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 5u3 » 2015-2-19 @ 13:08

shock__ wrote:As stated ... the PCA761AW would be a nice reference design ... GUS PnP compatible, can be made GUS classic compatible by adding RAM and adding up to 4 Banks of 4MB (each) of extra memory for soundfonts shouldn't be too hard.
And I have physical access to such a card.

Agreed, if you want to keep thinks cheap and simple, the idea of reversing that Philips GUS PnP clone seems to be the best option.

BTW, Interwave's compatibility issues are not such a big deal. There is one demo that always gets mentioned as example for the "tempo bug": Stuff by xtacy. To be honest, I had to do a direct comparison to hear the difference, however I understand how this glitch may annoy musicians.
Does anyone have more examples for the tempo glitch?
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-19 @ 13:15

idspispopd wrote:
elianda wrote:I think some more universal approach would work out better.
An ISA card where you have some CPU or DSP with some RAM that emulates a certain soundcard by firmware.
You could set the firmware and could have a GUS, SB16 some MIDI wavetable or maybe even everything at the same time on a single card.

That would be great, but probably a lot more difficult to make.
Would also have to be quite a large FPGA, considering the Interwave Chip has a 140pin package.
I've not exactly kept up with FPGA developments, but finding a chip with remotely that count of I/O pins would certainly lead to the professional segment.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-19 @ 14:31

You could populate board with full 8mb plus those 512kb to make compatible with normal gravis
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby ratfink » 2015-2-19 @ 16:02

i'd pay for one, if someone would put it together [any of the options]
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby AlphaC » 2015-2-19 @ 16:43

I would be interested too :)
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby carlostex » 2015-2-19 @ 16:50

For SB Pro compatibility the best would be an OPL3-SA chip. Since i love GUS'es and YMF cards this would save me an ISA slot.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-19 @ 17:07

Thing is if you add SB Pro compatibility people will ask for SB16 support, if you add SB16 support folks will ask for AWE64 support and so on - there's not exactly an universal solution, except for adding the card of one's choice alongside the possible GUS clone/compatible.
You could even see it in this thread ;) Offer an Interwave card, people will start asking for a GF1 one.

Point of this (at least from my side) will be reversing the schematic of a GUS compatible card along with an example layout as a base - if people want to add features they're free to do so as the files required will be released publically :)
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-19 @ 18:09

I can reverse the pcb and schematics if needed. But adding features is a bit of waste of time...
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby carlostex » 2015-2-19 @ 19:22

shock__ wrote:Thing is if you add SB Pro compatibility people will ask for SB16 support, if you add SB16 support folks will ask for AWE64 support and so on - there's not exactly an universal solution, except for adding the card of one's choice alongside the possible GUS clone/compatible.
You could even see it in this thread ;) Offer an Interwave card, people will start asking for a GF1 one.

Point of this (at least from my side) will be reversing the schematic of a GUS compatible card along with an example layout as a base - if people want to add features they're free to do so as the files required will be released publically :)


I know what you're talking about. I was just mentioning the OPL3-SA would be the best chipset if we would want to do something like that. Who needs SB16 when you have GUS anyway?

And yes much better to at least reverse a schematic so we have something than to try and do this uber card, that would probably just turn into headaches.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-19 @ 19:28

shock__ wrote:Thing is if you add SB Pro compatibility people will ask for SB16 support, if you add SB16 support folks will ask for AWE64 support and so on


Adlib/SB/SBPro seem like an obvious choice. These cards predate the GUS, and there's a lot of software that supports these cards, but does not support GUS.
SB16 is somewhat debatable... although it is more or less from the same era as GUS, so most software supporting SB16 will also support GUS. Therefore I don't see the need. SB Pro is usually good enough anyway, in that case.
People who will ask for AWE32/64 support are just crazy. There's a lot more software that supports GUS than AWE32/64, and if software supports both, GUS is always the better choice. AWE32/64 just aren't very good or interesting. They were only sold through the reputation of the Sound Blaster brand, where Gravis was a newcomer, and only 'insiders' knew about these cards and what they were capable of.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-19 @ 19:48

Scali wrote:
shock__ wrote:Thing is if you add SB Pro compatibility people will ask for SB16 support, if you add SB16 support folks will ask for AWE64 support and so on


Adlib/SB/SBPro seem like an obvious choice. These cards predate the GUS, and there's a lot of software that supports these cards, but does not support GUS.
SB16 is somewhat debatable... although it is more or less from the same era as GUS, so most software supporting SB16 will also support GUS. Therefore I don't see the need. SB Pro is usually good enough anyway, in that case.
People who will ask for AWE32/64 support are just crazy. There's a lot more software that supports GUS than AWE32/64, and if software supports both, GUS is always the better choice. AWE32/64 just aren't very good or interesting. They were only sold through the reputation of the Sound Blaster brand, where Gravis was a newcomer, and only 'insiders' knew about these cards and what they were capable of.



