Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

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Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby ratfink » 2013-8-23 @ 09:51

I installed this card, again, in my athlon 700 box [98se, ms-6167, savage 2000, 3c905-something]. Last time I could not get it working quickly and lost patience.

After running the floppy-based driver installation, the card worked but was clearly set up wrongly. It turned out that I had to copy some files from windows\system to \windows, as the installation put them in the wrong place. Found that by looking at the driver file details and checking where they were, after the autoexec kept reporting file not found.

The card emulates an sb pro though in a windows dosbox the set blaster variables are just [in my case] a220 i5 d1, so you have to add t4 yourself. Card works in dos with just a set blaster line as far as I recall.

There is an onboard midi wavetable rom on this card [SAMSUNG KS0174-1MO4]. No tsr is needed to use the midi in dos. Music is maybe not in the yamaha/roland - will try to do some recordings some time - but not all bad, eg the cymbals and guitars in heretic are ok, doom and duke nukem3d sound ok, even warcraft 2.

FM synth is nice and bright, it doesn't have the dulled and muffled edge that my old ct17400 had. Maybe a bit too bright. I understand this is likely due to not being filtered.

There is a 3D setting that can be turned on and off in windows [and maybe dos, haven't looked into it]. Not sure what use this is.

The main problem with the card is that sound effects in dos games are accompanied by a huge amount of background static or noise. Can anything be done about that? It's so bad it pretty much ruins some games.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby elianda » 2013-8-23 @ 11:27

Try a different ISA slot, at best the most far from other cards.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby orcish75 » 2013-8-25 @ 20:30

Have you set the volume on all the inputs you're not using, eg mic, line in, aux, etc to zero?
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby ratfink » 2013-9-01 @ 15:10

Ok it is as far away from other cards as I can get it, and neither that nor muting cd, mike etc made any difference. Now I listen more it seems more like the sound is distorted as though being played too loud. . I have turned it down both in windows and dos. The distortion is clear in dos games [so 8 bit samples as it's an sb pro compatible], got a feeling windows sounds are fine. And fm music and midi is fine.

I will check some more to make sure.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby orcish75 » 2013-9-01 @ 19:01

Ah! OK! I know exactly what you mean now. It seems that it's the standalone Crystal chips that do it. I've got the Aztech Sound Galaxy Pro II, which is identical to your Waverider Pro 32 just without the onboard wavetable. I've also got a Diamond Multimedia Pro 16 with a Crystal CS4248-KL chip and Opti 82C929A SB-PRO controller and it has EXACTLY the same sound quality issues as the Aztech when playing 8-bit samples. It's not quite distorted, but definitely sounds bad! If I play MP3's or Direct X sounds such as in Diablo or Starcraft, the sound quality is excellent. Also, if I select WSS in DOS games, the sound quality is also excellent, I used Warcraft 2 and Syndicate Wars to test the WSS quality.

The integrated Crystal chips don't have this problem. My Turtle Beach Tropez 32 has a Crystal CS4232 chip, which integrates the SB-Pro controller and ADC/DAC on one chip (OPL-3 is still separate). My Acer Magic S23A card has a Crystal CX4236B which has the SB-PRO, ADC/DAC and OPL3 integrated on one chip. Both these cards have excellent 8-bit sound quality.

I'll also investigate this further and see if I can come up with anything.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby ratfink » 2013-9-01 @ 19:23

Thanks.

I just tried the same games on another box with mx300 and yamaha 724, they both exhibit some background hiss when 8-bit sound effects play. Also this hiss seems to be there in dosbox I now notice. Though none of these are anywhere near what the aztech card produces [though it's a bit more than a hiss!].
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby jesolo » 2015-1-31 @ 20:36

Hi everyone.

