MIDI software devices

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DOSBOX currently does not provide emulation of general MIDI or the MT-32 Roland, instead passing the music data along to the MIDI device installed on your system. However, most modern PCs provide only very basic MIDI functionality, and therefore attempts to use general MIDI/MT-32 music under DOSBOX usually end up sounding rather poor.

Fortunately, at least for Windows users, there are a couple of free software projects that provide emulation of these MIDI devices, resulting in a great boost to music quality:

Roland MT-32

Munt is an open source project that aims to emulate the MT-32 hardware by way of a Windows XP WDM driver. Using it, however, requires a copy of the original ROM images from a Roland MT-32, and these are not included with the download. Installation notes are provided within the distribution archive.

General MIDI

WinGroove has apparently been abandoned mid-development, but is still an excellent sounding general MIDI synthesizer. The latest available version, 0.A4 Beta-2, can be freely obtained from the site.

Installation note: After downloading wg0a4_e.exe, run it in order to extract the installation files into a temporary directory. Then, from within that directory, go to START -> RUN and type "WGINSTLR.EXE FULLSET.LST". The rest of the process should be trouble free - but do not skip restarting Windows at the end.

BASSMIDI GM/GS/XG SoundFont Compatible Driver

The BASSMIDI MIDI Synthesizer Driver is a freeware SoundFont based Windows MIDI system driver (created by Kode54 and MudLord) for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

More information about the driver can be found Here or Here. Detailed installation and usage instructions can be found Here or Here.

Download the BASSMIDI Driver installer Here, as well as a nice sounding General MIDI SoundFont to use with the driver Here. More information about the General MIDI SoundFont can be found Here, and additional discussion can be found in This Message Thread in the VOGONS forums.

Discuss the BASSMIDI Driver in the Hydrogen Audio Forums, as well as This Message Thread in the VOGONS forums.


VirtualMIDISynth is a nice software General MIDI synthesizer based on BASSMIDI library, and it also uses soundfonts. Visit here to get more information and download the installer. The page also has links to some free soundfonts. FluidR3 soundfonts or SGM-V2.01 soundfonts are recommended regarding the size and quality. Additional programs are required to uncompress soundfonts file, check here. A large size soundfonts is also available at www.sythfont.com, for example Evanessence soundfonts (which is 1.7 GB !!!). It has richer sound but may cause lag due to the large size.

Using MIDI software devices under DOSBOX

After installing any of these devices, you will need to make sure DOSBOX actually uses them. You can either edit the [MIDI] section in the .conf file (instruction are provided inside the file itself or in the README), or change the default MIDI device in Windows. To do the latter, Go to START -> SETTINGS -> CONTROL PANEL -> SOUND AND AUDIO DEVICES, select the "Audio" tab and choose the device you wish to use under the "Midi music playback" section.