Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-08 @ 19:11

So I recently got the itch for some retro gaming goodness and collected a bunch of hardware. I have an IBM PC350 running Windows 95, and the cards mentioned in the title. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), I skipped the entire ISA PnP era back in the day... my old setup was fully jumpered, so I'm completely lost on what to do with these cards I have now.

First the CT2290 SB16. It's one of those sorta-but-not-quite-plug-n-play deals, which works in Windows without trouble, but I'm not sure what I need to get it going in DOS mode. I know it takes a software setup to set the resources, but... what exactly do I need to use? I found an RAR pack of old Sound Blaster drivers, but there are about a half dozen different things in there, all simply labelled 'SB16 install disks'. :dead:

Secondly, the Goldfinch card. I'd never seen one before I bought mine at a swap meet. It's a version without external connectors or the onboard RAM, but I made a connector cable and installed a couple SIMMS on it. I found a semi-recent thread on here about it, including a driver CD image, but the card refuses to work in Windows. The software installs, but Device Manager just gives me a 'device is not installed, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed correctly.' Thanks, Windows, that helps narrow things down a lot.

I made a cursory attempt at the DOS configuration, and it seems to somewhat work, CTCM loads and reports success, but I get the AWEDIAG 'configuration manager missing or wrong version' error. Unlike the report in the other thread, I get the same error even when I try running AWEDIAG without the /S parameter.

Forgive me if these are newb-ish problems, but I've just never dealt with these sorts of cards before, and documentation on it has become rather scarce. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-08 @ 21:59

For the CT1920 in windows 95 I used the drivers from the CD image in the folder AUGW95US. That worked properly.

For the CT1920 in dos I used the following commands, with the last line being the optional general midi TSR program. Replace the folder location with the one you use.
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E MODE:0
SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 E620 T6
SET SOUND=C:\DOSAPP\AWE
C:\DOSAPP\AWE\CTCM
C:\DOSAPP\AWE\AWEUTIL /EM:GM

For the SB16 in Dos: "DIAGNOSE /S" does it all, at least for my CT2800. I attached the Dos drivers for the SB16 to this post. There is a readme file inside.

Good luck!
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-08 @ 23:11

Hm, those are the same Windows drivers I used, and it didn't work for me. So that would indicate that it's either a problem with Windows, or a problem with the hardware. Bet it's going to be fun tracking that one down, guess I'll just have to see if the card works in DOS before anything else.

As for the DOS commands, looks like I was pretty much on the right track there, at least for the AWE32 card. Only thing I was missing was the last line with the AWEUTIL. The SB16 drivers you posted are completely different from the ones I had, so perhaps that was part of the reason I was so confused... I simply didn't have the right drivers. I'll try these out, and post back with results.

And, lastly, am I to assume that it isn't really a problem that the AWEDIAG doesn't work? I saw that you were having the same problems with the 'missing or wrong version' complaints (and I have the same versions as you do), though I couldn't get it to work even running it without any parameters.

Thanks a bunch for your help.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-09 @ 14:05

Yes, Try to make the CT1920 work in Dos first, to verify the hardware has not died. It is a bit worrying that Awediag does not run even without parameters. On my system it played a tune and did a memory check. Maybe it would be best to try the CT1920 without Simms and without the SB16 installed alongside it.

I am thinking, maybe you need to copy Ctcm from the windows folder to same folder as Awediag, if you haven't already done so.
I am still a bit confused about why there are so many different dos Utilities with these creative cards, and had to find out for myself which one does what, and which ones are essential or optional.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-09 @ 20:05

Hm, ok, as for the Golfinch card, I give up, I think I'm just going to scrap this POS. I'm strongly suspecting it's dead anyway, but even if it isn't, this is way too much trouble for what is ultimately a mediocre card anyhow.

I pulled the SB16 and tried to get just the CT1920 working, and it just will not cooperate. AWEDIAG gives me the same error, regardless of Ctcm being in the same folder. Ctcm runs and reports success, the AWEUTIL loads without a switch, but if I try the /EM:GM it tells me the card couldn't initialize. Tried it with and without RAM, with the jumper in both positions, makes no difference.

Windows still doesn't like it either. It's recognized as an Emu 8000 Pnp, but it refuses to recognize that there are drivers installed.

It's acting like a software problem, but I've run out of ideas for software fixes. I even downloaded a new driver cd from a different source and burned a fresh copy, in case it was a corrupted download or something. It just simply won't work.

On the up side, I got the SB16 to work fine, at least until I pulled it out for testing. :cool:

That leaves me with a couple different options, though: do I just use the plain SB16 in the meantime until I can find a good MIDI board to go with it, or do I try the AWE64 I have laying around? I was kiiiinda thinking of using the AWE64 in one of my PII machines, but if it'll work decently as a DOS card, I might try it. I've heard that it's not too great for that task, but would it be equal or better than an AWE32 Upgrade?
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-09 @ 20:31

I do not own a AWE64, but AFAIK it has basically the same Midi Chipset with different memory interfaces and sizes and the same 1MB ROM patch set. Also it has the SB16 functionality on the board.

