Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

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

Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-13 @ 12:29

I believe it won't do that, as long as you use a system that's not past a Pentium or faster. I used the card in my K6-2/300 system with success (NHL Hockey 95 refused to work with the MT-32), and it's in my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus, and every game works with it. There are certain games that are speed sensitive that can cause an Exc. Checksum Error message and either missing notes or no music. I found out the hard way, so my solution was to use Microsoft's debug command to make cache control programs to disable cache for certain games (Police Quest 1 VGA, 2-3, Space Quest 3, Codename: Iceman, Earl Weaver's Baseball II, Civilization, NHL Hockey 95, Secret of Monkey Island, and so on) and enable the cache for other games, like Doom, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, and the list goes on.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Scali » 2018-3-13 @ 12:44

bjwil1991 wrote:I believe it won't do that, as long as you use a system that's not past a Pentium or faster. I used the card in my K6-2/300 system with success (NHL Hockey 95 refused to work with the MT-32), and it's in my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus, and every game works with it. There are certain games that are speed sensitive that can cause an Exc. Checksum Error message and either missing notes or no music. I found out the hard way, so my solution was to use Microsoft's debug command to make cache control programs to disable cache for certain games (Police Quest 1 VGA, 2-3, Space Quest 3, Codename: Iceman, Earl Weaver's Baseball II, Civilization, NHL Hockey 95, Secret of Monkey Island, and so on) and enable the cache for other games, like Doom, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, and the list goes on.


Do you know if this is specific to the Music Quest card, or if a real MPU-401 has the same issues in fast machines?
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby keropi » 2018-3-13 @ 13:31

^ It's the same with all MPUs - I have tested LAPC-I , MPU-IPC-T , MPU401-AT , SCC-1 , MIDIMAN MM-401 ... they all do that in faster systems (and they are all affected from ACPI if you don't disable it in certain "intelligent mode" games like Gateway for example - just something else to keep in mind)

It's the game drivers to blame... maybe someone will come up with patches for them - and IMHO that's the preferred solution.
You can mess with the firmware and add a delay toggle or something BUT that always has the chance to break something else. Given that this design is proven to be working 100% with the latest firmware I don't think it's the best idea to spend time with the firmware when instead one can patch the drivers so all MPUs under the sun can be benefited.

IF someone has the proven skill and is willing to produce driver patches for the problematic games I would be more than happy to donate an MPU for this.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-13 @ 14:15

Scali wrote:
bjwil1991 wrote:I believe it won't do that, as long as you use a system that's not past a Pentium or faster. I used the card in my K6-2/300 system with success (NHL Hockey 95 refused to work with the MT-32), and it's in my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus, and every game works with it. There are certain games that are speed sensitive that can cause an Exc. Checksum Error message and either missing notes or no music. I found out the hard way, so my solution was to use Microsoft's debug command to make cache control programs to disable cache for certain games (Police Quest 1 VGA, 2-3, Space Quest 3, Codename: Iceman, Earl Weaver's Baseball II, Civilization, NHL Hockey 95, Secret of Monkey Island, and so on) and enable the cache for other games, like Doom, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, and the list goes on.


Do you know if this is specific to the Music Quest card, or if a real MPU-401 has the same issues in fast machines?

Every MPU-401 card, including clones are all affected by this. As keropi stated, it has to deal with the ACPI that's causing the issue for certain intelligent mode games. UART games aren't affected at all, such as Doom.

keropi wrote:It's the game drivers to blame...

That's true. I was planning on making patches for drivers, but I believe there's a program out there to fix the bugs for those sound drivers (MT-32 and/or GM) for certain games. I remember trying to play Gateway using SoftMPU and DOSBox, and only 1 song played out of the 3 when walking around, and found out that there was a bug in the MPU 401 code. So, I switched the code around, saved a patched version, built the program with another name, and Gateway was playing every song without anymore issues. My next future plan would be to build a driver for Windows 9x for SoftMPU, but that requires proper planning and coding.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Scali » 2018-3-13 @ 18:08

Yea, if the real MPU-401 also has the same problems, it must be in the games.
They probably use a spinlock to wait for the DRR bit or something, and a fast CPU exhausts the maximum number of iterations before the card can respond.

I agree, this should be fixed in software, not in hardware.

bjwil1991 wrote:My next future plan would be to build a driver for Windows 9x for SoftMPU, but that requires proper planning and coding.


