Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jorpho » 2017-7-25 @ 02:25

95DosBox wrote:I would think the reason it hasn't been done is no one during that time when Sound Blaster was dominant would choose to create one when an actual hardware device was capable of doing it.
At the time the hardware was both extremely popular and very expensive. Someone who could manage it in software would have made a bundle.

As modern computers now have the processing power and the necessary memory storage
This does not circumvent the issue that DOS in itself is inherently a single-tasking operating system. If you started trying to build some kind of multi-tasking environment – which is probably what you'd need if you started having to write stuff to the parallel port or to the PC speaker while running a different game - you would end up with something not very different from DOSBox in HX DOS Extender.

How long did it take DosBox to finish? I think it was about 5 years from version 0.50 to stable 0.72. I'm not sure how long it was worked on prior to 0.50 or what the initial beta version number was first released.
Oh, well, I'm sure it will go faster with the right people on the "team". :P

But since the PC internal speaker is a much simpler and prevalent sound device in every PC machine I think the time to do it might be much less than an NT version.
"Simpler" and "prevalent" does not equate to "easy to program".

The speech program for the Windows 3.1 version was inferior to what was done in DOS. In DOS the digitized music/sound effects does not freeze up the computer.
That's because the DOS programs in question were carefully written from the ground up to specifically avoid that.

I was able to get the Ensoniq and even SB Live to load the TSR properly.
Yes, the TSR loads on such machines, but that's all it does.

This would indicate DOS games simply must have an ISA slot
It has nothing to do with the presence of an ISA slot; the TSR works properly (with sound) on my TUSL2-C. It is a matter of specific features in the southbridge, as I recall; there have been threads about this before.

I was hoping due to the more powerful quad cores that the DOS SB Emulation of the Ensoniq or SB Live would have eliminated this stutter.
Nothing running in DOS will have any awareness of multiple cores.

Yes DOS games still work even on Z170/Z270. I have been using DOS as part of my bootloader. Try Prince of Persia 1 for DOS. It uses a primitive digitized sound effects for the game but no music. Probably one of the only few games that did it aside from Access Software titles. 4D Sports Boxing does it as well. These programs run at normal speed as well as the sound effects.
Fair enough. I would not have expected that.

Jorpho it doesn't sound like you played too many DOS games back in the day or you didn't grow up during that time from your questions?
I'm definitely not the one concocting elaborate fantasies about a "team".

I will admit that I don't have a rock-solid grasp of exactly why it would be so complicated to write data to the parallel port or PC speaker while simultaneously running a DOS game intended for use with a Sound Blaster, but I'm quite certain it's not as simple as you say it is.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby koverhbarc » 2017-7-25 @ 12:41

95DosBox wrote:I appreciate your enthusiasm here but this is getting way off on a tangent. If you were to create a customized PCIe sound card it would be a lot more work and eventually PCIe will become obsolete to a newer slot architecture which will repeat the ISA debacle. The best long term possibility against first is to use the PC internal speaker which will never go away or die.

Second if you insist on using a hardware device then use a USB sound card ...

I disagree that the PC speaker 'wiill never go away'. It already has: on laptops, then on desktops, it's been changed from a real speaker to a tiny beeper on the motherboard retained only for signaling errors when other sound is not yet available. Such on-board beepers are worthless for playing digitised sounds, unlike the traditional PC speaker. I wouldn't trust that its hardware compatiblity even will be (or has been) maintained.

But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around.

Jorpho wrote:It has nothing to do with the presence of an ISA slot; the TSR works properly (with sound) on my TUSL2-C. It is a matter of specific features in the southbridge, as I recall; there have been threads about this before.

If you're emulating SB through a TSR, you're not depending on physical hardware features at all (some historic drivers may not have been full emulators though) - only non-interference with the game and the ability to intercept hardware accesses.

If you're doing it in hardware, yes it is technically a function of the southbridge, but in practice perfect compatibility is rarely achieved without using an actual ISA slot.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jorpho » 2017-7-25 @ 13:15

But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around.
It is notoriously difficult to install Windows 7 from an external USB drive on a computer with USB 3.0 ports, odd as that may sound. See also http://bretjohnson.us/ , home of pretty much the only DOS USB drivers I know of, which discusses some of the difficulties of this "standard".

koverhbarc wrote:If you're emulating SB through a TSR, you're not depending on physical hardware features at all (some historic drivers may not have been full emulators though) - only non-interference with the game and the ability to intercept hardware accesses.

If you're doing it in hardware, yes it is technically a function of the southbridge, but in practice perfect compatibility is rarely achieved without using an actual ISA slot.
I'm not sure what you mean by "perfect compatibility". The TSR used by the PCI Sound Blaster cards (SBINIT.COM or SBEINIT.COM) requires specific features in the southbridge. It either works or it doesn't.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-7-25 @ 16:30

koverhbarc wrote:But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached
to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around..

Um, I don't mean to start a fight or something, but.., well.. USB has got several, unique host controllers by now.. :(
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_controller_interface_(USB,_Firewire)
Edit: Oh. :neutral: Jorpho was faster. Never mind.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-25 @ 16:45

Jorpho wrote:
95DosBox wrote:I would think the reason it hasn't been done is no one during that time when Sound Blaster was dominant would choose to create one when an actual hardware device was capable of doing it.
At the time the hardware was both extremely popular and very expensive. Someone who could manage it in software would have made a bundle.


Jorpho you are missing the point it wasn't that expensive. I think the Sound Blaster when I first bought it cost me around $160 with my own money at Softwarehouse which later became known as CompUSA. In comparison most computers back in the day could cost close to $2,000 or more fully assembled and didn't usually have sound cards.

Also you had the ability to not just output sound but also record it which became useful and it did include a gameport which I used for older DOS games back in the day with a Gravis joystick. A SB DOS emulator made for a 386 computer at the time would not have been wise to do and there would have been no such killing possible. The processing power would have slowed down the game to a crawl and not to mention the copyright law suits that would ensue for making it Sound Blaster compatible back in the day. Even Adlib the predecessor to the Sound Blaster couldn't compete with it.

Today with DOSBOX around it seems unlikely Creative Labs would all of a sudden be bringing down the house and suing some freeware team for creating it for Pure DOS which now today has computers with the necessary CPU power to emulate it properly and the 1MB->4GB region should be enough storage space to house the entire program although I kind of think it wouldn't take even close to 1GB of memory for the program but until the program is done we will never know. DOSBOX is rather small but it utilizes a lot of Windows files I'm sure and I'm not sure if DOSBOX had been a standalone Windows program how much larger it would have become.

As modern computers now have the processing power and the necessary memory storage
This does not circumvent the issue that DOS in itself is inherently a single-tasking operating system. If you started trying to build some kind of multi-tasking environment – which is probably what you'd need if you started having to write stuff to the parallel port or to the PC speaker while running a different game - you would end up with something not very different from DOSBox in HX DOS Extender.


