Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

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

Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-23 @ 04:39

I still have my original owner's manual from my Soundscape that I got back in '94. I'm guessing that most folks who get one of these cards these days won't get a manual, so I decided to scan it. Hope it proves useful, or at least fascinating! :)

soundscape-manual.gif
soundscape-manual.gif (7.76 KiB) Viewed 2940 times

Manual Downloads
Gerwin made PDFs
Soundscape Hardware User's Manual (pdf)
Soundscape Manual Addendum, "View From The Soundscape" mini guide, and Win 3.1 Driver Info (pdf)

Ensoniq within the Internet Archive:
During 1997
During 1998

Driver Downloads
Visit the VOGONS Vintage Driver Library http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape manual + addendums (scanned)

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2008-3-23 @ 09:13

Good idea! :cool:
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape manual + addendums (scanned)

Postby Mike 01Hawk » 2008-3-23 @ 13:54

Man swaaye, you're going on a Retro Bender lately :)

Thanks for the scans, between that and your scan of the 'ultimate' box, I got a lot of reading to do.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape manual + addendums (scanned)

Postby Amigaz » 2008-3-23 @ 14:18

Thanks for this effort

Now I just need to find such a card....never seen one for sale, are they rare as hen's teeth?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape manual + addendums (scanned)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-23 @ 18:31

Mike 01Hawk wrote:Man swaaye, you're going on a Retro Bender lately :)


Yeah I have these bouts occasionally lol. Boredom combines with happy retro game thoughts and trouble ensues.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Silent Loon » 2008-3-25 @ 14:15

Great collection!

The "Opus"-Card should be the third one (in the middle), right? Could you tell me how long the card is? I need a short one for a special small system and it would be great if it is capable of the most common standards: Sound Blaster(Pro), WSS, MPU-401, GM (is the OPUS Adlib compatible?).
What about sound quality, drivers and the manual for the Ensoniq Opus? As it was an OEM product, could I use the ones of the Soundscape / Soundscape Elite?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-25 @ 17:57

The Opus card is shorter than the big Soundscape cards, but longer than the VIVO. One of the chips on the card says "OPUS" right on it. I was using it for a bit because it is a lot shorter than the Elite and S-2000 which didn't fit in one of my cases.

There are some catches to that card though. It is PnP and uses a wave port address that's not in the usual Soundscape range. Some games won't let you choose the port it uses, for their native Soundscape option. With Crusader, for ex, I had to edit the game's .cfg file and put the port in there manually. Also, its MIDI patch set is a 1MB ROM that's not that great. This patch set may be worse than the VIVO's as it is older but also the same size. Not positive on that though, but it is better than a SB AWE. Otherwise it is probably the "3rd best" Soundscape card because it still doesn't need EMM386 or use any TSRs.

It uses the same drivers as the original and Elite. This was not actually official though, because it is a Gateway-only card. I have had occasional issues with the Win9x installer. It seems to have problems detecting the card in some way and it doesn't always work. A manual install by pointing device manager to c:\windows\temp, while the installer is loaded and its temp files still in there, gets the job done though. The DOS driver "just works", once you give it the right port address.

I'll try to get a measurement for you later. But it's really not much longer (if at all) than an older SB16 or a AWE64.

For SB emulation, only the AudioPCI can do SBPro. The others are limited to SB 2.0 (mono). However, because lots of DOS games from 1994 onward support Soundscape natively, they can do the job quite well and their analog signal quality is much better than any SB I've ever heard (AWE64 Gold seems decent though). Their MPU-401 support is basically bullet-proof, unlike some other cards (SB AWE!)

If these cards only had a daughtercard header....
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-26 @ 00:42

OPUS is 8 1/16" long.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Silent Loon » 2008-3-26 @ 09:19

Too long *sniff*.

Well, thanks anyway for the information!

Any suggestions for a good "all-in-one" card that is not longer than 7 1/2" ~ 19cm? Preferably with SBPro support, GM capability and / or wavetable header?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-26 @ 18:26

How about a PCI card? I've found that the Vortex cards have very reliable SBPro support (no EMM386 needed) and they have wavetable headers that work in DOS. The onboard circuitry on my Vortex 2 is so much better than the SB16s I've used that its SBPro support actually sounds better than a SB16 running SB16 mode.

AudioPCI has SBPro & 16-bit Soundscape support and DOS wavetable, but no header. The SBLive uses the same driver but with SB16 support, and uses the same Ensoniq patch set files for DOS. You can get a 2, 4, or 8MB patch set (.ecw) for these cards for use with DOS. It resides in system RAM.

Otherwise a Soundscape VIVO maybe work too. It is pretty reliable for DOS sound as long as your game doesn't have issues with EMM386.

