View Full Version : YouTube Video - Roland vs Yamaha General MIDI DOS Games

July 15th, 2012, 05:29 AM
I hope I am posting this in the appropriate section. General MIDI was quite popular when the early Pentium machines were around...

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MpnZlOJIqw&feature=g-all-lik

Back in the day of MS Dos and games such as Doom or Descent, General MIDI was all the rage. Almost every sound card company had a General MIDI capable product. But two companies stood out:

Roland and Yamaha.

Roland's Sound Canvas was really the main General MIDI standard and used my most game studios for testing and balancing their General MIDI soundtracks.

BUT this means that they aren't that easy to find these days, and if you do, be prepared to pay for it. On eBay however, you can find these fairly cheap NEC 385 wavetable boards. These are clones of the Yamaha DB60GX and fit on any sound card with a wavetable connector.

Some people swear by the General MIDI sound of these Yamaha boards, some stick with Roland. Now you can listen to both of them. I hope I made this comparison fair, interesting and fun to watch.

Personally I will stick to Roland. I had a Sound Canvas wavetable board when I was young so I am used to the way they sound. But if you have only experienced and grown up with Sound Blaster music then you might prefer the sound of Yamaha.

In the end it's all about the games and that we enjoy ourselves. So pick whatever you prefer and be happy!

Games featured in this video:

- Doom
- Doom 2
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Descent
- Raptor
- Warcraft
- Warcraft 2
- Space Quest 5
- Dark Forces
- Sam and Max

July 15th, 2012, 04:40 PM
This was a fantastic comparison! Great A/B setup, and very informative! I knew the Yamaha devices typically sounded better in the percussion and voice departments, but your comparison illustrated that the Yamaha instruments are sometimes slightly detuned and/or out of tune. I never knew that before!

The only thing jarring about the video was that you had the anti-shake option on your videocamera turned on even when you had it still -- this caused it to "stop video shaking" even though the only thing moving was your hand :-) But otherwise, excellent video!

July 15th, 2012, 04:47 PM
Wonder how well the Ensonic Soundscape would do in there. I use a Reveal Branded Soundscape with my original 286 and purchased a DBX50 Yamaha for my Soundblaster 16 when I got a 486.

July 16th, 2012, 06:25 AM
There as so many MIDI modules around, so I just went with the two main ones which are always talked about :) But not ruling out future comparisons either :D

July 16th, 2012, 11:17 AM
You can get into some real fun if you find MIDI that uses the GS extensions on the SCC-1 and the Yamaha extensions on the other -- very customizable sound and drastically improved. No games used these, I'm fairly sure (unless you want to count Sierra games that reprogrammed the MT-32, but I'm not counting those).

July 19th, 2012, 10:12 AM
I just came across this thread and have it earmarked to come back to later... Can't wait to see the videos.

I've several midi cards in my collection, though I haven't taken the time to do a comparison among them as of yet.

I've both of the Roland midi daughterboards (SCD-70 and SCB-15 IIRC), a Turtle Beach midi daughterboard that licensed the Roland GS standard, a Roland LAPC-I, a Roland SCC-1b, and the external Roland units MT-32 gen1 / MT-32 gen2 / SC-55.

I'm still on the lookout for a cheap Roland SC-55mkII as well as the Yamaha boards (preferably the originals, though the NEC clone mentioned here is a value that's hard to ignore). One of these days, I'm hoping to get them all setup side-by-side to do exactly what you did here... probably minus the filming, however ;)