Playing MIDI files on MSX

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By Eugeny_Brychkov

Paragon (1091)

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29-05-2018, 08:51

Are there any applications playing MIDI files without MIDI controller/sequencer? For example using the FM synthesis (or two of FM synthesizers to accomodate 16 possible MIDI channels)?

I have never dealt with MIDI closely, so may confuse terminology Smile

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By Pencioner

Paladin (950)

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29-05-2018, 12:43

Eugeny, exact answer for your question is "no". There are MIDI players for Turbo-R, but those will output MIDI events via the MIDI interface, rather than playing sounds. For some experimentation, there's a Tiny Yarou's TSR (small program but some fun to play with, if you have SFG module), and also MidiSlav also for SFG. There's also mid2opl4 but it receives MIDI data from Philips Audio Module, not from file, too. I didn't find any player which takes MIDI file and play it via OPLx yet.

PS. I have started similar conversation while ago: https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/general-discussion/msx-mi...

By JunSoft

Resident (34)

JunSoft's picture

29-05-2018, 12:52

What about Meridian?
I can't remember exactly. But It could play *.mid files on MSX with OPL4.

By Pencioner

Paladin (950)

Pencioner's picture

29-05-2018, 12:55

Didn't try Meridian yet but if it can play MIDI files then i'm going to spend some time and try it Smile

By Eugeny_Brychkov

Paragon (1091)

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29-05-2018, 13:05

Thanks for information. The reason for the question is the thought if it is possible and/or feasible to consider playback of MIDI. I researched the matters, and it seems that OPL is not enough, even OPL4 which has very limited number and set of the operator constructions to produce decent sound using FM. The alternative way may be using wave table playing instruments in PCM format, but these instruments, in decent quality, will occupy Megabytes (e.g. .FS2 files are example).

I used the following documentation together with some other soruces to research the matters. Here's super article I found on the matter which gives understanding that 2 operators is not enough to make studio sound :(

IMHO GR8NET does not have enough RAM to contain PCM samples for 128 instruments. I can configure it to have any number of operators in any combination, but then two questions arise - usability (software support?) and cost versus benefit (I will spend some time on something none will need/be using).

I looked through internet to see if there's any OPL5 and higher standard or device type available (allowing more operators and more operator connection configurations) to find out nothing.

By Wolverine_nl

Paragon (1033)

Wolverine_nl's picture

29-05-2018, 13:08

It is not only the amount of channels/instruments, also if the content of the channels are mono- or polyphonic.
If you play a chord in OPLx you need several channels to do so, in MIDI within a channel you can do this, so big difference.

By Grauw

Ascended (8439)

Grauw's picture

29-05-2018, 13:24

I’m currently working on "Synthesix Lite FM", so that I can create MSX music in any DAW for PC. It listens on MIDI IN and forwards notes it receives on each MIDI channel to the FM-PAC and PSG channels. I might also add the ability to play .mid files later. Right now after two evenings work it’s got the basic functionality of playing notes on each FM-PAC channel, but pitch bend and control change functionality is still missing. It won’t be a "general" MIDI player, that’s not the goal of the project, it’s in essence an external synthesizer, and the project needs to be small, quick and dirty.

p.s. MoonSound should be a perfectly capable general MIDI playback device. The YRW801 ROM contains a full set of GM instruments (2M), and I’m pretty sure there’s a MIDI player for it...? If not, someone ought to really make that, seems a no-brainer.

By Pencioner

Paladin (950)

Pencioner's picture

29-05-2018, 13:23

Eugeny_Brychkov wrote:

and it seems that OPL is not enough, even OPL4 which has very limited number and set of the operator constructions to produce decent sound using FM. The alternative way may be using wave table playing instruments in PCM format, but these instruments, in decent quality, will occupy Megabytes (e.g. .FS2 files are example).

Though, with OPL4 you can use it's own wave table synthesis, and afaik the YRW-801 ROM is GM compatible (that's how mid2opl4 plays the MIDI data received from Philips Audio actually), so you don't need any additional memory for the samples

By Eugeny_Brychkov

Paragon (1091)

Eugeny_Brychkov's picture

29-05-2018, 13:27

Grauw wrote:

I might also add the ability to play .mid files later.

How many FM cards you will need for this? Two will be enough? (asking seriously, no joke)

Grauw wrote:

The MoonSound YRW801 ROM contains a full set of GM instruments (2M), and I’m pretty sure there’s a MIDI player for it...?

512k/128 instruments = in average 4k per instrument, @ 22k mono about 181 ms :(
No, it seems to be 2 MegaBytes in size, not 512k, thus 8 4 times more, thus ~0.7 seconds per instrument

By Grauw

Ascended (8439)

Grauw's picture

29-05-2018, 13:30

Eugeny_Brychkov wrote:

How many FM cards you will need for this? Two will be enough? (asking seriously, no joke)

Just one... It’s made to compose for the MSX-MUSIC + PSG combination as found on most MSX2+ computers. Channels 1-9 will correspond to the FM channels, channel 10 to the FM drums (disables channels 7-9), and channels 11-13 to the PSG. Channels 14-15 are unused. The channels are monophonic.

Eugeny_Brychkov wrote:

512k/128 instruments = in average 4k per instrument, @ 22k mono about 18 ms Sad

Quoting wikipedia:

Quote:

For ROM wave data access, the Yamaha YRW801 2MB ROM chip can be connected to the OPL4. It holds approximately 330 samples, mostly 22.05-kHz 12-bit samples with some drums at 44.1 kHz. It is compatible with the [[General MIDI]] standard (128 melody sounds, 47 percussion sounds).

Note, it is still 90s hardware, of course. But e.g. the Pumpkin Adventure 3 music is made solely with the ROM instruments.

By Eugeny_Brychkov

Paragon (1091)

Eugeny_Brychkov's picture

29-05-2018, 13:36

Grauw wrote:

Just one... It’s made to compose for the MSX-MUSIC + PSG combination as found on most MSX2+ computers. Channels 1-9 will correspond to the FM channels, channel 10 to the FM drums (disables channels 7-9), and channels 11-13 to the PSG. Channels 14-15 are unused. The channels are monophonic.

Ok.

Grauw wrote:

See the wiki:

Hm... initially I am pretty sure your post was having 512k in it!

Grauw wrote:

Note, it is still 90s hardware, of course. MIDI sounds pretty crappy anyway Smile.

Agree with you, however for some reason there're really great tunes and music from 80s and 90s made with this crappy sound! Talking about FM number of ops and how they are connected actually define the sound quality (and of course circuitry and math of how it is implemented).

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