You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

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You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-24 @ 03:29

I just want to point out a few observations I have made:

Firstly - If you're using a Creative Sound Blaster and a Roland MT-32 the message "Internal error Stack Overflow System Halt" can often be traced back to your Midi Interface.

Secondly - It appears many sound cards handle Intelligent Mode MPU401 with games differently.

Some sound cards don't officially have intelligent mode as far as I know but will work fine.

Creative CT-1750 (SB16) connected to a Roland MT-32 has serious issues with some Intelligent Mode MPU401 games:

Ultima 7 THE BLACK GATE works perfectly.

The following games will NOT work:

Ultima 7 SERPENT ISLE
Monkey Island ( requires SoftMPU loaded )
Ultima Underworld (SoftMPU fail)
Ultima Underworld 2 (SoftMPU fail)

However if you connect a Yamaha YMF718 to a Roland MT-32 all the above games work perfectly except Monkey Island. SoftMPU does not support the yamaha YFM718.

An Issue with SoftMPU is that it requires EMM386.exe loaded and of course Ultima 7 Serpent Isle does not work with Emm386

Alternatively I have another 486 with a CT1600 Sound Blaster Pro 2 and CT1740 Sound Blaster 16 in the same system <- thanks to advice from Great Hierophant viewtopic.php?f=46&t=35374

The CT1740 working as the Roland MT-32 midi interface and CT1600 just for speech/sound.
This system will run perfectly with a Roland-MT32 selected as music and the SB PRO 2 selected for sound.
All games mentioned above work great on this system. There is no Stack Overflow issue so I guess that's specifically an issue with the CT1750

However when it comes to Sierra games ....basically all of them.... don't allow you to select the IRQ so I cant choose IRQ 7 for the sound blaster pro 2 speech

So I always get Music but no Sound.

My system with the 2 sound cards runs a lot of games properly but nothing sierra related.

It seems the only real solution is to get an MPU401 midi interface card and breakout box.

Im currently searching for any of these:

CMS CMS-401
CMS CMS-444

Midiman MM-401

Music Quest MQX-16(s)
Music Quest MQX-32(m)

Voyetra V-4000
Voyetra V-4001
Voyetra OP-4001
Voyetra V-22/24

Does anyone know anything about the Midiman Winman 1x1 card? Its claimed to be the cheapest midi interface but what about DOS support?
Last edited by rgart on 2013-7-25 @ 06:14, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-24 @ 08:47

Removed the SB16 CT-1750 from the DX2 66 system.

Tried a SB16 CT-2940 PNP and connected it to the Roland MT-32

Basically everything works great. Many programs require SoftMPU to be running.

SoftMPU works with the CT-2940 so that Ultima Underworld 1 + 2 work great.
Monkey Island works well but requires SoftMPU running.
Ultima 7 Part 1 + 2 both work fine without SoftMPU running.

I will note that the SB16 CT-2940 has a very clean signal. I didnt hear the speakers crack or pop once. Even in the Ultima Underworld 1 intro speech it was very clear.

Its just annoying to use a PNP device with dos and in a dx2-66

Ill now remove the SB16 CT-2940 and install a SB16 CT-1740....
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-24 @ 10:36

CT-1740 terrible with tons of cracks and pops.

Games tried:

Ultima Underworld 1
Ultima Underworld 2
Wing Commander 2
Ultma 7 Serpent Isle
Ultima 7 The bLack gate
Monkey Island
Day of the Tentacle

Now back using the CT-2940. Seems to work great. Does anyone know if there is a hanging note bug with this model? I have not heard it yet.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby 5u3 » 2013-7-24 @ 13:39

YMMV, but my CT2940 has such a massive problem with hanging notes, I use it to test if a game triggers the bug.
And BTW, only about a dozen games are known to suffer from the classic hanging note bug so far.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby Great Hierophant » 2013-7-24 @ 15:20

I think your CT-1750 may not be working properly, I don't recall any such problems with mine. Maybe you have a lousy DSP version. For sound output quality its not great, especially when all of those games support nothing better than a Sound Blaster Pro.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-25 @ 01:32

I have 2 x CT-1750 and both with DSP 4.05.

One of them has a Waveblaster 2 attached.

Both of them give me issues with Monkey Island, Serpent Isle and Ultima Underworld 1+2 when connected to the Roland MT-32

I would love to go back to using a Sound Blaster Pro 2 alongside a Sound Blaster 16 in the same comp but then I cant play Sierra titles with SB and MT32 selected in the install.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby Malik » 2013-7-25 @ 02:25

rgart wrote:I would love to go back to using a Sound Blaster Pro 2 alongside a Sound Blaster 16 in the same comp but then I cant play Sierra titles with SB and MT32 selected in the install.



If you've managed to install 2 creative ISA cards, :

Try creating a batch file, one for each card, containing the "SET BLASTER =..." settings and try loading the settings for one card and check with the Sierra title. Previously, some games used to check with the current set blaster settings to communicate with that card.

I'm having the said batch files to gain access to a particular card when using certain programs like mixerset, diagnose, etc. (My setup has a AWE64 Gold and a SB16 CT-1740 with Yamaha DB60XG wavetable board).

I simply named the batch files awe64.bat and sb16.bat. Each contains the set blaster and mixerset settings (and initializers for the awe64) for that card.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-25 @ 03:18

Great idea. Ill give it a go today.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby bjt » 2013-7-25 @ 09:58

I think others have also had issues with the CT1750's MPU interface:

Great Hierophant wrote:I have had some irritating issues with my Sound Blaster 16s' MIDI port and digital sound effects. Day of the Tentacle, Sam 'N Max, Gabriel Knight Sins of the Fathers and Wing Commander II all crash if I select Roland MT-32 (DOTT, WCII) or General MIDI (S&M, Gabriel) with digital voice/speech. SoftMPU is not required for the Sierra VGA or LucasArts games, but WCII refused to load with both MIDI and speech. Running the utility SBMPU401.EXE fixed these issues as it disables the MPU interrupt.


