The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

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The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby samudra » 2008-5-04 @ 19:38

Walking around on Queensday I found the following sound card:

Image

Naturally it piqued my interest because:
A) It is an ISA card
B) Has a real Yamaha OPL3 chip
C) Has an IDE and wavetable port
D) Has a curious "3D" switch next to the output port (can be seen at the top of the bracket).

Consequently I find out this card is made by Addonics Taiwan and find the generic drivers for this chipset on the Yamaha website.

http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product/lsi/download/index.html

Image of the config utility:

Image

I've tested this card and found out it is Adlib, SB, SB Pro and WSS compatible. It is even able to playback at 44khz when used as a SB Pro, something a real SB Pro can not do.

So, my question is why is nobody talking about this chipset? Does anyone here know more about this card? To me this card looks like an absolutely perfect replacement to Creative Labs' abominations.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Silent Loon » 2008-5-05 @ 08:40

I have a similar card (a Labtec OEM) with YMF719 chipset.
The Yamaha chip is not the original OPL3 but something they call OPL3-SAx, whatever that means. Anyway you' re right it sounds quite similar if not the same like the original OPL3 and combines SB,SBPro WSS and MPU-401 (UART) capabilites in it. My card has no 3d-switch on it, but offers some rudimentary 3d-functions in the config menu.
I saw those advantages too, but my troubles with this card were:

- it is rather loud, even when you reduce the volume by the utility you sent a picture of
- it is (therefore) somehow noisy
- despite the card seemed to work, I got an error message after initialization saying somehting about a (sax?) soundsystem not installed.

So my questions are:
- is your card noisy too?
- what's your autoexec.bat config when you start it, which files are used?
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby samudra » 2008-5-05 @ 18:26

You are absolutely correct about the volume.

I noticed this while testing, in fact the wavetable output was so loud it was clipping, but I thought it was simply caused by too high mixer presets. However this does not seem to be the case after testing this out today. Setting the volume even at the lowest settings the clipping remains. Unfortunate. I think this is caused by a cheap or incomplete implementation of this chipset rather than the chipset itself.

Also I tested it with some games and using it as a SB Pro in Extreme Pinball caused a hang. If the card doesn't work fully as a SB Pro then it loses a lot of its use.

The card is not noisy in my case (or maybe you refer to clipping?) and compared to the SB Pro 2 or the Terratec 16/96 the output is much clearer.

Hmm, I can't help you with that error message. I ran the config after a clean boot, but also after a normal boot, and that includes all kinds of tsr programs (scsi host controller, mouse, himem, emm386, &c), without problems. It just inits and exits.

About the OPL-SAx name, that is a name to encompass all the other functions this card has. Inside there is also a real OPL3 (the ini file accompanying the config utility confirms this).
Last edited by samudra on 2008-5-05 @ 19:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby leileilol » 2008-5-05 @ 19:08

I'm curious how better it sounds. Can you FLAC/320kbps OGG record any of the following:
Heretic - E1M5
Tyrian - Music Man, Tunneling Trolls
ROTT 1.2 (it MUST be 1.2 not 1.3) - Going Down the Fast Way and Suck This
Doom II - Map01
Lemmings - first level or two

prease!???
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby samudra » 2008-5-05 @ 20:00

I don't have the setup for that.

My retro box is in one room and my main box in the other.

Also that would mean recording the output of one card using the input of a SB Live (which to me is questionable). Then you will play it back on God knows what card, amplifier, speakers/headphones.

You can probably pick up one of these cards for ~1 Euro.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2008-5-05 @ 20:39

I'm curious how better it sounds

As far as I know it doesn't have wavetable sound (except with a daughterboard/ external device) All game music he can record with this card alone is OPL2/OPL3 music. For this you can go here and look for adlib (OPL2):
http://www.dosforum.de/soundcards/
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby leileilol » 2008-5-06 @ 14:35

gerwin wrote:
I'm curious how better it sounds

As far as I know it doesn't have wavetable sound

i never considered wavetable to be better.

samudra wrote:Also that would mean recording the output of one card using the input of a SB Live (which to me is questionable). Then you will play it back on God knows what card, amplifier, speakers/headphones.


