VOGONS


First post, by Spikey

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Hey folks,

Hope you're all doing well 😀

I'm starting a project for recordings of as many of the Sound Canvas variants as possible, with a dual focus on the SC-55 era and the SC-88 and later era. The SC-55 uses a sample set unique to itself, with the 88 and later changing some waveforms.
Currently, the focus is on the Sound Canvas GM set, but if things go well, I will likely be launching a full GM synth project as a different project. See project document for further notes and details.
NOTE: "Sound Canvas" is NOT limited to devices that call themselves a Sound Canvas! For example, a JV-35/50 keyboard is a SC-50 with some different audio hardware (and a keyboard 😉 ).

We mostly know about which patches what synths have - but not the way they *sound*. To me, that's critical information.
The goal is therefore to get high quality audio recordings of all Roland Sound Canvases and their (numerous) variants, in a standardised fashion for comparison purposes.
The secondary goal is a database of information on the devices hardware, for now focusing on the DAC (digital-to-analog converter), which is related to output audio quality, and varies amongst the Sound Canvases (even amongst near identical models).

Duplicate recordings are welcome (and necessary to distinguish synth DAC differences from recording hardware differences), so if you have any kind of Sound Canvas or related, let me know.

What I need from you if you want to participate is first read the document below, and then contact me- here on this thread or PM, or visit my Sierra game music Discord at https://discord.gg/WhY2qZrgfV

Project database:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lyYxyIfSf … of=true&sd=true
If there's any glaring mistakes in the document please let me know of course!

Thanks for reading and I hope you can contribute if possible. 😀 Any questions or comments please feel free to contact me (see project document for how to do this!).

Last edited by Spikey on 2022-03-22, 15:31. Edited 12 times in total.

Reply 1 of 96, by firage

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Sounds very interesting. I'd be happy to participate with my SCC-1 sound card in any way that's helpful. 😀

Recording gear and methods will impact the audio samples, so it'll be good to attach some of that information to all the recordings.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 2 of 96, by Spikey

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firage wrote on 2022-03-12, 12:43:

Sounds very interesting. I'd be happy to participate with my SCC-1 sound card in any way that's helpful. 😀

Recording gear and methods will impact the audio samples, so it'll be good to attach some of that information to all the recordings.

I was thinking the exact same thing. I updated the project a little while ago to include this exact disclaimer, that I want everyone to record all devices they have regardless of overlap, so we can hopefully avoid such problems as misunderstandings. Labelling will still be crucial.

And, thanks! That would be awesome. SCC-1 is probably on the rarer end of the spectrum, and I have no way to record one regardless. Thankyou firage! 😀 I'll get back to you this week hopefully.

Reply 3 of 96, by TOMMY_THE_DOG

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I have a Roland SC-880. It is the 19"rackmount unit. This is a full double GS module with a separate GM bank and CM64 emulation (also works for MT32 emulation).

I have a full audio recording setup, so it would be trivial for me to get some high-quality FLACs bounced. I'm just glad that someone else is finally interested.

If you have not already, you must check out the game "TFX". It is a super-mediocre jetfighter simulator with an incredible GM soundtrack that also sounds great on an OPL3. But on a good GM module it is wild. The original "Age of Empires" also has a sweet soundtrack and supports at least GM. "Final Fantasy VII" supports XG! Sounds great on a YMF724/744. You should try to get captures from the Yamaha MU and TG modules as well as the Rolands.

Reply 5 of 96, by MusicallyInspired

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I'll lend my Roland CM-500 (in CM-300 mode) and Roland MT-200 as well.

One question, should we send a GS reset or a GM reset sysex prior to recording?

Roland SC-55 Music Packs - Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Hocus Pocus, Descent, and more.
Latest release: Heretic Music Pack (12/12/18)

Reply 6 of 96, by jaffa225man

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I'm willing to record from my SC-33, SC-55mkII, PMA-5, SC-8820, SC-8850, and INTEGRA-7. Come to think of it, my GR-30, VG-99, and GP-10 could also be added, if they have an SC-55 map, but I don't recall that now. As your google doc points out, recording all from the same capture device is preferred, and I'd prefer it for simplicity too. Analog capture only would keep them on an equal footing (although from different inputs some are always plugged into) on my Roland UA-1610. I hope that sounds like a good plan (and not too much work). 😀

And yes, I second MusicallyInspired's question. I always use GS resets normally, because I never want to limit any variations from playing, but in this case GM resets may help keep variables out of the equation. Of course, you've stated that you really are only planning plain GM songs, and in that case it shouldn't matter. Oh, and the INTEGRA-7 may be a special case. A GM reset wouldn't put it in the SC-55 map, but its other GM2 map, I think.

Reply 7 of 96, by SuperDeadite

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Proper GS is better as SC-55 was built for GS. Early units technically don't support GM.

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 8 of 96, by Spikey

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TOMMY_THE_DOG wrote on 2022-03-12, 16:30:

I have a Roland SC-880. It is the 19"rackmount unit. This is a full double GS module with a separate GM bank and CM64 emulation (also works for MT32 emulation).

