The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

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

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-03 @ 05:31

Ace wrote:By the way, I have a variant of the CMI8330 labelled as the SoundPro HT1869V+ built into a PC Chips Socket 7 motherboard. Shall I get some audio samples recorded off this thing?


Sure, could be interesting!

I also have a a PC CHIP socket 7 Mobo with some kind of onboard audio. Its the 598LMR motherboard i think. Id have to go and verify what kind of chip is on this thing.

Problem is i would need to build a custom header connector to tap dat audio.
Should be up to it eventually :D
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby NJRoadfan » 2012-8-03 @ 14:34

I have a PC Chips M590 with that re-branded CMI8330 chip. It claims Soundblaster 16 compatibility, but I'm sure its pretty lousy sounding. Nothing PC Chips used could be called "quality". Looks like the 598LMR uses a PCI sound chip. I remember getting a few of those boards at the computer shop on some surplus deal cheap. Two of them managed to munch their own BIOS and I spent a good day tracking down drivers since we didn't get the CD and PC Chips website was lousy and broken.
NJRoadfan
Oldbie
 
Posts: 845
Joined: 2012-5-26 @ 03:54
Location: Northern NJ

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Ace » 2012-8-03 @ 15:30

The SoundPro HT1869V+ says "PCI" on it, but it's actually an ISA sound chip. Sound quality-wise, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The OPL3 clone in the chip is quite accurate, but seems to have certain notes tuned to different volume levels as some notes come out louder than they should. On top of that, said OPL3 clone is EXTREMELY noisy; every time it outputs sound, it has a rather noticeable hiss. PCM audio doesn't do this, though.

As for the SoundBlaster 16 support, contrary to the later PCI-based CMI8738 (for DOS games, this thing is a worthless piece of crap), it actually works. However, I did notice issues with the Stereo sound being backwards, though I don't remember what had reversed Stereo, if it was the OPL3 clone or the PCM audio.

MaxWar wrote:Problem is i would need to build a custom header connector to tap dat audio.
Should be up to it eventually :D


Heh... I'm in the middle of doing that myself. I've wired up the audio outputs, now I need to wire up the Game port.
Creator of The Many Sounds of:, a collection of various DOS games played using different sound cards.
Ace
Oldbie
 
Posts: 525
Joined: 2010-10-16 @ 17:35
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby kool kitty89 » 2012-8-04 @ 01:31

NJRoadfan wrote:I have a PC Chips M590 with that re-branded CMI8330 chip. It claims Soundblaster 16 compatibility, but I'm sure its pretty lousy sounding. Nothing PC Chips used could be called "quality". Looks like the 598LMR uses a PCI sound chip. I remember getting a few of those boards at the computer shop on some surplus deal cheap. Two of them managed to munch their own BIOS and I spent a good day tracking down drivers since we didn't get the CD and PC Chips website was lousy and broken.

There were a few exceptions to PCChips stuff being crap, like the SIS 5597 based M571 Socket 7 board, which was a reasonably good quality, stable, reliable entry level socket 7 board for its time. (except for the late revisions, which were cheap crap apparently)

The M571 also used a soundpro chip for onboard audio.

Ace wrote:As for the SoundBlaster 16 support, contrary to the later PCI-based CMI8738 (for DOS games, this thing is a worthless piece of crap), it actually works. However, I did notice issues with the Stereo sound being backwards, though I don't remember what had reversed Stereo, if it was the OPL3 clone or the PCM audio.

How does it compare to CQM in terms of OPL3 accuracy?

Most of the onboard sound I've seen from that era was basic 16-bit PCM CODEC stuff (especially for chipset embedded sound like SIS had and VIA added with the MVP4). And, of course, once you get to early 2000s stuff, there wasn't much incentive to even bother with OPL or Sound Blaster compatibility. (just simple DirectX-compatible DMA sound -or higher end multimedia sound solutions, like the NForce chipset used)

The PC Partner VIB878DS had an actual SB-16 chipset onboard, but that was just a CQM based one. (same chip as the Wave Effects cards used iirc)
kool kitty89
Member
 
Posts: 272
Joined: 2012-2-15 @ 08:43
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Ace » 2012-8-04 @ 04:15

kool kitty89 wrote:How does it compare to CQM in terms of OPL3 accuracy?