At the moment I never considered or was interested in making a true Multitasking environment and someone mentioned that the HX DOS Extender project programmer might be dead which I hope is not true if there is some potential there. DOS has always been limited to a single task operating system. However if the SB DOS emulator could be done and completed today you could use perhaps test multitasking using Desqview-X to tap into that virtual DOS SB emulation piped through your PC internal speaker. Just because DOS is a single task OS doesn't mean the project isn't worth doing. How often are you going to be playing two or more DOS games simultaneously anyhow and the CPU will be geared toward just the DOS game and the DOS SB emulation instead of a Windows OS overhead it has to deal with or any seriously bloated code. This would also avoid any OS licensing issues or OS space consumption. And on the subject of performance you do realize that DOS games that ran under pure DOS on a 386 12MHz probably required an equivalent of a Pentium 4 1GHz to be on par.

Could you explain why are referring to writing stuff to the parallel port? Was there some specific sound card device that you used that ran on the LPT1? I do recall Covox or some Disney sound device might have used it but I'm trying to keep this as simple as possible where you are using built in sound output devices such as the PC internal speaker or using the built in HDMI audio output chip found on the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, or nVidia so you wouldn't need to buy additional hardware or need to use an additional internal PCIe slot. Plus in addition the HDMI audio output solution would take care of video and audio in one cable and have superior audio and video quality. So having the choice between the PC internal speaker for the SB emulation or via the HDMI audio output of commonly found video devices is a better idea.

How long did it take DosBox to finish? I think it was about 5 years from version 0.50 to stable 0.72. I'm not sure how long it was worked on prior to 0.50 or what the initial beta version number was first released.
Oh, well, I'm sure it will go faster with the right people on the "team". :P


Was that a subtle hint of volunteering? :dead: That's the dilemma. Who has the knowledge to do it? Can a single individual do it or a team? This will be the holy grail of DOS when it finally has been achieved. Once it is done all DOS games will be forever preserved for the future. One day modern computers may not run 9X/ME/2K/XP/W7/W10 properly. But DOS seems to always work and I don't think that compatibility will ever die. ISA sound cards have come and gone, PCI sound cards were never quite successful at true SB emulation no matter the support chipsets, and no PCIe sound cards existed that even attempted it that I am aware of unless you've heard of one please list it. The PC internal speaker has always existed on every PC computer that was made since the first 8088 IBM PC. That's why this common sound device denominator is the best start point for support going forward.

Jorpho, try out Mean Streets, Crime Wave, and even Links 386 on a true 386 computer. You will see prior to the actual physical Sound Blaster sound cards that it was quite a feat that Access Software achieved back in the day. The sad thing is Microsoft bought them out.

But since the PC internal speaker is a much simpler and prevalent sound device in every PC machine I think the time to do it might be much less than an NT version.
"Simpler" and "prevalent" does not equate to "easy to program".


Why the constant negativity? No one said this was going to be simple to program and I don't imagine it will be. Did you have the same attitude when DOSBOX was first conceptualized? I bet you are using DOSBOX today if you don't own a proper computer with ISA slots.

The speech program for the Windows 3.1 version was inferior to what was done in DOS. In DOS the digitized music/sound effects does not freeze up the computer.
That's because the DOS programs in question were carefully written from the ground up to specifically avoid that.

Yes with more limited resources and processing power and less know how on top of all that and they accomplished what seemed impossible at the time. You wonder why there wasn't a proper Windows 3.X driver that did it just as smoothly as the DOS variant.

I was able to get the Ensoniq and even SB Live to load the TSR properly.
Yes, the TSR loads on such machines, but that's all it does.

Which is why a pure DOS SB emulator is something that will more important not requiring a physical sound card that even as a PCI was a lousy substitute for the ISA one.

This would indicate DOS games simply must have an ISA slot
It has nothing to do with the presence of an ISA slot; the TSR works properly (with sound) on my TUSL2-C. It is a matter of specific features in the southbridge, as I recall; there have been threads about this before.

I'm aware of that issue. What I'm saying is the ISA slot is a requirement for true SB support. The PCI slot variants even on a supported southbridge were lousy at best. I tested it on a P4 and it still stuttered frequently. Not to mention the successful loading of the SB emulation TSR takes a while on these older systems.

I was hoping due to the more powerful quad cores that the DOS SB Emulation of the Ensoniq or SB Live would have eliminated this stutter.
Nothing running in DOS will have any awareness of multiple cores.

It's not the cores that I'm referring to but I don't think even DOSBOX utilizes multiple cores or does it? I haven't had any very powerful DOS games or tried multiple DOS games simultaneously to test this out. The power of the single core on a Quad core way exceeds a Pentium 4 or even a Pentium 1 90MHz which was when these Ensoniq PCI SB TSRs ran properly. The fact the TSR still ran on the P4 with some tweaking was amazing but like I said before the horrible stuttering makes even the idea of using such a TSR for a PCI sound card pointless vs a true SB ISA card.

Yes DOS games still work even on Z170/Z270. I have been using DOS as part of my bootloader. Try Prince of Persia 1 for DOS. It uses a primitive digitized sound effects for the game but no music. Probably one of the only few games that did it aside from Access Software titles. 4D Sports Boxing does it as well. These programs run at normal speed as well as the sound effects.
Fair enough. I would not have expected that.

Jorpho you can easily try it out and do the same. Find your 98SE and format a bootable USB floppy disk or if you prefer a USB flash drive or SSD and test it out. I currently test this out on a 16GB USB SSD that I partitioned.

POP1 runs just fine but it only uses the PC internal speaker and did have a primitive form of digitized sound effects and not the 1 voice tweeter annoying sounds. I believe during the hour glass sequence it even pipes the music through the PC internal speaker but of course it will never sound as good as the Sound Blaster which is why a later Stage would be piping the audio output to the HDMI Audio out found on the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia sound cards while in DOS which should sound better than any Sound Blaster 8-bit ISA sound card at the time.

Jorpho it doesn't sound like you played too many DOS games back in the day or you didn't grow up during that time from your questions?
I'm definitely not the one concocting elaborate fantasies about a "team".

Okay you avoided answering that and I'm not sure why. What was your first computer that you bought? This may perhaps shed light on your position.

I will admit that I don't have a rock-solid grasp of exactly why it would be so complicated to write data to the parallel port or PC speaker while simultaneously running a DOS game intended for use with a Sound Blaster, but I'm quite certain it's not as simple as you say it is.

I appreciate your frankness but again I never stated this would be simple. I'm only outlining what would be the simplest way to go about it. The PC internal speaker would be the first sound output test device and anyone with a PC can try it out. In fact even if later stages of getting the HDMI audio output on the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, or nVidia didn't pan out it would still future proof the DOS SB concept using the PC internal speaker. And if I recall correctly Access Software had plans on adapting your two wire PC internal speaker to output to a regular 3.5 inch connector to hook up to larger speakers to get better audio quality. It was on one of the text files on Mean Streets if I recall. I had printed it out years ago and went to Radio Shack to see if someone could build it. I wish I had ordered a few of these direct from Access Software but I was using a Sound Blaster card then so I didn't think much of it at the time. And the sound quality was improved when hooked to a large boombox. This is how I saw Mean Streets demonstrated the very first time in Hong Kong. This was pre-dominance of Sound Blaster and this game did not support sound cards either but I was still blown away as no other game prior to that had such an extensive intro. And VGA 256 colors in games had just started to take flight from the older EGA 16 colors.

