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ASP403 - The Neverending Project

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Reply 60 of 172, by hard1k

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Holy cow! Great news!

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 61 of 172, by Jepael

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ZanQuance wrote:

It's possible the AU8830 have an internal multiplier and run at 100mhz. This is what I'm not certain how to determine, I'm much more of a software guy than hardware.

Well you could determine it from the register settings if the insides run at double the external clocks - but it does not matter much does it as long as register settings are correct.

Anyway, in case you haven't noticed, the 49.152 MHz crystal (it's only a crystal, not an oscillator) frequency comes from 48000*1024, which as you can see is a good master clock for transferring multiple channels of 48kHz audio between audio chip and codec or clocking the internal signal processing blocks to get 48kHz sampling rate. Also the 5.6448MHz oscillator (module that outputs square wave clock) frequency comes from 44100*128, which is also a good master clock of handling 44.1 kHz audio around. Usually, for SPDIF, you would use a master clock that is at least 64 or 128 times the sampling rate, so this all makes sense.

Reply 62 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Thanks, was just a curiosity of mine. I was reading other soundcard specs where they listed the mhz at which the chip ran and it made me wonder about the AU8830s frequency and how to go about determining it.

Reply 64 of 172, by mirh

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ZanQuance wrote:
hard1k wrote:

Regarding the use of A3D logo - IIRC, all rights for all IP of Aureal belong to Creative. I guess, they will never ever authorize anybody to use it due to the fear of resurrection of the main rival technology. Sad but true, I believe... 🙁

Good news everyone! I recalled I had a copy of the signed legal doc of what Creative acquired, the trademarks have been dead for years (search for A3D, Aureal, WaveTracing) and thus Creative no longer owns them. They should be freely usable. 😁 It would appear Creative has long forgotten Aureal.

Hey!
That's the stuff I found 🙄

Also, what's "OPL3" ?

pcgamingwiki.com

Reply 65 of 172, by ZanQuance

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mirh wrote:

[quote="ZanQuance"Hey!
That's the stuff I found 🙄

Also, what's "OPL3" ?

Yes sorry, I'm not trying to take credit for anything, only I recalled that I saved a copy and had forgotten all about it.
Props to mirh for initially pointing me towards those a year ago.

OPL3 is the Yamaha YMF262 chip that the original SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 and SB16 used for music <-that song is a good test and sounds awful on the Santa Cruz's OPL3 emulation, the Vortex2 sounds closer but still bad.
Initially I wanted to see if there was actual OPL3 hardware cell in the Vortex2's AU8830 chip, but it turns out to be an emulation. Which in a few ways is better since if it was hardware and sounded this bad there is little hope in fixing it up, however since it's all software it can be upgraded to sound more accurate.

I'm starting with DOS drivers first then the Windows ones 😁

Last edited by ZanQuance on 2018-08-15, 15:47. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 66 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Has anyone ever seen a dieshot of the Vortex2 chip? I'm really curious now what the actual differences between the A2 and B0 rev's are. The old reviews show an increase of around 12% performance. But what changed and where is that performance coming from?

It would be awesome if someone with the tools could get some photos of the cores.

Reply 67 of 172, by lagonauta

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ZanQuance wrote:

Has anyone ever seen a dieshot of the Vortex2 chip? I'm really curious now what the actual differences between the A2 and B0 rev's are. The old reviews show an increase of around 12% performance. But what changed and where is that performance coming from?

It would be awesome if someone with the tools could get some photos of the cores.

I also would love to see something like that, the performance difference is noticeable. Maybe on the B0 they added more buffer for audio samples while maintaining the same update rate of the positions and orientation of the sources and the listener. I believe only the SQ3500 with the add on board was able to process the wave tracing in hardware, right? And maybe that was never implemented in the drivers.

Reply 68 of 172, by falloutboy

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B0 revision also seems to do reverb in hardware (higher framerates in some EAX games than with SBLive).
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedia/d … lay/sq2500.html
I tested Half-Life with my Vortex2 SQ2500 B0AAAB & SBLive with the same results. (driver 2050)

Seems like the Turbo DSP daughterboard isn't needed to accelerate reverb.

1.9 - What is the Turbo DSP on the SQ3500 really capable of doing? The Turbo DSP module is powered by a powerful and upgradeable […]
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1.9 - What is the Turbo DSP on the SQ3500 really capable of doing?
The Turbo DSP module is powered by a powerful and upgradeable DSP from Motorola, the 100MHz DSP56362. For more information on it, visit Motorola's spec page.
The Turbo DSP daughterboard is used to accelerate reverb (A3Dverb, EAX, and I3DL2) in hardware, as well as handle hardware Dolby Digital decoding and downmixing. Any software DVD player that supports Aureal's S/PDIF out will automatically use the daughterboard to do hardware decoding.
http://web.archive.org/web/20140910070425/htt … x-2-faq-general

btw. one company made two sound cards with the B0 chip in the year 2003.
ooAoo Digital MX300 Ultra
ooAoo sq2500 pro
http://web.archive.org/web/20041129225207/http://a3d.com.cn/

Reply 69 of 172, by ZanQuance

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lagonauta wrote:

Maybe on the B0 they added more buffer for audio samples while maintaining the same update rate of the positions and orientation of the sources and the listener. I believe only the SQ3500 with the add on board was able to process the wave tracing in hardware, right? And maybe that was never implemented in the drivers.

falloutboy wrote:

B0 revision also seems to do reverb in hardware (higher framerates in some EAX games than with SBLive).
I tested Half-Life with my Vortex2 SQ2500 B0AAAB & SBLive with the same results. (driver 2050)

I dumped the internal memory layout of the A2 and B0 chips, there are no differences between the two in terms of registers available.
So the speedup must be optimization of any internal latency the A2 revision had.
WaveTracing is 100% done in software via the A3DAPI.dll, it works on the game scene geometry bouncing rays around, then sends the resulting reverb values to the WT cell of the AU8830 with parameters controlling the panning, volume, delay, and samplerate. This is where it gets acceleration in hardware, since the CPU would otherwise need to work on these 64 audio buffers instead.
I also thought they would filter the reflections with HRTF as well but looks like it uses panning instead. [edit]Correction, apparently there is an A3D API option to pass the reflections to HRTF.

Last edited by ZanQuance on 2016-01-20, 11:50. Edited 9 times in total.

Reply 70 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Decided to write the TSR from scratch.
Progress has slowed to a brisk walk through an ocean of broken glass.

Got a GF now that is dividing my time...priorities.

Last edited by ZanQuance on 2017-05-14, 19:48. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 71 of 172, by hard1k

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Hey there, just wanted to ask if there is any news with the Project 😀
Meanwhile I had tremendous luck and got both the SQ3500 Turbo (with a rev.B host SQ2500) and a rev.C SQ2500 to complement it. Thus I would very much appreciate any comments on the following questions:
- Was there any software support built into the latest version of Aureal drivers for the SQ3500?
- Is any support for it planned in the drivers under this Project? If no, is there a way I could help (giving the card for tests / donating once again / etc.)?
- Are there any hardware enthusiasts willing to replicate the SQ3500 daughterboard? I could submit mine for reverse engineering on the ground that no elements shall be de-soldered and its full functionality shall be retained (but all non-damaging methods will be welcome).
- What is the difference between rev.B and rev.C SQ2500 (apart from the physical places of two upper connectors)? I would like to mod a rev.B card so that it could accommodate both the DSP daughterboard and a wavetable daughterboard, but as I have only one rev.C and plenty of rev.B's, I'd love to use a B if it doesn't differ in anything apart from the connector.
- On another site I read there were some discussions about possible SLI'ing of SQ2500 via the headers for the DSP daughterboard. Was there any result of that?

Thank you very much for any ideas you may share 😀

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 72 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Super nice find! Can you take some photos of both the 3500 without the daughterboard and of the daughterboard itself?
Also plug in the SQ2500 rev.C and give us the device ID# and subsys id, This should be different if there are any differences from a normal SQ2500.

You should be able to test the stratdsp provided in the 2050beta drivers and see if you get a DolbyDigital tab in the Aureal control panel. A3DVerb would also be done on the Daughterboard hardware rather than in the A3DAPI via software. I took a look into the Daughterboards microcode (stratdsp) and it looked rather incomplete, but my disassembly was far from perfect. So the only way to know for sure is to test it on the real thing, and considering how rare those boards are...

I would love to see the Daughterboard be replicated, I am no hardware expert on such designs though so another member would have to spearhead that endeavor.

The Aureal drivers hate having two cards in the system at a time, it will BSOD when the second cards driver installs, but this doesn't mean it's impossible to do. It's nice that Aureal was thinking of future expandability when they designed the chip and added support for co-processors, you can even glue two chips on the same board and let them communicate with each other (3DFX style).

[Project update]
Project is currently being worked on in my spare time, my college classes are currently keeping me busy.

I have an P8X32A (8core/160mips) dev board sitting here just waiting to be plugged into my Aureal cards as a co-processor.

Last edited by ZanQuance on 2016-02-21, 08:58. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 73 of 172, by hard1k

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Ok, I'll check everything you pointed out as soon as 3500 arrives - it's at the mail forwarding warehouse currently. And the rev.C is with me already so I will try to insert it during the weekend.
If you need more SQ2500 rev.B, just let me know and I'll donate as many as you may need free of any charge.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 74 of 172, by Stiletto

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ZanQuance wrote:

I contacted 4Front tech and asked if they still had on hand the Vortex2 documents Aureal provided them for the OSS drivers way back when, and they said they would take a look but have yet to get back to me. Those would contain the register documentation we need to identify the leftover unknown areas.

If you happen to score this, please let me know 😀

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 75 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Yeah for sure! I contacted them again and apparently the guy who has them is still in India.

Aureal was working on more than just PC soundcard chips, they also had some other processors available:
ASP301:

The ASP301 is a music synthesis processor supporting FM, Wavetable and Waveguide synthesis techniques. It can also be used in effects processing applications. A typical sound card application consists of the ASP301, a 256K X 16 DRAM, and a serial stereo DAC. In stand-alone applications, an additional local processor is required for real-time control of the ASP301.

The ASP301 contains two processors running in parallel: The Background Processor provides hardwired implementations of unit-generator functions such as oscillators, delay lines and envelope generators, using the DRAM for storage. The Foreground Processor uses a generalized instruction set optimized for music synthesis to execute, in real time, musical instrument models composed of a network of the unit generators and other operators. Separate contexts are maintained for up to 32 voices. A serial interface on the ASP301 supports several different CODECs and serial DACs.

The Aureal 321Kit contains the ASP301 general-purpose music processor, demonstration software for Karaoke and home theater applications, a half-height ISA-bus demonstration board, and support documentation. In the 321Kit, the ASP301 can operate in one of two modes: Karaoke Mode and Home Theater Mode.
In Karaoke Mode, the 321Kit provides standard Karaoke functions (music pitch change, reverb, audio mixing), advanced functions (tremolo, bass boost, flanging, vocal doubling), and three additional unique functions: virtual singer, duet, and vocal elimination from compact audio discs. With the virtual singer function, the singer’s voice triggers the turning on of the voice track on the Karaoke recording, which is then fed to the amplifier rather than the singer’s voice; thus the singer appears to be singing with the voice of the original artist. With the duet function, the original artist is silent when the user sings, and the original artist sings when the user is silent. With the vocal elimination function, voice tracks can be removed from standard audio recordings, greatly expanding the user’s potential repertoire.

In Home Theater Mode, the 321Kit provides bass enhancement, a high pass filter, and room reverb. The ASP301 can also provide audio/karaoke CD vocal removal, vibrato, and phasing in this mode. In addition, Home Theater Mode provides either stereo enhancement or mono-to-stereo conversion.
As the 321Kit uses Aureal’s ASP301 general-purpose music processor, customized features are possible. The ASP301 is by itself capable of processing up to approximately 32 sounds simultaneously, and the chip is cascadeable, allowing any amount of sound processing.