It's a good bit closer to OPL3 than CQM, much like ESFM. Really, though, the best cloned OPL3 I've heard (if it even is cloned, which I think it is due to the heavier quantization noise in the audio output when sound stops) is from an HP sound card based off the Aztech AZT2320. It sounds no different than a real YMF262 aside from the excess quantization noise.
Creator of The Many Sounds of:, a collection of various DOS games played using different sound cards.
Ace
Oldbie
 
Posts: 525
Joined: 2010-10-16 @ 17:35
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby NJRoadfan » 2012-8-04 @ 04:50

kool kitty89 wrote:There were a few exceptions to PCChips stuff being crap, like the SIS 5597 based M571 Socket 7 board, which was a reasonably good quality, stable, reliable entry level socket 7 board for its time. (except for the late revisions, which were cheap crap apparently)


The M590 is essentially a Super 7 version of the M571 with 100Mhz bus support and AGP interface on-board video. Its reasonably stable, I will give it that. The later M598LMR was pretty lousy however. I'd be surprised if that board had any FM or Soundblaster emulation support, it came with one of those combo modem/soundcard codec chips.
NJRoadfan
Oldbie
 
Posts: 845
Joined: 2012-5-26 @ 03:54
Location: Northern NJ

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby dacow » 2012-8-05 @ 12:11

Under CT1320C Sound blaster 1.5, it shows all the filenames as CT1320B on the website. Are these the SB 2.0 or SB1.5 recordings out of curiousity?
User avatar
dacow
Member
 
Posts: 177
Joined: 2011-1-11 @ 10:34
Location: Australia

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-05 @ 13:24

dacow wrote:Under CT1320C Sound blaster 1.5, it shows all the filenames as CT1320B on the website. Are these the SB 2.0 or SB1.5 recordings out of curiousity?


The title is correct, the card is the 1320C SB 1.5 shown in the picture.
Looks like I made the mistake when renaming the files sent by Mau1wurf!

Thanks for pointing, i will correct it today.

Also, today ill be recording my Generic YMF719E-S :D
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby jwt27 » 2012-8-05 @ 17:47

MaxWar wrote:
dacow wrote:Under CT1320C Sound blaster 1.5, it shows all the filenames as CT1320B on the website. Are these the SB 2.0 or SB1.5 recordings out of curiousity?


The title is correct, the card is the 1320C SB 1.5 shown in the picture.
Looks like I made the mistake when renaming the files sent by Mau1wurf!

Thanks for pointing, i will correct it today.

Also, today ill be recording my Generic YMF719E-S :D


Good, I haven't got arond to recording anything yet, sorry bout that. My internet connection is slow as hell anyway, it would probably take me a week just to upload everything.
WANTED - Manuals/drivers for:
  • Tecmar Graphics Master
  • Paradise Autoswitch EGA 350 (EGA1A)
User avatar
jwt27
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1628
Joined: 2011-8-15 @ 02:19
Location: Fryslân

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-06 @ 01:57

jwt27 wrote:
MaxWar wrote:
dacow wrote:Under CT1320C Sound blaster 1.5, it shows all the filenames as CT1320B on the website. Are these the SB 2.0 or SB1.5 recordings out of curiousity?


The title is correct, the card is the 1320C SB 1.5 shown in the picture.
Looks like I made the mistake when renaming the files sent by Mau1wurf!

Thanks for pointing, i will correct it today.

Also, today ill be recording my Generic YMF719E-S :D


Good, I haven't got arond to recording anything yet, sorry bout that. My internet connection is slow as hell anyway, it would probably take me a week just to upload everything.


I remember now that you mentioned your intention to do this card. I did not mean to rob this one off you :p Turns out i could not record the YMF719 card today anyway. If you still want to record yours, its welcome and ill just do another one instead.

I experienced some problems with my YMF719 card. There was significant distortion, noise and volume balance issues with the output, it sounded like complete trash. Something appears to be wrong on the hardware side with my card ( had not tested this one before) . Possibly something as stupid as a cold solder joint on the output connector, which i actually suspect as wiggling the jack produced some static... Anyway it needs some work and in the meantime i could just leave this one to you if you want.

