VOGONS


First post, by Terracresta

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Hello guys,
after reading many threads and watching Phil's videos about the topic, I get myself all necessary devices to connect my Retro PC to my Laptop for GM and Roland MT32+ playback under DOS 6.22 and Win 98 SE.
I got the UM-ONE mk2 first, but after setting everything up, the UM-ONE didn't show any incoming signals and the Falcosoft Midi Player doesn't play any sound. Using UM-ONE as output device seems to work as the signal LED on the UM is blinking. Even tried different Soundcards (SB32 PNP with 2MB and YAMAHA Audician 32 plus) to no avail. Using different Gameport to Midi cables also didn't help. So I wondered, if the UM's input might be damaged and I got one of the cheap USB Midi devices.
The cheap device also doesn't play back any sound, but unlike the UM-ONE, one of the LEDs lights up only after connecting it to the Retro PC and the Falcosoft Midi Player is actually showing a constant Midi In signal. MIDI-OX is showing a constant spam of "Note Off" and I don't know if this is normal. No change though when playing back MT32 or GM.
I also tried SoftMPU with and without setting the IRQ to 9 or 2 but to no avail either.

One interesting part is the AWEUTIL GM and MT32 emulation, which causes the PC to reboot when trying to run King's Quest IV with MT32 or Duke3D with GM emulation under DOS. Monkey Island 2 on the other hand works. Under Win 98 SE MI2 and Duke3D both work with via SB32 and Audician GM emulation but sending the signals to an external devices also doesn't work.

The system is a P233 MMX on one of the early ATX boards (GA 586 ATX v3) with a Voodoo 2. It doesn't seem to have any other problems.
Havn't gotten a wavetable module yet, to these are working at least.

I really don't know what the problem could be. None of the threads I read mentioned such a problem.

Reply 1 of 9, by Jo22

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Hi, not sure if this is helpful, but I once had got a cheap USB-MIDI cable that was confusingly labeled.
Like "MIDI-OUT" meaning TO MIDI-OUT of the other device etc.
After switching the cables it worked. My MT-32 took no damage (perhaps since I only connected to the MT-32's input).
As for the AWE, maybe it works if you skip loading EMM386 (or use that from 9x or DOS 6).
Who knows what protected-mode magic is happening behind the scenes (AWE is using emulation for MT-32 support)
Anyway, what I wrote here is just a wild guess, though. 😀

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Reply 2 of 9, by Terracresta

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I already tried all different combinations but sadly to no avail. But there is an update.
When connecting the cheap one to another modern Laptop, it will only send signals through when playing MIDI music on the old PC. The MIDI IN LED now actually blinks instead of a constant glow. Sadly the sound is really off, with completely wrong instruments and so on. The UM-One still doesn't work at all though. I also tried connecting both MIDI to USB adapters together as I read people using this to connect two modern PCs but it still doesn't work. Also ordered another MIDI to MIDI adapter in case the one I have is the problem. Can't really imagine, such a simple device to be faulty though.
Can a wrong connection (MIDI signal/voltage going into the MIDI OUT) actually damage or destroy MIDI to USB adapters?

I will try deactivating EMM386 next time I'm plugging the SB32 in, thank you.

EDIT: The new MIDI to MIDI adapter didn't help either. The UM-One still doesn't work and the cheap one still causes the wrong instruments to play.
So the UM-One might be faulty and the cheap one just crap. Hard to tell without testing the UM-One on another MIDI device or a second one.
Another thing is, that most notes in Midi-Ox are shown as -1, and don't match with Phil's recording of the notes in Midi-Ox playing DOOM level 1.

Reply 3 of 9, by Terracresta

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Okay, now I got a second UM-One and it works perfectly. So in other words, my first UM-One's MIDI In is broken and the cheap MIDI to USB adapter is utter garbage. 🤣
I'm happy now and recommend not buying any cheap ones as they as they might not work at all beside some random sounds.

