Hi from a new MSX2 owner!!

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By pix retro

Rookie (20)

pix retro's picture

26-04-2018, 22:48

Hi peeps...

Been a long time fan of the msx and subsequent models...

Finally I managed to purchase a really clean looking Philips NMS 8250... Still waiting for delivery!! Hopefully soon!!

I have a couple of questions I'm hoping will get answered....

Firstly... I run an RGB set up and was wondering where I would get a good quality RGB scart lead?
Secondly... As I'm in the UK and the Philips is from the Netherlands I read that I shouldn't need a step down converter to run it over here... Is that true??

Also... I'm interested in the music making side of things... I briefly looked at the music carts but got very confused... Does anyone have opinions on which would be the best place to start?

I'm interested in learning programming on it too... Any suggestions for that??

Might as well ask about flash carts while I'm here too.. lol... There is a gotek installed already... Is it worth sourcing one?

Thanks guys... (And gals??)

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By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5382)

JohnHassink's picture

27-04-2018, 05:40

Hello, pix retro. Welcome to the MSX Resource Center.

pix retro wrote:

Also... I'm interested in the music making side of things... I briefly looked at the music carts but got very confused... Does anyone have opinions on which would be the best place to start?

Allow me to break it down and list the most common soundchips along with some freeware software that you can download to create stuff with those. Don't worry about the wall of text; I'll conclude with a general recommendation. Wink

  • PSG - Every MSX has this one aboard, and so do machines like ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, and some others. It's exactly the same thing.
    A tracker that you could use on the MSX itself is PSG Tracker. For cross-development (on PC) there's Vortex Tracker II (my personal preference), WYZTracker and Arkos Tracker
    -
  • SCC - Expansion originally created by once high-profile Japanese developer Konami for their own productions, but the scene 'hi-jacked' it and now we can use it for ourselves. It adds a number of 5 neat little wavetable channels to the native PSG and has a very distinct (not to mention awesome) sound.
    A very accessible tracker is SCC Blaffer that works very much like Moonblaster (which is tackled right after this item). Less accessible but a bit more basic (no PSG support) is SCC Musixx. If you wish to go 'pro' with it, TriloTracker is the ticket (a Windows version is also in development, which will support multiple sound expansions)
    -
  • MSX-Music - FM expansion, often referred to as "FM-PAC". It's an OPLL chip, which is a downgraded, cheaper version of the OPL2.
    The quickest and most approachable way to take some first steps in making music for it is Moonblaster 1.4. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try out TriloTracker for FM, which is still heavily in development and very much in beta state
    -
  • MSX-Audio - Another FM expansion, often referred to as "Music Module", but with that they mean the 'ultimate' form (there are three types in total). It's compatible with OPL1 but the Music Module adds a nice ADPCM sample channel.
    Also supported by Moonblaster 1.4 (actually, that tracker allows you to create music that uses both chips simultaneously, something that's called "MB-Stereo"). I would almost forget mentioning "FAC Soundtracker", which supports both MSX-Music and MSX-Audio (albeit not together at once), but it's a bit more primitive and really only to be preferred when you'd rather have a horizontal layout in favor of a vertical one
    -
  • OPL4 - More or less seen as the definitive sound expansion for MSX. The original version was called "Moonsound", but after that, later versions emerged such as the "Dal-So-Ri". It nets you 24 wavetable channels but also has a mode that combines both wave and FM channels.
    The tracker for the full wave mode is MB-Wave, a later instance of Moonblaster, which you can get here. There is also a similar tracker for the wave + FM mode, but I couldn't find a link at this point. Also, a more high-profile tracker for this chip, called "MoonSound Music Studio", or "MS2" is currently in development, but I haven't any information on when or how it will be available

Now that's settled, please note that your NMS 8250 already packs 128K RAM out of the box, which is good, but that some of these trackers may require a bigger amount of RAM and/or a double-sided diskdrive.
Ofcourse, it's possible that you don't even like trackers. In this case, you can always try MML. There are people who prefer that. There's MuSICA, but I should warn you that it's not as accessible.

