MSX MIDI for Dummies topic

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By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

20-12-2017, 23:06

Sorry for n00b questions, but since i have absolute zero experience and can't find any useful info for start, let me ask some questions here.

Hardware:
* SFG-05 clone
* Philips MSX-Audio module
* Moonsound clone

Questions following:
* I've ordered the cheapest (yes i know they are not a pro but should be enough for now) USB-MIDI controller on ebay, in order to play midi's from PC via one of those interfaces. It is not here yet but though i have no idea hot to use it and i would like to know it in advance. If i connect the midi out to the SFG's midi in, will it just start to sound or should i run some software first as well?
* Same question for the Philips module?
* Moonsound clone doesn't have a midi inputs ut i've heard about some software which can redirect midi from Philis Music to it, what exactly does it mean? Will it consume some midi input if i connect abovementioned usb-midi pc interface?
* What do i need to play midi files directly via those cards without any external midi? What's possible and which limitations? I'm very curious about that one and i tried to google it of course, i found some references to kind of midi drivers, but i didn't find any detailed info on how to setup and use, and most of software comes with manual in Japanese and even with help of google translate there are real lot of uncertainities and it always feels as incomplete... so i'm lost here as well
* Any other thoughts, concerns, any features i may use which i don't know about?

I appreciate any info since i had interest in making music. I composed some music ages ago (i can post midis if anyone is curious) and i'm interested how things works on MSX. Midis is almost in classical-oriented style since for more modern tunes i used MODPlug tracker.

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By Grauw

Enlighted (7316)

Grauw's picture

20-12-2017, 23:39

Not a noob question Smile. MIDI on MSX is a complex landscape, there were several interfaces, but unfortunately there was no standard until the turboR, so interface software support is scattered.

Some examples, not an exhaustive list by any means:

SFG MIDI: With Yamaha’s software you can transmit and record MIDI, also there’s DMS-II. See cx5m.net.

Philips MIDI: I think MoonBlaster has some support, and the Meridian tracker. MSXSynth as well.

TurboR MIDI: Some games support it (e.g. Illusion City). MoonBlaster, MSXSynth and Meridian as well iirc.

Also a few years back I worked on a synthesizer called Synthesix which is very very alpha and not seriously useful, but does support all these three MIDI interfaces so you might get some blips and bloops out of the SCC with it.

I don’t know if anyone ever made a MIDI-IN to OPL4 player (maybe msd?). There’s also a bunch of Japanese MIDI tools here, though I don’t think for the SFG or Philips.

By Timmy

Expert (76)

Timmy's picture

21-12-2017, 00:53

Nothing to do with the MSX, but I bought one of those cheap USB-MIDI cables a while ago, and it is possible that some of the midi equipment might not work on those cables, due to those cheap cables missing a thing or two (due to cost-cutting).

Took me months and some soldering to get that cable working. I'll still suggest you to buy those non-MIDI-conformant cables, because the better cables are too expensive.

By Meits

Scribe (5033)

Meits's picture

21-12-2017, 14:56

Pencioner wrote:

* I've ordered the cheapest (yes i know they are not a pro but should be enough for now) USB-MIDI controller on ebay, in order to play midi's from PC via one of those interfaces. It is not here yet but though i have no idea hot to use it and i would like to know it in advance. If i connect the midi out to the SFG's midi in, will it just start to sound or should i run some software first as well?
* Same question for the Philips module?

Software needs to handle the data which comes in to the MIDI interface. Grauw mentioned his Synthesix for SCC. Then there's MID2OPL4 for OPL4. I find Grauw's mention of some trackers very interesting. I never tried this but in theory this should be possible since in the instrument menu of Moonblaster you can use the MSX keyboard, the keyboard that went with the Philips Music Module and a MIDI keyboard connected to the Philips Music Module to test a selected instrument. Just know that you'll only hear one instrument and no percussion if you go there.

Quote:

* Moonsound clone doesn't have a midi inputs ut i've heard about some software which can redirect midi from Philis Music to it, what exactly does it mean? Will it consume some midi input if i connect abovementioned usb-midi pc interface?

Not any Moonsound (clone) has a MIDI interface. If you want the Moonsound to playback MIDI music from another source (computer, instrument, etc) have a MIDI interface receive the data and software to handle it (MID2OPL4). You can see this progam in action in this clip on the Panasonic FS-A1WX. The Turbo R is the source and the Sony is a throughput which plays SCC with Synthesix.

