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Ultraboy94

can you play the original "soundblasted" doom midis in a source port?

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i started skulltag a while ago, without changing any settings, and for some reason all the music that played in the game was as if it was played by the original sound blaster card from the days of DOS.

i hadnt done anything different. my computer and skulltag booted up as normal.

i restarted the computer, and it played MIDIS as it usually did again.

are there any settings i could do to keep the music as if it was "soundblasted", or was this a lucky one-off? only way i know i can soundblast the midis is if i use DOSBOX on vanilla... i prefered the MIDIS soundblasted.

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ZDoom based ports have built-in OPL emulation that makes the MIDIs sound, er, "soundblasted." You can't have it outside of ZDoom or Skulltag or whatever.

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Actually I prefer the music played with a soundfont that emulates the RAP 10, the hardware that the music was composed on (I think).

"soundblasted" midis or the OPL emulation just sounds cheap, like it's what your computer plays when it has no way to play the music with quality.

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phi108 said:
just sounds cheap

Hey, not everyone is from Beverley Hills!

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avery1555 said:

I dont understand what you mean by "soundblasted".

I think he means, "the way the music sounds when played through the OPL synthesiser chip used on the original Adlib/Soundblaster".

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Funny story. DOOM must be the only DOS game where I don't like the Soundblaster tracks. Tons of DOS games that came out afterwards that I absolutely loathe in General MIDI emulation.

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You are a crazy man. What would you rather hear the Doom music in? Surely not Microsoft's god awful Wavetable Synth?

phi108: Got a link to a RAP 10 soundfont? All I can find is a few samples.

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I'm not sure why everybody hates the Microsoft Wavetable synth.

I know it doesn't sound the same, but it's not that bad.

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Mike.Reiner said:

I'm not sure why everybody hates the Microsoft Wavetable synth.



Because apparently it's cool to hate it. Granted, it's certainly not the best wavetable synth but it isn't *that* bad.

Nevertheless, for some reason all of Doom's tracks sound a bit weak, no matter which wavetable synth I use. There's OGGs out there that blow away any wavetable playback. Strangely, for Heretic and Hexen the differences are far less than for Doom.

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I think DOOM's GENMIDI lump was created or edited specifically for it to give the music a particular sound. It appears Heretic's is a modification of it, with some but not too many changes (less than DOOM II makes to it) and Heretic's music doesn't necessarily sound better using it than using a MIDI synthesizer. I've listened to Kevin Schilder's soundtrack and to me it sounds better than the ingame music, but DOOM's music doesn't really always sound better in Bobby Prince's CD, for example, than in the game using the lump.

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Mike.Reiner said:

I'm not sure why everybody hates the Microsoft Wavetable synth.

Because for playing the Doom music, it sounds fucking awful.

It's probably quite decent at other stuff but most people have MP3 collections for listening to other stuff, not MIDI collections.

I just want PrBoom/Chocolate/Eternity to sound as good as ZDoom/DOSBox OPL emulation does.

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david_a said:

Wait, so in vanilla the same music track would sound different in Doom versus Doom 2?


If the GENMIDI lump is used, yes. D_COUNTD is a good example. It sounds distinctly different depending on which IWAD you use. Back in the day I often used some Doom2 tracks with Doom1 WADs but this one simply did not sound right.

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ZDoom OPL emulation is horrible, it makes almost all instruments sound like random shit shat by a cheapo midi keyboard that has little else than grand piano to choose from. Compared to it the MS synth sounds much better. Timidity (with eawpats), on the other hand, depends a lot on the particular midi. Some midis with timidity sound good, while with some some instruments get washed out or some get too loud to hide other instruments.

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Does MS synth sound the same in all systems? I doubt that. I use Windows 98 for DOOM, where it sounds like a synthetic, weedy piece of shit meant to drill through your ears and destroy your brain.

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myk said:

Does MS synth sound the same in all systems? I doubt that. I use Windows 98 for DOOM, where it sounds like a synthetic, weedy piece of shit meant to drill through your ears and destroy your brain.

Well I don't have 98 myself, but it sounds similar on both XP and Vista. Of course, as usual, the actual speakers matter a lot too (the sound on my Vista laptop's speakers is pathetic compared to using good headphones on the same system).

Well, I guess you could compare with this. It's eight Doom midis (well the first two are from 1024clau, but the other six are from the iwads) that I recorded directly from stereo mixer in Vista using prboom+.

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OPL emulation, OPL emulation... Where's the MT-32 emulation ?

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Super Jamie said:

Because for playing the Doom music, it sounds fucking awful.


Actually, pretty much anything fails at Doom's music, especially the guitars, with D_E1M1 being a good example.

