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Old 10-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #1
ThunderPeel2001's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,795
Improving the music in Monkey Island 2

This discussion was started in another thread, but it's not really on topic, so I thought, before taking it off on yet another tangent, I'd open a new thread.

Basically I was very surprised to discover that the music in the PC version of Monkey Island 2 can be VASTLY improved. As an original Amiga owner I always had difficulty understanding the difference between things like "MT-32" and "General Midi" and "Adlib". Which was the best? What should I choose?

Thanks to S-Island I was made aware of the fact that MI2's music was composed expressly to be heard through a Roland MT-32 (an old piece of hardware that you can no longer buy) and, after listening to the recordings on his site, suddenly realised what had been missing from my attempts at a PC play-through: The wonderful music I enjoyed on the Amiga.

My immediate reaction was "where can I buy an MT-32?!", but, as I've already said, they're unfortunately no longer available and only appear on eBay from time to time (and aren't cheap when they do). My next reaction was: "What else can I do, then?".

As it turns out, there are plenty of savvy PC users who already well aware of how important something like an MT-32 can be to a game's soundtrack, and many of them have attempted to fix this problem using modern software. Unfortunately there is no one definitive answer to this problem, so I decided to try and take a look at as many of the different options available, and see which offered the most authentic sounding music for Monkey Island 2.

Here are my results...

To start, here's how the Monkey Island 2 is SUPPOSED to sound. This is a recording of a real MT-32, (the hardware used by Michael Land when he composed the game's score):

Real MT-32: Example

Here are recordings from many of the different options available to a modern MI2 player. (I'd suggest listening to the ENTIRE track to get a proper idea for comparison - they're only 90 seconds):

Roland VSC: Example
MUNT Emu: Example
Windows Midi: Example
ScummVM Emu: Example

Personal tastes aside, I think the Roland VSC sounds far closest to the original MT-32 soundtrack, although I have yet to test the Yamaha S-YXG50 SoftSynth (it isn't Vista compatible, unfortunately).

If there are other options I should add to this list, please let me know. It'd be great if we can come up with a definitive answer for future MI2 players.

I'll explain how to get each of the different types in more detail, but here's a quick breakdown:
Roland VSC = Roland Virtual Sound Canvas. You can learn how to use this option by following this supremely useful thread at ScummVM's forums. (Note: I haven't tried the freeware software synthesizer - sfz - listed in that thread.)
MUNT Emulation = A fan made MT-32 emulation which can be found here.
Windows MIDI = The default Windows Midi synth.
ScummVM Emulation = MT-32 emulation (that requires the original Roland MT-32 ROMs).

Last edited by ThunderPeel2001; 10-04-2009 at 03:04 PM.
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