Getting Voyetra Sequencer Plus running today

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KVRAF
4567 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Wed May 14, 2014 2:31 pm

Came across this thread over at Gearslutz:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-co ... -fast.html


The sequencer the chap is using is called Voyetra Sequencer Plus Gold v4.10, I think.

Turtle Beach made it free with no support, but recently they seem to have stopped doing that although I have heard nothing official about it not being available anymore.

You can find it here:

http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?tit ... _Plus_Gold

Also you can get the massive manual and some tutorials there too.

The knowledge base for it is still up at Turtle Beach:

http://support.turtlebeach.com/1133/


It says it is for 4.0, but there can't be that much difference I suppose. I haven't compared the nearly 100MB .pdf manual with the info here:

http://support.turtlebeach.com/entry/830517176/


Ok, so that is the download. Once you have your grubby mits on it, what do you do with it? Well, you need to run it in DOS. This is from nearly a quarter of a century ago now, remember. People were running this on 286 computers with MS-DOS 3.3.

http://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/os/msdos_3.3.html

This was a rock solid OS with timing comparable to hardware. This is why some of us are still interested in getting this running. Apart from its speed when you get familiar with it, it really is super tight. Two great reasons to go to all the trouble.

As for DOS:

You will run into limitations on hard disk availablity with this particular OS though, that is if you can find it in the first place. You are probably better off trying to find MS-DOS 6.22, the final proper working version, which is freely available around the place. VSP will run fine on this. It is what most people use afaict. I believe that DOS 6.22 can use bigger hard disks than 3.3.

http://philipstorr.id.au/pcbook/book4/hdlimit.htm

==========================
DOS versions up to and including DOS 3.3 imposed very restrictive limits on Hard Disk Drive Interfaces. The worst limit involved Hard Disk Drives larger than 32 MByte. A Drive larger than 32 MByte had to be split into sections and no section could be larger than 32 MByte. This limitation was overcome in later DOS versions and DOS 6.22 can theoretically address a Hard Disk Drive of up to two tera-bytes (two trillion bytes). The only problem is the 16 bit FAT used by DOS and older Windows Operating Systems, lowers this limit to 2.1 GByte.
==============================


More Info:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118335

http://www.osfiles.com/os_dos/ospg_dos_msdos.htm

http://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/os.html

http://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/os/msdos_6.22.html

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/159631- ... mitations/


A final word on DOS 3.3 by the Sisters Of Mercy:

http://www.the-sisters-of-mercy.com/tech/seqsdaw.htm

========================================
Sequencer Plus (Voyetra Technologies)

Sequencer Plus was the first heavy-duty DOS sequencer. It came out in the mid-eighties, which is when we started using it. Andrew has managed to crash the program exactly twice in almost fifteen years. That's one reason we're still using it. The other reason is its balance of faculties, simplicity and user-friendliness. Andrew is very fast on it (on the occasions when he knows where he's going before he gets there).

We prefer to run it under DOS 3.3, which is a rock solid operating system for midi, as long as your software doesn't ask for anything more contemporary. Andrew has the quaint notion that a sequencer doesn't actually need a huge GUI like Windows to make it work. Most of them are now built for it anyway; they figure you need the pretty pictures and that you'll put up with latency problems and any overall instability. We had a few problems getting and configuring new Doktor hardware to run with such an old operating system; we seem to have sorted those problems out.
The first versions of Sequencer Plus had a one-port interface and FSK sync. A four-port interface and SMPTE sync arrived in due course. Voyetra discontinued the interface a few years ago, which is a shame. If you've got a V24S, we'd be very interested in buying it off you. There was a special version of the program to go with the Yamaha C1 laptop.
==============================================


The Sisters Of Mercy recorded the seminal Floodland album on it, with the help of a bit of Jim Steinman thrown in.

So, not many people running DOS these days with a computer old enough and working well enough to use it on. This is the ideal. If you have an old 286 or 386 or 486 or one of the first Pentiums - say a 200MHz or 300MHz or more machine - ideal. And if you have a Soundblaster card, even better! So what do the rest of us do that do not have 20 year old bits of kit hanging around? Virtualisation.

Now, it has been fairly well documented that VSP works OK in Dosbox. See here:

http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Bobby_Prince

and his page here on setting it up:

http://bobbyprincemusic.blogspot.co.uk/ ... again.html

Lots of very good info here and Bobby seems quite happy. I have some other links to other people very happy using Dosbox, but on the whole the performance is sub par - most people can't get it to work and those that do just go 'meh'.

