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Wavetable socket on the motherboard

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First post, by NevilClavain

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Hi,
I have a couple of Siemens Nixdorf xpert PC's. They are late 90's machine. Great allround computers with some interesting upgrade options on the motherboard. One is the ability to upgrade the onboard Matrox graphics with an aditional 2mb (through matrox memory upgrades), and the other is a Wavetable socket. I've figured out that this is for a CRYSTAL CS9236-CL PLCC28 chip. I am wondering what installing such an upgrade might do. Where would I be able to use this wavetable chip and for what. If anyone has ideas please do share.

Reply 1 of 21, by LewisRaz

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You can use it to add a wavetable daughterboard.. A considerable upgrade for midi and games that support general midi. Many of them are quite expensive now although you can buy modern one like the dreamblaster S2 for a good price. Have a look 😀

Reply 2 of 21, by NevilClavain

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LewisRaz wrote on 2021-01-20, 20:02:

You can use it to add a wavetable daughterboard.. A considerable upgrade for midi and games that support general midi. Many of them are quite expensive now although you can buy modern one like the dreamblaster S2 for a good price. Have a look 😀

Thank you for the quick reply. I'm pretty sure it only supports the Crystal chip, would you still consider it a considerable upgrade? General MIDI games also support SBpro which the onboard crystal soundcard emulates quite well. It looks like the CRYSTAL CS9236-CL is used in CrystalBlaster C1 (and surely other solutions). I'm not very familiar with the quality of wavetable solutions. How does this sound:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09nEmwcwR0k

Reply 3 of 21, by Pierre32

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You can read a little more about it here (and importantly see how it stacks up against many others): My Wavetable Sample Thread

It's definitely a cheap and cheerful flavour of GM. But if I had such a socket on my motherboard, I would probably want to fill it!

Reply 4 of 21, by NevilClavain

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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-01-20, 20:37:

You can read a little more about it here (and importantly see how it stacks up against many others): My Wavetable Sample Thread

It's definitely a cheap and cheerful flavour of GM. But if I had such a socket on my motherboard, I would probably want to fill it!

Thank you! Sounds great! 😀 I have to say these old Siemens Nixdorf xpert machines are really great Win95/DOS machines. This is a very cool and unusual feature.

Reply 5 of 21, by NevilClavain

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It appears I have one of these crystal chips in one of my machines (I have three of these xpert towers.. love them). Do you happen to know, or have any suggestion, as to how to go about enabling it in DOS? I have to make some comparisons between this machine and the one that dors not have the chip to see if it's even recognized in windows. I'm atill having a hard time finding my way around windows 95. I've installed the driver that came on the CD for the machine, so assume it would install the appropriate windowsrelated stuff. SbPro is atomatically initialized when going into DOS mode (through cwbinit) but i am unable to use general midi as a music device.

Sorry if this is very noob'y stuff, or if there are an impossible number of variables here, but I'm new to wavetable.

Edit: I don't know if it helps, but the driver installation has this .ini file:

[PNP]
WssIO=534
WssInt=5
WssDmaPlay=1
WssDmaCapture=0
SbIO=220
OplIO=388
OplInt=Disabled
GameIO=200
4232IO=538
4232Int=Disabled
MPU401IO=330
MPU401Int=9
CDIO=Disabled
CDInt=Disabled
CDDma=Disabled
Device4IO2=Disabled
Device5IO=Disabled
Device5Int=Disabled


[IniUpdate]
SysIniFile=C:\windows\system.ini

;SoundBlasterIRQ=[sndsys.drv],SoundBlasterIRQ
SoundBlasterAddr=[sndsys.drv],OldMSDOSGameIOAddress
;SoundBlasterDMA=[sndsys.drv],SoundBlasterDMA

UsePnP=[sndsys.drv],UsePnP

WSSIRQ=[sndsys.drv],Interrupt
WSSAddr=[sndsys.drv],IOAddress
WSSPlayDMA=[sndsys.drv],DMADAC
WSSCaptDMA=[sndsys.drv],DMAADC

MPU401IRQ=[mpu401.drv],int
MPU401Addr=[mpu401.drv],port

CS4232Addr=[sndsys.drv],CS4232Control

FMAddr=[csfm.drv],portFM
; For now keep this disabled
;FMIRQ=[csfm.drv],Int
;JoystickAddr=[sndsys.drv],Joystick

Reply 6 of 21, by pc-sound-legacy

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In Windows dos prompt, just launch the setup of your game and set general midi or mpu401 at port 330 as your music device.
In Windows you can change the midi device from fm synth to mpu401 general midi to use the wavetable as playback device for midi music. Make sure that your audio mixer settings are correct and that the wavetwble isn't muted there. (could be marked as aux maybe)
In real dos you might need a little initialization application for the crystal chip if it does not work. See vogonsdrivers for that.

Reply 7 of 21, by NevilClavain

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pc-sound-legacy wrote on 2021-01-21, 00:15:

In Windows dos prompt, just launch the setup of your game and set general midi or mpu401 at port 330 as your music device.
In Windows you can change the midi device from fm synth to mpu401 general midi to use the wavetable as playback device for midi music. Make sure that your audio mixer settings are correct and that the wavetwble isn't muted there. (could be marked as aux maybe)
In real dos you might need a little initialization application for the crystal chip if it does not work. See vogonsdrivers for that.

Won't port 330 address it to the gameport-output for external devices? I tried port 330 in Dark Forces with general MIDI selected and got no sound. That was running in dos-mode from Win95. I checked the mixer and nothing was muted.

Reply 8 of 21, by dionb

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NevilClavain wrote on 2021-01-20, 23:41:

It appears I have one of these crystal chips in one of my machines

Hang on... exactly which Crystal chip?

The CS9236 is a wavetable chip, this config is for the CS4232 which is a (good) SBPro2 clone - but no built-in wavetable. If you only have the CS4232, it's behaving as designed.

Reply 9 of 21, by NevilClavain

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dionb wrote on 2021-01-21, 07:54:
NevilClavain wrote on 2021-01-20, 23:41:

It appears I have one of these crystal chips in one of my machines

Hang on... exactly which Crystal chip?

The CS9236 is a wavetable chip, this config is for the CS4232 which is a (good) SBPro2 clone - but no built-in wavetable. If you only have the CS4232, it's behaving as designed.

Yeah, the CS4232 is soldered in place. It's part of the machines soundsystem, but there is a socket for CS9236 as well that is labeled "WAVE". My assumption has been that this is a wavetable addon. Well, it's even mentioned in the system user guide under the "UPGRADES" section. Optional wavetable addon. But it does not say anything about configuring.

In windows 95 I have two midi-out options:
"MIDI for Crystal PnP System MPU-401 Compatible"
"MIDI for FM Synthesis"

Both are working but the former sounds a lot nicer. Would that be the CS9236 chip at work, and I'm just experiencing some issues with dos-mode or is this some windows MIDI-emulation device?

Reply 10 of 21, by Cyberdyne

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Hold on, need pictures, it might be a VGA VESA connector. They are the same size, and many motherboards with onboard VGA have a VESA connector, but I have never heard of a motherboard with a Wavetable connector. So please be sure, not to fry your motherboard and/or wavetable card. Both have exactly 26pins.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 11 of 21, by dionb

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NevilClavain wrote on 2021-01-21, 08:31:
[...] […]
Show full quote

[...]

Yeah, the CS4232 is soldered in place. It's part of the machines soundsystem, but there is a socket for CS9236 as well that is labeled "WAVE". My assumption has been that this is a wavetable addon.

[...]

Both are working but the former sounds a lot nicer. Would that be the CS9236 chip at work, and I'm just experiencing some issues with dos-mode or is this some windows MIDI-emulation device?

Yes, I understand that. But then I don't follow you...

In your first post you talk about the Siemens system with this unusual WT-socket on the motherboard (assumedly unpopulated).
Then you talk about different systems that have "the Crystal chip" and post some config referring to CS4232 only (and not CS9236).

To me at least it's not clear exactly what the configuration of these different systems is., hence the check that there really is a CS9236 in there and not just the CS4232.

Reply 12 of 21, by imi

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Cyberdyne wrote on 2021-01-21, 09:36:

Hold on, need pictures, it might be a VGA VESA connector. They are the same size, and many motherboards with onboard VGA have a VESA connector, but I have never heard of a motherboard with a Wavetable connector. So please be sure, not to fry your motherboard and/or wavetable card. Both have exactly 26pins.

it's a PLCC socket, not a normal wavetable header, I have one of these nice siemens boards too 😉, like this:

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Reply 13 of 21, by Cyberdyne

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OK, I just misunderstood. Sorry. 😀

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 14 of 21, by NevilClavain

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dionb wrote on 2021-01-21, 09:50:
Yes, I understand that. But then I don't follow you... […]
Show full quote
NevilClavain wrote on 2021-01-21, 08:31:
[...] […]
Show full quote

[...]

