SB Vibra 16S / Vibra Pro / AWE64 output quality

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-6-21 @ 09:03

Try GODS on IRQ 5 and see if you get the full intro music (no cut-off samples). This is reproducible under DOSBox as well.


IRQ 7 is simply more retro LOL
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-21 @ 09:25

TheMAN wrote:are these dutch games or the US made games that were famous around the world?

Just the usual US DOS games. Ranging from older ones like Rockford (1988) to Tomb Raider (1996). I have just one humble game of Dutch origin, which is about water level management with dykes and channels. An EGA mode game.

TheMAN wrote:just wondering because I NEVER had any issues with old games working with IRQ 5 with my SB16, or even my AWE32... neither one were PnP though...

Sure, if it works then keep it like that. I never investigated the IRQ 7 vs 5 matter.
The SB16 interface never changed much from the first SB16 to the last AWE64. Creative was not innovating, just making it cheaper and less noisy.

TheMAN wrote:this was way back in the 90s, not in any recent years... my retrobox still hasn't been resurrected yet.... hardware all intact and working, but OS be broke! :lol: yes, I'm so lazy :D the oldest games I played were from 1991, so....

Just boot up with a floppy and type "sys c:", all fixed! ;)

Tetrium wrote:He does mention the use of zip files, which might indicate he stored digital copies that way

That is what I meant yes. I patched up the games, removed annoying copy protection. pre-configured the sound. and archived them in zip files like that.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-21 @ 09:33

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:Try GODS on IRQ 5 and see if you get the full intro music (no cut-off samples). This is reproducible under DOSBox as well.
IRQ 7 is simply more retro LOL

Ah, I did not know that, so now I have one... no two reasons for sticking to 7;)
Although.. I suddenly have this urge to simultaniously Print documents and listen to MP3's on my retro system. ;)
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-21 @ 23:23

I managed to get the MPU Interface on the Vibra 16S Initialized. I had a problem doing that because of the AWE64 next to it. There is this MPU-On.com utility from DELL, and that one seems to make it work.
So now I can throw out the Roland MPU-401AT and have a very functional setup with two ISA soundcards and a DB.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby TheMAN » 2011-6-22 @ 00:51

what's wrong with using the MPU401 on the AWE64?
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby sliderider » 2011-6-22 @ 05:18

TheMAN wrote:what's wrong with using the MPU401 on the AWE64?


Having too many things going on at the same time with a single card can cause bugs to creep in like the hanging note bug. Assigning functions to two separate cards can prevent this.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby 5u3 » 2011-6-22 @ 08:57

sliderider wrote:
TheMAN wrote:what's wrong with using the MPU401 on the AWE64?


Having too many things going on at the same time with a single card can cause bugs to creep in like the hanging note bug. Assigning functions to two separate cards can prevent this.


AWE64 doesn't suffer from the hanging note bug.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-22 @ 10:30

Like I wrote earlier in this topic there is a problem with TIE Fighter Collectors CD. This game does not like creative SB16 MPU Interfaces, as it does not only give hanging notes but also gives pauses in the game. I found this problem is still present when using the AWE64, when both digital effects and MPU Midi are passed through a single AWE64.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-6-22 @ 10:57

The AWE64 is very configurable. For example you can disable everything but the joystick function if you like. Or MIDI only...
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby gerwin » 2011-7-01 @ 14:50

The CQM FM of the AWE64 is really bad. Is it broken? It is like tikking through the music. I am like 90 percent succesful in rerouting the FM to a proper OPL3 on another card. But I am not really liking all the tricks involved in doing so (both address 220h and 388h are involved).

