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moothead 2012-07-17 16:06

Improve Midi Music in DosBox
Since I'm unable to use LBAwin anymore I've had to resort to using DosBox and have set it up as instructed in the DosBox guide (Awesome job by the way) but I'm having one problem, the Midi music sounds awful. It sounds as though it's not playing correctly and when it does it just sounds ten times worse than it did when I was using LBAwin.

Does anyone know if there's a configuration (For either DosBox or LBAs own setup) that will fix this issue on Windows 7 64 bit?


Kobold 2012-07-17 17:28

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That's actually the real MIDI music, which is why it sounds so bad. The original game used excerpts from the CD music instead of the midi music. The Dosbox setup doesn't seem to get that part of the CD music right for some reason. I made a whole scientific study on it.

So in the end, nothing works. I tried setting up cdemu for Linux which is supposed to provide better CD audio support than the Dosbox mount but I couldn't even get it to start on SUSE.

Double-J 2012-07-17 17:37

Has anyone ever done a comparison of the MIDI vs. CD sounds (perhaps in a YouTube video)? I have to be honest, I always thought LBA 1 sounded different than when I remember first playing it on my old Pentium 166 mhz machine. But of course, that was ages ago. So I never gave it much thought.

Kobold 2012-07-17 17:48


Originally Posted by Double-J (Post 416623)
Has anyone ever done a comparison of the MIDI vs. CD sounds (perhaps in a YouTube video)? I have to be honest, I always thought LBA 1 sounded different than when I remember first playing it on my old Pentium 166 mhz machine. But of course, that was ages ago. So I never gave it much thought.

1. Download the midi music.
2. Download the LBA theme.
3. Play the very last file in the MIDI archive, LBA1-33.MID and compare it to the theme.

I guess I could make a YouTube video, but that would take three times the effort.

A-n-d-r-é 2012-07-17 21:11

1 Attachment(s)
But there are also differences between the midis in MIDI_MI.HQR and MIDI_SB.HQR (see the attached LBA main theme). Also, the SB xmi is half the size of the one in MI (11kb/22kb).
I think the midis in the download section were extracted from midi_sb, because I can hear no percussions in them (And they are way too fast!).

Anyway, I had the same problem with dosbox. There were many notes out of time and it sounded very monophonic, long notes were stopping after about a second and so on. It disappeared when I installed the GOG version. Don't know why ... Maybe a different midi setting in the LBA sound configuration.

Polaris 2012-07-18 00:47

It's strange that you have the cd music only in the menu... There is at least one area for each track to play, and I have the cd music in all of them.

Kobold 2012-07-18 12:30


Originally Posted by Polaris (Post 416633)
It's strange that you have the cd music only in the menu... There is at least one area for each track to play, and I have the cd music in all of them.

Could you explain your setup? DOSBox, LBAWin? What's your operating system and CPU architecture? What DOSBox commands do you use to mount your CD?

Polaris 2012-07-18 13:02

Well lately I've been playing the GOG version with the built-in dosbox prompt on a windows 7 64 bit. the cpu is an intel core i5 (I don't know a cpu architecture is :( ).

But I don't remember ever having issues with the cd music, I mean... Take the hamalayi for example (the rebel assault), it always plays the cd version of the Hamalayi track there...

Kobold 2012-07-18 22:01

64 bit is what I was looking for with "CPU architecture".
When I play the GOG version in DosBox I get the MIDI music playing during the intro and outside the citadel. :(

Jasiek 2012-07-18 23:10

There was always midi music outside the citadel...

I thought the last GOG release fixed any music issues anyone might have... There was even a thread regarding that on the GOG boards.

Polaris 2012-07-18 23:37

There was always midi music in the intro too. I have a small bug with the cd music in the dosbox version, the music begins a few seconds after the beginning of the track, and plays an equally long section from the beginning of the next track.

Kobold 2012-07-19 00:02

Well the music I remember playing outside the Citadel is definitely not the one of the GOG version. I do remember that LBAWin came with a remastered MIDI soundtrack though, Midi_mi_win.hqr. Maybe if I use this to replace midi_mi.hqr I can increase the quality in the GOG version as well?