Yeah, the CS4232 is soldered in place. It's part of the machines soundsystem, but there is a socket for CS9236 as well that is labeled "WAVE". My assumption has been that this is a wavetable addon.

[...]

Both are working but the former sounds a lot nicer. Would that be the CS9236 chip at work, and I'm just experiencing some issues with dos-mode or is this some windows MIDI-emulation device?

Yes, I understand that. But then I don't follow you...

In your first post you talk about the Siemens system with this unusual WT-socket on the motherboard (assumedly unpopulated).
Then you talk about different systems that have "the Crystal chip" and post some config referring to CS4232 only (and not CS9236).

To me at least it's not clear exactly what the configuration of these different systems is., hence the check that there really is a CS9236 in there and not just the CS4232.

I have three Siemens Nixdorf xpert computers, they have slightly different product numbers but have the same motherboard. All three machines have a socket labeled WAVE which the manual states is for "optional wavetable upgrade". You can see the socket in imi's picture. Some time ago I discovered that the chip to be used here is CS9236. I just discovered that one of my machines actually have this chip installed in that socket, so I must have purchased one and installed it. These are not different systems, they are all the same, it's just that only one of my machines have the socket populated. The .ini file that I posted was for the crystal audio driver installed on the machine that HAS the CS9236 chip in the socket. But, yes it does not appear to have anything to do with the wavetable chip (as far as I can tell), so I'm at a bit of a loss. I assume I should be able to use the wavetable functionality in both DOS and Windows, but I'm not sure how to go about getting it up and running.

Now, I have two machines without a chip in that socket and I'm trying to get one of those set up now to see if they also report the same two MIDI devices in Windows. The old IDE drives are faulty so I have to reinstall windows and install drivers etc. It appears to me that the crystal wavetable chip is working in windows95 (if that is the reported "MIDI for Crystal PnP System MPU-401 Compatible"), but when trying to use "General MIDI port 330" in DOS i get no sound, or a message saying no device found there.

However, I might be far off as I'm not really familiar with how any of this works. 😒

Reply 15 of 21, by NevilClavain

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I just got one of the other machines up and running and it also has both those MIDI devices even though it does not have the chip installed. Perhaps my crystal chip is faulty, or perhaps I need some additional driver or other driver package?

Reply 16 of 21, by Oetker

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Does MIDI sound different on the MPU device of the machine that doesn't have the chip? It could be that Windows uses the chip but the Windows DOS box does use the game port. If there's pure DOS tools for these chips, maybe with those you can set where port 330 is routed?
I believe that in general both the wave table and the game port are accessed over port 330, and you can just mute the wave table input volume if you don't want to hear it.

Reply 18 of 21, by NevilClavain

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I just got concerned that perhaps I had put the chip in the wrong orientation when I installed it. I found these:
Ebay auction of a motherboard with the chip installed
Datasheet for the chip

I did not install the chip in that orientation, but with the "bottom" of the chip facing the top of the motherboard. Upside down, in a way. But rotated to the left compared to the one in the ebay auction. Can anyone tell, based on the datasheet and imi's photo which is correct?

Oetker wrote on 2021-01-21, 16:34:

Does MIDI sound different on the MPU device of the machine that doesn't have the chip? It could be that Windows uses the chip but the Windows DOS box does use the game port. If there's pure DOS tools for these chips, maybe with those you can set where port 330 is routed?
I believe that in general both the wave table and the game port are accessed over port 330, and you can just mute the wave table input volume if you don't want to hear it.

Interesting! I'll have to copy over some MIDI-files and check that out.

imi wrote on 2021-01-21, 16:37:

MPU401IO=330
MPU401Int=9

did you set it to IRQ 9 ingame when you tried?

There was no way to choose, just the io address. Should there be a way to select IRQ when choosing general midi? I've not seen that before. Just a port.

Reply 19 of 21, by imi

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well 9 is default, so if you can't choose it should be that anyways 😒

I did not install the chip in that orientation, but with the "bottom" of the chip facing the top of the motherboard. Upside down

this seems correct judging by the socket.