Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

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Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby ahtoh » 2019-7-28 @ 16:19

I have a CT2940 with X2 daughterboard
Can I use that for games with MT-32 support?
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-28 @ 16:45

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Hypothetically if someone made a Soundbank that had instruments in matching MT-32 positions instead of GM positions, you could possibly use it with games that do not upload samples to the device (i.e. Monkey Island 1) but such a Soundbank does not exist so again, No.

Longer answer: If you have an XM3 (instead of an X2) and a Raspberry Pi you can use the X3M as a MIDI interface for the Raspberry Pi which can run MUNT to emulate an MT-32 perfectly.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby derSammler » 2019-7-28 @ 16:49

Sorry appiah4, but you are completely wrong. The original Sound Bank for the X2 supports MT-32:

269 variation instruments (including 128 “MT-32” variations)


There's a default sysex to enter MT-32 mode on GM devices, which can be used with the X2 as well.

Also, using an X3M [sic] and a Raspberry Pi for MUNT is completely overkill. Any PC running Windows/Linux with a sound card supporting MIDI In can be used for that.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-28 @ 17:51

I would be happy to be wrong but what you say doed not apply to games does it? They will not supply that SysEx command and even if you manually do prior to launching the game the game will probably reset it anyway?
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Scali » 2019-7-28 @ 18:02

You can find the datasheet for the synth chip used on the X2 (SAM5504B) here: https://www.dream.fr/devices.html#S5
As far as I know, there is no MT-32 mode. I can't find anything on it in the documentation anyway. Unlike the S2 (SAM2695), where I implemented support for it in SoftMPU.
I don't know about any standardized SysEx command for MT-32 in the GM standard either.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Falcosoft » 2019-7-28 @ 18:29

Hi,
1. The new GS compatible Dream bank (GMBK5X128_203.DXB viewtopic.php?f=62&t=65378) really contains MT-32 compatible instruments at Bank MSB 127 and an MT-32 compatible Drum set at Bank MSB 0 Program 127. This way it works exactly like MT-32 compatibility on SC-55. So for MT-32 mode you have to
1. Set channels 2-9 Bank MSB to 127
2. Set the default MT-32/CM-32L programs on channels 2-9 (68, 48, 95, 78, 41, 3, 110, 122)
3. Set channel 10 (drums) program to 127.
4. Set channels 2-9 Pitch Bend range to 12 semitones.
Here's my GS compatible SysEx that does exactly the above steps. I have not tested it on X2, but it is worth a try. (@Edit: I forgot that actually I tested it and worked)
download/file.php?id=59349
If it does not work you can also try this Midi file that uses simple short Midi messages instead to achieve the above:
MT32EMUL.zip
(578 Bytes) Downloaded 7 times


2. Scali is right (and derSammler is wrong) in that there is No such thing as 'default sysex to enter MT-32 mode on GM devices'. GM specification on one hand does not know anything about Bank Select messages that are required to switch to MT-32 instruments, on the other hand GM also does not know multiple Drum sets, but only 1. For these Midi messages to work you need a GS/SC-55 compatible device.

3. This procedure should work with the majority of MT-32 games that do not use custom instruments, since these games even if they use reset messages, the reset messages are MT-32 compatible reset messages that GS devices do not know and simply ignore. So if you send a GS reset to your X2 and set the proper Banks/Drums, MT-32 messages sent by MT-32 compatible games will not interfere with these settings.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby derSammler » 2019-7-28 @ 19:31

You say there's no sysex to put a GM device into MT-32 mode and at the same time you attach a MIDI file that does exactly that... :dead: That file is (c) 1992 by Roland, so what is it if not a default sysex for MT-32 mode..?

Even the cheapest wavetables can enter MT-32 mode using sysex. I own a Hizon DB-333 (one of the cheapest wavetables) and even that has the sysex commands for that printed in the manual. Oh, and it has a Dream chip as well. It's a bit annoying having to play the MIDI file first before starting a game using MT-32, but using a batch file and a command-line driven MIDI player, it's not that bad.
Last edited by derSammler on 2019-7-28 @ 20:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Scali » 2019-7-28 @ 19:59

derSammler wrote:You say there's no sysex to put a GM device into MT-32 mode and at the same time you attach a MIDI file that does exactly that...