Reply 4 of 9, by red_avatar

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Terracresta wrote:

Okay, now I got a second UM-One and it works perfectly. So in other words, my first UM-One's MIDI In is broken and the cheap MIDI to USB adapter is utter garbage. 🤣
I'm happy now and recommend not buying any cheap ones as they as they might not work at all beside some random sounds.

I had problems a while back and bought an official Roland one after first buying a lesser brand but turns out the reason I didn't get the right music was actually tied to the games I was trying to play. Sierra games do NOT play nicely with fast hardware - it does not send all the correct data over MIDI so you end up hearing weird notes. Turns out the original USB device worked fine so now I got a second one.

By the way, I can really recommend THIS:
https://www.serdashop.com/DB15MIDI

It's a small device that plugs into the gameport that removes the need to have those massively long cables - your USB device plugs directly into it. You could even have two different USB devices hooked up, running two different MIDI devices at the same time (for example one MT32, the other Sound Canvas). That's my plan since I got two USB devices but I still need to test and see if MIDI Player even allows for two iterations.

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 5 of 9, by Falcosoft

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red_avatar wrote:

... You could even have two different USB devices hooked up, running two different MIDI devices at the same time (for example one MT32, the other Sound Canvas). That's my plan since I got two USB devices but I still need to test and see if MIDI Player even allows for two iterations.

If you mean 2 separate instances of the player then the answer is of course FSMP supports it. In this case instead of storing settings in registry (default) I recommend to set ini file as storage option (Main menu -> Storage of Settings -> Store Settings in INI file) and then make a second copy from FSMP's folder. This way you can have 2 completely separate instances with their own different settings (including Midi In/Out port settings) in their own folder/ini file.
But an even more simple solution would be to use only 1 instance of FSMP and make 2 different configurations using configuration presets for your 2 different Midi USB devices and switch between the presets using shortcuts/hotkeys or even SysEx messages during run time.
But this way you actually do not even need 2 different Midi USB devices unless you want to use both simultaneously. Phil has made a video about this hot swapping recently:
https://youtu.be/zRyPjvbDkvg

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Falcosoft Midi Player + Munt VSTi + BassMidi VSTi topic

Reply 6 of 9, by Terracresta

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red_avatar wrote:
I had problems a while back and bought an official Roland one after first buying a lesser brand but turns out the reason I didn' […]
Show full quote
Terracresta wrote:

Okay, now I got a second UM-One and it works perfectly. So in other words, my first UM-One's MIDI In is broken and the cheap MIDI to USB adapter is utter garbage. 🤣
I'm happy now and recommend not buying any cheap ones as they as they might not work at all beside some random sounds.

I had problems a while back and bought an official Roland one after first buying a lesser brand but turns out the reason I didn't get the right music was actually tied to the games I was trying to play. Sierra games do NOT play nicely with fast hardware - it does not send all the correct data over MIDI so you end up hearing weird notes. Turns out the original USB device worked fine so now I got a second one.

By the way, I can really recommend THIS:
https://www.serdashop.com/DB15MIDI

It's a small device that plugs into the gameport that removes the need to have those massively long cables - your USB device plugs directly into it. You could even have two different USB devices hooked up, running two different MIDI devices at the same time (for example one MT32, the other Sound Canvas). That's my plan since I got two USB devices but I still need to test and see if MIDI Player even allows for two iterations.

My first UM-One is faulty as I tested it with Kings Quest 4, Monkey Island, Doom and Duke3D. The new one works perfectly fine. But I have another problem now, as Sound Blaster sound effects won't play as long as music is set to MIDI. Duke3D even freezes the PC when trying to load a level. As soon as I set music to FM everything works fine again. I even used softmpu but still the same result. This is with the Yamaha Audician 32. Havn't testes the SB32 yet.
Strangely the sound effect test in Duke3D's setup plays back sound effects.

