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Author Topic: Best solution to MT-32 having insufficient polyphony?  (Read 4240 times)
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Alistair
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« on: February 22, 2009, 12:32:49 AM »

Hey folks,

I'm sure someone has the answer to this question- what's the best way to 'cure' the old dilemma of the MT-32 skipping notes?

Hooking two MT-32's up and sending the channels between the synths (half to one, half the other)?

Or is a different module needed?

If I can use two MT-32's and solve the issue that'd be wonderful.

Regards,
- Alistair
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MusicallyInspired
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 03:30:22 AM »

Why not use the built-in overflow function with another MT-32?
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NewRisingSUn
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 10:57:27 AM »

Because it's buggy as hell?

Splitting the channels is the best solution, in my opinion.
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MusicallyInspired
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 05:36:04 PM »

Really? I've had problems with using the Overflow in conjunction with my CM-500. Everything works except a lot of the percussion channel's notes get cut. But I thought that was just because it was a CM module instead of the MT-32. Is it just the buggy Overflow function?
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Cloudschatze
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 06:47:07 PM »

I like, and am still using, an overflow setup of two Rev. 01, "newtype" MT-32s. While I haven't encountered anything anomalous, I don't know for certain that it's completely bug-free. If there is a consistent, reproducible test for exposing overflow issues, I can find out for sure.

For recording, I'd split the MIDI channels, as NewRisingSun has suggested, and eliminate successive MIDI chaining altogether. Hardware-wise, this can all be easily done with a ~$20 MOTU MTP(II, AV), or similar.

Whether you're using the overflow function, or splitting the channels, you can likely get by with just two, similar-version MT-32 units. That said, I've tested with a longer overflow chain, and had some Lucasarts tracks trigger notes on a fourth, overflow-assigned MT-32... Smiley
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 07:00:17 PM by Cloudschatze » Logged
NewRisingSUn
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 07:52:36 PM »

Quote
I like, and am still using, an overflow setup of two Rev. 01, "newtype" MT-32s. While I haven't encountered anything anomalous,
The rev 01 might actually work properly. But on the rev 00, the LA filters somehow work totally different when in overflow mode --- compare Engl Horn with and without overflow.

Quote
and had some Lucasarts tracks trigger notes on a fourth, overflow-assigned MT-32
In overflow mode the unit doesn't just relay a note when there are no free partials left, but also if there are free partials left that are sounding out notes released ten seconds ago. Only when a partial is completely silent does the unit in overflow mode actually use it. In non-overflow mode, free sounding-out partials are of course reused as necessary.
LucasArts games are more often affected in the way you describe since they like to use instruments with long release times (Soundtrack, Fantasy).
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Cloudschatze
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 10:34:09 PM »

The rev 01 might actually work properly. But on the rev 00, the LA filters somehow work totally different when in overflow mode --- compare Engl Horn with and without overflow.

Ah, good to know. I'll check the 01 out, and see how it compares...

Quote
LucasArts games are more often affected in the way you describe since they like to use instruments with long release times (Soundtrack, Fantasy).

Exactly. (Soundtrack seems to be the most common culprit.)

This illustrates the concern I have with simply splitting the channels between units: A single Part can easily use more than 32 partials by itself. Although... at that point, I suppose its debatable as to whether any dropouts would be noticed as the partials are re-used.

Still, with this in mind, and in order to accomodate the most complete MT-32 sound possible, I hereby advocate the use of no less than eighteen  MT-32 (01) units two for every Part, with the first unit in each pair set to Overflow Assign.

32 576 partials ought to be enough for anybody. Wink
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Cloudschatze
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 02:57:31 AM »

Here are a few recordings. My apologies in advance for using part of a Zeliard tune for this.

MT-32, Rev. 00
MT-32, Rev. 00 - Overflow Assigned

MT-32, Rev. 01
MT-32, Rev. 01 - Overflow Assigned


I'm always reminded of a Yes song for some reason...
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Rhizome
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009, 06:37:56 AM »

After pushing the two rev 00 MT-32s I have to their limits some days ago, I do agree that they have a buggy overflow system. Some tracks I've played from NEC PC-98 games will contain missing notes, as if the MT-32 assigned to overflow doesn't even have the processing power to send on the other notes. Smiley
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Mithloraite
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 10:47:58 PM »


Still, with this in mind, and in order to accomodate the most complete MT-32 sound possible, I hereby advocate the use of no less than eighteen  MT-32 (01) units two for every Part, with the first unit in each pair set to Overflow Assign.

