MTV Music Generator (known as Music 2000 internationally) is what got me started making music back when I was young. It's a pretty basic tracker that's very easy to learn, and it comes with an extensive library of pre-packaged sounds to work with. I find a lot of the default melodic sounds to be pretty cheesy, but the drum presets are very usable and given that the 2MB RAM bottleneck of the PS1 often prevents you from getting too crazy with song creation anyway, you're usually better off just keeping it simple with drum tracks. The ability to rip custom samples from CD and store them on your PS1 memory card vastly expanded its versatility, although I still mostly used the limited sample memory for drum sounds. Before I finally shelled out for a drum machine I frequently used the game as a rhythm section on several demos, but without MIDI sync functionality it's little more than a fun oddity to fiddle with every now and then.

I think the PS1 supports some flavor of MIDI sequencing natively through its sound processing chipset, but I'm equal parts confused and intrigued by this YouTube video from 2010. It seems to demonstrate some preliminary form of MIDI sync coming out of a PSX running Music (the prequel to Music 2000/MTVMG). I tried contacting the channel to ask more questions but his account has been inactive for four years now so I don't expect to hear anything from him. He seems to be in to chiptunes from his other videos though, so if anyone knows who he is (or if he has an account on here) I would love to get in touch with him and ask him more about the project.

From what I've gathered reading his replies to comments on the video, it seems as though whatever MIDI sync mod demonstrated in the video is not being achieved through a sound sync workaround. That would require him to send a lone timing pulse through one of the L or R channels to generate MIDI clock while all the other sounds would be forced onto a single mono RCA out, which is a less than ideal solution. Mono out is often the best you can get in the chiptunes world, but sound sync tends to be unreliable anyway and having access to stereo panning and effects is always preferable.

In the comments he further explains that the MIDI output is being sent through some kind of external adapter that he built himself. He had plans to update it to work with MTV Music Generator and then build the adapter into the PS1 itself, but alas, that never panned out. I know next to nothing about PS1 modding, but I'm fairly certain he's not using a modded version of Music because modded PS1 games basically don't exist. It's more likely that he's taking the timing messages straight from a pin on the SPU or the CPU and using this adapter to translate them into MIDI clock, but again, I don't know jack about the PS1 and this is just my best guess.

Anyone familiar with PS1 modding care to add their two cents here? I think this could be a really cool project if developed further and I would be happy to help however I can. Chiptunes purists will probably turn their noses up at the concept of modern PCM sampling in their set-up, but if you're like me and you've always found most of the noise channel and FM drum options within the common chiptunes platforms to be unsatisfying, this could be a neat compromise to get some nice beats and samples into your set-up without sacrificing the vintage aesthetic by using a laptop or a more modern drum machine. The PS1 is old enough to legally drink now, so it's probably old enough to score you at least some street cred. Plus you can use the horrendous video creation mode to make totally not at all cool visualizations for your SICK NASTY beats.

that program is trash

Yea but kinda fun! I have a rip of it here:

http://toilville.com/mess/MTV%20Music%20Generator/

let us know if you ever figure it out

It blows hot ass compared to any modern DAW but I have very fond memories of making fun drum loops on it back in the day. Like I said, for melodic composition it's more trouble than it's worth given the lame melodic/vocal presets, but if you use most of your sample memory and song space on just drums, it's serviceable. Not great, but at least tolerable. Part of the fun of making chiptunes is making the most out of limited hardware, and though you can barely even call this "chiptunes" considering the hardware, I think it would be a fun side project. It's probably one of the most cost-effective ways you can implement PCM sampled drums in your set-up and still get street cred for using old tech.

It's worth noting that the sequels to MTVMG had way more features and better implementation of the sampling utility, but they're all on PS2 and I feel like that hardware is a little too modern to bother working with. It's all still PCM samples anyway, so it's not like either console is going to sound particularly unique. I'm partial to the original on PS1 because the PS1 is old and limited enough to actually be a "novelty" and it better fits the chip aesthetic in my opinion.

