Sound cards - from best to worst

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby dandu386 » 2006-10-03 @ 16:45

What do you guys think of Aztech sound cards?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby aleksej » 2006-10-04 @ 19:41

swaaye wrote:I had to switch from a AWE32 to a SB16 because I couldn't get the card to use the SCD-15 in Win98 in DOS games.


Do you solve this problem or still not?
This is because AWE32's General MIDI emulation feature is enabled by default in windows drivers. You can disable/enable this simply in one click with AWE32 Control Panel utility.
Look for Allow MPU401 Emulation on this device in [Device...] tab.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Ed Oscuro » 2006-11-18 @ 02:39

Fascinating topic...I tend to collect (in the simplest sense; I don't go out of my way to collect western computers...too much space and expense, etc) parts of old computers and have a fair number of sound cards. Amazingly, most of the drivers are readily found on the 'net (the one big site that others tend to point to forces you to click through tons of ads, ugh).

My family's first Wintel PC from 1996 came with this unholy monstrous Aztech MIDI/modem combination. Compatibility always gave me trouble, although I loved the MIDI sound on that card for DOOM and the bundled-in Comix Zone.

Since then I've found a SB 16WavEffects which is a pretty nice card.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2006-12-27 @ 10:40

Ed Oscuro wrote:I don't go out of my way to collect western computers...


To collect... what? :confused:
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-1-23 @ 15:09

As for the GUS vs GM Playback its a question how it was implemented into the game. There are some games that feature different Midis wether you choose GM or GUS. It sounds not equal but similar, but both versions sound good.

As for the digital part of the GUS there is another reason thats greatly overlooked nowadays. Comparing an SB16 with a GUS on digital music, the GUS plays it from wavetable, the SB16 by software. In other words in the times of 386DX25 to 486DX40 [+] the GUS saved alot of performance.
This means with a GUS you could switch the game to high graphical quality while on a SB16 you had to decide between good music or good graphic.
What comes to my mind here is f.e.:
One Must Fall
Death Rallye
alot of Epic Games with Tracker Music
[...]

Said this I think it is not the question - what is the best soundcard, the question is what soundcard + software config gives me best results with a certain game?
It is related to the game, because often the music is made for and with a specific soundcard model. If you have a game where the music is made for a AWE32 with standard GM wavetable you might switch to another GM card or a GUS with MegaEM but it will still sound best using an AWE32.

On the other hand if you have a game with digital music and a rather fast PC, it doesnt matter (if the software is functional identical) if it plays on a SB16, AWE32 in hardware or GUS in hardware.

So what soundcard is it the a specific games music was made for?
And then maybe the question arises: I cant get a MT32, what is the closest configuration that matches it? AWE32 with MT32 Wavetable or GUS with MT32 wavetable or ...

So asking this, I own a gaming PC with a AWE32 8MB, GUS 1MB and DREAM9407 16 MB as GM/GS device. I want to play Tyrian. What soundcards should I use in what configuration to get best results with my hardware?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-3-15 @ 23:59

I was just rereading some threads here and got curious that nowhere someone really mentioned the Dream based soundcards.

How are they rated and where do I have to sort them in between the other more known GM-cards.

like this one: http://mail.lipsia.de/~enigma/neu/pics/maxisound.jpg
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-16 @ 06:41

I have a Dream based wavetable daughterboard... never found any info for it though... it sounds OK , but it has only 512kb samples as far as I can tell... I dare say, some games like Tyrian sound better in FM than with this card, LOL
but I must add, it is a tiny card , and propably was VERY cheap..
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-3-16 @ 10:19

My guess is that your Dream card with 512 kB has way too less ROM.

For some recordings check out this comparison site:

http://dos.skillreactor.org/addons/silv ... oundcards/

I'am owner of the Dream card with 4 MB ROM and 16 MB RAM. I dont want to judge the quality here, but would like to hear first some ratings from others.
(The card was 400 DM when bought.)

