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Aztech Sound Galaxy cards

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Reply 120 of 127, by dionb

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Grzyb wrote on 2019-06-02, 21:45:
I mean 8-bit DAC/ADC, not 8-bit bus. WSS may only use 8-bit bus, but it surely supports 16-bit DAC/ADC. Which means the table in […]
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Tiido wrote:

WSS works on purely 8bit bus so having only 8bit slot doesn't preclude it.

I mean 8-bit DAC/ADC, not 8-bit bus.
WSS may only use 8-bit bus, but it surely supports 16-bit DAC/ADC.
Which means the table in this post is wrong about WSS support, at least for those cards with no 16-bit sampling.

Bit of a necro-bump here.

I already had a much-loved NXPro and last week found a Basic 16 (MMSN810) for a nice price. Based on SaxxonPike's page and Rabanic's table I assumed it to be basically the same card with the only addition being a wavetable header of dubious utility due to it not supporting MPU-401. I certainly got that, but the differences were bigger. For starters where the NXPro has a volume knob and three 3.5mm connectors the Basic16 has no knob and four 3.5mm. Also my NXPro has a genuine YMF262 and the Basic16 has an "LS-212". But what really caught my attention was the DAC. The NXPro just has a simple Yamaha YAC512, but the Basic16 has a CS4248-KL codec, complete with two oscillators (16.9344 and 24.576).

Suddenly something clicked: I enjoy the WSS sound of my various Aztech 3rd gen cards but had not been able to get it working on the NXPro. I'd assumed driver issues or resource conflicts, but it looks more fundamental: no codec, no WSS - which shouldn't be a surprise as that's the situation with the - better documented - GUS vs GUS Max as well.

So I think the WSS support column in the table needs to be set to "No" for all the 1st gen cards without codec.

On the topic of 16b WSS, I don't think the table is wrong, it just needs qualification. WSS playback in DOS definitely has 16b resolution (just listen to it in Descent, it's as good as SB16 and vastly better than SBPro), but the table specifically mentions sampling i.e. recording. Can't confirm or deny that, but it sounds plausible enough.

Reply 121 of 127, by Grzyb

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dionb wrote on 2020-03-06, 23:58:

sampling i.e. recording

I'm not sure, I've seen the term "sampling" as covering both recording and playback of samples.

Anyway, cards with 8-bit DAC typically have 8-bit ADC, same with 16-bit.
Exceptions are rare (see GUS Classic), and probably non-existent among Aztech cards.

Reply 122 of 127, by dionb

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Grzyb wrote on 2020-03-07, 00:13:

[...]

I'm not sure, I've seen the term "sampling" as covering both recording and playback of samples.

Technically, sampling is specifically what the ADC does, not the DAC - but yeah, what's technically accurate isn't always leading in terminology unfortunately.

Anyway, cards with 8-bit DAC typically have 8-bit ADC, same with 16-bit.
Exceptions are rare (see GUS Classic), and probably non-existent among Aztech cards.

Thing is, it is a 16b ADC, otherwise it couldn't do that under Windows. So 8b sampling is a software limitation, not a hardware limit. That software limitation does not need to apply to both ADC and DAC portions. Again, on WSS supporting games the sound is extremely similar to SB16 and not at all like SBPro2, so I'm pretty sure it's doing 16b DAC under pure DOS.

Reply 123 of 127, by jesolo

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Just to weigh in around the I38MMSN810.
This particular model happens to be the first sound card I bought (I still have it).

From my understanding and what I've read, the LS-212 is an exact (unofficial) clone of the Yamaha OPL-3 (YMF262) FM synthesis chip. Some models (of different makes of sound cards with the same model number) came with either one. For example, my I38-MMSN810 has the YMF262 onboard. You might just have a different revision.

Windows Sound System compatibility is good - some models came with the Analog Devices AD1848 Codec which offers the same functionality as the CS4248 Codec chip. Just a shame it wasn't so popular with game developers, since many clone cards had either of the two Codecs which provided WSS compatibility and, hence, 16-bit sound playback.

One thing you could test out for me is how "clear" your sound playback is. On my revision, I have to push up the treble to almost max to get a clearer sound, compared to my 3rd generation Aztech cards.

