fMSXSO 1.32bc

by MSX Resource Center on 21-04-2005, 00:00

fMSXSO is a Japanese MSX emulator based on fMSX. The emulator only emulates the MSX2+ computer system and is mainly aimed at music enthusiasts. Like fMSX, it supports output of Music to MIDI. fMSXSO does this a lot better than fMSX, allowing the user to completely configure this output to his desires. Apart from that the MSX-MUSIC can be emulated by the popular EMU2413 emulator or a real OPL3 sound chip. The latter would probably result in almost perfect (and little system resources consuming) MSX-MUSIC emulation, but unfortunately there are very little PC Soundcards that actually have an OPL3. Before running any further tests this already makes us come to the conclusion that fMSXSO is not an emulator for the average MSX user, who most likely isn't going to tamper with the MIDI and OPL3 capabilities of this emulator at all.  

 

The GUI of fMSXSO is quite intuitive, but very BASIC. Apart from the configuration capabilities in the music section there are little things that can be configured and no distinctive features that are particularly interesting. The emulator comes with little documentation and thus is probably not a good start for novice MSX/emulator users. A nice feature of the emulator is the capability to save (multiple) configuration files. This allows MIDI enthusiasts to create MIDI configurations for any game or MIDI device they like and easily load them when needed.  

 

Accuracy

 

The test kit consists out of MSX software that is known to give emulators a hard time and fMSXSO sure had a hard time with our test kit. FAC Demo 5, Metal Limit, Turnix and Vscreen all did not boot at all, while the 20th anniversary demo, Almost real, Bombaman, Sphere, Unknown Reality and the Woei demo did not get past the first few seconds of action. The only test that ran close to perfect was Aleste 2, in which only the samples were lacking.  

 

Music

 

The PSG emulation of fMSXSO is, contrary to what one would expect from a sound-oriented emulator, quite disappointing and doesn't go much further than the default beep + square wave. The MSX-MUSIC, using the EMU2413 emulator, could use some improvement as well. Again, the real thing has a lot more warmth and the drums of the real thing sound a lot better. The SCC emulation is, however, above average when compared to the other emulators in the test. In most cases it will get very close to how the real thing sounds.  

 

Conclusion

 

fMSXSO is an MSX emulator for MIDI enthusiasts or lucky owners of a soundcard with an OPL3 chipset. It doesn't aim to be the best, most accurate MSX emulator in the world and the test results confirm it indeed isn't. fMSXSO is, however, well capable of running a lot of software that uses the MSX-MUSIC sound chip so if you'd like to fool around with your MIDI equipment and MSX tunes fMSXSO is a really nice emu to give a go for a while. For 'just running MSX games' you are likely to find more satisfaction in one of the other MSX emulators for Windows.  

 

Information chart

MSX2 CPU Benchmark:         1189
MSX2 VDP Benchmark:         1339
turboR CPU Benchmark:       N/A
turboR VDP Benchmark:       N/A
MSX1/2 accuracy score:      25.00%
turboR accuracy score:      00.00%
Music quality score:        20.00%
Usability & Features score: 29.41%
CPU load MSX2 idle:         ~ 18.00%
CPU load turboR idle:       N/A
MRC EmuRank:                21.18%
Emulator interface:         GUI
Save-states:                no
Screenshots:                no
Joystick support:           yes
Mouse support:              no
Printer support:            no
Real disk support:          no
Multi-disk support:         no
Change disk:                yes
Dir as disk:                no
MSX1 palette:               no
Image enhancements:         no
Fullscreen:                 yes

fMSXSO website: http://f2.aaa.livedoor.jp/~fmsxso/English/

 

To see how fMSX-SO compares to other emulators, check out the MRC EmuRank chart.