EDIT: Oh look, I used a slowdown tool (deactivating different caches) and now sound effects work. Thing is, that a 233MMX shouldn't be problematic for Duke3D. Might be a problem with certain caches.

The small adapter you linked would be nice but now I already got 2 MIDI cables.

Reply 7 of 9, by red_avatar

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Falcosoft wrote:
If you mean 2 separate instances of the player then the answer is of course FSMP supports it. In this case instead of storing se […]
Show full quote
red_avatar wrote:

... You could even have two different USB devices hooked up, running two different MIDI devices at the same time (for example one MT32, the other Sound Canvas). That's my plan since I got two USB devices but I still need to test and see if MIDI Player even allows for two iterations.

If you mean 2 separate instances of the player then the answer is of course FSMP supports it. In this case instead of storing settings in registry (default) I recommend to set ini file as storage option (Main menu -> Storage of Settings -> Store Settings in INI file) and then make a second copy from FSMP's folder. This way you can have 2 completely separate instances with their own different settings (including Midi In/Out port settings) in their own folder/ini file.
But an even more simple solution would be to use only 1 instance of FSMP and make 2 different configurations using configuration presets for your 2 different Midi USB devices and switch between the presets using shortcuts/hotkeys or even SysEx messages during run time.
But this way you actually do not even need 2 different Midi USB devices unless you want to use both simultaneously. Phil has made a video about this hot swapping recently:
https://youtu.be/zRyPjvbDkvg

It shows I didn't really think this through 😀 It makes sense it would work with a single USB device - it's the same data getting sent after all. Thanks for the info.

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 8 of 9, by red_avatar

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Terracresta wrote:
My first UM-One is faulty as I tested it with Kings Quest 4, Monkey Island, Doom and Duke3D. The new one works perfectly fine. B […]
Show full quote

My first UM-One is faulty as I tested it with Kings Quest 4, Monkey Island, Doom and Duke3D. The new one works perfectly fine. But I have another problem now, as Sound Blaster sound effects won't play as long as music is set to MIDI. Duke3D even freezes the PC when trying to load a level. As soon as I set music to FM everything works fine again. I even used softmpu but still the same result. This is with the Yamaha Audician 32. Havn't testes the SB32 yet.
Strangely the sound effect test in Duke3D's setup plays back sound effects.

EDIT: Oh look, I used a slowdown tool (deactivating different caches) and now sound effects work. Thing is, that a 233MMX shouldn't be problematic for Duke3D. Might be a problem with certain caches.

The small adapter you linked would be nice but now I already got 2 MIDI cables.

That's part of what I was saying: speed really is an issue for getting correct play back. On my P233 MMX I couldn't get many games to work with the MT32 (Monkey Island 2 was one of the few) but on my 486SX, most games that failed worked fine with the exception of Space Quest III for so me reason. My P233 wasn't compatible with any of the cache disabling software I tried sadly. Perhaps I should try the same with my Pentium 75, see if it works there.

Retro game fanatic.
IBM PS1 386SX25 - 4MB
IBM Aptiva 486SX33 - 8MB - 2GB CF - SB16
IBM PC350 P233MMX - 64MB - 32GB SSD - AWE64 - Voodoo2
PIII600 - 320MB - 480GB SSD - SB Live! - GF4 Ti 4200
i5-2500k - 3GB - SB Audigy 2 - HD 4870

Reply 9 of 9, by Terracresta

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Oh man, I just found out what the problem with the sound effects was. It's not a problem of the PC being too fast or some cache. Instead if I also connect the MIDI out of the UM-One (so MIDI direction new laptop to old PC) it somehow kills sound effects and causes Duke3D to crash if it can't playback sound effects... Doh! (has nothing to do with the old UM-One not working though)

Monkey Island 2 strangly enough works with my P233 MMX and MT32 emulation without having to slow the system down. Don't know about a real MT32 though.