VOGONS


First post, by Burrito78

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Sorry for the clickbait title, it's not so easy. You have to decide for yourself by whats important for you.

Therefore i made a list!

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Last edited by Burrito78 on 2020-01-13, 16:26. Edited 15 times in total.

Reply 1 of 56, by fitzpatr

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That's a good summary of everything. Good work!

My only question is: where did you get your information for the CT1730? I've not even found proof of its existence.

Unless we're talking about one of the CT1740s with the sticker on the back that says CT1730...

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Reply 2 of 56, by firage

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I don't think the Vibra ringing warrants the red color, if the other side of the DMA bug coin is marked yellow. Maybe the worst offenders get annoying, but it's very subtle on mine.

And what's this clipping issue? The one I know of is present with the CT2504 Vibra cards, but never heard it on the CT2940 (CT2502). Is there a better test than the Skyroads explosions we've looked at before?

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Reply 3 of 56, by Burrito78

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Thanks!

Deleted the CT1730 because i couldn't even find a picture of it! Got the information about the card from Amoretro.
Changed Vibra ringing bug to yellow, as suggested.

I bought and used a CT2940 for a week but couldn't stand the clipping/distortion. You can adjust one individual game, but some games are just loud and there can't be done anything about it.
Therefore i assume that CT2502 and CT2504 are both affected by this.

My go-to test is Epic Pinball. Adjust the volume above 50% and you get distortion in both PCM and OPL3 - the music on the end screen (scrolling text) is very loud especially.

Reply 4 of 56, by appiah4

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firage wrote:

I don't think the Vibra ringing warrants the red color, if the other side of the DMA bug coin is marked yellow. Maybe the worst offenders get annoying, but it's very subtle on mine.

And what's this clipping issue? The one I know of is present with the CT2504 Vibra cards, but never heard it on the CT2940 (CT2502). Is there a better test than the Skyroads explosions we've looked at before?

Agreed, it does not warrant a red flag IMO, not all Vibra chipsets seem to have this as bad. Conventional wisdom says my CT2890 (Vibra16S) with OPL should be worse than my CT2290 but it does indeed have less noise and I don't hear much ringing noise if at all from it, it has a much lower noise floor too.. I use the CT2290 because everybody is all like OMG IT'S GREAT but if I had my way (why I don't, I do not know) I would use the CT2890 any day..

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Reply 5 of 56, by firage

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Burrito78 wrote:

I bought and used a CT2940 for a week but couldn't stand the clipping/distortion. You can adjust one individual game, but some games are just loud and there can't be done anything about it.
Therefore i assume that CT2502 and CT2504 are both affected by this.

My go-to test is Epic Pinball. Adjust the volume above 50% and you get distortion in both PCM and OPL3 - the music on the end screen (scrolling text) is very loud especially.

Some propensity to distort at high volume settings is no worse than a bit of a hassle; just fix your mixer adjustments. The CT2504 cards are legitimately problematic because they seem to be hardwired to clip before the mixer - spots such as the Skyroads explosion effect can't be configured away.

My Big Red Switch 486

Reply 6 of 56, by Burrito78

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firage wrote:
Burrito78 wrote:

I bought and used a CT2940 for a week but couldn't stand the clipping/distortion. You can adjust one individual game, but some games are just loud and there can't be done anything about it.
Therefore i assume that CT2502 and CT2504 are both affected by this.

My go-to test is Epic Pinball. Adjust the volume above 50% and you get distortion in both PCM and OPL3 - the music on the end screen (scrolling text) is very loud especially.

Some propensity to distort at high volume settings is no worse than a bit of a hassle; just fix your mixer adjustments. The CT2504 cards are legitimately problematic because they seem to be hardwired to clip before the mixer - spots such as the Skyroads explosion effect can't be configured away.

