Obsolete: Enhanced ScummVM MIDI music on Windows

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JohnnyWalker2001
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Post by JohnnyWalker2001 »

This entire thread is awesome! Thanks to everyone who has added to it.
Timar wrote:I don't know if this is already known here, but there is yet another (very simple) way to obtain a decent MIDI sound on Windows XP (it just works on XP though).

Microsoft is giving away the faboulous Yamaha Softsnyth S-YXG50 with a 4MB wavetable for free (yes, indeed, Microsoft!).
All you need, the download link and a setup guide you'll find here on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_s ... YXG_series

Make sure you download the version with the 4MB wavetable, and to change the registry key for the sampling frequency from default 22.050 to 44.100khz.

Now you can select the Yamaha Synth as MIDI device and enjoy the sound of your favourite ScummVM games :D
I did this (except I installed the 4MB version straight away - unsure why I'd need both) but even though I can select Yamaha SoftSynth in MidiMapper, I don't hear any sound from it when I play midis :( Any idea what could be wrong? (I can hear things if I change it back to Windows Midi.)

I'm running Vista. I changed the Registry settings as advised (oddly they were set for the 2MB version?). I even copied the 2MB version into System32 to see if that would help :(

Thanks!
Timar
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Post by Timar »

Sorry, I think it works on XP only. You could try to google however, if there is a possibility to get it working on Vista.
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JohnnyWalker2001
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Post by JohnnyWalker2001 »

Darn, I can't seem to find any information on getting the S-YXG50 working on Vista. Other people have complained about the "no sound" problem but I haven't seen any solutions :(

Thanks for your help.
Timar
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Post by Timar »

To get an impression of how all these different midi playback solutions will sound with ScummVM, I installed them in parralel and compared their performance on some of the first songs from Monkey Island 2 (Intro, Voodo Theme, Woodtick etc.) with the songs played back on a original MT-32 device (from http://s-island.mixnmojo.com)
Here are my impressions:
  • Sadly, the MT-32 emulation (I've managed to get an original ROM) didn't live up to my expectation. If it sounds like an MT-32 device at all, then it must be a completely f*cked up one. Worst sound quality - and high CPU load.

    Second worst is the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. Though it uses a wavetable from Roland, sampling quality is rather low and the synthesizer seems to lack some essential features.

    I was curious how a Virtual Sound Canvas would perferm in reproducing the MT-32's sound. At least it has a SC-88 wavetable with MT-32 compatible sound banks. So I checked the options for GS and "true MT-32" in ScummVM - and was pretty disappointed. While the custom sounds (the spitting sound at the beginning) are played back just fine, the instrument mapping is messed up (i.e. the fingered bass from the intro song turns to a piano). So the MT-32 compatibility mode seems to be broken. Running in GM mode however, it sounds way better than the Microsoft snyth - just like a somewhat degraded version of the MT-32 with muffled samples. Another problem with this synthesizer is it's very high latency of almost a second. You'll notice that especially on the SFX sounds.

    I have to praise ScummVM here for it's MT-32 to GM conversion: it really works like a charm. I came to notice this especially when testing the Yamaha S-YXG50. Running the 4MB wavetable version, I was astonished that it really came close to the MT-32, closer than the VSC. Though some samples sound different from the MT-32 (somewhat softer and more natural), the overall performance seems comparable. If you are unfamiliar with the MT-32 sound, it will be hard for you to tell one from the other. The latest WDM driver offered by Microsoft works flawlessly on XP, with very low latency almost no CPU use.

    Finally the sfzPlayer/Soundfont solution (tested with the Chorium font) - you'll be dazzled by the sample quality. Instruments sound much more crisp and natural than on the MT-32 or even on the Yamaha. The overall sound quality is great as well. Of course, because of the much better sample quality it doesn't sound comparable to an MT-32 anymore. The price to pay is that the CPU load on slower machines can be quite heavy.
Conclusion: you can forget about the MT-32 emulation for now and spare the money for Roland's VSC. The remaining choice between the Yamaha Snyth and sfzPlayer is a matter of taste: if you run ScummVM on a decent CPU and want the best sound quality possible, go for the szfPlayer. If you want a sound closer to the original "synthie-feeling" of the MT-32 (and to what the composers where working on), you want to try the Yamaha.
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JohnnyWalker2001
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Post by JohnnyWalker2001 »

Lol, how ironic, I just did the same myself. The Roland VSC sounded far the best in my tests:
To start, here's how the Monkey Island 2 is SUPPOSED to sound. This is a recording of a real MT-32:

Real MT-32: Example

Here are recordings from many of the different options available to a modern MI2 player. (I'd suggest listening to the ENTIRE track to get a proper idea for comparison - they're only 90 seconds):

Roland VSC: Example
MUNT Emu: Example
Windows Midi: Example
ScummVM Emu: Example

Personal tastes aside, I think the Roland VSC sounds far closest to the original MT-32 soundtrack, although I have yet to test the Yamaha S-YXG50 SoftSynth (it isn't Vista compatible, unfortunately).
Note: When I was testing the VSC I didn't set it to true MT-32, as the VSC isn't an emulator.
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eriktorbjorn
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Post by eriktorbjorn »

