SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

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

Re: Hanging note problems with SB16 and DBs

Postby ux-3 » 2012-4-23 @ 17:36

Since I've abandoned the KT133A approach, I am back to two ISA slots. I also have one of those 'cheapo' miracle cards (CMI8330) that gervin mentioned a while ago. I found it's signal too weak though.

The 4.04 SB16 was thrown out for noise and noise only! Otherwise it would have been my choice: All jumpers, no software to run. But hanging notes happen every once in a while, noise is with you constantly.

So I could just give the AWE64 a spin. I just completely forgot how to initialize it in DOS. Same as AWE32? Needs CTCM or CTCU?
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Re: Hanging note problems with SB16 and DBs

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-4-23 @ 23:04

ux-3 wrote:So I could just give the AWE64 a spin. I just completely forgot how to initialize it in DOS. Same as AWE32? Needs CTCM or CTCU?


I like the AWE64 :)

Sure it doesn't have an OPL3, but you can enabled Chorus and Reverb and get some nice sounding tunes.

I have two tutorial videos.

1. How to install the drivers for the AWE64:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9GSYgarPs4

2. How to enable Chorus and Reverb and what it sounds like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oPw7C8_K3Q
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Re: Hanging note problems with SB16 and DBs

Postby ux-3 » 2012-4-24 @ 05:31

From what I saw in your video, for DOS the card might just swap in for the AWE32.

I wonder how to run the software for 2 soundblaster cards present at the same time?

If I'd use the jumpered SB16, I would bypass that problem, but get the noise instead.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby dirkmirk » 2012-5-24 @ 12:30

Just listened to a few of your videos Mau1wurf1977, Great stuff!

1. I like the chorus and reverb effects for the AWE64 Gold, do these effects applie to all EMU8000 chipped cards like the AWE32/Sound Blaster 32 etc (I could test this out but im too lazy, might do it tomorrow)?

On the comparison of the 3 sound cards with Adlib in Monkey Island 2, I don't think the AWE64 does a bad job in emulating the sound, it appears to play all the right sounds but definately sounds too clean, perhaps if you got into mixer settings, increased bass and reduced treble you could get it to sound more like an earlier sound blaster with the genuine yamaha chip.

My soundblaster 32 has a 4.16 dsp chip, in theory that should make it a good candidate for external midi? I would like an AWE64 Gold but if my 32 does the same job (except its 4mb wavetable) its an item I can forgo.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby FGB » 2012-7-26 @ 10:11

I totally disagree with Mau1wurf1977 on the "quality" the chorus/reverb effects the EMU "adds" to the Adlib compatible part. In my opinion it sounds really really bad, especially when you apply 100% chorus/reverb, like Mau1wurf1977 did, it sounds like a distorted OPL2 in a cave. This is no quality in my ears but of course it's in the "ear of the beholder".

@dirkmirk:

You can do this with all AWE and SB32 cards because Creative didn't want to pay for a second DAC on these soundcards. When you play FM music the signal is routed all the way through the EMU 8K part to the DAC and therefore the custom chorus/reverb settings affect the FM part as well.
And yes, the SB32 with the 4.16 DSP is good for any external midi device, has no bugs and the card is also very quiet. There is no reason to go for a AWE64 Gold. The "gold plated" jacks are way overrated when your primary use is to play a game and not to gaze at an oszillioscope. ;) But still clever marketing from Creative.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-7-27 @ 15:14

FGB wrote:I totally disagree with Mau1wurf1977 on the "quality" the chorus/reverb effects the EMU "adds" to the Adlib compatible part. In my opinion it sounds really really bad, especially when you apply 100% chorus/reverb, like Mau1wurf1977 did...


I have some examples of more moderate use of the EMU8000 Chorus/Reverb in the "Technically impressive FM synth music" thread, all of which are digital recordings (via S/PDIF) to boot.

Eol's Adventure - /Reverb:20, /Chorus:10
Genpei War - /Reverb:10, /Chorus:5
Legend of Sword and Fairy - /Reverb:0, /Chorus:0 (for comparison)

You can do this with all AWE and SB32 cards because Creative didn't want to pay for a second DAC on these soundcards. When you play FM music the signal is routed all the way through the EMU 8K part to the DAC and therefore the custom chorus/reverb settings affect the FM part as well.


Not all AWE and SB32 cards, mind you. Those bearing the standalone CQM chip (CT-3600, CT-3990) do not route FM through the EMU8000, and instead use a second DAC.

Personally, I think that routing the FM through the EMU8000 was one of Creative's better decisions - Digital EQ/effects and S/PDIF output, versus a second DAC and Creative's crummy analog output stage. Tough call. ;)
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby elianda » 2012-7-27 @ 15:28

Cloudschatze wrote:Not all AWE and SB32 cards, mind you. Those bearing the standalone CQM chip (CT-3600, CT3990) do not route FM through the EMU8000, and instead use a second DAC.


