Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

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Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-24 @ 22:50

I bought a new Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card from ebay (ymf718-s), but I can't seem to get it to work. Please can you offer any advice?

I used the instdos.bat in the DOS directory of the included install disc and it appeared to install correctly. It copied the contents of the directory to my HD and added two lines to my autoexec.bat. It then brought up a text mode interface asking me to set the SB and WSS IRQ etc.

According to the readme for this program, I can press OK to exit and save the current settings to the file OPL3SA.INI in the installation directory. However, I got the following error the first time I pressed OK:
WSS I/O Error.

Followed by this error every subsequent time no matter what I tried:
ctrlBase: Board Write Failed.

If I ignore the error and try to play a game regardless (Doom, Marios Game Gallery) I get no sound.

Whenever setupsa.exe is ran (it's inserted itself into the end of my autoexec.bat along with a SET BLASTER line) it comes up with the error ctrlBase:OPL3-SAx ctrl register write error followed by the configuration interface. (Because it's in autoexec.bat, I think it's supposed to make a note of when a valid configuration is entered, and then from then on just print a 'Sound card is ready' message.)

I tried replacing the .ini with the one from this thread, but it hasn't had any effect.

viewtopic.php?t=18504

This is what's in my system:

P51430TX Titanium motherboard.
Cyrix 6x86L PR120+ processor.
Very basic S3 PCI vga card.
IDE hard drive and CD drive.

I am running DOS 6.22 without any version of Windows.

Contents of autoexec.bat (mangled thanks to memmaker):
Code: Select all
LH /L:0;1,45456 /S C:\DOS\SMARTDRV.EXE /X

LH /L:1,35536 C:\DRIVERS\MOUSE.COM
LH /L:2,6384 DOSKEY

LH /L:1,17856 KEYB,UK,,C:\DOS\KEYBOARD.SYS
LH /L:1,27952 C:\DOS\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD001

set blaster=A220 I7 D1 T4
setupsa.exe /N


Does anyone know the recommended IRQ and DMA settings for this card, for both the SB and WSS side, and if I need to change any settings in the bios? (My bios gives me the option to assign IRQs to 'Legacy ISA' or 'PCI/ISA PnP'. I don't know whether I need to adjust this or not.)

Thank you.
Last edited by MrD on 2013-4-25 @ 00:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby jwt27 » 2013-4-24 @ 23:34

MrD wrote:However, I got the following error the first time I pressed OK:
WSS I/O Error.

Followed by this error every subsequent time no matter what I tried:
ctrlBase: Board Write Failed.


Sounds like it can't detect the card at all. That means it might be faulty, but since you got it brand new that's very unlikely.

Is the card inserted all the way into the slot? I got similar errors once because of that.
Also if you have a BIOS option for 'PnP OS installed', set it to NO. The IRQ settings should be set to 'PCI/ISA PnP'.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-4-24 @ 23:35

You could try turning off unused devices in BIOS (USB, Serial, Parallel Ports) and then try again?

I have the same card and it always "just works".

I hope it's not faulty...

Do you have another PC to try?
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-24 @ 23:50

I've tried it in all three of the ISA slots on this motherboard now, trying to insert it as fully and carefully as possible, and I've tried it with a completely bare system (holding right shift while starting DOS). I've also tried disabling the serial and parallel ports.

The weird thing is that is 'sort of' works until it tries to set the WSS settings. If I press S on the setup screen to test SB sound, it plays a (very very noisy distorted) fanfare sound effect and if I press F for FM sound, it plays a 'wom-wom' sound effect. But if I press W to test WSS or press Enter to save the settings, the WSS error comes up and everything stops working. This happens regardless of what the WSS Base I/O, IRQ or DMA settings are set to.

I guess I'll have to try it in another machine if I can find one. Thanks for the help!

Sounds like it can't detect the card at all. That means it might be faulty, but since you got it brand new that's very unlikely.

If I run setupsa.exe without the card installed, I get the error SB Reset error! OPL3-SAx board not present!