No, he attached a *GS* file. GS being Roland's proprietary extension of the GM standard:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_GS
An MT-32 mode is part of GS, but not of GM. It is included in the later GM2 standard though.
This mode may or may not be supported by MIDI modules from other brands than Roland, and they may or may not be marketed as GS-compatible.
I'm not sure if the X2 is, because I cannot find any reference to it in the manual.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Srandista » 2019-7-28 @ 20:23

Scali wrote:I'm not sure if the X2 is, because I cannot find any reference to it in the manual.

What about this? https://www.dream.fr/pdf/Serie5000/Soundbanks/GMBK5X128.pdf
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-28 @ 20:40

Scali wrote:Unlike the S2 (SAM2695), where I implemented support for it in SoftMPU.


I must know more about this!
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby dreamblaster » 2019-7-28 @ 20:48

Srandista wrote:
Scali wrote:I'm not sure if the X2 is, because I cannot find any reference to it in the manual.

What about this? https://www.dream.fr/pdf/Serie5000/Soundbanks/GMBK5X128.pdf


Yes , Falcosoft is right : The new 2.03 version bank is available for download, so anyone with X2 can update to this latest version : http://serdaco.com/downloads/X2/X2_Soun ... 28_203.zip
All new X2's now sold, are preloaded with this updated 2.03 bank (since july).
Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
OPL2LPT, OPL3LPT, X2, S2, S2P, MCE2VGA, ... many projects !
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-28 @ 22:07

dreamblaster wrote:
Srandista wrote:
Scali wrote:I'm not sure if the X2 is, because I cannot find any reference to it in the manual.

What about this? https://www.dream.fr/pdf/Serie5000/Soundbanks/GMBK5X128.pdf


Yes , Falcosoft is right : The new 2.03 version bank is available for download, so anyone with X2 can update to this latest version : http://serdaco.com/downloads/X2/X2_Soun ... 28_203.zip
All new X2's now sold, are preloaded with this updated 2.03 bank (since july).


And this mode can be enabled by SOFTMPU /MT32 ?
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby ahtoh » 2019-7-28 @ 22:20

Ok So I undestand that I need to first turn X2 into mt-32 mode by sending this SysEx or MID commands
How do I do that?
Do I need to use SoftMPU? I tried and it kind of helped but The Secret of Monkey Island sounds off. And there is no difference before and after I send that sysex command so either I did something wrong or it does not work.
Also how do I switch back to GM mode?
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Falcosoft » 2019-7-29 @ 00:25

derSammler wrote:You say there's no sysex to put a GM device into MT-32 mode and at the same time you attach a MIDI file that does exactly that... :dead: That file is (c) 1992 by Roland, so what is it if not a default sysex for MT-32 mode..?

I'm not sure if you deliberately do not want to understand what I have written or you really have no idea about the differences between Midi systems such as GM and GS. GM only devices definitely cannot switch to MT-32 mode, you need a GS compatible device to do that. Have you noticed the 'GS System On' message at the start of the Roland Midi file anyway?
On the other hand you are also wrong about suggesting that there is a single 'default SysEx' that magically switches devices into MT-32 mode. Generally it's not true even in case of GS compatible devices.
If you analyze the Roland supplied Midi file you can see that there are multiple different steps (many short and a few SysEx messages, 114 overall) necessary to achieve MT-32 compatibility, not a single SysEx message. There are even GS devices where some of the messages work but others do not. Maybe single SysEx switching is true for your Hizon DB-333 but generally not for Roland GS devices and also not for the X2.
There's a default sysex to enter MT-32 mode on GM devices, which can be used with the X2 as well.

To summarize and also to paraphrase you: Sorry derSammler, but you are completely wrong. There are not even segments of your sentence that are true:
1. There is no magical 'default SySex' that is generally usable for different devices to switch them to MT-32 mode. Instead you have to send many different messages to achieve this. Your Hizon DB-333 must be the exception.
2. Of course this is also true for the X2. No magical default SysEx to do this. You have to send a sequence of Bank Select/Program Change/Pitch Bend sensitivity etc. non-SysEx short messages.
3. On GM devices (that are not also GS compatible) you have no chance to achieve MT-32 compatibility since according to GM specification neither Bank Select messages nor Program Change messages on Drum channel 10 are supported.
Even the cheapest wavetables can enter MT-32 mode using sysex.