Quote:

* What do i need to play midi files directly via those cards without any external midi? What's possible and which limitations? I'm very curious about that one and i tried to google it of course, i found some references to kind of midi drivers, but i didn't find any detailed info on how to setup and use, and most of software comes with manual in Japanese and even with help of google translate there are real lot of uncertainities and it always feels as incomplete... so i'm lost here as well

Existing MIDI players usually go the other way around, so from MSX to synthesizer or any other machine capable of handling MIDI data. So if you want to play a .MID file you need more plugged in to your power socket than only one MSX.

Quote:

* Any other thoughts, concerns, any features i may use which i don't know about?

The world of MIDI is too big to cover and too complex for me to explain. I think it's better for you to ask and get answers in stead of overflowing you with answers to questions you weren't going to ask anyway ;)

I appreciate any info since i had interest in making music. I composed some music ages ago (i can post midis if anyone is curious) and i'm interested how things works on MSX. Midis is almost in classical-oriented style since for more modern tunes i used MODPlug tracker.

By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

21-12-2017, 19:16

Thanks Grauw and Meits! Those answers are really good and pointed me to some direction to explore further.

I will try those things when i get my midi usb interface and the regular midi cable (i ordered one too so i can make a connection between two cards/computers). I unfortunately have no keyboards (neither for Philips not for Yamaha modules). And iirc they have different connectors pinout so i'll need both of them in future, but definitely not in nearest future.

So to summarize: I will definitely need one computer for sourcing the midi and other for playing it. So for the starter i will use that PC interface when i receive it because now my other computers are left in Ukraine for now. I will bring stuff here by occasion, i'm looking forward for YIS503III especially because i got SFG-01 (not clone) too here at the moment. So it will be perfect for playing midi sent to it.

Not really related to the MIDI but i also had no experience with Philips Audio before and i got the one with some 256K sample RAM extension (it says about Joben MICROWARE on the orange label). Suddenly it has a lot of noise (coming from computer i suppose via catridge SNDIN) and the volume is low (the latter is probably because of the bug in Sanyo PHD-70FD audio circuitry but i don't have any soldering equipment here either to try the fix atm). I've read that you can cut off that pin 49 to improve the sound (both volume and noice). Though i'd like to confirm that it could help before doing any cutting Smile Anyone tried it?

Thank you again for support! It is really valuable. I will be posting my questions occasionally when i got any in this topic so you don't have to overflow me with answers Wink Now it is enought to move forward Smile

By Meits

Scribe (5033)

Meits's picture

21-12-2017, 19:56

As MIDI is a scattered standard on MSX software that will support the MIDI interface in the Philips Music Mosule will not necessarily support the SFG-01. I don't know any software supporting the SFG-01 but Grauw's Synthesix. You'll probably be bound to the software Yamaha provided if you want to hear anything.

Cutting pin 49 of the music module will only cut off the audio from the music module to the computer. The noise from the computer to the music module gets severly lowered. If for some reason you decide to undo this fix, one drop of solder will do Smile It does however not amplify its audio output. That has to be done by altering a resistor near an opamp.

By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

21-12-2017, 23:11

Wouldn't MidiSlav mentioned on cx5m.net be useful for that purpose? I can't try it now but i'll try as soon as i get some midi output source.

P.S. Yep i already found info on resistor fix, will wait for my soldering stuff... or maybe i can buy here as well, i'll see what i can afford sooner Wink But i'll definitely 'cut the ropes' then for noise reduction.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7316)

Grauw's picture

28-12-2017, 23:58

Fun fact I overheard today, apparently Namco used the CX5M to compose music for their arcade games.

http://www.vgmonline.net/hiroyukikawadainterview/
http://www.vgmonline.net/hiroyukikawadainterview2/

…and Excel :D

By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

29-12-2017, 01:14

Thanks for link! Very interesting interview, gives you a good notion of how hard and interesting can the game composing be Smile

By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

22-01-2018, 15:36

I've caught a video recently Tiny Sound Module but unfortunately don't see anything on this on Tiny Yarou's site yet :) Looks very great and promising :)

EDIT: darn i always hesitated the twitter thing but it might be the case i'd create a profile in it to reach the Tiny Yarou ... uh-oh ... thinking about it just now ...

By Pencioner

Hero (633)

Pencioner's picture

27-01-2018, 23:30

Update! Here it is available for download and contains instructions how to use! (google translate needed of course): TSM

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