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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:56 am 
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Does anyone know which games were written specifically on and use the extra sounds of the CM-32L? The only game I know of for sure is LSL5. I know less about non-Sierra games' sound capabilities around that time.

I wonder if there is a list somewhere. Just because a game lists CM-32L as a supported sound device, it doesn't mean the game was written on and for a CM-23L, right?... since the CM-32L plays MT-32 music, and games written for the MT-32 could still have been advertised as supporting the CM-32L and the MT-32, even if the games didn't take advantage of all the available CM-32L sounds. Unless I'm mistaken, it seems like the window of time when games would have been written specifically for the CM-32L would have been relatively small, since as early as 1992, game companies (like Sierra, with Dagger of Amon Ra, for example) were already supporting General MIDI, which I believe is best played with a Roland SC-55 series. If LSL5 was the first Sierra game written specifically for the CM-32L (and I don't know if it was), then would that possibly mean that few games released before 1991 were written for the CM-32L?

One thing that seems clear to me is that there appears to have been many more games written for the MT-32 than were games written on and for the CM-32L and that take advantage of the extra CM-32L sounds.


Last edited by pbpb33 on Sat May 01, 2010 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:26 am 
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The older games do come with an MTBLAST.DRV that plays an MT-32 soundtrack with digital sound effects (alternative to the MT32.DRV driver which is just MT-32 music and no digital effects). But sometimes the digital sound effects are just 22khz mono lo-quality recordings of MT-32 sound effects. So in those cases it's better to just go with the MT-32-only soundtrack. I believe the disk version of SQ4 falls under this category (not the CD version).

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Looks like I've bought a SC-55!! Yay.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:27 pm 
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Spikey wrote:
Looks like I've bought a SC-55!! Yay.


Congratulations!! Did you get the SC-55 MKII on EBay from the seller in New York State? I like to see classic adventure gamers scooping up these devices. :D Still, I'm a little envious, but I decided to wait a bit before getting a second sound module; I still have many pre-General MIDI games to experience with the MT-32.

You're going to love the General MIDI (or is it General Sound? sigh, I'm a little confused, but whatever :o ) music. For a little while in the 1990's I had Sound Blaster AWE32, and the Sierra games that supported General MIDI sounded awesome with it... and I expect the SC-55 generated music will be at least as good or better than what my AWE32 produced. In particular, I remember Dagger of Amon Ra music sounds GREAT when you select General MIDI. One summer (and this shows what a dork I was/am) I recorded a lot of the LB2 General MIDI music on a cassette tape both to listen to on the way to the beach in the mornings and while coming home from summer school in the afternoon.


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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:29 pm 
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No such thing as General Sound. General MIDI is simply a 128-instrument standard list. But for Sierra games they were all composed with the Sound Canvas specifically, which supports General MIDI but also has the GS standard. The GS standard includes the 128 instruments from General MIDI but also a lot of other instruments. I think GS has over 300 instruments. I heard that the composers at Sierra begged Mark Seibert (music director at the time) to compose with the extra GS instruments but he refused and made them stick to the General MIDI standard. However, even though the games were composed in General MIDI they still took advantage of the Chorus and Reverb effects native to the Sound Canvas. No other synth recognises these MIDI controllers so you will only get the proper reverb and chorus settings with a Sound Canvas.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:34 pm 
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pbpb33 wrote:
Spikey wrote:
Looks like I've bought a SC-55!! Yay.


Congratulations!! Did you get the SC-55 MKII on EBay from the seller in New York State? I like to see classic adventure gamers scooping up these devices. :D Still, I'm a little envious, but I decided to wait a bit before getting a second sound module; I still have many pre-General MIDI games to experience with the MT-32.