If you still want to do it., no stress about the delay, just do it when you can.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-08 @ 00:56

Talk about "luck". I happened to have two identical Ymf719 sound cards and both are acting faulty.

The second one is better than the first one but it is :
1.terribly noisy
2. Has distortion on audio and some FM ( ex : https://dl.dropbox.com/u/43851675/OPL3SAX/Ymf719%28thedigDistoDemo%29.flac

3. Descent intro sounds like its underwater : https://dl.dropbox.com/u/43851675/OPL3SAX/Descent-Intro-Ymf719%28no%20amp%29.flac

Im not going to bother making further recordings with those cards as obviously something is wrong. Anyone here has these cards and experienced such issues?

Btw here's what they look like:
Image
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby DonutKing » 2012-8-08 @ 01:22

I've got a YMF-718 and a YMF-719 and haven't encountered the issues you describe. Possibly dried out caps?
If you are squeamish, don't prod the beach rubble.
User avatar
DonutKing
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1772
Joined: 2008-1-03 @ 03:23
Location: Australia

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-08 @ 01:38

DonutKing wrote:I've got a YMF-718 and a YMF-719 and haven't encountered the issues you describe. Possibly dried out caps?


Quite possibly, probably the first thing to do would be to recap the boards.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Ace » 2012-8-08 @ 04:03

MaxWar wrote:Btw here's what they look like:
Image


I found your problem: the audio output jumpers are set up wrong. Look at the diagram in the middle of the card. You have it set to Speaker Out and not Line Out. Speaker Out on this card is a mess, and is actually so damn loud, if I were to attempt to pass the audio from this card into my laptop (I have an identical card in a Samsung 386SX-based computer), not only do I hear massively distorted audio on my headphones, I also get loud crackling noises out of my laptop's speakers! Relocate those jumpers first, then check the card for faults.
Creator of The Many Sounds of:, a collection of various DOS games played using different sound cards.
Ace
Oldbie
 
Posts: 525
Joined: 2010-10-16 @ 17:35
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby leileilol » 2012-8-08 @ 04:34

I'd like to hear all the different OPL3 subsitutes take on this song, since Youtube only has different wavetable renditions
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 8782
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-08 @ 05:09

Ace wrote:
I found your problem: the audio output jumpers are set up wrong. Look at the diagram in the middle of the card. You have it set to Speaker Out and not Line Out. Speaker Out on this card is a mess, and is actually so damn loud, if I were to attempt to pass the audio from this card into my laptop (I have an identical card in a Samsung 386SX-based computer), not only do I hear massively distorted audio on my headphones, I also get loud crackling noises out of my laptop's speakers! Relocate those jumpers first, then check the card for faults.


Wish it was the jumpers :pppt: Both of my cards were in the line out setting when i used them.
This picture was taken when i first acquired the card, just after i took it out of the box, i always take a picture of my cards the moment i get them.
I also inspected the board for physical damage (nothing obvious) and straightened all the connector pins prior to testing. Nice observation though.

When i was troubleshooting the card i did try to put it back in the original speaker position just to see what would happen and the output was so loud it was obscene.

In any circumstances further troubleshooting on these cards has been put back to the far end of my "to do" list. I have many more sound cards that need testing.

If someone here wants to take care of the Yamaha Ymf719, consider the position open :D

@Leileilol : Oh this happens to be one of my favorite midi song, i may do a little special for this one. Once I have my whole collection of cards recorded i could do some sort of "best of" compilation using the most interesting sound card specimens.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Jepael » 2012-8-10 @ 19:53

I don't know how alarming this is, but I think the standard recording method document could define some additional info regarding how the bit depth should be reduced to 16 bits, so that different people do not do that with different dithering methods.

Every time the bit depth is reduced, Audacity applies the selected dithering method to use (none, noise, triangle, shaped).

