No MIDI sound - can anyone help?

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Posted by Andrew Sheard on October 29, 2002 at 15:01:44:

I have a Packard Bell (NEC) iExtreme 9607 (P4-2GHz, 256Mb RAM, 40Gb HDD, on-board sound) running XP Home and cannot get it to play MIDI sounds, whether from MIDI files or from a MIDI keyboard. WAV and other audio files, including audio CDs, play fine. MIDI file *appear* to play OK; it's just that no sound emerges.

Here's what I've tried so far, all without success:

1. Different audio players. None of Windows Media Player 8, RealAudio nor Winamp audibly play MIDI files, though they all look as if they're playing them as far as tracking the time remaining is concerned. No visualisations appear.

2. Volume control. In Control Panel\Sounds and Audio Devices Properties\Volume, none of the inputs is muted (apart from Microphone) or at zero volume. (And all of them are shown.)

3. MIDI enabled on BIOS. It wasn't when I bought the machine, which is what I thought the problem was, but it is now. The port (330) and IRQ (10) are set to the same values as for the MPU-401 compatible MIDI device listed in Device manager. I've tried all the available port and IRQ combinations.

4. Choice of Default MIDI Device. In Control Panel\Sounds and Audio Devices Properties\Audio, I can select either MPU-401 or Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth as the default midi device. Neither works. The "Use only default devices" checkbox is not checked.

5. Installing a sound card. I bought a cheapie 4.1 sound card just to try to narrow down the problem, but STILL no MIDI sound. (Yes, I did unplug the speakers from the mother board and plugged them into the sound card.) WAV files etc played OK, but the sound quality was worse than the on-board sound! I've now removed the sound card.

6. ...and calling the supplier's help desk. They were genial but ineffective. ("You've tried everything I would have done." "Maybe it's a problem with Windows XP." (Surely not?) "Try Microsoft's web site" (Groan))

Before I bury a large hammer into the computer, does anyone please have any better ideas?

Thanks in anticipation,
Andrew Sheard

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