Gravis UltraSound midi music Frequently Asked Questions
techno music page
W A R N I N G ! ! this document is out of date. It only covers the
so called GUS classic soundcard and use under msdos/windows 3.11
comments and suggestions to email@example.com
known problems and workarounds
controllers and other technical info on the GUS midi synth
GUS midi FX FAQ
midi gadgets(misc useful programs for midi)
sequencers (that patch cache- a list)
other net places
known problems and workarounds
patch caching problem
Any app in Windows that does not support patch caching will normally
not produce any sound when trying to play MIDI. To get such apps to
For example old versions of cakewalk for windows, cubase and cadenza
do not support patch caching.
make music on the GUS, you must preload a mini version of the GM set
into the GUS' RAM. Do the following:
1. Go into Control Panel, Drivers, and Setup the Ultrasound
driver (the one for MIDI/WAV audio, not the MIDI port).
Select the Conserve Memory option and exit.
2. Go into MIDI Mapper and select Ultra256 if you have 256k
on your GUS, Ultra512 if you have 512k, etc., as the setup.
3. Then use Media Player to play load256.mid, load512.mid, or
load1024.mid (depending on how much memory is on your GUS)
in your /ultrasnd/midi directory.
The mini GM patch set will not sound as good or have the diversity of
the full GM set, so make sure that you switch back to the Ultrasound
setup and High Fidelity when using apps that do support patch
caching. Also, the mini GM set sounds a lot better on a 1 Meg GUS
than on a 256k one.
Another solution to this problem is to run patchmanger at the same time as
the sequencer that doesnt patch cache and then use the patch manager to load
patches as needed.
how to setup Midimapper
MicroSoft MIDI Mapper FAQ, version 1.1 2-Nov-1993
Clarke Brunt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MIDI Mapper is a device driver which appears to application programs as
a MIDI output device. Most MIDI applications will include MIDI Mapper as
one of the available MIDI output devices, thus you might have 3 devices
- Ultrasound MIDI Synth, Ultrasound MIDI output port, and MIDI Mapper.
Some applications, such as MicroSoft Media Player offer no choice and
always use MIDI Mapper. If used, MIDI Mapper has the ability to
manipulate MIDI messages passed to it, before sending them on to the
real MIDI devices, for example it might change the MIDI channel for a
message. If you select one of the Ultrasound drivers in your application,
then MIDI Mapper has *nothing* to do with the output - all MIDI messages
are unchanged. If however you are selecting MIDI Mapper, whether
implicitly or explicitly, then what you get will depend on the MIDI Mapper
settings, so the following may be relevant to you.
The MIDI Mapper settings are accessed from Control Panel, and stored in
\windows\system\midimap.cfg. A new copy of this file is installed as
part of the Ultrasound installation, as well as remaining in
\ultrasnd\windows, so if you mess up the real version, you can copy over
a new one.
The MIDI Mapper dialog has radio buttons to choose whether to look at
Setups, Patch Maps, or Key Maps. Setups use Patch Maps, which in turn
use Key Maps - only the Setup you select in this box matters, so don't
worry if when you press the Patch Maps button, it displays 1024K Drums -
that just happens to be at the top of the list of Patch Maps.
Now let's examine the three components - first Setups. Press the Setups
button - you will probably be using Setup Ultrasound. Press Edit to look
what this setup consists of (take care not to alter it if you are not
certain what you are doing). For each of the 16 MIDI channels (Src Chan)
the dialog displays which MIDI channel to output on (Dest Chan), which
actual MIDI port to output on (Port Name), which Patch Map to use (see
later), and whether this channel is active. For the Ultrasound setup,
Dest Chan is the same as Src Chan. An example of using a different
mapping might be if you had a MID with percussion on channel 16, but
wanted it to play on 10, as in the Ultrasound. This setup does not use
Patch Maps - they would be used to map one instrument (program change,
patch select) into another. As supplied, the Ultrasound setup does not
have channels 11-16 enabled. You might want to enable them if you intend
to play MIDs which use all 16 channels through MIDI Mapper.
Now go back to the top level box and instead select setup Ultra 1024K,
then use Edit to look at it. This setup, along with Ultra 256K and Ultra
512K, attempt to map all the General MIDI instruments and percussion
into a subset which will fit in the memory of a GUS. The missing
instruments are mapped onto ones which hopefully sound similar. These
setups can be used with applications which do not know how to load
(cache) patches into the GUS, the subset of patches being loaded by
using Patch Manager's 'load from MIDI file' option with the supplied
load1024.mid (NB only fits in 1 Meg if you have the 'conserve memory'
option selected). Another approach is to use Patch Manager to preload
the correct patches for each mid. Setup Ultra 1024K uses Patch Map
Ultra1024 on all melodic channels, and patch map 1024K Drums on channel
Now select these Patch Maps in the top level box and use Edit to look at
them. Patch Map Ultra1024 just maps all the source patches into the
subset destination patches, for example patches 0-5 (various pianos) are
all mapped into patch 0 (Acoustic Grand). It does not use Keymaps, which
could be used for example to change the pitch of a particular patch, by
mapping each key in Note On messages into a different one. For Patch Map
1024K drums, only the entry for source patch 0 is relevant, because
program change messages are not used on a percussion channel. Observe
that Keymap 1024k_drums is used.