By "adjust the volume above 50%" i meant in the game settings!
The Epic Pinball clipping also can't be avoided by sound blaster mixer adjustments - it's always happening with CT2940 (using the CT2502 dsp chip) and never happening with non-Vibra cards.

Reply 7 of 56, by dionb

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Came across one more SB16 I don't see listed here: the CT2840.

Looking at it, it has a CT1747 OPL3 and Wavetable header. I can't make out the 1703 version though...

Reply 10 of 56, by Burrito78

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Thanks for the feedback!

Added CT2840. The wavetable header you are seeing is most likely the IDE port on this card though. There is currently one on eBay if you want to check it out!

Added both CT4170 and CT4180 because it made sense even if they aren't CT2xxx cards and have CQM. What we don't know about the CT4170 is if it's also clipping in problematic (loud) games. Its the latest Vibra chip so they could have fixed the issue. Can someone check this out using Epic Pinball (set sound and music volume to highest settings in the game, mixer settings don't matter. Should clip pretty heavy by then.).

Reply 11 of 56, by dionb

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Quick rummage in my box turned up 2x CT4170. Finding time for a test will be challenging (perfect storm of family, work and studying for an exam next week too...) but will try asap.

Reply 13 of 56, by appiah4

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dionb wrote:

Quick rummage in my box turned up 2x CT4170. Finding time for a test will be challenging (perfect storm of family, work and studying for an exam next week too...) but will try asap.

I also have 2 CT4170s, one earler model with black jacks, and one later model with colored jacks. I have no time to test them at the moment, but hope to get around to it in the next month or so.

I did, however, test them upon purchase, and I thought they sounded like the cleanest and most pleasing SB16s I had tried to date, even better than CT2290 (without going into CQM vs OPL3 etc.)

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Reply 15 of 56, by dionb

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Bit of a bump, but got around to trying out that CT4170. Unfortunately no results - I'm having major PnP issues with it (as always...). Address is OK, IRQ is a pain, however I can force it to 7 which is usable, but DMA is a mess. According to Win98SE it has 1 and 3, and no matter what I mess around with, I can only choose 0 to 3, never any high DMA for one of the two. Result is that pure AdLib-compatible FM synthesis works, but anything over that fails due to non-working DMA. Any suggestions?

Reply 17 of 56, by dionb

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Bumping again, just to get this one higher in the list - spent far too long finding it.

I recently got my hands on more Soundblasters than I know what to do with (CT2910, CT2950, CT3900 - and still eight more cases to open...) and want to figure out what to use, what to keep and what to sell/give away. Unfortunately reconfirmed that my ideal SB16 doesn't exist (no PnP, CQM, no Vibra artefacts and low own noise), although the CT2910 comes closest. Note that there seems to be an error in the diagram - the CT2910 is listed as PnP, but my 2910 is bristling with non-PnP jumpers.

Reply 18 of 56, by Salient

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fitzpatr wrote:

That's a good summary of everything. Good work!

My only question is: where did you get your information for the CT1730? I've not even found proof of its existence.

Unless we're talking about one of the CT1740s with the sticker on the back that says CT1730...

I believe I saw one of these on Ebay a couple of days ago. I was suprised as well since I always thought the CT1740 was the earliest model of the SB16.

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Reply 19 of 56, by jesolo

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dionb wrote:

Bumping again, just to get this one higher in the list - spent far too long finding it.

I recently got my hands on more Soundblasters than I know what to do with (CT2910, CT2950, CT3900 - and still eight more cases to open...) and want to figure out what to use, what to keep and what to sell/give away. Unfortunately reconfirmed that my ideal SB16 doesn't exist (no PnP, CQM, no Vibra artefacts and low own noise), although the CT2910 comes closest. Note that there seems to be an error in the diagram - the CT2910 is listed as PnP, but my 2910 is bristling with non-PnP jumpers.

CT2230 (one of the later revisions with the "less noisier" CT-1703 DAC). Here is a review of this particular model:
My Sound Blaster 16 CT2230 Review