Roland MT-200

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: Roland MT-200

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-6-14 @ 18:35

Would a 2Mb 256KB x 8 70ns FLASH on Digikey suffice? I'm planning on getting one of those units, and replace the ROM that's in my SC-55 with a better revision as well.

Data sheet: http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/D ... 05022C.pdf
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-14 @ 19:14

I would imagine that as long as it is pin and voltage compatible, that it should work? But I can't say for certain that it would. Still it would be nice if it does because then you don't have to worry about trying to erase it with UV erasers or sunlight and combos of all of that if something doesn't program to it correctly.

I haven't seen what the firmware chip in the sc-55 looks like but I would imagine it is similar given the similar timeframe of release for these things.

Makes you wonder if only Roland had used eproms or flash rams for the actual sound rom data ehh? Imagine the fun of that!
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-6-15 @ 03:30

CrossBow777 wrote:Well, I may have finally found a game that the MT-200 can't quite handle. I've played a bunch of old DOS games with this module and not experienced any issues. But last night while playing Dune2...that wasn't the case.

Now I'm still using the module that has the 2.00 FW in it for the time being. So I'm playing Dune2 and the intro sounds correct and plays with no issues. Start the game and a mission and everything seems fine. Then right when the enemy first starts to show up and the music switches tempo I start to notice that the music is missing beats and instruments occasionally. I look at the module and sure enough it has the error "Midi Buffer Overflow" on it. I've seen this happen before when I play Midi type 1 files that are just too much for the thing to handle, but this is the first time I've seen a game cause this issue.

The settings I used were:

Sound Played from - Sound Canvas
Sound Effects from - Sound Canvas
Digital Sounds - SB Pro

So you might give that game a go and see if you get similar results. I could swear I played this game before on the other MT-200 with the 2.01 and didn't experience this issue but maybe I didn't play it enough. I do know that I had been playing Doom_SE and some other games prior and didn't experience any issues with those games. Only when I fired up Dune 2.

I'll see if I can test this myself. What version of the game was it and what are the specs of your system?

EDIT: I just tinkered with it briefly, using the unpatched version of the Dune 2 and it seems to be okay. My current setup isn't really set up completely for playing DOS games (the hard drive is on the fritz... of course) but I did set up the game with the Sound Canvas selected selected for everything and it seemed to work fine. I played until an enemy showed up and the music picked up the pace. There was a little bit of gunfire and other effects being generated by the MT-200 as well (neat!) and I noticed no missing notes or errors on my "modded" MT-200 with 2.01 firmware and all four DRAM chips.

When I get a bit more free time I'll try to get it set up more fully with proper mouse support and SB Pro digital sounds. In the mean time, post some system specs. It could be related to your sound card, CPU speed or something else.

I think I should probably try slowing my system down and using less memory too. I was running this on the "Time Machine" in my signature: FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

But, as mentioned, with the hard drive not currently working it was booted from a bare DOS installation with no memory managers, set blaster commands or even mouse support. Its kind of incredible how versatile the Sound Canvas is in games that use it for music and effects. :)

Also, how do you tell it to use Sound Canvas for music and SB Pro for digital effects? It only lets me choose one or the other.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-15 @ 14:48

Well the version of the game I have (Can't remember where I got it as I've had it on diskettes since the 90s when it came out), actually asks me for three different questions regarding sound.

First it asks to play sounds from: and this actually means, play music from... I select the Sound Canvas
Next is that it will ask me to play sound effects from: and I chose Sound Canvas again
Then the 3rd question is to ask me what I wan't to play digital samples from and that only lists sounds cards with DAC ability. But I choose the SB-Pro on that 3rd option.

Now I did get my firmware back yesterday, popped it back into my MT-200 and started up Dune 2. It was better, but it was still dropping tempo when things started to pick up. It first started when the enemy started attacking me with a couple units and I had a harvester dropping off spice. Game play didn't slow down, but the music did. The 2.01 loaded MT-200 also didn't give me any Midi buffer errors like the other one does, but it did have slowdown and just seemed to have trouble keeping up with everything.

To answer your question about the hardware specs...simple. Dosbox .74 with cycles set to 25000.

I was able to prevent the slow down in the music by changing the options so that the MT-200 was only doing music while i choose SB-pro for sound effects and digital sounds. So it would seem it just has trouble handling the music and the odd instant requests for sound effects at the same time. At least in dosbox .74 it does... The specs on the PC I use Dosbox on is an old Sandybridge I5-2500k running at 4ghz. !6GB ram, SB-ZX, Roland UMONE mkII controls the MT-200 and MT-32 connected via Midi Thru (MT-32 was powered off during these play sessions), with a GTX-1070 SC handling GPU stuff. I believe I have Dosbox set to use Overlay for rendering as D3D causes issues with the keyboard not registering multiple keyboard presses at once.