Now look at Keymap 1024k_drums. This does for percussion what patch map
Ultra1024 does for melodic instruments - it maps the full set into the
subset which we can fit in memory.
You may never need to use MIDI Mapper, but it is worth knowing its
capabilities. Possibilities include sending output from Media Player to
the GUS MIDI output port, fixing up MIDI files which use the wrong
channels or patches, or experimenting with different patches without
changing the MIDI file.
Now some problems caused by incorrect MIDI Mapper settings.
If you are using an application which knows how to cache patches, then
either don't output via MIDI Mapper at all, or if you do, then make sure
you have selected the Ultrasound setup, and that any channels you require
are enabled. If you select one of the Ultra xxxK setups instead, then the
result will be that your instruments are mapped onto a reduced set of
instruments, for example, you will get Acoustic Grand whichever piano
If your application does not cache patches, the first symptom is usually
no sound at all. There are two approaches to fixing this. You can avoid
MIDI Mapper, or use it with the Ultrasound setup, but load patches as
required. This can be done in Patch Manager, either manually, or using
it's 'load from MIDI file' option, or by playing a MIDI file with Media
Player. Alternatively, to avoid having to keep changing patches, you can
load as many as will fit in your GUS memory - the supplied MIDI files
loadxxx.mid are designed to use suitable patches for different amounts
of memory (but note that they will not fit if you select the 'High
Fidelity' option when setting up the GUS drivers). Having loaded the
patch set from one of these MIDI files, you then have to ensure that you
use MIDI Mapper, and select the matching setup (e.g. Ultra 1024K). This
will then map requests for the full set of instruments onto the ones
that you have loaded. Note that MIDI Mapper does not load patches of its
own accord - it is still your responsibility to load the appropriate
midi cable/SBOS/windoze start problem
UltraSound and the NMI
Here is a letter from John Spak, the tech who is investigating this
NMI problem some manufacturers are having.
Dear Ultrasound Customer,
This letter is to inform you of a problem that you might encounter
with motherboards that are not 100% IBM compatible. One defect found
in these motherboards is that the IO CH/CHK signal is not available
on the PC bus - to date, this signal is present in all Industry
Standard Architecture personal computers made by IBM and others
( Hewlet Packard, Northgate, AST, Gateway, Dell, etc. ).
Obviously motherboards without a working IO/CKCHK can not be
considered IBM compatible or industry standard by any means. This
fact is also supported by the IEEE Microprocessor Standards Committee
(Draft D2.02 July 13, 1990) and the Intel ISA Bus Specification
(January 30, 1990) both of which indicate how the IO CH/CHK signal
is to be handled. Note that it is never disconnected!
In the event that you have a non-standard motherboard you will find
that SBOS (a driver that we supply to emulate the SoundBlaster) will
not work; also note that midi input from an instrument will not be
possible from within windows. We recommend that you confront the
vendor who sold the motherboard to you (I am assuming that it was
implied that you were being sold a 100% IBM compatible motherboard)
requesting the compatible motherboard that you asked for.
For your convenience supporting abstracts from both Intel and
IEEE documentation have been included with this letter.
Advanced Gravis Technical Support
[ hints for making the demo version bundled with gus work a little better]
playing .wav files in sync with midi files
Use patchMaker lite to create a patch out of the .wav files. Add
your patch to the ultrasnd.ini file and use this patch like you would
anyother. This patch will respond to MIDI signals so you can assign
samples to specific keys on the keyboard. You can have more than one .wav
on one patch. See section on Patchmaker
[it is also possible to sync WAV files using cakewalk, details wanted please]
midi in seems dead
>So here is my problem. When I play the MIDI keyboard,the red LED for the MIDI
>port on the MIDI adapter flickers as MIDI data is sent to it, but the software
>shows me absolutely no indication that the data is getting to it. When I
>attempt to send any kind of MIDI data out fromt he software, the red LED above
>the MIDI out port does not lite up at all.
Do you have your GUS joystick port disabled? Do you have access to
someone else's GUS/MIDI adaptor that you can swap with yours to test your
If you are using dos software that addresses the GUS as if its a MPU-401,
do you have an adaptec scsi card? There are known conflicts with this
I installed MS Windows 95 and the drivers dont work!
The windows 95 drivers are now available at various sites on the internet,
including gravis' WWW page
Some people have had problems with the midi input and output:
>It appears that you are supposed to still use the old ultmport.drv
>driver alongside the new Win95 drivers to access the MIDI port -
>it should still be in \windows\system. This means that you
>end up using grvsultr.vxd (Win95), ultrasnd.drv (Win95), and
>ultmport.drv (Win3.1). You don't use grvsultr.386.
>Unfortunately the Gravis Win95 install script fails to set it up,
>so you have to go into SYSTEM.INI and add midi1=ultmport.drv
>(after the line which goes midi='something else'). If you have
>other MIDI devices, you may need midi2= midi3= etc.
>It then works, but I still get an occasional Win95 total hang
>when I first access the MIDI port (just the same as I used
>to get with the Win3.1 drivers under Win95). Kris at Gravis
>has not been able to suggest anything other than "Maybe an
>NMI problem" (but it used to work fine under Win3.1), or
>"try different DMAs or IRQs".
Another sort of midiport fix for PCI
>I've managed to fix that midi output
>problem, which I told couple of weeks ago. The problem then was awful lot of
>note-on delays and note-off droppings and such.
> Well, I changed that Intel Zappa motherboard to MG board and played
>with Award Bios' parameters for a couple of days, and the miracle happened:
>midi output was working again! The critical parameters were "8 bit I/O
>recovery time" and "16 bit I/O recovery time", which have to be at least 8
>and 4 clock pulses. So here we go again; sometimes it is the tiniest little
>thing you could imagine to make somthing to work. Luckily problem was not
>the drivers, the adaptor itself or the soundcard.
"Which version of ultmport.drv are you using?"
( clark blunt reports:)
>Along with others, I've reported having great difficulty getting input
>from an external instrument attached to the MIDI port of an UltraSound
>Classic using Win95. Usual result was total system lock up as soon
>as the port was accessed.
>Well it looks like Gravis tech support may have spotted my problem.
>"Which version of ultmport.drv are you using?" they said. I have
>at least 3 of these on my system, from the 3.53, 3.59, and 4.11
>disk sets. The one in \windows\system turned out to be the
>3.53 one (11680 bytes 8-Apr-1994 10:00:30). I replaced it
>by the 3.59 or 4.11 version, and no problems since! ultmport.drv
>is identical in these two releases (11648 bytes, 21-Nov-1994
>13:28:40 or 20-Mar-1995 04:01:00). I should add that I'm
>using ultmport.drv together with the 1.1 release of Win95 drivers.
What is a .pat file
>What is Gravis .pat Exactly?
Its a "patch" file for the gravis ultrasound series of PC soundcards.
In the file there is a small header and at least one sound sample.
The header contains instructions for the soundcard on loop points,
vibrato speed and other instructions for performance playback.
Each sample is "mapped" to a different range of notes.
Samples may have any sampling rate up to 44.1Khz, can be 8 or 16 bit and
up to 256k in size.
They are loaded before use into the RAM on the ultrasound soundcard.
The ultrasound soundcards come with a large ( 5Mb+ ) set of patches for
general midi and tools to make your own patches.
software tools to use
Use pmaker110.zip, which is also included in version 2.10 of the sdk.
Be sure to install the drivers that come with it as they allow the use of
The new patch maker software is also in the 3.1 software update in gus0038.zip
The envelope handling in patch maker lite is a bit lame, but there is a
program called envhack which may get around this.
I cant use stereo .wav files
pmaker lite doesnt support stereo .wav files. .wav files can be
converted to mono with noisemaster (nm201.zip) sample editor or sox
sample format converter (sox10.zip), to name but two.
how to alter patchmaps
midi on the gus uses a map to say which midi patch numbers used in a
program change messages are related to which patch files.
Select the bank manager, in the patch manager to add new banks
I want lots of high quality .wav files off the net
>The way to do this on a Pee Cee is to look for a copy of patref23.zip and
>2pat10.zip on archie. Get patref23.zip first, it gives the location of lots
>of files made by / for use with various pro samplers ie the EPS, k2000 etc.
>Get yourself some of these sample files (patref is a windows help file that
>has the locations and descriptions in it) and then use 2pat10 to rip them
>apart into .wav files or .pat files
The most current version of patref is 2.4. It's available in
ftp.netcom.com: pub/jtcapps as filename patref24.zip. Also, since 2PAT
is so useful, I've zipped it into that same archive [one stop shopping :-)]
How can I use multiple patch banks with a sequencer?
> Hmmmm...It seems like the new Bankmanager will let me create multiple patch
>bands on my Ultrasnd.ini file...but how can I use them with a sequencer such
>as Powertracks or WinJammer?
load bankmanager, select the bank you want to use and save to bank 0 ( on the
file menu )
You cant mix n match from different multiple banks, but making a new custom
bank for different song setups is possible as there are over a thousand banks
controllers and other technical info on the GUS midi synth
what controllers are there?
controller 7- Main volume
controller 10- pan
controller 11- 'Like another volume'? [Does this effect envelopes?]
123 - all notes off
6- pitchbend sensitivity
What is the MIDI message to ensure all notes are off?
> What is the MIDI message to ensure all notes are off? This is for General
> Midi compliant devices. Currently, I loop through all 16 channels, sending
> note offs from note 0 to 127 with a volume of zero. However, it takes
> upto a second for this to complete. There has to be an easier way.
Controller 123, I believe, is the All Notes Off controller. You need to
send a control message for each channel
How do I adjust pitchbend sensitivity?
>>Well, I can't be the only GUSser who has discovered the pitch-bending trick,
>>can I? In Windows, I can pitch-bend a full octave up or down. In DOS,
>>playmidi let's me pitch-bend the full range.
>>This is illustrated with my WESTSIDE.MID which is currently in the submit
>>directory at epas.
>>The trick is in using controllers 100 and 101 in combination with controller
>>6 (which is apparently pitch-bend sensitivity). There maybe a better/easier
>>way to do this but I haven't found any.
>>First, you must set contollers 100/101 off, i.e. 0, before you set the
>>sensitivity. You then set controller 6 to the number of tones you wish the
GUS midi FX FAQ
HOW TO MAKE YOUR GUS SOUND LIKE IT COST MORE THAN IT DID (in mids):
This is probably the most common one I use to make the sound richer. The
basic idea is to set up two channels with the same patch, put them in
different stereo positions using controller 10 messages (eg. 0 and 127).
put a small pitch bend message (eg. about +-200) in one or both channels
(i.e. in opposite directions if on both channels!), and then send the same
note messages to each channel. This can be done very quickly on Cakewalk:
use the 'track clone' command, change the midi channel number of the new
track and use `event view' and the insert button to put in the pitch bend
Pretty obvious one this. Just play the note again at a different volume
level (and different stereo position if using a second midi channel). If you
want more echoes, just do it again and again and again (four is the most
I've tried so far in warfilm.mid, but if someone wants to go the full 16...).
A few different types of delay: there's the 3/4 of a beat or beat and a half
delay, both of which are good for padding out solo noises. Then
there's the 'doubling' delay - a quite short delay just to stagger the
nosies a bit: I generally use this along with the chorusing effect above -
makes the effect a little more intense (good for pad type nosies).
Again, really easy to do in Cakewalk: Use track clone, then use the 'time'
column in the track info. This gives how many ticks you want to shift the
track (+ or -). Then change the volume levels and you're done.
This one's the tricky one. What you have to do is look for a patch that's
similar to the one you're using but has a different volume envelope to it
(one that cuts off slowly). Then you double the two sounds as for chorus
and muck about with the volume level to try and get things right. An
extra trick is to use the Cakewalk 'edit length' (I think that what it's
called) command to lengthen the duration of the notes in the second part.
The only one of my attempts at this I'm really happy with is the voice noise
on Chris3.mid which is really quite a convincing `reverb' effect.
STEREO PANNING EFFECTS
Well, what you need here is some way of recording midi controller 10 messages
on to your track. In my case I can just assign one of the wheels or sliders on
my keyboard to do this and then just record while sliding noises around.
If you've got Cakewalk for Windows, there's a window that let's you do a
similar thing with the mouse. Another trick for people with keyboards that
don't send controller 10 messages: you can always send controller 1 messages:
(mod wheel) and then convert them to controller 10 (for example, using
Cakewalk's interpolate command).
Same as panning but using controller 7 messages. Only problem is, if you've
got to do 10 tracks this becomes pretty boring on a track by track basis.
Still, it works, and it makes you think about how each individual track
should fade. Just thought of another approach that I've never used, though:
If you used 'Expression' messages (controller 11?) then you could fade all
the parts equally without destroying their intial controller 7 mix
levels. (i.e. record one track then copy the controller 11 messages across
to all the others). This would get an absolutely uniform fade which would be
good for the 'fade on endless loop of chorus' type strategy used when you
can't figure how else to end the damned thing.
Well, that's most of it. If I can think of anything else I'll use it first
and then reveal my secrets later. Check out Chris1-5, Chrisnot and
Warfilm for demonstrations of these. (You can actually see a lot of them in
the flashing lights of playmidi).
1) copy the track you want to flange to another sequencer track
2) if isnt drums put it on another midi channel
playback and it should flange a bit. Slide the copied track forward a tick
or two, and fiddle with pan and pitchbend to taste. Results will be
unpredictable, and seem to be better with hi pitched noise based instruments
midi gadgets(misc useful programs for midi)
whats midimon? How do I fix it?
[ there was a discussion about midimon, what it did and why it was broken ]
This is located at archive.orst.edu getit
QUICK MIDI PATCH LOADER
Quick MIDI Patch Loader works with any Windows soundcard that
supports patch caching, e.g. the Advanced Gravis UltraSound.
It offers the following features:
Command-line parameters are provided to automate
repetitive MIDI patch loading needs. You can create
Program Manager Program Items (icons) to load
different customized patch sets for each of your
Fast Interactive Patch Loading
The interactive dialog starts quickly, even on slow
computers. If you know what patches you need this
program is the fastest way to load them.
Combinations of command-line and interactive input
can be used. Comprehensive help is available via
the Windows Help System.
To install Quick MIDI Patch Loader simply copy PATCHLDR.EXE
and PATCHLDR.HLP to a directory, and then create a Program
Item (icon) for PATCHLDR.EXE using the File | New command
in the Windows Program Manager.
mycrofts midi jukebox
[ plays wavs and midis filename juker30.zip ]
[can this be used to emulate an MT-32 in any musically useful way?]
Aleatoric Composer [IBM Win]
Carl Christensen email@example.com, author of the program,
Aleatoric Composition deals with creating music by using random
processes. It has roots at least as far back as Mozart's
_Musical Dice Game_ (k294d) and as recent as John Cage and
Lejaren Hiller's work _HPSCHD_.
In the program `Aleatoric Composer' you can select random or
conditional probabilities for notes over an 8 octave range and
for rhythms from a whole note to a thirty-second note. The package
runs under Windows 3.1, and it requires a sound or MIDI card with
the appropriate drivers installed. If the Windows Sequencer is
enabled, as well as the MIDI Mapper (General MIDI), you can play
your compositions within the program. Otherwise, you can save
your works as a MIDI file and import it into your favorite
hardware or software sequencer.
`Aleatoric Composer' can currently be found on the following ftp sites:
[ nb new version 1.1 now available ]
This program is a driver which allows a midi sequencer to use the qwerty
keyboard as a musical keyboard. Version 21 works with powerchords, midisoft
studio and winjammer and it patch caches. Recommended
midi connector box- how to
> Has anyone made the midi interface for the GUS that is in the FAQ?
> If so, were did you find the part# 6N138? I cant seem to locate
> this anywhere. Also, (excuse my ingorance i'm not an EE) but
> what exactly is that part and its purpose? Thanks...
The 6N138 is a high sensitivity opto-isolator, manufactured by
Hewlett Packard (and I believe, a company called Quality Technology)
The main point in using this part as opposed to other more common
opto-isolators is the low LED ON current spec. (1.6mA)
A midi out circuit is basically a LED in series with 600 ohms,
and a 5V supply. Taking into account the 1.7V forward drop across the
LED, you get about 5mA in the on state. Other optos generally need
more current to turn them on (say 15-60mA, but this varies a lot). A
'high speed' 6N137 opto will also work, I believe, but that would be a
bit marginal on the input current (spec. is min 5mA).
Since a number of people have been asking, I'll add below the
midi circuit that I'm using, plus a bit of general explanation I've
culled from other peoples' postings on the subject.
Generic Midi Out/In/Through Circuit
The following shows a typical OUT, cable, and IN circuit
MIDI OUT port ---->|<- cable ->|<---- MIDI IN port +5V
+5V DIN DIN +--\/\/\/-+
| 220 +-+ +-------+ +-+ 220 +--------+ |
|\ +-\/\/\/--|4|-|-------|-|4|--\/\/\/--| OPTO |-+-+- UART RXD
UART | \ | | | | | | |ISOLATOR| |
TXD ---| \---\/\/\/--|5|-|-------|-|5|----------| |-+ |
| / 220 | | +-------+ | | +--------+ | |
| / +--|2|-+ +-|2| 6N138 GND|
|/ 7407 | +-+ +-+ |
| +5V DIN
| | 220 +-+
| |\ +-\/\/\/--|4|
| | \ | |
+--| \---\/\/\/--|5| MIDI THRU
| / 220 | |
| / +--|2|
|/ 7407 | +-+
Note that when the UART TXD is high, no current flows through
the resistors and optoisolator's LED, causing the optoisolator's
phototransistor to remain off, allowing the UART RXD to be pulled high
by the 270 ohm resistor. When the UART TXD is low, current flows
through the resistors and optoisolator's LED, turning on
optoisolator's phototransistor, grounding the UART RXD. The voltage
drop across the optoisolator's LED is typically 1.5 volts, leaving 3.5
volts to be dropped across (3 times 220) 660 ohms, which allows about
5 ma to flow.
