Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

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

Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby kode54 » 2017-5-19 @ 00:18

The VST MIDI Driver requires read/write permissions for wherever you have your VST instruments. If you can't write the configuration files, it will probably fail to save settings. Likely if they are located under Program Files.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-19 @ 01:09

kode54 wrote:The VST MIDI Driver requires read/write permissions for wherever you have your VST instruments. If you can't write the configuration files, it will probably fail to save settings. Likely if they are located under Program Files.

Actually, mine were originally located on a secondary HDD (separate from the OS SSD). I moved it around a bit to experiment but couldn't get the VST MIDI Driver to save configuration no matter what I tried. It also still does not reflect any activity when MIDI is playing, although it does actually work. I just can't change any options or see activity.

Just for reference I'm on 64-bit Windows 10 Pro
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby kode54 » 2017-5-19 @ 01:11

It has no effect on playing MIDI because the editor is a separate instance from whatever is loaded into your application(s). Each application also has its own instance of the plugin.

If you want one global instance with live monitoring, talk the Coolsoft guys into adding VSTi support to their driver/app, as they seem to have a good solution for that already.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Falcosoft » 2017-5-19 @ 06:02

Let me introduce you another possible method
FSMP + DOSBox hot swapping virtual Midi devices using SysEx messages:
https://youtu.be/6CdJ7sEt8UM

Phil has already described what prerequisites are required in another topic:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=53855

Besides the above written you should do the following:
1. Download and start FSMP.
2. Configure it according to what output/plugins/etc. you want (Soundfonts, VSTi etc.).
3. Choose Main menu-> Storage of settings -> Configuration Presets and save your configuartion with a 3 digit numeric postfix. (Make sure you select the right Midi input before saving presets.)
More info: http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=48207&start=280#p572504
4. Send the appropriate SysEx before launching your game.

I have made a zip package that includes the used DOS SysEx sendeing program + Presets + example batch file.
mdf40+FSMP_Presets.zip
(30.37 KiB) Downloaded 135 times
Last edited by Falcosoft on 2017-5-19 @ 13:06, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-19 @ 06:14

Falcosoft wrote:Let me introduce you another possible method
FSMP + DOSBox hot swapping virtual Midi devices using SysEx messages:
https://youtu.be/6CdJ7sEt8UM

Phil has already described what prerequisites are required in another topic:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=53855

Besides the above written you should do the following:
1. Download and start FSMP.
2. Configure it according to what output/plugins/etc. you want (Soundfonts, VSTi etc.)
3. Choose Main menu-> Storage of settings -> Configuration Presets and save your configuartion with a 3 digit numeric postfix.
More info: http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=48207&start=280#p572504
4. Send the appropriate SysEx before launching your game.

I have made a zip package that includes the used DOS SysEx sendeing program + Presets + example batch file.
mdf40+FSMP_Presets.zip

Sounds interesting - I will look into this.

Does this facilitate the following:

1. That FSMP will only be running while a game is running? E.g., FSMP will open when a game is ran and close when dosbox is closed, so that a manual reset of the synth would be unnecessary in the case of stuck midi notes. Perhaps this must be done with a batch file or something similar?

2. That FSMP will start minimized and run in the system tray so that the user only sees the FSMP interface if they want to?
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Falcosoft » 2017-5-19 @ 06:38

1. Hanging notes are not a problem. Send a dummy configuration change SysEx when the game quits. (But an Exit SysEx can also be added if necessary). It cannot close when DosBox terminates since there is no some mysterious connection between the two programs. Only a virtual midi cable.
2. No. It can only be minimized by user interaction.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-20 @ 07:00

I've been playing around with Sound Canvas VA a bit, and I have ran into a strange problem.

In King's Quest VI, I get an incorrect sound when opening/closing the box (buried under the piece of driftwood) at the beginning of the game.

Here's a video that demonstrates the issue. What's going on?
Last edited by lukeman3000 on 2017-5-20 @ 07:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby MAN-biker » 2017-5-20 @ 07:19

lukeman3000 wrote:I've been playing around with Sound Canvas VA a bit, and I have ran into a strange problem.
In King's Quest VI, I get an incorrect sound when opening/closing the box (buried under the piece of driftwood) at the beginning of the game.
Here's a video that demonstrates the issue. What's going on?

In this video:
1. I don't see any boxes.
2. I don't see the game use SCVA at all.
3. I don't hear any strange sounds.
...facepalm...