Here is an excellent resource for learning how to set up DOS 6.22 in Virtualbox. I pretty much got it working by myself, but this page holds your hand and gives you a step by step setup. Setting up DOS is a bit different to your common or garden Windows or Linux stuff. And if you are new to Virtual Machines or Virtualbox, this is a very good primer on how it all works.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To- ... irtualBox/

But unfortunately, apart from virtualisation with something like Virtualbox, you aren't left with many options.

Ah, Virtualbox...


I have spent a couple of days getting a working Virtual Machine of DOS 6.22, AND I even have VSP running on it. You can check it out, play about and see how it works. You won't be able to do anything with it however for two reasons:

1: Midi - it can't connect to the outside world apart from virtually.
2: SB16 support (Soundblaster audio card) is notoriously crap and non-working with Vbox.

Virtualbox only provides three options for Audio interfacing. They are the Old Soundblaster 16, the newer AC97 and Intel HD iirc. The only one that has a chance of working is the SB16. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it will run, but it will not work, that is, it will not give you sounds to play with or a working midi connection to interface with your real keyboards or vsts. Shame. So near, so far.

But you can still get VSP to work perfectly - it just won't be able to talk to the outside world:

You also need to make an .img of the three disks that VSP comes on. This is time consuming and very technical (for me at least), but it goes a little something like this in LINUX:

----------------
MAKE FLOPPY DISK IMAGE
mint@mint ~ $ dd bs=512 count=2880 if=/dev/zero of=imagefile2.img
mint@mint ~ $ mkfs.msdos imagefile2.img
mkfs.msdos 3.0.12 (29 Oct 2011)

MAKE DIRECTORY AND MOUNT IT
mint@mint ~ $ sudo mkdir /media/floppy2/
mint@mint ~ $ sudo mount -o loop floppy.img /media/floppy2/

YOU NOW HAVE A VIRTUAL FLOPPY DISK UNDER MEDIA ALONG WITH YOUR OTHER DISK DRIVES THAT IS READY TO WRITE TO

NOW COPY YOUR FILES THAT YOU WANT ON THERE, ONTO IT

UNMOUNT IT
mint@mint ~ $ sudo umount /media/floppy2/
-------------------------

Don't quote me on that. I get it wrong every time I try it, but it is doable. I spent about 6 hours learning how to do this and implementing it. In the end I got three virtual .img files that can be loaded into the Vbox system to be mounted as virtual floppies when working in DOS 6.22. Remember, it has no USB support and the internal extensions won't work that Vbox provides. The only way is to set up the internet and do it from within - good luck with that. It's easier to spend the six hours figuring it out in linux. You can probably do this in windows too, but this was how I figured it out. If you like, seeing as I already have the working images for Vbox, if you PM me, I'll be happy to provide them to you on a personal basis.

The actual installation is not too bad and pretty decent infact, but don't let me lead you any further down this garden path. This is just for DEMO purposes only. You won't even be able to use the basic crappy (or not so crappy some say) inbuilt FM SOUNDS from the Soundblaster. VBox just isn't that bothered about getting this to work as paying customers don't have any need for it. Lots of old DOS gamers complain, but they end up using Dosbox. Still, you can get a good feel for the program and get it running to learn the commands.

DISCLAIMER:
If I am talking out of my arse here, let me know. I have spent days and days trying to get this to work, and there just does not seem to be a way in VBox. I have sourced every driver known to man and tried every combination, only to find that there isn't really any proper support for this card, apart from it being represented in the virtualisation to get the whole system to work as a whole. You can't get any sound out of it. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG. I won't bore you with my research and links, but this does seem to be a non-starter. Still, you can install the program easily enough and play about.


So that leaves us with 3 options:
1: Other forms of emulation on windows - Dosbox.
2: Other forms of emulation on Linux - DOSemu.
3: Using real OLD hardware.