The reason a current loop is used is that it allows an ground
isolated interconnection. Note that the ground from the MIDI OUT
port's device is not connected to the ground of the MIDI IN port's
device. This prevents ground loops in systems where appropriate
attention has not been paid to grounding issues, such as the case of
typical musicians in a typical club!
Gravis Ultrasound Circuit
15 pin D connector
pin-1 +5v ----+--------------------------/\/\/\---------------\
| \ 4
| Gnd--2 MIDI OUT
| |\ |\ 220R / 5
pin-12 tr >---|------| o-----| o----------/\/\/\--------------/
| 13|/ 12 11|/ 10
| \ 4
pin-15 rx <---|--------------------+ Gnd--2 MIDI THRU
| |\ |\ | 220R / 5
| +--| o-----| o---+-------/\/\/\------------/
| | 1|/ 2 3|/ 4
| 270R | 220R
|B |C |A | \ 4
+-|----------|----|-+ | MIDI IN
| 8 6 2 | ----- / 5
| | / \ IN914 or IN4148 +-/
| 6N138 | --- |
| | | |
| 5 3 | | |
+------------|----|-+ | |
| |K | |
pin-5 Gnd --------------+ +------+----------------------+
Inverters are 74LS04. (This is a 14-pin IC containing 6
inverters. Connect pin 14 to +5V, pin 7 to GND)
Leave pin 2 of the MIDI IN unconnected (Don't connect to ground).
Some hints for testing your circuit
1] Check *all* connections (use a continuity tester, and tick
them off on a printout of the circuit).
2] Check them again ;-)
3] Make sure you have the latest (GUS0012.zip) windows midi
driver, and make sure it is installed properly.
4] Make sure your midi sequencer package is set up to use the
Ultrasound Midi In/Out ports. (As opposed to the Ultrasound Synth)
5] If you still have no joy,
a] Just connect the +5V and GND to your midi circuit,
(leave the d-connector pins 12 and 15 unconnected), and then
connect pin 13 of the 7404 to +5V check you have (about) +5V
appearing on pin 10. This checks midi out.
b] Connect pin 4 of the midi-in DIN socket via 2 extra
220R resistors to +5V. Check pin 4 of the 7404. It should be
low (about 0V). Then connect pin 4 of the midi-in DIN socket
to 0V. Pin 4 of the 7404 should go high. This checks midi in.
c] Reconnect the d-type pins 12 and 15, and connect a
midi cable between midi-out on the circuit and and midi-in on
your synth. Set up your sequencer to use the Ultrasound MIDI
port as an output, and ensure that one of the tracks is set to
use this port. Check your synth is expecting MIDI data on the
same channel as sequencer is transmitting. Start sequencer
playing. Check that midi data is being transmitted at pin 12
of the d-type (look at it with an oscilloscope, if possible).
Standard disclaimers apply - use this information at your own
risk, and if your fry your card/PC/synth/toaster, then you have my
sympathy, but not much else ;-)
If you're not happy about messing with circuits and soldering
irons and wires and stuff, then you may wish to wait for the midi
connector box from Gravis to become available.
I notice that in the older FAQs, there is a description (from
Dustin Caldwell ) of the solder side pinout for a
15-pin D-type connector. This looks wrong to me. I have a 15-pin male
d-type in from of me, and it looks like this from the solder side
(i.e. the side you attach the wires to, rather than the side with the
pins that plugs into the card):
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
| \ o o o o o o o o / |
| ( ) \ / ( ) |
| \ o o o o o o o / |
15 14 13 12 11 10 9
It is easy to get the pins confused on these connectors - the
female version seen from the solder side of course has everything the
other way around (pin 1 is on the left hand side).
Hope this helps (or at least doesn't add to the confusion :-).
All reasonable quality D-type connectors have pin numbers marked
against the pins anyway.
I phoned up a memory supply company and asked for:
Four 70ns fastpage 44256 dram chips like those in video cards
and I got what I wanted. It seems to be safer to replace all the
chips with the same speed and to not get 100ns rated devices as they
*may* be out of tolerence. When you fit them be careful about static
electricity and watch out for bent pins, although a considerable amount
of force has to be used to get them correctly seated [other experiences wanted ]
buying a keyboard
While some people seem happy with the idea of typing in notes from a
computer keyboard, this seems to me a pretty slow way of writing music.
Even if you can't play very well, remember that you can always play along
really slowly and then speed it up. Also remember that you can often use
`step write' options which allow you to take as long as you want to choose
the next note. What's more, you can edit your mistakes, push your
playing into time using a `quantise' function, and play things in lots and
lots of little takes. That said, I have to admit, playing ability helps ...
Anyway, the real question when buying a keyboard is:
how much do you want to spend? Keyboards go from about $100 for a second
hand non-velocity sensitive 3 or 4 octave thing to about $2000 for a
88-key weighted fully featured controller keyboard.
