The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Topic actions

Reply 160 of 174, by Ageve

User metadata
Rank Newbie

Not sure if this is the right thread, but I recorded a few samples of the OPL-emulation
on Creative AudioPCI 128, aka Soundblaster 16 PCI or Vibra 128.

It's so bad, it's funny. But the OPL sound is still better than the PCM/Soundblaster
compatibility (most games crash or distort the sound).


The card works better in Windows.

Reply 162 of 174, by Salient

User metadata
Rank Member

Kind of. 😀

See my signature.

MIDI comparison website: << Wavetable.nl >>
(Always) looking for: Any Wavetable daughterboard, MIDI Module (GM/GS/XG)

Reply 164 of 174, by gdjacobs

User metadata
Rank l33t++

For software that uses the MPU-401 interface to output MIDI, the CT2230 will require an external module or device (such as a PC with a software synth) for MIDI sound. As for their strengths and weaknesses, here's a few.

The CT2230 and AWE64 both support 16 bit / 44.1 khz playback (most useful for Windows and a handful of specific DOS programs). Both these cards don't support all SB Pro 2 audio modes, although the real value of this is still being debated.
The AWE64 has the EMU MIDI synthesis engine onboard (most useful for Windows, although it does function in DOS and is even used directly by a handful of games).
Both the SB Pro 2 and CT2230 have an accurate OPL3 implementation onboard for FM synthesis.
SB 16 cards including the AWE64 have some noise/distortion issues, although the AWE64 is generally better for this.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 165 of 174, by martinot

User metadata
Rank Newbie
MaxWar wrote:
The Sound blaster 16 CT2290!!![/size] […]
Show full quote

The Sound blaster 16 CT2290!!![/size]


Allright, I wrote a nice little review of it on the Grand Opl3 Comparison run page, but as usual, let the sound samples speak for themselves.
Update your collection now:

I still invite you to go and visit the official page:

But if you are lazy here is the bit i wrote about it.

Alright guys, you like sound blaster cards? Yeah sure I love them too, but I've never been a massive fan. Creative Labs just hav […]
Show full quote

Alright guys, you like sound blaster cards? Yeah sure I love them too, but I've never been a massive fan. Creative Labs just have too many damn CTnumbers and many of them are somewhat lackluster.
But then I tried CT2290. Now that's a quality sound card!
This makes me forget some of the prejudices I have about creative labs. Looks like they can give you a No-Compromise product when they want to!

Ok, I might be stretching it a bit, Creative labs made a bunch of very cool cards but if you want to invest in a sound blaster 16, this one is a sure value.

Firstly, It has one of the best FM sound i have heard so far. Its on par with cards like the Rock16. Very clean output, wide and clear spectrum range. The FM out of this card will please your ears.

I was actually very troubled deciding if i liked this card or the Rock16 better. They are both of very good acoustic quality but have different default coloration, or default EQ if you prefer. In the end I decided it did not really matter as it amounts to personal taste and you can always EQ them to your need.

I think that the Rock16 might be a little more "natural" sounding but it does not matter, this Card beats the Rock16 as an overall package.

It has superior compatibility. The Rock16 is excellent for a clone card but the CT2290 is a cut above. It worked with the more anal games out there like Comanche maximum overkill and provided a glitch free performance in everything I tried.

Talking about glitches, this card did not exhibit the hanging note symptoms. It has DSP 4.13, which has mixed reports about it however i can vouch that this card passed the Hexen Test with flying colors.

It also has very good digital Audio. I got some very clean results with my digitized sound tests. Its always harder to test old ISA cards for this type of performance using games but I can say its better than your average card. Just listen The Dig, much better than say, the AV303 right? Ok it may not be as clean as the ATI stereo F/x but that does not count.

As usual feel free to comment and add up on it, this project is very much Open 😀

Thanks for your great work and initiative! 😀

Look like CT2290 might be the card to go for!

Any version of it that supports CMS (or have sockets for the Philips chips needed)?

Reply 166 of 174, by martinot

User metadata
Rank Newbie
HighTreason wrote:
I had an nForce 2 board with onboard SoundStorm... It never worked right that board. […]
Show full quote

I had an nForce 2 board with onboard SoundStorm... It never worked right that board.

So far as I remember, the SoundStrom boasted a lot but did not deliver, barely being anything more than the run-of-the-mill ALC650 from that era but at a higher price tag. It did have wavetable synthesis - and I use that term very lightly - but with DLS files which, of course, nobody ever used. I have only ONE replacement DLS file and its samples are not complete.

Wasn't this sound device the one used in the original "teh hueg" XBOX? Gives me more reasons to think I was right not to buy one, PS2 all the way, Gamecube is for losers.

Edit; Love how the "Hueg like XBox" meme is credited to 4Chan... In 2001. I'm not even going to explain why that statement is wrong on so many levels.

I have not own, and not even played on an original Xbox (PS2 I played a lot on at a friends one), but from YouTube videos and Xbox OG users I have not heard about this sound problem issue you say. In what way did you have a problem with it, and how did it manifest?

Reply 167 of 174, by doom666

User metadata
Rank Newbie

Here are some samples for OPTi 82C931 OPTiFM synth:

FPS Games:
Adventure Games:
Various games:

IMO it sounds decent in most cases.

And remember: CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just 4 hours.

