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jobro

What music routine do you use?

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For me it is OPL2 FM music all the way. Keeping it original that's why. Doom shouldn't sound like a MIDI file. It had their own music routine so why bother using anything else?

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The "originality" and "sounding like a MIDI file" are a bit subjective: true, Joe Average in 1993-1994 would either have PC Speaker (TM) or at most a Soundblaster (typically an "almost compatible", not even an original one).

The side effect was that DOOM DID sound like a MIDI file back then, as those were played back through the OPL 2/3 FM chip anyway. The few lucky ones who had a Gravis Ultrasound or a Roland would hear better, "non OPL" DOOM music, and that was in 1994 (probably sounded as good as a "modern" AC'97 with software wavetable synthesis).

So DOOM sound != OPL FM sound, strictly speaking, and no, it didn't sound any different than playing a MIDI file under windows with a SB16, back then.

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Maes said:
and no, it didn't sound any different than playing a MIDI file under windows with a SB16, back then.

Eh? I've never heard MIDIs sounding like the MUS files, which have more reverb and particular instrument sounds (keep in mind Doom has its own sound system, which goes with additional music related data found in the IWAD). The only app that I know of that plays MUS files pretty much like Doom is MusPlay.

Under what version of Windows are you talking about, and using what player?

The few lucky ones who had a Gravis Ultrasound or a Roland would hear better, "non OPL" DOOM music, and that was in 1994 (probably sounded as good as a "modern" AC'97 with software wavetable synthesis).

Heh, I don't think those are better (for the game, at least). It may be an acquired taste, but what taste isn't?

I do prefer TiMidity for for SDL engines and ZDoom engines, though, which is the equivalent of a GUS and sounds fitting with the instrument patches I have, but mainly because the MIDI playback or the OPL emulation aren't satisfactory for one reason or another.

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myk said:

Eh? I've never heard MIDIs sounding like the MUS files, which have more reverb and particular instrument sounds (keep in mind Doom has its own sound system, which goes with additional music related data found in the IWAD)


Yeah, it's true that Doom used better OPL2/OPL3 instrument definitions (timbres?) than those bundled with your average DOS or Windows MIDI drivers, but it was FM sound in any case.

Only a handful of games used a proprietary FM system with complex effects like sound feedback or heavy reverb (e.g. Body Blows has the most kickass FM sound ever in a DOS game), most just used some out-of-the-box FM timbres and a generic SDK. Doom, AFAIK, just has a set of very good sounding FM timbres for certain sounds (especially electric guitars and some ambient synth sounds), but not an OPL-specific demoscene-like music player.

The same chip or even the same soundcard could sound very different depending on driver's manufacturer, e.g. CTMIDI drivers for Windows 3.1 generally sounded very thin and poor compared to DOOM or some DOS-based MIDI players which used their own definitions, and many MIDIs sounded better when converted to MUS and played back through DOOM!

DOOM itself sounded different if I used the Soundblaster in "MIDI compatible" mode and selected "General MIDI" instead of "Soundblaster" for music, as it used external definitions instead of its own timbres.

My biggest delusion with both Doom and other MIDI players/drivers was that when I switched from a SB 2.0 (OPL 2, mono) to a SB16 Vibra (OPL 3, Stereo) there was little or no difference with most games or applications, including Doom, unless I switched to General MIDI mode.


Heh, I don't think those are better (for the game, at least). It may be an acquired taste, but what taste isn't?


Wavetable kicks FM synthesis ass anytime at least for percussion instruments or "weird" MIDI effects (sorry, but Helicopter Noise or Chorus "Ahhhs" just didn't render well under FM synthesis, with any driver I've heard). However many so called "wavetable" instrumental voices sound just like sampled FM voices :-D

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Maes said:
DOOM itself sounded different if I used the Soundblaster in "MIDI compatible" mode and selected "General MIDI" instead of "Soundblaster" for music, as it used external definitions instead of its own timbres.

Doom95?

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myk said:

Doom95?


Nah, talking about vanilla DOS Doom :-) My 486 couldn't bear Windows 95 (or at least I didn't want to taint it with them) so I used vanilla Doom througout the whole 90s :-D

I could select either "Soundblaster" or "General MIDI" or even "AWE32" and "Roland MT-32" in setup.exe, because the SB16 added a midi port, which made it possible to use the FM chip without monkeying directly with registers. Many games used that approach, saved time, sounded like crap compared to a program doing funky FM trixz0rz ;-)

Doom 95 probably uses some DirectX MIDI layer and then it's up to the windows FM drivers, I think.