My opinion; all Creative ISA cards are far from ideal for Midi music in Dos games.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-09 @ 21:24

Yeah, that's for sure. I installed the AWE64 (Gold, btw), and it works without a hitch. It ain't ideal, but it'll do until I happen across a better option.

Just out of curiosity, though, what, in your opinion, is the ideal MIDI setup for DOS? (I know wars could be started over such things, I'm just interested what you think, personally.)
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby HunterZ » 2009-6-09 @ 23:15

The ideal MIDI setup for DOS is probably an MPU-401 MIDI interface that will run the following external MIDI synthesizers:
- Roland SC-55 or similar
- Roland MT-32 or similar

You could also get ISA SCC-1 and/or LAPC-I cards, but they seem to be pretty rare.

I bought an MT-32 and SC-88 from eBay and use them with DOSBox since I don't have an old PC to play old games on.

Edit: I recommend these synths because the MT-32 was used by many games in its day (most notably the majority of classic Sierra and LucasArts adventure games), and the SC-55 (Sound Canvas) was seen as the standard for General MIDI music in PC games.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-10 @ 00:08

Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking, although since we're talking 'ideal', I'd be more inclined to say the Roland CM-500.

I've been keeping an eye out for modules on eBay, most of 'em seem to go a bit rich for my blood, though. (Meh, I'm cheap. :blah: ) Hopefully one of these says I'll come across a deal, at least on an MT-32 or CM-32 or something.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-10 @ 09:38

Sounds good, alot better than the AWE for dos games.
I have gone the midi daughterboard way, these connect to quite a few host soundcards with a waveblaster connector. I have about 7 of them: Yamaha (1x), Roland (1x), Korg (2x), Dream (3x). Some are compact versions of external modules. There is no daughterboard with proper MT-32 functionality, but currently I don't care for that.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby retro games 100 » 2009-6-10 @ 09:50

gerwin wrote:Sounds good, alot better than the AWE for dos games.
I have gone the midi daughterboard way, these connect to quite a few host soundcards with a waveblaster connector. I have about 7 of them: Yamaha (1x), Roland (1x), Korg (2x), Dream (3x). Some are compact versions of external modules. There is no daughterboard with proper MT-32 functionality, but currently I don't care for that.

I really want to ask a question about this topic - what ISA-based card provides the best audio quality for daughterboards? I also need to add to this - I'm not interested in anything else about the "host card" (such as soundblaster emulation, digital sound quality, etc etc). Just the daughterboard audio quality. For instance, would the Roland MPU-401AT card provide the best daughterboard audio quality? I tested one out, and thought it was OK, but I must admit I wasn't blown away by it. (Perhaps I need my ears syringing?) I've tried out various SB16s, and we all know about the hanging/stuck note problem! Are there any other quality soundcards out there, which I can mount a daughterboard on to it, and enjoy good quality DB sound?

Thanks a lot! :happy:
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-10 @ 10:10

Your not happy with the Roland MPU-401AT? I have one too, but I only tried it briefly. Other then that: Crystal chipsets: CS4231+Opti, CS4232, CS4235, CS4236(B), CS4237. Such a chipset with a waveblaster header and an unamplified line-out should do. ESS-1868 Audiodrive is also worth considering (any older ESS chipsets are told to be noisy).
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-10 @ 20:47

Crystal chipsets, eh? I never really considered the viability of those, but I have several boards/systems that use the CS4236 or 4237 for the onboard sound. Granted a daughterboard isn't an option with most of 'em, but an ISA card or external module could be used. They do decently with SB compatibility and all that?
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-11 @ 09:31

Concerning the CT1920 again, I just stumbled upon a remark by Cloudschatze in this topic.
Cloudschatze wrote:I'm not sure if anyone cares, but a few other well-known cards that use the -5v rail are the Sound Blaster 2.0, and Sound Blaster AWE32 Upgrade Card.
The -5V contact finger is indeed present on the CT1920, and my PSU indicates that it supports -5V. It might be that your system does not?

Crystal chips are about the cleanest you can find on the ISA bus. Crystal CS4231 is a codec. It has no soundblaster compatibility, Just WSS, but when accompanied by an Opti chip the card is SB-Pro compatible.
The other mentioned Crystal chips are standalone, and are nicely SB-Pro and MPU-401 compatible. CS4232 and up are not too easy in windows because they need DOS initialisation first. I now know the CS4236B doesn't have this issue. CS4235/36/37 have an integrated OPL3 clone for FM music.
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Re: Have a CT2290 and CT1920, need help setting 'em up

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2009-6-12 @ 18:16

No, I have the -5V rail. It's probably just a case that the card wasn't stored well and got static damaged or something.

As for the Crystal chips, I'll have to look at that a little closer. I know my Optiplex GX1 systems use the CS4236B, but they lack ISA slots, game ports and wavetable headers, and also my DEC workstation system has a Crystal of some sort, but being a dual CPU box, I think it's much better suited for NT. I need to dig around and see what other boards I can turn up, I'm sure I've seen a couple others somewhere.
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