blog:286_pc_mt32pi

MT32-Pi, 286 Installation

This is part of my 286 PC adventures, a bit of a finishing touch, if you like. I already have a MIDI card for the machine, and was intending on adding a connection to my bank of physical MIDI devices… however I caught wind of the latest state of the MT32-Pi project and considered adding a software emulation of a Roland MT-32 synth inside the PC itself

The aim, in short, is to put a virtual one of these:

inside this:

p1020532.jpg

In more detail: The emulation of the Roland MT-32 has come on significantly in recent years, with the Munt project releasing a very accurate software emulation of the device - good enough for most purposes.

More recently, a project to run the Munt emulator on a Raspberry Pi (on 'bare metal', i.e. no Linux OS to boot), called MT32-pi, has reached a milestone where packaging a working MT-32 emulator on a device that can fit in the palm of your hand is possible.

Lots of people are now building these devices, packaging them in to small instrument cases or similar. However, I really liked the idea of having one or two computers where all of the MIDI functionality was entirely built-in, and not reliant on external boxes or power supplies. “Hmm…” I thought; “…that 5.25 drive bay looks like just the place I could fit such a device”.

Modifying the enclosure to fit the front panel and controls:

Painting the enclosure in the same shade Plastikote blue as the case:

Blanking card made up to block most of the backlight bleeding around the edge of the LCD panel:

Buttons, volume control and tinted plastic fitted to front of enclosure:

Early mockup of the match to the 286 case:

Volume control fitted and testing how well the panel fits into the front bezel:

Micro USB to Molex power fitted, controls and screen wired up and being tested:

[Update 13/June/2021] - Unfortunately, it looks like the M-Audio Uno interface that I picked up is a different revision to the one being used on my 386, and it throws errors whenever an MT-32 game loads:

… in addition to the error message the instruments don't get set correctly and notes are missing or stuck during music playback.

[Update 14/June/2021] - Bought a Roland UM One mk2 MIDI interface to replace the M-Audio Uno. This is on the MT32-Pi compatability list, so fingers crossed it should solve the problems described above.

  • blog/286_pc_mt32pi.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/06/14 10:21
  • by john