JohnnyWalker2001 wrote: Windows Midi: Example
Are you sure? Sounds like AdLib to me.
Timar
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Post by Timar »

JohnnyWalker2001 wrote:Note: When I was testing the VSC I didn't set it to true MT-32, as the VSC isn't an emulator.
See here http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/User_ ... M#MIDI_tab
True Roland MT-32 (disable GM emulation)
ScummVM will treat your device as a real MT-32. Because the instrument mappings and system exclusive commands of the MT-32 vary from those of General MIDI devices, you should only enable this option if you are using an actual Roland MT-32, LAPC-I, CM-64, CM-32L, CM-500, or GS device with an MT-32 map.
Enable Roland GS Mode
ScummVM will initialize your GS-compatible device with settings that mimic the MT-32's reverb, (lack of) chorus, pitch bend sensitivity, etc. If it is specified in conjunction with True Roland MT-32 (above), ScummVM will select the MT-32-compatible map and drumset on your GS device. This setting works better than default GM or GS emulation with games that do not have custom instrument mappings (Loom and The Secret of Monkey Island). You should only specify both settings if you are using a GS device that has an MT-32 map, e.g. SC-55, SC-88, SC-8820, etc.
The VSC uses wavetables from the SC-55 and SC-88(pro), which have MT-32 compatible sound sets. I tried the VST version with SAVIHost, to see the actual instrument mappings and the MT-32 drum sets where selected. Some of the other instruments however, seem to be messed up.

So either the VSC is broken or there is a bug in ScummVM. Has anyone ever thouroughly tested the GS MT-32 compatibility mode before?

I agree with you that the VSC sounds just fine in GS mode, so it is a good alternative to the S-YXG50 for Vista users. If you are running XP however, IMHO the Yamaha synth sounds even better plus it is faster and it is free.
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LogicDeLuxe
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Post by LogicDeLuxe »

Timar wrote:The VSC uses wavetables from the SC-55 and SC-88(pro), which have MT-32 compatible sound sets.
Yes, every GS synth has a MT-32 sound bank. This should not be confused with MT-32 compatibility and is worth nothing in most cases. Most games program the device to their needs, and unfortunately this is done in a completely different way between MT-32 and Soundcanvas.
Thus, for any Soundcanvas, you shouldn't use the "true MT-32"-option.
Timar
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Post by Timar »

LogicDeLuxe wrote:Yes, every GS synth has a MT-32 sound bank. This should not be confused with MT-32 compatibility and is worth nothing in most cases.
Thanks for the clarification! But what GS device, if not the Sound Canvas, could be MT-32 compatible then, so that the above mentioned options (GS + true MT-32) would make any sense?
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JohnnyWalker2001
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Post by JohnnyWalker2001 »

Timar wrote:I agree with you that the VSC sounds just fine in GS mode, so it is a good alternative to the S-YXG50 for Vista users. If you are running XP however, IMHO the Yamaha synth sounds even better plus it is faster and it is free.
Bah. If only it worked in Vista :(
Timar wrote:Thanks for the clarification! But what GS device, if not the Sound Canvas, could be MT-32 compatible then, so that the above mentioned options (GS + true MT-32) would make any sense?
That an interesting question... possibly for the hardware equivalent of the Virtual Sound Canvas?
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Kisdra
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Post by Kisdra »

Nice topic here, but I'm wondering, we talk here about the computers' MIDI render, what about the other devices like gaming consoles ? I just saw on Wikipedia that Dreamcast has a built-in Yamaha chip supporting XG MIDI : has anyone tried the MIDI mode on it, at least if it's available on the Dreamcast port ?
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Kaminari
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Post by Kaminari »

I'll repeat what LogicDeluxe said already: no GS device is MT-32 compatible. Yes, the GS synths include an MT-32 sound bank, but an MT-32 expander is much more than its sample set.
Timar
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Post by Timar »

OK, but then the ScummVM manual would be inaccurate, because the above quoted combination of GS & MT-32 would make no sense at all...
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LogicDeLuxe
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Post by LogicDeLuxe »

Timar wrote:OK, but then the ScummVM manual would be inaccurate, because the above quoted combination of GS & MT-32 would make no sense at all...
It does make sense:
If --enable-gs is specified
...
in conjunction with
--native-mt32, ScummVM will select the MT-32-compatible map and drumset
on your GS device. This setting works better than default GM or GS
emulation with games that do not have custom instrument mappings (Loom
and Monkey1)
.
Timar
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Post by Timar »

@LogicDeLuxe: Am I right then, that it only makes sense with these two games (or any other without custom instrument mappings) and produces inferior MIDI sound on others? If so, why doesn't ScummVM automatically disable the MT-32 on other games if specified in conjunction with GS? I doubt most poeple will know which games actually has custom instrument mappings and which hasn't...
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