VOGONS


First post, by toastdieb

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Hello all,

Wasn't really sure exactly where to put this since I dunno the root cause of the problem I'm having, so apologies if I'm in the wrong spot.

I've got a sort of "junker" machine I've been trying to get set up lately, made up of extra parts that didn't make the cut for any of my DOS 486 or Win98SE Slot 1 builds. This is the current build:

Slot 1 440LX chipset Mobo with a Mendocino Celeron 500 on a Slotket
Soundblaster 16 Model CT2940 - ISA
Some random Toshiba DVD-ROM drive from 2002 - connected to mobo onboard IDE
A generic 3.5" FDD - connected to mobo onboard FDC
Riva TNT2 Vanta VGA card - AGP
3com Ethernet card - ISA
An amount of RAM
OS is the CDU MSDOS 7.1 package

There are no problems with cables or connectors as far as I can tell, and the disc drive is connected to the SB16's CD Audio port. I have been having some weird issues with sound though - for example, in SC2KSE, the sound during the intro movies is very crackly and garbled, regardless of the speakers it is connected to or the volume they are set at. During that game's installation, it could detect my SB16 for music, but couldn't detect it for SFX. In GTA, instead of background music there is a constant staticky white noise, with the sound effects being muddled, muffled and barely distinct - it had no troubles finding my sound card during setup. No issues with sound in DOOM, no issues with SB sound with Paku Paku. Mpxplay locks up the entire computer after about 30 seconds if playing from CD. Have had no issues reading or copying from the CD drive in DOS.

I'm not sure where to even start diagnosing these issues and I don't have much in the way of verified good parts to swap in, and I'm also wondering if my choice of OS or perhaps the way I have things configured may be contributing to the issues. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Reply 1 of 10, by jakethompson1

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The direct cable from the CD drive to the sound card is only used for playing audio CDs, so that shouldn't be a factor.
Is the Sound Blaster 16 Plug and Play? Is the 3Com Ethernet card? Can you give the i/o port settings and IRQs of both.
Any other ISA cards?
Wikipedia alludes to capacitors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_1 … _quality_issues

Reply 2 of 10, by synrgy87

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Might be a resource conflict, or a faulty card, I've had to replace capacitors on my CT 2950, but it was more low / poor audio output than the issues you describe.

Are you using drivers installed by the DOS 7.10 installer? Do you have the bios and resources configured? for example nothing else sharing the same IRQ / DMA etc?

if the SC2kSE intro video is having issues it might be the DVD drive itself that's either too fast or on it's way out if it loads the video data directly from disc.

Reply 3 of 10, by toastdieb

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The CT2940 is a PnP card, yeah - CTCM is called in autoexec with the /t switch to let it run in DOS 7.1, since it thinks I'm running Win95. The 3com ethernet card has not yet been configured, but it requires a driver disk. Isn't the CD Audio Cable also used by games that stream audio from the CD?

Here are my Autoexec.bat, my Config.sys, and just in case, my ctpnp.cfg generated by CTCM. Currently uploading my BIOS config to an img sharing site so I can post that as well...

Autoexec.bat

@ECHO OFF
PROMPT $P$G
SET DIRCMD=/W /P /O /4
MODE CON RATE=32 DELAY=1
REM MODE CON CP PREPARE=((437)EGA.CPI)
REM MODE CON CP SELECT=437
REM KEYB US,,KEYBOARD.SYS
LH KILLER
LH DOSKEY
LH DOSLFN /Z:C:\DOS\CP437UNI.TBL
LH MSCDEX /D:IDE-CD
SET SOUND=C:\CREATIVE
SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 H5 P330 T4
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E
SET CTCM=C:\CREATIVE\CTCM /T
C:\CREATIVE\DIAGNOSE /S
C:\CREATIVE\MIXERSET /P /Q
REM C:\CTCM\CTCU /S
REM LH SHARE /L:30
REM LH NLSFUNC
REM LH SMARTDRV
LH CTMOUSE
REM For compatiblity purpose:
LH CTMOUSE > NUL
ECHO.
REM For locking volumes to enable "direct disk access":
CALL LOCKDRV.BAT
BREAK ON
LFNFOR ON
PATH=C:\DOS;..;;C:\DOS\norton
CLS

Config.sys

DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS
DEVICE=C:\CREATIVE\CTCM\CTCM.EXE /T
DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE RAM
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\SETVER.EXE
REM DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\POWER.EXE
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\VIDE-CDD.SYS /D:IDE-CD
REM DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\DISPLAY.SYS CON=(,,1)
COUNTRY=001,437,C:\DOS\COUNTRY.SYS
SHELL=COMMAND.COM /P /E:640
DOS=HIGH,UMB,AUTO
FCBS=4,0
FILES=40
BUFFERS=20,0
LASTDRIVE=26
STACKS=9,256
SET PATH=C:\DOS;..;

CTPNP.cfg

[PNP]
ReadPort=20b
MaxCSN=255
BypassPnPOS=0

[SB16]
Disable=0
Csn=1
CardId=CTL0026
Serial=1006ada9
LogDev=0
Port0=220
Port1=330
Port2=388
Irq0=5
Dma0=1
Dma1=5

[GAMEPORT]
Disable=0
Csn=1
CardId=CTL0026
Serial=1006ada9
LogDev=3
Port0=200

Reply 4 of 10, by synrgy87

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Your AUTOEXEC.BAT is pointing to IRQ7 and your CTPNP.cfg is pointing to IRQ5

SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 H5 P330 T4
[SB16]

Disable=0

Csn=1

CardId=CTL0026

Serial=1006ada9

LogDev=0

Port0=220

Port1=330

Port2=388

[b]Irq0=5[/b]

Dma0=1

Dma1=5

Could cause issues with games that use the SET BLASTER line

IRQ7 is sometimes shared with the Parallel port, which if not in use can be disabled in the bios (unused com ports too).

Reply 5 of 10, by toastdieb

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Oh hey didn't notice that. I had manually changed the IRQ setting in autoexec to 5, because I sometimes use the parallel port with a controller adapter. Maybe the installer for SBMixer changed it back to 7 (or maybe I forgot to save haha). That might explain the SC2K installer not finding the card for SFX

Reply 7 of 10, by toastdieb

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Okay, back home, fixed the autoexec.bat (which it seems was broken originally by the SB Diagnose program), SC2K could find the card for both music and SFX, but the audio during the intro movies is still the same as it was. Also, kind of sounds like the music was like "peaking" regardless of where the volume was set on my speakers. GTA was exactly the same as it was before, reconfigured sound card settings in game, no change, uninstalled/reinstalled no change. For kicks, tried replacing the CD after loading the game to verify audio does in fact stream from disc - instead of static, it started playing the music on the CD. Sound effects are still garbage, and the CD music in-game is all garbled and crackly. Sounds fine at the main menu though the sfx are garbage there too. Maybe this means my GTA disc is wrecked? Not sure if I have any other DOS games that stream audio from the CD while in game...

Reply 8 of 10, by toastdieb

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Okay, so the problem is fixed. Describing the solution is gonna be embarrassing. I went into CTMIX.CFG and set bass and treble back to their default settings, and turned CD Audio gain down from x2 to x1. That fixed pretty much everything - no more crunchy SFX in GTA, no more peaking in the intro videos to SC2K. Still just staticky white noise for music in GTA, checked it out in a regular old CD player and got the same staticky white noise on tracks 2+ so I guess my disc is done, surprised it didn't seem to affect the data track? Anyway I can play the game and just have to swap discs to provide my own music now, haha. I found that disc in the parking lot of the used game store I used to work at so I'm surprised it worked as well as it did, time to track down a nice boxed copy I guess.

Reply 10 of 10, by synrgy87

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toastdieb wrote on Yesterday, 03:29:

Okay, so the problem is fixed. Describing the solution is gonna be embarrassing. I went into CTMIX.CFG and set bass and treble back to their default settings, and turned CD Audio gain down from x2 to x1. That fixed pretty much everything - no more crunchy SFX in GTA, no more peaking in the intro videos to SC2K. Still just staticky white noise for music in GTA, checked it out in a regular old CD player and got the same staticky white noise on tracks 2+ so I guess my disc is done, surprised it didn't seem to affect the data track? Anyway I can play the game and just have to swap discs to provide my own music now, haha. I found that disc in the parking lot of the used game store I used to work at so I'm surprised it worked as well as it did, time to track down a nice boxed copy I guess.

Good stuff, I think my Rollcage disc also does this, just gives noise when trying to play the audio tracks, maybe some kind of disc rot or something hitting the audio tracks worse than the data.

Edit: yeah scratch that, Seems my version of Rollcage (some kind of re-release from DICE Multimedia) Has the Audio tracks as mode 1, so they've done something weird with the audio which isn't the same as the original / other retail releases which do have actual CD Audio tracks. Compared to other available images of the game from archive.org.