VOGONS


First post, by ultra_code

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Hello VOGONS members!

I have a (maybe stupid) question. You see, I recently bought both a MT-32 and a SC-88 off ebay (the latter has still yet to be shipped from Japan }:[ ) so that I can use it with my Win98 SE Retro Gaming Machine in MS-DOS mode to listen to, say, Doom's and Doom 2's soundtracks in their true glory 😀. Of course, if I wanted to use one over the other, I would have to unplug and re-plug cables between devices. So, recently, I did a search for MIDI switches that I could get my hands on.

The result of that search was me finding this product: the MIDI Solutions MultiVoltage Thru MIDI "Switch". I'm thinking I could use this to connect the MIDI cable coming from that PC's AWE64's gameport to each of the devices, and only having one device on on any given boot into MS-DOS mode, so that MIDI signals meant for one are not sent to the other. And the nice thing is, these switches are available, unlike the relic MPU-401 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/MIDI-Solutions-Thru- … 295527?var=null)

So, my question is this: Is this a good idea, and does this switch seem safe enough to follow through with this idea? I just want some community feedback before going through with this plan, that's all.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Reply 1 of 16, by Lennart

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As it draws its power from the MIDI In connection, it would probably be safe.

However, I wouldn't bother with this if you just want to hook up your MT-32 and SC-88 simultaneously. What I'd do is connect your SC-88 to the AWE64 and then connect the MIDI Thru of the SC-88 to the MIDI In of the MT-32.

Then if you want to listen to the SC-88, just don't switch on the MT-32. If you want to listen to the MT-32, all you have to do is mute the SC-88. This can easily be done with the buttons on the front panel of the SC-88. From memory, you have to press the "All" button and afterwards the "Mute" button. That will mute all MIDI channels on the SC-88.

Reply 2 of 16, by keropi

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Nope these are not good and are reported to have issues, IIRC Phil made a video about that

Get a midi-thru box that has external psu :
https://www.ebay.com/itm/122701176041
https://www.ebay.com/itm/132623226594

I have been using the Kenton one for several years without issues.

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard , MK8330 and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 3 of 16, by ultra_code

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Hi keropi, again. :}

I will say, Lennart, your idea is actually pretty "clean". I'll consider it.

I guess the point your trying to say keropi is that in order to have such a device, one with external power is best, right?

And keropi, I did indeed find a PhilsComputerLab video on the "quad" version of the device (I think this is the video you are talking about, no?). He doesn't say anything bad about it, but that doesn't me I don't believe you. In fact, given your, expertise, I'll take your word for it. 😀
Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBRNnbXYJow

Also, Lennart, according to what Phil also said in that video, he said that, the more MIDI devices you have linked together, the longer the delay, although I would think that two MIDI devices wouldn't cause a significant of a delay, no?

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Reply 4 of 16, by Lennart

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Guess I stand corrected then 😀

You're right about the potential delays when daisy chaining multiple MIDI devices. You can't chain an unlimited amount of devices this way, but for just 2 it should be totally fine. I've used a very similar setup (SC-55 and MT-32) for years without a hitch until I bought a Roland CM-500.

Reply 5 of 16, by tpowell.ca

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keropi wrote:

Nope these are not good and are reported to have issues, IIRC Phil made a video about that.

I don't recall seing any videos on his channel about this, but I've used a MidiSolutions THRU (non-multivoltage model) box for years now without issue connected to an AWE32 and later a HardMPU card.

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, Orpheus, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB
    Tesla: GA-6BXC, VIA C3 Ezra-T, 256MB, 120GB SATA, YMF744, GUSpnp, Quadro2
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, Voodoo3

Reply 6 of 16, by keropi

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@the_ultra_code
no that was not the video, it was some other not specific to the device and he mentioned that it dropped notes / went out of sync , something along these lines. I'll look for that later, I am 99% sure it was Phil

edit:
found it, it was a post in 2013 that is made after the video above, funnily in a thread I asked about connecting multiple devices 😁
Re: Question about connecting 3 midi modules to pc

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

I have three units hooked up (MT-32, CM-32L and Sound Canvas) and use a simple Audio switch box that then goes into an audio mixer (to add Sound Blaster, connect headphones and set the balance for recordings).

I used to use the MIDI Thru solution, worked great and I didn't really notice the delays and other issues. Then I got a MIDI splitter (I made a YT video), but after using it for a while discovered that it produces hanging notes. So I am back to the MIDI thru solution for the time being until I find something else / better.

