MIDI Blaster
This page was last modified 17:43, 11 November 2019 by Mars2000you.

Contents

Introduction

Utility published in September 1991 by the MSX Computer Club Almelo. It needs to be used with the Philips NMS 1205 Music Module and allows to play FAC Soundtracker 1 songs on MIDI hardware connected to the Music Module.

Content

The MIDI Blaster package includes 3 disks:

  • the first disk is the utility disk, it contains also ASN files (assignment of MIDI and DRUMBLASTER settings for specific MUS files) and a configuration/conversion tool.

If you boot with the disk in drive A, you access to MIDI BLASTER and can hear a default melody played as MSX-AUDIO song. Don't forget to press the ESC key while booting!

  • the second disk contains 8 MUS files and their corresponding SM1/SM2 files (in RAW format) - see MIDI Blaster Music Disk for details
  • the third disk contains 66 samples (to be used in FAC Soundtracker)

Screens

Main screen

MIDI Blaster main screen

The main screen can be divided in 3 parts:

  • on the left, the MIDI settings: for each of the 9 MSX-AUDIO channels, you can
    • MI: choose the MIDI channel (between 1 and 16: 0 = MIDI not used)
    • PM: decide if the Music Module soundchip is used or not
    • TR: change the octave with the Transpose parameter (value between -3 and +3)
    • VL: modify the volume/velocity (value between 0 and 15) - note: the velocity is approximative
    • NR: specify the MIDI registration number (between 0 and 255) as used in the DAT file, but decreased with 20 (see below Configuration/conversion tool)
  • on the right, the DRUMBLASTER settings: for each of the 15 available positions, you can assign a drums sample to a MIDI key, it means that MIDI will not be used when pressing this key on the synthesizer - for that, you can
    • KEY: chooose the code of the MIDI key (example: 36 = C)
    • PM: decide if the MSX-AUDIO sample will be played or not
    • Channel: choose the MIDI channel (between 1 and 16: 0 = MIDI not used)
    • Volume: modify the volume/velocity (value between 0 and 15) - note: the velocity is approximative
  • the last part has only one parameter: the Tempo (between 1 and 26)

All these parameters can be modified even when listening to a music. You can get a stero effect by combining MSX-AUDIO and MIDI. The main screen gives also info about the function keys.

Help screen (F5)

MIDI Blaster help screen

This screen gives a summary of the different parameters that can be changed on the main screen and the commands assigned to the function keys.

Disk menu (F6)

MIDI Blaster disk menu

You can here save all the MIDI and DRUMBLASTER settings for a specific MUS file in an ASN file, and you have several loading possibilities:

  • full loading = MUS file + SM1/SM2 files + ASN file
  • only MIDI settings (channel + registers)
  • only channel assignment
  • only drumkit = DRUMBLASTER settings without channel and velocity
  • only registers
  • only samples files (SM1/SM2 files)

The default drive for the FAC Soundtracker files can be changed by pressing the SELECT key. If you have two drives, choose drive B!

Configuration/conversion tool

MIDI Blaster configuration/conversion menu

To access this tool, you need to boot without disk in drive A, then insert disk 1 after booting and enter RUN"CONVERT.BAS". Don't forget to press the ESC key while booting!

You can here customize the colors of the utility, change the default drive for loading the Fac Soundtracker files, give a name to the synthesizer keyboard connected to the Music module, and make several operations related to DAT files and ASC files.

First option of the menu allows to convert ASC files into DAT files. By default, the MIDI instruments are registered in the so-called Program Change system, but this system is limited to 128 MIDI instruments while many synthesizers have more than 128 instruments (see the STANDARD.ASC file).

For this reason, the System Exclusive format can also be used to define precisely all the MIDI instruments, and an example is provided: CT470.ASC related to the Casio CT-470 synthesizer. If you use a synthesizer with more than 128 MIDI instruments, you need to create manually the ASC file before using the provided convertor to get the corresponding DAT file.

In all cases, the first 20 'sequences' in these files have a fixed standard position and are not registered.

Useful keys

Key
F1 Play music
F2 Stop music
F3 Registrate all assignments in computer RAM
F4 Clear the computer RAM and stop the music
F5 Access to help screen
F6 Access to disk menu
Cursors Change cursor position
SELECT Change default drive for FAC Soundtracker files (in Disk menu)


Musical file on disk 1

One song written in the FAC Soundtracker 1 format is 'hidden' in the sectors of disk 1. Here's the detail for the people who know how to get this file and adapt it:

Song (MUS) Drumkit (SM1/2) Title Composer
ACID4 ACID4 MIDI Blaster Opening Title Albert Huitsing
Eme Huitsing


You can optionally put this file on a dedicated FAC Soundtracker 1 music disk.

For more tips about this format, check the FAC Music Disk 1 Wiki page, especially to play the songs on MSX1.

Credits

  • Albert Huitsing
  • Eme Huitsing