VOGONS


First post, by derSammler

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I'm currently building up a collection of GM modules / synthesizers. Apart from the usual stuff (SC-55, MU50+80), I also got the following modules:

* Yamaha TG100
* Kawai GMega

Interestingly, it seems no one tried these with games. At least I could not find any recording apart from demo songs. Really a shame, as both have a very unique sound. The TG100 has incredible drum sounds and the GMega has a very nice SP mode which mimics the MT-32 instruments in a way that makes "Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge" sound better than with a real MT-32. I'm going to make some recordings as soon as my new USB sound card arrives.

Anyone else here owning these modules?

Reply 1 of 51, by m5215tx

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I have a collection of sound modules that I am building up myself. 🤣

I don't have the Kawai GMega but I do have the Yamaha TG100. I like my TG100 as it does have a bit of a unique style to it. You are right in that there are not many TG100 recordings of game music. I have a few Roland SD-20 recordings up on Youtube now and the TG100 is on my list to do at some point in the future.

Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
KORG NS5R, X5DR
AKAI SG01k
KAWAI GMega
KETRON SD2

Reply 2 of 51, by SuperDeadite

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I like my TG100, I put up some videos a long time ago, but I mostly do Japanese PCs.

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 S2, X2, McFly, E-Wave, QWave, CrystalBlaster C2

Reply 4 of 51, by j^aws

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You can get addicted to trying many different modules. I've had opportunities to buy the ones mentioned. In the end, I had to limit myself. They can all sound good in their own ways, even lo-fi sound modules. Usually, the only things that would ruin the music are excessive noise or off-key instruments.

Reply 5 of 51, by Shponglefan

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I have a GMega. It's an okay module. Can be had for cheap and offers a somewhat low-fi sound, if that's what you are looking for. It's not as balanced as some of the Roland or Yamaha modules, but it's not bad for what it is.

I posted some comparison recordings I did awhile back which includes the GMega: Comparison of MIDI sound modules (Roland vs Korg vs Yamaha vs Kawai)

Personally, if you are looking for something outside the usual Roland and Yamaha stuff, I'd recommend the Korg AG-10. It's a bit low-fi like the Gmega, but overall has better balanced instruments in my experience.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 7 of 51, by derSammler

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Shponglefan wrote:

Personally, if you are looking for something outside the usual Roland and Yamaha stuff, I'd recommend the Korg AG-10. It's a bit low-fi like the Gmega, but overall has better balanced instruments in my experience.

I don't care much about lo-fi or hi-fi (don't agree that the GMega sounds lo-fi, besides), it's more about enjoying how different modules sound, and having modules that people back then could actually afford. Yes, today you could just buy the "best" module that cost >1000$ back then, but no one had such a thing back then for games - so it's completely non-retro for me.

@moturimi1: Thanks

Reply 8 of 51, by SuperDeadite

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The Akai SG01k is my personal favorite non-Roland/Yamaha module.
And one of these days I'll buy the Casio GZ-50M that I always wanted.

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 S2, X2, McFly, E-Wave, QWave, CrystalBlaster C2

Reply 9 of 51, by m5215tx

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I agree with a few others in that I like the differences between each sound module. The more advanced sound modules sound great with complex MIDI music but when playing simple MIDI music the early sound modules often sound better in my opinion.

Yes it can be addicting collecting all the different sound modules. I jumped on the MIDI bandwagon only a few months ago and I have been going nuts with it ever since. 🤣

Roland MT-32 (old), CM-32LN, SC-55, SC-88VL, MT-120, SD-35, SD-20, SD-80, SD-90
Yamaha TG100, TG300, MDF2, MU15, MU100, MU2000EX + PLG150-DR + PLG150-PF + PLG150-VL
KORG NS5R, X5DR
AKAI SG01k
KAWAI GMega
KETRON SD2

Reply 10 of 51, by senrew

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I have a few non-GM modules that I want to try out, just to see what kinda craziness I can get out of them from incorrect mapping. The only GM Yamaha synth I own is a PSR-330, which I assume will sound as middle of the road low end as it can possibly get, but still. I don't believe it's an XG capable machine, but then again, I don't have any of the (what, like 3?) games that have XG soundtracks so no biggie.

Halcyon: PC Chips M525, P100, 64MB, Millenium 1, Voodoo1, AWE64, DVD, Win95B

Reply 11 of 51, by Shponglefan

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derSammler wrote:
Shponglefan wrote:

Personally, if you are looking for something outside the usual Roland and Yamaha stuff, I'd recommend the Korg AG-10. It's a bit low-fi like the Gmega, but overall has better balanced instruments in my experience.