I am considering to try another SB16 Vibra soundcard: Can somebody please tell me if the Vibra CT2501 and/or CT2502 chipset based sound blasters have acceptable Digital sound output. Note that the CT2502 based chips do not have Vibra written anywhere. Are they without the ringing problem of the CT2504 Vibra 16S based cards?
To test this one has to use headphones and start a game, or preferably tyrian setup/jukebox. Then turn of the music and do something that triggers a sample to be played. When trying this a few times (play like 30 samples), after every sample played listen for a high pitch ringing sound that remains.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby TheMAN » 2011-7-01 @ 20:40

why don't you get an early AWE32 card? you'll still have wavetable, but REAL OPL3
you can even install the crappy AWE64 "wavesynth" drivers to make the AWE32 work the same as an AWE64 too
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-7-02 @ 01:42

In cases like these I can recommend the Sound Blaster Pro 2.0. It has excellent digital and FM quality. It's my favourite Creative Card and apart from the missing midi port, I haven't heard any complaints yet.

Doesn't have a MIDI port either, so it's a great card next to a MPU401AT or AWE64 with everything disabled apart from the MIDI port.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby gerwin » 2011-7-02 @ 11:22

The Wavetable is to be covered with a midi daughterboard. To me the AWE synth would be just a little bonus of less importance. I just need reasonable SB16 16-bit digital sound, but hopefully without the CQM FM attached to it.

I don't really consider the original SBPro for this system. Pretty sure the Yamaha OPL3-SA3 and Crystal CS4232 based cards I have can do everything the SBPro does, and then some. Except the SBPro is non-PnP, but so far I can get things sorted with PnP too.

At the moment I am just wondering about these first two Vibra chipsets for the challenge of it.

The Vibra CT2501 chip is found on these cards:
CT3930 SB32. CT2260 SB16. Acer Magic S30. Soundforte VIBRA-16-02

The Vibra pro CT2502 chip is found on these cards:
CT3600 SB32. CT2940 SB16. CT2970 SB16 (HP). CT2980 SB16 (Dell?).
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby gerwin » 2011-7-22 @ 19:43

I have the CT2940 SB16 installed for a little while now. It is a CT2940 with OPL3-L instead of that nasty CQM FM Chip. So far it seems to be an improvement over using the CT2800 or the AWE64 Gold.
- Compared to the AWE it has way better FM output.
- Compared to the CT2800, the whistle problem is audible in Tyrian setup, but hardly. In other games I can not find any audible whistle.

I am am using speaker out with this test setup, so the amplifier is important here too. The noise floor seems to be just one notch lower then the CT2800, as in, the CT2940 is a bit more silent. I remember the AWE was more silent then both the SB16s. But as the awe has no amplifier on the card, that is not a fair comparison.

The Low Voltage OPL3-L seems to have this difference with the classic OPL3:
OPL3: 49,7 kHz sampling frequency
OPL3-L: 44,1 kHz sampling frequency

Looking at the AWE-64 Gold again, I remember they advertised a 20-bit DAC. but the DAC chip is the same as on many other AWE cards.
Attachments
ct2940.jpg
CT2940 with OPL3-L
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby TheMAN » 2011-7-22 @ 21:46

again, I must ask why you are not giving the early AWE32s a chance? They have real OPL3, so I can't think of why you can say "Compared to the AWE it has way better FM output." when it is not true. They may have slight variations in audio quality (but not FM synthesis) at best.

I have a CT3900 and it has NO CQM, a real mixer chip, CSP, 30 polyphony wavetable, wave blaster header, and *has* a speaker out jack, meaning there's an amp and it is pretty quiet for a sound blaster

everything you are asking for is right there in an AWE32... it blows my mind how you're making something so simple so complicated... many of those newer SB16s are castrated in some way because creative stopped marketing the SB16 as a premium product but a value or OEM tailored product instead... you're not going to easily find the ideal SB16 card that has good audio quality, bug-free DSP, wave blaster header, real OPL3, etc when it is so much easier to just put an AWE32 in with a daughter card and call it a day
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby h-a-l-9000 » 2011-7-22 @ 21:58

What do you think 20 bit are worth in this environment? :D
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby gerwin » 2011-7-23 @ 11:53

TheMAN wrote:again, I must ask why you are not giving the early AWE32s a chance? They have real OPL3, so I can't think of why you can say "Compared to the AWE it has way better FM output." when it is not true. They may have slight variations in audio quality (but not FM synthesis) at best.