Either my motherboard and this card 'don't go together', or there's something up with the card, or all three of my ISA slots (or whatever sorcery makes the ISA itself work) are busted.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was due to this motherboard, as the Yamaha was bought to replace a mysterious 'BANNSAN BS-1' ISA sound card that nobody's ever heard of (though it uses a CMI8330A) that I simply couldn't get any response from whatsoever.

Is it possible at all that there's some odd interaction between the video card preventing the sound card from working? :P I only ask because I've got a whole deck of other S3 cards I could put in to try, even if it is a ridiculous idea.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby badmojo » 2013-4-25 @ 04:13

I don't think it's a ridiculous idea, it's definitely some sort of resource clash. I have the exact same card and have gotten the exact same error in a socket 7 machine. It works fine in a VLB motherboard so I suspect it has something to do with the PCI bus.

Even "working" though these cards are a pain in the bum in my experience. The mixer just never works in DOS and the levels are all over the place. From memory the Windows mixer software is OK, but for DOS these cards are just not worth the trouble.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-4-25 @ 05:21

Hmm interesting. I admit my tests didn't go further than playing a few games.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-25 @ 09:56

Thanks for the info, badmofo. I'll try these other cards soon. Maybe if I leave all the PCI slots vacant, it'll calm down and work right. Otherwise, it's time to ditch this motherboard (and knowing my luck I won't have any ISA VGA adapters).

I put together the machine looking for a real MSDOS experience, and it sure looks like I've found one. :P I suppose I should be glad that this knowledge didn't cost me much, and now everybody can be aware of this very important stuff.

Do you know what motherboard you were using with this card, Mau1wurf1977?
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-4-25 @ 09:58

Yes it's a AX100 Plus from IWILL.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-25 @ 10:08

I can't find any information about that motherboard online. Did you mean XA100 plus? If so, then blimey, because as far as I can tell that has ISA, PCI and AGP on it... weird that the Audician would work there and not on my board.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-4-25 @ 10:21

My bad, yes it's the XA100 Plus. I use Super Socket 7 boards in all my DOS retro machines.

Can you disable everything onboard (serial, parallel, IDE ports), remove all other cards, boot from a boot floppy and run the driver?

If that doesn't work then you might have to get another card :(

For OPL3 I can highly recommend you the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Pro 2 cards. The 16s not so much, as many are quite noisy. As a pure "speech" card you can't go wrong with the AWE64 Gold in combination with an external Sound Canvas or Yamaha MU.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-25 @ 12:38

I'm afraid I've tried it all. :( The system is pretty basic: just the HDD and CDROM on the IDE channels, a PCI video card and the Audician ISA sound card (no HDD controller cards, or ISA risers, etc.). I can turn off serial and parallel ports in the bios but it made no difference.

I also went through the video cards I had to hand, but they're all S3 and all PCI so it wasn't much of a variety (S3 Trio 32, Trio 64 V2/DX and Virge On Board). No change.

Looks like this sound card and this motherboard just 'don't go'.

I'm going to try the sound card from my brother's machine when I can (I believe it's either a real Sound Blaster or an Audio Excel) to see whether this motherboard just can't do ISA stuff at all.

It's a shame because this Yamaha card is near-new but to me it's worthless. I can't sell it knowing that it's a 50/50 shot for compatibility, and there's dozens of these on ebay for those who want a brand new one instead of my opened-and-can't-tell-if-it-works-or-not one. It'll just have to go on the pile of stuff I can't use, and I've already got more 'Creative Live! 5.1' PCI cards than I know what to do with! (I tried the hard-to-find MSDOS emulator-layer drivers for those btw... I could only get sound working with one game: Tequila and Boom-Boom. Weird.)

Just noticed this post should have gone in 'Marvin' forum, sorry about that.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby jwt27 » 2013-4-25 @ 14:10

Does it work if you disable WSS support altogether? You may be able to do that through the ini file.

