Roland Sound Canvas SPU

Hardware entity

A high-end sound module available in many models. Most are General Midi and MT-32 backwards compatible.


Alternate name: Edirol Sound Canvas

The first video game about Roland Sound Canvas SPU was released in 1992.

Apogee Software, Virgin Games and Apogee has published most of these games

There is no standalone Roland Sound Canvas; it is a module used in other sound hardware. Roland Sound Canvas modules came in a variety of units. Some were personal computer specific, but many others could be used with computer games using various cabling such as midi, optical or USB. Personal computer specific units include external hardware, standalone internal expansion cards, and daughter cards for other internal sound hardware.

Not all units were directly compatible with Roland MT-32 or General Midi but this could be overcome with software, firmware, or emulation (many units came with built-in GM emulation).

Designed to reproduce the sounds of a wide variety of musical instruments indistinguishable from real instruments including imperfections of instrument materials and human efforts. It can be used to synthesize instruments sounds that no one would expect a 1990 personal computer to be capable of, such as acoustic guitar, winds, and drums. 1990 home computers could of course play back acoustic recordings of these but hardware with the Roland Sound Canvas could actually generate it and without the results sounding electronic. It could also simulate details such as fingers sliding on strings or bongo surfaces. The various differing sounds of nylon and steel strings could be reproduced.