But I doubt that any AWE driver or player utilizing the Emu8K takes care of this difference and uses all 32 channels of the Emu8K (for midi playback f.e.).
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby FGB » 2012-7-27 @ 15:46

Cloudschatze wrote:
FGB wrote:I totally disagree with Mau1wurf1977 on the "quality" the chorus/reverb effects the EMU "adds" to the Adlib compatible part. In my opinion it sounds really really bad, especially when you apply 100% chorus/reverb, like Mau1wurf1977 did...


I have some examples of more moderate use of the EMU8000 Chorus/Reverb in the "Technically impressive FM synth music" thread, all of which are digital recordings (via S/PDIF) to boot.

Eol's Adventure - /Reverb:20, /Chorus:10
Genpei War - /Reverb:5, /Chorus:0
Legend of Sword and Fairy - /Reverb:0, /Chorus:0 (for comparison)

You can do this with all AWE and SB32 cards because Creative didn't want to pay for a second DAC on these soundcards. When you play FM music the signal is routed all the way through the EMU 8K part to the DAC and therefore the custom chorus/reverb settings affect the FM part as well.


Not all AWE and SB32 cards, mind you. Those bearing the standalone CQM chip (CT-3600, CT3990) do not route FM through the EMU8000, and instead use a second DAC.

Personally, I think that routing the FM through the EMU8000 was one of Creative's better decisions - Digital EQ/effects and S/PDIF output, versus a second DAC and Creative's crummy analog output stage. Tough call. ;)


Your examples of moderate use of the effects show that there is indeed a notable increase in sound quality.
Regarding the FM routing: I thought that would affect all cards, but I never tried it on other cards then on my noisy CT2760. But I thought that the aweutil just adds the effect to the output, regardless if MIDI or FM.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby TheMAN » 2012-7-27 @ 16:05

my CT3900 was a lot more quiet than my CT2230, even though it was a full length card with a whole bunch of junk on it, I attributed it to a much quieter mixer chip... the CT1745A-S, which early AWE64s also used... is it a super quiet card? hardly... you hear all sorts of crap with headphones... but it was quiet enough to not hear hissing with speakers :) I'm not surprised when you say your CT2760 was noisy because it also used the original CT1745A chip, which the CT2230, CT1730, etc early SB16s also used
I preferred the QSound option which I felt was a better sound quality improvement over the reverb/chorus crap, but sadly it got quickly removed from the drivers (you can still run it if you used the very old drivers with a non-PnP AWE32)... good thing they couldn't do that with the wave blaster 2 at least (even though the samples were crap)!
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-7-28 @ 04:24

Much of what makes one card "noisier" than another has to do with its physical and electrical design (shielding and layout), and the components used in the analog input/output stages. For all the talk about different mixer chips, I'd be willing to bet that their noise specifications are probably pretty similar (an ideal test would be to use two same-model cards with different mixer chips). Another thing to keep in mind is that Creative's implementation of the "3D Stereo Enhancement" circuit tends to amplify and accentuate existing noise, and on some cards is enabled by default.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby TheMAN » 2012-7-28 @ 06:00

the binaural 3D sound bullshit was an additional tiny square chip on the PnP sound blasters, it's not part of the mixer chip and has nothing to do with poorly implemented QSound running off the CT1748A CSP/ASP chip
why do I think the mixer chip has a lot to do with the noise?

First, lets consider this:
the original SB16s and AWE32s had a CT1745A chip... everybody here knows and talks about how noisy the CT1730s are
everyone here talks about how great the CT3600 SB32s are in terms of SnR, it's due to the Vibra chip, which is much more integrated of course
BUT wait, I'm not finished yet!
the later non-vibra cards used the CT1745A-TBQ and CT1745A-S... later AWE32s and early AWE64 Golds had the latter, while some AWE32s and all regular AWE64s had the former... then the later AWE64 Golds got the CT1745A-SCP, which was the quietest non-vibra chip they made

all of these cards, with the newer chips had a discernible difference in noise levels compared to the ones with the older chips... they were much quieter than the early cards that had the CT1745A chips... I also happen to own one of the last CT1770s made, a 1st generation SB16 card, but it is rare in the fact that it has the CT1745A-S chip and 4.13 DSP on it... I tried it before, with the volume dial set halfway only... the audio was pretty clean compared to the noisy CT2230 I have... my CT1770 is on par with my CT3900.... but I don't use it because it's brand new and I don't need its SCSI functionality as I'm using a AHA-2940U card already :) I thought about finding an actual used CT1770 to use along side my goldfinch card just for grins, but every single one I came across on ebay were the early builds with the CT1745A chips... I don't want them... this shows to me how rare my card is, so I don't want to use it and risk frying it due to circumstances beyond my control (other vintage hardware is easier to replace)

the fact that I own a 1st generation design SB16 with a newer/improved mixer chip makes me feel qualified to argue that the mixer chip makes a big difference in SnR quality... I got pics of this card taken, I'll post it later for you all to see if you want to compare the other chips on it with any CT1770 examples any of you may personally have
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-7-28 @ 06:38

TheMAN wrote:the binaural 3D sound bullshit was an additional tiny square chip on the PnP sound blasters, it's not part of the mixer chip...