And I'll also admit as well that I'm in a similar boat as you on the programming side for the time being. I didn't quite program in Assembly or C back in the day but I did use BASIC, BASICA, GW-BASIC, and Turbo Basic but I never quite spent enough time in C although I had a programming class for it which I didn't have my heart in it. I did however hack a few games that were protected and removed the protection using a Hex editor called PC Tools. Mean Streets happened to be one of them now that I think about it that I cracked. I got sick of looking for my manual. Today I have several of these in the original box sealed. Back then I got addicted to the Mortal Kombat ][ arcade machine at the time so most of my computer programming courses were neglected although I do recall programming in Turbo Pascal which I hated. :confused:

And if you look around there are many people that simply didn't have the programming skills but the ideas. Roberta Williams ring a bell? Anyone recall Steve Jobs? :depressed:
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-25 @ 16:56

koverhbarc wrote:
95DosBox wrote:I appreciate your enthusiasm here but this is getting way off on a tangent. If you were to create a customized PCIe sound card it would be a lot more work and eventually PCIe will become obsolete to a newer slot architecture which will repeat the ISA debacle. The best long term possibility against first is to use the PC internal speaker which will never go away or die.

Second if you insist on using a hardware device then use a USB sound card ...

I disagree that the PC speaker 'wiill never go away'. It already has: on laptops, then on desktops, it's been changed from a real speaker to a tiny beeper on the motherboard retained only for signaling errors when other sound is not yet available. Such on-board beepers are worthless for playing digitised sounds, unlike the traditional PC speaker. I wouldn't trust that its hardware compatiblity even will be (or has been) maintained.

Interesting which motherboards have you noticed that the PC internal speaker can no longer play the sound output in DOS? Most of the newer motherboards have have integrated the tweeter so you no longer have the two or four wire connector to connect to an actual PC internal speaker or to connect it to a boombox or other set of larger speakers. That would be a problem for getting clearer sound. But even sound from a game using an emulated SB through the internal PC speaker would still sound better than the 1 voice beep bop of the standard internal PC speaker sound option. The Z68/Z77 I tested sounds fine and works in DOS with POP1. Z170/Z270 I believe also worked with the same integrated tweeter. Did you actually try booting into 98SE DOS and trying POP1 or any DOS game that supported the internal PC speaker option? If you don't configure it to the internal PC speaker option and left it for Sound Blaster you will not hear the internal PC speaker make any noise unless the program auto detects for sound devices will it default to the internal PC speaker.

But the better option in Stage 2 is the HDMI Audio out from the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia graphics devices for clearer crisp video and audio to your HDTV or montor with built in speakers.

But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around.

That's why I'm recommending these two Creative Labs USB sounds cards as future alternatives since they also support XP/W7/W10 adding true DOS SB emulation support on these is just ironic.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-25 @ 17:16

Jorpho wrote:
But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around.
It is notoriously difficult to install Windows 7 from an external USB drive on a computer with USB 3.0 ports, odd as that may sound. See also http://bretjohnson.us/ , home of pretty much the only DOS USB drivers I know of, which discusses some of the difficulties of this "standard".

I've discussed with Bret about it before. He is not interested in working on USB 3.0 DOS drivers until he has finished his USB 2.0 DOS drivers. He's a nice guy and very responsive. Although as far as USB 2.0 drivers for DOS I did find another site already for that purpose but I haven't tried testing those DOS drivers.

Most BIOS support booting off the USB regardless if it is USB2 or USB3 ports so a DOS USB driver isn't needed for booting of the device but interfacing with a USB sound card on a USB3 port. On Z97 and earlier Intel chipsets most have true USB2 eHCI ports. Z170 and later has broken this and removed Intel USB2 ports although a few have 3rd party USB3 ports that can work in XP.

But regarding W7 and USB the only problem you will find is the lack of true Intel USB2 ports on Z170 and later Intel chipsets. Had Intel USB2 still been retained on modern motherboards the USB install of Windows 7 issue would not be one. But as long as you slipstream integrate the proper USB3 drivers into your Windows 7 ISO you will have proper USB support to install your W7 via USB. Although it is better to use the internal SATA optical drive method of a burned slipstreamed modified ISO with these USB3 drivers preintregrated as this has less headaches. XP can only be installed using this method reliably on newer Z170 and newer chipsets.

But just so you know you can do a DOS USB bootable SSD via the USB 3.0 port. The BIOS itself seems to take care of this issue. Now connecting a USB 2.0 Sound Blaster sound device to DOS and interface it will be the other issue. That's why focusing on the internal PC speaker speaker for Stage 1 will be a great feat but also work with as many computers as possible. Later Stage 2 using the HDMI audio output of the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia video cards will make it easier to use common components for the DOS SB emulation sound output. This is a more modern way of playing DOS games with SB emulation under pure DOS.

Stage 3 could be adapting them to the Creative Labs USB Sound devices but one Stage at a time. Without Stage 1 done first there's no point in jumping ahead too far.

Jo22 wrote:
koverhbarc wrote:But I do agree that USB sound is probably today the best single target for a universal emulator as it can be attached
to any computer with USB and the interface is standard and will not change as long as USB is around..

Um, I don't mean to start a fight or something, but.., well.. USB has got several, unique host controllers by now.. :(
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_controller_interface_(USB,_Firewire)
Edit: Oh. :neutral: Jorpho was faster. Never mind.


No fight here your input is welcome. Also USB 1.0/1.1/2.0 are the most supported USB versions. UHCI/OHCI/EHCI. Again USB Sound Blaster sound cards would be on the later Stages and who knows if it will become necessary. The HDMI audio output on the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia video cards might end up being a better idea in Stage 2 and USB 3.0 support in DOS might be ready for integrating with USB sound cards by then years from now.
Last edited by 95DosBox on 2017-7-25 @ 17:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jorpho » 2017-7-25 @ 17:24

95DosBox wrote:Jorpho you are missing the point it wasn't that expensive. I think the Sound Blaster when I first bought it cost me around $160 with my own money at Softwarehouse which later became known as CompUSA. In comparison most computers back in the day could cost close to $2,000 or more fully assembled and didn't usually have sound cards.
And if someone had said, "Instead of paying $160 for that Sound Blaster, you can get mono sound using my software for $40 and not even have to get a separate speaker", that someone would have sold a lot of software.

A SB DOS emulator made for a 386 computer at the time would not have been wise to do and there would have been no such killing possible. The processing power would have slowed down the game to a crawl
You seem to believe extra processing power would make a difference here, but then you also talk about how Access Software could do fancy stuff on the PC speaker without "extra processing power". This is a contradiction.

DOSBOX is rather small but it utilizes a lot of Windows files I'm sure and I'm not sure if DOSBOX had been a standalone Windows program how much larger it would have become.
DOSBox runs in HX DOS Extender, which does not "utilize a lot of Windows files". DOSBox also runs in Linux without using any Windows files at all.

you could use perhaps test multitasking using Desqview-X
I think you will find that while some simple DOS games may run in Desqview-X, many more complicated ones (like these) will not run at all.

