Some users have asked us how to modify the Philips Music Module expander to support the new MSX Audio Rom 1.3 made by Brazilian MSX user FRS. This new bios has quite some new features like better MSX-Music instrument support and support for games that make use of the MSX-Music (FM-PAC) bios. A lot of ASCII MSX-Music now work! Please follow the FRS page link later on in this article for the release notes. We have tested this new rom with our expander and indeed some modifications needs to be done. Although those modifications are not complicated to do at all.
First you have to remove the yellow wires on the bottom of the expander:
Then you have to connect jumpers labeled 2 and 3 on the expander board. See below for the example (done on the bottom of the expander)
And this is all you have to do! Please note that the new MSX Audio bios from FRS does not include the original Philips software.
The latest bios from FRS can be downloaded at his homepage, in the tools section: http://frs.badcoffee.info/tools.html
You need the file msxaudio13.NMS-1205.rom from the MSX Audio Bios v1.3 zip package. Please contact Bas at www.bas-ditta.info if you need help obtaining a new flashed rom. If you own a Music Module and want better support for games and music, please note that we still have a few MSX Audio Upgrade boards left.
Tjeerd of WORP3 just informed us that the first version of the long awaited MIDI-PAC manual is ready!
Inside you will find a lot of information about the MSX-DOS utilities for MIDI-PAC, the setup and configuration options.
You can download this manual from the WORP3 website, www.worp3.com (in the download section).
Korean MSX user Sinfox uploaded a few video’s to youtube. He used a MIDI-PAC, MSX turboR, Roland SC-55 and a Boss MX-10 mixer for the recordings.
Source: Paradise MSX Forum
With the MIDI-PAC out in the open and Tjeerd already busy with making a second batch, we can’t complain. Thank you for your support! For new customers: we’ve made a new Order page were you can select the products you want to order. We will then contact you with the payment details.
Also, the PlaySoniq boxes, sponsored by Sunrise are in. If you bought your PlaySoniq without box, please use the order form to get your PlaySoniq box. The box costs nothing, you only pay shipping. Shipping will be around 10 euro for most European countries. If you know other PlaySoniq users in your neighbourhood maybe you can order together to cut down shipping costs.
MsxKun informs us that he is busy with a program to control the MSX PSG and the SID on the PlaySoniq through a MIDI keyboard. For this you need a Philips Music Module to connect your MIDI controller. This is of course very exciting news. Because using the PlaySoniq as a MIDI controllable syntheziser is one of the idea’s we had when we were designing the PlaySoniq. MsxKun also has plans to build in support for the SEGA Audio chip and the SCC of the PlaySoniq. At the moment this project has a low priority but he is willing to put more time in it, if more people are interested. So please let us or him know! Read all about it on his Spanish blog here: PaxBlog.
Also new is the instruction manual how to mount the Toshiba HX-MU900 MSX Audio expander. If you have a Toshiba Music Module lying around and want some more functionality, this expander might be for you. But you need to have quite some soldering skills to install this upgrade (or know someone who does). Check it out at the Docs section. This product can also be ordered from the Order page.
A while ago we adjusted the Commodore Basic instruction manual (sound chapters) so it would reflect the SID mounted on the PlaySoniq. It also contains the Basic listing, adjusted for use in MSX Basic. You can now download this document from the Docs page, in the PlaySoniq section.
If you read the comments on this site, you can find out how to flash your MIDI-PAC with the FM-PAC basic. Please note that afterwards, you can not use the MIDI-PAC together with a FM-PAC anymore (unless you flash the original rom back). The WORP3 website has a new configuration file for MT-32 users. If you made your own configuration file, please consider sharing them so we can add them to the website for other users. This counts for other MIDI equipment or game specific configs (like playing Aleste with only pianos). The MIDI-PAC will also have support for configuring instruments outside the general midi bank on Roland modules soon. So stay tuned.
In two weeks the MSX fair in Nijmegen (the Netherlands) will take place. Tjeerd of WORP3 has been working around the clock to get some MIDI-PAC’s ready for the upcoming fair in Nijmegen. The MIDI-PAC will convert OPLL (MSX Music/ FM-PAC) data to MIDI data on the fly. This means that you can play all your favorite games with your favorite MIDI equipment. The first tools were programmed in MSX Basic. Luckely Tjeerd decided to reprogram them all for MSX-DOS. Tools for loading custom configuration files are ready.
The first release of the new configuration tool to adjust the musical instruments and all kind of other MIDI parameters is almost finished. We would like to thank Tjeerd’s wife for her patience 😉 and Manuel Pazos for arranging the product packaging. Hopefully we will have the product packaging too before Nijmegen. Tjeerd has made some recordings available for those of you who cannot wait until the Nijmegen fair. The recordings are made with a custom build Yamaha XG module based on a DB50 expansion pcb. And although the MIDI-PAC works on most General MIDI equipment, we recommend Yahama XG MIDI Modules if you are planning to buy a module and don’t want to spend a fortune. If you don’t want to spend money on MIDI modules at all: instructions for using a PC as a MIDI module will also be provided in the manual. Anyway, listen to our latest recordings and be amazed!
Song 1 (you can compare it with an old one we posted earlier to hear the advancements: Old song 1).
Song 2 (you can compare it with an old one we posted earlier to hear the advancements: Old song 2).
Tower of Gazzle:
Unfortunately we could not attend the latest MSX meeting held by AAMSX in Barcelona due to an unexpected strike of the air traffic controllers in Spain. Luckely Spanish MSX user Salva managed to bring his PlaySoniq to the party so at least visitors could take a peek. Thank you Salva for demoing the PlaySoniq. We did however manage to attend the nice MSX Info Party in Helsinki last August and made a small video of the PlaySoniq in action for you to enjoy.
To make up for not being around in Barcelona, we will pay the shipping costs for our items bought by Spanish residents until the end of December and we hope to see you again next year.
Last Saturday, the monthly MSX Mariënberg meeting was held. We still had all the PlaySoniq, MIDI-PAC and MSX gear in boxes due to the Bonami retro fair that was held one week before. So we could easily also show a little demonstration in Mariënberg.
At the Bonami fair, people liked the PlaySoniq and the MIDI-PAC. For the PlaySoniq we had to convince people that it was actually a MSX that was playing Sega games. For the MIDI-PAC we’ve got questions about which CD’s we were playing (while we actually were demo-ing MSX games). This was also partly due to Tjeerd bringing his Yamaha XG wavetable MIDI module. Which actually blows away our simple Yamaha TG-300 tone generator.
Over the last weeks, we also managed to let the PlaySoniq work together with the MIDI-PAC.There are about 64 Sega Master System games with support for OPLL (the same chip as in the MSX Music standard or the FM-PAC has). Since the PlaySoniq can reroute that music and sound effects to the MSX, the MIDI-PAC can pick those up too and convert that to MIDI data on the fly. In short: with the PlaySoniq and the MIDI-PAC combined, you can also enjoy your SMS-FM games with your MIDI equipment. Try that with a Master System Console 😉
We recorded a little video at Mariënberg to show the MIDI-PAC and the PlaySoniq working together. A big thank you to Filip Slagter who was willing to demo YS2 FM and Scramble Spirits on the PlaySoniq and MIDI-PAC combined. And Firehawk with the MIDI-PAC. we hope you like this video. But keep in mind that this demo was recorded with a phone (and the TG-300). A lot of the lower frequencies in the bass and drums sounds are therefore missing in the sound output.