I do have an actual DOS gaming PC but it lives in a closet and hasn't been fired up in about 4 years. Likely needs the CMOS coing cell replaced and the spiders evicted from it. I don't use it because the last time it was on for a really long full day session of gaming, the SB-16 started to cut out after a few hours and stopped playing sound or basically would stop working completely. Reboots didn't solve it, so I suspect the caps on the SB-16 in that machine need to be replaced out.

The LAPC-I inside it likely needs the caps replaced too, but have you seen how many of them there are?! And I don't have a list of all of their values. Still need one for the MT-200 and MT-32 as well but I guess no one has ever though about getting them all together and creating kits to sell.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-19 @ 14:09

So I can now confirm that the slow down on the MT-200 and Buffer errors occurs on both 2.00 and 2.01 FW. But ONLY if I have Sound Canvas selected for both the Music and Sound Effects. BTW I have version 1.04 of Dune 2. If I select the Sound Canvas for Music and then SB Pro for sound effects and digital sound, then everything is golden. Again, it appears there is just too much data being sent to the MT-200 if you have it selected to do both, and honestly the sound effects get drowned out anyway if you select the MT-200 to handle them. Since there is already an option for digital sound, I wonder if I could just select NO sounds for the second sound effect option and just leave the SB Pro selected for the Digital sound and that would work?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-6-19 @ 15:55

Well now... I wonder if it has to do with DOSbox and not the MT-200.

How about I fire up Dune 2 on real hardware and see how the MT-200 and an SC-88VL handle both music and sound through a sound card midi port? I can also try through a Music Quest midi card but I really doubt that would make a difference.

I see you are using a USB MIDI port.... hrmmmmm.

USB basically sucks for correctly timing MIDI events and for MIDI latency so you could be running into some issues just from that.

I've got some stuff to test this evening, so I'll try to do some testing with DUNE 2 as well.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-19 @ 21:04

Yes but I'm using the actual Roland UMONE mkII which, is supposed to NOT suffer any timing issues through USB I thought? Dune 2 is the only game I've encountered to have issues with this using the configuration I specified. Not sure of any other games I can test that would be similar? I've played Doom, Hexen, all the Sierra adventures..and hadn't really encountered this at all. If it is only just the one game I'm not that worried honestly. But I am curious to hear if it happens on actual era correct hardware on the same version?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-6-20 @ 04:15

CrossBow777 wrote:BTW I have version 1.04 of Dune 2.


Do you mean v1.07?

Or do you mean the 1.0 version patched with the unofficial patch that fixes the bugs that v1.07 fixes but leaves the gameplay of 1.0?

I'm not finding a reference to version 1.04 anywhere.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-20 @ 15:27

I'm about 90% sure my version states 1.04 in the lower right hand corner on the title screen. Again it is a copy I've had since it came out originally so It isn't a GOG release or anything like that. Although..now that I think about it..it could be version 1.01 and the version was changed when I used Neverlock on it years ago. hehe...

I just fired up the game and yes does actually show as version 1.07. So you were correct before.

Having said that I'm currently playing the game with MT-32 for music and sound and SB-pro for digital sounds and the slow down issues with the music do NOT occur with the MT-32. So it appears to only affect the MT-200 or perhaps something with the sound canvas driver in the game?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-6-21 @ 05:09

I tested it with my MT-200 (v1.12) with my Music Quest MPU card on my DX4-100 setup from pure DOS.

The verison that is currently installed is 1.07. I could try 1.0 as well, but I don't think it should make a difference as either version has to have the sound patch installed in order to use multiple sound devices.

I set both music and sound to Sound Canvas and the digital sound to SB Pro. I am using a Sound Blaster Pro 1.0

I played through the first mission - took 11 minutes - and it didn't mess up at all for me.

In the intro it is weird hearing some sound that go through both the MT-200 and through the SB Pro at the same time.. such as the weapon firing sounds. Completely different sounds for the weapons at the same exact time.

I'm guessing if I had the sound mixed together I probably wouldn't have noticed it, except for it sounding more full/better.

So, with mine not messing up at all, I am guessing it is either an issue with the USB midi interface or an issue with DOSBox.
I don't have a computer set up to be able to figure out which one is causing the issue... or rather, I would have to pull out one of my systems that is not set up at the moment.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-6-21 @ 05:45

cyclone3d wrote:So, with mine not messing up at all, I am guessing it is either an issue with the USB midi interface or an issue with DOSBox.

Since my DOS machine also didn't exhibit problems, I'm inclined to think this is a USB or DOSBox issue as well.

