VOGONS


First post, by the_ultra_code

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The title says it all. I bought a Roland UM-1EX (since it's old enough to have 9x drivers) to use with my 98SE rig in the hopes of being able to play MIDI music on my SC-88 from DOS games running in the command prompt. Problem is, even when I tell the games (Doom in this case) what IRQs and such to use, I get nothing. It seems as though the adapter doesn't work with DOS games running via the command prompt. And that is what I was wondering about - is there a way (special Roland software, driver/OS trickery, etc.) to get the MIDI output of DOS games or any program for that matter running in the command prompt under 98SE to send their data to this adapter and thus to my SC-88? Or is there just no way, and I wasted time (and maybe money)?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Reply 1 of 5, by digger

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If you're willing to use an NT-based Windows version, you could try VDMSound, which emulates an MPU-401 interface for DOS games and allows you to map Windows MIDI devices to it.

I don't have any actual experience with it myself, though.

Reply 2 of 5, by the_ultra_code

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digger wrote on 2022-01-21, 23:41:

If you're willing to use an NT-based Windows version, you could try VDMSound, which emulates an MPU-401 interface for DOS games and allows you to map Windows MIDI devices to it.

I don't have any actual experience with it myself, though.

I had read that the DOS environment is separate from that of Windows. I really hoped that wasn't the case, that perhaps someone had figured out a work-around by now. I'm trying to stick to 98SE, not because Windows 2000 is worse (hardly 🤣), but just for "compatibility's sake." Being able to run late DOS/early 9x games with no issue. Win2k I'd imagine would complicate matters, but I could be wrong...

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Reply 3 of 5, by digger

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I know Windows XP has gotten a bad rap, especially among those who loved Windows 2000, but the truth is that XP included a pretty extensive game compatibility mode for older Windows games, which, at least in my experience, worked quite well. If you stick to the 32-bit version of Windows XP (and don't connect it to the Internet, for obvious security reasons), you'll have quite a range of downward compatibility, with Win9x games, Win3.x games, and even quite a few DOS games. I believe Windows XP emulates Sound Blaster out of the box in DOS instances, but VDMSound improves on that considerably, adding support for more Sound Blaster variants and MPU-401 MIDI emulation/passthrough/mapping.

So maybe you could try running Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 (a special edition of Windows XP for point-of-sale terminals and such, which continued to receive security updates long after the regular Windows XP ceased to be supported, although you probably stil shouldn't connect it to the Internet if you don't have to), and then installing VDMSound on top of that? 🙂

EDIT: I just read the title of your thread again, and you're trying to get this to work with a USB MIDI adapter. As far as I know, that definitely requires something like VDMSound, and therefore wouldn't work in Win9x.

I believe your options are limited to the following:

  • If the system supports it, use an ISA or legacy PCI (not PCI Express) sound card that supports MPU-401 compatible MIDI at legacy I/O addresss 0x330, through the game port (requires an adapter cable, which is commonly available)
  • Install VDMSound on a Windows version from the NT family (NT4, 2000, XP, POSReady 2009)
  • Buy an MPU-232, which is an RS-232 to MIDI interface, compatible with SoftMPU. You can also patch a number of DOS games to add native support for it.
  • Use a build/fork of DOSBox that allows you to pass through MIDI from the emulated DOS game to the MIDI device on the host OS.

Reply 4 of 5, by the_ultra_code

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I mean, I do have a Gameport-to-MIDI adapter. That's how I was able to use the SC-88 with my Pentium 1 DOS 6.22 machine. Hopefully with some command prompt shortcut tweaks I can get SoftMPU to work if I want to go that route. I could also use my XP machine and VDMSound, or just go ahead and use DOSBox and whatever machine I want. I have options, I just wish I could have done things the way I thought I could. 😒

Thanks for your help.

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Reply 5 of 5, by SScorpio

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There is an Alpha version of VDMSound, though the last poster of the thread is trying to use it for the same purpose you need without having luck.
Win9x + VDMSound **ALPHA**

I haven't used a ton of different sound cards in Win9x, but one thing I found is that the later Aureal Vortex 2 drivers have a GUI interface that lets you select the MIDI Out device for the MPU401 it gives you. I've successfully used this to switch MIDI between a Vortex 2's WaveTable, SoundBlaster Audigy's SoundFont WaveTable, and the Audigy's external MIDI Out via a Live Drive.

Maybe it's possible to forcefully install the drivers and just use the MPU401 portion of them?