32 576 partials ought to be enough for anybody. Wink

That's such a pleasure to read. ^ ^

I also thought of a better LA synth setup rather than a lone MT or CM32L.
Don't have four MT-32 'New' for a perfect chain but splitting channels between 2 CM-32L seem to be good for newer games written for these later modules.

May I ask if a particular midi card can help doing this?

The MQX-32(m) manual has these words,
"Channel Split (MQX-32M) For Dos programs which are not MQX-32M-aware, this feature allows MIDI playback data to be directed to one or both MIDI ports on the basis of channel number"

Could it be that this card can serve instead of the abovementioned MOTU models?
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Cloudschatze
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 12:51:16 AM »

Could it be that this card can serve instead of the abovementioned MOTU models?

Sounds like it, although it may require a specific firmware level. The MQDIAG.PRN file elaborates further:

Quote
Channel Splitting Feature

Newer and upgraded versions of the MQX-32M provide a unique MIDI-out channel
splitting feature.  This feature is designed to maximize the value of the
MQX-32M's two MIDI-out ports when used with software that does not have
specific support for the MQX-32M.

This feature allows you to designate which MIDI-out port(s) you want
messages to be routed through.  For example, you might want to have all
channel 1-8 messages routed to MIDI-out port 1, while all channel 9-16
messages are routed to MIDI-out port 2.

The channel split feature can be customized during installation or through
MQDIAG (Options menu, Channel split item).

Pretty handy feature, that.
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Mithloraite
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 02:59:25 PM »

Newer and upgraded versions of the MQX-32M provide a unique MIDI-out channel
splitting feature. 
This feature is designed to maximize the value of the MQX-32M's two MIDI-out ports when used with software that does not have specific support for the MQX-32M.


(Amazed) Such elaboration.
Great thanks, I looked into the .wri file and found it's promising but I didn't open the .prn. This document is a marvel of engineering thought.

already liked their approach in the
"MQSETUP is thus provided primarily for the sake of completeness" phrase
(how do you like this?) But what you have made explicit is even greater.

What remains is to know the "newer and upgraded versions of the MQX-32M".

Surely it is not the MQX-32 with the ~three~ outputs. Its box promises to be "Fully MPU-401 compatible", the card itself has no "M" revision mark at all.

http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/5951/mqx32originalcard.jpg

Also it has a nasty protrusion that hints it was made for shorter 8bit ISA slots.


Fortunately, most of these are marked "M" and "rev B" and there are no later models. like this one

http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1149/mqx32mrevb4.jpg

I have found some more pictures of this last model and the firmware number stickers/ markings on chips are quite consistent. Good chances are it ~is~ the 32M, newer and updated ^_^

Pity it's not too easily found as it seems.
And the owners don't even think of using it with multiple MT-32 or CM-32L. Otherwise it would cause some related discussion but this forum seems to be the only place. Or do people enjoy it and never reveal in public Smiley

visited another forum looking for this card.. but the people who had it seem gone.

Might VOGONS be the last hope? ^ ^
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Cloudschatze
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 11:15:52 PM »

And the owners don't even think of using it with multiple MT-32 or CM-32L ... Or do people enjoy it and never reveal in public

Probably not. I'm aware of exactly two individuals that either have, or are currently doing, any sort of channel splitting between two MT-32s, and I'm one of them. It's certainly sad, but trying to discuss this kind-of thing elsewhere (like VOGONS), elicits mostly inane responses, if even that.

Quote
Might VOGONS be the last hope? ^ ^

Well, I'm following-up on at least one lead on your behalf... Smiley
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 11:16:54 PM by Cloudschatze » Logged
Mithloraite
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 06:58:13 PM »

Probably not. I'm aware of exactly two individuals that either have, or are currently doing, any sort of channel splitting between two MT-32s, and I'm one of them. It's certainly sad, but trying to discuss this kind-of thing elsewhere (like VOGONS), elicits mostly inane responses, if even that.

That's strange. People might tend to think "but it works just like that, no need for complication". But the experiment with the notes passed to the fourth(!) MT-32New shows clearly ~as day~ that the problem exists. There's even no wonder about it. Being year 87 or 89 vintage the MT-32 and CM-32 series have the "right" to be not very powerful in the polyphony processing Smiley  Adlib, the only alternative, at the very same time was using just one famous Japanese chip and didn't even ~dream~ to compare with the capacity of MT-32...

