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 Cloudschatze » 2015-2-20 @ 03:23

Deletion of off-topic discussion...
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby alexanrs » 2015-2-20 @ 04:32

Now I'm curious: how many of those games with Soundfont support are DOS games? And how many of the Windows ones work just fine with a Live! or Audigy?

If there are any, I might just get an AWE64 (I have an OPL3-SA card to deal with Adlib and my Yamaha daughtercard) and play arround with it. If the benefits are restricted to Windows I already have a Live!, which is better for that.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 08:06

Marmes wrote:I do agree with you on a few things, but I don't think GUS is a professional sound card.


I never said it was. It clearly targets a different market. Its sound quality was very good though, and it came with excellent patch sets as well.

Marmes wrote:In audio editing and capabilities it cannot match an awe32, yamaha professional soundcard or a good TB.


As I say, it targets a different market. It does not have an actual synthesizer really, no filters or processing or anything, just a hardware mixer. But with the right software (being trackers), and using it in the right way (pre-applying processing to your samples and switching between them for example), you can get incredible sound out of it. Most tracked music actually sounds a lot better than any kind of midi/synthesizer-based music from around 1992-1995.
That's why professional musicians don't just have a single synthesizer, but a studio full of them. Most synthesizers will do a few sounds well, but are horrible at many other things. With the GUS/tracked music, you always loaded your own samples, so you never had that problem.

Marmes wrote: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.


You forgot the demoscene. The GUS is *THE* card for the demoscene. Which is where all trackers came from anyway. GUS was basically a better version of the Amiga's audio hardware, which was the standard up to then.
I think the GUS' popularity also mainly comes from the demoscene picking it as the card of choice, which then bled into the games industry, since some game developers were also demosceners, and use trackers to write the music for their games.
Then there's people with no clue whatsoever about the demoscene or the GUS, such as ID Software, and they just use it as a glorified MIDI device. Did you know that Doom actually sounds better if you load MegaEm and run the game in MT32/Sound Canvas mode, than with native GUS?
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 08:13

5u3 wrote: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.


As I said, I want an OPL3 added to the card for Adlib/SB compatiblity. I don't care about the EMU8K. I don't want any added chorus/reverb, I just want to hear the music as intended. And as I say, I have an AWE32, but never actually heard anything good come out of it.
There may be a handful of demos/tunes that use it, but compared to all stuff made for GUS, it's no contest.
It would also be much more complex and expensive to add an EMU8K than to add an OPL3 to an InterWave-based card.
So can we please just drop the AWE32/64? Nobody cares, they are completely irrelevant cards compared to GUS/Adlib/SB/SBPro/SB16.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 08:25

Cloudschatze wrote:Referring to the EMU8000 specifically:
  • 32 (30) oscillators @ 44.1kHz
  • Supports up to 28MB DRAM
  • Hardware effects engine (chorus/reverb/EQ)
  • Hardware resonant filters
  • Digital output (S/PDIF)


That's the "on paper" part I talked about yes.
There's virtually no software that actually supports it, and especially on the AWE32, that chip is coupled with a very low-quality analog output.

Cloudschatze wrote:Referring to the AWE32/64 holistically:
  • Hardware 8/16-bit CODEC
  • Hardware FM synthesis
  • Hardware MPU-compatible (UART) interface


A GUS Extreme (as I proposed) has these things as well (and the GUS MAX at least has the 8/16-bit CODEC).
Nice try, but next time, get a clue.
Not that FM synthesis is relevant in a debate about QUALITY as we were having.
It's just interesting to have for software compatibility. It sounds horrible though.

Cloudschatze wrote:The later Interwave chip levels the playing field quite a bit


Oh really, and how is that?
The only things InterWave does is 44 KHz mixing regardless of the number of channels in use, and support more memory.
The former is quite irrelevant, since it only works if it is specifically switched to InterWave mode, which virtually no software supports. Besides, even if you do, there aren't a lot of songs where you can actually tell the difference with a GF1.
The latter is irrelevant since nearly everything targets a GF1 with 512K or 1MB of memory.