In any case, i prefer to use MT-32 emulator (MUNT) for MT-32 supported games (all SIERRA games sounds great with MT-32).
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-20 @ 07:25

MAN-biker wrote:
lukeman3000 wrote:I've been playing around with Sound Canvas VA a bit, and I have ran into a strange problem.
In King's Quest VI, I get an incorrect sound when opening/closing the box (buried under the piece of driftwood) at the beginning of the game.
Here's a video that demonstrates the issue. What's going on?

In this video:
1. I don't see any boxes.
2. I don't see the game use SCVA at all.
3. I don't hear any strange sounds.
...facepalm...

In any case, i prefer to use MT-32 emulator (MUNT) for MT-32 supported games (all SIERRA games sounds great with MT-32).

Oops - uploaded the wrong video. Try the link again.

At any rate, I think it figured out what it was. I think the problem occurred when applying a midi patch after using Collector's installer (which may or may not have already installed said patch). Maybe I applied it incorrectly or some conflict was caused.. who knows. But, it sounds much better without applying the midi patch.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Falcosoft » 2017-5-20 @ 07:50

Maybe it's a Capital Tone Fallback problem. I do not know, I have not tried this game. But there's a list with games known to be CTF problematic and KQ6 is on it.
FSMP has a built-in mitigation logic against CTF problems, you can give it a try. James-F evangelized this feature in this very topic:
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=46111&p=502660&hilit=CTF#p502660
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby MAN-biker » 2017-5-20 @ 07:56

I'm SURE it's a MT-32|GM incorrect selection.
What a device setup:
1 - in game setup,
2 - in DOSBox config,
3 - synth you a use.
In DoSBox you should setup GM
In Game you MUST use GM too
Use SCVA

Or if you use MT-32 midis in game? you must setup in game MT-32, setup midi in DOSBox as MT-32 too and put MT-32 ROMs to DOSBox folder (you should use SVN build of DOSBox). In this case you don't need SCVA at all, but game's music and effects should be great.
Sorry for my broken English.

There are some patches for Sierra's games which add support for GM instead of MT-32.
In any case you MUST understand what you are using - GM or MT-32!
SCVA = GM/GS, but NOT MT-32!

And try to run the game in SCUMM VM instead of DOSBox, it's a better way to play.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Falcosoft » 2017-5-20 @ 08:09

If you use SAVIHost anyway, you can test if it's really a GM/MT-32 problem more easily without changing DOSBOX config. Just load Munt VSTi into SAVIHost (or FSMP) and change the reset mode in MuntVSTi between GM and MT-32 mode. If the instruments sounds right in MT-32 mode then the problem is what MAN-biker has written, else try to use GM mode.
Edit:
If the game sends the appropriate reset message the situation is more simple. You will see on MuntVsti's interface if the game switched the synth into GM or MT-32 mode.
muntvsti1.jpg
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-24 @ 09:31

Thanks guys for the tips. I'm pretty sure that I've got the output set correctly across all programs (dosbox, the game, SCVA, etc). However, the issue resolved when I reinstalled the game without applying the midi patch I mentioned above.

How do I know if I want GS or GM mode in SCVA? What's the difference? Or, will the game automatically tell SCVA what mode to use?
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Kaminari » 2017-5-24 @ 15:29

lukeman3000 wrote:how do I know if I want GS or GM mode in SCVA? What's the difference? Or, will the game automatically tell SCVA what mode to use?


GS is a custom extension by Roland which adds hundreds of instruments on top of GM's 128 tones. The SC-55 has about 300 (600 for the SC-88, 1100 for the SC-88Pro and 1600 for the 8850). That's four different GS levels.

Western games are almost always strictly GM, for reasons of compatibility with basic FM/PCM audio boards like the Sound Blaster or the Gravis Ultrasound. The Sound Canvas synths were more popular in Japan where many games were authored for GS (especially SC-88). That's not to say they will automatically switch to GS. Quite a few Japanese games use a 88 tonemap, but by default they will enforce a GM initialization command to make sure the music playback is correct on most available synths of the time.

Sometimes the only way to know if a particular MIDI compo was authored for GS is to play it on an ancient MIDI player limited to GM instrument names and not capable of capital tone fallback. That way, you can eventually spot missing instruments in the tone map list and deduce that the file relies on GS instrument variations.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-5-24 @ 15:51

Kaminari wrote:
lukeman3000 wrote:how do I know if I want GS or GM mode in SCVA? What's the difference? Or, will the game automatically tell SCVA what mode to use?


