Most compatible sound card for my built?

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

Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby stargazer » 2016-12-31 @ 17:59

Hello fellow members,
I've recently found in my storage a an Biostar MB4833/40 motherboard that has both isa and pci ports with an amd486dx4/100 processor and 16Mb ram.
Among other things iam trying to find a sound card that will be compatible with most dos games for both wave and midi and i don't really care about sound quality (won't listen to any music with it) and biggest factor except compatibility is price.
Any suggestions?
AMD 486DX-100 MB8433/40 Ver3.1 Trident Vga
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2016-12-31 @ 18:07

stargazer wrote:compatible with most dos games for both wave and midi

Do you mean MIDI as in actual MIDI (wavetable stuff, Roland, etc.) or OPL3 FM synthesis for music?

If you want MIDI music, get a Sound Blaster 16 (if you can find a non-PnP model that's better) and find a wavetable add-on. If you're fine with just FM synthesis, I would recommend a Sound Blaster Pro II.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-12-31 @ 18:09

Here is one suggestion:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ISA-16bit-Sound ... xyM89ScNRl
Real Yamaha OPL3, ISA so good compatibility, SBPro2 compatible, excellent sound quality, no hanging note MIDI bug, and MIDI header. Oh, and it's new old stock, so it's brand new, sealed in box. There are many other choices, this one happens to be my favorite.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby Ampera » 2016-12-31 @ 19:53

I disagree with the suggestion of a SB16 or SB Pro. No MIDI support is available unless you emulate (Sounds horrible) or buy a daughterboard. I suggest the SB32 or SB AWE 32, but in a pinch the AWE64 or AWE64 gold is good.

I've never gotten the love of the SB16 on late 486 systems. I think it's good for original 486-DX and down. After that you need SOME MIDI support, and short of buying a balls to the walls expensive MT32 or Sound Canvas, the AWE32 is your best bet. It has delicious sound, cheap memory expansion, and all the features of the SB16 and SB Pro
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby badmojo » 2016-12-31 @ 21:15

Yep just grab yourself an AWE64 Value - they go for a few bucks and give you super compatibility + general midi.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby ElementalChaos » 2016-12-31 @ 21:31

clueless1 wrote:Here is one suggestion:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ISA-16bit-Sound ... xyM89ScNRl
Real Yamaha OPL3, ISA so good compatibility, SBPro2 compatible, excellent sound quality, no hanging note MIDI bug, and MIDI header. Oh, and it's new old stock, so it's brand new, sealed in box. There are many other choices, this one happens to be my favorite.


This right here, OP. Grab one before they're gone. Which will be quite a while from now as he has hundreds.

badmojo wrote:Yep just grab yourself an AWE64 Value - they go for a few bucks and give you super compatibility + general midi.


If by "a few bucks" you mean $25-30 USD, then yes. They aren't quite as affordable as they once were, but still a good buy.
Last edited by ElementalChaos on 2017-1-01 @ 00:12, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby boxpressed » 2016-12-31 @ 21:36

Check out my wavetable sample thread. A few of these cards (or reasonable facsimiles of them) can be purchased right now off eBay for $20 or less. Not just the PCI cards but the ISA cards with onboard wavetable. viewtopic.php?f=46&t=50552
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby badmojo » 2017-1-01 @ 06:32

ElementalChaos wrote:If by "a few bucks" you mean $25-30 USD, then yes. They aren't quite as affordable as they once were, but still a good buy.


By "a few bucks" I mean the price of a sandwich and coffee. Here's one I found for $14USD within 30 seconds of searching, and I bought a NIB one for $25 not long ago.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Creativ ... Sw2GlXJwSu
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby Ampera » 2017-1-01 @ 08:10

badmojo wrote:
ElementalChaos wrote:If by "a few bucks" you mean $25-30 USD, then yes. They aren't quite as affordable as they once were, but still a good buy.


By "a few bucks" I mean the price of a sandwich and coffee. Here's one I found for $14USD within 30 seconds of searching, and I bought a NIB one for $25 not long ago.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Creativ ... Sw2GlXJwSu


Good buy.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby James-F » 2017-1-01 @ 08:50

clueless1 wrote:Here is one suggestion:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ISA-16bit-Sound ... xyM89ScNRl
Real Yamaha OPL3, ISA so good compatibility, SBPro2 compatible, excellent sound quality, no hanging note MIDI bug, and MIDI header.

