Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

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

Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby gladders » 2018-7-22 @ 07:02

What was the last DirectX version to support these cards?

What year would you say games stopped supporting them?

What would you say was the last major game to support them?

Thanks!
gladders
Member
 
Posts: 139
Joined: 2016-2-06 @ 00:26

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-22 @ 10:29

9.0c (Note that Directsound and Directmusic doesn't really exploit the AWE capabilities of the card)

1998

Final Fantasy VII
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9245
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby oohms » 2018-7-22 @ 14:48

It depends what you mean by 'support'. You can still use them as a standard stereo sound card for newer games providing that the operating system has drivers for the card.
DOS/w3.11/w98 | K6-III+ 400ATZ @ 550 | FIC PA2013 | 128mb SDram | Voodoo 3 3000 | Avancelogic ALS100 | Roland SC-55ST
DOS/w98/XP | Core 2 Duo E4600 | Asus P5PE-VM | 512mb DDR400 | Ti4800SE | ForteMedia FM801
oohms
Newbie
 
Posts: 52
Joined: 2018-5-30 @ 08:27
Location: Australia

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby gladders » 2018-7-22 @ 17:49

oohms wrote:It depends what you mean by 'support'. You can still use them as a standard stereo sound card for newer games providing that the operating system has drivers for the card.


So if I were to run, say, Quake 3, or Max Payne, or the Sims with an AWE32, would I lose out on something, sound-wise?
gladders
Member
 
Posts: 139
Joined: 2016-2-06 @ 00:26

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-22 @ 22:23

I know in Quake3 you wouldn't lose anything as the A3D support they've had was dropped off in 1.27. All sound cards (starting from SB16 of course) should sound identical in that game

You'd mostly lose out on games that use A3D and EAX as AWE32/64 predates that tech by years and PCI sound cards were on the rise around this time, some supporting A3D and some supporting EAX, along with onboard audio doing the same a little later.
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9245
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby swaaye » 2018-7-23 @ 00:59

An interesting thing I noticed with SB32 and AWE32/64 is Directsound can use the card's RAM for static buffers. I don't know if any games do anything with that though.
swaaye
Moderator
 
Posts: 7133
Joined: 2002-7-22 @ 21:24
Location: WI, USA

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby gladders » 2018-7-23 @ 14:28

Hmm...

Would a good compromise therefore be having a SB16 and a SBLive? The 16 covers DOS and the Live covers Midi and everything AWE32 and 64?
gladders
Member
 
Posts: 139
Joined: 2016-2-06 @ 00:26

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby chinny22 » 2018-7-23 @ 18:51

gladders wrote:Hmm...

Would a good compromise therefore be having a SB16 and a SBLive? The 16 covers DOS and the Live covers Midi and everything AWE32 and 64?


Yep, only thing AWE gives you over SB16 is the few games that support AWE natively for music. Anywhere else its just a standard SB16.
AWE does let you load soundfonts but so does the live.
User avatar
chinny22
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: 2011-8-26 @ 12:02
Location: Australian but living in the UK for now

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby techweenie » 2018-7-28 @ 18:42

If you're playing DOS games in Windows, use a PCI soundcard such as the Live or Audigy. You get all the fancy sounds and music of the AWE with much better quality and less noise. If you want to use pure DOS, then the SB32/AWE cards are great and will sound fine with stereo games in Windows. You might see higher cpu usage, however.
techweenie
Newbie
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 2016-5-02 @ 14:28

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-28 @ 21:52

techweenie wrote:Use a PCI soundcard such as the Live or Audigy. You get all the fancy sounds and music of the AWE with much better quality and less noise.

The Live! has no AWE support. You won't get special AWE music and sounds but questionable SB16 emulation at best.

To have AWE with the least noise means getting an AWE64 Gold.
techweenie wrote:You might see higher cpu usage, however.

False. SBLive's emulation TSR can be a real choker, harming the timing of gameplay and introducing stuttering....
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9245
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby techweenie » 2018-7-28 @ 23:34

leileilol wrote:
techweenie wrote:Use a PCI soundcard such as the Live or Audigy. You get all the fancy sounds and music of the AWE with much better quality and less noise.

The Live! has no AWE support. You won't get special AWE music and sounds but questionable SB16 emulation at best.

To have AWE with the least noise means getting an AWE64 Gold.
techweenie wrote:You might see higher cpu usage, however.

False. SBLive's emulation TSR can be a real choker, harming the timing of gameplay and introducing stuttering....


You missed the whole point about running in Windows vs pure dos
techweenie
Newbie
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 2016-5-02 @ 14:28

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-28 @ 23:41

No. He's saying that the SB Live doesn't expose the EMU8k interface used by those few games that natively support it.
User avatar
gdjacobs
l33t++
 
Posts: 5330
Joined: 2015-11-03 @ 05:51
Location: The Great White North

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-29 @ 06:16

chinny22 wrote:Yep, only thing AWE gives you over SB16 is the few games that support AWE natively for music.
It's more than a few. Once you get into mid-90s, there is not a small number of them. For starts, it includes all Doom Engine and Build engine games.

I think I should start a list on the Wiki. :)
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1262
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-29 @ 07:28

techweenie wrote:You missed the whole point about running in Windows vs pure dos

I understand your misleading 'points':

- Assuming AWE = General MIDI output, and that there's no functionality difference as if all those AWE-exclusive soundfont banks and special midis for a bunch of 95-98 games mean nothing.
- Implying a 1994 ISA sound card takes more CPU than a 1998 PCI sound card that needs additional software to pretend as a 1993 sound card
- Implying a drastic difference between from running within Windows and pure DOS. You'd only really lose on loading custom soundfonts (for either Live and AWE cards) under pure DOS. Somehow, this is supposed to be a rebuttal :?
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9245
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-29 @ 08:57

I started the list:
https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_games_that_support_AWE_synth

This includes only the games that I have and could test.

leileilol wrote:Assuming AWE = General MIDI output, and that there's no functionality difference as if all those AWE-exclusive soundfont banks and special midis for a bunch of 95-98 games mean nothing
Indeed, AWE synth is not the same as the General MIDI synth, but they are close. The AWE can be viewed as Creative's proprietary GM implementation, that's built into the cards. The thing is, every game I know that supports AWE synth, also support General MIDI, and both of them will sound very similar (differences can be due to sound fonts).

The Windows driver for the AWE cards exposes a general-MIDI interface that, unlike the DOS one, actually works well with almost every game (or so I've been told). So when running DOS games in Windows, the built-in AWE synth support becomes largely irrelevant. The question is - does SBLive expose the same General MIDI interface for DOS games running inside Windows? (never mind the crappy DOS TSR emulation).
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1262
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby oohms » 2018-7-29 @ 10:56

Do you know of any games where selecting AWE32 for music would give drastically better results with a real AWE32 than another card with an external midi synth?
DOS/w3.11/w98 | K6-III+ 400ATZ @ 550 | FIC PA2013 | 128mb SDram | Voodoo 3 3000 | Avancelogic ALS100 | Roland SC-55ST
DOS/w98/XP | Core 2 Duo E4600 | Asus P5PE-VM | 512mb DDR400 | Ti4800SE | ForteMedia FM801
oohms
Newbie
 
Posts: 52
Joined: 2018-5-30 @ 08:27
Location: Australia

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-29 @ 11:19

oohms wrote:Do you know of any games where selecting AWE32 for music would give drastically better results with a real AWE32 than another card with an external midi synth?
Selecting AWE32 for music only works on a real AWE32/AWE64. However, as I said:

dr_st wrote:Every game I know that supports AWE synth, also supports General MIDI, and both of them will sound very similar


So, no, I do not know of games where AWE synth is strictly superior to General MIDI. Therefore the question remains:
dr_st wrote:does SBLive expose the same General MIDI interface for DOS games running inside Windows?
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1262
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby techweenie » 2018-7-29 @ 16:05

leileilol wrote:
techweenie wrote:You missed the whole point about running in Windows vs pure dos

I understand your misleading 'points':

- Assuming AWE = General MIDI output, and that there's no functionality difference as if all those AWE-exclusive soundfont banks and special midis for a bunch of 95-98 games mean nothing.
- Implying a 1994 ISA sound card takes more CPU than a 1998 PCI sound card that needs additional software to pretend as a 1993 sound card
- Implying a drastic difference between from running within Windows and pure DOS. You'd only really lose on loading custom soundfonts (for either Live and AWE cards) under pure DOS. Somehow, this is supposed to be a rebuttal :?


In Windows, the Live supports General MIDI for DOS games, but I was mistaken in that it doesn't support AWE. I was pretty sure my Audigy supported AWE back in 2003, but that was 15 years ago so my memory might be fuzzy. Or maybe the Audigy does and Live doesn't, I haven't tested.

Philscomputerlab did a video comparing PCI soundcard performance against the AWE64 and some games like Incoming run faster with the Live/Audigy.

If you're going to play games within Windows, there is NO benefit to using an AWE based card. AWE native support is garbage compared to General MIDI.

If you're playing games in pure DOS, the AWE card is one of the better choices, although it's not my preference because I have external MIDI devices. I know the AWE64 Gold is often recommended for external MIDI, but it doesn't cover all of my needs regarding SB16 44KHz compatiblity or OPL3.
techweenie
Newbie
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 2016-5-02 @ 14:28

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-30 @ 01:49

techweenie wrote:If you're going to play games within Windows, there is NO benefit to using an AWE based card. AWE native support is garbage compared to General MIDI.

.........even in FF7PC? :blah:
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9245
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: Sound Blaster 32/64 questions

Postby techweenie » 2018-7-30 @ 02:01

I thought FF games sound best with DS-XG
techweenie
Newbie
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 2016-5-02 @ 14:28

Next

Return to Sound

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BLEXBot [Bot], jheronimus and 6 guests