SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

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SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-28 @ 19:06

Hello!

I recently purchased and received a Roland SC-55 MKII. I don't really have time for it right now, but I should test if it works. To increase the issues, my DOS gaming rig doesn't want to turn on and I don't have time for trobuleshooting either.

The task is to make SC-55 work under Windows Millennium. The computer is an AsusTek AMDK6-2, has USB ports, 192MB RAM and an AWE64 CT4520 value card (not an SB16, has the EMU chip as well as the waveblaster ports).

I connected the MIDI cable to the gameport, and MIDI out DIN to the Input1 (rear) of the SC-55. I also plugged the SB headphones out to the SC-55 in with jack to RCA. I connected my headset to the front panel of SC-55. Built in songs of the SC-55 play, audio pass-through is working. So I can hear the SB through my headset.

AWE64 MPU-401 emulation is enabled and it is by default on IRQ 330. Output device is selected in the control panel, MIDI out, not the built in synth. My issue is that if I use port 330, I hear the awfully terrible midi emulation of the AWE64 itself. It does not send MIDI commands to the SC-55 at all...
If I change the MIDI port from 330 to 300 in control panel, there is absolutely no sound by selecting 330 in Duke3D for example, and on 300, MPU-401 is missing error...

Would someone please explain what to do and how? I grew up with PC speaker back then and I am not familiar with MIDI at all. Thanks in advance.

MIDI does not work with an ESS AudioDrive MPU-401 either.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-29 @ 10:39

I did some measures and something does come out from the MIDI port of the computer through the cable, which behaves as a signal and only appears if the output is the MIDI port and I play something.
So the cable is not confirmedly good, but not totally wrong either.

I dug up my Win98SE machine with SB16 and no luck, neither in DOS mode. SC-55 simply does not respond to anything plugged into the midi ports.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-29 @ 11:00

I have not used my SC-55 (or any other ext. MIDI device) under Windows 9x so far, but normally, you go to the MIDI Mapper and select "MPU-401" and keep using i/o port 330. When using the AWE64, you may have to do this using the AWE control panel.

Besides, the SC-55 has a demo song which you can just play in order to see if the unit is working correctly.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-29 @ 11:07

The demo songs work correctly.
I am using MPU-401 emulation and have tried port 330 and 300 too. As I measured with a multimeter the MIDI signal goes out on the gameport cable.
Either I am missing some detail or there is some hardware defect here...
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby zerker » 2017-10-29 @ 14:17

Silly question: is the selector switch on the back of the SC-55 set to "MIDI" and not PC/Mac/whatever?
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-29 @ 14:31

Yes yes, it is on MIDI, though I have tried all positions now...
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby zerker » 2017-10-29 @ 15:21

Sorry, I don't have any other suggestions. Your post covered anything else I might suggest. Unless you had any other Midi equipment (Keyboard, MT-32, whatever). If you do, I'd suggest trying that instead to isolate the computer half from the SC55 half.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-29 @ 15:38

Sadly I don't have any of these, SC-55 would be my first one. I will try to ask for help locally.
I actually went cheap on the gameport MIDI cable and picked one locally for about 3 EUR from a musician who bought it back in the days and never used it. It might be wrong, though when I measured the out with a multimeter it seemed to be okay.
I just found the eBay prices really high for a gameport cable and no one else sells them anymore. But we will see what the root of the issue is, I have to figure it out...

The SC-55 MKII is in mint condition, bought from Yappari-Japan eshop, so I doubt it would be defected.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby cyclone3d » 2017-10-29 @ 19:07

Check out this thread from 2013. It may just get you going.

http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=34763
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-10-30 @ 08:17

Hmm, thanks for the reply, strange stuff.
I have tried out playing a .mid in Windows Media Player and I could measure the output with a multimeter on the gameport. (on the 5-PIN DIN to be more specific). I can also measure signal when I play Duke3D in a Win98SE or WinME DOS box. I believe my card does output on gameport but yeah, I think I should make some vanilla 6.22 testing.
Haven't tried disable MPU-401 yet.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby firage » 2017-10-31 @ 23:00

Since you didn't mention anything about configuring the SC-55 front panel, I'll just add here to reset the thing to factory defaults before using it: Power on while pressing both Instrument arrows and confirm with All. (Or even just completely remove the internal battery that holds settings when powered off.)

