I have just recently added a Roland MT-32 and or Roland CM-300 (GS) to a machine that I primarily use for working with Ad Lib FM synth. Having never heard IBM-PC game music outside the realm of Ad Lib / Sound Blaster, I was a tad curious to explore some of "those other music options" that many of my favorite DOS games present me with in their setup programs.
I've been a die hard Ad Lib fan for so many years now, my ears, and more importantly, my memory, have set themselves up to listen for that good old FM sound that I love so much. I had always heard such great things about the Roland MT-32, sound canvas, etc., that the idea was presented (but quickly pushed to the back of my mind) that maybe someday I should give these other music devices a try.
Now, 2005, I have purchased both MT-32 and CM-300 in order to finally go back and listen to a good deal of these game musics -again-, yet this time, not with beloved Ad Lib synth (blasphemy!). The result?Intrigue.
It's been an odd experience, to be perfectly honest. At first listen of any game soundtrack, I always found my mind stating: "That instrument there sounds much quieter on Ad Lib, not so noisy and distracting against the rest of the music", or "This just isn't right. I realize it sounds so much more like a real piano now, but...", etc., etc. Being so used to the FM sound (and loving it the way I do), I judged the MT-32 versions of some of my favorite-sounding games very harshly.
I was about to let the MT-32 collect some dust, having fulfilled the goal I originally bought it for (recording the Super Fighter
soundtrack's MT-32 output) when I decided to give it a second chance. The music of some games sounded fairly nice, and I found that my mind was repeating the Roland versions alongside the FM I was so used to, and finding spots here and there where I really noticed an ... improvement
I know the Sierra games, for the most part, were programmed very, very well to take advantage of the Roland MT-32 and General MIDI, so just basing my testing on games like Quest for Glory IV
and Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist
wasn't enough. Nope! I wanted to base my first impressions on games that weren't designed
more geared toward the Roland.
Thus far, I've tossed some of my non-Sierra favorites (as music goes) directly at the MT-32 and have been extremely impressed with what comes out of the little, black box:Deathbringer
(Empire - 1991)Elf
(Ocean - 1991)Risky Woods
(Zeus, Electronic Arts - 1992)Tetris Classic
(Spectrum Holobyte - 1991)
In short - I am now a fan of the MT-32, and I find myself loading more and more favored DOS games onto this Ad Lib designated computer in order to hear their "Rolandized" music. I'm not saying I prefer MT-32 over Ad Lib, as I am too attached to the FM wonder to ever believe that could happen, but I am
saying that you folks here at Quest Studios have opened my ears and my mind to some new ways to enjoy my treasured DOS games that I still play very often - unlocking the previously ignored potential of these wonderous games - and I'm very pleased because of it. I am learning more and more about MIDI drivers used in these games as they apply to non-FM behavior, more about these games in general. It's like I'm a child opening his Christmas gifts afront the tree, except I get to enjoy the same exact surprise out of each gift multiple times!
As the CM-300 is concerned, I am putting it to more use now & then as well, trying out many games that use GENERAL MIDI. Quest for Glory IV
birds sound real with this thing! What?! My friend, over the phone, remarked - "That's the same old stuffy DOS game you've been playing since 1994? Why don't the birds sound like cr@p now - and the music - it isn't just clicks and ancient computer noises anymore. It's ... pretty cool sounding." With that quote from a non-gaming friend, I see why many of you folks out there, especially musician-types, dislike Ad Lib FM and prefer the Roland output. Sounds more like the real thing. Yep, yep...
FM is my absolute favorite, but it is having to move over some due to what the MT-32 is doing for my ears. Hee hee... I'm actually wishing more games supported MT-32 than what I'm finding. A great sign, indeed.
I guess that's all I wanted to express. Perhaps some of you will find this interesting... if not, let it slide into obscurity & oblivion. :roll: