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9646gt

How to connect Roland SC-88 to my Macs?

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Hey guys. I have an SE, Quadra 700, And Performa 466 that I want to use with a Roland SC-88 (not all at the same time obviously lol) for MIDI in games. 
 

The manual online seems to be saying that I can directly connect it to my Mac using a cable from one of the serial ports on my Mac to the computer port on the SC using just a standard 8 pin serial cable. 

 

Is this correct for my usage? Or will I have to purchase a midi interface device and connect it to the Mac first and then the midi cables to the SC? I see the MacMan mentioned on here quite often but wasn't sure if that was a requirement or just a recommendation or what. If I need an interface, what are someothers I can look for that are decently easy to find and affordable? Thanks for any help. 

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I'm in the same boat. I have both a Roland MT-32 and a Roland SC-88ST (same as yours, but no screen and only a volume knob + sc-55 map button). If it's anything like vintage PCs, connecting to a serial port would allow you to use it in UART (aka dumb) mode. For intelligent  mode, you'd need an interface box like the crazy MPU-401 which goes for hundreds of dollars on ebay. I definitely do not know if the mac has software to mimick everything that interface does, though.

 

modern PC: a USB to midi cheap cable is fine for some programs, but glitches in some programs. a M-Audio small midi in+midi out box is perfect.

 

vintage 486: usually you get a joystick port adapter from DB15 to midi only if you can accept only UART mode (some games will run fine in it, like Secret of Monkey Island). You need a hardware interface like a MPU-401 for intelligent mode *OR* a recently made TSR (terminate stay resident) program that takes a few kb of RAM and does all that work in software (that's what I plan on using when my adapter ships here)

 

vintage mac: I definitely recall my father having some sort of little MIDI interface for when he tried his Korg synth. I don't recall which mac port he used with it. It could have been for his LC 575, or Powerbook 170. The Midiman macman is supposed to do the job. Next time I see him, I'll try to borrow it from him and test it out on my SE/30. He was interested in sequencing and not really in Sierra games.

 

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I believe @Dimitris1980 is probably the person to talk to here, if they are still around.  They had a Roland MT-32 set up for gaming purposes (hooked to an LC475, if I remember correctly) and it looked really nice.

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Thanks for the replys so far. Its much easier to find info for using these devices on my 486 PC that I also have. I have a Gravis midi device for the PC so it's easy to get it setup on there. I would think because the sc-88vl has a dedicated serial connection built in to connect directly to the Mac that it would possibly avoid the need for a device between the two but I have not had an opportunity to test anything at all yet. Hopefully we can get a good solid response :)

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Well, I found a mini MacMan midi for only $5 on reverb.com with a couple serial cables included. It only has one midi out port so hopefully that doesn't matter for my use case scenario. I still welcome replies and will let you guys know what happens when I receive it. Now to figure out if I need any extensions or anything installed to use it

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nice find! I was searching for those in the last weeks in reverb.com and could only find $40+ ones with another $40+ in shipping. Who knows how much more gouge I would have gotten since it would have to cross the border.

 

I'll just casually wait to meet my father, hehe.

 

Edited by Mu0n

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9 hours ago, Mu0n said:

nice find! I was searching for those in the last weeks in reverb.com and could only find $40+ ones with another $40+ in shipping. Who knows how much more gouge I would have gotten since it would have to cross the border.

 

I'll just casually wait to meet my father, hehe.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/324246868136

 

There is one for $20 shipped or best offer. Better act quick :)

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Thanks, but I'm good messing around with my 486 or inside LMMS on my modern windows machines. Using concertware or cubase on the ol' mac is purely optional for me. I can wait.

 

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not a problem, just hoping to help. I still plan to play with my 486 as well. I picked up a Roland UM-ONE MK2 for $39 online that lets you hook midi up from a PC or Mac to USB on a modern Mac and plan to use MUNT or FALCO to emulate MT-32 Playback. I had a MT-32 But literally just sold it on eBay because I figured the $250 bucks could be spent on other areas of the hobby lol

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I got the cheapo USB cable on FB marketplace, the one with 1 USB leading to a tear shaped black box with a white musical note printed on it and 2 midi cables (in and out). It must have a shoddy design because it didn't allow everything I wanted. It's the knockoff model you can see everywhere on eBay and Alibaba. 

