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Making a midi device tower

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First post, by Dimitris1980

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Hello,

i have a Macintosh Performa 6116CD and a Cyrix Dos PC.

Roland MT32 and Roland Sound Canvas SC88 are connected with my Macintosh.

(Same) Roland MT32 and Roland Sound Canvas SC55 Mark I are connected with my PC. (MT32 is connected via a midi switch with both computers).

Although my computers are completed with the midi stuff, i have one more free position for each of them and i may connect two more devices if i find something in a good price. I would like to ask you what do you suggest according to your experience? I use the midi devices only for gaming. From what i've read in the forum, the yamaha devices seem to be great. I have seen various models like the Yamaha MU10, MU50, MU80, MU90, MU90R, MU2000 (very expensive). Do they have differences in music? I have read also about Korg, Akai etc but it seems that Yamaha are better for gaming. I would like to make my midi tower higher and have various options for the music. I am curious also for some Sierra Online adventure games like Freddy Pharkas and King's Quest VI, how do they sound with Yamaha or another midi device?

Thank you in advance.

Reply 1 of 44, by Dominus

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I'd get a Roland CM32 or CM64. Especially for the few games that make use of the additional sfx that came with those two (for example river/running water in Ultima Underworld).

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox

Reply 3 of 44, by kolderman

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I have a physical stack of korg/akai/kawai/casio, and a PC running mt32, sc55 and mu80 emulators. There is no one "best for gaming", it really depends on the game, which is what makes it so much fun!

Reply 5 of 44, by Pierre32

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I added a Yamaha TG100 to my stack this week. I d0n't necessarily recommend it here, as there will be better experiences with the later / higher end Yamahas already listed. But it's still a really neat little unit, and the perfect GM addition to my 386 (where the SC-55's talents are wasted).

Reply 6 of 44, by imi

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the fun of a "midi tower" is to have choice, it doesn't really matter to me if one or the other is "better" for gaming, it's just fun to listen to all the different "interpretations" ^^

MT32 and SC55 are a given for the "authentic" experience, everything else just adds to the fun 😀

Reply 7 of 44, by Meowdori

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Yamaha XG-compliant units are amazing and capable if you're writing music or listening to XG-specific tracks.

Regarding the usage in games though, it's a mixed bag, because there's only a handful of them that explicitly enable the XG mode and use the full palette of its instrument banks and insert FX.
It's subjective but in my opinion, some games will sound great, others not so much (especially if they're pure GM, not GS).

Few examples of games with non-XG soundtracks played on Yamaha XG synths:

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000
Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite fine, with AIZ performing especially poorly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjf6tBjxNC0

Night Slave (PC-98 DOS, GS) - S-YXG50 SoftSynthesizer
Overall fantastic, with exception of some guitars and minor mixing issues which are arguably better on SC-88Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEp59QDC4ho

Various DOS games (either GM or GS) - SW1000XG PCI Card
Some doing exceptionally well, especially TFX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOOwKA2T3SQ

Reply 8 of 44, by Dimitris1980

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I agreed with imi. Roland devices are the authentic and the others add the fun. It is really nice to have options for the sound. Since i was a kid i liked technically more the sound than the graphics. I remember where I was looking a game for my Amstrad CPC 464 where i could hear speech, not just subtitles. Like Dominus said, i would like also to have a cm32l or a cm64, sometimes i look for these but they're hard to find and the especially very expensive.

Reply 9 of 44, by Wanderer

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Meowdori wrote on 2020-07-11, 13:07:
Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000 Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite […]
Show full quote

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000
Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite fine, with AIZ performing especially poorly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjf6tBjxNC0

Night Slave (PC-98 DOS, GS) - S-YXG50 SoftSynthesizer
Overall fantastic, with exception of some guitars and minor mixing issues which are arguably better on SC-88Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEp59QDC4ho

Hello @Meowdori,
do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you posted are very nice, I would like to hear these soundtracks on my MU15 and other synths)
Mirsoft and a quick Google search gave no results unfortunately. Thanks in advance.