As for number one, well, as I said. quite a few people are using VSP in Dosbox and it works pretty good for them. Here is teh Dosbox download:

http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1

As for number two, well, I tried getting DOSemu to work. Well over my head even once I got it installed. Just be aware it is a possibility and some people have done it and report good results. I spent nearly two hours just to get it running. Then again, I'm not very good with Linux, if you are:

http://linuxgazette.net/issue18/dosemu.html
==========================
I installed version 0.66.1 because I read that it supported MIDI, and I was curious to find whether I would be able to run my favorite DOS MIDI sequencer, Sequencer Plus Gold from Voyetra.
=============================


http://porky.linuxjournal.com:8080/LJ/109/6320.html
==============================
The testing hardware included a generic machine with an 800MHz AMD Duron CPU, 512MB RAM and a 15GB IDE hard disk. The audio hardware consisted of two sound cards, a SoundBlaster SBLive Value and a SoundBlaster PCI128; a Casio CZ101 synthesizer was used for external MIDI keyboard input. I used Steve Ratcliff's pmidi MIDI file player, and I also employed a second computer running Voyetra's Sequencer Plus Gold under MS-DOS.
===============================



So, that leaves us with number three.
In fact, apart from curiousity, if you are serious about using this sequencer, you are going to have to find an old and functional computer to work on.

The chap in the Gearslutz article iirc, says he has hoarded four or five, just in case!

I just spent another 6 hours today trying to get an old 233MHz working with a locked BIOS. Boy am I just SOOL these days. I'll get it working or throw it in the bin, and buy another one.

Oh well.

You should be able to find one of these computers that will work though, for next to nothing - 50 bucks at most. but finding one is the hard part, and getting a physical midi interface to run your physical synths is the harder part. Of course, it is possible to hook it up so that one computer is just physically acting as the sequencer and it is trigerring another computer with all your VSTs on.

A few people do that too. I'm buggered if I know how that works. But it is possible.

I wish I hadn't got rid of my old AWE 64 Gold, now.


Some vidz:

Voyetra Sequencer Plus Gold - Still usable!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_p4IgBD5oE

Voyetra sequencer plus gold - a little introduction
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adV1oS6KYEk

Ventolin - Totem. Video by The Rodina. Official
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdZZ0cgawJg


And of course, even if you do have an old computer that works, you will need to install DOS on it from scratch as your main OS.

This is boutique stuff I guess, with rich rewards. But only for those with the savvy to connect this all up to another computer to run VSTs, or someone that has an old midi keyboard lying around to use multi-timbrally.

If nothing else, it makes me realise how far we have come in the DAW field; what amazing riches we all have right now. And on the other hand, just how crap ALL the major DAWs of today are when it comes to utilizing system resources.

But eye candy wins the day. Marketing too. We are being ripped off really. It would be possible to build a DAW on certain architecture that would fly and be like true hardware. But god it was painful enough waiting for Bitwig. It took me nearly four hours to install on Linux. And it was stable, I must admit. But then I asked myself: Why? Just why? It's just another DAW. I won't be buying it any time soon.


I'm rambling again. This is always a good time to stop.

:-)
Last edited by codec_spurt on Thu May 15, 2014 12:29 am, edited 5 times in total.

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something special
8514 posts since 16 Mar, 2002 from Birmingham, Alabama

Post Wed May 14, 2014 2:38 pm

Sequencer Plus (Silver) was my first sequencer (1987).
I'm very happy with Cubase 5.5, no way would I go back to DOS, lol!

User avatar
KVRAF
32949 posts since 14 Sep, 2002 from In teh net

Post Wed May 14, 2014 2:55 pm

I had a copy of Voyetra Sequencer that came with my first "proper" soundcard - an AWE 64 Gold, but I don't think it was a DOS programme - it ran on Win 95.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

4567 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Wed May 14, 2014 2:56 pm

bluedad wrote:Sequencer Plus (Silver) was my first sequencer (1987).
I'm very happy with Cubase 5.5, no way would I go back to DOS, lol!
To be fair. I can do everything and more, even faster than this guy, using the inbuilt sequencer on the Ensoniq SD-1 which is what I would be using to control and trigger anyway.

This was just an academic exercise for me.

There is no practical point in anybody wasting their time with this shit, unless they have an old working computer to set up DOS on, and a keyboard to trigger. Or going the extra mile and using another computer to trigger VSTs. That discounts most of us I think.

I was hoping that I could at least use the onboard FM sounds of the Soundblaster chip in emulation in VBox. But no, dat don't do dat, so don't do dat den.

Dos gamers have it harder. Plus you will need a physical midi interface to physically interface your stuff.

Good luck with that.

The chap in the original Gearslutz viddy has got his shitnitz together fo' sure.

There is a reason he is hoarding five computers! Pretty soon you will not be able to buy that crap for love OR money anymore.


Eh eh, 1987 eh? Yes I can see how Cubase 5.5 might be an improvement!

