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Old 10-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #1
ThunderPeel2001
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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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Old 10-04-2009, 11:30 AM   #2
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Ok so most of this sound stuff and computer stuff makes my head spin. Are these different sound opsions that you can replace with the old music? If so I would replace it with the Roland VSC. Sorry if I have the wrong idea I dont know what any of this is.


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Old 10-04-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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I think the Roland does sound good, but the Windows MIDI is the one that sounds closest to what I remember from the first time around. But I played on PC


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Old 10-04-2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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Munt and ScummVM in MT-32 emulation mode should be identical as they're both based on the same emulation code. How did you record your Munt example? It sounds like something changed the instruments around before it got to the emulator.

Last edited by s-island; 10-04-2009 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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I just recorded what I heard directly from my computer. I was really surprised at how terrible it sounded, maybe something was configured incorrectly?

I installed MUNT (although the default .inf didn't work with vista, so I used an alternative one I found on DosBox's forums), then changed my Midi Mapping to "MT-32 Synth" (as per MUNT's instructions) and loaded up ScummVM.

I could test it in DosBox... if I could figure out how to use it with MUNT (even with it Midi-mapped it seems to use its own synth(?)) :-/


Last edited by ThunderPeel2001; 10-04-2009 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:07 PM   #6
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Yeah the Munt is really out there! I quite like it though -- almost like a remix.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:09 PM   #7
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I installed MUNT and it sounds bad too : / I've also tried:
http://www.artworxinn.com/alex/
Is that old version of MUNT? Cause it sounds exactly the same

I have XP, so you've propably installed it right
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrok View Post
http://www.artworxinn.com/alex/
Is that old version of MUNT? Cause it sounds exactly the same
Yeah, that's an earlier version of MUNT, I believe.

Thanks for confirming that it sounds as bad as it does for you, too

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Old 10-04-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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Is there a possibility to edit MI2 files to use Track Files (you know, mp3s and similiar) as in e.g. MI1 EnhancedCD Version? With this we could convert real MT-32 MI2 music to track and listen to it ingame... I can't hack into SCUMM so i ask
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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MI2 uses imuse for music so it doesn't just play MIDIs in a loop. It does all kinds of things to them, like muting tracks, merging cues together, and transposing.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:46 PM   #11
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Here's a weird one (perhaps how MUNT is supposed to sound?):

MUNT through DosBox: Example

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Old 10-04-2009, 02:53 PM   #12
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Yeah, that's more like it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:02 PM   #13
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It's kind of a cool remix

Edit: Also, I just noticed - it IS exactly the same as the ScummVM emulation.

Updated the links in the first post so MUNT is correct now.

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Old 10-04-2009, 03:03 PM   #14
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And here comes the question - why didn't it worked that way on Windows version? : /
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrok View Post
And here comes the question - why didn't it worked that way on Windows version? : /
Did you run Monkey2 with the command "r" at the end?

eg. At the dos prompt...

Monkey2 r

(I think this is what you're asking?)

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Old 10-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #16
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I'm asking about ScummVM and Windows MIDI emulation (MUNT)

ScummVM's MT-32 Emulation works very bad with my computer (horrible lagging, crashes etc.) but it sounded correctly and MUNT midimapping with ScummVM worked fast, but quality was low, as in your first MUNT MP3 egzample... If there's way to configure MUNT to work correctly with SVM, it'll be great for me


Gosh, my english is so bad... Hope you understand me :P

Last edited by Varrok; 10-04-2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:32 PM   #17
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You could try DosBox instead of ScummVM -- it's free and it does the job equally as well, and MUNT seems to work correctly with it, too.

Maybe someone else could offer explanation for the oddness of ScummVM with MUNT?

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Old 10-04-2009, 05:14 PM   #18
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Hmmm, if "Real MT-32" is not checked in ScummVM, it'd produce something like what you recorded with it and Munt.
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:55 AM   #19
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Really? Why? If you select Windows Midi, shouldn't it be remapped to MUNT (providing you midi-mapped it in the control panel)... why would it sound messed up?

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Old 10-05-2009, 10:55 AM   #20
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Because if "True MT-32" is not checked, ScummVM will remap all the instruments to the General MIDI standard used by most other synths. Munt is an MT-32 emulator and it expects instruments mapped to the MT-32's setup, not General MIDI.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #21
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Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

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Old 10-05-2009, 03:51 PM   #22
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I have one more question (if somebody asked about it before, sorry) - Are MT-32 ROM files free to use (can i download them from net and use legally?) or have I to buy some MT-32 hardware to have it?
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:30 PM   #23
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Their legality appears to be somewhat confusing... but they're probably copyrighted.

http://www.artworxinn.com/alex/history.htm

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:41 PM   #24
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Thanks for answer
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:25 PM   #25
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Several years ago I tracked down an external MT-32 unit on eBay, largely for MI2 and Ultima VII. In my experience, DOSBox + MT-32 is the ultimate way to experience Monkey Island 2.