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Heh. When I take a trip down memory lane in DOSBox I use OPL2 (or maybe its 3). When playing casually (read: with ports) I use timidity + eawpats. Linux hardware synth is better sounding than windows GS Wavetable but its still not something I prefer.

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Maes said:
I could select either "Soundblaster" or "General MIDI" or even "AWE32" and "Roland MT-32" in setup.exe, because the SB16 added a midi port, which made it possible to use the FM chip without monkeying directly with registers.

Ah, right. I was confused thinking you meant a system setting. I've never been able to get "General MIDI" to work, though.

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Interesting that Bobby Prince record their DOOM Music CD using Yamaha synthesizer that utilize AWM2 chip. These cd soundtracks and any original doom midi played through any Yamaha AWM2 based tone generator sounds the same absolutely.

For doom and other great old dos games i build dos oriented old rig with awe64, gus pnp and tb santa cruz. With santa cruz i hooked roland scd-15 and with awe64 yamaha mu-10 external module.
Finally i have many music options in original dos doom.
Sound Blaster (FM)
AWE32 (wavetable)
General MIDI (wavetable)
Gravis Ultrasound (wavetable)
For any directsound title i have real hardware Roland General MIDI synthesizer instead software. It rocks!

I think original Yamaha General MIDI give to doom midies best sounding ever.

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To answer the thread's question: the one that plays good music ;-)

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Maes said:
My biggest delusion with both Doom and other MIDI players/drivers was that when I switched from a SB 2.0 (OPL 2, mono) to a SB16 Vibra (OPL 3, Stereo) there was little or no difference with most games or applications, including Doom, unless I switched to General MIDI mode.

There is a DOS environment variable that gives Doom's music basic stereo sound; -opl3

Curiously in the DOOM FAQ it is erroneously listed as a command line parameter to be added to Doom itself (along with -phase, that gives sound effects more depth).

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myk said:

There is a DOS environment variable that gives Doom's music basic stereo sound; -opl3

Curiously in the DOOM FAQ it is erroneously listed as a command line parameter to be added to Doom itself (along with -phase, that gives sound effects more depth).


Dammit, so THAT'S what was wrong? :-D

Heh, Doom will never cease to surprise me, in one way or the other...at least the stereo SFX worked once I upgraded to the SB16, but music was exactly the same unless I selected General Midi/MT-32/Awe32 for music (these all worked with the same midi port, 330H)

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myk said:

There is a DOS environment variable that gives Doom's music basic stereo sound; -opl3

Curiously in the DOOM FAQ it is erroneously listed as a command line parameter to be added to Doom itself (along with -phase, that gives sound effects more depth).

I heared this option works only on a MediaVision Pro Audio Spectrum soundcards and maybe on Sound Blaster cards with revisions earlier than CT1750 but not sure.

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c.imp said:
I heared this option works only on a MediaVision Pro Audio Spectrum soundcards and maybe on Sound Blaster cards with revisions earlier than CT1750 but not sure.

I've used them on an ISA Sound Blaster 16, and an ISA Sound Blaster 16 Value (not sure the exact models; the former's dead, the latter inside this computer).

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So? Finally you get real stereo effect for FM music?
And what do you mean about dos environment? What environment?
Regular DOS environment like TEMP or PATH that contains environment string and =variable value?
-opl3 and -phase with using as command line keys for doom executable not work. Music is mono as always in FM mode. And sfx stereobase not extended.

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Just DOS variables. Add them in a batch before Doom or to the batch entry in the DOS prompt short cut:

set dmxoption=-opl3
set dmxoption=-phase
set dmxoption=-opl3-phase (for both effects)

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Not working :(
I think it works only with two opl-2 mono chips, not with never opl-3 stereo chip or even EMU8000 internal opl emulation.

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myk said:

It seems to be applying features described for this chip.


I think imp.c is right, even though many soundcards used that same chip (SB Pro 2.0 and SB16 and onwards all used an OPL3), Doom couldn't use it with all soundcards, even with the -opl3 parameter on. Now I remember that I had set -opl3 as a DOS environment variable, but again, no change.

Interestingly, some clone cards played quite different timbres and stereo sound when configured as "plain soundblaster", but SFX were completely fscked up.