With the OPL chip and the GENMIDI lump, the distorted guitar has just the right attack, sustain and release rate. With any other way of programming the OPL chips and with most Wavetable banks out there, the guitar just decays too quickly and sounds more like an overdriven squarewave banjo or bouzouki.

Ambient tracks like D_E1M2 work better, but guitars are just raped in the ass and left there to bleed (D_E2M1 sounds OK though).

This is probably because of the careful programming of the FM instruments, and many have no real equivalent in commonly available banks. If you find a soundfont bank that sounds OK or even great with a certain track, you can rest assured that it will fuck up another (or many others). Unless someone compiles a custom soundfont bank that works well with every track...this debate will keep going on and on forever.

There's a good thread here, where leileilol posted a couple of interesting recording of actual cards with OPL chips. That's how they are supposed to sound, and well, they definitively sounded better with bass boosted speakers, and also had differences from card to card due to analog circuits between the chip and the exit.

Gez said:

OPL emulation, OPL emulation... Where's the MT-32 emulation ?


Probably it exists as some plugin for DAW software such as Audition, Cubase, Reason etc.

Putting a bunch of sampled instruments together in a sf2 or whatever file and playing them at different pitches is not enough though: the MT-32 actually had multiple samples per instrument and played different mixtures of them depending on the pitch and effect.

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Maes said:

Probably it exists as some plugin for DAW software such as Audition, Cubase, Reason etc.

Putting a bunch of sampled instruments together in a sf2 or whatever file and playing them at different pitches is not enough though: the MT-32 actually had multiple samples per instrument and played different mixtures of them depending on the pitch and effect.

Actually, there's that:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/munt/

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Maes said:

Things about OPL and a cool link

Yeah I know, pretty much anything that's not true OPL ends up sucking, and the Creative FM synth in post-OPL3 SoundBlasters is tragically disappointing.

I find it more interesting to see the debates people end up having over different OPL emulation implementations. There are at least 4 software OPL synths out there, varying from basic one-chip OPL2 to the full range through dual-OPL2 and OPL3.

I don't remember precisely how Doom sounded on my old DOS machines, though I do know DOSBox gets pretty close. There's every possibility that digital emulation through a modern soundcard and the good speakers we mostly have today sounds better than the old SB16. I actually still have a couple of ISA soundcards lying around, I should see what they are and scrounge up a DOS machine from somewhere. There are even still ISA-equipped motherboards available for my current P4 CPU.

Out of interest, Bobby Prince himself said at least one track sounds just right on a Roland Sound Canvas plugged into a Yamaha MU-80, so there's another combo that sounds good if you want to invest in a rackmount tone generator :P The Doomworld Music page had MP2s recorded from a Roland SCC-1 ISA card, which is probably how Bobby really intended the music to sound. These have since disappeared, though they're mirrored on Doom Depot, DooManiax and DOOManiac.

There are so many good threads about the Doom music in regards to soundfonts, eawpats and OPL emulation now. I should make a goddamn FAQ or something.

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The problem with OPL is that most people who had a chance of using it (including me) remember it in a particular way, the one their particular soundcard + speakers combo rendered it. For example, I used a pair of Quickshot Sound Mate I speakers for almost a decade (and still have them on a secondary PC), and always used them with treble + bass boost on, so for me OPL2/3 "sounds correctly" only as it did through those speakers.

If I use those same speakers without any boosting however, OPL sound sounds as "tinny" as it appears to be via emulators (I have several working Vibras and an AWE64, among others, to compare).

I remember no differences when switching from a Sound Blaster 2.0 to a Sound Blaster Vibra and even the AWE64 sounds mostly right, but there were major ones when I listened to Doom on other soundcards that should have had, in theory, OPL3 chips.

The OPL2/OPL3 chips themselves employ direct digital synthesis, so given their internal schematics and their micro-ROM contents, there should be exactly one way of producing and emulating them, there's nothing analog in the synthesis process itself. There appear however to exist partial or flawed implementations, and many older soundcards deliberately (or not) colorized the sound with internal boosting, limited response amplifiers, etc. (they were still made with 4W onboard amplifiers!).

Anyway, quite a big subject, and I have written countless posts about it. Search for OPL and Maes ;-)

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Super Jamie said:

MP2s recorded from a Roland SCC-1 ISA card, which is probably how Bobby really intended the music to sound.

These sound much better than any OPL recordings or emulators do for Doom. The guitars still have a somewhat annoying synth sound to them, but the percussion sounds pretty damn good. Heh, e2m1 sounds a bit like some of the music from Transport Tycoon with those "jazzy" guitars. :P

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FM synthesis is known to have, first and foremost, crappy rendering of percussion instruments. It's no wonder that even keyboard with FM synthesis (like the YAMAHA PSR series) had digitized drum effects, and certain games like Under the Killing Moon had the option to use digitized drums along with FM Synthesis (if you had enough RAM).