Being intimately familiar with the game from playing on an AdLib, and later on a Pro Audio Spectrum 16 (basically a Sound Blaster Pro), I was blown away by how much I was missing out sound-wise. Given the chance, I highly recommend picking up an MT-32 (or CM-32L, CM-64 etc.). They're commonly found on sites like eBay, and one could probably pick one up fairly cheap if good MIDI audio is important to you, or if you're a fan of '90s PC gaming. For me it was unequivocally one of the best retro DOS gaming purchases I've ever made.

That said, there were a few sound effects from MI2 that were seemingly exclusive to the Sound Blaster mode - picking up the 'sign' outside of Woodtick, Largo's spitting sound, crackling fire sounds etc..

I've always wondered if there's any way to experience both Roland music and Sound Blaster FX? Running monkey2.exe r s doesn't seem to work, naturally.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:49 PM   #26
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ScummVM can do that.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:08 PM   #27
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Is that some special ScummVM hack or a setting in the original game, do you know?

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:47 AM   #28
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The original game doesn't support digital sound effects and MT-32 at the same time. It was added to ScummVM. FOA was probably the first SCUMM game that supported sound effects playing through one card while playing music through another in its original version.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:57 AM   #29
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Wow, ScummVM is pretty cool

I think I have sound effects playing during MI2 with my Roland solution - like when Guybrush is preparing to spit, for example. I presume that's the type of thing we're talking about?

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Old 10-14-2009, 08:29 AM   #30
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Is it possible to play a game via SCUMMvm (having the MT-32 connected for musc) AND to have the SFX? I'm currently collecting reasons not to buy a MT-32! ^^


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Old 10-14-2009, 03:46 PM   #31
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Quote:
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Is it possible to play a game via SCUMMvm (having the MT-32 connected for musc) AND to have the SFX?
Of couse, it is.
Quote:
I'm currently collecting reasons not to buy a MT-32! ^^
Totally wrong place then, I afraid.
You might look for games with Soundcanvas support as well as any Windows games then. There's really not much point in having an MT-32 for those. However, a used SC-55 is usually slightly more expensive then an MT-32.
And of course, a true DOS gamer needs both units.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:07 AM   #32
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Of course, it is.
Yeah, but I have to have a mixer then to get both audio streams (1 from mt-32, 1 from sound card) into one pair of speakers ... hm hm hmmmm


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Old 10-15-2009, 04:41 AM   #33
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My sound card's so fancy, it has a line in!
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:00 AM   #34
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Mine too!

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Old 10-15-2009, 06:39 AM   #35
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boasters.
i'm using a laptop with a fine optical digital out but no line-in.


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Old 11-05-2009, 11:52 AM   #36
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A real MT-32 is golden. Nothing can replace it, though the recent latest version of MUNT is the closest it's ever been to perfect MT-32 emulation. Luckily I have a real MT-32 anyway. But it's handy for ports like the Wii version to have MT-32 emulation. MT-32 is always better than any General MIDI device (SC-55, Roland VSC, Yamaha softsynth, etc) if the game was written for the MT-32.

I also have a CM-500 (MT-32 and SC-55 in one box). That's quite handy. Though the MT-32 device is a little different than a standalone (vibrato is a little excessive and some sounds are synthesized differently).


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Old 11-05-2009, 04:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiclyInspired View Post
A real MT-32 is golden. Nothing can replace it, though the recent latest version of MUNT is the closest it's ever been to perfect MT-32 emulation. Luckily I have a real MT-32 anyway. But it's handy for ports like the Wii version to have MT-32 emulation. MT-32 is always better than any General MIDI device (SC-55, Roland VSC, Yamaha softsynth, etc) if the game was written for the MT-32.
Really? Care to provide a link? As you can hear from the recorded MP3s above, MUNT emulation was amongst the least like a real MT-32.

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:21 AM   #38
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The reason the MUNT version you have doesn't sound good is because that particular version you're using doesn't synthesize the partials correctly. But besides that it sounds the most like a real MT-32 out of all those tracks you've got there (except ScummVM emu which is the same thing). The newer version in development is much better. Here's a couple recordings from MI1 and QFG1.

http://cid-81940f2fc1006a8a.skydrive...se.aspx/Public

These are recordings from back in May. MUNT has come a long way. The reverb still isn't quite the same as a real MT-32, but it's pretty dang close. I don't know if this current version of MUNT is publicly available or not, though.


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Old 11-06-2009, 03:08 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiclyInspired View Post
These are recordings from back in May. MUNT has come a long way. The reverb still isn't quite the same as a real MT-32, but it's pretty dang close. I don't know if this current version of MUNT is publicly available or not, though.
Well if you find out, I'll update the recordings at the top of the page. Thanks.

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Old 02-12-2012, 09:15 PM   #40
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Sorry to dig up this thread, but it appears MUNT is now pretty much spot on. It now sounds almost exactly like a real MT-32 in the Daily Build of ScummVM! WOW!!!

Edit: The links in the first thread do not show the new version of MUNT in ScummVM. I've done a comparison myself, however, with the original MT-32 recording (at the top of this thread) and it's almost perfect. Amazing!

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