What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

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

What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-17 @ 22:20

After spendng some time with the ones that I have, I would say that the Yamaha MU2000EX is definitely my favorite. I have mine loaded with three PLG150 expansion cards but even without those I would still say it's the best sounding one that I own. I have the optical output going to a nice sound bar that I have and it sounds incredible. I was really amazed when I listened to the Final Fantasy 7 XG MIDI music. The Descent MIDI music (which is some of my favorite MIDI music) also sounds fantastic through this module. To be honest just about anything that I have played though the MU2000EX sounds great. I highly recommend getting one if you are a big fan of MIDI music.

The Roland SD90 would be the second most enjoyable one I listen to. It's puts out some great music so I am very happy to have one. It's expensive like the MU2000 but worth it in my opinion.

Of the older sound the modules, the Roland SC-55 and Yamaha TG300 stand out as excellent sounding units for their generation.

The most "unique" sound module that I have heard so far would be the Kawai GMega. That one sounds quite different from the other modules that I have heard. The MIDI music from Descent sounds different than most other modules but it's still enjoyable to listen to. The MIDI music from Dune is also unique but can sound a bit too far off for me. For example the Dune MIDI song "Arrakis" has a horrible sounding Shakuhachi instrument which ruins this song and the other songs that use it also. For the most part though its fun to hear how this module handles is MIDI music.

I just got in my Ketron SD2 and it made a big impression on me. It does not do too well with most of the Descent MIDI songs but the Dune and Dune II MIDI songs were incredible. It seems that MIDI songs that have a lot of traditional instrument use sound very good on this sound module. The SD2 is called the "Orchestral Wizard" so I guess that is why this is the case. At some point in the future I will be recording the Dune music from the SD2 and posting it on Youtube as I am sure others would enjoy listening to it. This may be a hefty claim but Doom and Doom II sound the best I have ever heard coming from the Ketron SD2.

Honorable mention to the Roland MT-32 and CM-32L for obvious reasons. Great sound modules for the games that support them.
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Stretch » 2017-11-18 @ 00:53

Sound Blaster 32 with the 4MB GMGS sound font.
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Shponglefan » 2017-11-18 @ 02:54

In terms of pure General MIDI soundset, my favorite sound module is the Roland JV-1010. Its GM soundset seems like its a mix of the SC-55 and SC-88 (and maybe some others), but it just strikes the ideal balance. Doom 2 in particular sounds by far and away the best with it. Unfortunately, it has a frustrating note latency issue during multiple simultaneous patch changes. Otherwise, it would be the ideal GM module.

I agree that the Yamaha MU2000 is excellent. IMHO it shines best with electronic oriented soundtracks, particularly Descent.

I also really like the Korg AG-10. Not a well known module, but it has a nice balanced GM soundset and a slightly more vintage vibe. I did a complete playthrough of Blood a little while back and alternated music between the Roland JV-1010 and Korg AG-10.
Last edited by Shponglefan on 2017-11-18 @ 02:56, edited 1 time in total.
MIDI module collection: Edirol SC-D70, SD-90 | Kawai GMega | Korg AG-10, NS5R, Triton Rack | Roland MT-32, CM-32L, CM-64, CM-500, SC-55, SC-88, SC-88 Pro, JV-1010, XV-5080 | Yamaha MU-80, MU-2000EX
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Shponglefan » 2017-11-18 @ 02:55

m5215tx wrote:The SD2 is called the "Orchestral Wizard" so I guess that is why this is the case. At some point in the future I will be recording the Dune music from the SD2 and posting it on Youtube as I am sure others would enjoy listening to it.


Please don't. Because the minute you do that, I'm going to listen to it and then I'm going to have to buy one. And my wallet can't take it. ;)

(Totally joking of course. I'd love to hear some samples.)
MIDI module collection: Edirol SC-D70, SD-90 | Kawai GMega | Korg AG-10, NS5R, Triton Rack | Roland MT-32, CM-32L, CM-64, CM-500, SC-55, SC-88, SC-88 Pro, JV-1010, XV-5080 | Yamaha MU-80, MU-2000EX
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-18 @ 16:23

Yes, I do plan on uploading some recordings of the Ketron SD2 on Youtube. There are very few posted there to listen to. The few I listened to sounded pretty good so I went ahead and got it. I purchased it for about $100 and it turns out that this was a great deal as these seem to go for well over $200. I had no idea how great it sounded until after I got it in. I spent over an hour yesterday listening to it go through many of my favorite MIDI songs and most of them sounded great with a few different things here and there to give some nice uniqueness to it.

I was not planning on buying it as I just stumbled on it by accident. Never heard of the company or their products. Turns out this is an Italian based company that makes these. They seem to be more popular in Europe than in the US. I think if more people here in the US were familiar with these they would be more in demand here. The very limited exposure the SD2 has on Youtube does not help it so hopefully the recordings I will eventually upload will give it a much better introduction than it has now.
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby BloodyCactus » 2017-11-18 @ 20:01

I like listening my EMU Sound Engine more than my SC-88VL. But having them both output at the same time is awesome, gives a very rich polyphonic sound over just one midi module outputting at once.
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby DX7_EP » 2017-11-19 @ 04:48

Amongst the modules I do have, I'd have to give my vote to the MU1000 (ie. MU2000 minus the sampler, card slot, and a few minor things) for MIDI listening - provided one uses the digital output. While the samples don't have much impact and have a synthetic feel to them (thereby making it my choice for Descent), I think they are well-balanced and work well in MIDIs that play parts playing at once. Having basic GS support alongside the XG and GM2 formats is also a good plus; sure, I do use my 55ST instead for that, but overall, that broad support and good balance make the module a good choice in many situations. However, there is too much reverb when using RCA or headphone outputs - the DAC in these modules isn't that great.

