Giving up on the MT-32

What do you mean, giving up?  Well I’ve been trying to buy one, and I’ve lost every auction.  So I figured I’d check up the emulation scene and see what is up.  Then I heard this video:

And this one.

Notice anything?

Or at least to my ears, MUNT, sounds the same as the real thing!

So, how to use the thing?  Well in Windows Vista onward (8/8.1/10..) Microsoft decided to hide the MIDI selection tools, making this a mission to see what mapper you are using.  But using DOSBox it’s easy to see which is which.  In DOSBox run:

mixer /listmidi

0 “CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth”
1 “Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth”
2 “MT-32 Synth Emulator”

In this case the MT-32 emulator is #2 on my system.  Then to select this device, just type in:

midiconfig 2

And you are in business!  Fire up the UI and you’ll see:

DOSBox active on MUNT.

DOSBox active on MUNT.

Then configure your application for ‘general MIDI’ on port 0x330, and you should be good to go!

DOSBox DOOM v1.1 general midi

DOSBox DOOM v1.1 general midi

And, how does it sound?

Now for comparison, here is E1M1 with VirtualMIDISynth with SGM-V2.01 sound font.

It’s impressive when you put them next to say the Adlib.

So maybe it was a good thing I kept on losing the auctions… But it’d still be neat to drive a real MIDI peripheral on a modern machine.  Maybe I’ll win, one day.

9 thoughts on “Giving up on the MT-32

  1. The MT-32 is not General Midi (it’s before GM instruments became standardized). That’s why Doom sounds weird on it.
    I have several MT-32 but now usually use MUNT as it’s very good now.
    Finding an MT-32 is not too tough (depending where you are I suppose). Also keep an eye out for the Roland MT-100. It is a MT-32 + PR-100 all in-one.
    Good luck!

  2. I use MUNT even though I own a real MT-32. Turns out that TFX requires a CM-32L or LAPC-I and its extra patches, so MUNT to the rescue. That game has an excellent sound track and the CM-32L version sounds the best to me. The Roland GS version is a tad flat.

  3. I’m glad to see you’re playing around with Doom and the MT-32, but you missed a crucial step in using the MT-32 with General Midi games. There are actually patches for the MT-32 to give it “kinda” General Midi compatibility so that Doom doesn’t sound like a NES. Check out what a patched MT-32 sounds like:

    To apply the patches, you need to actually play some midi files (specifically mtgm.mid and mtr-stnd.mid) in DOS. Playing these files actually reprograms (temporarily) the MT-32. You’ll also want to make sure to change the MT-32 to run on channels 1..8,10 instead of the default 2..10.

    I found a website which appears to have all the files you need.
    Playmid.exe is the player, and mtgm.exe is a self extracting executable which contains the midi files I mentioned above. Just create a batch file that has these 2 lines:
    playmid mtgm.mid
    playmid mtr-stnd.mid

    Run it, then adjust Munt to use channels 1..8,10. Doom will sound waaaay better!

  4. What you actually need is a CM32L. An MT32 will get you most of the way there, and have an LCD display to boot, but it lacks certain sound samples (the Computer Music moniker of CM32L). They’re expensive, though, whilst an MT32 will get you 95% of the way there and cost considerably less.

    If you check out Philscomputerlab videos on Youtube, he has an extensive rundown on the difference between real MT/CM modules, and which games need each.

    I do have a CM32L; it cost enough that I winced and looked away when I clicked the buy it now button.

    • I currently have a Roland MT-120, and it sounds great! … playing from the diskettes.. Not so great when connected to my computer.

      I also have a Yamaha MU-80, and it sound’s pretty good booked up.

      I’ve also just won an auction for a Roland SC-88 pro. After this, I think that’ll be enough sequencers….!!

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