You're going to love the General MIDI (or is it General Sound? sigh, I'm a little confused, but whatever :o ) music. For a little while in the 1990's I had Sound Blaster AWE32, and the Sierra games that supported General MIDI sounded awesome with it... and I expect the SC-55 generated music will be at least as good or better than what my AWE32 produced. In particular, I remember Dagger of Amon Ra music sounds GREAT when you select General MIDI. One summer (and this shows what a dork I was/am) I recorded a lot of the LB2 General MIDI music on a cassette tape both to listen to on the way to the beach in the mornings and while coming home from summer school in the afternoon.


No, I didn't get that one, I bought one on a Dutch auction site, no idea if it's MKII or not, but that doesn't really matter for Sierra games, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:46 pm 
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pbpb33 wrote:
For a little while in the 1990's I had Sound Blaster AWE32, and the Sierra games that supported General MIDI sounded awesome with it... and I expect the SC-55 generated music will be at least as good or better than what my AWE32 produced. In particular, I remember Dagger of Amon Ra music sounds GREAT when you select General MIDI. One summer (and this shows what a dork I was/am) I recorded a lot of the LB2 General MIDI music on a cassette tape both to listen to on the way to the beach in the mornings and while coming home from summer school in the afternoon.


(waving my hand) Another dork right here.

I did the same thing in the early '90s with my 8-bit Sound Blaster card -- I made a cassette tape of music from Space Quest 1 VGA, Space Quest 4 and Wing Commander, and listened to it all the time. I still have that tape somewhere in a box of old cassettes.

I even went so far as to make a cassette tape insert using Ventura Publishing for GEM 3.13 (a PC GUI pre-cursor from the late 1980s).

Heh -- memories; any other old-timers here remember that software?


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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 2:18 am 
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You don't need a MKII SC-55 for Sierra games, no.

I also used to record my Sound Blaster/Adlib soundtracks on cassette. I still have them, actually! My dad made one for me labeled "Brandon's Sound Board Songs". It had Conquests of Camelot, Space Quest III, Wing Commander (great soundtrack!), Zeliard, Space Quest IV, Rise of the Dragon, among others. I later recorded my own cassettes with music from King's Quest V, Space Quest I, and others. Good times.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 2:58 am 
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MusicallyInspired wrote:

I also used to record my Sound Blaster/Adlib soundtracks on cassette. I still have them, actually! My dad made one for me labeled "Brandon's Sound Board Songs". It had Conquests of Camelot, Space Quest III, Wing Commander (great soundtrack!), Zeliard, Space Quest IV, Rise of the Dragon, among others. I later recorded my own cassettes with music from King's Quest V, Space Quest I, and others. Good times.


How delightfully nerdy. Had I been more into music as a kid, I probably would have done something along those lines.

I, however, was into art and drawing, so when I was a kid, I used to study screenshots from Lucasarts' old Adventurer magazines/catalogs, and then reproduce the sprites pixel by pixel in an old Paint program on my dad's 286. Sometimes, I would map them out in colored pencil on graph paper first. :)

How appropriate that we both now do freelance music and art, respectively, for fan-made adventure game groups. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 2:56 pm 
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:) That's awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 am 
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If I were to get an SC-55 in the future, would I be able to use the same midi cables, AC adapter and audio cables that I'm using with the MT-32? I've been having a great time trying out lots of oldies but goodies with the MT-32, by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:00 am 
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MIDI and audio cables, for sure. AC adapter, probably, but you should always check voltage and amperage for each device (voltage on your adapter should match exactly the voltage in the module, while amperage should be higher in your adapter than in your module (the module takes only the amperes it needs, so you should always exceed it)).

Being Roland modules, they probably have similar specifications (I use the same AC adapter with my CM32L and my SC55 ST) but that's one thing you should ALWAYS check before powering anything (I assume the last thing you want to do is fry your new module before even listening to it!) :lol

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 10:51 am 
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Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.

It arrived today!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 1:26 pm 
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You can use all the same cables. But just check to make sure regarding the adaptor, as haradan said. But most Roland modules all share the same adaptors. My MT-200, MT-32, and CM-500 all use the same type of adaptor.