Re Serpent Isle and EMM386, this game doesn't need intelligent mode/SoftMPU.

rgart wrote:SoftMPU works with the CT-2940 so that Ultima Underworld 1 + 2 work great.
Monkey Island works well but requires SoftMPU running.


Bit confused here. None of those games need intelligent mode/SoftMPU. What happens without SoftMPU, just no music?.

List of games that require SoftMPU: https://github.com/bjt42/softmpu/wiki/Compatible-Games
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-25 @ 11:05

If I dont use softMPU on monkey Island. It sounds all fucked up.

Everytime I load it it sounds different. Midi messages wont even start untill I enter the pirate bar and then its seriously messed up

When I run softMPU and then "monkey v r" it sounds perfect.

Serpent Isle.... will give me Stack Overflow if I select Sound Blaster AND roland Mt-32 on the CT1750.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby bjt » 2013-7-25 @ 11:37

Believe the Monkey Island problem is a speed issue. I get the same thing on my P233 unless I disable L1+L2 cache.

Some games are just badly programmed and don't ask the MPU interface if it's ready before sending data. When SoftMPU is running, sending data takes longer so the hardware MPU interface doesn't fall behind.

Does Serpent Isle still mess up if you run the SBMPU401.EXE utility mentioned above first?
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-25 @ 13:19

I have found the Yamaha YMF718 to be a real blessing connected to the MT-32.
Its very compatible with everything.
Doesn't pop and crackle and also gives me adlib support.

thanks for the info, I downloaded a copy of SBMPU401 but Im reluctant to remove the yamaha from the system now and try SBMPU401.EXE :-P
It's on the todo list :)

The most important thing is the Yamaha runs all Ultima's without needing SoftMPU.

Still the Yamaha does require SoftMPU for monkey island to work properly.

Does the Yamaha YMF718 have a hanging note issue?
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby Great Hierophant » 2013-7-26 @ 03:23

The Yamaha cards are not known to have the classic hanging note issue.

I tried my CT-1750 DSP 4.05 in my 486DX2/66 and it worked fine with Ultima Underworld 1 & 2, Monkey Island (EGA version), Day of the Tentacle and Wing Commander 2 (without speech) with SoftMPU and Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle with just the standard interface. SBMPU401.EXE was loaded beforehand.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-26 @ 05:52

Yeah. it seems that was my problem.

With the CT-1750 I had to load SBMPU401 to stop serpent isle having a stack overflow.

thanks to everyone who commented!

Noisy card though :-P

Both Creative CT-1750 and Yamaha YMF-718 are really good cards for dos compatibility
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby bjt » 2013-7-26 @ 12:11

So is it fair to say you *can* have it all, with the right combination of hardware & software?

e.g. YMF718 + SoftMPU
CT2940 + SoftMPU
CT1750 + SBMPU401 + SoftMPU

The Yamaha and late SB16 cards in particular are very cheap and easy to find.
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby rgart » 2013-7-26 @ 12:15

Which card do you prefer bjt?

The CT1750 is nice and compatible but very noisy (constant crackle and pops)
Yamaha YMF718 gives adlib support, very little noise, clear speech, strange volumes, good compatibility but its not CREATIVE :)
CT2940 very little noise. very clear speech....hanging note bug, terrible high pitch alien noise when playing serpent isle.......

by the way. were you aware softmpu 0.51 worked with wing commander 2 intro speech?
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby bjt » 2013-7-26 @ 12:30

For a single-card solution it has to be the Yamaha. No hanging note bug, real OPL and low noise. You can even mount a wavetable DB on it, connector placement notwithstanding...

There are some Crystal cards with real OPL too, they might also be a good choice.

Such a shame that there's no one Creative card that fits the bill. Like you I like a real Sound Blaster, but they all have downsides.
Even the AWE64 Gold isn't perfect (fake OPL, no DB connector).

Right now I have a CT2940 and a YMF718 in the same machine. SB16 handles digital FX and FM music, YMF718 handles MIDI (XR385 daughterboard + external MT-32).
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby chrisNova777 » 2015-12-20 @ 13:42

rgart wrote:Does anyone know anything about the Midiman Winman 1x1 card? Its claimed to be the cheapest midi interface but what about DOS support?


did u ever find out any more info about the winman?
i have the winman4x4/s in my 486
works great in windows 3.11
has no dos driver i dont think

is there any hacks to make this card accessible in dos?
like running windows 3.1 then dropping to a dos prompt?

im gonna guess no because of hte lack of a dos driver mentioned anywhere
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby dr.zeissler » 2016-5-07 @ 10:52

Is there a non Soundblaster but nearly 100% compatible ISA-Soundcard that has full SB-Pro Stereo compatibility and no hanging notes and therefore 100% softmpu compatible?
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
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Re: You cant have it all - Intelligent Mode MPU401 + SOFTMPU

Postby badmojo » 2016-5-09 @ 05:05

dr.zeissler wrote:Is there a non Soundblaster but nearly 100% compatible ISA-Soundcard that has full SB-Pro Stereo compatibility and no hanging notes and therefore 100% softmpu compatible?


The OPLSAx cards seem to be a popular candidate, and I've had good results with ESS Audiodrives.
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