So that's strange indeed the experiment with four MT-32 New in overplay is not "heard of".
Queststudios is quite widely known and I'm sure it's read by nearly all vintage sound lovers including the VOGONS patrons Smiley These articles, here, probably can't be missed. The cure for the problem is evident too because the MT Old Type can't do the overplay mode due to bugs and the CMs have no displays/buttons for control... so splitting midi interface channels remains as the only good all-compatible solution.

So why not following it *_*
Also these standard FAQ solutions sound so old, like "link thy MT-32 to thy MPU-401"...
Why not try anything else ^_^

Quote
Quote
Might VOGONS be the last hope? ^ ^

Well, I'm following-up on at least one lead on your behalf... Smiley

That would be really a big courtesy if you could point me to a working MQX-32m!
I'm not against to pay a reasonable amount for it as needed.  Also will arrange for a safe, registered type of shipping with tracking and maybe even insurance.

Rare items deserve caution.

P.S. That was very kind of you to offer some help in this issue. Great thanks! I am willing to share with you the plan of my 'perfect 4-cards sound computer with extras' project I'm going to use this card for. Surely as the PM not to make an off-topic. 
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andrew603
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 07:03:07 PM »

Hey guys, I admit, I've only skimmed through this topic so forgive me if I'm missing something  or just plain wrong.  But, wouldn't something like MIDI-Yoke with MIDI-OX be able to facilitate the functionality you're looking for?  Assuming you have more than one MT-32/compatible

Unfortunately, it looks like the MIDI-OX site is down right now though.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 07:03:36 PM by andrew603 » Logged

~Andrew~
Roland: 3x MT-32,CM-64,SC-55mkII,88,880,8820,8850,PMA-5,D-110,2x D-550,PG-1000,XV-5080,Fantom XR, Most SRX Cards, Several SR-JV80 Cards, Several SN-U110 Cards
Yamaha: MU128,PSR-530,HS80 Monitors
Other: Korg X5DR,Casio CTK-601, MOTU 24I/O
Mithloraite
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2012, 11:50:15 PM »

Hey guys, I admit, I've only skimmed through this topic so forgive me if I'm missing something  or just plain wrong.  But, wouldn't something like MIDI-Yoke with MIDI-OX be able to facilitate the functionality you're looking for?  Assuming you have more than one MT-32/compatible

Unfortunately, it looks like the MIDI-OX site is down right now though.

Well, it could be, but where do we get multiple, independent, physical MIDI ports for our multiple MT-32/CM32L devices?
If we used some virtual MT-32 devices, there would be no problem, connecting it all inside one computer, virtual devices with virtual links...

But if we connect some real MT-32 independent devices, some hardware with multiple physical ports is needed, and normally when such a multiple port device is made it ~already~ has its own tools to control these ports... Included by the manufacturer. Nothing to download, really.

But I really don't know the modern state of affairs with the new Windows ^_^ My plan regards only the hardware (and very retro) solution ^_^
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 11:54:45 PM by Mithloraite » Logged
andrew603
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 02:39:49 AM »

You could easily use a USB MIDI device like this:  http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MIDISPORT2x2AnniversaryEdition.html  in combination with MIDI-OX to re-route the MIDI wherever you want.
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Roland: 3x MT-32,CM-64,SC-55mkII,88,880,8820,8850,PMA-5,D-110,2x D-550,PG-1000,XV-5080,Fantom XR, Most SRX Cards, Several SR-JV80 Cards, Several SN-U110 Cards
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Mithloraite
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2012, 01:30:36 PM »

sure thing. USB is the easiest way to get more MIDI ports. But they may have some incompatibilities, like sysex commands lost in transfer to MT-32. M-Audio is one of the better ones (recently picked their 'UNO' off eBay).
If this MidiOX is "correctly" programmed - it might work. But no one seems to have tested this with MT-32 or CMs. This experiment is amazingly unheard of, yet.

I am thinking could it be better to get just this MOTU interface, not the USB? from the start. The issue seems to be the price also. These dual port USB devices by M-Audio are not too cheap. the Anniversary model that you point to is $50 or $70 on eBay.

