Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

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

Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Cloudschatze » 2017-10-24 @ 19:20

Okay. Regarding the abrupt notes, is all playback affected similarly, or just the playback of certain MIDI files? If the latter, can you provide one of the problematic sequences? Can you describe your setup a bit further, with respect to the MIDI interface being used, and connection(s) to the SC-55?
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-24 @ 19:32

Cloudschatze wrote:Okay. Regarding the abrupt notes, is all playback affected similarly, or just the playback of certain MIDI files? If the latter, can you provide one of the problematic sequences?

When I play the RuneScape MIDI files, some of the instruments, like the French Horn, only plays for a split second. When playing the files using the Microsoft's GS/GM Synth, it works, same with the Yamaha TG100. That, and when there's an unknown rhythm, it doesn't have anything for the rhythm channel (Reggae.mid) until I manually change it, or when the waves play in the Last Wave (OutRun) MIDI file, it takes a while for the wave noise to start (and when the note gets released and starts up again, it doesn't want to play nice).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby keropi » 2017-10-24 @ 19:41

Firstrun70 wrote:Does anybody have 4 pictures from 1st and 4th messages of this topic? They are not available.
[...]


fixed :cool:
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-24 @ 19:49

As for RuneScape, those MIDIs are most likely GM2 or XG, as it's a game from 2001. Why it works on the TG-100? Well, no idea, but I noticed myself that the TG-100 plays XG pretty well, even though it's no XG device. Maybe Yamaha already had features implemented that later became XG.

Check the attached MIDI for example. It's a showcase song from Yamaha for XG, but sounds brilliant even on the TG-100.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby yawetaG » 2017-10-25 @ 05:27

That's because the General MIDI TG range directly predates the XG standard (as opposed to the older, more high end TG modules that were module versions of real synthesizer keyboards, like the TG-33, TG-55, TG-77).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Cloudschatze » 2017-10-25 @ 21:46

bjwil1991 wrote:When I play the RuneScape MIDI files, some of the instruments, like the French Horn, only plays for a split second. When playing the files using the Microsoft's GS/GM Synth, it works, same with the Yamaha TG100. That, and when there's an unknown rhythm, it doesn't have anything for the rhythm channel (Reggae.mid) until I manually change it, or when the waves play in the Last Wave (OutRun) MIDI file, it takes a while for the wave noise to start (and when the note gets released and starts up again, it doesn't want to play nice).

Well, the good news is that, based on at least two of the three examples given, your SC-55 seems to be behaving exactly as designed.

As derSammler mentioned, RuneScape is ~10-years newer than the SC-55. Its music definitely doesn't seem to have been composed or optimized with a 24-voice polyphony limitation in mind, resulting in the premature note cutoffs you've experienced when voice-prioritization/stealing occurs. I would suggest that a single SC-55 is a poor candidate for the playback of music from this game.

Regarding "reggae.mid," and assuming you're referring to the 1991-dated, Voyetra Technologies sequence, Program Change 127 is sent on Channel 10 to select the drum set. This is not a valid selection on the SC-55, and results in - yes - silence, where the SC-55mkII-based (and later) architectures will simply use the last valid drum set selection instead. It's apparent that Program Change 128, selecting the CM-64/32L drum set, was the original intent.

I haven't looked into the OutRun example. I'd need you to post, or post a link to, that specific sequence. I suspect it's yet another example of a more modern arrangement, having a polyphony burden that exceeds the SC-55's capabilities.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-26 @ 06:47

Cloudschatze wrote:Its music definitely doesn't seem to have been composed or optimized with a 24-voice polyphony limitation in mind, resulting in the premature note cutoffs you've experienced when voice-prioritization/stealing occurs.

Good point. Didn't think of the 24-voice polyphony limitation. The TG-100 can do 28 (like the SC-55 Mk. II), so this might explain it.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2017-10-26 @ 12:53

Cloudschatze wrote:
keropi wrote:1.20->1.21 seems possible - let's see what happens when you get it :)

This will absolutely work. Stefan_L dumped the v1.21 control ROM, which can be used for this purpose.


When upgrading the SC-55 control ROM, compatibility needs to be maintained between its major and minor version, and that of the CPU ROM.