I do own a Roland UM-ONE myself, but I have had so much going on lately I'm not sure when I get the time to test it out in DOSBox, as I don't have my computer currently set up for this.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-6-21 @ 14:34

I believe DOSBox requires a huge slow-down in order for the game to work or it could be a bug in the MPU401 code (Frederik Pohl's Gateway didn't work very well in DOSBox as well as only 1 song played out of the three when schlepping around (with the exception of Blue Hell Bar), and SoftMPU did that as well, so, with the help from the users (DOSBox admins/mods), I reversed the code and got the game to work, and I did the same thing in SoftMPU as well). Also, I have no idea if the UM-ONE has it where you can change the latency (speed in ms), but check that as well, and slow down DOSBox as well to prevent an overflow.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-6-21 @ 16:47

Slow down DosBox? You mean change the cycles? I think I'm playing Dune2 with Cycles set to about 15000. I know I have it set at least that if not higher for Doom and other games similar to Doom.

I just tested last night with MT-32 set for music and sounds with SB-pro for digital. Now, the slowdowns, missing instruments and beats thing I exhibit with the MT-200...

Does NOT happen with the Mt-32?! And the MT-32 is connected via passthru midi from the MT-200. But having said that, I did notice that the MT-32 had some weird message that seem to toggle on the display and occasionally the instruments. The message begins with Memory, and then I see Buffer 1 and that 1 on the end flickers rapidly. So I'm guessing there is an overrun occuring with the MT-32 but that for some reason it isn't audible as it is with the MT-200.

No driver settings on the UMOne btw. I'm on Win10 so it just plugs in and works without anything else additional required. All I have for it in the device manager is just enabling it or not and general information regarding the hardware ID etc...no options though.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-7-29 @ 01:03

Bumping this thread to say that I just found an old OAK OTIVGA OTI077 ISA VGA card in a scrap lot that had some rust on it and some nasty residue from a water damaged electrolytic cap... and it has 8 socketed memory chips, 4 of which are effectively identical (M514256A-70 vs M514256B-70) to the ones used in the MT-200. :)

SO, I have the chips I need to upgrade my other two units, I just need to solder them in and burn a couple more 2.01 ROMs and I'll have three updated MT-200s, all with the same MIDI capabilities as an SC-55. Woo! :)
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-7-29 @ 14:54

NIce find! And you will have those capabilities for what I assume was much less than SC-55s are going for?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-7-29 @ 16:24

CrossBow777 wrote:NIce find! And you will have those capabilities for what I assume was much less than SC-55s are going for?

Definitely. I got both of my newer MT-200s for less than what one SC-55 currently goes for on eBay. Both came with AC adapters and one of them came with the original box (sadly no paperwork). My first MT-200 cost even less but I had to drive a few hours to get it and it came with no accessories

That said, the SC-55 I picked up a couple years ago came from Shopgoodwill, and to my utter amazement I got it for around $60, with the original box and cords.

Basically all of my MIDI equipment have been opportunistic purchases. I use them a bit for playing with my MIDI keyboard, playing games and listening to MIDI tracks. Now that we've solved the MT-200 mystery though, I hope to get my collection paired down to just a few units though because I just don't realistically need this many MIDI devices. :dead:
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-7-30 @ 03:08

Just a quick note for any weirdos like me that actually try to use uniflash to flash the 2.01 BIOS to update an MT-200, it turns out that I did it correctly the first time. What I mean by that is, you have to flash with the boot block first (even though that will not work in the MT-200), then flash the same image WITHOUT the boot block. I don't know enough about how flash chips work to understand why this would be the case, but I just tried two chips several times and couldn't get them to work when I just flashed them without the bootblock. The MT-200 would have a blank display when using these chips.

So, I figured I'd do it the same way as the first time and flashed WITH bootblock first then flashed them again without... and voila, it works exactly as expected. If I had to guess, it has something to do with the fact that I'm reusing old motherboard BIOS chips and I'm using a motherboard BIOS flashing utility. Whatever the reason, its working and I didn't have to buy a programmer and a bunch of adapters. :blush:

Now I just need to solder the memory chips. :)
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-7-31 @ 17:12

I soldered in the extra memory on my two other units yesterday and both are working perfectly. I saw no garbled text on either one throughout the process so it must have happened on the other one due to a loose connection since it was half assembled when I tested it at first. Now I'd like to look into how these behave in those is situations where some SC55 models use a different instrument... I think it was breath noise or something.
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby CrossBow777 » 2018-8-02 @ 14:42

Yes I'd seen reference to the breath noise in another thread specifically about the SC-55 vs the MKII version relating to this. I seem to recall that my SCB-55 had a breath noise effect in the list of effects it could do, but I can't recall any game that actually used it to a degree that I ever noticed?

It is really good we have this thread on the MT-200 though because we wouldn't have ever figured out that there were two main versions of these things. And it is important that if one were to look into getting an MT-200 for use with DOS gaming as an SC-55 type module, they need to have the newer revision of the hardware.

Also interesting in that you have more than one MT-200 yet both are earlier revisions, and I have two MT-200s that are of the newer revisions? What are the odds?
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Re: Roland MT-200

Postby DTBDeeRock » 2018-8-07 @ 03:30

Hey Ozzuneoj, do you mind sending me a message wanted to ask you about the MT-200 in some more depth.
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