Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

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

Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-5-28 @ 14:36

And it has been sooo long since the Port Blaster was maybe released that none of us can remember if we saw it in stores or not.

I have a feeling that it was released as I am pretty sure that I have seen other pictures of it at least besides that one in the one magazine I linked to. The shape of it just looks really, really familiar.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Cloudschatze » 2019-5-28 @ 14:54

Creative scrapped the Port Blaster shortly before it would have launched, purportedly due to incompatibilities between parallel-port implementations. Dave Compton, who worked for Creative Labs at the time, provides additional clarification in a YouTube comment:

Dave Compton wrote:Back in around '93 when I was working for Creative Labs, the Port Blaster (parallel port Sound Blaster) release was cancelled because it turned out not all laptop parallel ports provided power.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-5-28 @ 15:12

Well that is seriously helpful information. Seems like it would have been fairly simple to add an option for external power instead of just cancelling the whole project though.

In any case, while looking up stuff, I cam across a list that includes some parallel port sound devices I had not heard of before:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3216399/
Antex AudioPort - Antex Electronics $389 Parallel 1 lb, 7 oz.
Port-Able Sound Plus - DSP Solutions, Inc. $198 Parallel 1 lb, 13 oz.
Sound Exchange Model B - Interactive $229 Parallel 2 lb., 6 oz.
Audioman - Logitech, Inc. $179 Parallel 13 oz.
Audioport - Video Associates Lab,Inc. $295 Parallel 13 oz.
The Cat - Vocal Tec. $179 Parallel 10 oz.


Also is another list right after that one and the only one that was Sound Blaster compatible was the Port-Able Sound Plus by DSP Solutions.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby tyukok » 2019-5-28 @ 16:23

cyclone3d wrote:In any case, while looking up stuff, I cam across a list that includes some parallel port sound devices I had not heard of before:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3216399/
Antex AudioPort - Antex Electronics $389 Parallel 1 lb, 7 oz.
Port-Able Sound Plus - DSP Solutions, Inc. $198 Parallel 1 lb, 13 oz.
Sound Exchange Model B - Interactive $229 Parallel 2 lb., 6 oz.
Audioman - Logitech, Inc. $179 Parallel 13 oz.
Audioport - Video Associates Lab,Inc. $295 Parallel 13 oz.
The Cat - Vocal Tec. $179 Parallel 10 oz.

Also is another list right after that one and the only one that was Sound Blaster compatible was the Port-Able Sound Plus by DSP Solutions.

Digispeech later rebranded as DSP Solutions. And, as we found out, DigiSpeech Plus is pretty much the exact same thing as Port-Able Sound Plus, just in a different form.

While checking through the articles, I found this: https://books.google.ru/books?id=IfAR4g ... &q&f=false
Apparently Port-Able Sound Plus really is the only parallel port sound device out there that is fully SB-compatible (FM synth and all) and can work with DOS games. Also it can play back in stereo if you connect a pair of speakers to it.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-5-28 @ 16:56

Here is the last working driver and manual download page on the wayback machine for DSP Solutions. Only useful for information and specific file names as everything was stored on an ftp which no longer exists.
http://web.archive.org/web/19980626124640/http://www.dsps.com:80/htmldocs/filelib.html
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Paralel » 2019-5-28 @ 22:08

Cloudschatze wrote:Creative scrapped the Port Blaster shortly before it would have launched, purportedly due to incompatibilities between parallel-port implementations. Dave Compton, who worked for Creative Labs at the time, provides additional clarification in a YouTube comment:

Dave Compton wrote:Back in around '93 when I was working for Creative Labs, the Port Blaster (parallel port Sound Blaster) release was cancelled because it turned out not all laptop parallel ports provided power.

Excellent information! I guess that confirms my suspicion. I guess they thought a power option just wasn't reasonable.

cyclone3d wrote:Well that is seriously helpful information. Seems like it would have been fairly simple to add an option for external power instead of just cancelling the whole project though.

In any case, while looking up stuff, I cam across a list that includes some parallel port sound devices I had not heard of before:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3216399/
Antex AudioPort - Antex Electronics $389 Parallel 1 lb, 7 oz.
Port-Able Sound Plus - DSP Solutions, Inc. $198 Parallel 1 lb, 13 oz.
Sound Exchange Model B - Interactive $229 Parallel 2 lb., 6 oz.
Audioman - Logitech, Inc. $179 Parallel 13 oz.
Audioport - Video Associates Lab,Inc. $295 Parallel 13 oz.
The Cat - Vocal Tec. $179 Parallel 10 oz.


Also is another list right after that one and the only one that was Sound Blaster compatible was the Port-Able Sound Plus by DSP Solutions.

Awesome find! I've never come across this article in all my searching. Very interesting devices. Have to see what information I can dig up about them.

tyukok wrote:While checking through the articles, I found this: https://books.google.com/books?id=IfAR4 ... &q&f=false
Apparently Port-Able Sound Plus really is the only parallel port sound device out there that is fully SB-compatible (FM synth and all) and can work with DOS games. Also it can play back in stereo if you connect a pair of speakers to it.

Seem like that, along with the other article, essentially give us the final word. The Port-Able Sound Plus and the Digispeech Plus, both from DSP Solutions, are the only parallel port sound devices capable of Sound Blaster Compatibility.

Now, we just have to try and figure out a way to make it work with Dos Extenders. I think it may be possible using the NetRoom memory manager from Helix Software Company. It has the most extensive cloaking and DPMI, VCPI, and DPMS compatibility of which I am aware.