EDIT: I have that EXACT adapter and can't recommend it because of the hanging notes issue. Midi Solutions Quadra Thru.

like Cloudschatze mentions it does not mean that the Quadra is bad, maybe the voltage is just not enough. Wouldn't risk it tbh 😉

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard , MK8330 and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 7 of 16, by ultra_code

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I see. I think, then, that my "best" course of action is to go ahead with the MIDI Thru solution, until I start using more than 2 devices, at which point I'll go with one of the MIDI switches you provided, keropi. I'm not doubting what you're saying tpowell.ca, but yeah, maybe a MIDI switch with external power performs "better", and if it does, I rather get the "better" performing one than the one with spotty performance. It would save me time, money, and my sanity. 😀

I find it funny, though, that people choose to make their VOGONS profile picture the same as Phil, like that Mau1wurf1977 did, but that's just me. 😀

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Reply 8 of 16, by keropi

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Mau1wurf1977 = Phil 😉

well this doesn't mean tpowell.ca is spreading misinformation, all these deal-ios with ancient hardware is almost a per-case situation: tpowell.ca's setup works fine, Phils did not. Maybe it was power issues, maybe it was the 2nd hand quadra, maybe the 401AT does not provide enough power and the soundcards/hardmpu do - too many maybes.
My main point in this is to play it safe since you have not bought anything yet 😀

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard , MK8330 and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 10 of 16, by tpowell.ca

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In my case, it was a 1-in 2-out THRU box. Maybe the QuadraThru is just too much for a passive box.
Either way, given the difference in price between the MidiSolutions and other powered alternatives, I agree, get the powered box. Maybe I just got lucky.

I also switched to a powered alternative, the M-Audio MidiSport 2x2 so I can have 2 Midi inputs and USB, all merged into 2 outputs.
It works great and Cheap as Chips. :p

  • Merlin: MS-4144, AMD5x86-160 32MB, 16GB CF, ZIP100, Orpheus, GUS, S3 VirgeGX 2MB
    Tesla: GA-6BXC, VIA C3 Ezra-T, 256MB, 120GB SATA, YMF744, GUSpnp, Quadro2
    Newton: K6XV3+/66, AMD K6-III+500, 256MB, 32GB SSD, AWE32, Voodoo3

Reply 11 of 16, by misterjones

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I owned one of these for years:

9e491868161df5b48302c4e548be173a.jpg

Midiman Thru 1x4. Has an external PSU. Back then I had it going from my single MIDI out coming off of an AWE64 to my MT32, Roland R8, Yamaha TX7, and Sequential Multi-Track (my entire recording rig back then). It works great. There wouldn't be a need to disconnect any of your gear either; just run the MT32 and SC88 through a small mixer and mute whichever one you don't want to listen to.

(edit)

found a pic of it.

rackr8.jpg

Sorry for the grainy, crappy pic quality. I took the original pic back in '98 with my then brand new Logitech webcam tethered to m pc with a 6'ft USB extension cable. I had to resize the pic from 320x240 to 800x600 to show the Thru 1x4 a bit better.

Reply 12 of 16, by squiggly

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I use a simple switch box but for input switching not output switching. It is actually designed as a foot operated on-stage device with a push button on the top. Works perfectly under my desk.

For output I have 4 midi devices daisy-chained, 3 Rolands in a stack and a PC at the end with a midi-usb converter. Then the output from all 4 go into a simple stereo minijack switcher that itself outputs into a line level mixer.

Reply 13 of 16, by keropi

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@misterjones
I have the same midiman box in greenish color - works perfectly 😀

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard , MK8330 and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 14 of 16, by Shponglefan

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I've used a MIDI Solutions Quadra Thru with a variety of external hardware including an MT-32 and SC-88. No issues to report.

Any issues experienced could depend on your MIDI source hardware though.

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Reply 15 of 16, by ultra_code

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Okay, so I see that the general consensus is that those MIDI Solutions product aren't bad necessarily, but the setups they are used it might lead to some problems with them. That seems reasonable to me.

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Reply 16 of 16, by CrossBow777

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I'm doing the Midi thru setup as well with my MT-200 and MT-32 without any issues. I have the Roland UMone MK-II connected to the Midi In Aux on the MT-200 and then have an actual small midi cable from the Midi out/thru from the MT-200 into the Midi IN on my MT-32. I use a simple AV switch box and just use the audio inputs and single output to control which device I hear. While MT-32 games will cause buffer overflow errors on the MT-200 because it doesn't understand all the sysex messages it is receiving, it still passes them through without issue to the MT-32 that does understand them just fine and works. So if I only want GM or GS stuff I make sure to have my AV switch set to the MT-200 to hear tones from it, or flip to the MT-32 if I want to hear from it specifically. Doing this i think is super easy and uses up less cables and real estate on the desk hehe.

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Midi Modules: MT-32 (OLD), MT-200, MT-300, MT-90S, MT-90U, SD-20