I have a full audio recording setup, so it would be trivial for me to get some high-quality FLACs bounced. I'm just glad that someone else is finally interested.

If you have not already, you must check out the game "TFX". It is a super-mediocre jetfighter simulator with an incredible GM soundtrack that also sounds great on an OPL3. But on a good GM module it is wild. The original "Age of Empires" also has a sweet soundtrack and supports at least GM. "Final Fantasy VII" supports XG! Sounds great on a YMF724/744. You should try to get captures from the Yamaha MU and TG modules as well as the Rolands.

Thanks very much! Yep, familiar with the SC-880 - it's a great unit. Always wanted one. Has a AK4324 DAC (up to 24-bit) too! Wish I knew the bitrate, though. Always wanted to hear the unique patches it has, as well.

I'm glad you're glad about the project and the likely larger GM one. This has been on my mind for.. decades, 🤣.

I'm familiar with TFX, mostly because it's one of the rare games that utilises the CM-32L's sound effects. I've heard it's great on certain GM synths as well. I'll have to check out the others. Not interested in doing an XG or GS (or anything else) comparison though - someone else can take up those reins!

Will focus on this project for a little while, but the GM idea makes sense. I added it to the project document. I own about 30 GM synths (probably more), some of which are rare, so it makes sense to record them before I potentially sell them at some point. Great suggestion!

Last edited by Spikey on 2022-03-13, 11:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 96, by Spikey

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Kippesoep wrote on 2022-03-12, 18:14:

That's cool. I can contribute with recordings of an SC-55 (not SC-55mkII, but the original), and an SC-88 Pro.

Thanks a lot! Appreciated.

Also, every time I see your name I think of your SQ2VGA project. Wish it had gotten finished. (Yes, I know IA made one later.)

Reply 10 of 96, by Spikey

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MusicallyInspired wrote on 2022-03-13, 05:09:

I'll lend my Roland CM-500 (in CM-300 mode) and Roland MT-200 as well.

One question, should we send a GS reset or a GM reset sysex prior to recording?

Thanks, man! And very cool that you have a CM - the DAC for the CM-300/500 is supposed to be the best quality you can get for a SC-55 variant, even better than the mkII.

And good, we can record both our MT-200's. 😀

Haven't finished the methodology yet. Chances are I embed a reset at the beginning of each file so they'll always be resetted before playback. Can't remember if a GS reset will work for all of them, though.

Last edited by Spikey on 2022-03-13, 11:43. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 96, by Spikey

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jaffa225man wrote on 2022-03-13, 09:30:

I'm willing to record from my SC-33, SC-55mkII, PMA-5, SC-8820, SC-8850, and INTEGRA-7. Come to think of it, my GR-30, VG-99, and GP-10 could also be added, if they have an SC-55 map, but I don't recall that now. As your google doc points out, recording all from the same capture device is preferred, and I'd prefer it for simplicity too. Analog capture only would keep them on an equal footing (although from different inputs some are always plugged into) on my Roland UA-1610. I hope that sounds like a good plan (and not too much work). 😀

And yes, I second MusicallyInspired's question. I always use GS resets normally, because I never want to limit any variations from playing, but in this case GM resets may help keep variables out of the equation. Of course, you've stated that you really are only planning plain GM songs, and in that case it shouldn't matter. Oh, and the INTEGRA-7 may be a special case. A GM reset wouldn't put it in the SC-55 map, but its other GM2 map, I think.

Very excited to see a PMA-5! I missed a chance to buy 2 last year, very frustrating.
Checking the manual, I see it has 80 SC-88 tones in it as well. Very interesting. I don't suppose there's any way you can open it up and find out what DAC it uses?
https://blog.naver.com/PostView.naver?blogId= … rue&from=search
Some pictures here, but I couldn't see where the DAC was.

Excited about your wide array of devices in general. I'll look into the miscellaneous ones you mentioned.
As the project doc mentions, please record using digital output on the Integra as well as analog output for the 55 recording.

GS resets have been added to the project document, although I am not sure whether GM or GS is more appropriate.

As for the Integra, you're probably right.

Last edited by Spikey on 2022-03-13, 11:55. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 12 of 96, by Spikey

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SuperDeadite wrote on 2022-03-13, 10:36:

Proper GS is better as SC-55 was built for GS. Early units technically don't support GM.

Does that mean a GS reset doesn't work with them?

And, what units are you supplying recordings of for the project? I know you have at least a MU2000EX.. 😀

Reply 13 of 96, by Spikey

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The project document has been extensively updated to include new definitions, the new synths available to record, and accurate DAC information for nearly all synths available thus far.

Reply 14 of 96, by SuperDeadite

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Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 11:44:
SuperDeadite wrote on 2022-03-13, 10:36:

Proper GS is better as SC-55 was built for GS. Early units technically don't support GM.

Does that mean a GS reset doesn't work with them?

