VOGONS


First post, by Axatax

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I've always been a "Roland Guy", and this game has one of my favorite soundtracks, bar-none, and I've basically always been dismissive of Adlib-type sound.

I think I'm coming around to really appreciate this game with Adlib sound. The Adlib I guess has grown on me, and sounds very otherworldly and transcendental in a weird sort of way.

What's your opinion on this? Give it a shot before you turn your nose up... 😀

Just sharing my thoughts...

Reply 2 of 15, by derSammler

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The music in U6 wasn't really done for Roland. While it is supported, none of the songs use more than four voices (you can see the instrument mapping in the file "MIDI.DAT"). I'm pretty sure it was done for Tandy and then just converted to the rest without making use of any additional features. I had it running on Tandy, GM, MT-32, SSI 2001, and Adlib. Adlib sounds best to me.

Reply 3 of 15, by Axatax

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derSammler wrote on 2020-01-17, 14:46:

The music in U6 wasn't really done for Roland. While it is supported, none of the songs use more than four voices (you can see the instrument mapping in the file "MIDI.DAT"). I'm pretty sure it was done for Tandy and then just converted to the rest without making use of any additional features. I had it running on Tandy, GM, MT-32, SSI 2001, and Adlib. Adlib sounds best to me.

I think the simplicity of the soundtrack adds, and not detracts from it. There's all kinds of Japanese games that pull out every trick in the book for MT-32-style hardware, which sound amazing.

I think the minimalist score in U6 is equally amazing, for it's own reasons.

Reply 4 of 15, by dionb

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U6's music is great, period.

I'd put it in my top 5 favorites for both AdLib and MT-32, despite lack of flair on the latter. Certainly when seen in its own time, it was groundbreaking, particularly how music was contextual - what you were doing in the game influenced the music. Of course that was just "IF entering combat THEN play track 08" sort of stuff, but beats the "loop same music all the time" hands down of course.

Irony: I played it a LOT in the early 1990s, but with PC Speaker only I missed all of the music. Only discovered that when getting into retro stuff 😉

Reply 5 of 15, by derSammler

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Yes, the music is great. I love the character creation song, I could listen to it for hours (and actually did that more than once).

Doesn't change the fact that the music was certainly not composed for MIDI devices, however.

Reply 6 of 15, by clueless1

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I agree, the music is very well done in U6. I just wish I could've played it before U7. I was an Apple II guy until '92 and was lucky enough to have a Mockingboard sound card. Here's what Ultima V sound like on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjqRGVFtlDw Needless to say, I'd played Ultimas 1-5 on that platform. Six was never made for the Apple II series because it wasn't powerful enough. So U7 was one of the first games I played on my new Packard Bell 386, and I was so spoiled by the graphics and sounds of U7 that I couldn't get into U6 after the fact. Even a few years ago I tried U6 again on my DOS PC and for some reason couldn't get into it. I think it was visually too hard to differentiate between players and background graphics and the UI was a bit too much of a learning curve. To this day it's the only Ultima I never sunk a significant chunk of time (20+ hrs) into. I think if I'd played it when it came out, it would've been a different story.

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OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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Reply 7 of 15, by ifrit05

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Adlib is the only way to go for Ultima VI imo. Change my mind.

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Reply 8 of 15, by ESE150

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I just tried U6 with AdLib again and I was reminded of why I installed MUNT. AdLib sounds like absolute ass. Why would anyone do that to themselves?

I will give the game credit for sounding about as good as it possibly could get, though. The compositions are great, the audio quality is just abysmal compared to the alternative.

Reply 9 of 15, by dionb

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ESE150 wrote on 2022-02-24, 21:26:

I just tried U6 with AdLib again and I was reminded of why I installed MUNT. AdLib sounds like absolute ass. Why would anyone do that to themselves?

I will give the game credit for sounding about as good as it possibly could get, though. The compositions are great, the audio quality is just abysmal compared to the alternative.

If AdLib sounded much worse than MT-32 on U6, then something was wrong. Of all games supporting both, this was where the AdLib really shone and the MT-32 fell somewhat flat - although still pretty decent, good enough to warrant this topic. What sort of sound hardware were you using for AdLib?

Reply 11 of 15, by dionb

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ESE150 wrote on 2022-02-24, 22:36:

Sound hardware? Doesn't DOSBox's AdLib emulation sound the same regardless of hardware?

It does, and generally is considered fairly close to OPL3 - not perfect, but better than say Creative CQM (from later Sound Blaster 16/32/64 models), so should be decent. But haven't tried U6 in it. I do think that your point is a bit off-topic in Marvin though, as this is where we do things with real old hardware.

Reply 12 of 15, by ESE150

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I don't have an AdLib card to compare. However, I just listened to some recordings of the game's music played in the actual hardware and they sound fairly close to DOSBox's emulation.

TBF I played U6 a while back with emulated AdLib and didn't mind it too much. But when I moved on to U7 I couldn't stand the audio quality, so I learned about MUNT and installed it. Haven't looked back since then. Even U6 is painful to play with AdLib now, so I set it to use MT32 too. I guess MUNT opened my eyes (ears?) as to how bad AdLib is. The fact some prefer it to MT32 for U6 (or ANY game) blows my mind.

Last edited by ESE150 on 2022-02-26, 23:23. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 15, by Shreddoc

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ESE150 wrote on 2022-02-26, 17:46:

I don't have an AdLib card to compare. However, I just listened to some recordings of the game's music played in the actual hardware and they sound fairly close to DOSBox's emulation.

TBF I played U6 a while back with emulated AdLib and didn't mind it too much. But when I moved to U7 I couldn't stand the audio quality, so I learned about MUNT and installed it. Haven't looked back since then. Even U6 is painful to play with AdLib now, so I set it to use MT32 too. I guess MUNT opened my eyes (ears?) as to how bad AdLib is. The fact some prefer it to MT32 for U6 (or ANY game) blows my mind.

The fact you're even playing U6 is predicated on the notion that something comparatively old, archaic and technically primitive can still be a just as much fun as something newer, shinier, more fancy-looking-and-sounding.

Some people's enjoyment of Adlib music is no different in principle.

Reply 14 of 15, by dionb

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ESE150 wrote on 2022-02-26, 17:46:

I don't have an AdLib card to compare. However, I just listened to some recordings of the game's music played in the actual hardware and they sound fairly close to DOSBox's emulation.

TBF I played U6 a while back with emulated AdLib and didn't mind it too much. But when I moved on to U7 I couldn't stand the audio quality, so I learned about MUNT and installed it. Haven't looked back since then. Even U6 is painful to play with AdLib now, so I set it to use MT32 too. I guess MUNT opened my eyes (ears?) as to how bad AdLib is. The fact some prefer it to MT32 for U6 (or ANY game) blows my mind.

U7 is an entirely different kettle of fish, clearly composed for MT32, with AdLib a poor derivation of it. No discussion there. U6 though was not composed for MT32 and you can hear it - MT-32 is of course much clearer-sounding, but there's a lot more going on in the AdLib. And as for misplaced nostalgia - back in the day we couldn't afford any sound card, so I had to make do with PC speaker. For me at least, this is all stuff I've been comparing since I had the actual hardware.

Reply 15 of 15, by clueless1

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U7 and WC1/2 are three of several games where I got immersed in and played them to completion with the Adlib soundtrack. After dozens of hours of that being imprinted on me, hearing the MT32 version the first few times just sounded...wrong. It just depends on your previous experience. There is no absolute "better" IMO.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks