ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby swampfox » 2014-1-29 @ 01:37

Image
Please forgive the poor quality.

I happened to score myself an ESS AudioDrive recently as well, along with some other sweet early 90s PC hardware.
However, I cannot seem to find much information on this particular model, the ES688F.

Has an actual Yamaha OPL3 (YMF262-M) on it, which is neat.
Also has headers for Sony, Panasonic, and Mitsumi CD Drive interfaces (respectively from left to right).
Dig the potentiometer/dial for volume. Thats cool. I wonder if this messes with output quality at all?

The few small caps are all intact and look okay, and traces on the board are good. I have yet to test it, however.
Need to find drivers for this particular one as well.
Swampfox's Computing - Google+ and YouTube: https://plus.google.com/108854180391399268575
User avatar
swampfox
Newbie
 
Posts: 43
Joined: 2013-2-11 @ 02:32
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2014-1-29 @ 01:54

Nice card, I like the real OPL3.

The drivers are included in the Vogon Drivers site. I haven't tried the 688 but if you read the spec sheet (google for it), you'll find that the wavetable header requires a TSR. The 1688 has a hardware wavetable header, but in saying that I have an example of the 1688 on which the wavetable header did not work.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby mockingbird » 2014-1-29 @ 02:39

I think I remember some games natively supporting the ESS688 (As in being able to select it specifically from a sound configuration utility)... It may have been Warcraft II or it may have been some Apogee game. Memory is fuzzy on specifics.
mockingbird
Member
 
Posts: 424
Joined: 2013-6-17 @ 02:57

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby swampfox » 2014-1-29 @ 02:43

badmojo wrote:Nice card, I like the real OPL3.

The drivers are included in the Vogon Drivers site. I haven't tried the 688 but if you read the spec sheet (google for it), you'll find that the wavetable header requires a TSR. The 1688 has a hardware wavetable header, but in saying that I have an example of the 1688 on which the wavetable header did not work.


Rad. Thanks for the info, I'll grab the drivers.

This weekend I'm going to put my Slot-1 rig up in the System Specs board. Currently there is a OPL3-SAx card in there, but I'll slap in this card real quick and put the results in along with the post.

This card would probably be more appropriate for a Socket 7 build though, but I've been having some problems with the mobos I have for S7. They're all Baby AT instead of ATX, so it might be a PSU issue or something. Whatever, I'm sure I will figure it out eventually.
Swampfox's Computing - Google+ and YouTube: https://plus.google.com/108854180391399268575
User avatar
swampfox
Newbie
 
Posts: 43
Joined: 2013-2-11 @ 02:32
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2014-1-29 @ 02:58

mockingbird wrote:I think I remember some games natively supporting the ESS688 (As in being able to select it specifically from a sound configuration utility)... It may have been Warcraft II or it may have been some Apogee game. Memory is fuzzy on specifics.


Yeah I've seen a couple recently - Network Q Rally (1996) and 'Once Upon a Forrest'. Network Q Rally will detect a ESS1688 too, but not an ESS1868.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2014-1-30 @ 10:54

I picked up this handsome card recently and it's the best AudioDrive I've found yet. It's using the ES1688F chipset, the specs of which can be found here:

http://alsa.cybermirror.org/manuals/ess/PB1688B.PDF

Unlike the other ES1688 card I've tried the wavetable header worked perfectly first time, so this card:

- has no nasty popping noise when the PC is booted
- is easy to configure
- is NOT a PnP card, yay
- provides solid, great sounding Sound Blaster Pro compatibility
- has a bug free wavetable header / MPU401
- allows you to select the 'AudioDrive' option in the games that support it natively (the ES1868 chipset didn't always register)
- is cheap as chips
- includes an OPL3 clone that sounds great to my ears (some of them include an actual OPL3)

In summary this card rocks, and everyone here should own one:

Image
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-13 @ 00:07

Hi guys,
I know this is an old Post. Not sure if you guys are still there.

Anyway, I found an old Pentium 90mhz, that came with ESS 1868F soundcard. It's well preserved.

Here's mine:-
Image

Image

Image


I tested this card, it sound very clean and nice. SB16 emulation works perfectly. I beginning to "like" this card.
The MPU-401 also works well... (Tested with http://www.serdashop.com/CHiLLandPhilAdapter) , it doesn't have "note hanging bug", as far as my test goes .

Can anyone clarify that the Wavetable works? Or how to get the Wavetable work?
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby gdjacobs » 2016-10-13 @ 03:56

Your card isn't equipped with wavetable on board, unfortunately. Your best option is to use an external device through a game port adapter, or alternately install a daughterboard on the wavetable header (WAVE TABLE CONNECTOR, in the board shot).

When you tested Sound Blaster compatibility, did it in fact work as a SB16 or was it in SB Pro mode? I always run MPXPLAY to test SB16/SB Pro/WSS PCM compatibility.
User avatar
gdjacobs
l33t++
 
Posts: 5527
Joined: 2015-11-03 @ 05:51
Location: The Great White North

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-13 @ 23:31

gdjacobs wrote:Your card isn't equipped with wavetable on board, unfortunately. Your best option is to use an external device through a game port adapter, or alternately install a daughterboard on the wavetable header (WAVE TABLE CONNECTOR, in the board shot).

