Blog - Entry for Ironclaw

2014/03/24
Amiga Sound Vs Roland MT-32 Comparison

12:04 pm

So, I made this comparison video (meh, the sound is off by about 0.2 seconds, playing too early) and uploaded it to YouTube 3 days ago (link to the video). Didn't make it public until I've written a description for it. So, I'm now sitting here writing the comment on YouTube, but hit the character limit, bleh. So instead of continue writing stuff as comments, I decided to do it here.

I'll paste what I wrote on YouTube here and make the stuff in yellow that is new... Donno how much that will be yet, probably a lot, I like to just ramble on and on and on about whatever pops into my brain as I type :P

I once noticed when installing some Sierra games that I could select what sound driver I wanted to be used. It was one or more of these: amigasnd.drv, mt32.drv, amiga3v.drv. The amigasnd.drv was standard Amiga sound, amiga3v.drv gave PC speaker/Tandy-like sound, mt32.drv was usually silent or sometimes gave PC speaker/Tandy-like sound. So, I just recently noticed there is MIDI support in WinUAE and actived that and tried the mt32.drv again. It now used MIDI instruments instead, but didn't sound right, as all I could select from the list of MIDI stuff was an "MS MIDI Mapper" and an "MS GS Wavetable Synth". So, I Googled and found there was an MT-32 Synth Emulator, cool! I installed it and... YAY! Nice sounding music now :P

I already then felt like recording a bit from each game that had working MT-32 sound but didn't know which ones and was too lazy to try them all (yeah, I could maybe Google it but wouldn't feel whatever I found was reliable, better doing it myself). So, recently I just searched through my entire Amiga games tosec for the "resource.cfg" string (only ADFs as those have "clean" strings/stuff in them, unlike IPFs which have everything altered it seems). Like every Sierra game has one, but few has the MT-32 support. I tried ALL of them and their different versions (like v1.000, v1.003, v1.200 etc).

So, I recorded everything, threw them together with some transition effects (some failed, couldn't be bothered to fix them), needed some way of presenting it all, got tired of thinking so just put a frame around with some Amiga GFX and a bubble with the title and sound driver of the current game being shown. Due to just wanting to get it all over with quickly I did several mistakes. Like using "Enchanted" instead of "Enhanced", "Police Quest 3" instead of "Police Quest III", forgot to remove some of the black in the  "BACOCK" GFX text, making it transparent, and probably more. But, whatever, this project is done I can finally move on to something new.

Sometimes I tried something different in the two versions, but for the most part I did pretty much the exact same thing.

This video contains 13 games. There is one more game that had MT-32 support, sort of... it's Castle of Dr. Brain, but it didn't play all the instruments so didn't sound good, sooo, I didn't include it. I think I can hear all the missing instruments very faintly, almost not noticeable (or maybe they are not there and I'm just imagining). I found no way to increase the volume of those music channels/instruments. Maybe MT-32 works with more games, but I tried all I could to find all/most of them. Some games needed some special treatment to work, like renaming a file to something else. It's weird most (I think) of the games that support MT-32 didn't come with an mt32.drv file and had to have one placed in the game folder. Seems like only one version of the mt32.drv exist, as I checked all the ones I could find and they all seems to be the exact same file.

There are different versions of several of the Sierra games. MT-32 often only worked on one of them, which was usually the German version, which usually also had an extra disk. For example, Leisure Suit Larry 3 (LSL3) have 4 versions: (in this case though, 5 disk version didn't just exist for the German version)

1.000 - Ger/ADF/5 disks  (only one where MT-32 works)
1:003 - Eng/ADF/4 disks
1.027 - Eng/ADF/5 disks
1.039 - Eng/IPF/5 disks

I didn't get all questions right on purpose in LSL3 because that would make the girl I'm looking at in the beginning undress completely and show her boobs :P (I'm talking about the one I see in the binoculars. The one on the protection screen probably also would get naked), so if you want to see them, look here: http://youtu.be/VE5MLWxItLo?t=3m08s. I didn't wanna risk getting flagged as some people are sooo sensitive.

As this video is mainly to show off the different sound/music, I sped through most of the dialogues in-game. Only thing I kept original was the intros. Well, I had to manually skip to the next text bubble in Larry 5 as they each displayed for soooooo long!