The ASP301 requires 256Kx16 DRAM and external stereo CODECs in a standard system configuration. Embedded code requires 4~8 Kbytes of ROM space available in the system.
Features:
Supports all audio synthesis technologies
Supports up to 32 voices
Programmable DSP with 512 words of program storage and 1K words of parameters
Background Processor yields interpolated delay lines and tables in steps to 1/128 of one sample
Integral DRAM controller
Fully programmable sampling rates
16-bit data paths with 32-bit accumulators
Three operand Multiply-Accumulate with Move instructions
Multiply rate of 28.224 MHz (35 nsec)
Dynamically loadable voices
Hardwired white noise generator
Foreground and Background envelope generators
8- to 16-Bit decompression in hardware

ASP901 Dolby sound processors:

EVM901 Evaluation Board
for the VSP901 Surround Sound Processor
Overview

The EVM901 is an evaluation platform for multichannel digital audio applications of the VSP901 Dolby Pro Logic Virtual Surround Processor. The fully assembled and tested circuit board contains these major parts:

VSP901 virtual surround processor
MC68HC711E9 microcontroller
CS5390 20-bit stereo analog-to-digital converter
Three CS4331 18-bit stereo digital-to-analog converters
RCA jacks for all analog audio input/output
SPDIF/CP340 optical and transformer-isolated stereo digital audio I/O
32Kx8 SRAM
2x16 character LCD panel
Four soft switches

Overview

The VSP901 is a Dolby® Pro Logic Surround Sound Processor that generates a 3D soundfield from a Dolby Pro Logic encoded source. In virtual surround mode, the VSP901 uses Aureal’s A3D technology to provide the same soundfield as Pro Logic Surround Sound, but only requires a two-channel amplifier and two speakers, rather than multiple amplifiers and five or more speakers. Aureal's unique A3D technology uses psychoacoustic principles to position virtual audio sources in front, above, below, around and behind the listener. A3D technology uses Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF) technologies to emulate the amplitude, phase, and multiple acoustic reflections used by human listeners for sound source positioning. Unlike other technologies that merely enhance a two-speaker soundfield, A3D’s virtual surround mode provides the sound field intended by the content producer. For example, when the sound track calls for an explosion to be heard in the rear surround channels, A3D positions the explosion in the virtual rear channel speakers.

The VSP901 also includes a number of other features to enhance the sound signal. In real speaker mode, the VSP901 supports four-channel output and six speakers with Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound decoding. Stereo expansion and pseudo stereo modes improve the sound stage for non-Dolby Pro Logic encoded and mono signals, respectively. A separate subwoofer channel processor operates in all modes. In addition, separate volume controls for each channel and built-in equalization for speaker compensation allow customization of the soundfield to the target environment. Noise generators on each Pro Logic channel provide a simple way for the user to optimize the sound stage.
Applications

The VSP901 contains most or all of the logic required for glueless integration into most consumer appliances. Applications include stereo televisions, stereo receivers, portable video systems, in-flight entertainment systems, compact home theaters, VCRs, set-top boxes, headphone systems, and multimedia systems. The use of industry-standard interfaces, such as I2C, SPI, and I2S, simplifies system integration. An on-chip PLL permits operation with a wide range of system clock frequencies. The device is packaged in a low-profile 80-pin surface-mount QFP and requires a single 5V power supply.
Features

Virtual Surround Mode
Dolby certified Pro Logic decoder
Renders five speakers in space using only two speakers
Crosstalk cancellation to improve 3D positional imaging
Integrated decorrelation for improved sound field expansion
Random noise generation mode for volume balancing
Real Speaker Mode
Dolby certified Pro Logic decoder
Two-channel LIN, RIN inputs
Four or six channel outputs: LOUT, ROUT, C, SR, SL, and SUB
Support for normal, wideband, 3-channel, and phantom modes
Random noise generation mode for volume balancing
General Characteristics
Fully digital, 24-bit digital signal processing
32kHz, 44.1kHz, and 48kHz sample rates
Stereo expander mode for extending sound field on non-surround-encoded signals
Pseudo stereo mode for creating stereo field from a mono source
Bypass mode for unmodified audio passthrough
Speaker volume control
Optional subwoofer output
User-programmable speaker compensation on L and R channels
Digital Serial Audio Interface (SAI), supporting most serial audio interface formats including I2S, Sony, and Matsushita protocols
Dual stereo inputs with software-selectable stereo sound source
I2C and SPI Standard Serial Host Interface (SHI) protocols
Wide range of clock frequencies supported via on-chip PLL
Single 32Kx8 SRAM supports most applications
5V power supply
80-pin PQFP; 14x14x2.45mm; 0.65mm lead pitch

