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Nathaniel Tolbert
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Joined: 11/06/2010
Roland is a company that

Roland is a company that deals with Midi instruments and sequencers even to this day. Before General midi they released a technology called the Roland MT-32 which stood for Multi-Timbre. The 32 indicated the number of notes in polyphony it could play at once. It used a form of synthesis call LA Synthesis which stood for, if I remember correctly Linear Arithmetic Synthesis. Another interesting aspect of the MT-32 was the ability like the Roland D-50 Keyboard that used the same technology to load what is called a Sysex (System Exclusive, I believe) patch. This allowed you to modify the sound s available for output, like the whistling at the beginning of Space Quest III, or the thwacks thumps and thuds added for the Quest for Glory Games. This became available for home use in the mid 80's (approximately 1987 or so) for a fairly high price. Around 700 Dollars here with a controller card, like the MPU-401. Later the Roland MT-32 was converted into an 8-bit ISA card called the LAPC-1. This is a fully functional MT-32 except inside the computer, meaning you miss out on some of the interesting messages that companies sent to the MT-32 to display on it's little LCD Screen, like space quest III's infamous Insert Buckazoid. After the MT-32, Roland started to spearhead a technology called GS or general sound or standard. It was almost the same layout as General Midi, but with 98 additional instruments 15 additional percussion instruments, 8 additional drum kits and 3 effects. This was slightly after General Midi spec was ratified and was created to answer some of the complaints about General Midi, and as such early General Midi games were designed to sound best on the GS based systems as a lot of games were supposedly composed on GS equipment. All of Roland's GS based sequencers like the Sound Canvas SC-55 were also compatible with General midi. It is also interesting to note that some of the Sierra Composers are said to have disliked General Midi due to the fixed sound set. Also remember that IBM tried to enhance the sound quality of the PC early on with the IBM music feature card, but it was expensive and sounded a lot like how the Adlib sounded, which wasn't enough of an improvement overall. If you want to heard a bunch of comparisons, and see why a lot of people want a Roland MT-32 and Sound Canvas check out this link. http://sound.dosforum.de/

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