I really have become a non-fan of Creative's SB16 and AWE32 ISA cards. They all have the noisiest, most muffled audio quality I've ever heard (they have something like 12-bit DAC quality at best). And many of them will pop and click and have static. Almost every SB16 aside from the original revision will have problems with a Roland daughtercard (stuck notes). Then you have the AWE32's buggy, unreliable AWEUTIL MIDI TSR that won't work with protected mode games. So if you want MIDI from them, they must have native drivers for AWE. I mean, yeah they are compatible with games, but the sound that comes out is not very good compared to other options and I've wasted many hours on their crap implementations of MIDI hardware. AWE64's use of proprietary memory addons really tops it all off too. Yuck.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Silent Loon » 2008-3-26 @ 21:40

Good idea, but I need a card for an ISA-only system that has to fit in this case:
http://www.acrosser.com/Product/Full%20 ... pc3sp.html

A Roland MPU-401AT with an attached SCB-55 is allready to large for the second and third slot, only the first one can hold it, but is normally reserved for the CPU card.
(You can plug the cpu card into the other slots, but apart of a space you might get a cooling problem:
viewtopic.php?t=18087 )
I have a SB16 Vibra (CT2940) that fits in it, even with the Roland daughterboard attached, but I share your opinion about Soundblaster 16 cards.

I tried a Terratec Gold 16/96, but couldn't get any General Midi music out of it in Dos. It has a ESS 1868f PnP chipset, which should be SBPro and MPU401 compatible (by software emulation?) and a waveblaster header.
I don't know why it doesn't work...
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2008-3-27 @ 18:02

Yeah the ESS chip may be using software wavetable... I don't really know a lot about the ESS chips other than that they are quite compatible with SBPro. I've used notebooks with 1688 and 688.

I don't really know what to suggest. :) Soundscape VIVO should work quite well, but its MIDI isn't going to sound nearly as good as a Roland SCB55. It will happily work alongside that MPU401AT though. For digital audio you'll have Soundscape, SB2.0 choices. FM synth on Soundscape cards is pretty bad so you don't want to have to use it.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby GL1zdA » 2009-2-13 @ 21:34

How much (estimated) would be the Elite worth? I haven't seen any sold recently, but would like to know how much they are worth?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-2-13 @ 23:59

I don't know. I like to think that the cards are nearly worthless now days. :) But once those crazy ebay sellers figure out that people will pay well for this stuff, that changes, like with the $200 486 mobos on ebay now.

I found an Elite for sale on eBay back when my original died. The seller thought it was an I/O card and had it for like $10. The guy apparently wasn't capable of using web search.

A SS Elite was ~$150 brand new back when it came out. It was an absolute steal compared to AWE32 and most other cards of the time.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Farfolomew » 2009-6-04 @ 06:20

@swaaye: I tried downloading the AudioPCI drivers from the link you gave in the OP, but I can't seem to extract the DOS driver files. I downloaded the Windows 3.1 version, ran the setup program, found where the temporary files were at, and copied the legacy.z, sndset.z, and windrv.z to another folder, but no decompression program will open them. Any ideas? I'm just trying to get the DOS drivers for my 1370 AudioPCI card.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Farfolomew » 2009-6-04 @ 12:02

Well, I think I got the DOS Ensoniq AudioPCI drivers. I downloaded a file called PCI64.zip that contained very straightforward installation instructions, and the needed utilities (apinit.com, apmixer.com). The file I downloaded on EMU.com's website was an installation setup package for Win 3.1, but I could not extract the files from there. Anyways, here's the link in case anyone else searches this forum for the same thing:

http://www.soundcard-drivers.com/drivers/67/67830.htm

Also, here's a link to download the 8mb eapci8m.ecw Waveset (since it's not on emu.com's site for download):

http://www.soundcard-drivers.com/drivers/30/30332.htm
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-6-04 @ 13:22

BTW, the 8MB set can be found on Creative's site. Under SB PCI 64 / 128, I believe.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby HunterZ » 2009-6-04 @ 14:43

swaaye wrote:BTW, the 8MB set can be found on Creative's site. Under SB PCI 64 / 128, I believe.

Yep, because the SB PCI 64/128 were just rebranded Ensoniq cards. Creative bought out Ensoniq in order to obtain their PCI sound card technology because Creative couldn't figure it out on their own. My first PCI sound card was an SB PCI 128; I hated that it could only load .ECW sound banks in DOS even though it could load .SF2 soundfonts in Win9x.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby gerwin » 2009-6-04 @ 15:11

Farfolomew wrote:Also, here's a link to download the 8mb eapci8m.ecw Waveset (since it's not on emu.com's site for download):

Emu has got nothing to do with the ensoniq ECW wavesets.

HunterZ wrote:Yep, because the SB PCI 64/128 were just rebranded Ensoniq cards.....SB PCI 128; I hated that it could only load .ECW sound banks in DOS even though it could load .SF2 soundfonts in Win9x.

Mostly, but they made some changes over time, IIRC apinit.com did not work on my PCI128 to emulate a soundscape. I could only use sbinit.com to emulate SB16 instead.
AFAIK there is no soundfont support on any of the AudioPCI variants in either Dos or Windows.

There was a fourth waveset, besides the well known 2,4 and 8 MB ones. I slightly prefered it over the others; 2MG4.ECW
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-6-04 @ 21:10

The original 2MB is awful. 4mb and 8mb are better and similar to each other. None are what I would call "great" in any way. The older Soundscape cards with 2meg sets are better sounding.

I'm not sure whether I've heard the later 2meg set.

Really I'm not much of a fan of AudioPCI. Better off with a Live! or Vortex card for PCI audio that also does DOS decently.
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