And, what units are you supplying recordings of for the project? I know you have at least a MU2000EX.. 😀

Old SC-55's ROMs only support GS Reset. If a GM Reset is received they will perform a GS Reset. SC-55 was originally designed to be it's own thing (GS).
What exactly do you intend to include? Basically all Yamaha modules from TG300 and after unofficially support SC-55 level GS. The 1000EX and 2000EX
have official support as they finally reached agreement with Roland. Some Korg units also have unofficial GS support (NS5R). I'd be happy to contribute.
Probably the rarest one I have is the FM Towns 403A MIDI board which has official Roland made SC-55mk2 based daughter board. 😀 Will be a pain to setup though,
as it's not a DOS compatible.

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 15 of 96, by Spikey

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SuperDeadite wrote on 2022-03-13, 14:59:
Old SC-55's ROMs only support GS Reset. If a GM Reset is received they will perform a GS Reset. SC-55 was originally designed […]
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Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 11:44:
SuperDeadite wrote on 2022-03-13, 10:36:

Proper GS is better as SC-55 was built for GS. Early units technically don't support GM.

Does that mean a GS reset doesn't work with them?

And, what units are you supplying recordings of for the project? I know you have at least a MU2000EX.. 😀

Old SC-55's ROMs only support GS Reset. If a GM Reset is received they will perform a GS Reset. SC-55 was originally designed to be it's own thing (GS).
What exactly do you intend to include? Basically all Yamaha modules from TG300 and after unofficially support SC-55 level GS. The 1000EX and 2000EX
have official support as they finally reached agreement with Roland. Some Korg units also have unofficial GS support (NS5R). I'd be happy to contribute.
Probably the rarest one I have is the FM Towns 403A MIDI board which has official Roland made SC-55mk2 based daughter board. 😀 Will be a pain to setup though,
as it's not a DOS compatible.

OK, sounds like a GS reset is the way to go. Thanks.

I guess it's not essential, but I'd like to have the Korg and Yamaha GS. I have a NS5R and a N1R myself, but I'd love your Korg recording too.

Re Yamaha's, are the samples all the same for all the MUs, in terms of GS?

The FM Towns thing sounds cool, but not essential as it's probably unobtanium. However, I'd like detailed info on it if you can send it to me. Also I'd love to know the DAC it uses.

Reply 16 of 96, by jaffa225man

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Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 11:41:
Very excited to see a PMA-5! I missed a chance to buy 2 last year, very frustrating. Checking the manual, I see it has 80 SC-88 […]
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Very excited to see a PMA-5! I missed a chance to buy 2 last year, very frustrating.
Checking the manual, I see it has 80 SC-88 tones in it as well. Very interesting. I don't suppose there's any way you can open it up and find out what DAC it uses?
https://blog.naver.com/PostView.naver?blogId= … rue&from=search
Some pictures here, but I couldn't see where the DAC was.

Done, although some are pretty dark, and you might need GIMP or another program to brighten them, sorry: https://imgur.com/gallery/8IaSKmn

Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 11:41:

Excited about your wide array of devices in general. I'll look into the miscellaneous ones you mentioned.
As the project doc mentions, please record using digital output on the Integra as well as analog output for the 55 recording.

Okay, I can capture digitally though either SPDIF or USB (due to Takashi Iwai, a wonderful Linux kernel developer, writing a modern autodetecting Roland USB digital audio ALSA driver).

Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 11:41:

GS resets have been added to the project document, although I am not sure whether GM or GS is more appropriate.

As for the Integra, you're probably right.

Yeah, although upon further reflecting, a bank zero sent to each channel is probably enough to overwrite the defaults selected by a GM reset.

But, yes, superdeadite's observation about the oldest SC-55 varients probably means GS reset is best for this project. Due to the oldest units ignorance the GM specification in favor of GS, a GS reset would at least create similar reproducable behavior on all Roland devices. I'm sure you know that while they both reset various settings to defaults, a GM reset may lock varation changes to just their capital tones.

Reply 17 of 96, by jaffa225man

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Spikey wrote on 2022-03-13, 18:28:

Re Yamaha's, are the samples all the same for all the MUs, in terms of GS?

I'm not sure, as all I bought is one the one I wouldn't have to upgrade from, but I guess I could do my MU2000 EX too. The official GS support was added with the EX versions of the MU1000 and MU2000, but the TG300 appears to have introduced it well before that. I've heard anecdotally, that the TG300 mode of MU2000 sounds the same before and after an upgrade to EX firmware, but of course that's not verifiable by me.

The MU2000 EX does have a UTIL->SYS->Map mode that can be set to either "MU basic" or "MU100Native", but I'm not sure it affects the GS sounds...

Reply 18 of 96, by SuperDeadite

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To my knowledge there are basically 3 versions of Yamaha's GS compatible mode:
TG300
All MUs from MU80 until MU90.
All MUs from MU100 and after.
But they will not all sound the same due to differences in hardware. Such as 500/1000/2000 have toslink output, while 100 doesn't.

Yamaha also has a whole range of MIDI boombox players, based on various modules.

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 96, by RetroGamer4Ever

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Yamaha had multiple implementations of XG (levels, was the term used and there were 3, I think) and the samples did change a bit between them and over time, as XG spread from pro keyboard instruments to soft-synths, soundcards, and hardware modules. That being said, the GS mode likely varies somewhat or significantly in sound, between the various hardware/software implementations.