I don't care much about lo-fi or hi-fi (don't agree that the GMega sounds lo-fi, besides), it's more about enjoying how different modules sound, and having modules that people back then could actually afford. Yes, today you could just buy the "best" module that cost >1000$ back then, but no one had such a thing back then for games - so it's completely non-retro for me.

I should clarify that when I say "lo-fi", I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing. I'm simply referring to my overall impression of the sound quality. Which for me sounds slightly dirtier, less clean overall than later sound models particularly those with digital outs and no analog hiss. In fact, I tend to view that as part of the retro charm of these older modules. 😉

That said, I think the biggest knock against the Gmega is the GM instrument balance. It's not terrible, but good instrument balance can make or break a track. Consequently some tracks with it sounds good, but some just sound odd when you get an individual instrument that is completely out of place. The Descent intro and the tom drums is a good example of the latter. It's sounds almost cartoonish on the GMega, while other modules (i.e. Yamaha) it can sound epic.

So yeah, it's not bad overall, but depending on which tracks you play with it, YMMV.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 12 of 51, by derSammler

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Shponglefan wrote:

The Descent intro and the tom drums is a good example of the latter. It's sounds almost cartoonish on the GMega, while other modules (i.e. Yamaha) it can sound epic.

True, but such cases exist for every module. I have midi files that sound epic on the GMega but like crap on the MU50 - and also others where it's vice versa.

Reply 13 of 51, by Kodai

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I really enjoy the TG modules. Not long after I got a TG-100, I got a good deal on a TG-300 and started using it instead. The 300 has the 100's sounds so for straight up game playback, they sound the same. It however seems to have a noticeable increase in sound quality. I'm unaware of the technical differences between the audio out of both units, but the 300 just sounds "cleaner" to me. The 100 has one advantage over the 300 though - it's tiny and cute. The 300 looks and feels like a cheap block of plastic. Still, I would recommend the 300 in place of the 100. Its nice to break from SC and MU sound modules for GM on occasion, and the TG line is a great choice.

Reply 15 of 51, by SuperDeadite

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TG-300 also adds the "B Mode" for SC-55 GS support which is a nice extra.
The TG-100 actually does have a CM-64 sound map mode which is fun to play with, but
usually sounds quite awful 🤣.

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 S2, X2, McFly, E-Wave, QWave, CrystalBlaster C2

Reply 16 of 51, by yawetaG

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Shponglefan wrote:

Personally, if you are looking for something outside the usual Roland and Yamaha stuff, I'd recommend the Korg AG-10. It's a bit low-fi like the Gmega, but overall has better balanced instruments in my experience.

Ahahahaha. According to my own research, the Korg AG-10 is basically a somewhat simplified headless Korg M-1 synthesizer lacking the sequencer. It has the full MIDI specification and can be used to produce your own music. 😎

Similarly, the Yamaha MU-10 is a headless Yamaha QS-300 with full MIDI implementation, coupled with a double input digital mixer. Interestingly, the MU-10 has the TG-300B mode, except it gets called QS-300 mode in some places of the manual (would explain the differences with an actual TG-300)...

Reply 17 of 51, by derSammler

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The TG-100 actually does have a CM-64 sound map mode which is fun to play with, but
usually sounds quite awful

Yes, I tried that already. Funny enough, it sounds better than the CM-64 mode of the later MU series. 😊

the MU-10 has the TG-300B mode

The whole MU series has that TG-300B mode. It's just Yamaha's way to tell that the unit is in General MIDI mode. No idea why they didn't call it GM.

Reply 18 of 51, by yawetaG

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derSammler wrote:

the MU-10 has the TG-300B mode

The whole MU series has that TG-300B mode. It's just Yamaha's way to tell that the unit is in General MIDI mode. No idea why they didn't call it GM.

I only meant that the reason TG-300B mode doesn't sound like an actual TG-300 module set to GM mode, is that it's based on another synth than the TG-300, namely the QS-300. I know all MU modules have the TG-300B mode...

Reply 19 of 51, by Kodai

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A number of years back, I got an MU2000 module. It was original and not upgraded with the EX firmware. Its TG300B mode sounded very different compared to my actual TG300. It sounded much better to be honest. Superior samples and TOS link out, made it sound fantastic. Then I did the EX firmware update on it. This gave the unit the Roland GS sound map so you could use it instead of needing a Sound Canvas. Unfortunately it did this by replacing the TG300B mode. I didn't know that would happen (as the upgrade is not easy or well documented), and now I can't compare the two anymore. The GS mode on the MU2000 sounds different than a real sound canvas, because its still using Yamaha's samples. It still sounds great, just different. I still say its the best Yamaha sound module in their entire lineup. Just consider what you will lose if you upgrade to the EX firmware. The TG300B mode really did sound fantastic.