How often are you going to be playing two or more DOS games simultaneously anyhow
It's not about running multiple DOS games. If you're going to somehow halt the execution of a DOS program to start playing sounds from the PC speaker, you're probably going to need multitasking.

Could you explain why are referring to writing stuff to the parallel port?
I thought you mentioned that in one of your earlier posts, but I suppose that was someone else. Never mind.

Who has the knowledge to do it? Can a single individual do it or a team?
I suppose the only way to find out is to keep posting everywhere about wildly unlikely scenarios until you finally find someone who can tell you definitively why it's completely unfeasible. :P

Jorpho, try out Mean Streets, Crime Wave, and even Links 386 on a true 386 computer. You will see prior to the actual physical Sound Blaster sound cards that it was quite a feat that Access Software achieved back in the day.
Why stop there? Why not bring up 8088 MPH, which runs on an IBM 5150?

Why the constant negativity? No one said this was going to be simple to program and I don't imagine it will be. Did you have the same attitude when DOSBOX was first conceptualized? I bet you are using DOSBOX today if you don't own a proper computer with ISA slots.
I do not understand what the heck that has to do with anything.

Yes with more limited resources and processing power and less know how on top of all that and they accomplished what seemed impossible at the time. You wonder why there wasn't a proper Windows 3.X driver that did it just as smoothly as the DOS variant.
I don't wonder why. Access Software was not using some kind of "DOS variant" of the Windows 3.x PC speaker driver. Access Software very carefully wrote a program that could play back PC speaker sound while displaying smooth animation. The Windows 3.x PC speaker driver cannot make allowance for other programs (including Windows) to do things while playing back sound.

Yes DOS games still work even on Z170/Z270. I have been using DOS as part of my bootloader. Try Prince of Persia 1 for DOS. It uses a primitive digitized sound effects for the game but no music. Probably one of the only few games that did it aside from Access Software titles. 4D Sports Boxing does it as well. These programs run at normal speed as well as the sound effects.
Fair enough. I would not have expected that.
Jorpho you can easily try it out and do the same. Find your 98SE and format a bootable USB floppy disk or if you prefer a USB flash drive or SSD and test it out. I currently test this out on a 16GB USB SSD that I partitioned.
There are plenty of TP7 DOS games that crash with Runtime Error 200 on much, much slower computers. I even remember DOS games that ran a little too quickly on a 12 MHz 286.

I'm only outlining what would be the simplest way to go about it.
I don't think you understand what you're outlining.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-25 @ 18:50

Jorpho wrote:
95DosBox wrote:Jorpho you are missing the point it wasn't that expensive. I think the Sound Blaster when I first bought it cost me around $160 with my own money at Softwarehouse which later became known as CompUSA. In comparison most computers back in the day could cost close to $2,000 or more fully assembled and didn't usually have sound cards.
And if someone had said, "Instead of paying $160 for that Sound Blaster, you can get mono sound using my software for $40 and not even have to get a separate speaker", that someone would have sold a lot of software.

Did you forget the potential lawsuits for trying to emulate the Sound Blaster on an internal PC speaker while Creative Labs is producing and selling the hardware version? They would protect their turf and they were the #1 dominant Sound Card to buy then. The unknown processing load for the SB DOS emulator to work when 386 or 486 computers were possibly overwhelmed by the game itself so it would have been pointless and it wasn't until late 80s to early 90s when Sound Blaster became the standard for games. Even the SB PCI TSR took sometimes a minute or longer to fully load making it not a very good solution. I find it very unlikely it would have happened or CLabs would have allowed it assuming it were possible which you indicate would have happened by now.

A SB DOS emulator made for a 386 computer at the time would not have been wise to do and there would have been no such killing possible. The processing power would have slowed down the game to a crawl
You seem to believe extra processing power would make a difference here, but then you also talk about how Access Software could do fancy stuff on the PC speaker without "extra processing power". This is a contradiction.

The processing power would make a difference because the sound emulation that they used was relevant to your CPU's processing power. A modern computer today would have no issues taking on this burden. It sounds like you were either not born at the time to use such systems or you would know this information. By your statements you have confirmed this. Try testing Mean Streets on an 8088 4.77MHz vs a 80386 with 33MHz and play the game intro and see and hear the difference. There is no contradiction here as you failed to understand that the more powerful the processor the digitized sound effects came out cleaner and smoother. This was especially true back in the day where each MHz counted. Today a mere 100 MHz or 1 GHz wouldn't make much of a difference in a DOSBOX game on a modern computer.

DOSBOX is rather small but it utilizes a lot of Windows files I'm sure and I'm not sure if DOSBOX had been a standalone Windows program how much larger it would have become.
DOSBox runs in HX DOS Extender, which does not "utilize a lot of Windows files". DOSBox also runs in Linux without using any Windows files at all.

I don't use Linux but it sounds like if you brought up Linux you might not be a regular DOS and Windows user. Yes in Linux it is using Linux OS files to take care of interfacing with the video and sound cards on that OS. I didn't think a Linux user would be interested in playing DOS games. It still has to have the OS or Linux drivers for the graphics and audio devices to work. Then you have to deal with the size of the Linux OS installation on top of it all. And so many flavors which one are you going to use? Will it be larger than the size of a simple 98SE DOS boot disk and will it fit on a floppy disk?

As for HX DOS Extender I haven't used it to make a comment. But since you are stating you have used it then perhaps you can state the testing you've done with DOSBOX using HX DOS Extender and what games you've tested and what issues you had?
Can you output the sound to your HDMI audio out of your Intel HD Graphics, AMD, or nVidia video card?
Can you output the sound to your internal PC speaker if you don't have an integrated sound device or internal sound card?

you could use perhaps test multitasking using Desqview-X
I think you will find that while some simple DOS games may run in Desqview-X, many more complicated ones will not run at all.
Such as? Which complicated ones are you referring to?

Have you even used Desqview-X? I'm getting the impression you were a late stage user. And why are you so concerned that something may not run in DVX when Stage 1 hasn't even started or completed to do actual testing?

How often are you going to be playing two or more DOS games simultaneously anyhow
It's not about running multiple DOS games. If you're going to somehow halt the execution of a DOS program to start playing sounds from the PC speaker, you're going to need multitasking.

You seem to think that the DOS games when they tapped into the internal PC speaker halted/froze the game and finished playing the sound clip before resuming like it did in the Windows 3.1 Speaker Driver. This wasn't always the case for RealSound games in DOS and I'm not proposing such for a SB DOS emulator. If it requires some way to multitask then it wouldn't work as the game would constantly stutter. Did the SB PCI TSR require multitasking to work I don't believe so. You just loaded the driver and ran the game.

Could you explain why are referring to writing stuff to the parallel port?
I thought you mentioned that in one of your earlier posts, but I suppose that was someone else. Never mind.

No go ahead and elaborate on the subject matter regarding the parallel port and the multitasking idea. Even it if was someone else what device would you be outputting to on the LTP1? It sounds like you are buying some legacy LPT sound device that hooked up to the LPT port which again most of these legacy ports no longer exist on modern motherboards. Serial ports still can be found on modern motherboards using internal headers however.

