Just got a Roland Soundcanvas SC-88!

Roland Soundcanvas SC-88

Roland Soundcanvas SC-88

As annoying as it is that Windows 10 won’t drive my el-cheapo USB-MIDI interface adapter, I have to say that even loading Windows XP into VMWare Player, and then loading DOSBox is a pleasant enough experience when connecting to the Roland.

Pluses include the built in power supply, RCA jacks, and of course it just sounds snappier compared to the Yamaha MU-80.

I’ll have to capture samples from both, to compare and contrast.

I have to say that for a mere 2,400 Yen I’m really enjoying this fine piece of hardware!

I’m unsure of the difference between the SC-88, the SC-88 Pro, the SC-88VL and the SC-88ST, and of course the SC-88ST Pro.  I just know I’m lucky that mine arrived OK and in working order!  Thanks ps38152000, whomever you are.

MIDI Mayhem on Windows 10

So I know it’s ‘probably’ the super cheap generic USB to MIDI dongal I got on the cheap, but it just doesn’t work on Windows 10.

Using DOSBox, I get the following output when cycling between devices on the console:

MIDI:Opened device:win32
MIDI:win32 selected Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth
MIDI:Opened device:win32
MIDI:win32 selected USB2.0-MIDI
MIDI:Opened device:none
MIDI:win32 selected MIDIOUT2 (USB2.0-MIDI)
MIDI:Opened device:none

As you can see it clearly can see the USB device, but when it opens the device it fails. And yes I’ve tried Administrator.  And for the hell of it, I fire up Windows XP on VMWare, connect the USB dongal, and amazingly:

MIDI:Opened device:win32
MIDI:win32 selected USB Audio Device
MIDI:Opened device:win32
MIDI:win32 selected USB Audio Device [2]
MIDI:Opened device:win32
MIDI:win32 selected Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth
MIDI:Opened device:win32

Yes, I can open the out port just fine.  So now I run a virtualizer to run my emulator to drive a physical peripheral… Ugh.  Has MIDI been this messed up all along and I never noticed?

Oh yeah, the GS Wavetable Synth works fine, as did MUNT before I uninstalled it, thinking it was somehow interfering with anything.

I know I’m using this fine device, the QinHeng USB MIDI adapter, which apparently is notorious crap, but my recently acquired Yamaha MU 80, works fine with it on Windows XP.

QinHeng USB MIDI adapter

QinHeng USB MIDI adapter

Ugh.

Giving up on the MT-32

What do you mean, giving up?  Well I’ve been trying to buy one, and I’ve lost every auction.  So I figured I’d check up the emulation scene and see what is up.  Then I heard this video:

And this one.

Notice anything?

Or at least to my ears, MUNT, sounds the same as the real thing!

So, how to use the thing?  Well in Windows Vista onward (8/8.1/10..) Microsoft decided to hide the MIDI selection tools, making this a mission to see what mapper you are using.  But using DOSBox it’s easy to see which is which.  In DOSBox run:

mixer /listmidi

0 “CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth”
1 “Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth”
2 “MT-32 Synth Emulator”

In this case the MT-32 emulator is #2 on my system.  Then to select this device, just type in:

midiconfig 2

And you are in business!  Fire up the UI and you’ll see:

DOSBox active on MUNT.

DOSBox active on MUNT.

Then configure your application for ‘general MIDI’ on port 0x330, and you should be good to go!

DOSBox DOOM v1.1 general midi

DOSBox DOOM v1.1 general midi

And, how does it sound?

Now for comparison, here is E1M1 with VirtualMIDISynth with SGM-V2.01 sound font.

It’s impressive when you put them next to say the Adlib.

So maybe it was a good thing I kept on losing the auctions… But it’d still be neat to drive a real MIDI peripheral on a modern machine.  Maybe I’ll win, one day.