Fortunately, I have the final version they released, along with the very last update to it, which was uploaded by someone else on this forum here on Vogons. I'm going to keep testing until I find something that works, or if it all fails, then I'll know for sure it absolutely isn't possible.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby tyukok » 2019-5-28 @ 22:56

I wonder if this device's Sound Blaster emulation driver works like OPL2LPT's TSR driver. Considering how it requires at least 80386 to work, a memory manager like EMM386, and it doesn't work in protected mode, I think this might be the case.
And if it does, maybe a game patcher could also be made.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Paralel » 2019-5-28 @ 23:00

tyukok wrote:I wonder if this device's Sound Blaster emulation driver works like OPL2LPT's TSR driver. Considering how it requires at least 80386 to work and it doesn't work in protected mode, I think this might be the case.
And if it does, maybe a game patcher could also be made.

I think it's likely, but I'm hoping for a more universal solution. I think it is possible with the NetRoom memory manager that a universal solution will be found. I think there will likely be exceptions (Ultima VII, Ultima VII: Serpent Isle, etc... that use very weird or non-standard behaviors). Fortunately the license I have for the cloaking manager is a developer/distribution type, so I can provide copies of it to anyone that wants one as a "Free Product", so no rules or laws will be broken by giving away copies.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Paralel » 2019-5-28 @ 23:13

One thing that puzzles me about the Port Blaster is why Creative thought they could run the device off the parallel port power anyway. You can barely make a SoundJr. run off of it. There is no way the Port Blaster would have run on it.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby tyukok » 2019-5-28 @ 23:42

Paralel wrote:One thing that puzzles me about the Port Blaster is why Creative thought they could run the device off the parallel port power anyway. You can barely make a SoundJr. run off of it. There is no way the Port Blaster would have run on it.

I also think this is strange. It's not that difficult to add power to such a device anyway - just add a barrell jack on board and have an AC adapter as a power supply. This is literally what any other parallel port sound device did.
Maybe they thought it wouldn't perform all that well on market. Which is also odd, because if it really did what was advertised, there would be no competition.


On an unrelated note, I've just checked out of curiosity, and no, Digispeech's SB emulation driver doesn't work with OPL2LPT - it just says that the device does not respond. But I wonder if the reverse would be the same.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Paralel » 2019-5-29 @ 00:09

tyukok wrote:
Paralel wrote:One thing that puzzles me about the Port Blaster is why Creative thought they could run the device off the parallel port power anyway. You can barely make a SoundJr. run off of it. There is no way the Port Blaster would have run on it.

I also think this is strange. It's not that difficult to add power to such a device anyway - just add a barrell jack on board and have an AC adapter as a power supply. This is literally what any other parallel port sound device did.
Maybe they thought it wouldn't perform all that well on market. Which is also odd, because if it really did what was advertised, there would be no competition.


On an unrelated note, I've just checked out of curiosity, and no, Digispeech's SB emulation driver doesn't work with OPL2LPT - it just says that the device does not respond. But I wonder if the reverse would be the same.

I think their through process regarding AC adapter is "If you have a laptop, the last thing you want to need to do is plug something in that will prevent mobility" I think that's why many of them offer the option to run off of batteries of various types (although I can't imagine you get too much life out of them). 6 AA does seem a bit nuts though.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby tyukok » 2019-5-29 @ 00:32

Paralel wrote:I think their through process regarding AC adapter is "If you have a laptop, the last thing you want to need to do is plug something in that will prevent mobility".

That seems to be the case... But the thing is, you'll still need to plug in speakers somewhere too. From the one picture of it that currently exists it doesn't seem like it was to have it's own speaker like DS301.

Maybe something could be done with a PS/2 pass-through cable and a step-up converter that would convert 5VDC, which PS/2 provides, to whatever was necessary to make this thing work?

Also, if they were really trying to make it work entirely from a parallel port, it probably wouldn't need more than 5V anyway, because, from what I know, parallel port is incapable of carrying more than 5V, and even that comes from the data lines, the control lines carry even less than that.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Paralel » 2019-5-29 @ 20:36

I was thinking about it, and I think the patcher that exists will work. Considering the sound blaster emulator needs the TSR, you can't use the Sound blaster function with just a simple patch, but Adlib can be made to work since no emulation software is needed for that. Since the parallel port for the Digispeech Plus is the same address as the OPL2LPT, I don't see why the patch wouldn't work.

The only way to get Soundblaster functionality is to try and get the cloaking system working. As long as a game's DOS extenders comply with DPMI, VCPI, or DPMS standards, it seems like it should work, since those memory interfaces are meant to allow switching into and out of protected mode as needed, at least as far as I know. I will be the first to admit, I am no master of DOS drivers; if there is a master of DOS drivers around here, I'd be happy to collaborate with them, since if we can get this working for the Digispeech Plus SoundBlaster Emulator, we should be able to get it working for the OPL2LPT TSR as well, and in that case, everyone wins. Especially since the Digispeech Plus is no threat to the OPL2LPT project since it is so rare. In fact, I would not be surprised if the ones that were acquired recently were the only NOS Digispeech Plus's left in the world. The only ones I have ever seen mentioned, and that is maybe one of two mentions throughout the entire internet, both temporally and spatially, were used.
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Seen/Heard of a DigiSpeech Plus?

Postby Megadisk » 2019-9-11 @ 18:35

Has anyone tested this unit with a PS/2 model 50Z? I have this setup and while Wolf3d recognizes there is a SB sound option no actual music plays. Any ideas?
-IBM PS/2 Model 50Z
-SX\NOW 20mhz cpu upgrade installed
-2MB MCA ram card
-MCA Game Card.
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