+1

Ampera wrote:I disagree with the suggestion of a SB16 or SB Pro.
...the AWE32 is your best bet. It has... and all the features of the SB16 and SB Pro

The AWE32 DSP is just as buggy as the SB16, has less chances having a real OPL3, and the on-board MIDI implementation sounds like poop.
If one plays mostly older DOS games a SBPro is the way to go with an additional card for MPU-401 and Wavetable capabilities.

The Yamaha YMF71x mentioned above by clueless1 is the way to go if one desires all features in one card without much hassle.
Fantastic value for newcomers who want it all without spending arm and leg hunting for rare and specific Creative cards.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby Ampera » 2017-1-01 @ 09:52

James-F wrote:
clueless1 wrote:Here is one suggestion:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ISA-16bit-Sound ... xyM89ScNRl
Real Yamaha OPL3, ISA so good compatibility, SBPro2 compatible, excellent sound quality, no hanging note MIDI bug, and MIDI header.

+1

Ampera wrote:I disagree with the suggestion of a SB16 or SB Pro.
...the AWE32 is your best bet. It has... and all the features of the SB16 and SB Pro

The AWE32 DSP is just as buggy as the SB16, has less chances having a real OPL3, and the on-board MIDI implementation sounds like poop.
If one plays mostly older DOS games a SBPro is the way to go with an additional card for MPU-401 and Wavetable capabilities.

The Yamaha YMF71x mentioned above by clueless1 is the way to go if one desires all features in one card without much hassle.
Fantastic value for newcomers who want it all without spending arm and leg hunting for rare and specific Creative cards.


I don't know what AWE32 you've been using, but mine has stellar MIDI functionality. The CQM synth is not bad whatsoever, and I bet if I gave you CQM synth music and labled it as real, you probably couldn't tell the difference.

And I have rarely come across DOS incompatibility, except when using AWEUTIL, and in Windows where the sound emulation is much better, it has very few bugs to speak of.

ONE thing I have noticed, like with LGR's 486 build, is that his sounds a lot worse than mine. I don't know if mine has extra reverb, but it sounds fantastic. Here's a recording of Passport.MID on my AWE32.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzwb0hhbyv8i6 ... 2.wav?dl=0

It sounds pretty damn good. It's no Sound Canvas, but for my 40 bucks that's a pretty big bang.

Here it is with it's onboard CQM synth.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xmljmgob91gpe ... L.wav?dl=0

It sounds fine to me, the MIDI version is far superior, but it's not BAD as you make it out to be.
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby stargazer » 2017-1-01 @ 10:42

Thank you all so much for your answers ,
So i am between the yamaha and the awe32 , yamaha is a lot cheaper so maybe i'll go with that

P.S. Ordered the Yamaha , when it comes i'll make a built thread
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Re: Most compatible sound card for my built?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-1-01 @ 13:30

Ampera wrote:I don't know what AWE32 you've been using, but mine has stellar MIDI functionality. The CQM synth is not bad whatsoever, and I bet if I gave you CQM synth music and labled it as real, you probably couldn't tell the difference.

And I have rarely come across DOS incompatibility, except when using AWEUTIL, and in Windows where the sound emulation is much better, it has very few bugs to speak of.

ONE thing I have noticed, like with LGR's 486 build, is that his sounds a lot worse than mine. I don't know if mine has extra reverb, but it sounds fantastic. Here's a recording of Passport.MID on my AWE32.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzwb0hhbyv8i6 ... 2.wav?dl=0

It sounds pretty damn good. It's no Sound Canvas, but for my 40 bucks that's a pretty big bang.

Here it is with it's onboard CQM synth.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xmljmgob91gpe ... L.wav?dl=0

It sounds fine to me, the MIDI version is far superior, but it's not BAD as you make it out to be.


That, unfortunately, is the problem. No internal MIDI functionality (from EMU8k) without AWEUTIL on DOS.

ESS cards are also an option as they have most of the positives of the Yamaha cards and don't suffer the Duke Nukem limitation. The most notable difference is that ESFM =/= Yamaha FM, but I don't find ESS emulation to be unpleasant nor very noticeable on most waveforms.
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