VOGONS


First post, by nad53

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Greetings guys. I'm looking up for a little help if anybody knows about a reliable / suggested software (if ever exists) to play midi files with opl-2 emulation (or AdLib, I don't know the actual difference). Also ideal, but not a requirement that this software could allow to record the audio sample right there to export them as .WAV files.

Till around 2018 I used to play on Winamp player those midi files and for some reason, they heard pretty much the same as they do within DOSBOX to each game but nowadays I have installed the same winamp version I had back then and I'm listening a different instruments version from the same midi files. Not sure if this is caused by a more recent Windows 10 update or some changed midi file(s) from default Windows GM synthesizer ? If anybody know more about this issue with Winamp, I would appreciate info about it as well.

By the way, I'm not looking any special audio chip emulation options, I just want to hear those midi files the same way it does with DEFAULT options for DOS games, but in a player - outside of DOS games.

Thanks if any of you can bring a help.

Reply 1 of 9, by cyclone3d

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MIDI in DOS games was never used on Adlib/OPL2 as far as I know.

The OPL and MIDI songs were written specifically for the different types of hardware.

Now in Windows 3.x, there was a built in OPL driver that let you play MIDI files through it, but that is a completely different thing.

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Reply 2 of 9, by ripsaw8080

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George "The Fat Man" Sanger is credited with the GM timbres for OPL2 in quite a few DOS games, and I believe it is those instrument definitions that were used in Windows 3. The instrument sounds were made into a soundfont, but it is of course not an actual FM chip or an emulation of one: OPL2 Soundfont???

Reply 3 of 9, by nad53

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-12-07, 00:44:

MIDI in DOS games was never used on Adlib/OPL2 as far as I know.

The OPL and MIDI songs were written specifically for the different types of hardware.

Now in Windows 3.x, there was a built in OPL driver that let you play MIDI files through it, but that is a completely different thing.

Thanks for the kind help.

I will reformulate this question now that I saw a bit more clearly.

Is there some way either in dosbox or outside (Windows) to ever play and/or record classic game sound themes with Adlib/soundblaster OPL-2 FM music emulation ?

I'm refering to this case with Winamp application because a couple of years ago. I looked up for listening in .mp3 files any of those sound themes from Transport tycoon but originally played in Adlib/sound blaster emulation (by default in the game). So, I got those midi themes that were played on Transport tycoon deluxe (which are almost all the same) and a guy suggested me back then to play them on Winamp which did hear almost (if not) the same as the game in DOSBOX. So then I could record them for .mp3 files. But that doesn't happen anymore. I have looked up there're some for OPL-3 but not likely could find something for Adlib soundblaste opl-2.

Thanks again for the help.

Reply 4 of 9, by nad53

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ripsaw8080 wrote on 2021-12-07, 02:34:

George "The Fat Man" Sanger is credited with the GM timbres for OPL2 in quite a few DOS games, and I believe it is those instrument definitions that were used in Windows 3. The instrument sounds were made into a soundfont, but it is of course not an actual FM chip or an emulation of one: OPL2 Soundfont???

I appreciate this reference and tested this up. But midi files don't sound nearly as good as it is for adlib opl-2 in-game records.

Reply 5 of 9, by cyclone3d

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nad53 wrote on 2021-12-07, 18:26:
Thanks for the kind help. […]
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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-12-07, 00:44:

MIDI in DOS games was never used on Adlib/OPL2 as far as I know.

The OPL and MIDI songs were written specifically for the different types of hardware.

Now in Windows 3.x, there was a built in OPL driver that let you play MIDI files through it, but that is a completely different thing.

Thanks for the kind help.

I will reformulate this question now that I saw a bit more clearly.

Is there some way either in dosbox or outside (Windows) to ever play and/or record classic game sound themes with Adlib/soundblaster OPL-2 FM music emulation ?

