New owner of a Vortex2 soundard; my experience so far

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

New owner of a Vortex2 soundard; my experience so far

Postby eeJay » 2017-3-18 @ 17:22

Hi,
I recently bought a Turtle Beach Montego II soundcard (Vortex 2) and spent about two weekends setting it up on my Windows 98 SE machine. Here's my advice for anyone who might be installing it for the first time.
Note: my motherboard uses the Intel 865 chipset.

    1. Physical setup
Install the soundcard into a PCI slot that doesn’t share resources with any other devices (check your motherboard manual for that).

Make sure the card is firmly in place in its slot and that the output device is connected into the appropriate output on the card.

    2. BIOS settings
Under Advanced/PCIPnP, set PCI Latency Timer to 32 (default is 64).
It would make sense to keep the latency as low as possible.

Under the same tab, change IRQ5 from Available (default) to Reserved.
This ensures that the SoundBaster PRO emulation works. Don't manually assign any IRQ preferences for your souncard's PCI slot; it doesn't matter which IRQ the card gets.

    3. Sound card drivers
Install the reference 2041 drivers (recommended); if you get a PCI bus mastering error, install the 2041 reference drivers with the appropriate fix (no_pci_detect).
The Rooms demo might not work right away, but after you’ve installed a couple of games that come with their DirectX redist, that should work too.

You might hear a hissing noise – that’s caused by the mic input. Mute the microphone under Vortex Control Panel/Control Panel/Volume control.

Don't forget to set the appropriate sound output (e.g. headphones).

Install the A3D 3.12 support files.
Without these, I felt that I only had positional sound and occlusions, but no reflections.

Make sure that SET BLASTER is correctly set in the Autoexec.bat file (I=5) and that Sound Blaster Pro Emulation is using IRQ 05 (under Device Manager).

    4. USB2.0 driver conflicts
I've had issues using the latest version of the Universal USB 2.0 drivers (nusb33e.exe) - it would conflict with the Vortex2 drivers (tried both 4041 and 4048), resulting in a "windows protection fault" error that would prevent Windows from starting. However, nusb20e.exe works like a charm.
Note: this happened when the card was installed in PCI slot 3, before I realized that this slot shared its resources with the USB controller, so the nusb33e might actually be OK. Live and learn, I guess :)

I hope that someone finds this useful.
Plese feel free to provide any additional suggestions/comments!
eeJay
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Re: New owner of a Vortex2 soundard; my experience so far

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-3-18 @ 22:33

That's excellent information, thank you :)
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Re: New owner of a Vortex2 soundard; my experience so far

Postby eeJay » 2017-4-07 @ 21:26

Thank you, Phil! I'm a big fan of your YouTube channel. You're one of the main reasons why I got into retro PC-gaming and I love it. Keep up the good work, it's greatly appreciated!

Anyways, after some more testing, I've encountered an issue: certain games seem to have problems with CD-audio (this happens with Heretic II and American Mcgee's Alice). The CD-audio quality ingame seems to be very poor (11 kHz or less), but when the CD is played in the Aureal CD-player, it sounds perfectly fine. Quake II sounds just like it should, both ingame and in the player. However, when testing with a Sensaura-based card (Terratec DMX-Xfire 1024), the CD-audio in all of the aforementioned games plays back OK.

Has anyone else encountered this? It happens with both the 2041 and 2048 reference Vortex 2 drivers.
I don't mind turning CD-audio off, but it would be great to get to the bottom of this.

Thanks.
eeJay
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Re: New owner of a Vortex2 soundard; my experience so far

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-4-07 @ 22:48

Interesting, haven't heard of that one. I must try American Mcgee's Alice one day, I think I got an original copy from eBay ages ago because it gets mentioned all the time :)
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