:-)

And even if I got it working perfectly in a perfect environment, it would still take a certain amount of time to learn.

I always had a soft spot in my heart for this sequencer, even though I never used it. Voyetra were asking big money for the last copies of it, before Turtle Beach bought them out. It's not practical today, but it is fun for any one prepared to set up a virtualbox disk running DOS and see how it worked. Maybe someone can learn something from this.

I dream of it all meeting half way. We have the CPU. We have the RAM. We just do not have the coders to make use of it all. Probably because there is not an OS to do it on.

Like you say: 'No way would I go back to DOS'.

There are no other alternatives..

KVRAF

Topic Starter

4567 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Wed May 14, 2014 3:02 pm

aMUSEd wrote:I had a copy of Voyetra Sequencer that came with my first "proper" soundcard - an AWE 64 Gold, but I don't think it was a DOS programme - it ran on Win 95.

I had that card!

It came with a cripped version of Cubasis or sommat and it gave you 8 channels of audio on a monochrome screen (black and white no colour).

And another sequencer which was a nightmare to use. It must have been that as I don't remember any other.

Yeah, it was on win 95.

I then bought my second copy of Cubase (after the Atari) which was VST32 or 3.5 or whatever. It worked ok. The AWE Gold was pretty good. It hooked up my Ensoniq via midi and had some pretty good samples.

It wasn't much of an improvement ove the Cubase I had been using on Windows 3.1 that had (funnily enough) another Turtle Beach card - a Maui - I think it was - and that would allow you to trigger samples.

Of course, it was all to go totally f**king mental in the next few years, and we are all still trying to catch our breath and catch up with it all.

KVRist
101 posts since 4 Jun, 2010 from UK

Post Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:16 am

Hi guys,
I have a few requests - if anybody can help with these the Voyetra Seq community will appreciate it! (I will add the content on a Voyetra Sequencer page I am writing).

- I can only find Version 4.x version of SPG - does anybody have earlier version of Voyetra Sequencer they can share? (pre v4).

- I am desperately searching for an older version of vapimpu.com which is compatible with more sound cards. The vapimpu.com version I have only seems to work on Soundblaster ISA cards with IRQ jumpers. (unless I am doing something wrong and someone has more tricks to getting vapimpu.com to load?)

- Has anybody got experience in getting Voyetra Sequencer running (I mean, load Tapi/Vapi drivers) on a Creative ISA PNP card?

- Has anybody had experience getting Voyetra Sequencer to load drivers and use the Midi port with a Creative PCI sound card under hardware DOS?

- Has anybody ever got an ESS card with the 1938 chipset to run with the vapiess.com Voyetra driver?

Any advice on the above would be great. Bobby Prince mentions on his site having the earlier version of vapimpu.com and asked him if he could formward it for my testing but haven't received a reply yet. I actually found out about a more compatible version from a different forum.

Thanks guys and have a great day!

User avatar
KVRian
966 posts since 16 Feb, 2010

Post Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:35 am

codec_spurt wrote: Ventolin - Totem. Video by The Rodina. Official
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdZZ0cgawJg
I cant stop watching this. :shock:

KVRAF
3273 posts since 22 Jul, 2009

Post Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:58 am

is there any other piano roll editor other than voyetra which allows the user to move around in the 'grid' with arrow keys?

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KVRian
1240 posts since 23 Jun, 2007 from Findlay OH USA

Post Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:53 pm

Greetings,

SPG has been my MIDI sequencer of choice since the late 1980s. I was a tester for the company back then, also bought most of their other software. More recently I've run all of it - including a version of Intelligent Music's M - on DOSemu and DOSbox in Linux. Works perfectly.

I checked the Turtle Beach site this evening, it seems that the Voyetra DOS software has been removed from the Downloads pages.

Currently using it to write a long piece for piano.

Best,

dp

EgM
KVRist
88 posts since 24 Sep, 2003 from New-Brunswick, Canada

Post Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:20 pm

andrewlsummer wrote:Hi guys,
I have a few requests - if anybody can help with these the Voyetra Seq community will appreciate it! (I will add the content on a Voyetra Sequencer page I am writing).

- I can only find Version 4.x version of SPG - does anybody have earlier version of Voyetra Sequencer they can share? (pre v4).

- I am desperately searching for an older version of vapimpu.com which is compatible with more sound cards. The vapimpu.com version I have only seems to work on Soundblaster ISA cards with IRQ jumpers. (unless I am doing something wrong and someone has more tricks to getting vapimpu.com to load?)

