Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by Pierre32, Oct 27, 2019.
PVM pricing is insane, imagine what a regular CRT will cost in ten years time.
Just having a quick look around, seems like MT-32's are even more expensive than SC-55's! Think I might be forced to munt it. Which is still a pretty nice option to have!
The grand total of 3 in the world currently on ebay:
x 0.94 for AUD.
SC-55 for comparison, there are heaps in total, and for less:
Those Roland MA-12C speakers so nicely advertised on the LGR videos are another dream-on-you-ain't-finding-these. Some reading has suggested Behringer MS16 models to be very similar. Might be nice computer speakers.
I think the mt-32 prices are stupid, just 6 months ago they could have been had for 150. Now 300? Get the fuck outa here.
Their was a Roland SC-7 on eBay a couple of days ago that sold for $120(posted), looking back on sold auctions theirs been a few sell for around $100 even shipped from America a great compromise.
I'd been sitting on the fence deciding between Midi emulation vs buying midi modules, but the recent lack of MT-32s on the market has pushed me towards the emulation route. MT-32 audio is non-negotiable if you're serious about DOS retro gaming I think. I grew up with mostly OPL3 music (plus PC speaker of course), but like everyone else I want to have the 'full' experience.
Second problem with acquiring modules is all the space they consume versus emulating everything through a single PC. Just waiting for all my cables to arrive so I can make this a reality.
The MT-32 can sound pretty epic but I can't remember the last time I bothered to turn mine on. A good OPL3 implementation or clone sounds great and surely that's what the peeps who wrote the songs had in mind - they must have known that 99% of the kids playing their games were lucky to have a sound card (MT-32 era), let alone a music device worth hundreds of bucks. Then you have the intelligent mode interface thing to deal with - not such a big deal these days I guess. The MT-32 is a nice to have I reckon.
GM is a different story - better supported by games and the quality of the GM tracks was more consistent. And with a daughter-board you get the convenience of FM, i.e. no external device to find room for / external PSU / mixer.
I have been comparing the sound of Munt vs MT-32 and have found that Munt is pretty damn accurate. If anything the actual audio quality of Munt is higher due to the higher internal sample rate and bit depth.
I have also noticed a few differences thanks to the MT-32. Previously I was running Munt with a CM-32L ROM.
In Akumajou Dracula X68000 on the title screen, there are bell sounds that are not played on the CM-32L while they are played with the MT-32 rom and on the real MT-32.
At least you can switch between different roms in Munt to get the right sound. With hardware you are stuck owning multiple modules and even revisions within models to cover "all the games"
Cons of Munt/mt32emu
With Munt there is the potential for the notes to "stumble" and lag. I found that the issue became less apparent by upping the process priority to Realtime. But I found the best performance was from my DIY MT-32 made from a HP T520 thin client with Linux-rt and mt32emu.
With Munt there can be a significant latency in the actual audio being produced. This is simply the output latency of your audio buffers in Windows or Linux.
You can make it mostly go away by using ASIO in Windows.
In Linux it is not possible to avoid the latency because mt32emu only supports ALSA. If you use the Jack/Alsa bridge you will still inevitably have at least a 40ms audio buffer.
Munt only supports the LCD functionality through the Qt client which means it's going to be hard to get an LCD wired up to your "headless" MT-32 emulation machine. No "INSERT BUCKAZOID" messages without this feature!
Cons of real MT-32
The audio quality is not great due to the cost saving measures in the real hardware.
Output bit depth is only 15-bit
Weird ringing caused by IMD distortion that I have noticed on more than one occasion
The background noise/hiss is definitely noticeable during playback and suggests that even though the output depth is 15-bit, effective resolution may be even less
Supposed buffer overflows that affect the MT-32 rev.0 hardware when you use it with a fast PC
I haven't encountered this yet and I am using a Pentium 200 and a CT1740 Sound Blaster 16. Maybe it's because to run a lot of the older titles I need to slow the CPU down with setmul anyway.
I have noticed on the same Akumajou Dracula X68000 game that when tracks begin there's a lag and a whole bunch of notes are squished together.
It seems to happen on only some games but definitely does not occur with Munt.