I'll assume most GUS users are interested in close to the bottom end of this
range. The possibilities that spring to mind are: bottom of the line
controller keyboards (new or 2nd hand), obsolete proper synths with midi
outputs (2nd hand), and little `home/organ - toy synth' type things generally
made by Casio or Yamaha (new or 2nd hand) as long as they have midi outputs.
Some parameters to consider. Does it have full size keys? The little ones
are awful if you ask me (but probably much cheaper I guess). How many
keys does the keyboard have? How important this is depends on your playing
skill and how much space you've got. If you're going to be playing with
two hands (piano parts, etc), it's nice to have 60 or more. If you're going
to be playing with one hand and you haven't got much space, 49 is probably
An important thing to look for is velocity sensitivity (the ability to send
messages as to how hard the key was struck). This is very useful. Also a pitch
bend / modulation arrangement is very useful. Both of these will allow your
music to sound less mechanical and more expressive. Beyond that we get into
the `luxury' features: aftertouch, extra continuous controllers, transmission
on multiple midi channels with splits/zones etc.
I don't really have many concrete examples for you, but I'll give you some
stray cases just so you can get some idea of what you're looking at/for.
Firstly, the cheapest 'reputable' brand thing I know if is the Roland PC-200
controller keyboard. These are traded fairly often 2nd hand on the
rec.music.makers.synth newsgroup for asking prices of about $180. They have
49 full size keys, are velocity sensitive, and have a pitchbend/modulation
joystick. They're fairly compact and light. I've seen one but haven't used
one so I can't say much beyond this.
Secondly, I use a 2nd hand Yamaha Kx-76 which I bought for $450 not so long
ago. It's got 76 keys with velocity and aftertouch sensitivity, pitch bend
and mod wheels, 4 sliders and various switches and a fairly flexible
structure of assigning controllers to send various messages. It's also
enormous and very heavy (which is good for stability, but it takes up a lot
of space and is hard to move about). It's not going to break in a hurry.
Thirdly, going from an ad in front of me, you can buy something called a
Yamaha PSR-300 keyboard which "offers a whole new world of music
expression and creativity" (ha ha!) with a 61-key keyboard which I guess
is velocity sensitive ("featuring touch response") new for $349 (probably
less if you haggle). But frankly, I wouldn't be seen dead with one of
these :-) . Probably plenty on the 2nd hand market a month after Christmas
Ken Goach (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
>>If you're really wanting something cheap, just go to Target or
>>WalMart or somehwere like that and get a cheap Casio that has
>>MIDI OUT. Sure, it may not have advanced features, but as long
>>as you can input info to a sequencer, you're happening. Some
>>models are touch sensitive and have ptich/mod wheels. Trust
>>me, you really *want* the pitch/mod wheels, and a velocity
>>synth is nice if you can play at all (beginners might do
>>better to stick with a constant-velocity synth for starters).
Note that you can always scale velocities to constant from
a variable velocity synth but you can't go the other way round.
Ken Goach (email@example.com) writes:
>>One advantage of getting a proper synth as a keyboard is
>>that you can also use its sounds. Just set MIDI Map to
>>send certain channels to it instead of the GUS, and you'll
>>have two synths to use. I'm looking at a Roland D-5 myself...
Also, you may be able to use them to make new patches on your GUS.
Possible cheap 2nd hand synths that MAY be worth owning:
multitimbral options - Roland D5 and D10, Kawai K1, Yamaha SY22;
single patch or split keyboard options - Roland JX-8p, Roland
Alpha-Juno 1 and 2, Yamaha DX-7, DX-11, DX-21. Roland JX-3p's and Juno 106s
are groovy analog beasts, but don't have velocity sensitive keyboards.
And if you can pick up a Roland Jupiter 6 in good condition for not much
money, tell me about it and I'll buy it first (great analog sounds).
for more info
The following files are at archive.orst.edu:/pub/packages/gravis/info
grndloop.txt Info on fixing noise problems on Ultrasound
jp5_jp7.txt Info on Jumper (JP5+JP7) modifications and specs
micro.arj Circuit diagram for connecting mic to Ultrasound
midi-box Information on building a midi box for the Ultrasond
surround.txt Info on building surround sound setup for Ultrasound
sequencers (that patch cache- a list)
[mini-reviews? more for the list?]
cubase version 2
cakewalk version 2
Demo is in /pub/pc/win3/demo at ftp.cica.indiana.edu [188.8.131.52] and
mirrors as wincake1.zip and wincake2.zip.
There is a demo version of this available on archive.orst.edu as pcprodem.zip
Mini-Review of PowerTracks Pro
266 Elmwood Ave, Unit 111
Buffalo, NY 14222
I've been looking for a budget-priced sequencer to use with my Gravis
Ultrasound for a while now, and just recently I was idly flipping
through Keyboard magazine and saw an ad for PowerTracks Pro, a Windows &
DOS sequencer for $29. Yes, twenty-nine dollars. It has a 30-day money-back
guarantee, and is distributed by the same folks who make Band-In-A-Box,
so I thought it might be worth a try.
