Roland MT-32.. an Orchestra inside your PC or Home computer

Submitted by binaryvalue on Wed, 07/27/2022 - 12:33
MT-32

Released in 1987 by the Japanese manufacturer Roland Corporation, the MT-32 was the standard MIDI device for PC games in the 80s. Hundreds of video games support the MT-32 on various platforms (IBM PCs, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, MAC, etc.) Notable mentions include several adventure games from Sierra and Lucasfilm.

  • The MT-32 Multi-Timbre Sound Module is a MIDI synthesizer module featuring a preset library of 158 sounds and 9 channels
  • Several platforms used the MT32, including PCs, Mac, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Apple IIGS, PC-8800 series, NEC PC-98, and Sharp X68000
  • In 1987, the device cost $695 (equivalent to $1,700 in 2022)

Technical Specs

  • MT-32 alternatives
    For those seeking to buy an MT-32 device, these are some alternatives from Roland...
    The MT-32 features 128 synth and 30 rhythm sounds that are playing on 8 melodic and 1 rhythm channel (drums)
  • The device also features a digital reverberation effect
  • There are 6 buttons on the front of the MT-32 module for changing patches within a part
  • Like the prior Roland D-50, the MT-32 uses Linear Arithmetic synthesis (sample-based synthesis combined with subtractive synthesis)
  • The device cannot perfectly play acoustic piano, as it doesn’t include a piano attack sample
  • The MT-32 was made before the General MIDI standard (1991), and thus, it features its own format for playing MIDI files
  • In 1993, Roland released the "GM2MT" SysEx pack. This pack can be used for the re-programming of MT-32 to match General MIDI specs (as released in 1991)

There are two main MT-32 models:

(1) The original MT-32 (called Old MT-32 / without headphones)

(2) Th later MT-32 (called New MT-32 / with headphones)


Other Roland MIDI Devices Compatible with MT32

For those seeking to buy an MT-32 device, these are some good alternatives:

Fully-Compatible with MT32 Devices from Roland

  • Roland CM-32L (The CM-32L is fully compatible, but note, that CM-32P is NOT compatible with MT-32)
  • Roland CM-64 (Combines the CM-32L with the CM-32P)
  • MT-32 Raspberry Pi (check below)

Other devices offering MT32 Compatibility

  • Roland MT-100 (Some compatibility issues with Sierra games)
  • Roland RA-50 (Basically includes the CM-32L, but needs some modifications to work 100% as an MT-32)
  • Roland CM-32LN (Sound module for the NEC PC-98 series)
  • Roland CM-500 (Combines the CM-32LN with the GS-compatible Roland CM-300)
  • Roland LAPC-I Card (IBM PC internal ISA card, also consists of the MPU-401 interface)

General Midi-Compatible Games:

For general MIDI compatibility, you can use a Roland Sound Canvas (SC) device, or other:

  • Roland SC-50
  • Roland SC-55 (nice)
  • Roland SC-88
  • Yamaha (MU50, MU80, MU90, MU1000, etc.)
  • Many others (Casio, Korg, etc.)

SYSTEMS & VIDEO GAMES FEATURING MIDI/MT-32 MUSIC

These are the computers and games that support Roland MT32:


IBM PCs

IBM-PC-Logo

There are hundreds of old PC games that support MT32. However, in order to connect an MT-32 to an old PC, you need to find a Roland MPU-401 or a compatible card. The Roland MPU-401 is very difficult to find, so you need to buy a fully compatible card that offers both "Intelligent" and "UART" modes of operation.

  • MT32-Alternatives.png
    The Roland LAPC card for IBM PCs & the recent MT32-Pi emulator
    There are more than 650 PC video games that support MT-32
  • The full list of IBM PC MT-32 games can be found on Wikipedia here

Useful Links


Apple Mac

Apple Logo

  • Castle of Dr. Brain
  • Freddy Pharkas
  • Gabriel Knight
  • Hoyle Official Book of Games, Volume I & II
  • King's Quest VII
  • King's Quest V
  • Leisure Suit Larry I (Enhanced)
  • Leisure Suit Larry V
  • Leisure Suit Larry VI
  • Police Quest Open Season
  • Quest for Glory 1 (Enhanced)
  • Space Quest I (Enhanced)
  • Space Quest III
  • Space Quest IV
  • Thexder

Commodore Amiga

Amiga logo

Amiga doesn't offer a bulit-in MIDI interface, however, you can easily find a serial-to-MIDI cable.

  • Castle of Dr. Brain
  • Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood
  • Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 3
  • King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown (1991 remake)
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!
  • Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1991 remake)
  • Leisure Suit Larry V: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work
  • Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1991 remake)
  • Police Quest III: The Kindred
  • Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
  • Space Quest I: Roger Wilco in the Sarien Encounter (1991 remake)
  • Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
  • Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers

Useful Links


Atari ST/STE

Atari Logo

The series of Atari ST, STE, TT, and Falcon computers offer a built-in MIDI device. Therefore, you don't have to buy any interface for connceting MT32 to a 16-bit Atari computer.

  • Codename: Iceman
  • Conquests of Camelot (MT-32 and Casio CZ-101)
  • Cruise for a Corpse
  • Hero's Quest/Quest of Glory (MT-32 and Casio CZ-101)
  • Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 1
  • King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (MT-32)
  • Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love
  • Leisure Suit Larry III (MT-32)
  • Operation Stealth: The Stealth Affair
  • Police Quest II: The Vengeance (MT-32 and Casio CZ-101)
  • Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
  • The Adventures of Maddog Williams in the Dungeons of Duridian
  • The Colonel's Bequest

Plus support for general MIDI on Atari ST/STE:

  • Arkanoid (Generic MIDI device)
  • Albedo (Casio CZ-101, Generic MIDI device)
  • Bomb Jack (Generic MIDI device)
  • Metropolis (Generic MIDI device)
  • ST Karate (Generic MIDI device)
  • ST Protector (Generic MIDI device)
  •  Space Station (Generic MIDI device)
  • War Zone (Generic MIDI device)
  • Fire Blaster (Generic MIDI device)
  • Karate Kid part 2 (Casio CZ-101)
  • Lost Dutchman Mine (Casio CZ-101)
  • Pirates (Generic MIDI device)
  • Sappiens (Casio CZ-101, Generic MIDI device)

Roland MT-32 with Raspberry Pi

Recently, the British engineer Dale Whinham revealed an open-source MT-32 project based on Raspberry Pi. The hardware perfectly emulates Roland MT-32 by using a 128 x 64 OLED screen and featuring two buttons and a thumbwheel. The software used by the device is based on the Circle, Munt, and FluidSynth engines, and is programmed in C++. » Find the software on Github

  • The MT32-Pi is compatible with general MIDI, Roland GS, and MiSTer FPGA
  • The user needs to find his own MT-32 ROMs (due to copyright)
  • Many 3d parties have created their own versions of MT32-Pi, based on Mr. Whinham’s work

 

■ Roland MT-32

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