Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

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

Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-26 @ 21:26

Ok, great!

The price for that single adapter seems kinda high as you can get a 8 piece set for not much more.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/8-Adapters-set-TSOP32-40-48-SOP44-SOP56-Adapters-for-TL866CS-TL866A-programmer/122550648761

I'm actually going to buy an all-in-one kit with a massive number of adapters since it won't be a whole lot more than buying the programmer and the adapter I already need.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2018-1-26 @ 22:51

keropi wrote:TL866 is very good and it will also program the GALs for the CMS upgrade.
That's what I use as well, just keep in mind that it has issues with 22v10 GALs if that is relevant to you.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-1-26 @ 23:39

I had a few minutes to test IWSBOS earlier. It seems to work as intended, but that isn't saying much.

I also decided to test the supposed FM emulation. Some things don't sound so horrible, but it isn't something I would want to use on a regular basis, nor is the sound authentic. So, is there anyone who places any value on having that feature available?
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby keropi » 2018-1-26 @ 23:45

shock__ wrote:
keropi wrote:TL866 is very good and it will also program the GALs for the CMS upgrade.
That's what I use as well, just keep in mind that it has issues with 22v10 GALs if that is relevant to you.


Really? I have never used these good to know. GALs (and PALs) are a strange beast, for some reason not many affordable programmers support them and it always bugged me. Even the usb willem programmers don't support them, what gives? :confused:

@640K!enough
What's the benefit of having parts of IWSBOS to the ROM? does it save RAM? I am not familiar with it, only have a GUS classic and only use it for GUS stuff, never tried any compatibility options...
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2018-1-27 @ 00:10

640K!enough wrote:I also decided to test the supposed FM emulation. Some things don't sound so horrible, but it isn't something I would want to use on a regular basis, nor is the sound authentic. So, is there anyone who places any value on having that feature available?
I certainly don't. I've checked it out a few times for laughs, but would never consider using it seriously.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-1-27 @ 16:25

keropi wrote:@640K!enough
What's the benefit of having parts of IWSBOS to the ROM? does it save RAM? I am not familiar with it, only have a GUS classic and only use it for GUS stuff, never tried any compatibility options...

It's isn't about using less RAM. Without the SBOS chunk in ROM, IWSBOS will issue an error and unload itself. It won't even offer SoundBlaster digital audio, even though that's rather unrelated. One could use the RAM configuration (using IWL banks) instead, but that imposes other limitations.

The SBOS chunk is basically a separate instrument table that tells IWSBOS which wave data to use, along with relevant parameters, for the simplified playback methods used by the emulation software. For decent-quality MPU-401 emulation via IWSBOS, the SBOS chunk is probably the best bet. I am not sure what is needed to make UltraMID or Mega-Em happy yet; I haven't tried those at all.

The FM emulation, however, is generally terrible. I was asking because we may be able to assemble a complete, freely-available sound bank, as long as nobody really values the FM emulation. In order to work properly, that requires the sines bank, which has a separate copyright. Interestingly, I tried using it with a ROM containing an SBOS chunk but no sines bank; it tried to work, but the sound was even worse than usual, if you can imagine that.

More information will follow as I make progress in my testing.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Batyra » 2018-1-28 @ 07:12

Right me If I’m wrong but this is something like daughterboard for GUS with different soundbank?
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby matze79 » 2018-1-28 @ 08:05

FrankenGUS ?

my parts have arrived, but i think i will have no time until next weekend for assembly :/
I also still miss the TSOP Adapter and the Socket for the ROM.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-1-28 @ 15:56

Batyra wrote:Right me If I’m wrong but this is something like daughterboard for GUS with different soundbank?

Yes, that is correct.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Phreeze » 2018-1-29 @ 08:03

matze79 wrote:FrankenGUS ?

my parts have arrived, but i think i will have no time until next weekend for assembly :/
I also still miss the SOP Adapter and the Socket for the ROM.


the socket is difficult to solder on anyway. I have to see where to get an adapter for my GQ-4X programmer, arf....
ArGUS Parts list: http://bit.ly/2Ddf89V
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2018-1-29 @ 13:51

ROM socket is quite easily to solder on actually. But at this point it barely makes sense to add one.
Just solder on the SOP-44 directly and later rework your prototype once the daughterboard by 640K!Enough becomes available.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Jonas-fr » 2018-1-29 @ 14:08

Awesome work! I'm monitoring this topic. I'm still available to help with the silkscreen 1-bit logo, I'm waiting for CorelDraw version to be able to open the sourcefile and do a nice export.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-1-30 @ 02:45

Firstly, I thought some of you might like to see a slightly clearer picture of the ROM module:
Rev 2 GUS PnP ROM Module (Both Sides).jpg


Now, it's time for some samples. I have recorded playback of the same MIDI file three times. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to each carefully and rank them according to your preference. Also, tell me if all three are from different banks, or if I'm cheating in some way.
A.mp3
(4.74 MiB) Downloaded 30 times

B.mp3
(4.74 MiB) Downloaded 26 times

C.mp3
(4.75 MiB) Downloaded 27 times

If there is some level of interest, I'll wait a few days, then reveal where each recording came from.
Last edited by 640K!enough on 2018-2-02 @ 05:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-30 @ 03:38

I hooked up my 1970s Pioneer SE-505 cans to my Sound Blaster ZxR to compare these files.