In summary I don't think you are missing out on too much by not having a real MT-32. But it certainly has the nostalgia/coolness factor and if authenticity is your thing then there is certainly no alternative.
Compare this to the Sound Canvas series where you really can't have accurate sound without the real thing. Even the Sound Canvas VA VSTi seems to have some weird clicking noises on some samples in certain situations that doesn't happen on the real hardware.
It's YouTubers guys, come on surely you all know that?
PVM's due to whoever and MT's due to LGR.
Yes I sold my MR2 Turbo a couple of years ago for what I thought was a good price. Then Marty got one on Mighty Car Mods and look at where we are now
Cheers mate for doing the leg work on this, nice write up.
Sounds like the biggest drama is the latency, aside from that, its pretty good. I wonder how the Pi4 Munt stacks up compared to this?
again, great write up
Agreed! Good stuff
No worries, a Pi4 should be more than enough it seems, 1.5GHz quad core ARM chip.
The T520 has a dual core 1.2GHz AMD Jaguar SoC. Never saw CPU usage creep above 70% with Dune II
I cant believe Retro hasnt always been a thing as I started my vogons account back in 2007 or so
What I dont get is people Forking out HUGE money on New intel/Ryzen platforms competing for E-peen(benchmarking), just the idea of gifting money to these large companies for overpriced crap.
Now buying old stuff at massive discounts and doing different builds/purposes or outragegous upgrades you would never do back in the day that is F##king cool and Ultra geeky!!
Like who would've thought a 386 would actually run Quake!
Or I could put 64meg of ram into that build.
Yeah Intel + Volts + Timings + Mhz benchmarking, and a big wad of cash dunno seems so clinical and uninteresting but thats just me.
Proper retro stuff is also somewhat of an investment, you aint loosing hundreds or thousands of dollars reselling the stuff in a few years like the E-Peen stuff.
I find it comical that people actually pay extra for "overclocking" models, the whole concept of overclocking was to take the cheapest chips and make them as fast as the expensive ones, that's now all gone to sh!te...
Sadly this is the result of popular YouTubers gushing over old hardware.
While it's great that they bring attention to amazing hardware, the down side are immediate spikes in eBay prices. Happens every time, and to all sorts of equipment.
The trick is to get in before the popularity surge.
The way I see it, protectionist makers locked down their processors (e.g. multiplier locks) starting (very roughly speaking) around 2000.
Then they unlocked them again, for a fee.
Commerciality absorbed overclocking.
It was cool in the "early days", pre-web, when us kids lucky enough to have PCs figured it out ourselves with zero guidance, long years before the term overclocking ever became popular parlance.
It was fun, groundbreaking somehow, to be a naughty 15 year old taking apart his computer when he shouldn't - a computer that would have to last 5+ years without any hope of upgrades whatsoever - and spying the jumper which said 16mhz/20mhz, and thinking "hmmm, I wonder....!".
Very few if any of those sorts of factors exist any more. Certainly not bloody 15!
Starts thread "What amazing things should we all buy up before they get too popular?". Then suddenly, oh no, they've all sold out.
I mean it depends when you bought it I guess, I got a buzz maxing out the RAM in my GVP HD8+. 8MB baby! ooooh yeah.
Retro gear when new was SOOOO expensive back in the day. Those modern setups adjusted for inflation are a hell of a lot cheaper than what HW used to cost (and was capable of doing) They will be interesting if they still work in 30 years time maybe?
As long as you can afford it and you are having fun, eh that's what money is for.
This PowerVR based Matrox card seems to be getting a bit of attention on Ebay.
Don't know much about these cards but they seem like quite an interesting technology.
EDIT: Just found an interesting page on these cards here https://vintage3d.org/pcx2.php
Any early 3D accelerator is highly sort after regardless of how good/bad they were so not surprised to see it attracting many bids.
I remember PowerVR from the very early days. I don't think they gained much sales traction in the early 3D accelerator market as there were very little in the way of cards available (one or two) and once they scored the Dreamcast contract that put them on a completely different course. Probably saved their bacon too as it was such a highly competitive market which saw many others fall by the wayside (even ultimately 3Dfx despite their dominance).
Here's a good thread that lists supported games for the various accelerators that aren't 3DFX/D3D: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=33483