Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-4-18 @ 23:47

I understand now, that is an interesting proposal! Nevermind my previous post then.

CT2940 is OK for me regarding sound quality, it is better then the other creative cards. It is told that the CT2502 vibra chip on this card contains Licensed Crystal tech, Crystal being the manufacturer of the CS4236.
Even though I mostly use the CT2940 now, I still have my Yamaha YMF719, Crystal CS4232 and this AV310 card nearby.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby PARUS » 2013-4-19 @ 18:50

If you don't mind I have another some questions for you.
Why did you make so complicated scheme to take standard COAX signal? Usually at sound cards simple scheme present which consists of two resistors, first is before out and second=10first to ground. And why do you tell about 1 V when COAX signal = 0,5 V?
Tell please do you know may or may not standard S/PDIF bracket of motherboards be used with 5 V TTL signal with cards similar AV310? Of course I mean OUT and IN channels.
I have this one from Gigabyte:
Image
Earlier I did use it with Audigy2 and X-Fi without problems. But I don't know what kind of signal (voltage) present on PCI Creative cards and does it work or not on amplitude 5 V.[/url]
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-4-23 @ 00:58

I really don't remember exactly,
But attached you can find the source (Image and Text file) I used in 2009, with credit to a Mr. Kilpatrick.
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SPDIF_.TXT
S/PDIF Voltage Conversion Text
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Spdif_circuits.gif
S/PDIF Voltage Conversion Image
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby PARUS » 2013-6-13 @ 18:17

gerwin, I can't initialize AV310 in DOS on my motherboard. CMINIT.EXE doesn't see the card in pure DOS (but in Windows it works great). My motherboard is Itox G7S620-N-G, chipset i865G.
At the same time, for example, the card works perfectly on motherboards with chipsets i440ZX and i845E. It works excellent in Windows and in pure DOS with CMINIT.EXE on these motherboards.

Can you help, tell me about it? What can I do with this situation on motherboard i865?

Thank you. Sorry for my English.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-6-13 @ 19:30

I don't have such a Mainboard to try.
Two of your mainboards are based on intel chipsets without native ISA, so I expect them to have a bridge chip.
For legacy sound they will need to support all aspects of the ISA interface: I/O, IRQ and DMA.

I can think of three things.
- consult the documentation to see wheter DMA is supported.
- try another ISA soundcard on it.
- toy around with BIOS settings.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby PARUS » 2013-6-13 @ 19:54

:) No, this is too much simple decision. I have this mb about 2 years and it supports DMA! All ISA cards are working (such as SB16, AWE64, ESS688 etc) and AV310 is working too but only in Windows. I can't initialize it in DOS and I don't know why.
All necessary resources in BIOS are tuned to Legacy ISA. These are:
IRQ 5, 7 for Blaster and 11 for WSS and 9, 10 for MPU-401
DMA 1, 5, 3, 6 for Blaster and 0 for WSS
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-6-16 @ 19:44

Of course you seem knowledgable to have thought of these things already. Which leaves me with little to add.

Maybe it is worth a try to slowdown the PC before initializing, with caches or moslo or similar.

Cannot think of much else now, also no opportunity to have a look at my own retro system with CMI8330 now.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby kokornov » 2013-7-19 @ 17:37

Why am I able to use SB16 mode in Duke Nukem 3d on ESS688 and ESS1869 (launching from pure DOS)? As far as i know they support only SB/SBPro.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby d1stortion » 2013-7-20 @ 00:16

Perhaps because the sound effects are only sampled in 8-bit?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby carlostex » 2013-7-28 @ 15:45

If anyone has one of these CMI8330 chipset ISA cards for sale, i would very much like to buy one. Just PM me.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby carlostex » 2013-8-21 @ 12:39

I've just received an Avance Logic ALS120 card, and my first impressions are not very good. Noisy as f**k and with internal amp disabled signal to noise ratio is also not very good. I'm also doubting it's SB16 capabilities, and setting its high DMA is a pain in the arse.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-23 @ 11:05

OK, I hope you still want to to test and write a bit more about this ALS120, despite the bad first impression.

I read somewhere that the earlier ALS007 does not implement 16 bit high DMA 5/6/7, even though that one should be SB16 compatible as well. Creative SB16 Waveffects does not implement high DMA either.