It makes the InterWave muhc like a C128: Yes on paper it has more features, but in practice everyone just uses it in C64-mode all the time, because there's no software that takes advantage of the C128.

Cloudschatze wrote:This is entirely subjective, but here are some of the better gaming examples:


The thing is, it all sounds very "synthesizer-y"/midi-ish.
Do you know what the demoscene is? Have you listened to some of the better tracked music out there?
It makes the whole "who has a better synthesizer-chip" moot. Tracked music just sounds better than any single synthesizer, no matter how good. As I already said, no professional uses a single synthesizer. I have a few synthesizers at home, and I tend to combine them in a single track. One may have a great lead sound, the other has better strings etc. Then I tend to run them through DSPs to shape the sound to my liking (oh yes, I do have reverb, chorus etc on my synth as well... but I'd much rather grab my Lexicon rack unit, as it delivers much richer sounds, and has better options for tuning the parameters. That's the difference between "I have reverb/chorus on paper" and "I want to use this reverb/chorus in my music"). And I will probably use a dedicated drum machine for drums, because the built-in drum sounds in synthesizers tend to be limited as well.
For that reason, I wouldn't want a single synthesizer-based card to play an entire tune either. It doesn't work. Using custom samples from my collection of instruments, with the processing I want on them, now that makes sense. Suddenly, the synthesizer on the card became irrelevant. All I need is good quality hardware mixing and good software support. The GUS is that card. End of discussion.

Yes, I know, games tend to suck, because most game developers did not understand the GUS. Much like you don't seem to understand.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby keropi » 2015-2-20 @ 08:29

please , let's not turn this GUS-clone thread into a GUS-vs-AWE situation... it just clutters and derails an interesting project. :)
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 08:31

keropi wrote:please , let's not turn this GUS-clone thread into a GUS-vs-AWE situation... it just clutters and derails an interesting project. :)


Don't blame me, blame the AWE fanboys who try to make this into GUS-vs-AWE.
I merely suggested a GUS Extreme-ish card, under the assumption that adding SBPro/16-ish compatibility would not be that difficult/costly. Which I think is on-topic. Unlike any AWE-nonsense.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Marmes » 2015-2-20 @ 09:59

@Scali
You are almost saying that AWE is good for nothing :D and GUS can make it all. There are many AWE users here. GUS is an excellent sound card, I just don't understand why you want to add opl3 to it.
To make it compatible with what? A normal GUS would have 1mb of ram correct? That's a nice amount of ram for a 16 bit 32 channel sampler. Well, as keropi and others said, let not turn this into a technical war.
The importance of GUS is that it makes games, demos, music, etc, much more fun! Lets do it if the user is up to :)
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby 5u3 » 2015-2-20 @ 10:04

Scali wrote:
keropi wrote:please , let's not turn this GUS-clone thread into a GUS-vs-AWE situation... it just clutters and derails an interesting project. :)


Don't blame me, blame the AWE fanboys who try to make this into GUS-vs-AWE.

You were the one who made this into GUS vs AWE, just three posts after shock__ expressed concerns that someone might want an AWE if we started to add features:
Scali wrote: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.


On-topic: A basic IW card with a SIMM slot would probably be most useful for people who don't already have a GUS.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 10:09

Marmes wrote:I just don't understand why you want to add opl3 to it.


What don't you understand?
The GUS has no native FM compatibility, and the software-based emulation with SBOS is very poor (as it uses samples instead of actual FM synthesis, so it cannot respond to parameters dynamically).
So you'll want a real OPL3 chip to have compatibility with Adlib/SB. That way you have one single card for pretty much all your DOS soundcard needs. As I already said above... The GUS does native GUS and MT-32/Sound Canvas. The opl3 does Adlib/SB.
Which is what makes the GUS Extreme the most practical GUS imho (not to mention that the ESS AudioDrive they used also gives you good support in Windows, which the GUS did not).
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 10:12

