Roland SC-55 how-to

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Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby elfuego » 2009-2-15 @ 23:18

So far I understood how to get things working over daughterboards, but what if I get myself a real Roland SC-55 module? Can it be used in games, and how?

I presume it connects to gameport, right? Then what? Same settings as with daughterboards? In this case, I also presume I will need two sets of speakers - one for music and one for digital sound, right? Can SC also route the sound effects through the internal sound-in jacks?

And most importantly - is monkey island 1 finally going to sound as it should from the game itself, in DOS and not in windows with any modification on the midi file itself? :-)
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby Kippesoep » 2009-2-15 @ 23:50

It is an external module that connects through a MIDI cable to a MPU-401 or compatible UART (which most sound cards and motherboards integrate with the joystick ports). The SC-55 has headphone out and line out jacks that you can then connect to your sound card's line in so it comes out of the same speakers.

As for Monkey Island 1... no... it's not designed for General MIDI (which the SC-55 plays back). It's designed for the MT-32 that predates the General MIDI standard. That said, the game doesn't use any custom samples nor any of the special effects offered by those modules and if you switch the SC-55 to the MT-32/CM-32L/CM-64L patch set (page 32 of the manual: hold down "instrument <" while turning the power on, then press "all"), it sounds pretty much indistinguishable from a true MT-32 (I just tried while typing this post).
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby elfuego » 2009-2-16 @ 01:06

As far as I can tell, SC-55 also has GS set, not only GM. So - would it work then, or not on monkey island 1? I didn't understand the post...
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby Kippesoep » 2009-2-16 @ 09:54

GS is even later than GM. Monkey Island is designed for the Roland MT-32, which has neither GM, nor GS, as those didn't exist at the time. The MT-32 has its own MIDI implementation, which Monkey Island makes use of. The SC-55 can emulate a part of that, but not all.

Monkey Island: 1990
General MIDI: 1991
GS: 1991&1994
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby elfuego » 2009-2-16 @ 17:01

Kippesoep wrote:GS is even later than GM. Monkey Island is designed for the Roland MT-32, which has neither GM, nor GS, as those didn't exist at the time. The MT-32 has its own MIDI implementation, which Monkey Island makes use of. The SC-55 can emulate a part of that, but not all.

Monkey Island: 1990
General MIDI: 1991
GS: 1991&1994


So it's still going to sound better then on FM Synth of AWE32 / SB16, right? Just need to start it with c:\mi1>monkey r ?

Thanks :-)
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby Kippesoep » 2009-2-16 @ 17:09

It'll sound worse with the default sound bank. Read my original post to see how to set the SC-55 to MT-32 emulation mode. When you do that, it sounds great.
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby swaaye » 2009-2-16 @ 21:42

MT-32 uses a totally different kind of music synthesis than "wavetable" cards. Cards that try to emulate it usually end up sounding rather awful. Might be more enjoyable to go with FM.
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby Kippesoep » 2009-2-16 @ 21:52

Indeed, but Monkey Island 1 doesn't do anything special and just uses the MT-32 instruments unaltered, so it sounds pretty good that way. With Monkey Island 2 it sounds nasty.
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby elfuego » 2009-2-17 @ 23:17

OK one more question and I'm out. If I get the roland MT-32 Module (not daughterboard, no card, but the external module), will both MI1 and MI2 sound OK?

I already have Yamaha db50XG which works excelent with GM supporting games, so I dont really see the use for Roland GS/GM. Does SC-55 bring any improvements in music over MT-32 module on roland (but not GM) supporting games?

...and the way to connect the MT-32 module is again over gameport right? At what address? Standard 300/330h? Any IRQs?
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Re: Roland SC-55 how-to

Postby Malik » 2009-2-18 @ 06:12

elfuego wrote:OK one more question and I'm out. If I get the roland MT-32 Module (not daughterboard, no card, but the external module), will both MI1 and MI2 sound OK?

OK? Nah. It's NOT ok. It's just GGGGRRRRRREEEEAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!
Sorry, got carried away. :happyhappy:
Monkey Island 1 & 2 are some of my all time favourites. And nowadays, I replay the games just to listen to the wonderful music pieces. Again and again. Especially Monkey Island 2.

And for MT-32, (or LAPC-I for that matter,) have you heard the opening sequence in Dynamix's Heart of China? Or even the Lucasarts' title opening sequence in Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis? These are some of my favourites too.

To put it simply it's not ok. It's just Fantastic using MT-32! :happyhappy:

elfuego wrote:I already have Yamaha db50XG which works excelent with GM supporting games, so I dont really see the use for Roland GS/GM. Does SC-55 bring any improvements in music over MT-32 module on roland (but not GM) supporting games?

I use GM supported games only in my SC-55 MKII. No more using AWE32's wavetable sounds. Games like Doom2, Heretic, Duke Nukem 3D, Cybermage etc.
Most of these games also support the Sound Canvas Option. It's hard to compare the SC-55 over the MT-32 since both these are not similar in terms of sound production and instrument arrangement.
The sounds are very much better. For example in Heretic, the Cymbals sound so real, that you'll swear someone just hit 'em beside you! :happy:

To put it simply, if a game supports MT-32, by all means choose that option to play the game. If it supports General MIDI, use the SC-55.

Also take note that some games have MT-32 support but the game was not meant to use it originally. It would have been composed first in a Sound Canvas for GM or Adlib for FM sounds, and later they're modified and added support to make the MT-32 to play these midi files. These games sound better in it 's original form. (GM/GS mode or FM mode).

For Example, Prince of Persia classic, v1.3. I prefer the FM synthesis in this game since MT-32 support was added later via the 1.3 patch.

See this page for those games that were meant for MT-32 originally.


elfuego wrote:...and the way to connect the MT-32 module is again over gameport right? At what address? Standard 300/330h? Any IRQs?


Ok let me try to explain this in a different way :

1. I connect my SC-55 to my AWE32's gameport via the Joystick-to-Midi cable.

Image

2. Connect the midi connector labelled "out" to the MIDI IN of the SC-55.

3. Choose port 330 in the game setup or install program to let the midi message pass from the game to the SC-55 via the Sounblaster's default 330 port.

4. Now the SC-55 will receive the midi message from the game while playing.

5. No need to worry about IRQ.

[Note: I''m also using a LAPC-I in my classic machine. I let my LAPC-I use it's deafult midi port 330. Next, I use Creative PnP Configuration Utility (CTCU.EXE) to change the midi port for my AWE32 to 300. (This is a single action move - meaning that once you change it to 300, it won't revert back to 330 until you change it again. This will prevent any conflict with the LAPC-I. Then, in the game setup , say, Doom2, I choose Sound Canvas and select the port 300. This will direct the game to pass the midi message to my AWE32's midi port (which is now 300) and subsequently reaches the SC-55 via the joystick-midi cable.
So any games supporting the MT-32 or LAPC-I will automatically be directed to the LAPC-I via the port330. And any games supporting the SC or GM will use the port300 since I have set them in their respective install program. I'm using my MT-32 module with my newer system. See my post for this setup.]
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