Sorry for going off topic, I intended to ask this via PM but couldn't figure how to send one.

Reply 10 of 44, by Meowdori

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Wanderer wrote on 2020-07-11, 19:56:
Hello @Meowdori, do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you po […]
Show full quote
Meowdori wrote on 2020-07-11, 13:07:
Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000 Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite […]
Show full quote

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000
Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite fine, with AIZ performing especially poorly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjf6tBjxNC0

Night Slave (PC-98 DOS, GS) - S-YXG50 SoftSynthesizer
Overall fantastic, with exception of some guitars and minor mixing issues which are arguably better on SC-88Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEp59QDC4ho

Hello @Meowdori,
do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you posted are very nice, I would like to hear these soundtracks on my MU15 and other synths)
Mirsoft and a quick Google search gave no results unfortunately. Thanks in advance.

Sorry for going off topic, I intended to ask this via PM but couldn't figure how to send one.

The video features the MS Windows version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You can find it on Archive.org nowadays if you don't own a physical copy. Sequence data can be extracted from the game into individual SMF MIDI files too, using the following tool by ValleyBell: http://info.sonicretro.org/SKC-Midi

Reply 11 of 44, by Wanderer

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Meowdori wrote on 2020-07-12, 17:34:
Wanderer wrote on 2020-07-11, 19:56:
Hello @Meowdori, do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you po […]
Show full quote
Meowdori wrote on 2020-07-11, 13:07:
Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000 Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite […]
Show full quote

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Windows, GM) - MU1000
Some tracks, like the bonus level sound very good imo, others range from bad to quite fine, with AIZ performing especially poorly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjf6tBjxNC0

Night Slave (PC-98 DOS, GS) - S-YXG50 SoftSynthesizer
Overall fantastic, with exception of some guitars and minor mixing issues which are arguably better on SC-88Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEp59QDC4ho

Hello @Meowdori,
do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you posted are very nice, I would like to hear these soundtracks on my MU15 and other synths)
Mirsoft and a quick Google search gave no results unfortunately. Thanks in advance.

Sorry for going off topic, I intended to ask this via PM but couldn't figure how to send one.

The video features the MS Windows version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You can find it on Archive.org nowadays if you don't own a physical copy. Sequence data can be extracted from the game into individual SMF MIDI files too, using the following tool by ValleyBell: http://info.sonicretro.org/SKC-Midi

Thank you. When searching the Archive, I learnt that Sonic 3 & Knuckles was part of Sonic & Knuckles Collection, and then checked Mirsoft again and found a ready-made gamerip that I had skipped before due to a missing "3" in the title. But there is no info on how the rip was obtained. I will as well try SKC-Midi to see if various export options make a difference.

My question referred to Night Slave soundtrack too, sorry if it wasn't obvious from the quote. Could you upload the files you used for the youtube recording or give a hint where else to get them from?

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-07-15, 02:39. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 12 of 44, by darry

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Dimitris1980 wrote on 2020-07-11, 09:00:
Hello, […]
Show full quote

Hello,

i have a Macintosh Performa 6116CD and a Cyrix Dos PC.

Roland MT32 and Roland Sound Canvas SC88 are connected with my Macintosh.

(Same) Roland MT32 and Roland Sound Canvas SC55 Mark I are connected with my PC. (MT32 is connected via a midi switch with both computers).

Although my computers are completed with the midi stuff, i have one more free position for each of them and i may connect two more devices if i find something in a good price. I would like to ask you what do you suggest according to your experience? I use the midi devices only for gaming. From what i've read in the forum, the yamaha devices seem to be great. I have seen various models like the Yamaha MU10, MU50, MU80, MU90, MU90R, MU2000 (very expensive). Do they have differences in music? I have read also about Korg, Akai etc but it seems that Yamaha are better for gaming. I would like to make my midi tower higher and have various options for the music. I am curious also for some Sierra Online adventure games like Freddy Pharkas and King's Quest VI, how do they sound with Yamaha or another midi device?