5u3 wrote:You were the one who made this into GUS vs AWE, just three posts after shock__ expressed concerns that someone might want an AWE if we started to add features


So we have established that shock__ brought up AWE, not me.
I proceeded to explain that adding opl3 is something COMPLETELY different from adding EMU8K.
opl3 is much cheaper and easier to add, and is also much more important in terms of software support. Opl3 makes sense and is a realistic request. EMU8K is not.
Then the fanboys started making a war about it, instead of just accepting the simple truth. Proving my earlier statement that they are crazy.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby bristlehog » 2015-2-20 @ 12:02

Scali wrote:Then the fanboys started making a war about it, instead of just accepting the simple truth. Proving my earlier statement that they are crazy.


People argue with you of soundcard capabilities, while you try to humiliate them (calling them names like 'fanboys', 'unable to accept the simple truth' and 'crazy'). I'd give you at least a temporary ban if I had the rights.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby carlostex » 2015-2-20 @ 12:12

Scali wrote:
So we have established that shock__ brought up AWE, not me.
I proceeded to explain that adding opl3 is something COMPLETELY different from adding EMU8K.
opl3 is much cheaper and easier to add, and is also much more important in terms of software support. Opl3 makes sense and is a realistic request. EMU8K is not.
Then the fanboys started making a war about it, instead of just accepting the simple truth. Proving my earlier statement that they are crazy.


I think you need to cool down a little, no need to derail this into a flame war.

OPL3 by itself is only good enough if you want AdLib music support. I'm sure you know that, but let's be specific. If we're discussing an hypotheical hybrid clone with added AdLib\SB\SBPro 2 support then let's see the best options:

OPL3 + CS4232;
YMF-71x (OPL3-SAx);
ESS Audiodrive;

The standalone OPL3 (YMF-262) plus the Crystal CS4232 chip would aim at real OPL3 + a very good quality DAC with SBPro 2 support. As far as compatibility, i doubt the CS4232 is more compatible than the YMF-71x chipset though.

The standalone integrated YMF-71x chipset includes low power OPL3 (YMF-289) and a Sigma Delta 16bit Codec that can do stereo at 44KHz. SB and SB Pro 2 compatibility should be around 99% or so. Better option in my opinion.

ESS Audiodrive, comes in a lot of incarnations. I don't have experience with them, but some sport an "enhanced" FM synthesis core which is supposedly register compatible with OPL3. Of course, it does not sound equal to a real Yamaha OPL3. This one should be easier to inplement if we're clone a GUS Extreme.


ALL IN ALL, and putting this discussion aside the goal if i understand it correctly is to clone a GUS PnP. No more, no less. So there's no point in derailing the conversation to whatever else, whoever started it. So let's not derail the conversation too much. If an hypothetical card is considered we have enough information about possible chipsets to use, but that it is ultimately down to the member who is working on the clone, this case: shock__. From what i could understand everyone could be able to modify the design with assistance from the documentation shock__ makes public.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-20 @ 14:00

Woah, hold your horses there :) Also nice try to put the "who started the heavy discussion"-card on me.

You can discuss pretty much all you want in here from my side, as this thread is just to enumerate interest (yes, not the best way to start a project, but neccessary in this case as reversing the PCB of the card I have will most likely result in its' destruction [unsoldering TQFP & various small SMD caps is anything but easy]) ... development will be it's own (blog-esque) thread for those interested (as I did with the DSS).

Things will start in roughly 2 weeks at best, as the multistandard covox I'm developing still needs some work and I'm going on vacation for a week soon-ish - so feel free to express your interest, wishes and concerns to your hearts content.

If anyone wants to help out before hand ... a datasheet for the IW78C21M1 chip (or the DIP equivalent which has a footprint on the original GUS PnP) would be largely appreciated, as my attempts to find one on google turned up with nothing. Not that hard to figure out what the chip does, but knowing the function of each pin would certainly make things a bit easier.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 14:15

shock__ wrote:Woah, hold your horses there :) Also nice try to put the "who started the heavy discussion"-card on me.