 

Works: 

-simple dosbox playback with a hardware MT-32

 

Semi-works:

-simple dosbox playback with a hardware SC-88ST, it occasionally glitches with quadrupled notes seconds into a playback and the reverb just piles on, creating an awful mess

 

Fails:

-sending any data from a midi keyboard (my rock band 360 keytar) to a modern PC and DAW. Nothing gets through

 

The second interface (M-Audio Midisport 1x1) works everywhere so far where the other doesn't. It's supposed to be cheap but it was bought on Amazon for a beefy price, but I got it as a gift. 

Edited by Mu0n

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The SC-88 supports direct connection to a Macintosh via the 8-pin MiniDIN port, no additonal MIDI interface needed. Just plug it in and see if it works.

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On 8/9/2020 at 9:04 AM, NJRoadfan said:

The SC-88 supports direct connection to a Macintosh via the 8-pin MiniDIN port, no additonal MIDI interface needed. Just plug it in and see if it works.

Yeah I saw this in the manual. Just want sure if that was the proper method to use it for games or if it was intended for a different use. 

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What are some Mac games that are MT32 compatible?  I currently have my Roland synth hooked up to my Pentium PC for DOS games, but I do have an Apple serial to MIDI interface too

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On 8/9/2020 at 11:04 PM, NJRoadfan said:

The SC-88 supports direct connection to a Macintosh via the 8-pin MiniDIN port, no additonal MIDI interface needed. Just plug it in and see if it works.

 

Is it just the SC-88 that does this?

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20 hours ago, NJRoadfan said:

A few Roland and E-MU Systems sound modules have Macintosh serial ports on them.

 

http://www.os2museum.com/wp/e-mu-soundengine/

 

All Macintosh MIDI adapters are very basic, they just clock the port at the required 31250bps speed and have a few passives in them. Adding the hardware to an already expensive synth module is trivial.

Awesome. Thank you and I will try and see how the SC-88 does connected directly!

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Thanks to you guys I got it working perfectly! BUT, how would I hook this up to my MDD PowerMac G4 867mhz dual processor with no serial ports and just USB. Do I need to purchase a serial pci card?

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8 hours ago, 9646gt said:

Thanks to you guys I got it working perfectly! BUT, how would I hook this up to my MDD PowerMac G4 867mhz dual processor with no serial ports and just USB. Do I need to purchase a serial pci card? 

In theory, you can just use a cheap USB midi adaptor for this application.

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9 hours ago, davidg5678 said:

In theory, you can just use a cheap USB midi adaptor for this application.

Thank you! I actually found and bought a MOTU Fastlane On eBay that looks like it will do the trick perfectly and is a quality period correct piece from what I have found!

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Hello all,

 

i have been very busy the last months and i have done some changes. As you can see at the picture i have made a midi tower. The Roland Sound Canvas SC55 Mark I, Yamaha MU50 and Roland CM64 are connected with my Cyrix PC. The Roland Sound Canvas SC88 is connected with my Macintosh Performa 6116 via the Macman Macintosh Midi Interface and the sound in port of the computer. In order to use it, i have to go to sound in panel and choose the "microphone" option. Finally the Roland MT32 is connected on both computers via a Midiburner midi switch with 2 positions, A and B. One midi cable is connected with the MT32 and the central switch of the midi burner. Another midi cable is connected with the PC's pcmidi's card and the 'A' position of the switch and the 3rd midi cable is connected with the Macman Macintosh Interface and the "B" position of the switch. When i want to run a game with MT32 sound for Macintosh, i use the "B" position and when i want to use with the PC, i use the "A" position. I am at the job now but when i find free time at home i will take some pictures. I haven't tested the SC88 with the serial port as the manual mentions

midi.jpg

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8 hours ago, Dimitris1980 said:

i have been very busy the last months and i have done some changes

This is a really nice setup.  Well done.  I thoroughly approve.

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