VOGONS


First post, by Geddon

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I've recently gotten back into this stuff and am having some fun here. I had a sc88 and sc55mk2 hooked up but it feels like they cover so much of the same ground that I'm giving the sc55mk2 to my brother. I have a sc155 and a sc55gs standard coming. I like the sc155 since it has faders and looks kind of fun. I think the 155 also covers the same ground as the sc55 standard and some right? So I think I will also setup the sc55gs standard at my brother's house. I also have a MT32 and an alesis nanosynth which are no brainers. The MT32 is fun and lots of game music was designed for it and the nanosynth also usually gives a different flavor than anything else.

so at the moment I'm thinking my setup will be
MT32
SC155
SC88
nanosynth

Are there any other modules that bring something else to the table? I have these all connected to a midi patchbay and going into a huge mixer. I've been having fun playing tracks sending midi to all of them and listening to them individually using mutes and listening to how they play together.

I like using these for both games, listening to midi tracks, and connecting midi controllers. I also think a fun project might be making remixes with different elements from different modules.

EDIT: have a few more modules coming. AKAI SG01k and YAMAHA MU1000
Edit: also MU15

Last edited by Geddon on 2021-10-31, 12:47. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 43, by SScorpio

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On the gaming side of things, the MT32 and SC-155 or SC-55 will cover most things. The MT32 does have corner cases though. There was an original version with a buffer overflow problem, but some old games only work correctly on that, there's a "new" version that fixes the buffer overflow, and then there's the CM-32L which includes additional sounds which some games used. Honestly, if you run into any of those just use MUNT on a PC or off a Pi with MT32-Pi, one original MT32 is enough.

A lot of the General MIDI era of games was composed on the SC-55, though some were with the SC-55Mk2. There are some minor differences in some samples, but either module is fine. The SC-88 wasn't really targeted by games, a 8820 or 8850 might be better for music. Though I really love the samples on the SC-D70, and the digital output on it doesn't hurt.

For wanting to do remixes and comparing different modules you are really Roland heavy. Maybe get a Yamaha MU1000 or MU2000? A Korg would also round things out nicely.

Reply 2 of 43, by Joseph_Joestar

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One of the differences between the original SC-55 and the SC-55 MK2 is Capital Tone Fallback. Apparently, a few early games were coded with this feature in mind, so they may not sound correctly on the MK2 and any later Sound Canvas models which lack CTF. More info on this can be found on Great Hierophant's blog here and also here.

There are also a few games which can use the Yamaha XG standard, so it might be worthwhile getting something that supports it. Personally, I'm happy with how YMF 7x4 cards handle XG, so that's also an option if getting an external module proves overly expensive. In particular, Final Fantasy VII sounds great in XG mode on one of those cards.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 3 of 43, by Geddon

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-10-31, 00:17:

On the gaming side of things, the MT32 and SC-155 or SC-55 will cover most things. The MT32 does have corner cases though. There was an original version with a buffer overflow problem, but some old games only work correctly on that, there's a "new" version that fixes the buffer overflow, and then there's the CM-32L which includes additional sounds which some games used. Honestly, if you run into any of those just use MUNT on a PC or off a Pi with MT32-Pi, one original MT32 is enough.

A lot of the General MIDI era of games was composed on the SC-55, though some were with the SC-55Mk2. There are some minor differences in some samples, but either module is fine. The SC-88 wasn't really targeted by games, a 8820 or 8850 might be better for music. Though I really love the samples on the SC-D70, and the digital output on it doesn't hurt.

For wanting to do remixes and comparing different modules you are really Roland heavy. Maybe get a Yamaha MU1000 or MU2000? A Korg would also round things out nicely.

I got a few more coming. AKAI SG01k and Yamaha MU1000. what Korg units would you recommend?

Reply 4 of 43, by SScorpio

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Geddon wrote on 2021-10-31, 02:02:

I got a few more coming. AKAI SG01k and Yamaha MU1000. what Korg units would you recommend?

Maybe a NS5R or X5DR.

There's also old modules that give more of an electric synth sound. The MU-15 is an example.

Reply 5 of 43, by Geddon

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-10-31, 02:35:
Geddon wrote on 2021-10-31, 02:02:

I got a few more coming. AKAI SG01k and Yamaha MU1000. what Korg units would you recommend?

Maybe a NS5R or X5DR.

There's also old modules that give more of an electric synth sound. The MU-15 is an example.

thanks for the suggestions. I have been going through some darkside of xeen and now 7th guest. it really is very interesting how different each track can sound. I am also finding the nanosynth is a great piece for this. I have found a few tracks where it adds another awesome dimension.