In other words:

CPU ROM v1.00 is only compatible with a v1.0x control ROM (only 1.00 exists)
CPU ROM v1.10 is only compatible with a v1.1x control ROM (only 1.10 exists)
CPU ROM v1.20 is only compatible with a v1.2x control ROM
CPU ROM v2.00 is only compatible with a v2.0x control ROM

Roland used to provide an upgrade path that included replacement of the CPU, in conjunction with an associated control ROM, but alas, these parts are no longer available for them to do so.

Today I finally found the motivation to exchange the Control ROM chips of my SC-55 units. My main unit (very good cosmetic condition) had version 1.20, the backup unit (a little banged up on the outside) had version 1.21. I pulled the chips from the socket of each unit and exchanged them. Powering on the main unit showed no issues, and checking the system version (send unit to standby, hold both INSTRUMENT buttons and push both MIDI CH buttons) shows now version 1.21. So, upgrading version 1.20 to 1.21 works like already stated, physically verified by me ;)
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1: E4700 2.6|512MB|P5PE-VM|Voodoo5|SB0240|UM-1>UM-550>CM-32L+SC-55
2: P3-S 1.4|512MB|D815EEA2|Voodoo5+Voodoo5 6000|SB0350
3: P4 3.4EE|4GB|P4C800-E|FX 5900 Ultra+Ti4600|SB0466
4: X5470 3.33|8GB|P5Q-E|GTX 580 3G|SB0886
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-12-05 @ 04:59

Cloudschatze wrote:As derSammler mentioned, RuneScape is ~10-years newer than the SC-55. Its music definitely doesn't seem to have been composed or optimized with a 24-voice polyphony limitation in mind, resulting in the premature note cutoffs you've experienced when voice-prioritization/stealing occurs. I would suggest that a single SC-55 is a poor candidate for the playback of music from this game.
I tested it again, and noticed it. Also, the ROM version is 1.20 (120120118), and I have no idea where I can find version 1.21 chips for the unit to upgrade it. Is the version 1.21 used in the GM/GS version of the Roland SC-55, or is it version 2.0?
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-6-23 @ 05:47

Upgraded the ROM to version 1.21, and the RuneScape music is still not playing right.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby derSammler » 2018-6-23 @ 10:37

Of course not. The ROM version 1.21 doesn't remove any of the SC-55's limitations.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby tpowell.ca » 2018-6-23 @ 19:23

Only an SC-55 mkII and up has more than 24 voices, although 28 is still very limited and doesn't seem to help much.
An SC-55 with ROM v1.20, 1.21, and even 2.00 is still a mkI and thus still has the 24 voice limit, but they do contain the full GS/GM instrument sets.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-6-23 @ 19:36

tpowell.ca wrote:Only an SC-55 mkII and up has more than 24 voices, although 28 is still very limited and doesn't seem to help much.
An SC-55 with ROM v1.20, 1.21, and even 2.00 is still a mkI and thus still has the 24 voice limit, but they do contain the full GS/GM instrument sets.

Good to know. Thanks.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby yawetaG » 2019-5-12 @ 11:44

Guess I'll post my JV-35 info here. SC-55 Mk.II-based, GM/GS logo, supposedly no MT32 mode (but the manual can be inaccurate), has Breath Noise and its variation. Has some additional features over the SC-55 Mk.II, including the ability to play two different drum sets at once and to play them on multiple MIDI channels. JV-compatible via expansion board.

Entering Test Mode shows "Ver1.01 93/12/17". Should I pop the cover to see what chips it uses to see where it fits?

I'd also like to test playback of reference files.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby zarkon » 2019-5-15 @ 16:43

Cloudschatze wrote:Here's some version information that I'd been tracking for the SC-55 and its variants, inclusive of units belonging to myself, Keropi, and Great Hierophant. You'll notice that version 2.00 SC-55s exist with faceplates both lacking, and having, a General MIDI logo. The version dates for the 1.00 - 1.20 SC-55s are also something of an oddity, being both uncharacteristically close to each other, and (in some cases) unrealistically disparate from the dates-of-manufacture.

Image

Fun fact: The SC-55 and JV-80 synthesizers both use the same custom PCM core IC, where it provides 24-voices of polyphony in the former, yet 28-voices in the latter.


To add to this, I have a SC55 with a serial starting CD which is 1.20. I guess DD is the only one that had 1.21 (though for anyone reading this and trying to figure out which one to buy, if it's purely for games there's no difference between 1.20 & 1.21).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Salient » 2019-5-15 @ 19:52

I also have an SC-55 with the GS/GM front plate with firmware 2.00. I will look up the serial number, can't see that easily now.
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