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 » 2016-9-27 @ 21:03

keropi wrote:
Cloudschatze wrote:[...]
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.


interesting, I suppose you sent them the unit to perform the upgrade then? AFAIK the cpu is not socketed

Yes, indeed. Either to Roland directly, or to an authorized service center.

sprcorreia wrote:208200203

Interesting. That makes it equivalent to the v2.00 SC-55s. GS-wise, at least. Any chance you can dump that control ROM?
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby auron » 2016-9-27 @ 22:17

here someone mentioned that the sc-55 sounds better than the sc-55mkii and later because these units allegedly switched to a powerpc-based softsynth: http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=5905.0

is there any truth to this?
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Cloudschatze » 2016-9-28 @ 02:18

auron wrote:here someone mentioned that the sc-55 sounds better than the sc-55mkii and later because these units allegedly switched to a powerpc-based softsynth: http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=5905.0

is there any truth to this?

There is a fair amount of misinformation in that thread, not the least of which is this amazing "soft-synth" notion.

The SC-55 is based on Roland's "GP" synth architecture, and uses a Toshiba-produced, TC24SC201AF custom PCM core. The SC-55mkII uses the (also Toshiba-produced) TC6116AF core, which is better-described in the JV-880 service notes as being a TC24SC201AF with integrated HG62E11B23FS gate array. Given the much-improved output stage of the SC-55mkII, it's my opinion that anyone suggesting that the SC-55 is the better-sounding of the two hasn't done an adequate comparison. The difference in clarity and soundstage is strikingly obvious to me.

Roland's follow-up "XP" synth architecture is based around the Fujitsu-produced, MBCS30109 custom PCM core, and is found in the SC-88, JV-1080, XP-variants, etc.

Concerning CPUs, the SC-55 and SC-55mkII use a 16-bit Hitachi H8/532, and the SC-88 uses a 16-bit Hitachi H8/510. It's the JV-1080 and XP-variants that use Hitachi's 32-bit SH7034, SuperH RISC Engine.

[Edit: Corrected my own misinformation]
Last edited by Cloudschatze on 2016-9-28 @ 12:52, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2016-11-02 @ 21:35

Just wanted to post here to give the firmware version of my SC55. I bought a like-new-in-box SC55 (GS only) from ShopGoodwill and it has the version 1.20 firmware, the number at the top of that screen is 120120118. Date is '91 , 06 / 04 15:42. Serial number is AD17841.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby EmperorsDynasty » 2017-1-14 @ 01:08

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.


If I buy a v1.20 unit... how do I update it to 1.21? I can't find any instructions on google... will it be the equivalent of flashing a bios, or mouse, etc? Does it go through the midi cables.. ?
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Jolaes76 » 2017-1-14 @ 06:49

You need to physically remove the chip. Put it in an EPROM burner and write it. When the original chip is non-writeable, you
must find an UV erasable equivalent or EEPROM.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby EmperorsDynasty » 2017-1-14 @ 08:49

Jolaes76 wrote:You need to physically remove the chip. Put it in an EPROM burner and write it. When the original chip is non-writeable, you
must find an UV erasable equivalent or EEPROM.






..............


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

Postby Jolaes76 » 2017-6-04 @ 13:37

Better late than never...
I finally got around to permanently upgrade my SC-55 from Control ROM v1.20 to v.1.21 - I tested it with a bunch of classic GM games, Works A-OK.
I did not have a 2 Mbit x 8 chip at hand, so I "sacrificed" a W27E040 [4 Mbit x 8] and copied the Stefan_L's v1.21 ROM dump onto it twice.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-6-06 @ 05:09

What did you gain for all that trouble? I'm curious as I have v1.20
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Jolaes76 » 2017-6-06 @ 06:28

Gain: I do not know yet, was just following the general wisdom in this thread.Apparently it must be one or two bugfixes, nothing major. Maybe comparing the two binaries would reveal them.
Trouble: it was easy enough, done in 15 min. tops :-) Initially I had thought that one needs to update each ROM. But stepping up from 1.20 to 1.21 requires only the control ROM update.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Firstrun70 » 2017-10-23 @ 09:44

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

Else another info about french SC-55 GS STANDART and 81, 122 tone.
Attachments
SC-55 GS STANDART_FR2.jpg
SC-55 GS STANDART_FR.jpg
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-24 @ 15:01

I have a Roland SC-55 (GS only, no GM) that's a PITA. First off, some of the instruments don't play very well (if there's a note holding for a few seconds, it only plays the note for a split second), second, when a MIDI file contains an unknown drum for the Rhythm channel, I have to manually select the type of rhythm. My Yamaha TG-100 works without issues with almost all of the GM files, except for the ones that use SFX in the files (like OutRun Last Wave), and doesn't sound appealing since the TG-100 uses the 12-bit PCM while the SC-55 uses the 16-bit PCM.