Who has the knowledge to do it? Can a single individual do it or a team?
I suppose the only way to find out is to keep posting everywhere about wildly unlikely scenarios until you finally find someone who can tell you definitively why it's completely unfeasible. :P

And it's unfeasible according to you because it hasn't been done? Imagine if you said to President Kennedy. There's no way we will go to the Moon. :angry: Was DOSBOX an unfeasible project to you as well? Do you have any brilliant ideas of your own? Which of these were shot down by others I'd like to hear them. Maybe you have been hanging with the wrong crowd. :cool:

Jorpho, try out Mean Streets, Crime Wave, and even Links 386 on a true 386 computer. You will see prior to the actual physical Sound Blaster sound cards that it was quite a feat that Access Software achieved back in the day.
Why stop there? Why not bring up 8088 MPH, which runs on an IBM 5150?

Because it was 256 Colors and had digitized graphics and most games prior to that were 16 colors or less and usually used the 1 voice channel internal PC speaker for sound. There were some games over the years that did make use of the internal speaker in interesting ways but no games really blew the lid by combining VGA 256 colors and digitized sound output via the PC speaker at the same time.

Other computers such as the Tandy 1000 had a 3 voice channel that sounded way better which the IBM PCjr had. But your video link is just a demo not an actual game. Now if you examine the video link you provided the demo was created in 2015! So if anything that's more providing proof that it is even more possible that it is feasible than you realized. But that is a sick demo if that truly ran on a 4.77MHz. But I doubt they coded and compiled that on a 4.77MHz machine it would be a torturous snail's pace.

Why the constant negativity? No one said this was going to be simple to program and I don't imagine it will be. Did you have the same attitude when DOSBOX was first conceptualized? I bet you are using DOSBOX today if you don't own a proper computer with ISA slots.
I do not understand what the heck that has to do with anything.

Exactly you don't but if you answered you would. :evil:

Yes with more limited resources and processing power and less know how on top of all that and they accomplished what seemed impossible at the time. You wonder why there wasn't a proper Windows 3.X driver that did it just as smoothly as the DOS variant.
I don't wonder why. Access Software was not using some kind of "DOS variant" of the Windows 3.x PC speaker driver. Access Software very carefully wrote a program that could play back PC speaker sound while displaying smooth animation. The Windows 3.x PC speaker driver cannot make allowance for other programs (including Windows) to do things while playing back sound.

That was a limitation of that program and if I recall it was only used to play wav files and nothing more so it was rather limited in use. How do you know there couldn't have been one written that provided full Sound Blaster emulation output without this freezing issue? But you also forget during the Win 3.X era most people could buy generic cheap ISA sound cards (non CL) to take care of the sound output.

Yes DOS games still work even on Z170/Z270. I have been using DOS as part of my bootloader. Try Prince of Persia 1 for DOS. It uses a primitive digitized sound effects for the game but no music. Probably one of the only few games that did it aside from Access Software titles. 4D Sports Boxing does it as well. These programs run at normal speed as well as the sound effects.
Fair enough. I would not have expected that.


Jorpho you can easily try it out and do the same. Find your 98SE and format a bootable USB floppy disk or if you prefer a USB flash drive or SSD and test it out. I currently test this out on a 16GB USB SSD that I partitioned.
There are plenty of TP7 DOS games that crash with Runtime Error 200 on much, much slower computers. I even remember DOS games that ran a little too quickly on a 12 MHz 286.


That's why you needed one of those computers with the lever on the front panel to switch between full speed 12MHz/16MHz down to 8MHz down to 6MHz. I had one of these machines as part of my legacy support systems.
But as you mentioned before there are patches for some of these runtime issues. As for the DOS games you are discussing list them and I can test. I might come out with some Master List if one hasn't been developed when I have time to try all of my games on the earliest 4.77MHz to find the breaking point on which MHz and system it will no longer function properly or crash. But as far as running to fast there was slowmo and some motherboards could be hardware decelerated using the keyboard command that that BIOS knew about. Something like Ctrl+Alt + or - to increase or decrease the MHz speed on some of these from what I recall. Most had a turbo on / off button on the front to drop down to 4.77MHz or full speed toggle during the 286 era.

I'm only outlining what would be the simplest way to go about it.
I don't think you understand what you're outlining.

I do but somehow you don't. What part needs clarifying?

I'll try to break it down to the most simple goal.

In Pure DOS emulate a Sound Blaster to output sound through the PC internal speaker. Stage 1. :blush:

Other stages are just expanding support for alternate sound output devices and other sound card emulation possibilities.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-7-25 @ 19:22

Just be aware of the size of the problem. Professional hardware engineers from the following companies (non exclusive list) have tried to accomplish what you're suggesting, with dedicated hardware support that made it possible.

Creative/Ensoniq
Crystal Semi
Aureal
ESS
Forte Media
Yamaha

Some teams outright failed or produced very substandard solutions.

You will have access to none of the facilities that originally made this emulation possible at a low level as it has largely been deleted from modern hardware. Others have proposed you look at implementing a form of high level emulation, but you seem focused on a low level solution, possibly in pure DOS.

Good luck. I suspect you'll need it.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jorpho » 2017-7-25 @ 19:44

95DosBox wrote:Did you forget the potential lawsuits for trying to emulate the Sound Blaster on an internal PC speaker while Creative Labs is producing and selling the hardware version?
Did Media Vision get sued for the Thunder Board?

Even the SB PCI TSR took sometimes a minute or longer to fully load making it not a very good solution.
Does it really matter how long it takes to load if it works properly after it is loaded?

As for HX DOS Extender I haven't used it to make a comment. But since you are stating you have used it then perhaps you can state the testing you've done with DOSBOX using HX DOS Extender and what games you've tested and what issues you had?
Can you output the sound to your HDMI audio out of your Intel HD Graphics, AMD, or nVidia video card?
See for yourself:
http://www.bttr-software.de/forum/forum ... p?id=14645
http://sound-dos.ucoz.ru/load/new_hxdos ... 17/1-1-0-8

Such as? Which complicated ones are you referring to?
Apparently I was editing my post while you were composing your reply. I linked to viewtopic.php?t=761 .

You seem to think that the DOS games when they tapped into the internal PC speaker halted/froze the game and finished playing the sound clip before resuming like it did in the Windows 3.1 Speaker Driver.
Except we're not talking about DOS games that "tapped into the internal PC speaker". You're talking about making games work with the PC speaker despite being originally written for the Sound Blaster .

Did the SB PCI TSR require multitasking to work I don't believe so. You just loaded the driver and ran the game.
I understand that TSR does not actually perform any extensive processing on its own.

Even it if was someone else what device would you be outputting to on the LTP1?
You already mentioned the Covox device.

which again most of these legacy ports no longer exist on modern motherboards.
That's what I thought, but there was just some discussion of this in another thread.
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=55105

Which of these were shot down by others I'd like to hear them. Maybe you have been hanging with the wrong crowd.
Like people who pretend to know when I was born and what computers I use regularly, sure. :blah:

As for the DOS games you are discussing list them and I can test.
There's no shortage of them. For some reason the DOS port of Buck Rogers is the first that comes to mind.

