VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only

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Posts: 3
Joined: October 15, 2020 - 10:38
VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only

Looks like games that support General Midi inside Dosbox are the only ones that seem to be writing to the VMS voice-table. 

Example: Quest for Glory 4 - Set as General Midi - About Tab shows 25-47 Voices active, varies as playback occurs. 
Same game - Set as Sound Blaster 16/Pro for Midi - About Tab shows 0 Voices Active, Sound Font sounds like MS GM Wavetable Audio

Master of Magic - No GM Midi Support using DosBox and GOG - About Tab shows 0 voices active. Sound Font sounds like MS GM Wavetable Audio

Both apps have the same default device, and output is configured to work correctly, device has been manually set to Device 0 (and 2 as well, both are VMS)

This bug was not an issue prior to Windows 10 2004

I have manually disabled the device driver for MSGMWA in Device Manager to no avail, the same results occur. 
There is no voice allocation happening to the VMS driver from any non-GM Midi supported games. This functionality existed prior, it would route all MIDI audio through the SoundFont regardless of GM capability or not.

Bugcheck steps: I've loaded multiple sound fonts, checked device preferences, and tested games WITH proper support. it works elsewhere once GM is selected, it seems that's the only layer that got imported with the new drivers. I can provide system specs if necessary, please let me know what I can share. Here is the Debug Log while running Sound Blaster Pro configuration in DOSBox - Ultima Underworld No General Midi Selected/Enabled (Is it only outputting IRQ3X0 to the soundfont/VMS??)

Edit: Bug Report #2 is a General Midi enabled output, with active voices shown.

Attachments (Only registered users)
VirtualMIDISynth_debug_report.txt
VirtualMIDISynth_debug_report2.txt
Posts: 1694
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
omegaone wrote:
Same game - Set as Sound Blaster 16/Pro for Midi - About Tab shows 0 Voices Active, Sound Font sounds like MS GM Wavetable Audio

I'm not such an expert on DosBox but... is the MIDI stream sent to VMS with this config?
Isn't it that the DosBox itself is rendering the audio? (just my 2 cents)

omegaone wrote:
I have manually disabled the device driver for MSGMWA in Device Manager to no avail, the same results occur.

As far as I can see from your debug, only the x64 version of the MS-Synth device has been removed; the x86 one is still in place.

MIDI Devices (x64)
==================
[0]: VirtualMIDISynth #1
[1]: Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth
MIDI Devices (x86)
==================
[0]: CoolSoft MIDIMapper
[1]: Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth
[2]: VirtualMIDISynth #1

Since I suppose DosBox is x86, you should try to remove the x86 version too.
The lists come from the enumeration of this registry keys:

  • x64: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32
  • x86: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32

Compare their contents and try to remove MS-Synth from x86 too.

Posts: 3
Joined: October 15, 2020 - 10:38
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
coolsoft wrote:
I'm not such an expert on DosBox but... is the MIDI stream sent to VMS with this config? 
Isn't it that the DosBox itself is rendering the audio? (just my 2 cents)

Dosbox mounts virtual hardware just like a VM instance would. it's a synthetic Soundblaster Pro with MIDI set to IRQ 330/7?/1 (maybe 5/1) it's not at all rendering any audio on its own, it's outputting it to a synthetic sound device, and in this case, using whatever device is configured in DosBOX's config file. in this case it's ignoring the device when i'm telling it to use VMS and instead only outputting to it for General Midi certified capable games.
General Midi outputs to that port, otherwise, normal MIDI goes through the SoundBlaster IRQs which are set by default to 220/7/1. This is why i'm thinking it's having issues with the non-GM synthtable. It would have to be on the driver's end since that's the only thing that's changed since April 2020's 2004 patch. (Thank god microsoft finally fixed their patch naming conventions, 04/2020 = 2004)

coolsoft wrote:
As far as I can see from your debug, only the x64 version of the MS-Synth device has been removed; the x86 one is still in place.

That was disabled within Device Manager directly, through the Show Hidden Devices dialog box. this is the only way to see the device and try to disable it, however, x64 still shows the Wavetable Synth in x86 and x64. It's device position 1 in both x86 and in x64. The only thing missing is in x64 Coolsoft Midi Mapper isn't loading. I think this is irrelevant to function as dosbox does NOT operate in x64 anyways, so i don't believe this would be an issue.
I have a gut feeling it has something to do with the VMS application as it DOES initialize a midi stream, it just doesn't use any voices. if i close DosBOX it closes the connection inside VMS and stops showing it as in use. Anything i can provide you to help with this? This is my #1 use for VMS, to increase the quality of non-GM dos games with GM wavetables on standard midi sessions.

