General MIDI/MPU401 for DOS...

Epox / 8kta3pro 04/09/2003
July 14, 2009 at 04:10:45
Specs: DOS/Windows 98/Windows XP, Athlon XP 2200+/1GB RAM
(This post was originally posted in General Hardware forum... and they consider this as a DOS-related problem so I reposted it here)

I once got a game called "18th Airborne" and it uses General MIDI music. Its sound is also played from MIDI.

However, its music and sound can only be heard from the first sound card I ever had, ES688 Audiodrive. It turns out that it was because of its software-emulated MPU-401. (And the music quality was great. The music seems to be played from FM synth actually, and it sounds better than real MIDI playback).

I cannot hear any music with other sound cards I have: Sound Blaster 16, ES1869 Plug and Play Audiodrive, and ESS Solo-1 PCI(ES1938S), when I play the game in DOS.

Maybe ESS Solo-1 is incapable of supporting native General MIDI support while it supports other Sound Blaster Pro features flawlessly...

Sound Blaster 16 and ES1869 Audiodrive seems to have real MPU401 support, but I cannot enable it in DOS. (Actually it seems their UART is on since I can hear MIDI music from its own synth in Windows)

If I run it in Windows or in DOSBox, I can hear it, but the music and sound quality is different, as it plays music directly from MIDI, which was different from the form it played from FM synth.

Is there any way to let MIDI be heard from DOS, and is there any way to let MIDI be played from FM synth instead of General MIDI so I can restore the music quality in DOS? (All sound cards above, including Solo-1, supports FM synth natively)

Please tell me.

See More: General MIDI/MPU401 for DOS...

March 3, 2010 at 19:36:37
I can only wager a guess as to why the sound card does not support MIDI in DOS: the BLASTER variable may not be set correctly with the address for the MIDI port (such as P330).

There's no guarantee that even if you get MIDI working, it will sound the same on different cards; they can each have different instrument samples. The game may have a setting to use FM synth instead; I don't have a copy of the game so I can't test it. Incidentally, I do have a real SoundBlaster 16, an ES688, and a couple of ESS1689s. I don't recall any of them ever giving me any problems with MIDI, but then again I only played a couple of games that actually supported them.

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