I've a Live also but i wouldn't really recommend recording onto that due to its 48KHz sampling rate, though it is closer to 49716Hz than 44100Hz is.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby samudra » 2008-5-07 @ 07:55

gerwin wrote:
I'm curious how better it sounds

As far as I know it doesn't have wavetable sound (except with a daughterboard/ external device) All game music he can record with this card alone is OPL2/OPL3 music. For this you can go here and look for adlib (OPL2):
http://www.dosforum.de/soundcards/


He is correct.

When I say "clearer" I mean better frequency response. Even the SB16 output sounds like it is played back in a cave, the SB Pro is even worse.

The ESS and this Yamaha chipset do not chop off higher frequencies.

It doesn't matter whether the Live is 48hz or whatever it is. There is way more to (a) sound(card) than just a frequency range printed on the box. Compare any professional equipment with the same range with a Creative product and you'll see.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2008-5-07 @ 08:56

Code: Select all
Walking around on Queensday I found the following sound card:

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands? Koninginnedag. ;)
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Marek » 2008-5-07 @ 10:38

samudra wrote:The ESS and this Yamaha chipset do not chop off higher frequencies.
There are big differences in ESS driven cards, though. I once had one which had a low pass filter at around 10 kHz, thus making even close to CD-quality impossible, despite it supported sample rates up to 48 kHz at 16 bit stereo.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby samudra » 2008-5-07 @ 10:51

With "ESS" I was referring to the Terratec Gold mentioned in the original post.

Implementations of chipsets differ.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Og » 2008-5-07 @ 16:25

I have a card with a YMF719B-S chipset, does it have the same capabilities like the ones you're talking about? Is it worth building a rig with?

Image
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2008-5-07 @ 17:31

I have a card with a YMF719B-S chipset, does it have the same capabilities like the ones you're talking about? Is it worth building a rig with?

We were talking about this series of cards some months ago. Topic:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=17642&highlight=
maybe it helps.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Og » 2008-5-09 @ 06:50

Thanks gerwin. I don't really have a lot of spare time at the moment, but when I'll build another old system I'll be sure to read the thread you mentioned and google about this card a bit.
Thanks again :happy:
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2008-5-09 @ 18:32

Sure,
Here is also an interesting and recent thread:
http://www.soundshock.se/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2
Go to the topic 'OPL3 PCI cards'. You wil find posts on both the ISA and the PCI yamaha ymf-7xx series. There are some samples uploaded as well.

Personally I can only comment on the PCI ymf-724 chipset. For what its worth, it seems to me the best SB-pro emulator available when matched with an intel bx440 mainboard (used with SB-Link). It works well for games where my vortex-2 card fails to emulate properly.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Great Hierophant » 2008-5-09 @ 19:41

gerwin wrote:Sure,
Here is also an interesting and recent thread:
http://www.soundshock.se/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2
Go to the topic 'OPL3 PCI cards'. You wil find posts on both the ISA and the PCI yamaha ymf-7xx series. There are some samples uploaded as well.

Personally I can only comment on the PCI ymf-724 chipset. For what its worth, it seems to me the best SB-pro emulator available when matched with an intel bx440 mainboard (used with SB-Link). It works well for games where my vortex-2 card fails to emulate properly.


Its SB Pro emulation is pretty good, but it is less than perfect even according to its datasheet. It does not implement the SB Pro's low pass filter in the mixer or its 8-3 or 8-2 ADPCM playback modes.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2008-5-10 @ 10:32

I would not dare argue with that. ;)
Sorry: Forgot to state I only mean the ymf7x4 to be the best SB-pro emulator in the field of PCI cards, did not mean to compare it with ISA cards which are more similar to a SB-pro from the start by being also an ISA card.