Reply 124 of 127, by MrSmiley381

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Gonna throw my hat in the Aztech arena since this thread has already risen from the ashes. Recently acquired some variant of a Sound Galaxy card, labeled as a I38-MMSD802. It appears to be a Sound Galaxy NX Stereo Pro Extra, if TULARC is to be believed. The card works fine as a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and as a Disney Sound Source for Wolf 3D. Now, if I run this alongside a GUS MAX, I get all sorts of sound crackling and pops in Wolf 3D, and no music in DOOM. Testing machine is a 450 MHz K6-3+. Normally, I am able to have a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and the GUS MAX coexisting peacefully. I'll have to dig through the oddball Aztech software available and see what's happening. Pretty sure it's a simple resource conflict.

I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.

Reply 125 of 127, by dionb

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MrSmiley381 wrote on 2020-03-16, 01:56:

Gonna throw my hat in the Aztech arena since this thread has already risen from the ashes. Recently acquired some variant of a Sound Galaxy card, labeled as a I38-MMSD802. It appears to be a Sound Galaxy NX Stereo Pro Extra, if TULARC is to be believed. The card works fine as a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and as a Disney Sound Source for Wolf 3D. Now, if I run this alongside a GUS MAX, I get all sorts of sound crackling and pops in Wolf 3D, and no music in DOOM. Testing machine is a 450 MHz K6-3+. Normally, I am able to have a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and the GUS MAX coexisting peacefully. I'll have to dig through the oddball Aztech software available and see what's happening. Pretty sure it's a simple resource conflict.

The Doom music issue sounds like a resource conflict. What I/O, IRQ and DMAs do they have set? And which music is failing? AdLib, WSS or MIDI?

The noise could just be the utter lack of shielding in these cards. GUS manage to keep their own output fairly clean, but they're electrically noisy. I even get noises when pairing one with an AWE64 Gold, one of the quietest, best-shielded cards out there. It ingresses through the cable connecting the GUS line-out to the AWE line-in.

Reply 126 of 127, by MrSmiley381

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dionb wrote on 2020-03-16, 13:31:
MrSmiley381 wrote on 2020-03-16, 01:56:

Gonna throw my hat in the Aztech arena since this thread has already risen from the ashes. Recently acquired some variant of a Sound Galaxy card, labeled as a I38-MMSD802. It appears to be a Sound Galaxy NX Stereo Pro Extra, if TULARC is to be believed. The card works fine as a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and as a Disney Sound Source for Wolf 3D. Now, if I run this alongside a GUS MAX, I get all sorts of sound crackling and pops in Wolf 3D, and no music in DOOM. Testing machine is a 450 MHz K6-3+. Normally, I am able to have a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and the GUS MAX coexisting peacefully. I'll have to dig through the oddball Aztech software available and see what's happening. Pretty sure it's a simple resource conflict.

The Doom music issue sounds like a resource conflict. What I/O, IRQ and DMAs do they have set? And which music is failing? AdLib, WSS or MIDI?

The noise could just be the utter lack of shielding in these cards. GUS manage to keep their own output fairly clean, but they're electrically noisy. I even get noises when pairing one with an AWE64 Gold, one of the quietest, best-shielded cards out there. It ingresses through the cable connecting the GUS line-out to the AWE line-in.

I did some further testing and the conflict is likely on the Adlib port. If I disable music in DOOM or Rise of the Triad via the setup program, sound effects work fine. If I disable all audio except Disney Sound Source for Wolfenstein 3D I can hear sound effects just fine. Curiously enough, the Duke Nukem 3D setup program will let me test music and it largely works aside from some occasional hanging notes.

This problem is the spiritual sequel to another post where I discovered that running Ultrinit can solve an Adlib port conflict on its own when running the GUS MAX alongside an actual Sound Blaster Pro 2.0. I was hoping it would do the same with the Sound Galaxy card, but I guess that's not the case. I think my only other hope to run these cards in tandem would be to determine how Ultrinit disables the Adlib port and make a tiny executable that only does that part, then try running that. Unfortunately, I'm more of a database developer than I am an assembly hacker, so that's a project for another day.

I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.

Reply 127 of 127, by Oetker

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Just wanted to share that a while back I posted about Doom only having sound after being started twice with my AZT2316. Now I've got an AZT2320 and it doesn't have that issue! It still does have the issue that Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure will only sporadically play Adlib music.