I own a couple of Aztech Sound Galaxy soundcards (from the 1st generation to the 4th generation)
I've discoverd that the poor digital sound quality (in DOS) is actually due to a setting in the soundcard's Mixer control utility.
All that you have to do is to load the Mixer control tsr (normaly found under the relevant soundcard's subdirectoy called "utility") and look for a setting where you can toggle between MONO or STEREO (the older soundcards' Mixer control had drop down menus, whereas the newer ones had a more simplified Mixer control).
Select MONO (not STEREO), save and exit.
You can unload the Mixer tsr afterwards.
If you playback your games' digital sounds now, the sound quality will not sound as distorted/muffled.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby orcish75 » 2015-1-31 @ 23:08

Thanks for the info Jesolo, I'm gonna test it tomorrow and report back. I'll also check games that have stereo 8 bit sound like Epic Pinball, the sound will probably no longer be stereo but it might clear up the distortion.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby orcish75 » 2015-2-03 @ 09:42

I've done some tests with setting the stereo and mono option. It definitely works for some games but not others. I'll compile list and post it here. Definitely works for Epic Pinball, the sound is still in stereo, even though mono is selected.

Dune 2 is problematic, no matter what settings I use, the sound is still muffled/distorted. I'm gonna play around some more and see if there is a way to permanently change it to mono.

Such a pity, that Aztech added this "feature" if it wasn't for this option, the Sound Galaxy cards would definitely be near the top of the ultimate DOS ISA cards. Super clear sound and virtually no background noise..
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby jesolo » 2015-2-14 @ 16:36

Yes, switching the setting to MONO in the mixer control utility does not change the actual digital sound output. In other words, a stereo sound source will still produce stereo sound, provided that you have selected the correct option in the game's setup (Sound Blaster Pro or Pro 2).
I seem to recall that many older games' setup menus had an option to choose between different types of sound cards (even between the original Sound Blaster Pro and the later Sound Blaster Pro 2). Some even had an option to choose Sound Blaster "clone".
If you have tried all "Sound Blaster" options (including the original Sound Blaster 2.0 mono sound card but, excluding Sound Blaster 16, as the card doesn't support it) and it doesn't yield satisfactory results, try choosing the "Thunderbird" (if available) as your sound card and see what results your get.

Below is also an excerpt from Wikipedia on Dune 2:

"Originally released for DOS in 1992, Dune II was one of the first PC games to support the recently introduced General MIDI standard. Game-audio was programmed with the middleware Miles audio library, which handled the dynamic conversion of the game's MIDI musical score, originally composed on the Roland MT-32, to the selected soundcard. At initial release, the game's setup utility lacked the means to support separate output devices for the musical-score and speech/sound-effects. This limitation was frustrating to owners of high-quality MIDI-synths (such as the Roland Sound Canvas), because users could not play the game with both digital sound-effects (which MIDI-synths lacked) and high-quality MIDI score. Westwood later published a revised setup utility to enable users select a different soundcard for each type of game audio: digital-speech, music, and sound effects"

Interesting to note is the fact that Dune 2 uses the Miles audio library. I recall that many games of that era made use of the Miles audio library and you might therefore want to see if you experience similar problems with other games that also made use of the Miles audio library.

Also refer to this link: http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?t=28842

It might contain some files/patches that could solve your sound problem.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby elianda » 2015-2-14 @ 17:00

If you have the adv file for the card you can try to use the putgf1 utility by Stephen T. Neely that was originally made for the ultrasound to replace another driver in dune2 sound.pak. You don't need the revised setup utility when using this method, it generates the fitting dune2.cfg too.

As for westwoods approach it is worth mentioning that the revised setup utility alone is not sufficient. You still have to run (or call) waveset.bat before starting the game to get digitized output.

Though, I recommend an actual MT-32 for music playback with Dune2.
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Re: Aztech Waverider Pro 32-3D

Postby bristlehog » 2015-2-14 @ 17:54

You can put the needed ADV drivers into Dune2's PAK files, but there is no separate ADV driver for any Aztech soundcards.

Also, there is no ADV driver for WSS standard (you've probably seen the WSS.ADV file, but that's a generic OPL3 MIDI driver). However, such driver can be written, since Miles AIL2 library is open-sourced now.
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