Reply 168 of 174, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++

Here are recordings of how the Fortemedia FM801 chip's FM synthesis sounds: https://soundcloud.com/user-470084971/sets/te … 01-fm-synthesis

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 169 of 174, by Almoststew1990

User metadata
Rank Oldbie

I have a few days off work so I am doing a few sound card comparisons myself. I'm "pretty much" following this methodology (I wasn't intending to upload as I have done OPL songs that I like, and the cards I have are pretty standard and already uploaded) but I have a quick question about Audacity "normalise":

The instructions say to record all your audio in one go (in separate tracks) and then hit normalise. For some reason, having a whole load of tracks open bugs me so I have recorded them and then exported and closed them and just have one track open at a time. Instead of using normalise, I have used "amplify" and amplified by the default of 0db. I am not audio geek, but I assume this amplies my audio so the loudest part of the recording is at exactly 0db, i.e. as loud as it can be without going beyond the recordable range.

If I do this for every recording, amplifying to 0db, they'll be normalised to the same volume right?

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | Nvidia GeForce 1070ti | 1Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
Athlon 3200+ @ 3800+ (Venice) | Some Ram | Nvidia GeForce GTX645 / 7950GT
Slot 1 896MHz | 384Mb 112MHz RAM | Nvidia GeForce 3 ti200 | AWE32

Reply 170 of 174, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++

I amplify to -3dB its a better habbit and further minimizes clipping artifact risks from further editing.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 171 of 174, by vutt

User metadata
Rank Newbie

I stumbled upon small YT channel with quite many FM sound card examples: https://www.youtube.com/user/B20A916VDOHC/videos

While there are a lot of sample compilation resources around Internet what makes this one in my opinion unique are slow_mo close up shots of the cards. True visual feast for retro hardware geek like me.

Reply 172 of 174, by Utafuinki

User metadata
Rank Newbie

As to OPL3 functionality, you have a few different options. These are a few that are well tested, commonly available, and inexpensive:

The excellent OPL3LPT should also be mentioned, when talking about OPL3. It goes to the LPT port and has a real YMF262 soundchip in it, and it sounds great.


I'd say it falls to the 'well tested, commonly available and inexpensive' category.

I'll attach Madbrain's song captured from my OPL3LPT device just so the quality can be assessed easily.

EDIT: This is such an old thread, maybe it's too late. I also think the requirements are too strict (32-bit? As if anyone can truly hear the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit, when I can't always even hear the difference between 8-bit and 16-bit (after all, it's just the 'volume differences', and those are not as easy to hear by human ear), and my captures often have a bit of 'buzz' or other interference sound, which might render the strict comparisons required by the original poster invalid.

However, I thought, "why not?", so I want to include a few songs JUST for fun and comparison, not to actually be anything useful necessarily. I just want to prove that OPL3LPT is a capable and good quality solution for a modern PC owner that wants to drape themselves in velv.. I mean, encompass and immerse themselves in the sweet, natural, real OPL3 sound.

This is an approximately 80 MB ZIP-packet, because the songs are pure WAV files (no compression) to retain as much authenticity and direct OPL3 sound as possible.

The songs included are:

- Duke Nukem 2 Intro
- Wolfenstein 3D Title
- X-Wing Title
- X-Wing Imperial March
- The Secret of Monkey Island Title
- Indiana Jones Title

.. and a few bonus tunes that I just thought are cool, good music or just fun(ny) additions.

Enjoy, if possible! And if not possible, the admin or original poster may feel free to remove the link or edit this post to their liking (within reason).


I am using Sendspace, as 80 MB is a bit too big to just attach here, and I didn't want to upload them separately.


Last edited by Utafuinki on 2020-05-10, 01:54. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 173 of 174, by villeneuve

User metadata
Rank Newbie


firage wrote on 2016-01-01, 16:04:

Perhaps the coolest part about SoundStorm was its digital 5.1 output via real-time Dolby encoding. You could bypass the crappy analog stages and go straight to a home theater receiver. Nothing else did that at the time.

While it was the SoundStorm's major selling point, Creative cards did uncompressed multichannel SPDIF-output via the Digital-DIN connector. Early SB Live! were limited to 4.0 on that connector, but later models and Audigy and Audigy 2 (not sure about Audigy 4) did at least 5.1. I dont't know if any home hi-fi surround receiver featuring Digital-DIN input did ever make it out into the market before the content industry forced Creative to abandon Digital-DIN output but I know such a receiver was announced back then.

Reply 174 of 174, by StEeLz

User metadata
Rank Newbie

Hi, I was about to create a new post to do the same! I have started the same exercise yesterday and have tested the following, contact me if you want me to take pictures and send you audio samples from the cards I have (if you don't have them handy). All my recordings are done using a Zoom H4N.
1 - CT4500 (AWE32/64) on 486SX with s/220
2 - CT4500 (AWE32/64) on 486SX with s/330
3 - CT2940 using Creative Stereo Music Synth on Pentium 75MHz
4 - CT2940 using Dreamblaster S2 wavetable on Pentium 75MHz
5 - CT2940 using Roland SoundCanvas SC-88 over Gameport MIDI on Pentium 75MHz
6 - ESS1869 using ESS FM Synth on Pentium 166
7 - ESS1869 using Dreamblaster X2 wavetable with GM soundbank
8 - YMF715-S on PD440FX motherboard
9 - YMF289B on CT2502 (SB16)
10 - YMF262 on ES688 (Sertek DCS8305)
11 - CT2740 (Original SB16)
12 - ESS1869 using Dreamblaster X2 wavetable with GM soundbank
13 - DOS OPL2 on ES1370
14 - DOS Native on ES1370
15 - Windows Native on ES1370
16 - InGame on ES1370