Soundblaster pro/16 awe32/64 were important cards, because most people had them. Gravis is a great card also, but it doesn't have the support SB has. I think making a GUS pnp with interwave chips is the way to go.
Having both SB or a SB clone along with a GUS could give us a nice experience and if it's possible to clone a GUS even better.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby carlostex » 2015-2-19 @ 20:27

Scali wrote:Adlib/SB/SBPro seem like an obvious choice. These cards predate the GUS, and there's a lot of software that supports these cards, but does not support GUS.
SB16 is somewhat debatable... although it is more or less from the same era as GUS, so most software supporting SB16 will also support GUS. Therefore I don't see the need. SB Pro is usually good enough anyway, in that case.
People who will ask for AWE32/64 support are just crazy. There's a lot more software that supports GUS than AWE32/64, and if software supports both, GUS is always the better choice. AWE32/64 just aren't very good or interesting. They were only sold through the reputation of the Sound Blaster brand, where Gravis was a newcomer, and only 'insiders' knew about these cards and what they were capable of.


That's why i think YMF-715/718/719 (OPL3-SAx) chipset would be the best to pair with an Interwave or GF1, IMO. Let's review it's capabilities:
SB 2.0
SB Pro 2
OPL3 (YMF289)
WSS (arguably)
Sigma Delta 16bit codec
Capable of Stereo at 44KHz

What held the GUS back when it arrived to the scene was the way it emulated AdLib/Sound Blaster. Integrating EMU8000 synth from AWE would just add layers of complexity to this hypothetical hybrid sound card.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-19 @ 21:09

carlostex wrote:
Scali wrote:Adlib/SB/SBPro seem like an obvious choice. These cards predate the GUS, and there's a lot of software that supports these cards, but does not support GUS.
SB16 is somewhat debatable... although it is more or less from the same era as GUS, so most software supporting SB16 will also support GUS. Therefore I don't see the need. SB Pro is usually good enough anyway, in that case.
People who will ask for AWE32/64 support are just crazy. There's a lot more software that supports GUS than AWE32/64, and if software supports both, GUS is always the better choice. AWE32/64 just aren't very good or interesting. They were only sold through the reputation of the Sound Blaster brand, where Gravis was a newcomer, and only 'insiders' knew about these cards and what they were capable of.


That's why i think YMF-715/718/719 (OPL3-SAx) chipset would be the best to pair with an Interwave or GF1, IMO. Let's review it's capabilities:
SB 2.0
SB Pro 2
OPL3 (YMF289)
WSS (arguably)
Sigma Delta 16bit codec
Capable of Stereo at 44KHz

What held the GUS back when it arrived to the scene was the way it emulated AdLib/Sound Blaster. Integrating EMU8000 synth from AWE would just add layers of complexity to this hypothetical hybrid sound card.


How to glue them both?
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Cloudschatze » 2015-2-19 @ 22:04

Deletion of off-topic discussion...
Last edited by Cloudschatze on 2015-2-23 @ 17:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby alexanrs » 2015-2-19 @ 22:54

Marmes wrote:How to glue them both?

I'd guess that putting both chips on the same card on the ISA bus in parallel, then redirecting the output from the OPL3-SA to the aux input of the Interwave chip.
Having to use two mixer programs would be a hassle, but you'd need to do that anyway with two cards.
Oh, and you could probably disable one of the chips MPU401/Gameport, or just leave a header on the card.

The biggest problem with this card would be the humongous amount of DMA/IRQ/Ports it would need to have all features enabled.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-19 @ 23:05

Marmes wrote:Soundblaster pro/16 awe32/64 were important cards, because most people had them.


Not really.
SB Pro/16 were important. AWE32/64 were mainly used in SB Pro/16 mode, not so much with native support.
Besides, you already have a GUS. SB AWE32/64 were just an ill-conceived response to the GUS, and weren't all that important.

Marmes wrote:Gravis is a great card also, but it doesn't have the support SB has.


