Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

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

Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-12 @ 08:20

I have the former two, I'm considering getting the latter if it's better. Could anyone advise? The former card is a jumper design, the latter two are jumperless PnP cards. Cards will be used for DOS strictly, I have an AWE64 in my Win98 PC..
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby jheronimus » 2017-5-12 @ 10:47

YMF718 has "true" OPL3 (AdLib) sound, but as far as I remember, its DOS software is a bit quirky. I've never used a Yamaha without Windows, but you can read about the issues here. Some people came up with a workaround, however.

Most ESS cards don't have a real OPL3 chip, but people tend to like the way it emulates AdLib (me included). Also, it's probably the easiest to set up. You can read about it here.

If I were you, I would probably stick with an ESS and only switch it for a good SB16.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-12 @ 11:17

Does the Sb 16 Pro PnP CT2950 count as a good SB16?
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby jheronimus » 2017-5-12 @ 11:38

appiah4 wrote:Does the Sb 16 Pro PnP CT2950 count as a good SB16?


I don't have one, but from the looks of it — not really.

1) it doesn't have true OPL3;
2) it has DSP 4.13, so it will produce a hanging note bug with MIDI daughterboards (if you plan to get something like a Dreamblaster S2/X2 later on).

Generally, there are two popular choices here on Vogons:

- OPL3 version of Vibra CT2940 — there is also a really common CQM version, so pay attention;
- CT2230/СT2290.

I have both. The former has really clean sound (without noise and crackles), but does have a hanging note bug. The latter is almost bug-free. It is said to have some sound quality issues, but I'm yet to hear any. Then again, there are several revisions of CT2230. I have 049432 which actually doesn't look like the one posted in that thread. :happy: So, yeah, it's kind of tricky.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby jxhicks » 2017-5-12 @ 16:14

I don't believe the ES688 has hardware MPU-401. I never could get an external midi synth to work with it outside of Windows.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-12 @ 16:46

IIRC, the ES688 has a TSR for MPU-401 compatibility.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-12 @ 16:48

That means the ES1898, despite being a PnP card, is probably better even for DOS?
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-13 @ 00:14

I believe the TSR is fairly compact. One other thing to consider is that I have heard some rare ES688 based cards pair the ESS chipset with a genuine OPL3. That would be perhaps even more desirable than those CS4232 cards which also have a true OPL3 onboard.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-13 @ 07:51

Here are the ESS cards I have, if that makes a difference:

Image

Image

Either of these, or just go ahead and buy an Audician 32 Plus?

Image
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby badmojo » 2017-5-13 @ 11:53

I wouldn't bother with the ES688 - older chipset with no hardware MPU. Some ES688 cards do come with a real OPL3 but I can't see one on yours.

The ES1898 card is potentially good but you just have to try it and find out - it depends on the implementation. It's a good chipset though and the software (vogon drivers) is easy to use and powerful.

The Audician 32 is fine but the software sucks and the SB Pro 2.0 implementation doesn't sound like the real thing. The ES1898 will sound better IMHO it if it's a decent example of the chipset. And ESFM is nice.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-13 @ 14:06

The DSP24 might be an illegally copied YMF-262 OPL3 clone.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2017-5-13 @ 14:19

On a non-PnP machine, my ESS card becomes configurable with command switches. This is awesome, as you can just create a batch file to lock in all your settings :)
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby carlostex » 2017-5-13 @ 19:40

Yamaha 715/718/719 hands down, best ESS chipset is the 1688F. I would only choose the ESS if i wanted to play Duke Nukem II, but it's a pretty lousy game anyway...or just use a CT1600 and be done with it.

But now seriously, YMF cards are excellent, very cheap, very silent, real OPL, quality ADC/DAC and it doesn't hog resources before its initialized. I appreciate such cards, very good if you want a multi card setup.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby badmojo » 2017-5-13 @ 21:09

Lolz carlostex you and I are like fans of opposing football teams - my team is better! No mine!
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-13 @ 22:17

gdjacobs wrote:The DSP24 might be an illegally copied YMF-262 OPL3 clone.


How can I check for this? I was wondering something similar because on the card (the 688) right next to the chip are the figures YMF2622 on the motherboard.. in which case it would be a non-PnP 688 with an OPL chip which would make it pretty good as long as I don't care about external midi (which I honestly don't..)?

EDIT: According to this German URL yes the DSP24 is a 1:1 clone copy of the Yamaha OPL3.
Last edited by appiah4 on 2017-5-13 @ 22:54, edited 1 time in total.
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-13 @ 22:40

I'd talk to James-F about what he uses to program OPL3 units for comparison. He might have some executables ready to go, then you just have to capture the output on another machine.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-13 @ 22:55

gdjacobs wrote:I'd talk to James-F about what he uses to program OPL3 units for comparison. He might have some executables ready to go, then you just have to capture the output on another machine.


I will do that as soon as I put the 486 PC together; I suppose the ES688 will be my first choice then, as unlikely as it seemed.. :)
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby carlostex » 2017-5-14 @ 10:56

badmojo wrote:Lolz carlostex you and I are like fans of opposing football teams - my team is better! No mine!


Haha almost! :lol:

I remember the first time i tried the Audician 32: "This is gonna suck!" I certainly wasn't impressed by the software, but quickly i liked how simple it was to set it up and a single autoexec.bat line would do the job. Also, when not initialized the card wouldn't hog resources. Better yet, the WSS shares resources with the SB so it takes very little resources.

Sound wise i noticed how very silent it was and i imediately got rid of the godawful SB 2.0 on my 386. The SB Pro compatibility is almost 100% compatible, and like i said if it's just DN II i'll keep using these cards forever.

I actually appreciated the "dry output" of the Audician. I'm a musician myself, been playing guitar for years and i certainly hate the flubbery, messy low end where bottoms are exacerbated by the mids and highs being cut off. Such sound won't cut well in a mix, and i don't appreciate it. Granted this has nothing to do with DOS gaming, but i prefered the flatter output of the Audician. In fact, i might mod my YMF cards with lower value caps than what JamesF recommended. The reason is that for me it sounds too filtered, i'll probably go for a middle ground approach.

One thing i'm sad about these cards is that most are half height only so i would love to put my hands on an AudioTrix 3D.

The ESS cards are very good, i have a Guillemot Maxi Sound 64 Lite, which has a ES1868F chipset. I really liked the SAM chip on the card, and the compatibility of the ESS is very good, but i wasn't impressed by the ADC/DAC on the ESS. PCM didn't sound as clear as the YMF, and i don't like how ESFM sounds on certain games, namely how some instruments sound different. I never tried the ES1688 which seems to be the best, and by the feedback here i believe it is a strong contender.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby jxhicks » 2017-5-15 @ 15:13

gdjacobs wrote:IIRC, the ES688 has a TSR for MPU-401 compatibility.


You wouldn't happen to know where one could find the TSR do you? I have looked and looked for it and haven't found it. None of the drivers that I have found seemed to have it.
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Re: Which sound card is better for a 486 DOS PC? ES688FC, ES1898C PnP or YMF718-S PnP

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-15 @ 16:46

Is it included in either of the packages posted on Vogonsdrivers?
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