Roland CM-64 tricks

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Ari
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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by Ari » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:14 am

jaffa225man wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:18 pm

Assuming my recording of Eco Quest sounds accurate to you (I have the game but haven't played it for a couple years), it's probably something to do with the SysEx, as usual. This is obvious, but if something else was played before Eco Quest, it would be a good idea to switch the CM-64 off temporarily to reset it. Also be sure that your player isn't sending an MT-32 reset between each song. Similarly, if the mt-32-reset.mid file I uploaded previously (but not as part of this set) is played anytime after ECO-000-Initial-SysEx.mid, it would mess up the programming. After ECO-000-Initial-SysEx.mid, I would have played mt-32-cm-32l-cm-64_master-volume-48-only.mid just in case. It turns out, though, that the Eco Quest files include embedded SysEx modifying the master volume (as many songs do) to 100, so it's great that they don't cause digital volume overflow on the CM-64 and CM-32L in this case. Now, each song file should be played. This doesn't matter for the CM-64, but I usually insert 2-seconds-nothing-and-then-gs-reset.mid between SysEx-containing MIDI files since I have the MT-32 (old) which could "Exc. Buffer overflow" otherwise. Listening to it now, I probably wouldn't have needed to resend the ECO-000-Initial-SysEx.mid between each Eco Quest song, but as I did, I also used the 2-seconds-nothing-and-then-gs-reset.mid between it and the start of the next song because it's common for songs to have their own initial SysEx embedded which would, again "Exc. Buffer overflow" the MT-32 (old).
Yep, that seemed to fix everything! Thanks! It sounds absolutely fantastic now. :)
jaffa225man wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:18 pm
Ari wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:58 am
Yeah, so apparently I had the first 2/3s of the soundtrack already recorded and converted to FLAC.
I've uploaded them to my Google Drive here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UIPEp ... fVh4bk-pj1
I'll try and get the last part recorded ASAP.

Enjoy!
Thanks! I haven't listened long, but I can already tell the piano is an improvement in your version. :)
Yeah, just replacing the MT-32 piano with the CM-64's really enhances the overall sound dramatically. Some tracks, Like "The Incredible Dork" make use of the CM-32L part's native brass and trumpet patches (though the strings are not really much to write home about), and personally, I think it sounds great!
BTW, I've also enhanced some of the tracks by using the Roland SN-U110-07 (Electric Guitar) expansion card. Dale Carlsonian is one particularly good example IMO.

jaffa225man
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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by jaffa225man » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:37 pm

Ari wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:14 am
Yep, that seemed to fix everything! Thanks! It sounds absolutely fantastic now. :)
Great, I'm glad something in my stream of consciousness worked. They're from queststudios, except for the initial SysEx .syx to SMF conversion I did for use with audacious. Incidentally, when I played the game there was one unfamiliar track that must have been left out somehow. Perhaps someday I'll replay it and record it.
Ari wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:14 am
Yeah, just replacing the MT-32 piano with the CM-64's really enhances the overall sound dramatically. Some tracks, Like "The Incredible Dork" make use of the CM-32L part's native brass and trumpet patches (though the strings are not really much to write home about), and personally, I think it sounds great!
BTW, I've also enhanced some of the tracks by using the Roland SN-U110-07 (Electric Guitar) expansion card. Dale Carlsonian is one particularly good example IMO.
I listened to them all from the MIDI after the initial comment I made (based on the first FLAC file). By coincidence, I had the Electric Guitar card in the CM-64 from the start, and even think I noticed your brass uses the first time through them. I agree, they are wonderfully balanced with the original game's intent yet sound so much better! With so many tracks, that must have been quite a lot of work. Great job!

I've tried something similar with Apogee's Raptor: Call of the Shadows (from GM), and think they're okay, but not as polished as yours. They probably aren't even all up to the standard of their original GM versions, but it was just an experiment since I do generally prefer LA synthesis to GM (and wanted to compare GM with the Electric Guitar card for the CM-64):
Raptor_CM-64_SN-U110-07.7z
(22.67 KiB) Downloaded 48 times
These are just the MIDI files for now. I've not recorded it yet, but now that I've fully posted these, I plan to do that soon.

