My Wavetable Sample Thread

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

Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby badmojo » 2017-2-12 @ 10:45

boxpressed wrote:Added the Compaq Business Wavetable Sound Card today. This is an ESS card through and through, with the ES1869F AudioDrive and the uncommon ES692S synth.


Humble little cards like this make me think about all the cash I've thrown at ISA sound cards / wavetable daughterboards / external modules in my life - for 10 bucks this thing gives the majority of that hardware a real run for its money! Like you say a very similar wavetable experience to the earlier ESS based product - a nice raw and balanced sound. The Duke3D theme song leaves me cold on both Roland and Yamaha GM but this 1MB ESS synth translates it into something worthy of an action game.

Really looking forward to having a play with mine - thanks again for snagging one for my collection :cool:
If it's broke, then fix it!
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby boxpressed » 2017-2-12 @ 16:42

I agree, badmojo. Back in the day, I didn't really understand the concept of General Midi. From reading PC Magazine and CGW, I knew that "wavetable" music was an upgrade to "Sound Blaster" music (didn't really understand the concept of FM synth either). I never selected the General Midi option from game setups.

Fast forward twenty years to when I'm getting back into retro PCs, and I still didn't realize you could get General Midi off a cheap, no-name sound card. I thought you needed an expensive external module. Once I finally understood the concept, I was just as amazed as you are. I see lots of money being dropped on EMU8K solutions like the AWE32 and especially AWE64, and the GM music is often inferior to that of a $20 card. I understand that people buy these cards for other reasons, but my thread may be helpful to those who just want decent FM and GM without breaking the bank.

Hope your card arrives soon, badmojo. I've become a big ESS fan myself.
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby boxpressed » 2017-8-30 @ 17:10

Bump to say that I've updated the photos on the first page after Photobucket decided to kill 3rd party hosting (I'd used up the maximum I could attach to the post).

I've taken a little hiatus from wavetable collecting but am now on the lookout for new additions!
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby Schafeman » 2017-9-12 @ 14:03

Hi there! I might be a new user on here, but I've been visiting this site for years. Just thought i'd weigh in on the humble 'Compaq Business Wavetable' card. I've been so impressed with the sound and music quality in general, I posted a quick YouTube video with one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, Warcraft II. I should have time to record some more stuff with this and post it eventually, but it literally fills almost all the check boxes for a cheap, great sounding card that works with almost everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJnRtfO9s48
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby boxpressed » 2017-9-12 @ 14:26

Schafeman wrote:Hi there! I might be a new user on here, but I've been visiting this site for years. Just thought i'd weigh in on the humble 'Compaq Business Wavetable' card. I've been so impressed with the sound and music quality in general, I posted a quick YouTube video with one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, Warcraft II. I should have time to record some more stuff with this and post it eventually, but it literally fills almost all the check boxes for a cheap, great sounding card that works with almost everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJnRtfO9s48


I agree! ESS ISA audio chipsets are high quality in general. There are some real hidden gems among the collection of mediocre wavetable solutions out there, the Compaq card being one of the best. Unfortunately, the inexpensive supply seems to have dried up for now.
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby badmojo » 2017-10-13 @ 07:55

I keep referring back to this excellent thread - I vote we sticky it!
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby lazibayer » 2018-5-02 @ 19:50

stamasd wrote:Would anyone be interested in recordings from a Thinkpad 755 - pentium 75 equipped with IBM's infamous Mwave sound/modem DSP card https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Mwave ? I have a working one, but DOS/Win3.1 only. It uses for MIDI synthesis a (roughly) 8MB patch set of .wav files. Which games would you like me to test if so?

(FWIW I also have an ISA Mwave card so I could potentially try the same in slower or faster systems as well)


I was trying to find out how MWave does MIDI synth and found this thread. I couldn't find any documents on how MWave handles the patchset; so I guess the patchset is loaded into main memory and used by software synth? Or is it for hardware synth on the PCMCIA variant?
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby Tenorman » 2018-5-12 @ 17:16

Tacking onto this (already great thread).

I recorded several tracks on the Logitech Soundman Wave. There are better options, but I actually don't think this is a bad card at all.
http://tenorman.info/pc/soundmanwave
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby Tenorman » 2018-5-19 @ 13:50

I also recorded an ESS card with a built in wavetable. This is similar to the BTC 1855. It has the same ES981P ROM chip, but uses an ES689F and an ES1869F instead of the ES690F and ES1868F. It sounds the same to me, but I have a couple of different tracks recorded if anyone is interested.

http://www.tenorman.info/pc/es1869f%2Bes869f

If I had to limit myself to just one low hassle, reasonably priced, card from my collection this would be it. Sure, my SoundScape S-2000 sounds much better, but it also cost me about six times more and still needs to be combined with another card to get decent FM.
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Re: My Wavetable Sample Thread

Postby moturimi1 » 2018-5-20 @ 16:05

Tenorman wrote:I also recorded an ESS card with a built in wavetable. This is similar to the BTC 1855. It has the same ES981P ROM chip, but uses an ES689F and an ES1869F instead of the ES690F and ES1868F. It sounds the same to me, but I have a couple of different tracks recorded if anyone is interested.

http://www.tenorman.info/pc/es1869f%2Bes869f

If I had to limit myself to just one low hassle, reasonably priced, card from my collection this would be it. Sure, my SoundScape S-2000 sounds much better, but it also cost me about six times more and still needs to be combined with another card to get decent FM.


Great recordings.
I do prefer ESS GM rendering. The Soundscape is in 2. place.
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