Reply 6 of 43, by Geddon

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so far my favorite thing I stumbled into is Might and Magic V Darkside of Xeen Cave_1.mid through a mt32 and a nanosynth. it is awesome. I'll have to record and post here.

Ok, I recorded this through mt32 and nano and I think it is cool. I didn't spend much time on it, but I think it is cool.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v40siw4idiyvbph/MM5Cave1.wav?dl=0

Reply 7 of 43, by SScorpio

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Very cool, since you want to compare modules, have you considered hooking up the MIDI Thru/Out of the module to a USB MIDI cable and into a modern PC? You'd be able to play the games the way you have been while also recording a MIDI file you can then easily play back on the other modules.

Reply 8 of 43, by lavadrop

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In my humble opinion, none.
Roland made all their modules backwards compatible to their previous module, but that doesn’t mean accurate. The SC-55 has CM32L mode but it doesn’t sound exactly like a CM32L because it is Linear Arithmetic synthesis and the SC-55 is sample based synthesis. The SC-88 has CM64 mode and that one does sound like the CM64, because both are sample based, however its SC-55 mapping isn’t very accurate.
I think you need two or three modules to cover everything faithfully:
MT-32/CM32
SC-55/CM-500 for authentic early GS
SC-88Pro/SC-8820/SC-8850 if you want a more modern GS sound.
Yamaha UM80/90/128/1000/2000 if you want to play Final Fantasy 7 as Uematsu intended on XG. Also for experimenting, the Yamaha modules have better sounding guitars and drums, while the Roland modules have great piano sounds. Unfortunately I don’t have Alesys/Korg/Kawai/Technics/Casio experience but I imagine they all have their pros and cons.

Reply 9 of 43, by zapbuzz

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I just finished installing creative x-fi on my dual p3 it has an sf2 loading app under xp.
the soundfont app's ability to save memory by only loading parts of soundfonts engaged in music as i have some over 2gb really is useful.
I also put yamaha's xg50 soft synth wdm on it too with its 4mb bank driver.
The yamaha sequencer can access creative app's loaded .sf2 fonts so can others like anvil studio and dosbox.
Creative player isn't a sequencer same as WMP11 (or much else without more installings) but yamaha's player/sequencer I can adjust things like what instruments and tempo just selecting creatives software synth port in settings..
But my point is to cover most ground what i'm talking about allows that without expense and with custom home made banks use possible.
No more sound modules on old cards or poulty O.S. bundled canvas.
If I really want high end just plug the pc into another one's midi port emulating external hardware midi sequencers they all copy each others canvas these days like comparing a yamaha xg keyboard to a casio 😀
I'd use X-FI on y2k or 98se but it has no drivers there.
https://archive.org/details/vp-6-musical

Reply 10 of 43, by SScorpio

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zapbuzz wrote on 2021-10-31, 18:19:

You can use an SB Live or Audigy 1/2 on 98/2000. Those include SF2 SoundFont support. Final Fantasy VII and VIII both included versions of the XG Softsynth. But the included SoundFont was the only way to have the lyrics in the final boss music of VII as they created a custom instrument to have the Sephiroth and other lyrics being chanted throughout the song. Every other MIDI solution used the generic chant that can sound like people singing, but you don't have the real lyrics.

SoundFonts can sound OK, but they aren't a match for the original modules, even with direct sample rips off a module. That XG Softsync is close to the I believe MU-50, and you can use MUNT to simulate an MT-32 that sounds almost 100% like real hardware barring it sounding better as you can do higher sampling rates. The Virtual Sound Canvas can sound OK, but it's based off the SC-8200 which isn't accurate compared to an SC-55 so games won't sound as intended.

Reply 11 of 43, by zapbuzz

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-10-31, 20:47:
zapbuzz wrote on 2021-10-31, 18:19:

You can use an SB Live or Audigy 1/2 on 98/2000. Those include SF2 SoundFont support. Final Fantasy VII and VIII both included versions of the XG Softsynth. But the included SoundFont was the only way to have the lyrics in the final boss music of VII as they created a custom instrument to have the Sephiroth and other lyrics being chanted throughout the song. Every other MIDI solution used the generic chant that can sound like people singing, but you don't have the real lyrics.