Jasiek 2012-07-19 18:41

I just quickly tried exchanging the two and I can't see a difference, further more the music to me sounds exactly as it did back when I first played the game. Nothing has changed over the years....

Maybe the card you had before had a bigger soundfont for the midi samples? The soundfonts you use on default aren't larger then 2mb... With an old soundblaster card the software of which allowed me to exchange them I used to have 80mb .sf2 files and the midis where almost near orchestrated quality........

Jasiek 2012-07-19 19:26

Here's a post for improving midi for dosbox in ubuntu, maybe that'll help you.

There's similar stuff for windows.

Jasiek 2012-07-19 20:01

Dosbox and Gravis Ultrasound - I remember salivating over these back in the days... :

Kobold 2012-07-19 21:11

So, uhm, would it make sense to install and set up the Ultrasound emulation AND download a better sound font? Or is that redundant?

Jasiek 2012-07-19 21:32

Yeah I think these two methods are somewhat mutually exclusive...

Might as well try both of them out.

However I'm not getting any improvement to be frank...

Kobold 2012-07-22 23:27

Well, I tried to change the sound font that Timidity uses, and the result pleases me when I just play a MIDI file with timidity via the command line, works fine. DosBox also uses Timidity, for example when I run the program XMIPLAY in DosBox on one of the XMI files extracted from MIDI_MI.HQR, it also uses the improved sound font from Timidity.

The problem is: LBA itself is not using the Timidity server! When I start LBA in DosBox, it still uses the crappy standard timidity sound font, and looking into my Pulse Audio Volume Control window, the sound doesn't come from the Timidity plugin (like it does when I use XMIPLAY in DosBox) but the standard ALSA plugin that DosBox uses. How do I tell LBA to use Timidity? How does that even work? I guess it requires fidgiting around with the sound card settings (Setup.exe / lba.cfg + the sound card that is emulated by DosBox?).

Edit: figured it out. I used setup.exe to use a MIDI device instead of a Sound Blaster Pro (I use Wave Blaster) and it uses the Timidity sound font. I will make a video about the differences in music quality.

Jasiek 2012-07-23 09:03


What midi device did you choose? I tried a few of them in the lba .cfg file.

Kobold 2012-07-23 13:23

I used setup.exe in the LBA folder to set the MIDI driver, I chose "WaveBlaster on top of SoundBlaster 16" (just make sure you select a device that has [MIDI] instead of [OPL] listed)

The original Windows soundfont is usable, you can copy if over from an old Windows installation. It's stored in C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386\ and is called 2gmgsmt.sf2

Jasiek 2012-07-23 21:52

Could I get your dosbox.conf, lba.cfg and /etc/timidity/timidity.cfg files?

Cause right now, for some reason I have no midi sound at all, and I can't get it back.

Kobold 2012-07-23 22:41

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I have attached all the files in a ZIP file, plus a readme. Note that you have to change the language in LBA.CFG.

elmuerte 2012-07-30 21:55

Just to chime in (get it ;) )
Here are some additional soundfonts you can freely use:

Fluid R3 (which also comes with a lot of Linux distributions) sounds quite good, except some tracks sound very weird (mostly the flutes)

TimGM6mb sounds pretty much as I remember the music to sound like in 1995 (higher fidelity though), although there is 1 instrument used in the LBA theme which is quite off.

GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.44 has the overal best sound I think, there is maybe 1 instrument that's a bit off. The track with just a flute sounds weird.

moothead 2012-07-30 23:39

Thanks for all the replies :). I did realise however that I can actually use LBAWin (I'm on windows 7 64bit). I somehow got it into my head that I couldn't run LBAWin on a 64 bit OS but I think I'm getting it confused with the windows installation of LBA2. Maybe should have mentioned my OS in the OP and saved you all the effort but I'm sure you helped some people :p.

Just wondering, has anyone uploaded scans of the official game guide onto this site yet?

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