GS is a custom extension by Roland which adds hundreds of instruments on top of GM's 128 tones. The SC-55 has about 300 (600 for the SC-88, 1100 for the SC-88Pro and 1600 for the 8850). That's four different GS levels.

Western games are almost always strictly GM, for reasons of compatibility with basic FM/PCM audio boards like the Sound Blaster or the Gravis Ultrasound. The Sound Canvas synths were more popular in Japan where many games were authored for GS (especially SC-88). That's not to say they will automatically switch to GS. Quite a few Japanese games use a 88 tonemap, but by default they will enforce a GM initialization command to make sure the music playback is correct on most available synths of the time.

Sometimes the only way to know if a particular MIDI compo was authored for GS is to play it on an ancient MIDI player limited to GM instrument names and not capable of capital tone fallback. That way, you can eventually spot missing instruments in the tone map list and deduce that the file relies on GS instrument variations.

So, should I always keep Sound Canvas VA in one mode or the other (GS or GM)? I assume that there's no harm always keeping it on GS because the instrument names that exist for GM are the same -- it just won't take advantage of any additional instruments if it's actually a GM composition but running on GS mode - right?
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Kaminari » 2017-5-24 @ 18:36

The thing is, the SC-88 and above don't share exactly the same GM instruments as the SC-55 (which was the de facto reference GM/GS device). Usually that's no big deal because most basic instruments sound the same, but some like the Electric Piano are really different and that might occasionally compromise the overall balance of the song if it was specifically authored for the SC-55.

If all you want from the SC-VA is a General MIDI synth to play back retrogames in the most ideal conditions, then your best course of action is to set it as an SC-55 (the reset mode will take care of itself). That will cover 99.9% of your needs.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby lukeman3000 » 2017-6-07 @ 07:41

Kaminari wrote:The thing is, the SC-88 and above don't share exactly the same GM instruments as the SC-55 (which was the de facto reference GM/GS device). Usually that's no big deal because most basic instruments sound the same, but some like the Electric Piano are really different and that might occasionally compromise the overall balance of the song if it was specifically authored for the SC-55.

If all you want from the SC-VA is a General MIDI synth to play back retrogames in the most ideal conditions, then your best course of action is to set it as an SC-55 (the reset mode will take care of itself). That will cover 99.9% of your needs.

Good to know. Thanks.

As it relates to Sound Canvas VA, what options do I want to choose for these fields?

Image

Specifically as it refers to sample rate and buffer. What do these settings mean and what do I want them set to? Fyi, this box is from SAVIHost.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Kaminari » 2017-6-07 @ 16:13

I think the SC-88 series outputs at 32 kHz (like the MT-32), but chances are your sound board/chip doesn't support this sample rate.

The buffer determines the threshold between sound quality and sound lag. A small buffer will make your synth play in near real time but with possible audio cracks, a large buffer will ensure a smooth playback but with possible lag between the notes and the sound itself (if you're using a MIDI keyboard for example).

Please refer to this thread by Falco for an indepth explanation. I'm personally using a sample rate of 48 kHz and a buffer of 300 samples (the same values as your screenshot) with good results.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Gamewizard » 2017-6-11 @ 06:55

So I just managed to get this baby running under Linux. I ended up having to run Reaper. I pointed Dosbox at the Midi pass through port to send commands to the VST. I have been trying to get it working for months off and on via the demo and multiple Wine prefixes. You can get a trial version of Reaper here: http://www.reaper.fm
Me running it under WINE/Reaper:
Screenshot from 2017-06-11 02-41-50.png
Desktop screen shot of it running under Linux via WINE/ reaper

EDIT: Going this route under Linux is a little on the pricey side at Approximately 185 USD, so about the same price as getting a real unit and MIDI controller, but infinity more portable for a laptop user like me.
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Re: Heads Up: Roland Sound Canvas VA VSTi Plugin!

Postby Falcosoft » 2017-6-11 @ 07:37

Gamewizard:
Going this route under Linux is a little on the pricey side at Approximately 185 USD,

If you want to save Reaper's $60 you can try FSMP under Wine. It works as a VST + Soundfont host and you can send it midi messages the same way through the Midi pass through port.
fsmp_wine.jpg


Edit:
My problem under Wine is SC-VA itself. It only works in a never ending trial period (the problem is the 10 minutes/session restriction remained).
I have experienced the same when I tried SC-VA under XP. It works perfectly except the activation process/component.
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