Attachments (Only registered users)
SCRDRV32x64.png
SCRDRV32x32.png
Posts: 83
Joined: September 25, 2013 - 16:38
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only

Hi,

There is some misunderstanding here. Selecting Soundblaster/Soundblaster Pro/16 in DOS games almost always means OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesis that is emulated by DosBox itself. This has nothing to do with Midi. Especially in case of Quest for Glory 4 Soundblaster/Adlib option means mono OPL2 FM sound while Soundblaster Pro option means stereo dual OPL2/OPL3 FM sound.

So contrary what you suspect you do not hear MS/GS Soft synth when you select Soundblaster Pro but the FM synth emulation rendered by DosBox itself.

Posts: 1694
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
falcosoft wrote:
almost always means OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesis that is emulated by DosBox itself

That's exactly what I meant... but you've expressed it in a much better form ;)

coolsoft wrote:
I'm not such an expert on DosBox but... is the MIDI stream sent to VMS with this config?
Isn't it that the DosBox itself is rendering the audio? (just my 2 cents)

I'm pretty sure that VMS is not used at all.
To confirm it, please open its MIDI Mixer and check if there's some MIDI activity by looking at the channels leds or at the Master Volume level meter...

Posts: 3
Joined: October 15, 2020 - 10:38
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
falcosoft wrote:

Hi,

There is some misunderstanding here. Selecting Soundblaster/Soundblaster Pro/16 in DOS games almost always means OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesis that is emulated by DosBox itself. This has nothing to do with Midi. Especially in case of Quest for Glory 4 Soundblaster/Adlib option means mono OPL2 FM sound while Soundblaster Pro option means stereo dual OPL2/OPL3 FM sound.

So contrary what you suspect you do not hear MS/GS Soft synth when you select Soundblaster Pro but the FM synth emulation rendered by DosBox itself.

I understand that. What i'm saying is it absolutely used to pass the FM Synthesis through VMS as well. It no longer does. 
Beyond that, i've demonstrated in the first post exactly what i'm seeing happening. I have no knowledge of the changes between previous versions of VMS and the latest updates, however i know very well what games used to output synthesized midi through DOSBox and VMS. To add to this, DOSBox allows you to choose which device to pass midi through, which is what i've done manually in the config. It isn't supposed to continue using FM synthesis through Dosbox's emulation but that could very well be what's happening. I'm not equipped to test or debug this, I do hardware, not software :) 

Please let me know what's possible to change/test to see if there is a way to force VMS to be the only output for all midi. Beyond DOSBox and it's own settings that is.

Posts: 83
Joined: September 25, 2013 - 16:38
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
omegaone wrote:

I understand that. What i'm saying is it absolutely used to pass the FM Synthesis through VMS as well. It no longer does.

If you understood that then you would not say that DosBox 'used to pass the FM Synthesis through VMS' since it is not possible and never will be. FM synth has nothing to do with Midi so a Midi port like VMS cannot handle OPL compatible instructions only Midi messages. How an SF2 soundfont based Midi engine could handle FM synth? It is nonsense. So It never happened, you just misunderstood something... In games running in DOSBox you should select a music option that really uses the Midi protocoll in order to hear something trough VMS. That is General Midi or Roland Sound Canvas or Roland MT-32 (but MT-32 option usually not a good choice in case of VMS since it is not GM compatible so requires special MT-32 compatible soundfont and the game should not use custom programmed instruments)

The DosBox settings where you define what should be used for Midi only have and effect when you select a music option in games which actually uses Midi. Selecting Adlib, SB Pro etc. options do not use Midi at all but FM synth commands that never passed by DosBox to external Midi devices but even if they would VMS never could handle them.

Posts: 1694
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: VMS Usability Intermittent - GM Compatibility only
omegaone wrote:
I have no knowledge of the changes between previous versions of VMS and the latest updates

Driver was not changed at all.
The greatest change between VMS 2.9.3 and 2.10 was the way it's installed into the system.
It's now configured to behave much more like a "real" MIDI hardware device, so the newer versions of Windows Sound Service (from Win10-20H1 on) stop removing it from registry.

Note that those changes were additions to the existing ones, nothing was removed.

falcosoft wrote:
Selecting Adlib, SB Pro etc. options do not use Midi at all but FM synth commands that never passed by DosBox to external Midi devices but even if they would VMS never could handle them.

I agree, VMS is a "pure" MIDI device; it was never been able to interpret/render any of the Adlib, SB Pro, ... proprietary data streams.