Edit:
ALS007 - According to linux driver documentation 'als007-quickguide' it does not support high DMAs.
ALS100 - According to official documentation 'S100DM2' it supports the high DMAs!?
ALS120 - According to official documentation 'ALS120DM' it does not support high DMAs.
ALS200 - According to official documentation 'ALS200DM' it does not support high DMAs.

Then how is 16-bit sound transferred:
B. Masta 14 Jul 1999: You can definitely send 16-bit data over an 8-bit channel... it just goes as 2 separate transfers per sample. This is fully documented in Creative's SDK, CTSBHWPG.EXE (686 K). This document doesn't cover the CT417x models (ViBRA and WavEffects) specifically, but they are the same in this respect. (The big difference is that they can do 16-16 full-duplex, which the other Creative ISA cards can't... but there is a propietary trick to enable it. Developers have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.)

Where we find:
On Sound Blaster 16, 16-bit sound data is usually transfer through 16-bit DMA channel (specifies on the "Hh" parameter of BLASTER environment variable). However, the hardware also supports transfer 16-bit sound data via 8-bit DMA channel. To make this possible, the program SBCONFIG.EXE come with Sound Blaster 16 package must be run to configure the Sound Blaster 16 appropriately. When SBCONFIG is run, the BLASTER environment entries "Dd" and "Hh" must be set such that d and h are the same 8-bit DMA channel number.

SBCONFIG should be similar to the well known DIAGNOSE program for SB16's.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby elianda » 2013-8-26 @ 12:15

Are you sure that this Dd == Hh setting doesn't work on some other third party cards too?
I haven't tested this in detail, but f.e. 44 kHz rate works on some SB Pro compatible third party codecs, whereas the real SB Pro was limited to 22 kHz (stereo).

I would also take the official documentations with a grain of salt, because they would not mention a SB16 compatible specification...
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-29 @ 21:36

Might be fun to try, one thing to see if it works, then another thing to see if it actually has any benefit.
Some anecdotes:
I found Quake -sspeed 22222 sound a little better then default 11111 kHz.
CS4232 chip does not allow for going beyond kHz specification in SB Pro mode.

Which official documentation? C-Media and Avance Logic do state SB16 compatibility. Despite that it was supposedly never licenced to anyone.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby cdoublejj » 2013-9-09 @ 14:14

carlostex wrote:I've just received an Avance Logic ALS120 card, and my first impressions are not very good. Noisy as f**k and with internal amp disabled signal to noise ratio is also not very good. I'm also doubting it's SB16 capabilities, and setting its high DMA is a pain in the arse.


can you swap out the OPAMP or upgrade/replace any of the capacitors?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby carlostex » 2013-11-02 @ 20:10

cdoublejj wrote:can you swap out the OPAMP or upgrade/replace any of the capacitors?


Not worth the trouble in my opinion. The CMI8330 based cards blow the Avance Logics out of the water in respect of being a SB 16 clone.

Plus, the SB 16 compatibility is not important to me anymore since i now have a GUS. I have an AWE64 just for its wavetable sound.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby dnewhous » 2014-1-16 @ 20:55

A related question, did the soundblaster 16 pci have a waveblaster port?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-16 @ 21:06

No creative labs PCI card has a waveblaster header, they decided to drop that feature from the AWE64 ISA onwards.
Note: This topic is about SB 16 clones, not about anything sold by Creative Labs.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2014-2-06 @ 19:16

Seller 'lusoturbo' was so kind to give me an Avance Logic ALS100 soundcard, as a bonus. Next to the CMI8330 this is the only hardware SB16 clone I know. There are other ALSxxx revisions, but supposedly they do not support High DMA's.

I tested it yesterday, and was finished with it in record time.
Apparently the card works in DOS without any drivers. Just needed to figure out where the PnP BIOS had put it, then do a SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 T6.
-Compatibility seems excellent: SB, SB Pro and SB16.
-High DMA 5 is functional.
-SB16 Mixer works with it.
-It has a fake OPL3 chip on the card, which sounds OK.
-It has an MPU401 UART interface which passes the test with Lucasarts TIE Fighter.

Unfortunately there is a show stopper: The signal of the card is weak. This is the first soundcard that requires me to put my external Class-D amplifier on full volume. The SB16 mixer could raise the 90% volume to 100%, or add 2x or 4x gain. But this will make the background noise very audible as well.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby elianda » 2014-2-06 @ 19:29

This basically resembles my own experiences with this card.
I also noticed that the quality of the Line-In is rather bad as it seems somehow not to comply with Line-Out Vpp. On my card it had strong distortions by default.
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