But let me not distract anyone from the topic of the ISA based ymf7xx series.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby Great Hierophant » 2008-5-10 @ 14:21

Unfortunately, I know of no real substitute for a real Sound Blaster Pro. Most ISA boards that do not have native Sound Blaster hardware usually only emulate basic Sound Blaster. Even the Sound Blaster 16+ does not officially support the Pro, thanks to Creative's cost cutting moves.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby fillosaurus » 2008-5-16 @ 18:31

I've seen some cards like this back in the golden days of me first Pentium :happyhappy:
IMHO, they are cheap, noisy little buggers, and the drivers took precious space from low memory.
AFAIK, they were noisier than ESS 688/1868/1869 and Crystal 4235/4236/4237 based cards that I tested 11-12 years ago.
Good compatibility though, but I liked best the ESS's.
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Re: The Yamaha OPL YMF718-S chipset.

Postby gerwin » 2009-9-25 @ 10:38

I would like to add some observations of mine to this older topic.
Starting with some general info on the different variants:
From Yamaha YST 1996:

Yamaha OPL3SA (YMF701)
The OPL3SA was designed as a Plug-and-Play device for PC95 requirements. It is currently found on motherboard solutions by various manufacturers as well as on add-in cards.

Yamaha OPL3SA2 (YMF711)
The OPL3SA2 was designed as a Plug-and-Play device for PC95a requirements and beyond. In addition to the features of the original OPL3SA, The OPL3SA2 adds address decoding for the full 16-bit address space. Any logical device of this part may be located within the full 64K of I/O address space. More flexible DMA and IRQ capabilities are also built into this device. Nine pins are of flexible use, allowing for both motherboard solutions and add-in cards. It is the first Yamaha single-chip device suitable for PC-97 requirements.

Yamaha OPL3SA3 (YMF715)
The OPL3SA3 is a drop-in replacement for the OPL3SA2, with all of the features of the 'SA2. This device has enhanced power-management capabilities, making it suitable for portable PCs. It also includes Yamaha's exclusive "YMersion" 3D Stereo Enhancement Technology.

From Linux Drivers v 2.4 readme:
Up until recently (December 2000), I'd thought the 719 to be a different chipset, the OPL3-SAx. After an email exhange with Yamaha, however, it turns out that the 719 is just a re-badged 715, and the chipsets are identical.

I have a YMF719E-S based card myself, bought it almost a year ago. I thought it would be wise to buy the latest chip revision, but in hindsight anything YMF715/718/719 would probably be similar. I have it installed in the spare retro P-III/Via Apollo Pro system, and I cannot really find much reason to swap it with one of my other soundcards, as it is actually quite a useful little thing.

It came without the OPL4 wavetable addon chip on the PCB, neither did it came with the OPL4-ML daughterboard addon. Lacking a midi daughterboard small enough to fit on that oddly placed header I made me a flatcable-assembly which allows me to fit a full size midi daughterboard, as shown on the picture. This setup works very well. Looking at the card of the Topic Starter it seems like that one has a better placed header.

I had some trouble with the configuration utility at first, in regard to WSS resource settings. It looks a bit different then the screenshot of the Topic Starter, As I had DMA 0, 1 and 6 selectable. But by manually editting opl3sa.ini I managed to put it at DMA 3 which works better, also one can edit the WSS capture DMA from there and there is a mention of a 16-bit DMA? I am still a bit in doubt about these DMA settings...

Now be sure to turn of all 3D, Ymersion, bass and treble 'enhancements'. Put them all at 0. Also turn off any Amplifier with the jumpers. With that settled I am very content with the sound quality. It really is not a noisy or loud chip when configured properly.
Unlike what is written above the config utility does not seem to leave anything resident in memory, not even for the MPU-401.

Of course the FM music sounds very nice, as it uses genuine yamaha OPL3 circuitry. SB-Pro and MPU-401 work fine too. WSS does not work in Tyrian, but that game is very picky in regard to WSS. WSS does work in games based on the Miles sound drivers.
The card works without any trouble in Windows 2000.
Attachments
OPL3SA.INI
My current DOS driver configuration file
(1.48 KiB) Downloaded 903 times
yamaha.zip
Yamaha 1996 Soundcard Chip listing and OPL3-SA information.
(5.91 KiB) Downloaded 1034 times
opl3sa3_korgwt_s.jpg
OPL3-SA3 YMF719E-S with Trust/Korg Super sound module (Wavetable upgrade) attached in a unusual way.
opl3sa3_korgwt_s.jpg (111.48 KiB) Viewed 19771 times
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