I do but somehow you don't.
Okay, you're smarter than me and everyone else here. Congratulations. We are fortunate to have a visionary such as yourself.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-25 @ 21:59

Jorpho wrote:
95DosBox wrote:Did you forget the potential lawsuits for trying to emulate the Sound Blaster on an internal PC speaker while Creative Labs is producing and selling the hardware version?
Did Media Vision get sued for the Thunder Board?

That's hardware but also are you saying you preferred to buy a ThunderBoard vs a real Creative Labs Sound Blaster card? I don't think they were a threat. But if a software based version of Sound Blaster could be achieved and did not have any lag or latency or affect the game performance that would be a serious threat. I doubt something of that nature could be achieved during that time era given. Then the distribution process how would you have gone about selling this? This was pre-internet where you couldn't easily download such an emulator and use it right away. The hardware sound card was the only way to go then. Perhaps if Access Software had created something like this they might have been able to sell in as a software box on the shelf being well known for their RealSound technology.

Even the SB PCI TSR took sometimes a minute or longer to fully load making it not a very good solution.
Does it really matter how long it takes to load if it works properly after it is loaded?
Sure time was always an issue. I remember when the first Windows version came out and the load time was truly a killer. Whereas DOS you could boot up in seconds. It never worked properly which was why the ISA sound cards were a better option.

As for HX DOS Extender I haven't used it to make a comment. But since you are stating you have used it then perhaps you can state the testing you've done with DOSBOX using HX DOS Extender and what games you've tested and what issues you had?
Can you output the sound to your HDMI audio out of your Intel HD Graphics, AMD, or nVidia video card?
See for yourself:
http://www.bttr-software.de/forum/forum ... p?id=14645
http://sound-dos.ucoz.ru/load/new_hxdos ... 17/1-1-0-8


You didn't answer it but from what I could extrapolate from your links it would not support the HDMI audio output of those video devices I listed above and it doesn't support the internal PC speaker output for the SB emulation.

But more importantly what DOS games have you successfully tested on this HX DOS Extender and had Sound Blaster emulation work correctly?

Such as? Which complicated ones are you referring to?
Apparently I was editing my post while you were composing your reply. I linked to viewtopic.php?t=761 .

Got it.

You seem to think that the DOS games when they tapped into the internal PC speaker halted/froze the game and finished playing the sound clip before resuming like it did in the Windows 3.1 Speaker Driver.
Except we're not talking about DOS games that "tapped into the internal PC speaker". You're talking about making games work with the PC speaker despite being originally written for the Sound Blaster .


I'm not proposing to change the way the DOS game code works and that would require the source code and patching every single DOS game would be a nightmare nor recommended. Just like DOSBOX itself doesn't change the actual DOS game files it merely intercepts and reroutes it to your sound card. It will still operate as normal expecting a Sound Blaster card except we are not trying to force the DOS game or rewrite the DOS game code directly to use the internal PC speaker as you think. We are intercepting the Sound Blaster signals and rerouting them to the DOS SB emulation program which would then redirect it to a supported sound device such as the PC internal speaker or the other HDMI or USB sound devices to do the actual sound output. This doesn't change the DOS game or code itself and being a DOS purist I would refrain from even doing that unless it is to crack a program to bypass a protection check. The Sound Blaster is emulated in DOS to intercept all Sound Blaster related calls and rerouting them to the other sound devices. Now if ISA slots still existed on modern motherboards none of this would even be necessary and DOSBOX wouldn't have existed.

Did the SB PCI TSR require multitasking to work I don't believe so. You just loaded the driver and ran the game.
I understand that TSR does not actually perform any extensive processing on its own.


Even it if was someone else what device would you be outputting to on the LTP1?
You already mentioned the Covox device.


Okay I thought you had some other LPT based sound devices on your mind or some 3rd party created one.

which again most of these legacy ports no longer exist on modern motherboards.
That's what I thought, but there was just some discussion of this in another thread.
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=55105


Yes I see someone built some Parallel Port sound device but then you need to interface it with a non LPT motherboard which USB is the only reasonable choice. I think this will most likely lead to a dead end.

The simplest is the PC internal speaker for low quality SB emulation output, then the HDMI audio out on the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia graphics cards are the better HQ SB emulation audio output along with video output would be the best hardware solutions. USB sound cards would follow later if USB can stand the test of time.

Which of these were shot down by others I'd like to hear them. Maybe you have been hanging with the wrong crowd.
Like people who pretend to know when I was born and what computers I use regularly, sure. :blah:

Have I shot down your big ideas before? List your big idea that I shot down in the past as proof as I hardly participated on Vogons in the past until recently so you must be thinking of someone else. As for when you born and what was your first computer enlighten us because clearly didn't state either but at least a 486 from what I can tell at the minimum.

As for the DOS games you are discussing list them and I can test.
There's no shortage of them. For some reason the DOS port of Buck Rogers is the first that comes to mind.

I recall having a Buck Rogers non DOS bootable version in my old 5 1/4 disks. I don't think I had the DOS ported version that you have. But that was definitely one of the copy protected ones I recall that was hard to duplicate.

I do but somehow you don't.
Okay, you're smarter than me and everyone else here. Congratulations. We are fortunate to have a visionary such as yourself.


Did I say I was smarter than everyone here? Obviously everyone has their niche due to their experience. And being a former Canadian I must say if I had lived their most of my life during the golden era of computer I would have missed the chance to have tried and experienced all the computer related stuff in my data bank. Now there is one thing that you might have an advantage on staying in the homeland. Adlib was created there first which preceded the Sound Blaster. What were some of your thoughts about the Adlib card and did you buy one when they first came out? What was the MSRP then? And did you ever buy the Adlib Gold?

As for visionary comment I didn't say I was on their level. And if you date back to the original author of this thread Malik many people have had similar "visions" but addressing that some people just have the ideas and creativity but they didn't necessarily hard code the software themselves which is where Roberta Williams and Steve Jobs fit. You obviously missed the point I was making and redirected this as some sort of personal attack on you. Again I wonder where your pessimism stems from?
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby koverhbarc » 2017-7-25 @ 23:24

95DosBox wrote:
koverhbarc wrote:I disagree that the PC speaker 'will never go away'. It already has: on laptops, then on desktops, it's been changed from a real speaker to a tiny beeper on the motherboard retained only for signaling errors when other sound is not yet available. Such on-board beepers are worthless for playing digitised sounds, unlike the traditional PC speaker. I wouldn't trust that its hardware compatiblity even will be (or has been) maintained.

Interesting which motherboards have you noticed that the PC internal speaker can no longer play the sound output in DOS? Most of the newer motherboards have have integrated the tweeter so you no longer have the two or four wire connector to connect to an actual PC internal speaker or to connect it to a boombox or other set of larger speakers. That would be a problem for getting clearer sound.

I haven't found one the actually won't work in DOS but then I've never really tried to get DOS to work on the newest machines. It's perfectly possible they could be limited to producing a single-frequency beep.