Edit (same day): Okay, it's recorded now: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HmviR ... kFofwLhyyV. Because I was too lazy, I didn't swap the channel panning to convert these modules to match the GM. I left it that way in the recording too, to accurately represent the MIDI tracks. Two tracks play twice (looped): CM-64_SN-U110-07_Raptor-Bravo1-Tango4&7-OuterRegions1.mid & CM-64_SN-U110-07_Raptor-Tango5&9-OuterRegions5&9.mid. Also that CM-64_SN-U110-07_Raptor-Tango5&9-OuterRegions5&9.mid group is initialized by CM-64_SN-U110-07_Raptor-Tango5&9-OuterRegions5&9-sysex.mid and finished with mt-32-reset.mid, since my playlist was already setup that way (just in case it prevents problems with the other tracks playing the reverse cymbal unexpectedly). Here's a screenshot of my playlist (you can ignore the overflow-assign tracks, as I don't think it was necessary for any of these songs). I should probably do this from now on, when it might help:
Raptor_CM-64_SN-U110-07_Playlist.png

Ari
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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by Ari » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:07 am

Thanks for the very kind words! I did most of the work on this soundtrack over a decade ago, when I had considerably more time on my hands, so I doubt if I'd be up for the task today. It was, indeed, a daunting task, with a lot of manual tinkering, trying to match the volume, panning, and sometimes even the pitch of the tracks I switched from LA to PCM. I'm glad someone besides me likes it (probably should finish recording it to digital and uploading it to YouTube or something).
As I'm not familiar with the original Raptor soundtrack (I played the game for a short while back in the 90's on my crappy 386, and it always froze on me at some point), so I can't quite comment on how the SN-U110-07 compliments it, but it sounds pretty organic to my ears. It doesn't sound like the original soundtrack uses a lot of custom patches or other effects though. I wonder what a game like Dune 2 or Strike Commander would sound like with the SN-U110-07 card... :)

jaffa225man
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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by jaffa225man » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:34 am

Ari wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:07 am
Thanks for the very kind words! I did most of the work on this soundtrack over a decade ago, when I had considerably more time on my hands, so I doubt if I'd be up for the task today. It was, indeed, a daunting task, with a lot of manual tinkering, trying to match the volume, panning, and sometimes even the pitch of the tracks I switched from LA to PCM. I'm glad someone besides me likes it (probably should finish recording it to digital and uploading it to YouTube or something).
As I'm not familiar with the original Raptor soundtrack (I played the game for a short while back in the 90's on my crappy 386, and it always froze on me at some point), so I can't quite comment on how the SN-U110-07 compliments it, but it sounds pretty organic to my ears. It doesn't sound like the original soundtrack uses a lot of custom patches or other effects though. I wonder what a game like Dune 2 or Strike Commander would sound like with the SN-U110-07 card... :)
You're welcome! Given the chance, I love to hear the CM-64 at its best. I've only heard Dune 2 a bit on youtube, but yeah it would be really fun to hear through the Electric Guitar card. Likewise, I'm not too familiar with Strike Commander. My friend had a 486 DX2 (with a sound blaster 16, the CT2230, for music and effects) that we used to play raptor all night, on a few sleepovers. It was the most played out of the nine-or-so games he had. I didn't really branch out to many other DOS games for their music until queststudios showed me the wonder of the MT-32 family.