In this form this is also not true. 'Wavetables' such as SB AWE/Live/Audigy cannot be switched to MT-32 mode using SysEx messages. They either have a special mode you can set in their DOS utility or you can use simple short messages such as Bank Select/Program Change/Pitch Bend range, but not GS SysEx messages.
Also the most known/infamous GS soft synth 'Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth' cannot be switched to MT-32 mode by any methods despite the fact that it understand GS SysEx messages since it misses the MT-32 compatible bank at Bank MSB 127. Also later Roland devices are MT-32 compatible only indirectly by their SC-55 map, the native maps of e.g. SC-8820/8850 are not. So MT-32 compatibility is not guaranteed even in case of some GS devices. GM devices are out of question...
The original Sound Bank for the X2 supports MT-32

You are also wrong here. No, neither the original 2 banks (GMBK5X64 and GMBK5X128) nor the GUD bank support MT-32. Only the newest 2.03 version Dream bank (GMBK5X128_203) has MT-32 compatibility. Without a compatible bank you can send any SysEx messages to X2, it won't give you MT-32 compatible instruments.

ahtoh wrote:Ok So I undestand that I need to first turn X2 into mt-32 mode by sending this SysEx or MID commands
How do I do that?
Do I need to use SoftMPU? I tried and it kind of helped but The Secret of Monkey Island sounds off. And there is no difference before and after I send that sysex command so either I did something wrong or it does not work.
Also how do I switch back to GM mode?


Here's a package that can help you. First, make sure you download the latest 2.03 Dream bank referred by dreamblaster and upload it to your X2. Then for switching your X2 to MT-32 mode use 'MT32.BAT'. To switch back to GM/GS mode use 'GM.BAT'/'GS.BAT' correspondingly.
GMGSMT32.zip
(80.3 KiB) Downloaded 14 times
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby ahtoh » 2019-7-29 @ 03:54

Well, it works, but It does not sound like real MT-32, not even close.
Is there a way to load real roland banks into X2 so it sounds exactly the same?
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Srandista » 2019-7-29 @ 05:24

No. If you want closest thing to real MT-32, you must use munt.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-29 @ 05:36

ahtoh wrote:Well, it works, but It does not sound like real MT-32, not even close.
Is there a way to load real roland banks into X2 so it sounds exactly the same?


Of course it won't sound the same, it doesn't use the MT-32 samples. It also doesn't sound like a SoundCanvas in GM mode, for better or worse. Like I noted above if you want 100% accuracy use MUNT on something like a Raspberry Pi 3.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Scali » 2019-7-29 @ 08:06

appiah4 wrote:And this mode can be enabled by SOFTMPU /MT32 ?


I haven't tested it with an X2, but looking at the documentation, if you load that MT-32 compatible sound bank, it seems that the commands will be the same as on the S2, so I expect it to work.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Scali » 2019-7-29 @ 08:12

appiah4 wrote:Of course it won't sound the same, it doesn't use the MT-32 samples. It also doesn't sound like a SoundCanvas in GM mode, for better or worse. Like I noted above if you want 100% accuracy use MUNT on something like a Raspberry Pi 3.


To clarify: MT-32 is a Linear Arithmetic synthesizer.
LA synthesis is not strictly sample-based.
It is a combination of additive synthesis and short samples.
The reason for this is that in the mid-80s, sample-based synthesis and memory were still very expensive. So Roland developed a method of synthesis that exploits the fact that the timbre of an instrument is mostly perceived by its attack, not its sustain.
So Roland used short samples that store the attack of an instrument, and then it 'blends' them with additive synthesis to sustain them.
For example, a piano starts with a sample of an actual piano, so you hear the real attack of a hammer hitting a string. Then it sustains the note by a simple sine-like waveform.

These synthesized waveforms can then be modulated in realtime, because it's 'conventional' synthesis, like analog synthesizers or FM-based synths: you can play with the parameters in realtime to shape the soudn.

This means that a rompler cannot accurately emulate an MT-32, because it can only play sampled sounds. It cannot generate the additive synthesis waveforms.
Not even Roland's own synths are very acurate in MT-32 mode. They have samples for the 'standard' MT-32 sounds, but won't handle more advanced stuff.

Aside from that, the MT-32 allowed you to upload custom samples as well. ROM-based devices cannot do that.
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Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation

Postby Tiido » 2019-7-29 @ 09:38

I'm not sure about the sample upload capability, there's no sample RAM in any LA32 device and the sound chip cannot play sounds out of CPU interface nor can the CPU treat the LA32 device as a DAC of sorts. You can send in new instruments/patches that can set their own ADSR and whatever else the synth can do but they still have to use the existing ROM samples in the device.
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