Even with full compatibility, a lousy 'speaker' like that can only produce lousy sound, regardless of software tricks. The PC Speaker sound from 'Ken's Labyrinth' that I praised earlier in this thread is loud and clear on a real speaker (which must have been universal in 1993) but practically useless with an on-board beeper (inaudible or distorted beyond recognition).

And as you note, a real speaker header allows connection to any speaker, even better than those that came with the computers.

What you propose is possible, but you seem in over your head contemplating the actual implementation of such. And there's probably hardly any demand for such a thing - either use a real DOS sound card if you have ISA slots, or if you don't you can certainly handle running XP and using either DOSBox or NTVDM emulation. Yeah, I'd rather do it in plain DOS, and if such a product did spring into existence I'd use it (with USB sound, at least), but it's not likely.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-26 @ 03:07

koverhbarc wrote:
95DosBox wrote:
koverhbarc wrote:I disagree that the PC speaker 'will never go away'. It already has: on laptops, then on desktops, it's been changed from a real speaker to a tiny beeper on the motherboard retained only for signaling errors when other sound is not yet available. Such on-board beepers are worthless for playing digitised sounds, unlike the traditional PC speaker. I wouldn't trust that its hardware compatiblity even will be (or has been) maintained.

Interesting which motherboards have you noticed that the PC internal speaker can no longer play the sound output in DOS? Most of the newer motherboards have have integrated the tweeter so you no longer have the two or four wire connector to connect to an actual PC internal speaker or to connect it to a boombox or other set of larger speakers. That would be a problem for getting clearer sound.

I haven't found one the actually won't work in DOS but then I've never really tried to get DOS to work on the newest machines. It's perfectly possible they could be limited to producing a single-frequency beep.

Even with full compatibility, a lousy 'speaker' like that can only produce lousy sound, regardless of software tricks. The PC Speaker sound from 'Ken's Labyrinth' that I praised earlier in this thread is loud and clear on a real speaker (which must have been universal in 1993) but practically useless with an on-board beeper (inaudible or distorted beyond recognition).

And as you note, a real speaker header allows connection to any speaker, even better than those that came with the computers.

What you propose is possible, but you seem in over your head contemplating the actual implementation of such. And there's probably hardly any demand for such a thing - either use a real DOS sound card if you have ISA slots, or if you don't you can certainly handle running XP and using either DOSBox or NTVDM emulation. Yeah, I'd rather do it in plain DOS, and if such a product did spring into existence I'd use it (with USB sound, at least), but it's not likely.


The demand will appear later when you start seeing what new motherboard chipsets have come out. This is similar to the phasing out of ISA slots. At least from my tests even Windows 98SE can't detect PCI sound or video cards on a clean install. In the Z170 I can state it uses the same exact built in piezo speaker as the Z77 so even if it isn't a standard sized traditional PC speaker it still works and is still quite loud. Again even a DOS emulated Sound Blaster via the PC internal speaker sounds better than the default internal PC speaker effects.

You won't find any ISA slots on any modern motherboards and from I've read even some on some special industrial motherboards with socket 775 with a single ISA slot didn't work properly with Sound cards. And with the sharp decline of PCI slots and most modern motherboards are phasing those to all PCIe ones more alternatives are being eliminated not that the PCI sound cards worked good for SB emulation.

Stage 1 is basically for testing and this would allow someone with a bootable 98SE floppy disk or flash drive to load the DOS on a simple 1.44MB floppy disk and run the DOS game in SB emulation mode without needing a physical sound card. It's not perfect but still better than the alternative and wouldn't require any special hardware. As for how it sounds as far as my tests with the built in digitized effects that Prince of Persia 1 had implemented it sounds clear and fine enough to me. Now maybe if you enclosed your case and have internal GPUs and CPU fans blasting maybe it would be loud enough to muffle the piezo speaker but my modern computers are all fanless and can still be heard with the case closed.

The better Stage 2 version is one that can interface with the HDMI audio output of as I stated before the Intel HD Graphics, AMD, and nVidia video cards. These are more common today and exist as iGPU or in PCIe forms.

Those are the two Stages of testing that I would propose for simplicity and cutting the amount of work if possible. Now if it's easier to completely skip the Stage 1 Internal PC Speaker support and do Stage 2 first I welcome that but on older rigs with only PCI slots of the 98 era this might be useful where you do have motherboards with actual 2/4 pin internal PC speaker hookups. And if you really wanted you could use a plier and remove the piezo speaker and solder two wires to where it was soldered to get the direct output signal.

My solution is about simplifying it so you don't have to install XP or later larger OS but keeping it small and compact. You can then hook this up to any computer via the USB port and run DOS games with SB emulation without requiring to install an NT OS and all its drivers before you can play in DOSBOX.

There are reasons why going this route is better as you will notice starting at Z87 XP drivers were no longer made so you'll need to do some hacking to get XP to install if you're inclined. As for Z170 this began the decline or removal of true Intel USB 2.0 eHCI ports which affects Windows 7 USB installations. This adds another obstacle. However in DOS and using a bootable USB SSD there is no problem booting to 98SE DOS. If this DOS SB emulator was completed today all you would do is load it in the config.sys after the memory manager like HimemX and maybe have a small DOS program that you run at the command line to specify which sound device to emulate for Sound and Music. For example Sound Blaster AWE 64 for Sound and the the MT-32 for Music. Then set which sound output device such as PC internal speaker which would work on any computer or using one of the three HDMI audio output possibilities on the Intel, AMD, or nVidia video devices. These can be stored in a small text based INI so if you ran the DOS SB TSR program it would just read the INI file of your last settings before running your actual DOS game.

You are somewhat correct about the contemplating the actual implementation might be the easy part while the actual work is really the part that will be challenging and that is for people skilled in that arena. Also regarding the laptops I think most of these have the internal PC speaker output hooked directly to the built in speakers so I don't think Laptops have this tiny Piezo speaker problem.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-7-26 @ 06:19

I think the DOS SB emulator must run in REAL DOS or 98SE DOS and possibly function in FreeDOS as well.
It would make use of the 1MB->4GB memory region which should be plenty of space for the program.

There's the catch - TSRs have to be "ran through" by DOS.
Hence, they have to be located in a spot Real-Mode DOS can reach..

Yes I see someone built some Parallel Port sound device but then you need to interface it with a non LPT motherboard
which USB is the only reasonable choice. I think this will most likely lead to a dead end.

https://www.lindy.co.uk/components-tools-c7/add-on-cards-c308/1-port-parallel-card-pcie-p267

Problem in Real-Mode DOS: PnP. DOS programs assume port address 378 (or 3BC for historic reasons).
If the card does not come with an extra config tool for DOS, some bogus address is beeing used.

Except, if the CSM (BIOS emulation) is smart enough to recognize the LPT card as such and
sets up the correct legacy configuration.

Or if some early DOS PnP manager software is still being able to perform that part.
Like Intel Configuration Manager (ICM), for example.