I'm refering to this case with Winamp application because a couple of years ago. I looked up for listening in .mp3 files any of those sound themes from Transport tycoon but originally played in Adlib/sound blaster emulation (by default in the game). So, I got those midi themes that were played on Transport tycoon deluxe (which are almost all the same) and a guy suggested me back then to play them on Winamp which did hear almost (if not) the same as the game in DOSBOX. So then I could record them for .mp3 files. But that doesn't happen anymore. I have looked up there're some for OPL-3 but not likely could find something for Adlib soundblaster opl-2.

Thanks again for the help.

OPL2 music is going to sound exactly the same when played on OPL3.

Check out vgmrips.com and vgmpf.com

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 6 of 9, by gerwin

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nad53 wrote on 2021-12-07, 18:26:

So, I got those midi themes that were played on Transport tycoon deluxe (which are almost all the same) and a guy suggested me back then to play them on Winamp which did hear almost (if not) the same as the game in DOSBOX.

Midi data cannot be send to an FM/OPL chip as-is. It cannot be send to an FM/OPL emulator as-is, either.
There has to be some software that translates Midi instrument instructions to FM instructions. Often by using some sort of translation table, AKA sound bank. This translation is always an approximation and it sounds different depending on the software.
In your example above there was seemingly such a translator at work. But it does not say which one it was. Was it a Windows driver or a Winamp plugin, and which one?

PS: Later DOS games came with just midi files and backported that internally to FM/OPL using a translation sound bank. Whenever the user had selected a sound device with only FM capability. Older DOS games programmed the FM/OPL directly.

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Reply 7 of 9, by nad53

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gerwin wrote on 2021-12-07, 19:37:
Midi data cannot be send to an FM/OPL chip as-is. It cannot be send to an FM/OPL emulator as-is, either. There has to be some […]
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nad53 wrote on 2021-12-07, 18:26:

So, I got those midi themes that were played on Transport tycoon deluxe (which are almost all the same) and a guy suggested me back then to play them on Winamp which did hear almost (if not) the same as the game in DOSBOX.

Midi data cannot be send to an FM/OPL chip as-is. It cannot be send to an FM/OPL emulator as-is, either.
There has to be some software that translates Midi instrument instructions to FM instructions. Often by using some sort of translation table, AKA sound bank. This translation is always an approximation and it sounds different depending on the software.
In your example above there was seemingly such a translator at work. But it does not say which one it was. Was it a Windows driver or a Winamp plugin, and which one?

PS: Later DOS games came with just midi files and backported that internally to FM/OPL using a translation sound bank. Whenever the user had selected a sound device with only FM capability. Older DOS games programmed the FM/OPL directly.

It's very weird. In 2018, I literally remember playing Winamp with just settings > plugins > input > midi player > device in Microsoft Synthesizer and I could hear those Transport Tycoon midi files with the same AdLib style from in-game ... But not anymore.
Now the most basic result without tweaking options is General MIDI sound style that comes from Transport Tycoon Windows version (which just plays those same tracks from the DOS version but with General midi - Windows synthesizer... or DOSBox AdLib emulator).

It's not like I reject those better quality instruments that can be heard from General Midi but the fact that AdLib is so old and it's like the most basic style to play those tracks and are part of my fellow memories as a kid. Still, this is a behavior that is applied to other games like Warcraft II (DOS VERSION) which allows the same option to switch between AdLib/soundblaster emulation or General midi (which of course sounds with way more realistic instruments, but still I prefer the default Soundblaster16 settings).

Reply 9 of 9, by DeathAdderSF

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I personally use the Adlib-DigiSnap to get pure, unadulterated recordings of Ad Lib tunes. It's incredibly time consuming and requires two computers [!], but for me it's worth it.
Everything I record is shared @ the Ad Lib music archive.

While I realize you specifically asked for a solution that involves emulation, I figured I'd mention my website in case I've "ripped" any games that you particularly enjoy (thus saving you the trouble of doing it yourself).

Cruise by Diskman Presents: filled with geektastic classic gaming goodness!