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Here's what some of DOOM II's readme files said:

SPECIAL SOUND OPTIONS:
These options are normally disabled for stability reasons, but the features may work on your computert. Setting the environment variable DMXOPTIONS to -opl3 may, if you have a modern SB compatible card, give you stereo music. Setting the same environment variable to -phase will enable phase-shifted sounds which is most easily heard with headphones. This deepens the stereo effect of sound effects.

I've got it on the two Sound Blasters I tried it on but they were Sound Blaster 16s, and not compatibles or such.

c.imp said:
Can you test stereo effect on your SB with doom2 map08/map31 midies? These two has good and easy to recognize stereo effect.

Yeah, in Map08's music that strange wobbly sound starts on the right, so does the percussion dish in Map31's.

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myk said:
Setting the environment variable DMXOPTIONS to -opl3 may, if you have a modern SB compatible card, give you stereo music.

Interesting... after the last discussion of FM vs. other synths, I decided to record Doom's music using the same Sound Blaster Pro that I originally played the game on (for nostalgia reasons). I noted at the time the sound was mono, despite the fact that it has an OPL3 chip (as opposed to earlier versions of the Pro, which had two OPL2 chips to produce stereo). Looks like I'll have to try this one out and possibly start over again...

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I just tell ZDoom and Skulltag to reroute the music through my Yamaha keyboard, crank it up, and wait the thirty seconds necessary for someone to tell me to turn it down.

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Seems like there is a typing error in readme.txt
Not DMXOPTIONS but DMXOPTION really works. It easily founds in .EXE together with too interesting string DMXTRACE.
And another important thing - variable value as -opl3 -phase or together MUST be typed in lower case. In UPPER case it don't work.
Stereo effect with "DMXOPTION=-phase" really deeped, but i also notice some sound glitches and artefacts comes too.
All in all - -phase is useless option. -opl3 is much interesting but it not work on awe32 integral opl emulation and dosbox soundblaster emulation.

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That's interesting stuff -- I tried opl3 and phase before on the commandline, and since nothing happenened then I just assumed it was a result of the SBPro I was using. I'll have to try it out the right way and see what happens.

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The midi will never be able to please me. In fact I generally wish synthesizers would just keel over, or at least that people would learn to use them like real intstruments.

I did actually enjoy the Doom music for the first time when I started coming across remixes of it in various places. To name a few, Ashley Carr's stuff, the 3d0 CD soundtrack, recently the Dark Side of Phobos compilation as well.

Plinking and Plonking music only works on 2d console games, where the extreme level of abstractness makes sure of the fact that it doesn't really matter what the music sounds like, as long as it has a good tune.

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Then you would probably like have liked GUS back in the old days of doom (and to that end, you'd probably like timidity + eawpats now). Less plinky plonky, more instrument.

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It would have been ultra cool if the average PC of the day (1993-1995) had got more horsepower to spare another 4 channels for a MOD/S3M-like digital soundtrack. Most EPIC Megagames titles back in the day used that as a sound technique, which kicked FM synthesis anytime, even on a SB.

Can you imagine DOOM with a MOD/S3M -like music :-o sounds sweet, somebody has to make a good E1M1 MOD *drools*

A GUS basically offered 32 hardware accelerated such channels, so there's no comparison really :-p Both MIDI and MOD/S3M sounded much better on a GUS, and games used all 32 channels for music and SFX, with no need for wimpy and scratchy software mixing

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DOOM was never good optimized game for GUS series. Their midies playing on GUS is ugly even in comparison with most cheepest wavetable daughterboards which have less than 1mb bank rom. Even updated on later versions of doom DMXGUS.INI adapted by Tom Klok for 1mb GUS'es sounds not so good as trivial AWE32.

Unfortunatelly DOOM just not optimized for GUS cards instead of Heretic/Hexen/Strife in example.

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HobbsTiger1 said:

Then you would probably like have liked GUS back in the old days of doom (and to that end, you'd probably like timidity + eawpats now). Less plinky plonky, more instrument.


Sorry, but, no. Tried Timidity, with various patch sets. I simply don't like the sterile sound of sequenced music. I suppose that's an odd thing to say, since so much music actually is sequenced, but it's also typically got alot more than that.

I was listening to AMR yesterday, and heard something that perfectly demonstrated why - they played one track that was no different to any other that you might hear, apart from the fact that all the instruments were synthesised. But because of that, it sounded like something had ripped every bit of charisma out of the song. In fact look at any regional style of music (Arabic, Chinese, you name it) and you'll probably find that synthesisers are either in the process of or have completely finished raping it. Fuck, the track I'm listening to on AMR right now sounds like Take That...

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