A - seems about the same as B, but maybe with a bit more background noise.

C - The piano and organ sound more synthy than A and B, but there is less background noise and the recording is a bit clearer and with more range overall. Windows also reports C as being 190kbps while A and B as 189kbps but 1kbps difference shouldn't make that much of a difference in clarity.

I would say A is played on a GUS or GUS PnP and B and C are on the ARGUS, with C being a larger bank than A and B were played on.

Out of A and B, I like B better.

C sounds so different that I can't say I like it more or less than B except for the better clarity and range.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Rawit » 2018-1-30 @ 09:50

Had a quick listen on my bluetooth speaker but here it goes:

A - Sounds like a GF1 GUS | 8-bit/1 MB version of B

B - Sounds like the Voice Crystal sound bank through the ARGUS

C - Different sound bank, some instruments sound more natural

My prefence seems the same as cyclone3d's: Out of A and B I prefer B. C is different sounding, sounds less GUSy, perhaps a bit more natural sounding.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-2-02 @ 05:25

Since it is difficult to get a good idea of what an instrument bank sounds like from playback of a single MIDI file, here are a few more samples (three MIDI files per recording):

A2.mp3
(4.66 MiB) Downloaded 22 times
B2.mp3
(4.52 MiB) Downloaded 12 times
C2.mp3
(4.79 MiB) Downloaded 18 times
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-2-03 @ 16:33

If you don't want to know which samples came from which instrument bank, stop reading now.

Firstly, there was no cheating involved. All recordings were from the same card, as I only have one InterWave card to begin with. Everything, right down to the recording levels and volume settings were the same for each set of recordings. The only thing that changed was the ROM module inserted in the receptacles and the bank selected in IW.INI.

The banks corresponding to the letters in the file names are:
  1. 4 MiB AMD/Eye & I bank (16-bit linear PCM)
  2. 1 MiB standard AMD/Eye & I InterWave ROM (8-bit linear PCM)
  3. Partial, work-in-progress PPLT bank (µ-law encoded, so that it would fit in 4 MiB)

Of the few who bothered to comment, the unanimous preference seems to be for B, which isn't what I would have expected. I'll reserve further comment for another time.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2018-2-03 @ 16:49

While not being a MIDI person I definitely prefered C as the balance between instruments seemed the best to me.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby keropi » 2018-2-03 @ 17:41

I couldn't comment on the new romdata since I have no experience with how a real GUS PnP sounds like
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 640K!enough » 2018-2-03 @ 17:42

shock__ wrote:While not being a MIDI person I definitely prefered C as the balance between instruments seemed the best to me.

I am by no means a musician or sound designer, but my personal preference also leads me to C. I find that it has a fuller, more natural sound, with better volume balance. That was a bit of a surprise too. Most of those were Roland MIDI files, and that was no mere coincidence. I also compared all three to an actual Roland. To my surprise, C was generally a better match for the highly-regarded Roland volume balance than either A or B (EDIT: based on keropi's recordings, I take that back, to some degree, but none of them are a perfect match for the Roland, either).

This is particularly surprising when you consider the fact that the Eye & I set was apparently certified by Fat Labs for volume balance, which is supposed to mean that the volume balance is similar to the Roland "standard". Unless AMD tinkered with the data before it was released for production, I don't know what to think. Furthermore, there are significant differences between A and B and the Audiotrix Pro, another card whose sound set was granted the Fat Seal.

Between A and B, there are differences that contribute to a strong preference for A. I find it has a fuller, clearer sound, absent many of the compromises necessary to fit an entire bank into a 1 MiB ROM. If you find just the right MIDI file, the somewhat truncated percussion, shortened loops and 8-bit sampling begin to show their limitations. Nonetheless, this is a community project, musical preferences are subjective, and everyone is free to use the instrument bank they like best.

Recent experimentation seems to indicate that there is some possibility of producing a ROM set with two (and possibly more) independent instrument banks. That will likely be my choice; then I won't even have to swap modules to test the different banks.
Last edited by 640K!enough on 2018-2-04 @ 21:31, edited 1 time in total.
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