Well, I do think it was thread-derailing to bring the AWE up. I think you'll agree with me on the cost/complexity-arguments of opl3 vs EMU8K I already gave earlier.

I was just making a request for opl3 btw, as I think it is a useful addition to such a card, at not much extra cost and complexity.
Whether you'll actually go through with it or not doesn't really matter to me. I already have plenty of sound cards, including real SBs, real GUSes, GUS Extremes, InterWave-based cards and SB clones. So I'm not your target audience. I am however a long-time GUS user and amateur musician and demoscener, so I think perhaps my input and experience may be of use for this project.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-20 @ 15:35

Thing with requests during development pretty much always lead to the same featuritis-discussion, also I asked for the interest in such a card, what's the point of spending 30 something hours (and possibly a card I could use myself) on something no one wants?
So yeah, things derailed a bit earlier than that already ;)

Audience? There's none, as there will be no product in the common sense. As stated this is just for enabling the public to bypass their own shortcomings and build up upon them - if they want and/or such shortcomings even exist.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Cloudschatze » 2015-2-20 @ 16:07

Deletion of off-topic discussion...
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-20 @ 16:20

I've just sent off a request for a quote on the 2 required custom chips (10 of each) - let's see what it comes up with.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby Scali » 2015-2-20 @ 16:52

Cloudschatze wrote:There's quite a lot of software that natively supports the AWE cards - gaming, tracking, sequencing, and otherwise. I'm not sure where you're getting your idea of no software support from.


As I say, I *have* an AWE32. Worst soundcard I ever bought. I literally have NEVER used its advanced features (outside of the obvious playing of a midi file in Windows). To me it was never more than a glorified SB16.
Name me a tracker that supports the AWE? The most important ones such as Fast Tracker II and Scream Tracker 3 did not support it. Both do support a GUS however.

Cloudschatze wrote:And an incredibly high-quality S/PDIF output.


Perhaps. I never tried mine, since especially in that era, my entire chain was analog-only.
The lack of realism and sense of context is amazing. It just screams FANBOY.

Cloudschatze wrote:I'm also aware of the fact that the GUS Extreme was released 2+ years after the AWE32.


It was even released after the InterWave ironically enough. Clearly they should have put an OPL3 on that card from day 1. The GUS Extreme was an obvious case of too little, too late.
That's not the point though. Unless you are a FANBOY.

Cloudschatze wrote:The Interwave is equipped with an internal CODEC


Why are you so hung-up on that? The GUS MAX also had a CODEC, although it was not internal. Similarly, the GUS Extreme uses the CODEC of the ESS AudioDrive. I don't see the relevance of the location of the CODEC, as long as it's available on the card. And even then it's only interesting for people who want to record. For people who only want to play games, watch demos, listen to music, the GF1 is enough.

Cloudschatze wrote:How does this make the AWE cards unimportant or irrelevant?


While there are tons of great demos, trackers, players and songs that take full advantage, there is hardly any software that takes advantage of the AWE, as I already said.
A lot of the software for GUS doesn't even have any SB-support at all, so your AWE is useless. Then there's a lot of software that only has support for SB16 at best. While this software can work on the AWE, you're only using it as a glorified SB16, so again, the actual AWE is useless. A simpler SB16 or clone would do just as well.
Given the context of this topic, AWE is completely irrelevant, since you already have GUS support. You don't need a hardware wavetable option. Having OPL3 support is the only thing that actually allows a significant difference in the type of software you can use, and the type of music you can listen to.

Cloudschatze wrote:I think it's fairly obvious who the narrow-minded "fanboy" is.


Yea, obviously you. Going all mental over AWE cards in a topic about making a GUS-clone.
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Re: Newly made Gravis Ultrasound compatible cards ... what's the degree of interest?

Postby shock__ » 2015-2-20 @ 17:07

How about we make a demo about it?

Also comic book guy says hi.
Image

So yeah, if you could continue your heated discussion in private that would be terrific.
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