A note: while I have used WinJammer, Recording Session, Power Chords,
and MIDI Connections, I have not used Cubase, Cakewalk, or any other
multi-hundred dollar sequencer, with the exception of a lot of Mac
software from 4 years ago or so.
The program does support patch caching (necessary for the Gravis
It can print scores, though its notation features are slim. It has a
large selection of very powerful editing features. It would be a snap
to, for example, take every 16th note above C5 and copy it one octave
higher, 25 ticks later, and on a different channel. Using filters,
copying, pasting, and transposing, you can do amazing things.
The program also has a nice sysex librarian feature, including pre-built
macros to do patch dumps from about 30 or so popular synths and sound
The sequencer includes SMPTE timing and can sync to an external signal.
It can also work with Midi Time Code.
There were a few minor glitches. When reading in MIDI files from
elsewhere, it generally didn't sense the patch setting for each channel,
so to change the patches on a channel, you had to either edit the patch
change using the event list, or delete all patch changes and fill in a
patch manually for each track. Either way, it wasn't a big deal, and
once it's been done you can save the file in the PowerTracks native
once it's been done you can save the file in the PowerTracks native
format. Also, the program has a HUGE number of options, and I found it
easy to get lost, or would find myself not understanding an odd behavior
at first. Still, tha manual is fairly complete, and I was always able to
figure out my problems.
All in all, I'd say this product is WELL worth $29, and in fact has
rocketed to the top of my hit parade. I really don't see how anyone who
needs a sequencer could go wrong with this product. If you don't have
Please direct comments/questions (about this review, not the software)
to Don Munsil -- firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd just like to point out another sequencer which now
supports patch caching.
It is called Procyon, and comes in two versions, Lite (or v1.23)
and Pro (v2.02). Both of these support patch caching, at least to
The look and feel is very similar to Cubase, ie a graphically based
sequencer in which the composition is made up of parts.
The basic features are as follows;
Arrangement window - configurable
Piano Roll editor - includes step time
Event editor - has filters to narrow down data
multiple midi ports
Pro same as lite plus
Score editor + printing
GM patch list
It works OK with the GUS, apart from the metronome, which does not
automatically patch cache.
There is a demo version available, on archive.orst.edu
It is available from Evolution Electronics ltd
8 Church Square
Tel +44 1525 372621
Fax +44 1525 383228
(prices in sterling )
Price Lite #50 +VAT
Pro #85 +VAT
other net places
In no particular order
the offical gravis site
archive.orst.edu pub/packages/gravis/00Index.ALL for a full list of this
huge GUS archive
uk mirror of some of this stuff at imperial college
ftp.cs.ruu.nl [184.108.40.206] lots of stuff including expanded list of midi
stuff on ftp in MIDI/DOC/archives
There is an FTP archive at ucsd.edu [220.127.116.11] . It contains a.o. MIDI
files, patches and a few programs. See the directory 'midi'.
Also one at media-lab.media.mit.edu [18.104.22.168] (directory music/midi
Cakewalk files can be found at nic.funet.fi [22.214.171.124] in
'pub/msdos/sound/cakewalk' and also on ucsd.edu (see above).
ftp.mcc.ac.uk /pub/cubase Cubase archive.
There is a shareware sequencer called WinJammer for MS-Windows on
mac.archive.umich.edu [126.96.36.199] has a midi archive in mac/sound/midi
We are opening an anonymous ftp site, ftp.ircam.fr. Since we are connected
to the Internet via a 9600b line, please try to do your bulk transfers between
10pm MET and 8 am MET as a courtesy to our users. Please use, don't abuse!
music/ Computer music software and info
archives/ List of directories of some well-known comp music ftp sites
databases/ Music databases
FAQ/ FAQ about audio, dsp, etc...
MIDI/ MIDI standard definition
papers/ Papers on music
OMR/ Bibliographies in Optical Music Recognition
programs/ Repository of public domain computer music programs
email@example.com (Phat H Tran) ( too numerous to mention )
Carl Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org ( alefric author )
Clarke Brunt (email@example.com) (midi mapper faq)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Piet van Oostrum) (ftp sites list )
Paul Cunnell (midi box info)
John Spak of Gravis ( NMI problems )
chrisw@EDU.Stanford.leland ( keyboard, various did old FAQ)
email@example.com ( powertracks pro review )
firstname.lastname@example.org (John T. Capps) ( patchmaking reference )
Carl Pettypiece (email@example.com) (pitchbend controller info)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Lawrence Hammond u) ( midi WAV sync entry )