VOGONS


First post, by LunarG

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I've recently started having problems with the sound in certain games sounding really distorted on my GUS. Programs like Cubic Player or FT2 playing modules sound just fine. Pinball Fantasies is perfect, no problem at all. But most other games, in particular games using UltraMID I guess, have major distortion, like constant white noise during playback. In Doom and Doom 2 the music sounds fine, but sound effects have a nasty "crackling" almost like white noise in background. In Tyrian the white noise type sound is there pretty much constantly.
This wasn't always the case, so I'm not really sure what's happened. The jack for my line-out is a bit loose (the retention spring that holds the plug in has loosened over the years I guess), so I thought it could be bad contact between the jack socket and the plug, but seeing as CP and FT2 and Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies work flawlessly, it can't really be that either. The playmidi util that comes with the Ultrasound drivers play back midi files with perfect sound clarity as well, so I find this problem really strange.
Any chance it could be due to game file corruption?

Anybody got any good suggestions?

EDIT: ran the "Load1024.mid" file in playmidi, and it sounds distorted... I guess some of the memory chips on my GUS may be faulty then? I suppose I'll have to look for some new ones.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 2 of 22, by LunarG

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If the problem was there with every program/game, then I'd take that explanation, but seeing as it's only present during some types of playback I have a feeling it's something else. Midi playback is perfect with all the demo midis that comes with the GUS, except for the "load1024.mid" which is only supposed to load a full 1MB sample set and play a few notes to confirm that it is working. I might remove some of the memory DIPs and see how playback in games are with only 512KB or even just the base 256KB to see if they load a different ultramid setup for that.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 3 of 22, by Stojke

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You are using Gravis ultrasound classic? I only had MAX, replacing memory was easy.
But i think now that your guess is correct.

I am not sure because i never experienced bad RAM on sound cards, but i did have same symptoms with bad caps.

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Reply 4 of 22, by SquallStrife

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I had that issue with GUS in Doom as well.

I solved it by just using GUS for music, and a different sound card for digital sounds.

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Reply 5 of 22, by LunarG

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SquallStrife wrote:

I had that issue with GUS in Doom as well.

I solved it by just using GUS for music, and a different sound card for digital sounds.

I've considered this, but I don't currently have a mixer to run both my sound cards through, but I do have an SB16 in that system as well.
Might have to experiment a bit.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 6 of 22, by elianda

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For memory you can use the DRAM test tool for GUS.

Some GUS are also sensitive to ISA overclock and start to crackle.

In a few cases just replugging the card in it's slot fixes problems.

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Reply 7 of 22, by LunarG

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elianda wrote:

For memory you can use the DRAM test tool for GUS.

Where can I get this?

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 8 of 22, by elianda

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It is on the ftp:
ftp://78.46.141.148/driver/Gravis/UltraSound/ … /tools/gusdram/

Retronn.de - Vintage Hardware Gallery, Drivers, Guides, Videos. Now with file search
Youtube Channel
FTP Server - Driver Archive and more
DVI2PCIe alignment and 2D image quality measurement tool

Reply 9 of 22, by LunarG

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elianda wrote:

Thanks, I'm running the dram test now.

EDIT: Right, memory test shows that the dram modules are absolutely fine. I reseated them all before testing, just to rule out poor connection, but it's one of those wild stabs in the dark.
I've tried running music through the GUS and SFX through the SB16, but in TTD, but that doesn't help, the music is still super crackly. I've given the card a quick visual inspection, but as far as I can see, it should be in very good condition. No caps that are visibly damaged or anything like that. I've tried removing the SB16 to see if that would make a difference, but it didn't. I'm starting to wonder if this is caused by something relating to my motherboard, as I cannot find any form of documentation for it, so I cannot be certain all the settings are correct. In fact, I have a feeling the CPU might be running at an incorrect voltage.
If I can afford later this summer, I might look for a different (better!) motherboard to rule out any issues relating to that. The annoying thing, is that this problem hasn't always been present, but started relatively recently, so I'm not really sure how/why it's started.

Oh well... I guess it'll remain a mystery. The GUS works fine in CP and FT2, which I guess is the main thing, as I can always use the SB16 for games, although for games with native support the GUS sounds much better. I was never a fan of OPL2/3 music.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 11 of 22, by LunarG

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5u3 wrote:

If your GUS has the GF1 chip in a socket, try reseating that one as well.

Hmmm, yeah, I might have to try that. Don't have the appropriate tool to remove it with, but I guess there are safe ways to manage even with basic tools?

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 12 of 22, by 5u3

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LunarG wrote:
5u3 wrote:

If your GUS has the GF1 chip in a socket, try reseating that one as well.

Hmmm, yeah, I might have to try that. Don't have the appropriate tool to remove it with, but I guess there are safe ways to manage even with basic tools?

Actually I cracked the socket on one of my GUS cards when I tried to remove the chip with a tiny flat screwdriver (thankfully the card still works). 😉
However, it should be possible to lever the chip out without damage if you are careful. Use something that is hooked at the tip, like these.

I had to reseat the GF1 chip on both "classic" GUS cards I own (one had a noise problem similar to yours, the other one was playing dead).

Reply 13 of 22, by LunarG

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I found something suitably "hook" shaped that slipped under the chip easily and allowed me to pull it out. I've cleaned off the legs using isopropanol, but after reseating the chip, the noise is as bad as ever in TTD at least.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 14 of 22, by 5u3

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Things I would try next (if not already done):
- Reinstall GUS drivers (maybe patch files or drivers are corrupt on disk), set different IRQ/DMA resources (if possible)
- Install the card in the K6 machine (in case of an hardware issue, this should at least tell you whether it's caused by the GUS or the 486 mainboard)

Reply 15 of 22, by LunarG

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5u3 wrote:

Things I would try next (if not already done):
- Reinstall GUS drivers (maybe patch files or drivers are corrupt on disk), set different IRQ/DMA resources (if possible)
- Install the card in the K6 machine (in case of an hardware issue, this should at least tell you whether it's caused by the GUS or the 486 mainboard)

Yep, I'm going to have to. I got an 850MB HDD for the 486 that I'm planning on setting up a fresh DOS install on, so I might do that when time allows for it.
Same with testing it in the K6... Will do when I find the time for it.
Both are good suggestions. Thanks.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 16 of 22, by LunarG

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I've got a problem either with my floppy drive of one of my dos floppies, cause the DOS installation just stops either at a random time with no response, or it keeps asking me to insert setup disk #1 and press enter, and no matter how many times I reinsert the floppy it'll keep giving me the same message. Oh well... good old manual labor will do the trick. I've command line expanded all the compressed files, so now I've got a fresh DOS on my Seagate Decathlon 850MB HDD. It's quite nice to have old-school HDD noises coming from that system 😁
Installing the Ultrasound drivers at the moment, and will have a go with a game or two after that is sorted, just to see if there's been any file corruption going on.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 17 of 22, by LunarG

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Meh, no go. Wishful thinking I guess. Right, going to have to make an attempt in the K6 soonish then. Need to finish some other things on that system first though.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 18 of 22, by LunarG

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Right, I think I've possibly figured out the voltage jumpers on my motherboard (no documentation to be found online), but with the new CPU I received in the mail today (Intel DX4 WB) my system didn't wanna boot. Some comparison of pictures I've found of the motherboard, manuals for other SiS496 motherboard and a bit of trial and error, I finally got the system to boot with the Intel CPU. Lovely... And I just had to try, for fun, if it would make a difference to my GUS... And whatdoyaknow! It's playing TTD with lovely clear, undistorted wavetable loveliness 😁
Yay! I'm super happy 😁

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 19 of 22, by mOBSCENE

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I know this is a rather old topic, but this topic exactly describes the problem I am currently experiencing with my GUS MAX. I always thought it was default behavior / "bug" with the GUS, until I ran into this topic by accident.

Did anyone actually ever find out what exactly is causing this problem? Because LunarG mentions the problem with his GUS resolved upon changing his mobo - so it must be a coincidence, I guess.
I am running the GUS MAX in a K6-system (K6-III+) with Gigabyte GA5AX rev4.1 mobo. So far I've re-seated the card several times, tested the RAM, removed other soundcards, downclocked CPU and FSB speeds to lowest settings, played around with practically every option in the BIOS, changed base address/IRQ/DMA channels. So far nothing seems to make a difference, except for one thing:

If I disable the internal CPU cache (either through BIOS or with the CACHECTL command line utility) the distortion is GONE! However, as you can imagine, with it's internal cache disabled, the CPU speed is just too slow for many 90's games.

Round up: MIDI itself sounds perfectly clear, but the digitized sounds are crackling in games where MIDI is used (like Tyrian 2000).
Anyone has some more info on this?