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Dreamblaster S2 - MT32 mode

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First post, by AirIntake

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I was reading this thread Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation and Scali mentioned that "As far as I know, there is no MT-32 mode. I can't find anything on it in the documentation anyway. Unlike the S2 (SAM2695), where I implemented support for it in SoftMPU."

Because I'm new here I can't message Scali directly, but I'd like to know more about the S2's MT32 mode. Specifically since I have hardware MPU-401 support and don't require SoftMPU, is there a way to enable MT32 mode without using SoftMPU?

MT32 mode is also mentioned here on the S2P page at Serdashop https://www.serdashop.com/S2P

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Reply 1 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-13, 16:13:

I was reading this thread Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation and Scali mentioned that "As far as I know, there is no MT-32 mode. I can't find anything on it in the documentation anyway. Unlike the S2 (SAM2695), where I implemented support for it in SoftMPU."

Because I'm new here I can't message Scali directly, but I'd like to know more about the S2's MT32 mode. Specifically since I have hardware MPU-401 support and don't require SoftMPU, is there a way to enable MT32 mode without using SoftMPU?

MT32 mode is also mentioned here on the S2P page at Serdashop https://www.serdashop.com/S2P

You do not need SoftMPU and you can use the same package that was referred in the same topic as you linked above (GMGSMT32.zip).
Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation
The S2 should behave the same regarding MT-32 compatibility as the X2 (with a proper bank). So these instructions should work:

Then for switching your X2 to MT-32 mode use 'MT32.BAT'. To switch back to GM/GS mode use 'GM.BAT'/'GS.BAT' correspondingly.

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Reply 2 of 22, by AirIntake

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Falcosoft wrote on 2022-01-13, 16:47:
You do not need SoftMPU and you can use the same package that was referred in the same topic as you linked above (GMGSMT32.zip) […]
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You do not need SoftMPU and you can use the same package that was referred in the same topic as you linked above (GMGSMT32.zip).
Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation
The S2 should behave the same regarding MT-32 compatibility as the X2 (with a proper bank). So these instructions should work:
Then for switching your X2 to MT-32 mode use 'MT32.BAT'. To switch back to GM/GS mode use 'GM.BAT'/'GS.BAT' correspondingly.

Oh! I thought that only worked for GS compatible devices and I didn't know the S2 was considered GS compatible. Thanks very much.

So is it correct to say the S2 doesn't really have a "baked in" MT32 mode, it can just be manually reconfigured to get close like other GS devices?

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Reply 3 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-13, 16:57:
Falcosoft wrote on 2022-01-13, 16:47:
You do not need SoftMPU and you can use the same package that was referred in the same topic as you linked above (GMGSMT32.zip) […]
Show full quote

You do not need SoftMPU and you can use the same package that was referred in the same topic as you linked above (GMGSMT32.zip).
Re: Can I use DreamBlaster X2 for MT-32 emulation
The S2 should behave the same regarding MT-32 compatibility as the X2 (with a proper bank). So these instructions should work:
Then for switching your X2 to MT-32 mode use 'MT32.BAT'. To switch back to GM/GS mode use 'GM.BAT'/'GS.BAT' correspondingly.

Oh! I thought that only worked for GS compatible devices and I didn't know the S2 was considered GS compatible. Thanks very much.

So is it correct to say the S2 doesn't really have a "baked in" MT32 mode, it can just be manually reconfigured to get close like other GS devices?

S2 can be switched to MT-32 mode just like any other MT-32 compatible GS devices (e.g. exactly like the original SC-55). In this respect none of the GS devices has 'baked-in MT-32 mode' but all have to be reconfigured in multiple steps. The important parts are the MT-32 compatible instruments at bank 127 (CC#0 127) and the MT-32 compatible drum set at bank 0 program 127. The S2 has both (page 31/32)
https://www.dream.fr/pdf/Serie2000/SAM_Datash … ets/SAM2695.pdf

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Reply 4 of 22, by Stiletto

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-13, 16:13:

Because I'm new here I can't message Scali directly

It's just as well, he hasn't been here in almost a year, and considering how the final thread he participated in went, may have seen moderation. I no longer remember...

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do the Fandango!" - Queen

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Reply 5 of 22, by Jo22

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Oh, I didn't know that, that's sad to hear. :(
Personally, I have fond memories of discussing stuff with Scali and others here at Vogons in the past years.

AirIntake, maybe you can reach Scali via his blog, not sure.
Best wishes and good luck.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 6 of 22, by AirIntake

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-01-13, 23:08:

Best wishes and good luck.

Thanks!

So far I haven't noticed a difference before and after running the batch file in the few MT32 games I managed to test today. I need to do more testing tomorrow...

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Reply 7 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-14, 01:35:
Jo22 wrote on 2022-01-13, 23:08:

Best wishes and good luck.

Thanks!

So far I haven't noticed a difference before and after running the batch file in the few MT32 games I managed to test today. I need to do more testing tomorrow...