SoundFonts can sound OK, but they aren't a match for the original modules, even with direct sample rips off a module. That XG Softsync is close to the I believe MU-50, and you can use MUNT to simulate an MT-32 that sounds almost 100% like real hardware barring it sounding better as you can do higher sampling rates. The Virtual Sound Canvas can sound OK, but it's based off the SC-8200 which isn't accurate compared to an SC-55 so games won't sound as intended.

oh cool .
I actually have final fantasy VIII cdrom set here (as well as on steam )
so i may try the 4mb yamaha tonebank with the music should be clearer
in future i'll go fSB Live or Audigy but yamaha through this X-FI is really really crystal clear nothing like it before.
its got me plugging in my synthesizer pretending to be a rock star today 😀

Reply 12 of 43, by SScorpio

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If you want crystal clear, an MU-500/1000/2000 or SC-D70 via SPDIF is like nothing else.

The samples in XG SoftSync are probably more accurate to what any game was written to, but Yamaha was pretty good out having their distinct sound.

Reply 13 of 43, by Geddon

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-10-31, 21:39:

If you want crystal clear, an MU-500/1000/2000 or SC-D70 via SPDIF is like nothing else.

The samples in XG SoftSync are probably more accurate to what any game was written to, but Yamaha was pretty good out having their distinct sound.

I haven’t really noticed a noise issue with any of the modules I have. Most runs are 6 foot decent cables but unbalanced of course. Once that run is done it’s all digital until balanced out to speakers. Spdif is kind of a pain but there are pretty cheap boxes to get it to balanced lines which is what I need to get it into my mixer.

With all the modules I will have connected I don’t really care about accuracy. I’m just curious to create my own mixes of what I think sounds cool. It is cool to have the correct module though because already I have run into tracks that sound pretty bad in anything other than the correct module.

Reply 14 of 43, by zapbuzz

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-10-31, 21:39:

If you want crystal clear, an MU-500/1000/2000 or SC-D70 via SPDIF is like nothing else.

The samples in XG SoftSync are probably more accurate to what any game was written to, but Yamaha was pretty good out having their distinct sound.

my X-FI card has optical but it isn't the usual its a round plug in style looks like headphones no idea what its called see a red light in it. Perhaps Mini-Toslink Optical 3.5mm Jack?

Well, i've just ordered a cable so i can plug it into my decoder that plugs into 3 x 1200 watt Hi Fi amps I use coax cable for it usually sounds great for movies so this will make me deaf sooner 🤣

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Reply 15 of 43, by Bancho

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Here's some pics of my Stack. I've picked these up when I've spotted them really cheap. Covers most of the standard stuff with the SC55 and MU50 I'd say but to nice have the other modules to give it some flavour.

Stack consists of

Roland MT32
Roland SC55
Roland SC-7
Yamaha MU50
Yamaha MU10
Yamaha TG100
Korg NS5R (With Turtlebeach HOMAC on the WT Header)
Kawai GMega LX XC-3 (I really like the drums on this module!)

I mainly like to compare how games sound across the different modules.

gfTAW3k.jpg
J5PgO91l.jpg

Reply 16 of 43, by SScorpio

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zapbuzz wrote on 2021-11-01, 14:29:

my X-FI card has optical but it isn't the usual its a round plug in style looks like headphones no idea what its called see a red light in it. Perhaps Mini-Toslink Optical 3.5mm Jack?

There is a Mini Toslink that's a combined 1/8" jack and Toslink. It should look like any other 1/8" jack, but will have the red light.

I have an Auzentech X-Fi that has digital Coax ports that also have Toslink on them. These require special adapters to hold a standard TOSLink cable.

Reply 17 of 43, by zapbuzz

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-11-01, 20:43:
zapbuzz wrote on 2021-11-01, 14:29:

my X-FI card has optical but it isn't the usual its a round plug in style looks like headphones no idea what its called see a red light in it. Perhaps Mini-Toslink Optical 3.5mm Jack?

There is a Mini Toslink that's a combined 1/8" jack and Toslink. It should look like any other 1/8" jack, but will have the red light.

I have an Auzentech X-Fi that has digital Coax ports that also have Toslink on them. These require special adapters to hold a standard TOSLink cable.

thanks for that i think i have the right one although in the back of my mind it all feeds into analogue speakers 🤣

Reply 18 of 43, by SuperDeadite

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If you go down the Japanese Computer rabbit hole (Real deal or emulated) CM-64 is a must own.

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 19 of 43, by Jackhead

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For Gaming i go with:
Roland MT-32 OLD
Roland CM-32L
Roland SC88 PRO
on a MPU-401AT
and some Yamaha XG Wavetables

For creating sounds:
Roland XV-5080
Yamaha MU 2000EX
Walldorf Microwave 1 Rev A
Akai SG01v