The manual could be handy: http://cdn.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/SC-55MKII_OM.pdf
Page 79 looks like something to check out, for one.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-11-01 @ 08:48

It has been resetted and initialised before testing.
I will take it to an MT-32 owner this weekend, and we will test.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby yawetaG » 2017-11-01 @ 14:58

Have you tried the front MIDI input port on the SC-55?
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby cyclone3d » 2017-11-01 @ 17:32

I did see one thread where the person found out that the power and data lines were somehow switched in the cable they had. That could also be a possibility.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-11-02 @ 16:45

Front port has been teste ofc. I no longer plan or have time to investigate without a reference device. Hopefully this weekend I will know what's the root of the issue.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-11-05 @ 20:51

Well, the guy who helped me couldn't make Gameport MIDI work either. Not in his entire retro gaming history. But he has an original MPU-401 and a USB MIDI adapter. SC-55 worked fine with both of them.
I already ordered an USB MIDI, about MPU-401 or trying with softMPU, I don't know yet.

Has gameport midi just worked for anyone? If yes, then on what OS and what card, which settings?
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby yawetaG » 2017-11-05 @ 22:11

I think that you'll see that a lot of people did get gameport MIDI to work on this forum. It's likely the most used method (besides dedicated MIDI interface cards). The other method you could try is installing the Roland serial-to-MIDI driver and use a serial cable to connect the SC-55. If MIDI works that way (and it should), either your AWE64 is misconfigured or your gameport-to-MIDI cable is not soldered correctly.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby quailstorm » 2017-11-06 @ 07:21

Yeah, I have seen that this is a common way and should just work out of the box. I have the exact same model of gameport cable as the one, who helped me, so we couldn't test different cable models (we tested his cable though).
I was thinking about getting the serial cable, it was one of the main reasons I choose the MKII, but I don't have a cable yet.
Next think I will try I guess is playing a *.mid on Windows XP and using the onboard gameport of a Pentium 4. I have seen the dreamblaster adapter on eBay advertised with this.

Yesterday we also tried several SoundBlasters in my PC with DOS6.22 from CF-IDE, and none of them could output MIDI... Not even with softMPU+DOOMII. Whereas MPU-401 just worked fine.
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby yawetaG » 2017-11-06 @ 10:43

quailstorm wrote:Yeah, I have seen that this is a common way and should just work out of the box. I have the exact same model of gameport cable as the one, who helped me, so we couldn't test different cable models (we tested his cable though).
I was thinking about getting the serial cable, it was one of the main reasons I choose the MKII, but I don't have a cable yet.


IIRC, the SC-55 manual shows how to wire your own cable (it's in the back of the manual).

Next think I will try I guess is playing a *.mid on Windows XP and using the onboard gameport of a Pentium 4. I have seen the dreamblaster adapter on eBay advertised with this.


If it works. My Windows XP SP3 installation and drivers don't see my Creative AudioPCI MIDI features... Be sure to select the right output port in your system settings (note: this means changing the MIDI playback device).

Yesterday we also tried several SoundBlasters in my PC with DOS6.22 from CF-IDE, and none of them could output MIDI... Not even with softMPU+DOOMII. Whereas MPU-401 just worked fine.


The Soundblasters didn't even work when explicitly selecting for MPU-401 output in DOS games supporting MIDI music? If multiple sound cards don't work, that basically leaves two options: user error or hardware issue beyond the sound cards. What kind of system (motherboard etc., but also OS) are you using?
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Re: SC-55 setup with AWE64 for noobs?

Postby the Goat » 2017-11-06 @ 13:06

quailstorm wrote:Has gameport midi just worked for anyone? If yes, then on what OS and what card, which settings?


I have successfully used the gameport midi output from my AWE64 gold. It has worked with and without softMPU depending on the game I was playing.
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