Philips NMS 1205 Music Module as midi synthesizer

By treblig

Rookie (31)

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28-09-2022, 11:16

Hello to all,

I would like to use the Philips NMS 1205 OPL-L chip as a midi in synthesizer, which is connected to a midi sequencer / live looper. See diagram below:

[MSX audio] <- [sequencer] <- [midi piano]

Is there some existing software that can edit and assign OPL-L sounds to midi channels that uses the hardware of the NMS 1205? Since I use a external sequencer, I don't need Tracker software. Yamaha has made a lot of cartridges, but I guess they only work with the special Yamaha MSX computer.

As background information: I have a Canon V-20 MSX1, Philips VG-8235 MSX2 and a Megaflashrom with microSD. I prefer to use the MSX1.

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By Wlcracks

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28-09-2022, 16:46

I had the idea to use the midi in at one time. My conclusion is that its a very slow process. The Philips keyboard had software, I don't think this it supports multi midi channels. The computer locks up to process the midi in.
Maybe use free Dexed VST on PC gives you FM sound. The output of the music module isn't really noise free also.

By Manuel

Ascended (19053)

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28-09-2022, 18:41

Note that OPLL is not the same as MSX Audio OPLL is the base of MSX-Music.

By treblig

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28-09-2022, 20:23

@Manuel, you're right. According to the Yamaha OPL wiki, MSX Audio was based on the OPL(1) with ADPCM features added, MSX Music was based on a cut-down OPL2, the OPLL.

@Wlcracks: Hmm, that doesn't sound promising for the Philips music module. How does the Yamaha music computer handle midi? Is that machine able to process multiple midi in channels?

By Poltergeist

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28-09-2022, 21:21

https://www.grauw.nl/projects/synthesix/ from Grauw comes to mind, but you would need to use the MSX2 computer...

By treblig

Rookie (31)

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29-09-2022, 09:08

@Poltergeist, from what I can see is that Synthesix is using the NMS 1205 as midi input only. The output sounds of the synth are coming from a Konami SCC. It does not use the Y8950 chip in the NMS 1205 unfortunately.

By Grauw

Ascended (10633)

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29-09-2022, 22:35

I had plans to support different sound chips in Synthesix, but I dropped the project.

By gflorez

Resident (55)

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29-09-2022, 22:55

C-quenser and Meridian, MIDI applications downloadable from this web page, are good examples of correct use of the NMS-1205 as input/output Midi device.

The MIDI stream is UART driven, so if a program is correctly written using interrupts, the Z80 could have enough processing time to send some notes to the Yamaha chip while doing more tasks.

I think the Music Module was a powerful hardware device with a naif accompanying software that made it look like a child's toy.