VOGONS


First post, by appiah4

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I am putting together a 486 PC and that got me thinking when I was considering my sound options. I will probably go with a CT2290 for the build, but I'm not sure if I want to add a GM daughterboard or not. Since I will be using it for 1991-1993 games, I'm not even sure many if any games from the support GM at all? I know quite a few support MT-32, but I think GM is a rarity for the period? Even the SB16 was pretty expensive and rare when I got my DX33, but then my memories may be completely wrong 😀

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 1 of 17, by Shponglefan

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I believe it was mostly 1993 and onward where General MIDI was more supported in games (esp. since the GM standard only came out in 1991). Games like X-Wing, Doom, MOO, Sam & Max, all released in 1993 and had GM support. Can't think of any off hand pre-1993 that had GM support...

MIDI module collection: Edirol SC-D70, SD-90 | Kawai GMega | Korg AG-10, NS5R, Triton Rack | Roland MT-32, CM-32L, CM-64, CM-500, SC-55, SC-88, SC-88 Pro, JV-1010, XV-5080 | Yamaha MU-80, MU-2000EX

Reply 2 of 17, by Jo22

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I think the same. GM started approximately 1993. Before, there was MT-32 (and compatibles). And generic MIDI, as well.
Some Sierra games also supported popular Casio keyboards of their time (MT-540/CT-460/CSM-1/CT-660/..),
as well as the IBM Music Feature Card / Yamaha FB-01.

Anyway, there was no definite break, I think. It rather faded from MT-32 to GM.
Some games released 1993 onwards also still contained MT-32 support:
Princess Maker 2, Sam&Max, Lollypop, StarTrek 25th anniversary/Judgment Rites, MegaMan X, etc.

Edit: That beeing said, there's nothig wrong in adding a MIDI board to your PC.
If you're playing some games like Descent or like listening to MIDI music, a simple/cheap GM daughterboard is a nice addition.
Also, a few pre-1993 games had generic support for MIDI synths (Piano on channel 1 was common even on pre-GM).
Long story short: It's up to you. A DreamBlaster synth or one of the Terratec daughterboards can be found for little money.
Adding something valuable like a DB50XG might be a bit overkill for a slow machine, though.
On the other hand, that one is said to have some sort of an MT-32 emulation "mode" (MT-32 instrument mapping). Hmm. Tricky. 😐

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 5 of 17, by Super_Relay

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sort of depends on where you cut off the 486 era too. at least in my part of Australia Pentiums were still very expensive for a couple of years after release and it was still common for people to have 486s till the late 90s. Warcraft 2 has great midi support from 1995 and when I think back it was very much a game people played on their 486 DX2 66 or dx4 100

Reply 6 of 17, by badmojo

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Yep "Pentium era" started to become a reality in about '97 or so in my world (also AUS).

Warcraft 2 also had redbook from memory? Classic MIDI in that game though you're right.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 7 of 17, by appiah4

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Well, by hardware era I almost always refer to the era when the hardware was the top dog, not the mainstream, so for me the 486 era is up to 1993/1994 and the Pentium era is up to 1997.. Regardless, if we put labels aside for a moment, would it be fair to say:

<1991: OPL2/3
1991-1993: MT-32
1994-1996: GM
>1997: Redbook?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 8 of 17, by Super_Relay

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yeah I remember it being on the CD, but you could definitely choose opl3 or midi. I remember the opl3 sound track the most because I used to play multi player with a friend direct modem to modem with a spawned multi install.

edit: That's probably a reasonable assumption but its not very cut and dried around the edges. wolf3d was a big release for 1992 and had no MT-32 but kings quest 4 had mt-32 support in I believe the late 80s

Reply 9 of 17, by Jo22

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Super_Relay wrote:

no MT-32 but kings quest 4 had mt-32 support in I believe the late 80s

Yes, MT-32 support started by the late 80s. High-quality text adventures from Magnetic Scrolls or Legend Entertainment
featured the MT-32 as an alternative to AdLib (OPL2). They also supported SVGA in 800x600, by the way.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 17, by appiah4

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So I guess this is a better way to put it?

<1993: OPL2/3+MT-32
1993-1995: OPL3+GM
1996-1998:GM+Redbook
>1998: Redbook

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 11 of 17, by Super_Relay

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That would be a pretty good way to sum it up i would think 😀

Catches most of the outliers i can think of, stuff like dune 1 where it supports both opl and mt-32 but the opl is better.

Reply 13 of 17, by Super_Relay

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very true, but redbook support largely takes care of itself by the time you have sbpro compatibility or above and the cd drive you used to install the game from anyway so i never really figure it in to thinking about compatibility of a machine.

Reply 15 of 17, by firage

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1995 is fair for new PC's. People with DX4's didn't really need an upgrade until '96, even DX2's were still mostly working for existing software.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 16 of 17, by Jo22

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In 1995, I had got a 286 with CD/16-Bit sound running DOS6.2/Win3.1.
In 1995, my father had got a 386DX40 w/ 16MiB running Win95 RTM.
And a 486 laptop w/ 4MiB, DOS6/Win3.11 and a monochrome LCD.
I haven't seen an actual Pentium PC until '98-99 (at the house of a schoolfellow ?).

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 17 of 17, by yawetaG

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Jo22 wrote:
In 1995, I had got a 286 with CD/16-Bit sound running DOS6.2/Win3.1. In 1995, my father had got a 386DX40 w/ 16MiB running Win9 […]
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In 1995, I had got a 286 with CD/16-Bit sound running DOS6.2/Win3.1.
In 1995, my father had got a 386DX40 w/ 16MiB running Win95 RTM.
And a 486 laptop w/ 4MiB, DOS6/Win3.11 and a monochrome LCD.
I haven't seen an actual Pentium PC until '98-99 (at the house of a schoolfellow ?).

Early Pentium systems often were very expensive compared to 486s in my country. IIRC, it was only during the MMX/P2 era that they really became commonplace...