When you tested Sound Blaster compatibility, did it in fact work as a SB16 or was it in SB Pro mode? I always run MPXPLAY to test SB16/SB Pro/WSS PCM compatibility.



Hi,
Yes I do have a wavetable, Dreamblaster X1.(http://www.philscomputerlab.com/dreamblaster-x1.html)

Wavetable:-
After hours of trying to get it working on DOS, Win9x and XP, I still can't get it to work. The wavetable is not working. I'm not sure what I am missing. In Win98 and WinXP, if you double-click Sound(Buttom Right,beside the clock), I do not see "Wavetable" . I can see Volume, Wave, Microphone, CD,....etc....
In DOS, I cant make it to work.... I'm new to this ESS thingy.. anybody can help/share?

MPXPLAY:-
I never user it before. I just download it today. I will give it a go during the weekend... errm.. any particular setup/setting for me to play around ,to check and test to test SB16/SB Pro/WSS PCM compatibility ?
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2016-10-13 @ 23:58

The wavetable is muted by default, and it's labelled 'Aux1' or something like that. Check the DOS / Windows mixer for that option and crank it up - you might need to go to 'advanced' option in the Windows mixer and select it for display.

And no it's not SB16 compatible, SB Pro only.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-14 @ 02:25

badmojo wrote:The wavetable is muted by default, and it's labelled 'Aux1' or something like that. Check the DOS / Windows mixer for that option and crank it up - you might need to go to 'advanced' option in the Windows mixer and select it for display.

And no it's not SB16 compatible, SB Pro only.



Hi,
Okay, I will go home and test it out the AUX. (Another... 6 hours of work, than im home free)
FYI, i am using the driver from https://www.vogonsdrivers.com/index.php?catid=17 , ESS 1688/1868/1869 Pre-installed for DOS 107.44 KiB 2014-05-11 09:27:45 ESS Technology" . Is that the correct driver?

Also, for windows 9x and XP, will the default driver that comes with windows, is sufficient? or do I need to find and download the updated drivers for them?

Thus... how do you check if it is not SB16 compatible, but SB Pro only? (Im noob at this..) What Tools or DOS software, to you use, to determine this?
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby gdjacobs » 2016-10-14 @ 04:28

Panties wrote:MPXPLAY:-
I never user it before. I just download it today. I will give it a go during the weekend... errm.. any particular setup/setting for me to play around ,to check and test to test SB16/SB Pro/WSS PCM compatibility ?


Generally, MPXPLAY does a good job of guessing settings from the environment variables you have set. It then attempts to initialize the device.

You can manually specify the output it uses, as documented in README.TXT included in your MPXPLAY documentation:

Code: Select all
Sound card and file (wav/bitstream) output:
 -scs CARD : manual soundcard select (force) (CARD can be: in DOS version: CMI,ENS,ICH,IHD,SBA,VIA,S16,ESS,WSS,GUS,SBP,WAV,NUL, in Win version: WDS,WIN,WAV,NUL)


In other words, MPXPLAY -SCS S16 will attempt to initialize a SB16 card (or compatible) for output.

In either case, the output method will be displayed in the top right hand corner.
User avatar
gdjacobs
l33t++
 
Posts: 5527
Joined: 2015-11-03 @ 05:51
Location: The Great White North

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2016-10-14 @ 05:14

Panties wrote:Thus... how do you check if it is not SB16 compatible, but SB Pro only? (Im noob at this..) What Tools or DOS software, to you use, to determine this?


Read my lips Panties - it ain't SB16 compatible!

"read my lips panties"? That didn't come out right.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby gdjacobs » 2016-10-14 @ 06:49

Yup, but I'd be interested in knowing if WSS support works.
User avatar
gdjacobs
l33t++
 
Posts: 5527
Joined: 2015-11-03 @ 05:51
Location: The Great White North

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby nekurahoka » 2016-10-14 @ 18:07

The default drivers loaded by windows are all that's needed to run the card in windows. The drivers from vogons are only needed for DOS operation. These cards are great for both windows and dos retro gaming.
Dell Dimension XPS R400, 512MB SDRAM, Voodoo3 2000 AGP, Turtle Beach Montego, ESS Audiodrive 1869f ISA, Dreamblaster Synth S1
Dell GH192, P4 3.4 (Northwood), 4GB Dual Channel DDR, ATI Radeon x1650PRO 512MB, Audigy 2ZS, Alacritech 2000 Network Accelerator
User avatar
nekurahoka
Member
 
Posts: 125
Joined: 2014-10-12 @ 03:40

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-16 @ 09:11

gdjacobs wrote:
Panties wrote:MPXPLAY:-
I never user it before. I just download it today. I will give it a go during the weekend... errm.. any particular setup/setting for me to play around ,to check and test to test SB16/SB Pro/WSS PCM compatibility ?