On Windows/Linux, this is no issue since they are both PnP-aware.
(Classic ISA-based LPT ports -even if they are bridged-, are not affected, since they
are hard-wired to a given I/O port and IRQ.)
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby koverhbarc » 2017-7-26 @ 12:27

95DosBox wrote:The demand will appear later when you start seeing what new motherboard chipsets have come out. This is similar to the phasing out of ISA slots. At least from my tests even Windows 98SE can't detect PCI sound or video cards on a clean install. In the Z170 I can state it uses the same exact built in piezo speaker as the Z77 so even if it isn't a standard sized traditional PC speaker it still works and is still quite loud. Again even a DOS emulated Sound Blaster via the PC internal speaker sounds better than the default internal PC speaker effects.

You won't find any ISA slots on any modern motherboards and from I've read even some on some special industrial motherboards with socket 775 with a single ISA slot didn't work properly with Sound cards. And with the sharp decline of PCI slots and most modern motherboards are phasing those to all PCIe ones more alternatives are being eliminated not that the PCI sound cards worked good for SB emulation.

I really can't follow you, Yes, you will have problems using Windows 98 on the newest computers, but that isn't caused by sound, which has been a compatibility issue for a long time already. Your idea of a sound emulator presupposes a DOS to run it on, which is probably the bigger issue with the latest generations and one that most people consider solved by DOSBox, given that we have no better DOS than the Windows 98 code.

A piezo buzzer may be loud, but that doesn't make it any better quality - by the way, the speaker connection is a function of your motherboard, not your chipset, though the two are practically hard to separate nowadays - and there's a reason no real loudspeakers use that method.

I know the facts about ISA slots, and discussed them in this thread viewtopic.php?f=46&t=54924 - with some hacking it's possible (though not useful for gaming given that P4s are so cheap and fast) to get hardware SB even with a Core 2 generation processor.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-28 @ 19:45

Jo22 wrote:
I think the DOS SB emulator must run in REAL DOS or 98SE DOS and possibly function in FreeDOS as well.
It would make use of the 1MB->4GB memory region which should be plenty of space for the program.

There's the catch - TSRs have to be "ran through" by DOS.
Hence, they have to be located in a spot Real-Mode DOS can reach..

Yes I see someone built some Parallel Port sound device but then you need to interface it with a non LPT motherboard
which USB is the only reasonable choice. I think this will most likely lead to a dead end.

https://www.lindy.co.uk/components-tools-c7/add-on-cards-c308/1-port-parallel-card-pcie-p267

Problem in Real-Mode DOS: PnP. DOS programs assume port address 378 (or 3BC for historic reasons).
If the card does not come with an extra config tool for DOS, some bogus address is beeing used.

Except, if the CSM (BIOS emulation) is smart enough to recognize the LPT card as such and
sets up the correct legacy configuration.

Or if some early DOS PnP manager software is still being able to perform that part.
Like Intel Configuration Manager (ICM), for example.

On Windows/Linux, this is no issue since they are both PnP-aware.
(Classic ISA-based LPT ports -even if they are bridged-, are not affected, since they
are hard-wired to a given I/O port and IRQ.)


Most PCIe cards even some PCI cards will not be seen under pure DOS unless the manufacturer has specially created one for it. Usually they won't even support XP anymore given when PCIe was introduced so you'll probably find Vista and later drivers depending when that card was manufactured. Some skip right to Windows 7 only.
But needing to waste a single PCIe for a parallel port in order to use a sound card device would be a bit over the top. If most motherboards I've seen have a serial port header that would be an easier solution since it should work under true DOS and not add more expense or need to hunt down driver compatibility.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby 95DosBox » 2017-7-28 @ 19:52

koverhbarc wrote:
95DosBox wrote:The demand will appear later when you start seeing what new motherboard chipsets have come out. This is similar to the phasing out of ISA slots. At least from my tests even Windows 98SE can't detect PCI sound or video cards on a clean install. In the Z170 I can state it uses the same exact built in piezo speaker as the Z77 so even if it isn't a standard sized traditional PC speaker it still works and is still quite loud. Again even a DOS emulated Sound Blaster via the PC internal speaker sounds better than the default internal PC speaker effects.

You won't find any ISA slots on any modern motherboards and from I've read even some on some special industrial motherboards with socket 775 with a single ISA slot didn't work properly with Sound cards. And with the sharp decline of PCI slots and most modern motherboards are phasing those to all PCIe ones more alternatives are being eliminated not that the PCI sound cards worked good for SB emulation.

I really can't follow you, Yes, you will have problems using Windows 98 on the newest computers, but that isn't caused by sound, which has been a compatibility issue for a long time already. Your idea of a sound emulator presupposes a DOS to run it on, which is probably the bigger issue with the latest generations and one that most people consider solved by DOSBox, given that we have no better DOS than the Windows 98 code.

A piezo buzzer may be loud, but that doesn't make it any better quality - by the way, the speaker connection is a function of your motherboard, not your chipset, though the two are practically hard to separate nowadays - and there's a reason no real loudspeakers use that method.

I know the facts about ISA slots, and discussed them in this thread viewtopic.php?f=46&t=54924 - with some hacking it's possible (though not useful for gaming given that P4s are so cheap and fast) to get hardware SB even with a Core 2 generation processor.


DOS works without any special drivers from 8088 PC to the latest Z270 chipsets. Being small and compact and able to installed onto a USB SSD is another advantage. If a proper DOS SB Card emulator in pure DOS could be written to interface with the HDMI audio out of even the Intel HD Graphics found in a majority of all Intel CPUs and low end Celerons it would extend DOS gaming support to many computers in one stroke. DOSBOX still requires at least a Windows 7 system given XP installation is much harder to achieve without patching from Z87 and up. And even as recent as Z170 W7 installations via USB require tricks so W8 and up would be the easiest to use DOSBOX and in that case require you to have at least 18GB or more space just to install it. Having a simple bootable 98SE DOS USB device only takes less than 1MB and the rest of a small SSD like 16GB could house every floppy based DOS game ever released. You just take this to another friend's house or pop into a Best Buy and if it can boot off the USB you can game on their laptop freely without needing to install anything on their hard drive which I'm sure they've locked you out from doing so in Windows.

The PC internal speaker idea is only for internal testing to make sure all DOS games could work on any computer with this DOS SB card emulation without needing one of those three HDMI audio out video device possibilities. The piezo speaker is just soldered to the motherboard instead of exposing the 2 or 4 pin connector. If you desoldered that piezo speaker or just used some plier to pry it out gently you probably could hook up two metal wires and connect it to a real PC internal speaker and get output the same way. I doubt they revamped it and the piezo speaker was a more compact and elegant solution for something that no longer gets much usage since real sound cards took off and the internal PC speaker no longer is mass produced so troubleshooting MB problems would be more difficult and not require an additional purchase.
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Re: Sound Blaster Emulator for Dos?

Postby aaronwhooley » 2017-12-07 @ 07:59

Dominus wrote:And? Dosbox relies on existing and working sound drivers of the host. The host being Dos and no sound drivers for Dos means no sound in Dosbox. Dosbox can't produce sound out of thin air ;)


Worked fine on my Samsung Netbook With MS DOS 7.10 installed


There is a custom version of HX available here http://freedos.10956.n7.nabble.com/HX-D ... 24534.html

I copied that to my hard drive along with dos box and it ran with sound! ;)
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