Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

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

Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby Scali » 2018-9-10 @ 07:12

root42 wrote:What do I need softwarewise? Can I simply fire up Zak McKracken or Maniac Mansion and it will detect the card?


If you have the card configured for address C0h, it will just work as-is (on PC/XT class machines at least, ATs and newer have the second DMA controller at address C0h, in which case using the address may or may not work. It works on my 286 clone anyway. I lose the second DMA controller, but that one is rarely used).
For any other address, you will need a patched version of the game.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-10 @ 10:54

You also should run the SNDOFF Utility,
some Games will not work correctly without it, as channels are still playing noise if not muted correctly.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby Great Hierophant » 2018-9-10 @ 12:27

Scali wrote:
root42 wrote:What do I need softwarewise? Can I simply fire up Zak McKracken or Maniac Mansion and it will detect the card?


If you have the card configured for address C0h, it will just work as-is (on PC/XT class machines at least, ATs and newer have the second DMA controller at address C0h, in which case using the address may or may not work. It works on my 286 clone anyway. I lose the second DMA controller, but that one is rarely used).
For any other address, you will need a patched version of the game.


Wouldn't he need a patched version of the game when using this sound card in any system? I believe Maniac and Zak do a "Is this computer a Tandy 1000" check before loading the Tandy music driver.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby Scali » 2018-9-10 @ 12:33

Great Hierophant wrote:Wouldn't he need a patched version of the game when using this sound card in any system? I believe Maniac and Zak do a "Is this computer a Tandy 1000" check before loading the Tandy music driver.


Ah yes, you're right of course. Many games will only enable Tandy audio when they detect a Tandy BIOS (or PCjr).
So in those cases, you need a patched game even for port C0h.
Most Sierra games do not have this check though, afaik, so those would be easy to test.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-10 @ 13:05

Ok, I'll probably test with Space Quest 3 first, since I already have it installed on the 286. I also have the missing capacitors installed and the ATTINY programmed. Will test it tonight then! I'll try to make a video of that. So fingers crossed the whole thing doesn't explode. :)

I had to guesstimate the positioning of C4 and the other electrolytic at the second potentiometer though. From the pictures it looks like their negative side / cathod is facing each other.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-10 @ 13:20

I'm not sure if space quest needs the patch :)

Take a look here:
ftp://ftp.oldskool.org/pub/TandySoundPa ... README.txt

Minus is in the middle for the two 47uf on the variable resistor.. i will reroute next board for better assembly :)
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 07:08

Allright, soundcards are finished and working. Made a video:

https://youtu.be/tTftxRXyC-k

Tested with SQ3, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and Stunts.

Very nice. Although it sounds a bit off. Is that because of the AN variant of the IC?
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby Scali » 2018-9-11 @ 07:21

root42 wrote:Very nice. Although it sounds a bit off. Is that because of the AN variant of the IC?


It might be because Tandy used a clone, the NCR 8496. This has a slightly different noise channel. Since most games were made for Tandy, not PCjr, the NCR 8496 is probably the 'correct' sounding chip, and the SN76489/SN76496 can sound a bit 'wrong'.
The chips are pin-compatible, so you could drop in a NCR 8496 in this card if you can find one.
Last edited by Scali on 2018-9-11 @ 07:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 07:41

Well, the NCR chips seem to be rare. Can't find any after a quick search. However, my card definitely is missing out on the drum sounds. Either the IC is broken, or you are right that the NCR version sounds much different. I have two other TI chips, so I will test them. Maybe this one is flaky....
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-11 @ 10:22

Also tried to source the original ic but can't find it anywhere.

nice Video :) its very well done!, what do you use to capture video ?

Did you also use PC-Speaker Mix in ? because some Games use that as fourth Voice.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 11:15

matze79 wrote:Also tried to source the original ic but can't find it anywhere.

nice Video :) its very well done!, what do you use to capture video ?

Did you also use PC-Speaker Mix in ? because some Games use that as fourth Voice.


I will keep an eye out for the NCR ICs but have little hope. The TI variant seems to be so much more common, since it was also used in so many arcade machines and consoles.

I am simply using my iPhone SE for filming my desk, and OSSC + a cheap no name USB3.0 HDMI capture device on the Mac. I use OBS for capture and iMovie to quickly edit the video.

I did not yet connect the PC Speaker, but will do so soon-ish. Need to create a cable. I have none ready.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-11 @ 11:29

Be aware, its not short circuit safe :) if you connect in reverse your cable may burn.
I have to figure a way todo this better.

Stunts for example plays sounds over PC-Speaker, so you're missing a channel.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 11:40

Ok, I will triple check the connections... Hope they match the 4 pin connector on my 286 board...

Did you test your boards with Maniac Mansion or Zak? I feel that I am totally missing the drums. The videos that I find on YouTube sound very different...
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-11 @ 12:25

EDIT: link below
Last edited by matze79 on 2018-9-11 @ 12:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 12:29

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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby matze79 » 2018-9-11 @ 12:31

Yes :)

i never heard maniac manison on original tandy..

but i found out that variants of SN76489's are sounding slightly different..
maybe this can be used for pseudo stereo ;)
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 12:48

I will definitely try out my second card and test the third IC I have. There might also be some arriving from China later this month... Maybe I have a defective IC...?
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 20:24

Ok, I tested the second card, and it sounds the same. So I think it is due to the IC type itself. However, the v1 of Maniac Mansion, which is included in DOTT sounds better I would say:

https://youtu.be/suG1Tb-KLAE

It has much more volume in the drums section. So it might be that the later games were coded for a different chip, maybe the NCR variant... But it's hard to tell without having that chip to try out... If ANYONE gets hold of some... tell me! :)
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby root42 » 2018-9-11 @ 20:54

One more game tested: Loom EGA (Paramers: loom v ts mo)

https://youtu.be/X9nWdAWMFvc
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Re: Tandy 3 Voice Sound - SN76489 ISA Soundcard Project

Postby Scali » 2018-9-11 @ 21:07

The noise channel sounds wrong indeed, and I don't think that's how the SN76489 should sound.
I'll have to install Maniac Mansion on my machine and see what my card sounds like.
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