Aureal XL 500 speakers:

Introducing the XL Series Speakers
The other major product Aureal was demonstrating at their booth was their XL Series speakers. Consisting of four 2-way satellites and an 8" subwoofer the XL series has been delayed since fall of this year. Every system at the booth was powered by two of these stylish satellites. Aureal obtained the drivers for the XL series from Vifa, a manufacturer of home theater speakers in Denmark. Because of space constrictions with the cone design of the enclosure, the tweeter is placed directly in front of the midrange driver. While we were initially a little skeptical of this design (for obvious reasons) we'll wait until actual testing before we reach a final conclusion on these speakers. I can say with all honesty that it didn't seem to be a factor in Unreal Tournament, but I was more concerned with the live opponents on my screen more than listening to the satellites. Let's go over the specs and see if there are any major points that stick out:
Aureal XL500 - 4.1 Multimedia Speaker System
Amplifier
Satellites: 4 x 35W RMS output
Subwoofer: 70W RMS output
Total output: 210W RMS
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.05% at full rated power
Satellites
Driver: 4" mid-bass driver with a coaxially mounted ¾" soft dome tweeter
Frequency Response: 150Hz - 20kHz
Dimensions: 6" x 4 ¼" x 6 ¼"
Mounting: Supplied adjustable cradles or standard tripod (optional)
Subwoofer
Driver: 8" long throw driver
Frequency Response: 27Hz - 150 Hz
Dimension: 10 ½" x 17 ½" x 11 ½"
Weight: 35 lbs.
OneTouch Panel: Backlit LCD display, 20-position master control dial, 1/8" headphone jack, Mounts under any satellite
Accessories Included
Two 8-foot cables for front satellites
Two 16-foot cables for rear satellites
Two 8-foot stereo audio cables
One 8-foot OneTouch Panel cable
One 8-foot USB cable
Autocalibrate software CD
Full-range microphone for Autocalibrate
Power cord
User's Guide
One feature that really stood out was autocalibrate. If you already have a Vortex2 SQ2500 or 3500 Turbo sound card, you can use the included microphone to calibrate the speakers for your particular computer room. Another added feature we liked was the USB connector. The more USB devices the better!

OneTouch Controls it all!
With the OnceTouch display panel, users can adjust the satellite and subwoofer volumes, balance, fade, mute, standby, and 2.1, 4.1 or headphone indication. As an added convenience feature, OneTouch also includes a headphone jack.
The XL Series speakers will be available in the first quarter of 2000 with an MSRP of $250 for the 2.1 setup and $350 for 4.1.

Inside the Aureal Control Panel code is a reference to AutoCalibrate.exe 😀

So I wonder given their interest in all things audio (they also had A3Dpro a plugin for protools and the like), if they ever got an arcade machine with one of their soundchips in it.

Reply 76 of 172, by hard1k

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Interesting!
I wonder if any prototypes of any devices mentioned above have ever leaked into the wild...

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 77 of 172, by Stiletto

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ZanQuance wrote:

Yeah for sure! I contacted them again and apparently the guy who has them is still in India.

Cool, I'm really interested in this. I wonder if they would be willing to do this for other chips they support? Anyways, fingers crossed! 😀

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 78 of 172, by ZanQuance

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Sorry for the general lack of updates, I was silently posting updates to the first posting 😉

But now it's time for another real update:
I'm working on the project again, last semester at College and Winter break kept me far to busy to let me focus on this. I was really hoping to have the Alphas of the new OPL3 DOS TSR and Windows drivers ready before Christmas, but that didn't pan out as well as I thought it would.
I thought updating the TSR would be a quick method to improving it, but it appears rewriting it is the better option. I've confirmed there are no register differences between revision A2 and B0 of the AU8830-chips other than possible internal circuitry changes which could explain the 12% speedup.

Last edited by ZanQuance on 2017-05-14, 19:52. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 79 of 172, by hard1k

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Great news, thanks for the update!
While re-reading the thread, I've noticed that I promised to publish some pictures of the SQ3500, I've even taken them, but haven't found time to publish.
So here they are:
http://i.imgur.com/V7qHWMW.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/S8hZt0N.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/oTqDCW3.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/D1oN5qq.jpg

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)