Ari
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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by Ari » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:40 am

Strike Commander, IMO, is one of those games that utilizes the MT-32's abilities to its fullest, Including an excellent "Dirty Guitar" custom patch. On second thought, it might be one of those "ain't broke - don't fix" cases. Here, have a listen: Strike Commander - Inflight Mix

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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by jaffa225man » Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:47 pm

Ari wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:40 am
Strike Commander, IMO, is one of those games that utilizes the MT-32's abilities to its fullest, Including an excellent "Dirty Guitar" custom patch. On second thought, it might be one of those "ain't broke - don't fix" cases. Here, have a listen: Strike Commander - Inflight Mix
Wow, yeah its instruments sound more varied than in most games, and even without the MT-32's panel display it seems to be very busy. I think that electric guitar has more tweaking to it than what the PCM guitars on the SN-U110-07 card offers, but I'm far from experienced with it. I just selected the patches for Raptor, but doubt the sparser parameters available for use with PCM would be quite up to the task. Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Roland CM-64 tricks

Post by jaffa225man » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:00 am

I've just finished the process of uploading a few more, this time with the aid of that aforementioned Robin Whittle/Real World Interfaces modified MT-32 (old). I attempted to equalize the RWI MT-32's reverb with that of the standard MT-32 (old) using Heart of China's opening music, but ended up unable to find a perfect balance between too clean and too much reverb. So, preferring the reverb, I mixed it a bit louder than it probably should have been.

SQ1MT-Soundtrack-redone-MT-32_RWI-MT-32_CM-64: I just wanted less digital volume overflow clipping from the CM-{64,32L} so the second in the chain is the RWI MT-32. It seemed to help, but still isn't perfect. Perhaps it would be even better with the RWI MT-32 first in line, but I haven't tried it on this track. - Edit 2020-03-20 afternoon: I couldn't help myself after writing that, so now I have:

SQ1MT-Soundtrack-redone-RWI-MT-32_MT-32_CM-64: Best yet! Now the major digital volume overflow clipping near the end have become minor (although I still hear them when trying to) and the one in the beginning fanfare is gone. So, in other words, this isn't a reference recording for the MT-32 (old), but it is striving for perfection. :) At least this soundtrack sets the MASTER VOLUME at 80, and not 100 like many others.

CBMT-Soundtrack-MT-32_RWI-MT-32_CM-64-Clips: From its name, you can see it still clips (digital volume overflow as usual), but it was more suitable than the CM-{64,32L} second and third in the overflow assign.

CBMT-Soundtrack-RWI-MT-32_MT-32_CM-64-Still-Clips-But-Much-Less: Another try, but with the RWI MT-32 first. It worked better, but still isn't perfect. The thunder still clips rather obviously in a place or two. At this point, I decided to leave the RWI MT-32 first because it was the better result.

LB2MT-Soundtrack-RWI-MT-32_MT-32_CM-64: Pretty nice (no clipping I can remember), almost making me suspect the CM-{64,32L} would've been suitable, but I'm sure I had tried that (and hence decided to wait for the second MT-32). I don't remember how much partial overflow there was, though.

SQ4MT-Soundtrack-RWI-MT-32_MT-32_CM-64: Thanks, Ari, for giving this one to queststudios in the first place! It overflows partials fairly obviously and has no digital volume overflow clipping (at least with the modules arranged this way). This game's music earned a place in my heart by being a tough test subject in my pre-MPU-401 days with just a sound blaster 16 causing stuck notes, and probably memory allocation issues too. Because of this, curiosity, and the fun spoken narration, I played it a bit farther than others too, but still woefully less than Eco Quest and Heart of China, which I finished.

QFG2MT-Soundtrack-RWI-MT-32_MT-32_CM-64: This has some places where it partial overflows, but also some, very simple, non-overflowing songs. I don't think this one has digital volume overflow clipping either, at least with the modules in this order.

There! Unless I think of more, I'm done recording for a while, and can stow away my messy mixer setup. :)

I think the link won't have changed, but here it is again anyway: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1x6sla ... f7yq1jNTlP

As a first look at the RWI MT-32 (old), I think it's not too bad. Also, I tested Willy Beamish (listening, not re-recorded) because Andrew mentioned it not working on it, and I'm fairly sure I had the same issue: A drum played very early where it probably should've been programmed as something less ostentatious.

Anyway, I hope they're useful and enjoyable,

Lucas

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