We will update the comparison page soon, cause we got way more recordings and the page also gets some polishing.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-16 @ 14:32

bah, I listened to DOOM E1M1 music, it sounds like mine... no way near the DB50XG...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-3-16 @ 19:55

Well this wasn't my question 8).
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-17 @ 18:01

what? u said u wanted to hear some ratings!
lol
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-3-17 @ 18:20

Sure, but comparing one song (I guess you mean E3M1) is not halfway representative for the rating of a soundcard.

For this song the DB50XG sounds indeed abit better.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-18 @ 09:24

that dream chipset kinda reminds me of the la synthesis... it sound a little FM lol
also I heared the tyrian song too, only those 2 I can compare because I have heared them many times from different hardware...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Lennart » 2007-3-18 @ 11:33

Strange that it reminds you of LA synthesis and FM, because the Dream chipset uses the actual samples from the SC-55... atleast the 4mb version does. The main difference is in its effects, that's why it sounds different than the SC. I also have a card with the Dream chip and in my opinion it doesn't sound bad, but because of its weaker effects processor it sounds just a little bit less smooth than the SC-55 and the DB50XG. However, if one doesn't wish to pay loads of money for vintage equipment like the SC-55, the Dream chip is a nice alternative from what I can tell.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-18 @ 18:34

maybe because mine has only 4Mbit samples... it is a small daughterboard...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Silent Loon » 2007-3-18 @ 23:25

elianda wrote:I was just rereading some threads here and got curious that nowhere someone really mentioned the Dream based soundcards.

How are they rated and where do I have to sort them in between the other more known GM-cards.

like this one: http://mail.lipsia.de/~enigma/neu/pics/maxisound.jpg


I use an EWS64XL with the Dream Sam9407 Chipset, which you surely know and which is newer, but similar to the Guillemot Maxisound card on the picture ( I think it also has the crystal CS4236 codec.)

The GM sound I would rate a little bit below the Yamaha DB50XG - it sounds very clear, yet somehow soft, with the basses sometimes missing.

But to rate it you should also compare the functionality of those cards - and even if the DB50XG in your comparison table sounds sometimes better, it is still an add-on card. And the MT-32 is an external module. And the GM-modes of the AWE32 and the GUS are emulated.
The EWS64 cards i.E. offer among other things Soundblaster, Soundblaster Pro 2.0., Adlib (FM), MPU-401, Microsoft Sound System and true GM compability. And - in my opinion - in comparison with other "combi-cards" (like the AWE32 or AWE64) sound quality of those last generation ISA-cards was in all disciplines (even regarding the FM-synthesis) better.
The reason that they are not mentioned very much might be due to the fact that they (Maxisound, EWS) are from companies that entered the sound card market rather late and build their All-in-one-ISA-solutions when Creative was allready able to set a new (consumer-)standard with the Soundblaster "Live" PCI-series.

...by the way: what about the Turtle Beach cards ?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2007-3-19 @ 13:03

Hmm I didn't knew this yet, that the 4 MB ROM version of the Dream uses the samples of the SC-55.
The point with the quite complete Hardware compatibility is true. In the days I bought it, it was said that the hardware was close to identical to the EWS64, but Guillemot stopped their efforts in software development very soon in 1995. So under DOS I have regarding the Dream only a tool for initialisation (94dinit) and some basic drivers for Win9x / NT4. Thats it.
The EWS64 Tools do not work with the Maxisound.
So its a bit of a shame because with the right software, the DSP could do better. (loadable firmware)
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2007-3-19 @ 15:43

I have only used a TBS-2000 card from turtlebeach, it is crystal based, offers SB-PRO compatibillity, has a yamaha YMF-262M opl synthesizer, and WaveFront technology for midi... it works OK in DOS games ...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2007-5-03 @ 14:34

keropi wrote:I have only used a TBS-2000 card from turtlebeach, it is crystal based, offers SB-PRO compatibillity, has a yamaha YMF-262M opl synthesizer, and WaveFront technology for midi... it works OK in DOS games ...


Is it PCI or ISA? If it's the former, then I guess it's an elegant solution for people without ISA motherboard.
Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Say no to online installer.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby dh4rm4 » 2007-5-03 @ 15:15

Amazing what you can find with google these days...

http://support.turtlebeach.com/site/kb_ ... 112307.asp

It's an ISA 16 bit card.
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