r00tb33r wrote on 2022-11-05, 06:19:
I've got a CT3600 with CQM. I'm certainly capable of the soldering, but that card just never shined for me. My understanding is that it has to do with TSR and protected mode games, being useless unless implemented in the game itself.
Well, you need the TSR (AWEUTIL) only for one specific use case: Getting wave-table synthesized music out of a game that outputs MIDI music. The idea by Creative Labs was that hardware implementation of a full MIDI parser is too expensive and complicated, so they shifted that job to software. Modern software was supposed to directly implement support for the AWE32 - and most later games in fact contain the software required to generate AWE32 programming values from MIDI commands. Many earlier games with General MIDI music were not using protected mode, so there is just a small time frame of games that run in protected mode but don't have native AWE32 support.
There is another use case considered relevant today that Creative Labs didn't care about: The "native AWE32 support" included with games (using code/data provided by Creative Labs) always use the ROM sound samples of the AWE32 card. The ROM is just 512KB in size. As long as the memory sockets are not broken, you can add 2MB of sample RAM to your card at quite low cost, and load superior sample sets (called "sound fonts" by Creative Labs) into the RAM. Games are not going to use them, though. On the other hand, the AWEUTIL TSR is able to use all kind of sound fonts, whether they are referencing the ROM samples or contain custom samples that need to be loaded into RAM. Using AWEUTIL-based MIDI synthesis thus can sound better than the native AWE32 support of modern games. If that is a use case interesting to you, you might want to try DOS32AWE, a modified DOS extender that allows passing MIDI data from protected mode games to AWEUTIL. DOS32AWE is compatible with most protected mode games.
You do not need any TSR and get perfect support for Sound Blaster 16 digital audio and the FM music interface. After de-CQMing that card, we also can call the FM music "perfect".