Depends.. In the demoscene there are many prods that only have support for GUS. Some prods don't even run at all without a GUS installed.
Yes, the SB was there first, so it has the widest support. But this is not a popularity contest, this is a thread about making a GUS clone.
So it is already established that a GUS clone will be made. The question is just: should it have on-board SB-compatibility as well? Since the GUS wasn't very good at that, and you would likely want an SB-compatible card in your system even if you do have a GUS (I've been using an SB Pro/GUS MAX combo for ages, and have a GUS Extreme in some systems, which does the same on a single card, which is awesome).
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-19 @ 23:11

Cloudschatze wrote:My, that's quite an opinion, and apparently a popular one. Perhaps someday, when the technical superiority of the AWE32/64 can be ignored, I'll find it believable too! :)


What technical superiority? I have an AWE32 and rarely used it. Firstly because the sound quality is nothing short of appalling. It sounds incredibly thin compared to a proper soundcard. The high-end isn't exactly crisp either. It's clearly a toy, it sounds like one. The GUS can hold its own against professional synthesizers or sound cards from eg Yamaha or Turtle Beach.
Secondly, most of the software I was interested in, used tracker-based music, which generally only supports the GUS anyway (the AWE32 would just be used as an SB16 clone with CPU-based mixing).
EMU8000 may be good on paper, but I never actually heard anything good come out of the AWE32.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-20 @ 00:10

Scali wrote:
Cloudschatze wrote:My, that's quite an opinion, and apparently a popular one. Perhaps someday, when the technical superiority of the AWE32/64 can be ignored, I'll find it believable too! :)


What technical superiority? I have an AWE32 and rarely used it. Firstly because the sound quality is nothing short of appalling. It sounds incredibly thin compared to a proper soundcard. The high-end isn't exactly crisp either. It's clearly a toy, it sounds like one. The GUS can hold its own against professional synthesizers or sound cards from eg Yamaha or Turtle Beach.
Secondly, most of the software I was interested in, used tracker-based music, which generally only supports the GUS anyway (the AWE32 would just be used as an SB16 clone with CPU-based mixing).
EMU8000 may be good on paper, but I never actually heard anything good come out of the AWE32.


I do agree with you on a few things, but I don't think GUS is a professional sound card. In audio editing and capabilities it cannot match an awe32, yamaha professional soundcard or a good TB. Trackers can be heavily supported by GUS, but trackers were never the first choice for music professionals. GUS is an excellent card for games and a few hobby music stuff. Now I agree when people say that GUS gives a better dynamic to audio in gamming and it's nature makes it good for trackers. There is no comparison with GUS on these fields. I think it's possible to make an OPL chip work here, Do they have to work together? There is a \CS on both chips, so it can be one ,other, both, neither, a matter of software.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby gerwin » 2015-2-20 @ 00:37

The upgraded PCA761AW GUS clone still holds its place in my main retro system. Not primarily for its music, but there were some games that remained incompatible with WSS 16-bit audio (CS4232), but were actually GUS compatible: Quake, and Lucasarts TIE Fighter for example. I know it is not that useful to try and get beyond the 8-bit SB Pro interface, it is just for the heck of it.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 5u3 » 2015-2-20 @ 00:38

Cloudschatze wrote:For that matter, has anyone ever compiled a complete list of titles with music/sound-effects natively composed with, or intended for, the GUS? (e.g., Star Control 2, Archon II, several Epic games, etc.)

Well, our latest attempt was this thread.

I don't think there are many commercial games with genuinely better sound/music through GUS. There are the games with tracker music of course, plus those that provide custom MIDI patches, but that's about it. Digital sound effects are in most cases mixed in software, no real advantage for the GUS there.

Actually, this makes me wonder why GUS cards have become so much sought after and expensive. It's not as if everyone is suddenly into old scene demos, or is it?

Scali wrote:I have an AWE32 and rarely used it. Firstly because the sound quality is nothing short of appalling. It sounds incredibly thin compared to a proper soundcard. The high-end isn't exactly crisp either. It's clearly a toy, it sounds like one. The GUS can hold its own against professional synthesizers or sound cards from eg Yamaha or Turtle Beach.
Secondly, most of the software I was interested in, used tracker-based music, which generally only supports the GUS anyway (the AWE32 would just be used as an SB16 clone with CPU-based mixing).
EMU8000 may be good on paper, but I never actually heard anything good come out of the AWE32.

Man, it's like reading a 1995 diskmag all over again, GUS vs AWE flamewars just like in the old days... :lol:

Why not use both? An AWE32 can provide lots of demoscene fun: Several demos support the EMU8K natively (those based on the Indoor Music System, i.e. Cubic Player). Also, hundreds of small OPL2 intros/cracktros and BBS ads can be played with added EMU8K chorus/reverb effects on an AWE, while the FM emulation on a GUS is just horrible.
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