Generally, MPXPLAY does a good job of guessing settings from the environment variables you have set. It then attempts to initialize the device.

You can manually specify the output it uses, as documented in README.TXT included in your MPXPLAY documentation:

Code: Select all
Sound card and file (wav/bitstream) output:
 -scs CARD : manual soundcard select (force) (CARD can be: in DOS version: CMI,ENS,ICH,IHD,SBA,VIA,S16,ESS,WSS,GUS,SBP,WAV,NUL, in Win version: WDS,WIN,WAV,NUL)


In other words, MPXPLAY -SCS S16 will attempt to initialize a SB16 card (or compatible) for output.

In either case, the output method will be displayed in the top right hand corner.


It stated... on the Top Right.. SBp.... So it is Sound Blaster Pro.... it can play Mp3 music.. wow.. I never knew MSDOS can play MP3 songs.. (im pampered with WinAMP in Win9x... lol)




badmojo wrote:
Panties wrote:Thus... how do you check if it is not SB16 compatible, but SB Pro only? (Im noob at this..) What Tools or DOS software, to you use, to determine this?


Read my lips Panties - it ain't SB16 compatible!

"read my lips panties"? That didn't come out right.



Yes, you are right. I tested with Mechwarrior 2 CD, SetSound.. and Mortal Kombat 3, Setsound...
With autodetect, Only Sound Blaster PRO! If I select SB16, it says error.

Yes, you are also right about one thing. The WaveTable works like a CHARM! :) I have to adjust the AUX in Windows (AUXB for DOS) in order to hear my DreamBlaster X1! :D


Just wondering , do I need to edit autoexec.bat, to add "SET BLASTER=..etc..etc.." for compatibility? Or the ESS DOS software itself, is good enough?
also.. inside the Go.bat, they use IRQ7.... I change it to IRQ5 and still works like a charm. Is there any concern on changing the IRQ?

Finally... one Important question.... I am planning to purchase a daughter board for this ESS (The Dreamblaster X1 is for another Computer).
I am mostly going to play Final Fantasy 7/8, Monkey Island and Some Doom games... Any recommendation of Daughter board for some Classic MIDI to put into this Wavetable?




nekurahoka wrote:The default drivers loaded by windows are all that's needed to run the card in windows. The drivers from vogons are only needed for DOS operation. These cards are great for both windows and dos retro gaming.


ahh.. well, from Windows 98 onwards.... , but unfortunately, Win95 doesn't come with the driver for ESS1868F. I have to find Win95 all over the internet for it.... I found it and it works nicely...(The good old win95 Startup Sound... NICE!!! ) I decided to upload the drivers in to my dropbox and share it , for those who wants it. It also has ES1869 too.... I'll upload it soon.
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-19 @ 05:28

I put the drivers into my dropbox:-
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ekztaxkw3xwrs65/AADJhjBDZkGU0eGCLaLPF1-8a?dl=0 under Soundcards folder, ESS1868_1869_1938_1989.zip , for those who needs it.
It should have Win95 Drivers, as well as DOS installation, for the ESS1868 (i only tested with this card and it works like a charm).

Since it have a Wavetable, does anyone know a good daughterboard that I can buy from Ebay? I'm aiming for.. Final Fantasy 7, and DOOM... so any recommendation?
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby badmojo » 2016-10-19 @ 06:12

Panties wrote:Since it have a Wavetable, does anyone know a good daughterboard that I can buy from Ebay? I'm aiming for.. Final Fantasy 7, and DOOM... so any recommendation?


They're getting a bit hard to find these days unless you're patient but people seem to like the dreamblaster, which is a newly made thing and not outrageously expensive:

http://www.serdashop.com/waveblaster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWXRJGTMlkU

You can get old ones cheaper but like I say it takes time and energy in scouring eBay, etc.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby Panties » 2016-10-20 @ 00:10

badmojo wrote:
Panties wrote:Since it have a Wavetable, does anyone know a good daughterboard that I can buy from Ebay? I'm aiming for.. Final Fantasy 7, and DOOM... so any recommendation?


They're getting a bit hard to find these days unless you're patient but people seem to like the dreamblaster, which is a newly made thing and not outrageously expensive:

http://www.serdashop.com/waveblaster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWXRJGTMlkU

You can get old ones cheaper but like I say it takes time and energy in scouring eBay, etc.


Awesome! Thank you very much! I'll get the Dreamblaster S1..... ^^V
User avatar
Panties
Newbie
 
Posts: 91
Joined: 2016-3-28 @ 09:18

Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-11-14 @ 10:13

I started playing around with a few ES1868 cards. I have three in total.

There is lots of good stuff to talk about. It's very quiet, the drivers are small and easy to use, especially if you like command line tools. FM music sounds very nice.

Only negative I found is that on all 3 cards the wavetable Stereo gets reversed.
User avatar
PhilsComputerLab
Hardware Mod
 
Posts: 6179
Joined: 2014-9-28 @ 03:33
Location: Western Australia

PreviousNext

Return to General Old Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BLEXBot [Bot], Google [Bot], Roman555, walterg74 and 12 guests