AUX IN PROG: On
AUX IN EXCL: On
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby yawetaG » 2017-2-22 @ 18:41

Some older Roland gear (mostly from the 1980s) apparently doesn't handle MIDI entirely correctly, which leads to certain MIDI commands being interpreted as something else by the unit, resulting in problems like you describe. The MT200 manual is available online, and it's likely additional information can be found by searching Google. There are various synthesiser-related websites out there, some with forums where you can get help.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-2-06 @ 04:27

I know this is a necro-bump and bad etiquette on my first official post. However, it was this thread coming up in Google at the top of my search on the elusive MT-200 that lead me here to register and provide some more information. I too just recently picked up an older MT-200 for the same amazing $40 price. Coupled with another $40 for a set of the Roland UMOne mk II usb - midi cables and I've been enjoying some pretty choice SC-55 like tunes. I've not had the hanging note issue that the OP mentioned, but the odd instrumentation does happen frequently. However, now when using it to play old DOS games or through ScummVM..etc. Pretty simple really, many MIDs don't contain the GM or GS init in them so you are frequently left with the instrumentation used in the channels on the last mid file coming over for the new one you are trying to play. So it is more prevalent when playing MIDs in windows. However, a few things I wanted to mention regarding mine:

Mine was semi working when I got it. I knew this going into it, but was lucky in that the fixes were simple. First was that the instrumentation was all out of whack when I first powered it up. Fixed this with the factory reset I found in this very thread! So thank you for that! Also, the floppy drive would light up, but never see a disk nor spin up when you put one into it. Discovered it was a bent pin on the floppy interface header on the main board. Reformed it into shape, cleaned up the read and write heads and good to go.

Now I see the original op mentioned play the Doom e1m1 mid file on his and it sounded great. Mine...would not do this. Mine is stricly only able to play midi type 0 files. So I've got some converters to fix that issue.

Another thing on mine is that I've no idea when it was made exactly. The serial number on it is #ZG15152. What I do know is that mine has a newer firmware. But unlike the OPs main firmware/OS chip mine had a hand written sticker over the chip. Mine currently contains firmware 2.01 dated 11-30-1994. It was missing a screw as well when I first opened it up, so I suspect this firmware was added to it since it doesn't have an official Roland sticker on the chip as the OPs does.

In the Ops pics he posted of his, he shows one screen showing a Midi 2-16 Out selection on it? I've not been able to find anything close to that in the menu structure of mine at all. Closest I found was when pressing the Midi button and using the alpha knob...the last option says Midi Out : 1ch and I can change this to say 1 - 16ch. But if I do that, I get no sound at all from it and it has to remain the 1ch mode. I also read as much in the manuals for this but they don't state what the 1 - 16 mode is actually for?

Anyway, once I found out that I had to use the Aux MIDI IN to get old games and emulators to see it, I've been enjoying the hell outta if. I also have an old SCB-55 that used to be attached to my SB-16 from about 1993 or so in a box somewhere and that old SB-16 currently sits in an old full size tower along side and LAPC-I board. I had issues getting both the SCB-55 and the LAPC-I to work in the same machine so in the end, I decided Wing Commander with MT-32 greatness was better LOL!

Anyway, I'm glad to have found this site and forums and hopefully I won't be a one post wonder. Would also love to know more about what is and isn't possible with something like these MT-200 units. There is another MT-120 available about 2 hours away but haven't the need for it, but wanted to mention it if anyone might be interested.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-2-27 @ 18:53

I've done a quick video on this tech before, but after my frustrations with lack of information on the web about this specific sound module, I thought I would do a small sieres of videos detailing more about it and what I've discovered in using it. Here is part 1 where I cover the basics on the functions or the modules various buttons and describe the uses of the ports along the back. Especially important is that I do a basic overview of the hidden diagnostic/test menu that is hiding within this module and I suspect others as well. This is Part 1 of what I predict will be a 3 part video series.

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/WmOLiu_6pIc
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-2-27 @ 21:35

I found documentation online about this unit. Is it a good one to have for GM/GS games? I'd like to have that unit for games (for my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus and another retro machine). Is there a KVM switch box that uses the 5-pin 180 degree DIN, and would it be possible to hook up multiple MIDI boxes (MT-32, MT-200, etc.) to the switch box, or is that a bad idea?
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