1. Actually there are only few MT-32 games that do not use custom instruments and can be used with the MT-32 mode of GS devices. None of the GS devices (even in MT-32 mode) understands MT-32 specific SysEx messages that many games use to add custom instruments.
So you should try a game that is known to use only the default instruments:

  • Leisure Suit Larry 2,
    Legend of Kyrandia 1 (except for one instrument),
    King's Quest IV,
    Budokan, Ultima VI,
    Bad Blood,
    Simon the Sorcerer,
    Loom,
    Monkey Island 1,
    Dune,
    KGB/Conspiracy,
    Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls,
    Spellcasting 201: The Sorcerer's Appliance,
    Timequest,
    Gateway,
    Spellcasting 301: Spring Break,
    Eric the Unready,
    Gateway 2 - Homeworld,
    Companions of Xanth,
    Death Gate,
    Superhero League of Hoboken

List of games that use MT-32 default instruments
https://minirevver.weebly.com/mt-32-music.html

2. It's more simple to test if MT-32 mode works at all If you use a known MT-32 midi file instead of random MT-32 games. Here is one to test:

Filename
The Secret of Monkey Island - MT32.zip
File size
85.41 KiB
Downloads
18 downloads
File license
Public domain

You should use Dosmid.exe that can be found in the same GMGSMT32.zip file as MT32.bat.
Syntax is: DosMid.exe yourmidifile.mid
First try the attached Monkey Island 1 midi file without running MT32.bat and then try again after running MT32.bat.
You should definitely hear the difference.
You can reset your device with GM.bat /GS.bat so you can restart your test cycle again.

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Reply 8 of 22, by AirIntake

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I tested it with the The Secret of Monkey Island - MT32.mid as suggested and unfortunately I don't think it's working. It sounds the same before and after I run MT32.bat, and stays sounding the same if I run GM or GS batch files. The listed instruments also stay the same in DOSMID, the main theme tune is comprised of a Skakuhachi, Sci-Fi (FX) and a Glockenspiel regardless of the batch files which doesn't sound anything like the flute & steel drums the song is supposed to be played with.

Edit: I just tried playing MT32emul.mid in Windows 98 and it worked! The Monkey Island MT32 midi played back much differently and more correctly. The GM & GS batch files also worked in Windows to change the settings back. I wonder why it's not working in DOS?

Edit 2: I tried loading MT32emul.mid using MegaMID in DOS instead but it still doesn't change to the MT32 instruments.

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Reply 9 of 22, by AirIntake

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I made some progress in DOS. I tried GSPlay and it didn't work either, but then I tried Midier which did properly change to MT32 instruments in DOS! Unfortunately it seems to only apply within Midier. I can exit Midier, start it again and the MT32 changes are still intact, but if I use any other DOS midi player the instrument changes revert to default, including if I go back to Midier.

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Reply 10 of 22, by Cloudschatze

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Falcosoft wrote on 2022-01-14, 08:57:

So you should try a game that is known to use only the default instruments:

I realize the list isn't of your making, but the owner really ought to remove Legend of Kyrandia, which sends an entire bank of 64 custom timbres. Most of these are indeed related to sound-effects, but that usage is pretty crucial to how the game sounds.

Two additions that should be made to the list are Keef the Thief and The Bard's Tale III. The S2/S2P produces a rather decent rendition with the latter: https://www.symphoniae.com/misc/s2pmidi/bards3_title_s2p.mp3

Last edited by Cloudschatze on 2022-01-15, 05:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-14, 20:19:

I made some progress in DOS. I tried GSPlay and it didn't work either, but then I tried Midier which did properly change to MT32 instruments in DOS! Unfortunately it seems to only apply within Midier. I can exit Midier, start it again and the MT32 changes are still intact, but if I use any other DOS midi player the instrument changes revert to default, including if I go back to Midier.

It sounds like something is interpreted as a 'Reset' by the S2 under DOS that should not be. Or the GS reset included in MT32EMUL.MID is executed with too much delay. Maybe the difference is because Midier does not support SysEx messages. Here is a MT32EMUL version that does not contain any SysEx messages. Try this instead of the original. The most important instrument remapping should work without any SysEx messages.
Although it's very strange that under Windows everything is working but under DOS almost nothing... Unfortunately I do not have the S2 only the X2 so I cannot test (and the X2 can be switched to MT-32 mode under DOS without problems).
I took a look at the above attached documentation by Dream (SAM2695.pdf) but I could not find any DOS specific useful info.

Filename
MT32EMUL_NOSYX.zip
File size
422 Bytes
Downloads
11 downloads
File license
Public domain

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Reply 13 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-17, 23:18:

I tried MT32EMUL_NOSYX.mid and get the same results, it only works in Midier in DOS.