The PS2 modding community is generally more active though, so if I run into a dead end here I might ask around about a MIDI implementation for the sequels. MIDI-USB support through the USB 2.0 ports might be really handy.

herr_prof wrote:

Yea but kinda fun! I have a rip of it here:

http://toilville.com/mess/MTV%20Music%20Generator/

let us know if you ever figure it out

Thanks for the heads up! Will do!

that would be my project in the youtube video. sorry if i haven't replied to any messages via youtube but i had no idea that people even found those videos anymore i haven't had any email notifications or anything.

that project was in my early years before i knew anything about electronics. it was a super lame hack in which i used an optical sensor directly on a small secondary LCD screen that read the BPM light in the program. problem is (which is why i stopped the project) after the first play the BPM light flashes at whatever point it was at from the last play meaning that it is only in sync on the first play, unless you stop the music exactly on beat.

i have a new version in the works (for a very long while now) it involves the higher quality sound processor of the early playstation motherboards, a fancy clear case and a parallel port hack which should hopefully give me full midi out of the serial port once i understand how the game works by hex editing. unfortunately there is a lot of work still to do and it has been pushed to one side lately.

No worries Nex, YouTube messages are weird sometimes. You got here super quick anyway! Thanks a bunch for sharing the info.

NeX wrote:

i have a new version in the works (for a very long while now) it involves the higher quality sound processor of the early playstation motherboards, a fancy clear case and a parallel port hack which should hopefully give me full midi out of the serial port once i understand how the game works by hex editing. unfortunately there is a lot of work still to do and it has been pushed to one side lately.

Which game is the project for? Music (PAL), MTV Music Generator (NTSC) or Music 2000 (PAL)? I would think MTVMG or Music 2000 would be the best versions to work with on account of the ability to rip custom samples, which the original Music lacks (to my knowledge).

Which Playstation models have the motherboards you want? I know that the SCPH-700x models were the last ones that separated the audio DSP and the CD logic, and from the 750x models onward they were all integrated in the same chip. Or are you talking about the 100x/300x models that predated SCPH-500x run, where the RCA outs were removed and the whole motherboard was reduced in size?

Gosh I hope not. Those early model "audiophile" 100x PS1s are super overpriced these days.

If you're looking for help with the project, I posted about it on PsxDev, a forum dedicated to PS1 modding and hacking. One of the forum admins responded in the topic and seemed eager to explore the project further. If you don't already have an account on the site you should definitely ask him for some help. He's done a lot of projects involving serial I/O on the PS1 and could probably shoulder some of the burden. I don't know near enough to contribute much myself, but at the very least I can get you guys in touch.

Last edited by Chandy (Nov 7, 2017 8:18 pm)

Chandy wrote:

No worries Nex, YouTube messages are weird sometimes. You got here super quick anyway! Thanks a bunch for sharing the info.

NeX wrote:

i have a new version in the works (for a very long while now) it involves the higher quality sound processor of the early playstation motherboards, a fancy clear case and a parallel port hack which should hopefully give me full midi out of the serial port once i understand how the game works by hex editing. unfortunately there is a lot of work still to do and it has been pushed to one side lately.

Which game is the project for? Music (PAL), MTV Music Generator (NTSC) or Music 2000 (PAL)? I would think MTVMG or Music 2000 would be the best versions to work with on account of the ability to rip custom samples, which the original Music lacks (to my knowledge).

Which Playstation models have the motherboards you want? I know that the SCPH-700x models were the last ones that separated the audio DSP and the CD logic, and from the 750x models onward they were all integrated in the same chip. Or are you talking about the 100x/300x models that predated SCPH-500x run, where the RCA outs were removed and the whole motherboard was reduced in size?

Gosh I hope not. Those early model "audiophile" 100x PS1s are super overpriced these days.

If you're looking for help with the project, I posted about it on PsxDev, a forum dedicated to PS1 modding and hacking. One of the forum admins responded in the topic and seemed eager to explore the project further. If you don't already have an account on the site you should definitely ask him for some help. He's done a lot of projects involving serial I/O on the PS1 and could probably shoulder some of the burden. I don't know near enough to contribute much myself, but at the very least I can get you guys in touch.



at the moment the project is focused at Music, PAL version. i have music 2000, and it should in theory be equal amount of effort to build support for both of them. either it will work or it wont but i need to find time to do it.

unfortunately yes for audio quality reasons i am using the SCPH-1002 board, i have two i think so i might have a spare. but not only that it needs to have a parallel port if my idea has any chance of working.

yep, the PsxDev is an incredible resource, so much more info than there is for things like gameboys. here is my only post on there: http://www.psxdev.net/forum/viewtopic.p … 5972#p5972

working together would be great!, i have just moved house so everything is in boxes but i remember putting all the playstation stuff into one box, so if i find that i guess there is no reason why i can't start the project again