So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

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So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mr_Blastman » 2012-2-04 @ 04:05

Back in the day, I never had an MT-32. I've had one for the past few years, however, and been using it through my SB X-Fi in Windows XP/7 via Dosbox and it works great.

However, Dosbox, as great as it is, can't _quite_ capture the glory that a true, original hardware machine can.

So... I have running a P-200, 32 megs ram, 4 gigs HD (2 partitions), a Gravis Joystick (you gotta remember those), a 17 inch CRT w/fresnel lens and... an AWE 32 PNP.

The only thing I don't have running on it is my MT-32. I read somewhere the SB cards have issues with their MIDI out for UART mode which... unfortunately, lots of Sierra games take advantage of to bug the MT-32 into sounding really cool.

So, I'm having a problem. I remember years ago reading the Sierra Newsletter back in 1989 about how the MT-32 plugged in through an MPU-401 card/box. Well, those are quite expensive. Well, not really--I can get a MPU-401 box pretty easy it looks like on Ebay.

But, a box doesn't cut it. You still have to plug the box into the PC, right? I'm not quite sure how that works but I'm assuming you need a midi card to do it, right?

I found something called a Midiman card listed on Ebay once but the dude wanted 250 bucks for it. 250!

This is where I need help. How do I AFFORDABLY interface the MT-32 to the pure DOS machine? I have a young 2 year old daughter that likes to eat... so, spending lots of money really isn't feasible. Anyone have any ideas?

I could settle to keeping my roland hooked up to my windows box but that's no fun.

Thanks for the ideas. :)
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Dominus » 2012-2-04 @ 04:49

Why don't you just plug it into the awe32 and play games until you actually hit the bug? There are so many games, play those that don't trigger the bug and when you are done with them, maybe then you have money for some other midi interface.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Gamecollector » 2012-2-04 @ 05:41

The UART mode is presented in any MPU-401 compatible cards - SB, GUS etc. You don't need something complex to send midi messages as is - w/o editing/change.

So, maybe you mean "Intelligent" mode?

There is a patch for the Sierra games to use SB + MT-32 combo.
Last edited by Gamecollector on 2012-2-04 @ 06:25, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-2-04 @ 05:44

Unless you're really lucky, you won't find an affordable interface. Thing is the external modules usually survived, but the internal cards got binned together with the computer.

As Dominus mentions, many games work fine on standard MIDI interfaces. And for Sierra games there are patches you can use (check at queststudios).

A modern interface card is the SCC-1. It's a ISA sound canvas but also with the MPU401 interface needed to drive a MT-32.

Once you go General Midi (Like with a SC-55), any MIDI interface will do the job.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mr_Blastman » 2012-2-04 @ 07:23

Ah, so I'll just use the patches then. SCC-1's cost a bit. Here's another question:

If I just get an MPU-401 cable... how do I run the Joystick through both the SB Card and use the MT-32 at the same time? As my memory serves me there aren't many instances where I'd do this... BUT... There are some pretty old games I used to play like Silpheed, Firehawk and Zeliard which it would be useful for. Are there such cables that allow passthrough?

Firehawk especially, as it is one of the best sounding MT-32 titles out there I've heard.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Dominus » 2012-2-04 @ 12:31

Split cable
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby jmrydholm » 2012-2-09 @ 16:47

I've got a joystick-to-midi cable at home that has a split end. I'm also running a CT-3990 AWE32 with a 1st gen. MT-32 (with the overflow problem) so let me know if you want me to test anything.

Mine looks similar to this:

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16-bit makes me happy.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mr_Blastman » 2012-3-02 @ 19:50

Thanks, guys! Ordered a split cable off the 'bay.

As for an ISA interface card like a MPU-IPC-T or similar, what is a reasonable price to pay for one of these without going overboard? I see them sometimes listed for 200 bucks but that seems quite steep, eh?
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-3-02 @ 23:19

For 200 you're better off buying a Sound Canvas SCC-1 card. It's an ISA Roland card, General MIDI AND AND MPU401 interface.

They are also much easier to find. Just make sure it comes with the cables although it's not hard to make your own :)
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby badmojo » 2012-3-23 @ 01:56

I'm busy jumping onto the MIDI bandwagon myself and man is it frustrating. With regard to an ISA interface card which is mpu-401 compatible (including "intelligent mode") - I just bought an Ensoniq Soundscape, which I'm led to believe does a good enough job of faking intelligent mode that most games work (Sierra, etc).

Can anyone here confirm that it works?
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby badmojo » 2012-3-23 @ 04:04

Yep, I've already read those threads. Nothing conclusive with regard to an actual Ensoniq Soundscape (not an AudioPCI).

What I'm asking is if anyone here has tried this specific card with an external MIDI module (e.g. MT-32)?
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-3-23 @ 04:56

badmofo wrote:Yep, I've already read those threads. Nothing conclusive with regard to an actual Ensoniq Soundscape (not an AudioPCI).


...?

The Soundscape Elite and VIVO are both mentioned. Think of the Soundscape as a DSP-less Elite. These are the cards I've personally used in such a manner.
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Artex » 2012-3-29 @ 23:16

Man I cannot find a Soundscape Elite or S2000 anywhere!
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby badmojo » 2012-4-06 @ 05:02

After testing the MT-32 / Soundscape external MIDI connector option I can confirm that the intelligent mode is lacking, and it doesn't work with all games (e.g. Gateway).
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby Mr_Blastman » 2012-4-09 @ 17:43

Which soundscape do you have?

The regular
The Elite
The VIVO
The Gateway Quantum version (with the COW chip on the board--it says COW)

I'd like to know as I'm trying to get one of these as a lower cost alterative MPU-401 interface...
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Re: So I put together a REAL DOS computer...

Postby badmojo » 2012-4-10 @ 23:22

I have the regular (first) one. It was easy enough to setup (Windows 3.1 only installer though, no DOS only to be found) and has good config options which allow you to turn off Sound Blaster emulation, etc. But unfortunately isn't good enough for my requirements, so it's back to the drawing board (eBay).
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