I think the patches in Roland modules are generally better for individual "punchiness" (eg. 8850 stereo piano), when there are fewer parts at once (eg. Doom), or if the MIDI is acoustically oriented (eg. CLOUDS.MID). However, while the 55 line's patches seem to be pretty balanced and complement each other well, the ones in later modules don't mesh together as comfortably. In either case, the impactful nature and higher sample quality are enough to make me contemplate a JV or XV module at some point.
CM-64, FB-01, SC-55ST, SC-8850, SD-20, SD-90, MU1000-EX + PLG-150VL
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby derSammler » 2017-11-19 @ 10:06

Hard to say, but if I could only keep a single MIDI module, it would be the Yamaha MU80.
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-24 @ 07:30

For anyone wanting an introduction to the Ketron SD2 sound module I have uploaded several recordings to youtube.

Mozart - Concerto K467 partial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGrLIcm84W8

Doom II Level 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZl_tUfy-B0&t=39s

Dune Water of Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6n-RmCQPBA
Dune Sietch Tabr: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp3nOSvIIBY
Dune Ornithopter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvZpt2r348Q
Dune Map Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFPWpSJo8TY
Dune Arakeen Palace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY47970oqnQ

Dune II Intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=721G01v8cmY
Dune II Spice Melange: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZWi5hhRlJY
Dune II Rulers of Arrakis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8l-WRI7O0M
Dune II Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nleJ5f9_Zho
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-11-25 @ 00:06

Image

Free shipping? What a deal!
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-25 @ 02:07

$1022.75?! Wow, that's crazy. It's a great sound module but not that great. LOL I have seen it for about half that on eBay recently. I guess I got super lucky getting it as cheap as I did.
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby derSammler » 2017-11-25 @ 09:19

In Germany, these can be bought new for 299€ (https://www.thomann.de/de/ketron_sd_2.htm)
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Cyberdyne » 2017-11-25 @ 09:46

I have DreamBlaster S1 and S2 and NEC XR385 and MonsterSound 2MB board, all are daughter boards and i love them all, but no nostalgia emerges.
Because i was using a 486 DX 66 with a clone SB PRO card in 1997. We have it tough in the 90s in eastern europe. But i love that era of Doom wolfenstein3D and Warcraft2BTDP.
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-11-25 @ 13:10

m5215tx wrote:$1022.75?! Wow, that's crazy. It's a great sound module but not that great. LOL I have seen it for about half that on eBay recently. I guess I got super lucky getting it as cheap as I did.


Considering they're likely similar price points, does it compare with an XV-5080?
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby oeuvre » 2017-11-25 @ 16:57

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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Shponglefan » 2017-11-25 @ 20:16

gdjacobs wrote:Considering they're likely similar price points, does it compare with an XV-5080?


Here's a few Roland XV-5080 recordings for comparison:

Doom II - Level 1
Dune 2 - Intro
Dune 2 - Spice Melange
Dune 2 - Rulers of Arrakis
Dune 2 - Credits

A couple notes:

The Dune 2 recordings that m5215tx posted seem to be at a higher tempo. I compared mine to other tracks (Adlib) and they seem more in sync with the original tempo.

I also ran into an odd issues with the XV-5080 and the Dune 2 credits MIDI. I was getting odd sound cut-outs on the drum track. The MIDI for whatever reason contained a load of program changes on the drum track and this appeared to be causing these drop outs. I deleted the program changes and then the track played fine. Thus the track above isn't reflective of the original MIDI. Not sure exactly what is causing that issue, but it seems to be a quirk of the XV-5080.
MIDI module collection: Edirol SC-D70, SD-90 | Kawai GMega | Korg AG-10, NS5R, Triton Rack | Roland MT-32, CM-32L, CM-64, CM-500, SC-55, SC-88, SC-88 Pro, JV-1010, XV-5080 | Yamaha MU-80, MU-2000EX
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-28 @ 16:16

Though a wild stroke of luck I stumbled on another Ketron SD2 in mint condition for about $100. I picked it up so I could have one connected to my computer in my office at work. I often listen to MIDI music at work as well as at home. LOL
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-28 @ 16:25

Shponglefan wrote:The Dune 2 recordings that m5215tx posted seem to be at a higher tempo. I compared mine to other tracks (Adlib) and they seem more in sync with the original tempo.


Yes, I recently noticed that. Personally, I like the faster tempo but it is definitely not like the original concerning that.
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby m5215tx » 2017-11-30 @ 01:33

I still have the original 16 bit 44100 Hz recordings I did from the Ketron SD2 for the clips that were uploaded to Youtube. I think Youtube downsamples them so if anyone wants a FLAC recording of the full CD quality audio, shoot me a PM and I can make it available for download. This is a limited time offer. :wink:
Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
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Re: What MIDI sound modules do you enjoy listening to?

Postby Phreeze » 2017-11-30 @ 11:56

it sounds like there are instruments missing in the doom2 sound ??
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