WSS support is rare in DOS anyway, and the few games and programs that do support it, usually support the SBPro2 interface as well. Sound quality will be worse though.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-4-25 @ 14:34

That's the thing with this card. I haven't found any way to disable WSS support :(
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-25 @ 15:29

That's exactly it. You can disable 'other devices' in the INI and the IDE and modem options will disappear in the config interface. But, if you set WSS to off in the INI, nothing happens.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby jwt27 » 2013-4-25 @ 19:19

Hmm. I thought these cards were supposed to work in 8-bit slots as well, so if they do there must be some way to disable the WSS part. Or maybe the card will only do this if you actually insert it in an 8bit slot.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby badmojo » 2013-4-25 @ 23:19

I have a YMF701 based card which allows you to disable the WSS from within the setupsa program (same version of the program, it just displays different options for the YMF701), but given my bad experience with setupsa I'd be surprised if that option actually did anything.

My only other suggestion is to install Windows 3.1 and use the Windows version of the Yamaha software instead, you might find that it actually works in the first instance, or at least lets you disable the WSS bit correctly. It uses the same INI file but from memory, when trying to disable the 'ymersion' rubbish from DOS it didn't work, but in Windows 3.1 it did work. So I concluded that the Windows software creates a valid INI file, and the DOS software doesn't for whatever reason.

There are various version of this this chipset, and I suspect that Yamaha tried to write one driver for all of them, but as often happens when trying to hit 2 birds with 1 stone, neither bird was hit! And these things were released when DOS was on it's last legs, so why test it properly?
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-26 @ 08:15

I put the card into a VX pro motherboard (all I can see is the bios is 2A5LDH09) in another machine, and I got the same board write error messages in setupsa. What an annoying card.

jwt27: Hmm, I don't have any 8-bit slots. Do you think the card will still work if I snip off the extra 16-bit pins from the card? ;P

That's some lateral thinking, badmofo! I'll try that when I can.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby jwt27 » 2013-4-26 @ 15:15

badmofo wrote:I have a YMF701 based card which allows you to disable the WSS from within the setupsa program (same version of the program, it just displays different options for the YMF701), but given my bad experience with setupsa I'd be surprised if that option actually did anything.

My only other suggestion is to install Windows 3.1 and use the Windows version of the Yamaha software instead, you might find that it actually works in the first instance, or at least lets you disable the WSS bit correctly. It uses the same INI file but from memory, when trying to disable the 'ymersion' rubbish from DOS it didn't work, but in Windows 3.1 it did work. So I concluded that the Windows software creates a valid INI file, and the DOS software doesn't for whatever reason.

There are various version of this this chipset, and I suspect that Yamaha tried to write one driver for all of them, but as often happens when trying to hit 2 birds with 1 stone, neither bird was hit! And these things were released when DOS was on it's last legs, so why test it properly?

I believe ymersion is completely off if you set it to 0 in setupsa. Might be different for 701 though, like the WSS stuff.
And if you use the Windows drivers, does that make the card work in DOS as well? I think you still need to initialize it every time by running SETUPSA /S.

MrD wrote:jwt27: Hmm, I don't have any 8-bit slots. Do you think the card will still work if I snip off the extra 16-bit pins from the card? ;P

I actually tried that yesterday... Not by snipping the pins off but by putting a piece of paper between them. I got the same WSS I/O error but no eeprom errors. And I still coulnd't disable anything.

MrD wrote:I put the card into a VX pro motherboard (all I can see is the bios is 2A5LDH09) in another machine, and I got the same board write error messages in setupsa. What an annoying card.

That does start to sound like a faulty card to me...
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby MrD » 2013-4-27 @ 08:19

I've installed the Windows 3.1 drivers now. All it seems to do is install the same DOS setupsa as before and put it into autoexec just as before. Same errors. No sound.
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Re: Help with Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA sound card, please

Postby badmojo » 2013-4-27 @ 09:51

MrD wrote:I've installed the Windows 3.1 drivers now. All it seems to do is install the same DOS setupsa as before and put it into autoexec just as before. Same errors. No sound.


Yes but can you use the windows software to configure it instead of setupsa? You still need to run setupsa for dos, but I'm under the impression that the windows software is the way to go for defining the actual config.

I haven't used the windows 3.1 drivers in years though so I might be way off.
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