Now, before judging the realism of Doom's instruments, don't forget that they are still OPL2 instruments (2 operators), which are enough to make the instruments sound more or less distinguishable if some effort is put into it, but not realistic. Plus, the OPL2 lacks "body" and doesn't exactly result in rich, deep bass or penetrating highs, and is unable to produce square waves (so certain stuff like distorted guitars will sound too thin and flat).

That was still better than the majority of other DOS games (very few really had discrete programming of the OPL2 chip, and even less actually banged on the OPL3 chip directly). Body Blows for PC for example managed to produce speech synthesis and complex effects not possible with a generic MIDI player.

Sadly, the majority of games just had a run-of-the-mill instrument bank and a generic FM driver that was maybe OK for lounge music. Even worse, a few used only the built-in OPL instruments (a piano, a guitar, etc.) resulting in thin, cheap kiddies keyboard sound.

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myk said:

Does MS synth sound the same in all systems? I doubt that. I use Windows 98 for DOOM, where it sounds like a synthetic, weedy piece of shit meant to drill through your ears and destroy your brain.

AfaIk, Windows 98 didn't even have its own synth. In those days, you install your sound driver and you have in the MIDI mapper whatever your soundcard supports. On cheap cards, this frequently is OPL only. Software synthesizers were too demanding on the CPU to be considered an option for gaming on computers at that time.

Super Jamie said:

phi108: Got a link to a RAP 10 soundfont? All I can find is a few samples.

Maybe you want to search for a Soundcanvas soundfont. That's Roland GS engine used on their various devices. Like the SC-155 from which I recorded the complete soundtrack.

Maes said:

Putting a bunch of sampled instruments together in a sf2 or whatever file and playing them at different pitches is not enough though: the MT-32 actually had multiple samples per instrument and played different mixtures of them depending on the pitch and effect.

That's the part which it has pretty much in common with Soundcanvas. It is different in many other ways. The really problematic matter is the way many games use the MT-32. You can use any ROM samples to any newly defined instrument, which makes it impossible to emulate that with a soundfont.

Super Jamie said:

The Doomworld Music page had MP2s recorded from a Roland SCC-1 ISA card, which is probably how Bobby really intended the music to sound.

Why those low qualty, overdriven and mono MP2s weren't replace with my high quality SC-155 (same GS engine) recordings, I don't know. But they are here in that thread: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/doom-general/41149-original-full-quality-doom-12-soundtrack/

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LogicDeLuxe said:

Why those low qualty, overdriven and mono MP2s weren't replace with my high quality SC-155 (same GS engine) recordings, I don't know. But they are here in that thread: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/doom-general/41149-original-full-quality-doom-12-soundtrack/

Yeah, apart from the Cacowards and TnC, most of the front page content seems to be pretty old and neglected.

Anyway, I grabbed those songs of yours and holy shit do they sound good! I'll have to sit down and listen to all the tracks, but both your SC-155 and Maestro32 recordings sound simply amazing. Thank you so much for recording them, this is the exact sound I've been after.

Did you ever end up doing the rest of the registered Doom 1 and Doom 2 music through the Terratec?

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Jodwin said:
Well I don't have 98 myself, but it sounds similar on both XP and Vista.

I think LogicDeLuxe is right and 98 is accessing the sound card. It's using the Sound Blaster MIDI capabilities. I was probably exaggerating about it damaging the ears, but I still wouldn't use it in the game, or even outside of it.

Well, I guess you could compare with this. It's eight Doom midis (well the first two are from 1024clau, but the other six are from the iwads) that I recorded directly from stereo mixer in Vista using prboom+.

Hmm, yeah, that might not be so bad for general MIDI playback but it suffers from the usual issue MIDI has in DOOM; the lack of distortion makes the instrumentation sound too sharp. The eawpats might not use GENMIDI, but they give a more rounded sound, which is more in tune with the general mood in DOOM.

It's not really about fidelity to me, as DOOM is made up of 8-bit low res graphics and 11025 Hz sounds, in any case. Rather, the qualities of the sound matter. I guess quality and fidelity would matter more if I were using high res graphics, GL effects, spruced up sounds and 3D models, but then I'd look for MP3s or effects that offer a suitable sound as well.

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Super Jamie said:

Did you ever end up doing the rest of the registered Doom 1 and Doom 2 music through the Terratec?

Someday, unless someone precedes me. I will certainly post it there when I'm doing it.

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