In my previous post, I wrote AWE later on, but was still refering to the AWE64 Gold.

I am well aware of the AWE32 cards, but:
- I don't like the length of these cards, at all.
- At this moment I don't care for the attached EMU8000 synth. Whenever I do want to mess around with the EMU8000, I can add in my CT1920 music only card.
- I hear bad reports on the early CT1740 SB16's, about them being noisy. And wanted to go forward in time as much as possible. To where they did away with seperate mixer chips and DSP's. As these will not help matters.
So I like the Vibra approach, as long as they do not combine it with CQM or introduced some other "Creative Labs"TM flaw.

TheMAN wrote:it blows my mind how you're making something so simple so complicated...

It started being complicated when a crappy company Like Creative labs was making the standards for PC sound interfaces.
And when certain people made it their hobby to get their old games running flawless. ;)

TheMAN wrote:when it is so much easier to just put an AWE32 in with a daughter card and call it a day

There we have the hanging notes, and try to make this work with Tie Fighter collector's CD for fun. (Unless you mean an ISA music only card, instead of a waveblaster card)
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby TheMAN » 2011-7-23 @ 19:21

you want a vibra16 card with real OPL3, wave blaster header and no hanging notes? good luck!

the early AWE32s had the same quieter mixer chip as the AWE64 and some of them didn't have the hanging notes bug... all of them but the value edition had the wave blaster header... you'll save so much time just getting an AWE32 and be done with it
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby Ace » 2011-7-23 @ 20:18

gerwin wrote:The Vibra pro CT2502 chip is found on these cards:
CT3600 SB32. CT2940 SB16. CT2970 SB16 (HP). CT2980 SB16 (Dell?).


I had problems with the floppy disk edition of X-Wing using a SoundBlaster 32 CT3600 where sometimes, after certain digital sounds play, the digital sound stops working until you pause and unpause the game by either pressing ESC or P. Some other SoundBlasters appear to have the same problem, and I've not only experienced this on my SoundBlaster 32 CT3600, but also on my SoundBlaster 16 WavEffects CT4170 and my SoundBlaster AWE64 CT4500(maybe even my SoundBlaster AWE64 CT4520, but I haven't tried it long enough to know). I didn't have this issue on other ISA-based SoundBlasters, which include the SoundBlaster Vibra16 CT2260(although this one has an obnoxious ringing noise when first initialized and while playing any sound, be it digital or FM), SoundBlaster 16 Value CT2770(the digital audio is EXTREMELY muffled on this card), SoundBlaster 16 CT2840(there's a VERY faint ringing noise at high volume when the YMF262 in the CT1747 is active) and SoundBlaster Pro 2.0(although I personally can't stand the digital audio of this sound card).
Creator of The Many Sounds of:, a collection of various DOS games played using different sound cards.
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Re: SB Vibra 16S - CT2800 vs CT2860 (plus AWE64)

Postby gerwin » 2011-7-25 @ 09:01

@Ace
Thanks for the info,
let me summarize that:

CT1600 SBPro 2.0: poor digital audio
CT2260 Vibra16 with OPL3: ringing noises.
CT2770 SB16, OPL3 integrated: muffled digital audio.
CT2840 SB16: Very faint ringing noise with FM.
CT3600 SB32 Vibra pro: X-Wing problem
CT4170 SB16 WavEffects: X-Wing problem
CT4500 AWE64: X-Wing problem
CT4520 AWE64: X-Wing problem, not sure.

I was unable to find any pictures of the CT2840 on the internet.

TheMAN wrote:you want a vibra16 card with real OPL3, wave blaster header and no hanging notes? good luck!

See second sentence of the first post.
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