I recommend that you, if you haven't already done so, look for videos on YouTube for games (and specifically their soundtracks) that use these different setups, so you may decide which chip(s) you'd like to tackle.
But if you enjoy FM sounds and would like a recommendation on where to start, I would say:
Try to get an FM-PAC and download Moonblaster 1.4, as I would say that's the most easy way to start, and having that chip is very nice, or almost essential anyway, as a lot of (arguably most of) MSX software published between roughly 1988 - 1998 (and beyond) supports it.
Lastly, our Downloads Database contains many disks that you can use to test soundchips with, or just to simply enjoy the tunes, ofcourse.

I realize this may be quite the avalanche of information, and there's actually more to it, but I tried to be concise and I hope this gives you an idea of the possibilities.
Happy to have you aboard, and that your MSX may arrive soon so you can start your journey into the rich, wonderful world of MSX. :)

By keith56

Master (149)

keith56's picture

27-04-2018, 05:07

The MegaFlashROM is a great Cartridge/Disk emulator that allows you to play games from SD card, which I have and can highly recommend, and has the SCC chip included.
http://www.msxcartridgeshop.com/

I'm doing a series of Web/Youtube tutorials teaching ASM to beginners, so if you're up for some Assembly programming please take a look!
http://www.chibiakumas.com/z80/

I'd also like to put a vote in for ArkosTracker... I'm a complete noob when it comes to music, and it did a great job for my game programming, and it works on Spectrum and CPC as well!

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5382)

JohnHassink's picture

27-04-2018, 05:33

WYZTracker and Vortex Tracker II work on all of those as well, keith56. Smile And the latter one even supports double PSG setups (for instance the "Turbosound" on Intellivision or the ePSG in Franky/Playsoniq for MSX).

Anyway, the MegaFlashROM is indeed an excellent suggestion.

By valkyre

Champion (391)

valkyre's picture

27-04-2018, 08:25

Hi pic retro, I run a couple of imported Philips machines and they are fine here in the UK. We are just about within the voltage tolerance . Also there is a company in the UK (retrogamingcables)who will make you a lead.

By pix retro

Rookie (20)

pix retro's picture

27-04-2018, 13:45

Wow... Thanks guys... Lot of info to digest!! Big smile

I'll be ordering a cable soon... So video will be sorted...

Its got a gotek installed... Will that emulate the double sided disk drive??

No doubt I'll have tons more questions... And I'll check out the assembly tutorials!!

Nice to add an msx to the speccy, c64 and Atari ste that I've got!! Just need to focus enough to get something done and released!!!

By pix retro

Rookie (20)

pix retro's picture

27-04-2018, 13:59

Forgot to add... Into the homebrew scene as well... Any recommendations???

By valkyre

Champion (391)

valkyre's picture

27-04-2018, 18:57

Ha! Where do you want to start, there is an array of fantastic homebrew stuff available!

By FiXato

Scribe (1508)

FiXato's picture

27-04-2018, 19:29

pix retro wrote:

Forgot to add... Into the homebrew scene as well... Any recommendations???

https://www.msxdev.org/msxdev-archive/msxdev-games/

By djh1697

Paragon (1379)

djh1697's picture

27-04-2018, 21:42

pix retro, enjoy your MSX2! The Gotek, as far as I know, will use single sided images, as well as double sided depending in the diskROM within the computer? (I think!!) The MSXmania collection is an excellent set of single sided disks to download. They are stored in ZIP format, so you will need to unzip them before copying to your USB drive.

http://www.msxarchive.nl/pub/msx/games/msx1mania/

I am in Leicester BTW, we have the retro computer museum here. They have a TurboR, but then I am spoilt, only live a mile away ;)

I would suggest a Carnivore2 cartridge, it has SCC and FMPAC built in, but these are as rare as hens teeth.

https://www.8bits4ever.net/product-page/carnivore2-gold

The MegaflashROM has SCC built in, I personally don't think it is as versatile, no FMPAC

http://www.msxcartridgeshop.com/

You need to click flash, if you where going to order one, I would recommend the 512k expanded one.

By djh1697

Paragon (1379)

djh1697's picture

27-04-2018, 21:45

*IF* you monitor has an RGB Scart on it, a standard SCART lead should work fine. You need a fully wired one, cheaper ones are available, but they are not fully wired. i.e. All pins connected

You might find one at a pound shop, or even your local Maplin might still have some?

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