What do you mean with 'driver for Windows 9x'?
Windows has its own MIDI mapper API, which abstracts the hardware away, so there's no need to emulate a full MPU-401 anyway.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-13 @ 18:13

Some games don't detect the MT-32 with the external MIDI driver that Windows uses. When I attempted to play Frederik Pohl's Gateway in Windows 9x, it gave me an error saying the MT-32 isn't detected on IRQ X at port 330.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Burrito78 » 2018-3-13 @ 19:41

OK, thanks guys. Just what i expected.

What about the second part of my question:
Burrito78 wrote:...so i would still need the MPU card + SoftMPU in this case. Is this correct and would that work together as expected?


Anyway, Midi Quest Clone is a GREAT project. I‘m already in line (i hope) (on Amibay) to get one!!
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-13 @ 20:10

Burrito78 wrote:OK, thanks guys. Just what i expected.

What about the second part of my question:
Burrito78 wrote:...so i would still need the MPU card + SoftMPU in this case. Is this correct and would that work together as expected?


Anyway, Midi Quest Clone is a GREAT project. I‘m already in line (i hope) (on Amibay) to get one!!

You can use SoftMPU with a real MPU-401 card as well. It can also prevent the buffer overflow from showing up (or push master volume and Part 4 buttons on the MT-32) by adding this parameter: /DELAYSYSEX

Example:
Code: Select all
softmpu /irq:2 /sb:220 /mpu:330 /delaysysex
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Burrito78 » 2018-3-13 @ 22:17

Thanks again. Exactly my line of thought using the /DELAYSYSEX parameter.

or push master volume and Part 4 buttons on the MT-32


Can you elaborate what you meant here?
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-14 @ 12:19

It's the overflow assign to prevent the MT-32 (old) from getting the Exc. Buffer Overflow message. Using the /DELAYSYSEX parameter is better.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Cloudschatze » 2018-3-14 @ 15:11

bjwil1991 wrote:It's the overflow assign to prevent the MT-32 (old) from getting the Exc. Buffer Overflow message.

Overflow Assign is an operating mode of the MT-32 wherewith the partial assigner directs note data exceeding 32 partials, along with a copy of all SysEx and control data, to the MIDI Out port. This is an alternative to the normal operating behavior involving partial stealing and part priority, and effectively doubles the polyphony in a dual MT-32 setup (caveat emptor). Its use is unrelated to, and will not prevent, the "Exc. Buffer Overflow" error messages that correspond to an overflow of the MT-32's MIDI input FIFO buffer.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Burrito78 » 2018-3-15 @ 08:26

Great info! Thanks!!
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby KoenigUnhold » 2018-3-23 @ 09:53

@keropi: I bought two clone cards from the first batch. They work great and I'm very satisfied with them. However, the bracket wasn't made of stainless steel like in the newest batch. Would it be possible to just buy two new brackets from you? As far as I can see, you didn't change the location of the Sub-D9 connector, so they should still fit.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby keropi » 2018-3-23 @ 10:19

^ the brackets are indeed stainless steel on the old batch - it is just painted because the process to eliminate sharp edges made it look ugly...
PM me your address and I'll send you 2 of the new ones if you still want them , the DB9 port is in the same exact place :cool:
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby KoenigUnhold » 2018-3-23 @ 13:46

Thank you very much for your offer. Unfortunately, I'm currently not able to send PMs here on vogons. Don't know why. I contacted marmes over at Amibay.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-23 @ 13:49

I believe you need to do at least 10 posts on here in order to send PMs on here. Amibay and others have that restriction as well.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby keropi » 2018-3-23 @ 14:38

KoenigUnhold wrote:Thank you very much for your offer. Unfortunately, I'm currently not able to send PMs here on vogons. Don't know why. I contacted marmes over at Amibay.


Send me a PM at AmiBay - you'll find me with the same username :cool:
I have the brackets atm , I haven't send them yet to marmes
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby Cadderlik » 2018-3-27 @ 10:27

Greetings from Poland

Last week I've tested card hard :) I mean - Heart of China, Monkey Island, Police Quest - it sounds great in 100 %. Thank You very much.

One question, maybe You know - if I hanged range in my SB32 on 300 (clone has 330), is it still possible to play music with SB without changing configuration in ctcu? I suppose I have to add option to choose in startup menu in dos with parameters set on 300? Am I right?
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby keropi » 2018-3-27 @ 10:57

excellent!

Yes, just make sure SB32 uses port300 and you can use both interfaces without issues! I do the same with a SB16 but this one has jumpers - I have no experience with CTCU but if you tell it to use port300 you'll be good to go.
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Re: Music Quest MPU clone cards, anyone interested in them?

Postby cricket » 2018-4-03 @ 07:13

Greetings from Speyer

I am really despreately seeking MPU-401 cards for my PCs.
Is it still possible to get one of the clone cards?
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