And what happens if you use a playlist instead of separate Midi files with DosMid? I have attached a test playlist file and the 2 required Midi files. Copy them to the same folder where DosMid can be found.
Syntax: DosMid.exe test1.m3u

Filename
TEST1.zip
File size
86.01 KiB
Downloads
9 downloads
File license
Public domain

BTW you should use the exact same version of DosMid that can be found in the GMGSMT32.zip package since newer versions of DosMid sends a GM reset by default that cancels the MT-32 mode set by MT32EMUL.MID.

@Edit:
Maybe the problem is that DosMid always sends GM Master Volume to maximum (127) SysEx messages at the beginning and also at the end of a song. In normal cases this should not reset any synths but the S2 can be different and interprets other GM SysEx messages as mode changing messages. I have asked Mateusz to remove GM SysEx messages at least when /preset=NONE is given in the command line.
Re: DOSMid - an open-source MIDI player for DOS

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Reply 14 of 22, by Falcosoft

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Mateusz was so kind that he made a test version that does not send any SysEx messages when the /preset=NONE switch is used. You can download it from here:
http://mateusz.viste.fr/tmp/dosmid-falco/
Copy it to same folder where the other DosMid and reset related files are. Then execute:
DosMidlt.exe /preset=NONE test1.m3u

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Reply 15 of 22, by AirIntake

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Thanks so much for the continued responses! I had previously tried using playlists in the various DOS MIDI players and didn't find that to make a difference.

I tried the new DosMidLt.exe with the test1.m3u and it did modify the instruments on the S2 in some way, but not in the way it's supposed to. It sounds like the wavetable samples are completely absent and the S2 is only using its FM synth hardware to playback the MIDI. It doesn't sound like FM music though because its just playing the FM synth that compliments the wavetable samples, not the full instruments. It does this whether I use the /preset=NONE flag or not.

Very very interesting... it's kind of neat to hear how much of the S2's sound is from FM and how much comes from the wavetable.

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Reply 16 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-18, 16:02:

Thanks so much for the continued responses! I had previously tried using playlists in the various DOS MIDI players and didn't find that to make a difference.

I tried the new DosMidLt.exe with the test1.m3u and it did modify the instruments on the S2 in some way, but not in the way it's supposed to. It sounds like the wavetable samples are completely absent and the S2 is only using its FM synth hardware to playback the MIDI. It doesn't sound like FM music though because its just playing the FM synth that compliments the wavetable samples, not the full instruments. It does this whether I use the /preset=NONE flag or not.

Very very interesting... it's kind of neat to hear how much of the S2's sound is from FM and how much comes from the wavetable.

Sorry, I have no other idea at the moment. Serge (Dreamblaster) promised that he sends me an S2 for testing ( in return for my Windows based Midi player). So I hope within weeks I can test it and report back.
Until then you can try using Midier in DOS to switch to MT-32 mode and then some DOS games from the above list (maybe Monkey Island 1 would be the best since you already know how it sounds in MT-32 mode).

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Reply 17 of 22, by AirIntake

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Falcosoft wrote on 2022-01-18, 21:52:

Until then you can try using Midier in DOS to switch to MT-32 mode and then some DOS games from the above list (maybe Monkey Island 1 would be the best since you already know how it sounds in MT-32 mode).

Will do, thanks very much for all your help.

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Reply 18 of 22, by Falcosoft

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AirIntake wrote on 2022-01-18, 22:16:
Falcosoft wrote on 2022-01-18, 21:52:

Until then you can try using Midier in DOS to switch to MT-32 mode and then some DOS games from the above list (maybe Monkey Island 1 would be the best since you already know how it sounds in MT-32 mode).

Will do, thanks very much for all your help.

Hi,
Finally i have got my S2 from Serge so I could investigate and I found what caused the problem:
The S2 reacts to CC#121 (All Controllers Off) messages in an unusual way:
It also forgets previous Bank select messages. According to specification CC#121 messages should not affect selected banks and in case of X2(GS) it works as it should.
Since most players (including DosMid that you tried) sends CC#121 messages before exiting they cannot be used to switch S2 into MT-32 mode. I will try to convince Mateusz (creator of DosMid) to create a parameter for DosMid that disables the sending of CC#121 messages at the end.

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Reply 19 of 22, by AirIntake

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Falcosoft wrote on 2022-02-23, 21:23:
Hi, Finally i have got my S2 from Serge so I could investigate and I found what caused the problem: The S2 reacts to CC#121 (A […]
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Hi,
Finally i have got my S2 from Serge so I could investigate and I found what caused the problem:
The S2 reacts to CC#121 (All Controllers Off) messages in an unusual way:
It also forgets previous Bank select messages. According to specification CC#121 messages should not affect selected banks and in case of X2(GS) it works as it should.
Since most players (including DosMid that you tried) sends CC#121 messages before exiting they cannot be used to switch S2 into MT-32 mode. I will try to convince Mateusz (creator of DosMid) to create a parameter for DosMid that disables the sending of CC#121 messages at the end.

Amazing. Thank you very much for still thinking about this! I hope Mateusz responds and it isn't a lot of work for him.

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