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

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

Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby HunterZ » 2009-6-04 @ 22:05

The Live! is not any better than Ensoniq cards in DOS because it uses Creative-modified versions of the Ensoniq DOS drivers anyways. I just wouldn't use a PCI card at all in an old games box unless I wanted it to run both DOS and early 3D games in Win9x. ISA sound cards have far fewer issues with DOS compatibility.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-6-05 @ 01:02

yah I know the history of Ensoniq and Creative along with the DOS driver. Been using these cards on and off since they were the latest thing. ;) That DOS driver and the Vortex cards' DOS driver are really the best choice out there if you're stuck using a PCI card. They do work ok usually, especially if you don't need MIDI or FM.

ISA is as you say the only way to go if you are serious about getting the best DOS compatibility.

I suggested Live! over AudioPCI(and Creative friends) cuz of Live!'s dramatically superior Windows capabilities. Same with Vortex of course. People using a PCI sound card probably care about that too. AudioPCI isn't exceptional for much of anything really.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Farfolomew » 2009-6-05 @ 12:20

Well I tried the AudioPCI out. I have to say i'm disappointed in its sound-to-noise ratio. I place it less than the AWE64, which is behind the SBLive. I also get some weird digital effect problems (like stuttering, or crackling) in the Duke3d demo. Maybe it's just a single bad card I have...I dunno, but I expected more :(.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-6-06 @ 00:22

AudioPCI is all about being cheap to build. It was one of the first sound cards to do everything with only a few small chips. Back then they couldn't fit much into a chip so almost everything is done in software. It's basically what you get with AC97 audio chips but maybe a bit better on the signal quality cuz it's on its own card vs. a mobo.

Ensoniq looked at their costly Soundscape cards and saw how they needed to change things to make more money. They were struggling financially at the time due to their musical instrument division underperforming. So they built AudioPCI to win over OEMs and it worked big time. The card is a PR guy's dream with its large feature set. It doesn't matter that the quality of most of its capabilities isn't good. It's not the same class of product as they built with Soundscape and is definitely a bad follow up for an audio enthusiast....

The Soundscape cards actually are pretty noisy cards. Part of the problem with huge cards that have lots of components. Not even remotely as bad as AWE32 and friends though.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Farfolomew » 2009-6-06 @ 07:50

My Montego II is almost, if not, as quiet as my modern onboard HD Audio..which is to say I hear absolutely NOTHING when there isn't any sound playing. I am really delighted with the quality of this Montego card, and really hoping the DB60XG i'm getting soon will sound just as good on it as the digital does. Also, while the FM synthesis isn't as good as a SB16, I think it's a HELL of a lot better than the AudioPCI/SBLive FM synthesis. Montego II OPL synthesis doesn't sound too bad to me, whereas those other two cards sound terrible.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby MartinC » 2009-10-05 @ 02:47

Amazing, I have been looking everywhere for these drivers & they where right at home!!!
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby swaaye » 2009-10-05 @ 05:28

Glad to prove useful :)
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby sklawz » 2012-2-26 @ 16:54

Hello

I must also say thanks for creating the driver archive for this card.

I've never used one of these cards before but a SoundscapeVIVO90 was 99p on ebay so thought it worthwhile. The wavetable sounds pretty good for a start and I get the impression that this card is also useful to drive an external unit such as an MT32 (which I do have but to be honest never used)?

However, I also get the impression that it's SB/OPL emulation isn't a strong point? I do have other cards available such as an SB16, Audiodrive, Jazz16, unknown Aztech and seek advice as to which would be a good trouble free companion card for the EnsoniqVIVO90. The companion to handle SBPRO2/OPL3 and the VIVO90 for wavetable and/or external synth.

I notice immediately that I can disable Wave/SB emulation in the control panel so should turn that off, are there any other things that need to be considered.

TIA.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby elianda » 2013-1-31 @ 23:24

Well, I recently aquired a Soundscape 2000 and was glad to find the drivers right away at vogonsdrivers.
A bit annoying is that the 2 disk setup directly switches to Win3.x for installation.
But it works :).

I also read your comparison at the Ensoniq Wikipedia page Swaaye. So does the Elite features a effects processor in comparison to the 2000?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links)

Postby swaaye » 2013-8-23 @ 20:31

Gerwin made some nice PDFs out of my scans so I've added them to the first post.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, photos)

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-8-24 @ 23:29

swaaye wrote:
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.



In fact both drivers can be used on the AudioPCI :)

The Soundscape drivers give you SB Pro with Soundscape and General MIDI support whereas the Creative drivers give you SB 16 with General MIDI (and Soundscape support greyed out in games).
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby boxpressed » 2015-10-16 @ 15:17

I have a Soundscape Opus. I downloaded swaaye's unpacked drivers from vogonsdrivers, which was really helpful because I don't plan on installing Windows 3.1 on this machine.

The instructions say to edit SNDSCAPE.INI and INITSS.BAT for my specific card. INITSS.BAT seems pretty self-explanatory, but what should change in SNDSCAPE.INI (below) for the OPUS? Thanks to swaaye or anyone else for any help!

Code: Select all
[sndscape.drv]

; Product ID
Product=Soundscape

; Ports - Base/MIDI and Wave Device
Port=330
WavePort=534
OttoPort=2000

; IRQs - MIDI and Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
IRQ=10
SBIRQ=7

; DMA Channel for Code Load and Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
DMA=0

; Switches - SoundBlaster emulation enable, Joystick enable, Mic/Line mode
; switch and Ext MIDI switch (disables MIDI to local Synth)
SBEnable=false
JSEnable=false
MicMode=false
ExtMidi=false

; Mixer Settings - Master, Synth, Wave, CD/Aux and Mic/Line volumes
MasterVol=100
SynthVol=100
WaveVol=100
CdAuxVol=100,100
MicLineVol=100,100

; Windows Path - path to Windows SYSTEM.INI file
WinPath=C:\WINDOWS
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby swaaye » 2015-10-16 @ 18:48

-Note that codefile might need to be sndscape.c03
-also note that this card is PNP and the BIOS should be assigning it resources.

If all else fails, install a Windows driver package and tell us what it sets up in sndscape.ini so the world can know for sure. I last set up an Opus probably 5 years ago now.

Code: Select all
[sndscape.drv]

; Product ID
Product=Soundscape

; Ports - Base/MIDI and Wave Device
Port=330
WavePort=338

; IRQs - MIDI and Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
IRQ=9
SBIRQ=5

; DMA Channel for Code Load and Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
DMA=1

; Switches - SoundBlaster emulation enable, Joystick enable, Mic/Line mode
; switch and Ext MIDI switch (disables MIDI to local Synth)
SBEnable=true
JSEnable=true
MicMode=false
ExtMidi=false

; Mixer Settings - Master, Synth, Wave, CD/Aux and Mic/Line volumes
MasterVol=127
SynthVol=127
WaveVol=127
CdAuxVol=96,96
MicLineVol=32,32

; Code File - contains Soundscape Code image
CodeFile=SNDSCAPE.CO0

; Windows Path - path to Windows SYSTEM.INI file
WinPath=C:\WINDOWS
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby boxpressed » 2015-10-17 @ 03:36

Thanks, swaaye! Those settings work just fine. I found this resource that says that the code image should be co3 for the OPUS:

http://www.opensound.com/readme/README.soundscape.html

The card is a fun one to play around with. The GM isn't the best, but it does work without any TSRs or EMM386. I wonder how the quality of the 1MB patch set stacks up against that of .5MB or 1MB daughtercards.

Are there games that support the Soundscape's native MIDI (like GUS support)?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby swaaye » 2015-10-17 @ 18:33

Lucasarts games like Dark Forces and TIE Fighter support it natively. There are more bit I don't remember offhand.

Some games might not detect Opus because it uses a different Wave port address than the other Soundscape cards. I think Crusader No Remorse doesn't see it. You can manually edit the game configuration file and fix it though. With Crusader make msure you turn the mixing rate up too. The tracker music sounds vastly better with more sample rate. Just run it up to 48kHz.

I do wish Opus and VIVO had one of the 2MB ROMs. The 1MB is still better than some though.

One of the advantages of Soundscape cards in general is the quality output. Including digital audio. It is so much better than SB16 and relatives. Plain as day with 16-bit 44.1kHz audio.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-10-17 @ 23:28

Doesn't Descent also support them natively?
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby boxpressed » 2015-10-18 @ 00:02

philscomputerlab wrote:Doesn't Descent also support them natively?


I don't think it supports the Soundscape for music, only sound effects. I used GM for music in Descent, and it sounds ... okay. Still a kick using an inexpensive card to get GM music from pure DOS without a TSR or any external equipment.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby boxpressed » 2015-10-19 @ 14:41

I also have an Ensoniq Soundscape VIVO ISA card. This card also has a 1MB set. Is it possible to use this card in pure DOS like the other Soundscapes?

I read that it requires EMM386 to run. Is there a TSR that needs to be loaded?

The card isn't recognized when it run it with the settings for the Opus (MIDI port not recognized by SSINIT). Maybe the card needs to be initialized somehow by Windows 95?

***

Edit: Thought I'd add this interesting bit about the VIVO from Vogons member Cloudschatze in another thread here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9990&start=20#p68272

Not to keep tooting the horn of a dead soundcard-line, but I thought I would mention the Soundscape's excellent MIDI implementation. I posted the following on the QuestStudios forum a while back:

Ensoniq was one of the few companies that included the partial implemention of the bi-directional COMMAND/STATUS port in their hardware, and (in later models) into their software-based MPU-401 emulation. The ONLY command that it will respond to is the ACK, but, apparently it is enough. I have tested with several cards, including the Ensoniq Elite, which has hardware-based UART compliance, and the Ensoniq VIVO, which has software-based UART compliance. With an attached MT-32, Sierra software has performed flawlessly with both. (Consequently, the software MPU emulation actually performed better, as it would throttle the MIDI data, preventing buffer overflows.)
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-10-19 @ 19:29

What's interesting is that with the Ensoniq drivers, the Audio PCI also works with intelligent mode games such as those from Sierra or Wing Commander.

However, I was unable to get the AudioPCI to use the external MPU-401 port, it just uses it's internal synth.
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Re: Ensoniq Soundscape resources (manuals, files, links, help)

Postby boxpressed » 2015-10-20 @ 05:40

It turns out that the Soundscape VIVO Windows installer does include a part that installs the DOS drivers into the C:\SNDSCAPE directory. The contents of this directory are slightly different from the SNDSCAPE directory for the other Soundscape models.

Eventually, I was able to manually configure the settings for the card in Windows to defaults settings (port 330, IRQ 9, etc.). I could then load DOS games (Descent, Duke 3D) from Windows and get GM music.

However, Windows would never remember these settings and would show a hardware conflict in Device Manager upon the next reboot.

In DOS, the TSR that is loaded is called SSINIT, and it is only 0.7K in size. It loads when you run the INITSS.BAT.

However, the MIDI in DOS is terribly garbled, nothing at all like loading from Windows. Not sure what is wrong--maybe something with the WavePort or OttoPort addresses. Also not sure if it is worth spending much more time to diagnose.
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