MT32-Pi, 386 Installation

This is part of my 386 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:

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”.

Tinted plastic fitted over LCD cutout:

Definitely an improvement, but I need to try and cut out some of the backlight leakage from around the edges of the LCD screen.

Much better:

Internal audio cable routing:

USB MIDI interface:

Finished installation with volume dial:

In action showing the emulated MT-32 LCD panel messages from Sierra's Silpheed and channels in use:

  • blog/386_pc_mt32pi.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/05/29 22:40
  • by john