- Has anybody got experience in getting Voyetra Sequencer running (I mean, load Tapi/Vapi drivers) on a Creative ISA PNP card?

- Has anybody had experience getting Voyetra Sequencer to load drivers and use the Midi port with a Creative PCI sound card under hardware DOS?

- Has anybody ever got an ESS card with the 1938 chipset to run with the vapiess.com Voyetra driver?

Any advice on the above would be great. Bobby Prince mentions on his site having the earlier version of vapimpu.com and asked him if he could formward it for my testing but haven't received a reply yet. I actually found out about a more compatible version from a different forum.

Thanks guys and have a great day!
I bought all the old DOS Voyetra products up till their last, Record Producer Deluxe, which one in particular were you trying to find?

User avatar
KVRian
1240 posts since 23 Jun, 2007 from Findlay OH USA

Post Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:53 am

Greetings,

A recent piece composed entirely with Sequencer Plus Gold running in Linux under DOSemu. I'm not a keys player, every note was hand-entered in SPG's note-edit page. The sequence is ~900 measures long and lasts 32+ minutes. It's not exactly easy listening, definitely not ambient music, and probably uninteresting to most KVRists.

https://soundcloud.com/davephillips69/piano-zero

Sound source was QSynth, a soundfont player, connected to a Calf reverb. SPG's MIDI output was routed to the synth via the ALSA virmidi module. Audio was recorded to ecasound and edited (silence trimmed) in mhWaveEdit. Very simple setup.

Best,

dp

KVRist
59 posts since 7 Dec, 2002

Post Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:30 pm

Cool thread!

For some reason I pulled out the old Toshiba T5100 the other day to look for some old Spg files. Works like it did back in the 80s.. I still have the interface of choise to go with it. The Voyetra V24S (four ports).

After all these years there's still no faster way to work with MIDI-only things.
Computermuso since intel8086
http://www.fivelsdal.no/

KVRist
37 posts since 21 Jun, 2010 from GTA, Canada

Post Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:31 am

bluedad wrote:Sequencer Plus (Silver) was my first sequencer (1987).
I'm very happy with Cubase 5.5, no way would I go back to DOS, lol!
this is whats funny about *this* generation of "audio experts"
cubase isnt even really about being a sequencer anymore and hasnt been for al ong time
it more about digital audio + Effects + virtutalized music production

to compare cubase 5.5 to dos is a flawed comparison because they are different types of products really... one is focused on notes + musical sequencing.. the other is focused entirely on Virtua Instruments + Effects now + recording.. cubase just tries to do everything to get people to buy it..
and thats hte problem these days.. all apps try to do everything.. instead of specializing in one aspect... they cater to the 1-computer 1-person virtual producer type instead of people that have actual midi hardware + multiple computers..

for me, i think music would improve greatly if alot of people would forget bout the effects + focus more on writing + sequencing the way it was in the old days of Atari + early Mac/PC. everything was about MIDI... because we had no virtual instruments.. we had REAL midi instruments... i kind of prefer it that way.. i wish they would make more real instruments these days.. and make them affordable!!! id way rather buy a box that takes a 120v power lead + has midi in/out/thru then i would a VST!!!!!!!

anyways i have a 486 dx2-66Mhz that i have running logic 2.0
id like to try voyetra + cakewalk for DOS but i dont think it will work on my WINMAN 4x4/S ISA midi card.... i think both it and my PORTMAN 4x4/S are only supported under Windows (3.11 in my case, but also 95/98) if anyone has a 3-4 port midi interface that works under DOS please talk to me, id like to try it out;)

can anyone tell me if the voyetra interfaces are breakout boxes only? connecting to LPT1? or if they need a specific ISA card to attach to?
--

KVRist
37 posts since 21 Jun, 2010 from GTA, Canada

Post Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:03 am

http://www.oldschooldaw.com/forums/index.php?topic=2744
check my site here to download the real final version of SPG (v4.11)
the version distributed by turtlebeach is v4.10 and v4.11 has a more comprehensive installer
that allows for more than one midi interface to be installed (using two or more MIDI interfaces together to get more output ports, to a max of 8)
--

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KVRAF
8427 posts since 9 Jan, 2004 from leroyaumeuni

Post Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:40 am

And instead of using human DNA you can also use much cheaper frog DNA. It's a simpler DNA and it's rock solid (if you're a frog).
My other host is Bruce Forsyth

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