Also, it's hard to find a Roland SC-55 MK][ on eBay (prices are more than the parts I need for my car).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-24 @ 17:05

You can also buy an SC-7, which is basically an SC-55 Mk. II with GM only (no GS, no MT-32 patches), or an SC-88 (any version).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-24 @ 17:18

derSammler wrote:You can also buy an SC-7, which is basically an SC-55 Mk. II with GM only (no GS, no MT-32 patches), or an SC-88 (any version).

The SC-7 is hard to find, and the SC-88 costs way too much, even if they aren't working. And are overseas on top of it (shipping is more than the item price when shipping from overseas).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-24 @ 17:24

I payed 100€ for an SC-88 Pro and 63€ for an SC-7 lately, both in near mint condition. Not sure about the prices and availability of these in the US, but we are not talking about scarce items here. All you need is some patience maybe for the right item to turn up.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-24 @ 17:43

derSammler wrote:I payed 100€ for an SC-88 Pro and 63€ for an SC-7 lately, both in near mint condition. Not sure about the prices and availability of these in the US, but we are not talking about scarce items here. All you need is some patience maybe for the right item to turn up.

I'll be surprised if I find any of those at a thrift store, or a Yamaha MU50/MU80 cheap, even if they don't have the PSUs, I always have a spare. I purchased a Yamaha TG100 for $5 last year, it didn't have any cables or power brick, so I got a new universal power brick, a couple of MIDI cables, and it was all set. Or better yet: brand new in a box at a thrift store (I rarely see any new items, except for the Maxtor 60GB HDD, and CardPark by Adaptec that I purchased 3 days ago).
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby cyclone3d » 2017-10-24 @ 18:48

bjwil1991 wrote:
derSammler wrote:You can also buy an SC-7, which is basically an SC-55 Mk. II with GM only (no GS, no MT-32 patches), or an SC-88 (any version).

The SC-7 is hard to find, and the SC-88 costs way too much, even if they aren't working. And are overseas on top of it (shipping is more than the item price when shipping from overseas).


I lucked out on all 3 of my external modules. I didn't pay over $50 shipped for any of them on eBay from US sellers.
Just have to be patient and buy/bid accordingly.

1. SC-88VL
2. MT-100 (MT-32 + sequencer)
3. MT-200 (SC-55 + sequencer)

Not sure what other external modules I would ever need for games.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby Cloudschatze » 2017-10-24 @ 18:51

bjwil1991 wrote:I have a Roland SC-55 (GS only, no GM) that's a PITA. First off, some of the instruments don't play very well (if there's a note holding for a few seconds, it only plays the note for a split second), second, when a MIDI file contains an unknown drum for the Rhythm channel, I have to manually select the type of rhythm.

Are you looking for suggestions/advice?

Perform the factory reset procedure, if you haven't already. (Power-on while holding both INSTRUMENT buttons. "Init All, Sure?" should be displayed. Press ALL.)

Are you using MIDI IN 2 on the front of the unit? Use MIDI IN 1 on the rear instead.

... second, when a MIDI file contains an unknown drum for the Rhythm channel, I have to manually select the type of rhythm.

You must be trying to play a non-GM/GS MIDI file containing a non-zero Bank Select MSB message for the drum part? (An XG MIDI file, presumably?) If so, the Standard drum set is effectively the default; subsequent Program Change messages to change the drum set are essentially ignored/non-actionable. This behavior was altered in later Roland units (like the SC-55mkII), whereby receipt of a GM System On message disables Bank Select message reception.
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Re: Apparently not all GS-only sc-55s are the same, some are GM

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-24 @ 19:06

Cloudschatze wrote:
bjwil1991 wrote:I have a Roland SC-55 (GS only, no GM) that's a PITA. First off, some of the instruments don't play very well (if there's a note holding for a few seconds, it only plays the note for a split second), second, when a MIDI file contains an unknown drum for the Rhythm channel, I have to manually select the type of rhythm.

Are you looking for suggestions/advice?

Perform the factory reset procedure, if you haven't already. (Power-on while holding both INSTRUMENT buttons. "Init All, Sure?" should be displayed. Press ALL.)

Are you using MIDI IN 2 on the front of the unit? Use MIDI IN 1 on the rear instead.

... second, when a MIDI file contains an unknown drum for the Rhythm channel, I have to manually select the type of rhythm.

You must be trying to play a non-GM/GS MIDI file containing a non-zero Bank Select MSB message for the drum part? (An XG MIDI file, presumably?) If so, the Standard drum set is effectively the default; subsequent Program Change messages to change the drum set are essentially ignored/non-actionable. This behavior was altered in later Roland units (like the SC-55mkII), whereby receipt of a GM System On message disables Bank Select message reception.

I did a factory reset numerous of times with no success, and used the back MIDI in port.
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