<-- -!>

Featured Article

A homebrew Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable appears!

Source: Sega Retro

The Dreamcast is home to a number of fairly obscure peripherals and cables, all of which offer enhanced functionality when paired up with either a dedicated piece of software or a flux capacitor. Most of these weird and wonderful oddities were only ever released in the Dreamcast's native Japan, and as such have fallen even further into the abyss of esoterica; with one such item being the HKT-9200 Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable.

Source: eBay

The Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable essentially allows the more musically inclined amongst us to connect a device such as a microphone or keyboard (the musical kind, natch) to a Dreamcast. Coupled with the equally obscure O.to.i.Re MIDI Sequencer, it transforms the Dreamcast console into that sentient piano from that cartoon I can't remember the name of. Oswald? Oswald the Piano? No...that's not it. Just a sec.

Oscar's Orchestra! Remember that? No? Well anyway, it was a cartoon with a talking (and slightly horrific looking) piano that could fly as well for some reason (I think). Where was I? Oh yeah - Dreamcast MIDI cables. You could make music on a Dreamcast using a MIDI connector and a piece of software called O.to.i.Re. Here's a superbly translated description from the defunct Sega Japan catalogue page:

You can easily make music by selecting your favorite phrase from more than 3000 types of phrases and pasting it on the track. A completely new musical expression tool. By supporting DreamPassport2, you can attach save data and distribute it to the Internet. You can now share data between users. It's a work I made so much, so I want everyone to listen to it!

You can use a microphone device to convert Hanauta to MIDI data and input / output it as an instrument tone. You can also enter data from an external MIDI keyboard using the MIDI interface (sold separately). (Caution: This software can be used without a microphone device or MIDI interface.)

Naturally, because we live in this version of reality, Dreamcast MIDI shenanigans are now quite collectible (read: expensive), and not wanting to be left out of the burgeoning MIDI-authoring scene, a tech savvy gentleman by the name of Ben Ryves took it upon himself to go above and beyond the call of duty, creating his own fully working Dreamcast MIDI connector from scratch. Here's the video:


Pretty impressive stuff we're sure you'll agree. You can read the full breakdown of how Ben created his (very professional looking) cable at his website here - be prepared to be blown away by the level of detail the directions and schematics go into. Particularly impressive to me is the creation of a Dreamcast serial port connector from a donor PCI Express slot, which reminds me of the work of Luke Benstead and his quest to reverse engineer Dreamcast system link cables from old PC parts.




Personally I don't have a musical bone in my body outside of tapping my hands on the steering wheel when I'm sat in traffic listening to some classic My Chemical Romance or Daphne & Celeste; but for those out there who fancy creating some banging MIDI choons on your Dreamcast, this could be a game changer. Will you be utilising Ben's directions to fashion your own MIDI Interface Connector? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Ben for allowing us to use his video and images on here, and thanks to DCJY Discorder Daikath for alerting us. Another reason you should go and join our Discord!

5 comments:

Lewis Cox said...

Gonna produce my Mixtape on Dreamcast now and no one can stop me.

Tom Charnock said...

Will it include the Oscar's Orchestra theme tune?

Lewis Cox said...

@Tom, as long as I don't get sued

Pizza Hotline said...

This is rad. Now all we need are some indie Devs to release some killer music software on the DC!

way2easy said...

I would love a commercial version and for someone to translate the software. (I can't believe we live in a world where that is actually possible, the DC community rocks!)