And Cloudschatze seems to have found the mentioned old MOTU for $20.

This also has no chance of failure... while the M-Audio will be dependant of MidiOX possible programming bugs.

This harsh reality of life ^ ^ No way to predict it but to try and test.
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andrew603
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2012, 05:39:08 PM »

sure thing. USB is the easiest way to get more MIDI ports. But they may have some incompatibilities, like sysex commands lost in transfer to MT-32. M-Audio is one of the better ones (recently picked their 'UNO' off eBay).
I have two M-Audio MIDIsport 4x4's and have never had any problems with them in any way.  I can tell you, they will work fine.

I am thinking could it be better to get just this MOTU interface, not the USB? from the start. The issue seems to be the price also. These dual port USB devices by M-Audio are not too cheap. the Anniversary model that you point to is $50 or $70 on eBay.

And Cloudschatze seems to have found the mentioned old MOTU for $20.
  This was a post from 3 years ago!  MOTU MIDI Timepiece II WAS NOT a $20 product.  This had to have been some one-off auction price by someone who greatly under-priced the item.  The cheapest I see one of these for on ebay right now is $50.  I would strongly recommend against getting something that uses a serial port.  That just traps you from ever being able to upgrade as OS's and PC's progress forward.  Also, MOTU MIDI Timepiece AV's retail for like $250

If this MidiOX is "correctly" programmed - it might work.
Quote
This also has no chance of failure... while the M-Audio will be dependant of MidiOX possible programming bugs.
  It will work, the entire purpose of MIDI-OX is filtering and redirecting MIDI data.  If it does not work, it would be a simple fault in the logic of what one is "telling it to do".

Either way, it's up to you..  All I can say at this point is that you need to decide what you want to spend and how much work you want to do, certainly the USB & MIDI-OX route is more work but IMO the more future-proof method.  Alternatively putting up the cash for the new USB MOTO MIDI Timepiece AV would probably be the best option.  Assuming it has no sysex issues or anything.

On another note, a couple years ago I did set up a MIDI-OX configuration that took one MIDI-Yoke port and sent channels 1-4, 5-7, and 8-10, to my three separate MT-32's.  It did work!  Though, I do not have any proof I could post here.

Also, since the MIDI-OX website is still down, (I really hope it's not gone!) if you want a copy of MIDI-Yoke, or MIDI-OX you will have to find it from a mirror somewhere.  Or if anyone needs, I can upload a copy to my own webserver.

I'm anxious to see how it turns out Smiley
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Roland: 3x MT-32,CM-64,SC-55mkII,88,880,8820,8850,PMA-5,D-110,2x D-550,PG-1000,XV-5080,Fantom XR, Most SRX Cards, Several SR-JV80 Cards, Several SN-U110 Cards
Yamaha: MU128,PSR-530,HS80 Monitors
Other: Korg X5DR,Casio CTK-601, MOTU 24I/O
Cloudschatze
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2012, 09:45:37 PM »

While the MIDI-OX solution is completely valid, I'm not sure that it's the best solution for what Mithloraite is trying to do, given the requirements.

With the objective being to split the MIDI channels between two MT-32/CM units for use with a DOS-based, 486-class PC, a breakdown of three different options might look as follows:

 - MQX-32m ~ $20+
Least complicated setup, given that the host MIDI adapter supports the channel splitting.

 - MIDI Patchbay ~ $20+
Most flexible setup, but requires an intermediate, standalone piece of hardware between the host system and MIDI devices.

 - MIDI-OX Routing ~ $??
Most cumbersome (and potentially jittery) setup, requring MIDI to be routed through a second PC running MIDI-OX.


The MIDI-OX solution may be ideal for a number of cases, but would probably be overly costly and complex for this particular scenario.


Quote
And Cloudschatze seems to have found the mentioned old MOTU for $20.
 This was a post from 3 years ago!  MOTU MIDI Timepiece II WAS NOT a $20 product.  This had to have been some one-off auction price by someone who greatly under-priced the item.  The cheapest I see one of these for on ebay right now is $50.  I would strongly recommend against getting something that uses a serial port.


MTPII units can still be had for ~$20, even today. The host interface type, whether serial(MAC), parallel, or USB, is irrelevant if the MTP is used solely as a standalone patchbay, since it would involve only MIDI connections.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 09:51:30 PM by Cloudschatze » Logged
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