I could only find one version of the disks for the German version of LSL3, and one of the disks are broken, so couldn't get to the next screen, hence why I cut off to the next game before he reached it. Too bad, was some interesting music there.

I also recorded the PC speaker/Tandy version of some of the games as they didn't sound too bad. One favorite was the intro of Police Quest III. I decided to not include them, the video is long enough already.

Now, I keep saying PC speaker/Tandy, that's because I don't know which one the games sounds like. I could do comparisons with YouTube videos as I'm sure there are a lot of PC-Speaker/Tandy videos, but can't be bothered. A weird thing is that I've gotten this PC speaker/Tandy to play even without using amigav3.drv. It varies from game to game. Like, in one of the versions of Castle of Dr. Brain, I get one of those two even if I use mt32.drv. In other cases I get them if I set mt32.drv in the resource.cfg but don't have the .drv file. Could be I get PC speaking one way and Tandy the other as I seem to remember hearing two different sound styles. I could simply fire up WinUAE and test this out so I finally know, but meeeeh, curse me and my laziness :P

These resource.cfg files usually had a "language=xx" line. The "xx" is the number of the language being used. Removing this line (or change to another number, or something) forces English to be used in some games, like in the German version of Castle of Dr. Brain, but in LSL3 and Space Quest III, this didn't help, they used German anyway, but once in the game, English could be selected from the menu. Maybe those two needed the right number, as I only tried to remove the line, as it worked with Dr. Brain (or at least I think that was the game).

I recorded the 8 disk version of King's Quest V. The German version was on 9 disks, but THIS time, the fewer disked English version worked with MT-32, so went with that one.

Not much going on sound/music wise in-game in Police Quest III. I should have played further til I could drive the car, as there are some nice music there... buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut ;)

One distinct difference between the English and German versions is the German versions usually have "Sierra" in the field at the top of the screen during the intro (not that noticable now with the bubble in the way), while the English has nothing, not even the background. See the difference here: 55:11 (Eng/SQ3) and 01:02:06 (Ger/SQ3). Sometimes only right before the intro starts, sometimes during the intro.

In Mixed-Up Mother Goose I did two different "quests" as I didn't find the same item in the same place when I played the MT-32 version, so I just did one at random instead of wandering around looking for the same item as in the Amiga Sound version. So, not a good comparison, but whatever.

In Robin Hood: Conquest of the Longbow at 03:02:21 I spend quite some time trying to get the sheep to go "baa!" like in the Amiga Sound version but it just never happened. I know that most sound effects the Amiga Sound versions have just gets replaced by some instrument or something in MT-32, but the sheep didn't even move in the MT-32 version. When it baa-ed in the Amiga Sound version, it also moved. So... with MT-32 sound on, the sheep doesn't make any sound or animate.

The "minHunk=XXX"/"minChip=XXX" (XXX = usually around 200) didn't seem to do anything for any of the games. I tried different numbers on games I couldn't get MT-32 to work on. I was first hoping these variables could be what makes MT-32 play correctly in Castle of Dr. Brain, but bope. Made no change whatsoever in any game (or maybe I didn't do it right and someone might lecture me on/of their purpose).

In general, the MT-32 version of the music sounds better, but the Amiga Sound version is better as it has real sound effects, and some speech, which were left out with MT-32. I checked some videos on YouTube and saw on PC there are both the proper sound effects/speech and MT-32 at the same time. Too bad it doesn't work the same on the Amiga. But, the MT-32 had sound/stuff playing where there was nothing in the Amiga Sound version. Could be for example footsteps that had no sound in the Amiga Sound version, but they did with MT-32. Weird MT-32 had stuff where the Amiga Sound didn't, but it wasn't often though. Wonder if there even might have been some extra music with MT-32, don't remember... probably not. Edit: OK, after finishing writing all this, I sped through the video to hopefully find something to jog my memory about being different between the two versions, I settled for one comparison. This part in SQ3 is silent in the Amiga Sound version: 01:00:50, but not in the MT-32 version: 01:07:54.