And congrats, Spikey!

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:50 pm 
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So, from what I gather from this thread, all I need one of these;

http://www.musicallin.nl/online_winkel/computer_en_muziek/midi_en_audio_verbindingen_interfaces_bundles/midi_naar_usb_interface_kabel_37305

And then I can use the phones or line out on the sc to connect it to any output device I want! I can even connect the line out or phones from my laptop to the line in on the sc, to pass everything through simultaneously to the output of the sc.

Is that about right?

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:49 pm 
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The SC-55 has a line in? If so then yes. What I do is connect the outputs of my MT-32/CM-500 to a mixer which goes into the line in of my sound card. You don't need a mixer, though, I just use it so I don't have to constantly change plugs from the MT-32 to the CM-500 into the line in of my sound card.

Also, just make sure that the USB MIDI cable you get is compatible with your version of Windows. Or you can get a Sound Blaster MIDI adaptor that you plug into the old-style joystick port of your sound card if you have one of those. That's what I use. I have 3 of them, actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:13 pm 
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Thanks for the advice.

Yes, my SC55 has a line in, and I already tested it, it passes sound through like a birthday cake. Well. Need to get that MIDI cable tomorrow!

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 1:30 am 
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Here's a great compilation of beautiful PC adventure game music... not sure which of these games are best played with an MT-32 or a SC-55, though (but that probably wouldn't be too hard to figure out)... the video might give some suggestions for games to try out with these sound modules... sigh, it's like heaven to my ears:



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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Getting this working and set up is a piece of cake. My mini laptop transformed into an über retrogaming experience machine with SC-55 synergy.

Man this is so AWESOME! I really don't have the words for it. Aside from Sierra games, the 7th guest and the 11th hour sound just....heavenly.

King's Quest VII... just tried it for a few hours with that game.

Were these games even worth it without MIDI devices? I wonder.... the 11th Hour probably wasn't.

:starts plugging and recording these awesome little sounds :

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 3:03 am 
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Your experience won't be complete without an MT-32...

Just sayin'.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 7:09 am 
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Spikey wrote:

Were these games even worth it without MIDI devices? I wonder.... the 11th Hour probably wasn't.

:starts plugging and recording these awesome little sounds :


Right now I'm playing SQ1VGA, which was one of the few Sierra adventure games that I had never played before. One of the things that has struck me about the game, besides the fact that you can die very easily almost every 5 seconds, is how much the MT-32 music adds to the whole experience. Just for the heck of it, I switched over and listened to the Sound Blaster/Adlib quality... there's just no comparison... the Sound Blaster music sounds so small and wimpy... and the MT-32 music sounds a lot grander and richer, which really puts you in the mood and sets the atmosphere so well. I never knew what I was missing when I first played all these games. Now I know what Ken Williams was talking about in all of his little promotional columns in the Sierra Magazines and InterAction.


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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:22 am 
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MusicallyInspired wrote:
Your experience won't be complete without an MT-32...

Just sayin'.


Have currently 3 deals running ;). I'm sure I'll have one between now and a few months.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 6:52 pm 
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Excellent.

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:54 pm 
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What if i manage to get all three?? Shall I buy them like, all? What can I do with multiple Roland MT-32s?

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 Post subject: Re: Buying Roland MT-32 Sound Module
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 1:39 am 
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Multiple MT-32s don't do anything for simply playing games. For musicians, however, they are invaluable. I've been longing for a second MT-32 for a long time. You can hook two MT-32s up together and the result is actually 64 note polyphony rather than 32 (or, more accurately, 44 rather than 22). And the more MT-32s you have, the more polyphony you get.

But as I said, it's only useful to musicians. No game I know of takes advantage of this feature since no game expects people to shell out the double payments of $1500 or whatever that the MT-32 was worth when it first came out in the 80s.

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