I suggest triangle or noise, but someone else can decide. More info lies in the Audacity documentation wiki.
Jepael
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1182
Joined: 2005-6-15 @ 19:28
Location: Finland

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-11 @ 05:56

Jepael wrote:I don't know how alarming this is, but I think the standard recording method document could define some additional info regarding how the bit depth should be reduced to 16 bits, so that different people do not do that with different dithering methods.

Every time the bit depth is reduced, Audacity applies the selected dithering method to use (none, noise, triangle, shaped).

I suggest triangle or noise, but someone else can decide. More info lies in the Audacity documentation wiki.


You are right, i did not mention this and my program is set to the Default "Shaped" :s

This being said i am wondering if the Flac encoder might not have its own dithering algorithm. That would need some investigation. Do you know about that Jepael?
Ill try to write something about that in the recording method section this weekend.

I will also take advantage of this occasion to leak the name of the card i started recording tonight. Samples will be released this weekend.

Its a 8 bit card right out of the legendary past.

The MediaVision ThunderBoard :D
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Jepael » 2012-8-12 @ 08:00

MaxWar wrote:This being said i am wondering if the Flac encoder might not have its own dithering algorithm. That would need some investigation. Do you know about that Jepael?


Well, I could not find anything that FLAC is capable of reducing bit depth before encoding. It is a lossless encoder so everything fed to it must come out identically to the original, so would it even make sense for the FLAC encoder to be able to reduce bit depth. But I do not know how the FLAC plugin does it.

Also since many encoder plugins or export formats only support certain bit depths, it is Audacity that must be able convert the original format to be suitable for a plugin anyway, I am under the impression it is Audacity that is responsible for bit reduction and dithering before encoding with a plugin.

(Though for some lossy formats like MP3, the bit depth is irrelevant, as you can encode 24-bit material to MP3 and later decode it with only 16-bit resolution, or the other way around).
Jepael
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1182
Joined: 2005-6-15 @ 19:28
Location: Finland

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-8-13 @ 03:08

OFFICIAL FILE UPDATE #4
This is the MediaVision ThunderBoard update. All files are online at the https://sites.google.com/site/soundcardcomparison/home.

You can update your collection with this link: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BzsnL20-4a37clRzRmVjOWEycjg

*I also added a note about the Dithering setting in Audacity in the Recording method section of the website.

THE MEDIAVISION THUNDERBOARD!!
Image
Overview:
The ThunderBoard was MediaVision's answer to the Sound Blaster. In other words, a sound blaster clone. Since their original Pro Audio Spectrum was not compatible with the sound blaster digital audio standard they made this card to fill the void. The chip it uses was later used in the Pro audioSpectrum plus and The PAS 16.

As a sound blaster substitute its actually quite decent.
You have jumpers on the card to configure the adress settings but otherwise this card is pretty much as plug&play as it gets. I did not even need to install a driver in DOS. I just plugged that thing in. Without adding anything in the Config and autoexec files, it just worked in all the games i tried. Now this ease of use level is not the most common thing you would have experienced back in the days. This being said there is a "driver" package I did install but all it did was copy some relevant (optional) utilities on the HDD.

Sound wise its good but I still prefer the original sound blasters 1.5 and 2.0 . The ThunderBoard sounds a little more boomy (no pun intended ) and i think the SB cards are a little more balanced. The compatibility is not perfect either, i did not get music in Comanche Maximum overkill and Monkey island was very messed up ( see the recording its quite funny).
This being said, Monkey island seems to never work properly with OPL2 based sound blaster clones.

The output is also a bit more noisy the the original sound blasters. It seems that it is coming from the digital audio engine. If I deactivate the sound effect in a game an leave only FM music, i notice the noise level is much lower. Games like Wolf3d are most affected.

As a conclusion, the Thunderboard is a nice card and a very decent SB clone. You would not have felt left out using it back in the day, unless CMS was your thing, then you would have been jealous of your neighbor with his soundblaster 1.0
Nowaday its still a nice card to have for a collecting point of view. Its also a nice card to use in a retro rig if you do not have access to an original sound blaster but I dont see a reason to use it if you can use a real sound blaster instead. The real thing gets you better compatibility, slightly cleaner output and CMS compatibility as an option.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 768
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

PreviousNext

Return to Sound

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], SuperDeadite and 2 guests