The MT-32 sound/music is not always playing at the same time in some places compared to the Amiga Sound. Like the King's Quest 1 intro, in the Amiga Sound version, the music doesn't start to play until maybe 2-3 seconds AFTER the logo has appeared (but edited away those 2-3 secs), but with MT-32, it plays immediately when the logo appears. Whenever the Blues Brothers sing in the bar in the MT-32 version, they (one of them anyway) grab the mic, but not with Amiga Sound.

2-3 or of the sprites used around the video is not from MT-32 supported games, but I wanted to include them anyway.

I don't like how they cut off the music to show something else at 1:18:35, but we hear it again without interruption shortly after the thingy that interruped it. I also added a longer version at the very end of the movie because (in the voice of Borat) me like! Another favorite is this one: 01:06:23. One that is really nice too (and you can sing along to!) is the intro music to Robin Hood. I like both versions equally.

One thing that bothes me is that I didn't get the graphics glitches in Space Quest 1 (Enhanced) like I did in my longplay. When I did my longplay I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get rid of the GFX glitches: "Yeah... it has graphic glitches and nothing I did could fix them. I tried running with different emulated Amigas, different settings, from floppy, from HD, SPS, ADF and WHDLoad version, it was the same in all of them.". But now for some weird reason, it was all perfect. I did record these clips on a very fast Amiga, even used JIT and stuff, but can't be that that fixed the GFX glitches, if anything, JIT should CAUSE them, hmm. I even got better and smoother speed, which is not so strange, but one should not record with JIT anyway as it's prone to crashes and mess up my save states.

And finally, everyone's favorite part (I'm sure, especially furry lovers :P), SHEMA'S DANCE! -> 02:44:06 <-.

AS = Amiga Sound / MT = Roland MT-32

King's Quest I (Enhanced)
 AS: 00:06 - Intro / 03:26 - Ingame
 MT: 04:53 - Intro / 08:16 - Ingame

King's Quest V
 AS: 09:47 - Intro / 21:19 - Ingame
 MT: 25:06 - Intro / 36:33 - Ingame

Space Quest 1 (Enhanced)
 AS: 40:31 - Intro / 43:21 - Ingame / 45:17 - Extra
 MT: 47:47 - Intro / 50:40 - Ingame / 52:41 - Extra

Space Quest III
 AS: 55:11 - Intro / 59:08 - Ingame
 MT: 01:02:06 - Intro / 01:06:06 - Ingame

Space Quest IV
 AS: 01:09:04 - Intro / 01:14:55 - Ingame
 MT: 01:23:12 - Intro / 01:29:15 - Ingame

Leisure Suit Larry 1 (Enhanced)
 AS: 01:39:41 - "Intro"/Protection / 01:40:22 - Ingame
 MT: 01:43:48 - "Intro"/Protection / 01:44:26 - Ingame

Leisure Suit Larry 3
 AS: 01:48:00 - Intro / 01:51:21 - Ingame
 MT: 01:54:22 - Intro / 01:58:00 - Ingame

Leisure Suit Larry 5
 AS: 02:01:12 - Intro / 02:05:25 - Ingame
 MT: 02:10:04 - Intro / 02:13:59 - Ingame

Police Quest III:
 AS: 02:19:49 - Intro / 02:23:30 - Ingame
 MT: 02:27:02 - Intro / 02:30:43 - Ingame

Quest for Glory II
 AS: 02:34:16 - Intro / 02:37:04 - Ingame
 MT: 02:39:53 - Intro / 02:42:27 - Ingame

Robin Hood: Conquest of the Longbow
 AS: 02:45:12 - Intro / 02:52:09 - Ingame
 MT: 02:54:42 - Intro / 03:01:43 - Ingame

Mixed-Up Mother Goose
 AS: 03:05:24 - Intro / 03:08:19 - Ingame
 MT: 03:10:09 - Intro / 03:13:03 - Ingame

Hoyle: Book of Games - Volume III
 AS: 03:15:04 - Intro / 03:16:24 - Ingame
 MT: 03:21:18 - Intro / 03:22:41 - Ingame

03:26:52 - A favorite part from Space Quest IV in slow motion so it loops more times, thus lasting longer. Don't know what it is, I just like how it sounds, even if it is repetitive :)
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