Thank you in advance.

A Yamaha MU500 (lower end member of the MU1000 and MU2000 family) would be an option too .

Reply 13 of 44, by SuperDeadite

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Unless its really cheap skip 500 and go for 1000/2000. 500 has no display and switching settings around via sysex is a pain. Especially if you want to use MU Basic (mu80) sound mode too.

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, Dreamblaster X2

Reply 14 of 44, by darry

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SuperDeadite wrote on 2020-07-13, 03:32:

Unless its really cheap skip 500 and go for 1000/2000. 500 has no display and switching settings around via sysex is a pain. Especially if you want to use MU Basic (mu80) sound mode too.

Agreed . Cheapest, MU500 is 175 CAN$ , Mu1000 is 360 CAN$, MU2000 is around 290 400 CAN$ . Money talks, however .

EDIT: Made sure the prices reflected those of working units

Reply 16 of 44, by darry

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yawetaG wrote on 2020-07-13, 15:44:

MU128 is the low end but regular shaped little brother of the MU1000/2000 anyway.

I personally do not miss the screen when using an MU500 . I use it in its native mode anyway . Since there are hardly any (if any at all) PC games composed specifically for the MU80, I do not really see the point in switching to other maps . I already have Roland GS modules (SC-88VL and SC-D70), so GS compatibility is not something I would need from the MU500 . I essentially use the MU500 as a different GM compatible module, to have a change from the Roland stuff and occasionally to listen to some XG MIDI files .

Are there any specifically XG compatible games, other than FFVII, on DOS or Windows that are in English or French (not exclusively in Japanese) ?

EDIT: MU128 is not low end, just older and less advanced than MU1000 , MU2000 and even MU500 (except for lack of controls and no support for plugin cards) , AFAIK .

Reply 18 of 44, by Meowdori

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Wanderer wrote on 2020-07-12, 23:18:
Meowdori wrote on 2020-07-12, 17:34:
Wanderer wrote on 2020-07-11, 19:56:
Hello @Meowdori, do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you po […]
Show full quote

Hello @Meowdori,
do you happen to know where the MIDI files from this two games are available for download? (The examples you posted are very nice, I would like to hear these soundtracks on my MU15 and other synths)
Mirsoft and a quick Google search gave no results unfortunately. Thanks in advance.

Sorry for going off topic, I intended to ask this via PM but couldn't figure how to send one.

The video features the MS Windows version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You can find it on Archive.org nowadays if you don't own a physical copy. Sequence data can be extracted from the game into individual SMF MIDI files too, using the following tool by ValleyBell: http://info.sonicretro.org/SKC-Midi

Thank you. When searching the Archive, I learnt that Sonic 3 & Knuckles was part of Sonic & Knuckles Collection, and then checked Mirsoft again and found a ready-made gamerip that I had skipped before due to a missing "3" in the title. But there is no info on how the rip was obtained. I will as well try SKC-Midi to see if various export options make a difference.

My question referred to Night Slave soundtrack too, sorry if it wasn't obvious from the quote. Could you upload the files you used for the youtube recording or give a hint where else to get them from?

Night Slave stores its MIDI sequences in a non-standard proprietary container format that's nothing like SMF MIDI files. I'm not aware of any existing rip, I recorded them live from the game, this is what my setup looks like: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/562447 … 197210/Midi.mp4

You can find the game itself in the Neo Kobe archive on archive.org: https://archive.org/details/NeoKobe-NecPc-98012017-11-17

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-07-15, 02:39. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 19 of 44, by Meowdori

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BTW, about the comparisons of various MUxx synths - MU500 is a very good alternative to 1000 or 2000, but keep in mind that the maximum voice polyphony count is halved from 128 to 64 (though that's not gonna be a concern with most game soundtracks I believe)