Which chip would that be, exactly? I covered this in the original, misinformation-filled post on the QuestStudios forum, and it's always been my presumption that the "stereo enhancement" circuit is comprised of just an op-amp and additional capacitors and resistors - per the patent - that sit outside of the mixer chip. That said, you might humor me (and at least help to either confirm or deny that the use of this circuit is controlled by the mixer chip) by trying the CT3DSE utility with your CT-1770.

why do I think the mixer chip has a lot to do with the noise?


Don't take this personally, but I'm much more interested in datasheets and/or diagrams than continued speculation. :) I'd be happy to send you a CT-1770 with an older mixer chip, if you'd like to run some tests.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby TheMAN » 2012-7-28 @ 09:16

the CT1978-TAP chip :)
none of my non-PnP cards supports binaural... the drivers knows whether the card can do it or not

I seriously doubt there is any available documentation on the CT1745 mixer chips showing us what changes were made in the newer variants... creative has always been secretive of their crappy hardware, which is why in some informal discussions with QSound Labs many years ago regarding a possible software project with my friend, they told me they had a hard time developing the QSound drivers for the CSP chip... the end result was half baked and they didn't like the final product... it's not surprising that creative later scrapped it, especially when they could save on the licensing fees

as for testing, be on a look out for a late build CT1770 yourself.... it will not have the CSP (they stopped selling that variant after 1994)... late builds are from 1995, though the PCB itself won't say... serial number is some high number... mine starts with a 3)... there are no design changes to the board from what I can tell, only that they used the newer/better chips (it makes sense as it was still marketed as a premium sound blaster card... the other SB16s sold at that time still used the noisier chip from what I can tell)

so unfortunately, I don't have the TIME, equipment nor expertise to properly analyze recordings from the card, so I respectfully decline your offer :) so go look for one yourself and find out for all of us if you have the means of properly testing them :)
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby FGB » 2012-7-28 @ 09:19

I have a very silent SB16, the CT2890. It has the CT1705-DCQ and CT2504-TCQ along with an original OPL3. The DSP Version is 4.13:

Image

Bigger pic: http://www.amoretro.de/2012/05/creative-sound-blaster-vibra-16s-ct2890.html
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby TheMAN » 2012-7-28 @ 09:21

that's because your card has a Vibra mixer chip, not the older, more fully featured CT1745A ;)
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-7-28 @ 10:41

TheMAN wrote:the fact that I own a 1st generation design SB16 with a newer/improved mixer chip makes me feel qualified


TheMAN wrote:the CT1978-TAP chip :)
so unfortunately, I don't have the TIME, equipment nor expertise to properly analyze recordings from the card, so I respectfully decline your offer :) so go look for one yourself and find out for all of us if you have the means of properly testing them :)


Man seriously you are so full of shit it's not funny :happyhappy:
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-7-28 @ 15:52

TheMAN wrote:the CT1978-TAP chip :)


The CT-1978 is the standalone CQM chip.
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby TheMAN » 2012-7-28 @ 19:01

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
TheMAN wrote:the fact that I own a 1st generation design SB16 with a newer/improved mixer chip makes me feel qualified


TheMAN wrote:the CT1978-TAP chip :)
so unfortunately, I don't have the TIME, equipment nor expertise to properly analyze recordings from the card, so I respectfully decline your offer :) so go look for one yourself and find out for all of us if you have the means of properly testing them :)


Man seriously you are so full of shit it's not funny :happyhappy:

trusting my god given ears is the wrong thing to do? :blah:
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-7-29 @ 03:48

elianda wrote:
Cloudschatze wrote:Not all AWE and SB32 cards, mind you. Those bearing the standalone CQM chip (CT-3600, CT3990) do not route FM through the EMU8000, and instead use a second DAC.


But I doubt that any AWE driver or player utilizing the Emu8K takes care of this difference and uses all 32 channels of the Emu8K (for midi playback f.e.).


On an interesting note, and putting the 30/32-voice marketing fiasco aside, Creative's "stealing" of synth channels for other purposes is hardly unique...

- Roland RAP-10: Only 26 of 28 possible voices are available, due to a pair being used (at all times) by the sampling channels. Roland was at least honest, however, and only advertised 26-voice polyphony.

- Yamaha DB60XG/SW60XG: Only 30 of 32 voices are available when the A/D parts are used (off by default).
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Re: SB16 vs DBs (hanging / stuck / wrong notes in MIDI)

Postby NJRoadfan » 2012-7-29 @ 04:21

Cloudschatze wrote:On an interesting note, and putting the 30/32-voice marketing fiasco aside, Creative's "stealing" of synth channels for other purposes is hardly unique...


Even Apple Computer is guilty of this. The Ensoniq 5503DOC found in the Apple IIgs normally only has 30 of its 32 oscillators available as one is reserved for timing and system sounds.
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