Philips Music Module MSX Audio upgrade - V1.3

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By Meits

Scribe (6432)

Meits's picture

21-10-2012, 21:58

If it's a cable, it won't amplify. The music module might be amplified (mine is as well), but there are just very few people who have that...

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3453)

sd_snatcher's picture

21-10-2012, 23:31

@Meits

The Panasonic MSX machines have a very bad sound quality, both on volume and sharpness aspects. Their machines have a very elaborated digital board, but OTOH they are not the best option when it comes to the analog circuitry. And of course the most affected part is the most picky: the MSX-Music sound quality.

Inside the Panasonic category, the Turbo-Rs are known for having a very low MSX-Music sound volume. To the point that it ruins games that uses the MSX-Music and PSG at the same time (like Valis-2, Xak1/2/ToG, Fray, Starship Rendezvouz) because the PSG will sound too loud and the inter-chip chords will almost disappear. Also SCC games will have a terrible SCC/PSG balance and the PSG sound will then be almost be inaudible. The same applies: inter-chip chords are ruined.

To add insult to injury, they did a mistake on the capacitors of the MSX-Music sound filter on the A1ST, which makes the sound even more duller than the cheap YM2413 DAC already produces. At least on A1GT they enhanced this and used the capacitors at a better value. There was an japanese article teaching how to change those two capacitors and fix the problem, but I couldn't find it anymore.

On the other side of this scale are the Sony MSX2+ machines: Their digital board isn't so modern and elaborated as the Panasonic ones, but the analog circuitry is excellent. The MSX-Music on those machines have the right filters and a perfect volume balance between OPLL, PSG and slot (SCC, i.e.). Games that use MSX-Music + PSG (as mentioned, like Xaks, Fray, Valis-2, Starship Rendezvouz etc) will sound awesome. All chords will sound just as they should, and the sound is full, homogeneous and pleasant.

@SkyeWelse

For games that use both MSX-Audio + PSG (like FireHawk HDD), the tip is to use a pseudo-stereo configuration. Connect one of the Music-Module sound outputs to the left input of your amplifier. Then connect the MSX built-in audio-out to the right side of your amplifier. This will result in a very clear FM audio on the left channel, and the right channel will produce the PSG sounds plus a more dull/lower volume FM audio (as the MSX-Audio sound had to come to all the bad analog circuitry inside that MSX). The overall result is very good.

By Retrofan

Paragon (1262)

Retrofan's picture

28-11-2012, 19:01

BTW, is there an easy way to check if the installed BIOS is version 1.3 or 1.2 without opening the module?

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3453)

sd_snatcher's picture

01-12-2012, 01:04

Yes, there are some:

1) The easiest way is to try some game that uses the MSX-Music BIOS, like Sea Sardine, Lubeck or FireHawk HDD.

2) Boot the MegaAssembler cartridge and type the following commands (I suppose your Music Module is on slot-1):

PAGE 1,1,1,1
DM 4100

The hex editor will show the following string at 4100h

V1.3 2011 08 10

By Pac

Guardian (6376)

Pac's picture

01-12-2012, 13:01

sd_snatcher wrote:

Inside the Panasonic category, the Turbo-Rs are known for having a very low MSX-Music sound volume. To the point that it ruins games that uses the MSX-Music and PSG at the same time (like Valis-2, Xak1/2/ToG, Fray, Starship Rendezvouz) because the PSG will sound too loud and the inter-chip chords will almost disappear. Also SCC games will have a terrible SCC/PSG balance and the PSG sound will then be almost be inaudible. The same applies: inter-chip chords are ruined.

Then I assume the A1WX/WSX owners, we have the same problem... and yes, I would like to fix it if possible. I never compared that problem with a Sony MSX2+ either... On the other hand, I remember an article from Henrik Gilvad in the past about how to reduce the noise due to leds, etc... Is it applicable in Panasonic 2+ models as well?

By AxelF

Champion (386)

AxelF's picture

02-12-2012, 18:01

Retrofan wrote:

BTW, is there an easy way to check if the installed BIOS is version 1.3 or 1.2 without opening the module?

Based on the information sd_snatcher posted,
i created a small basic programm that shows the version information.
I hope it helps you.

10 'Put Philips MSX Audio in SLOT 1
20 '
30 DATA 21,00,41,06,0F,C5,3E,01,CD,0C,00,CD,A2,00,23,C1,10,F3,C9,*
40 AD=&HC000:DEFUSR=AD
50 READA$:IFA$<>"*"THENPOKEAD,VAL("&h"+A$):AD=AD+1:GOTO50
60 A=USR(0)

By Retrofan

Paragon (1262)

Retrofan's picture

02-12-2012, 19:32

@AxelF: thanks for your help! I tried your listing but it shows garbage on the screen, so I guess it's version 1.2. I made a dump of the BIOS using SAVEROM and searched in a hex-editor for "V1.3", but I didn't find it... Ofcouse I do have the Supersoniqs extension Wink

By Lhanthian

Resident (42)

Lhanthian's picture

05-08-2021, 20:54

Hi!
Can someone please answer:
1. Audio upgrade module - should A15 ROM input be connected with the bus line A15 or with the Y8950 pin 9 (IO2)? 74LS139 parts are enabled with the Y8950 pin 9 and SLTSL, aren't they?
2. Is there any tests/benchmarks/etc (basic or executable file) to check all of AUDIO BIOS (FRS, ver.1.3b) audio/music functions? Any ROM mapping (to the Z80 address space) check (is it correct or not)?

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