Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

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

Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby W Gruffydd » 2018-11-18 @ 01:39

I get no sound in Windows or Windows MS-DOS Mode, using Line-In with either headphones or 2.1 speakers.

AWE64 Gold model CT4390- caps look good, no traces appear to be damaged.
Abit AB-LX6 (440LX chipset)- bottom two ISA slots recognize the AWE64, but top ISA slot next to bottom PCI slot won't detect card. Mobo does everything else I want just fine.
Windows 95 OSR 2.1

Fresh fdisk/format/windows install in this order:
Windows 95 OSR 2.1 (Typical/Default settings. Selected having "Sound, MIDI, or Video Capture Card")
USB supplement
Intel chipset drivers (infinst_3302, version 3.3.0.2 - June 19, 1998)
Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold installation CD (Creative Audio Software, full installation)
Unmuted Line-In Balance in Volume Control

During the CD installation, it requests manual additions to SYSTEM.INI, but after rebooting, everything is present.
Image

Device Manager sees the device just fine:
Image

And reports that everything is working, along with zero conflicts:
Image Image

I've also tested it in MS-DOS mode via Quake 1.06, after setting it up exactly as described in Phil's video. Everything that needs to be checked is checked is in Sound Mixer Control. Quake picks up the card just fine:
Image

I hope I'm missing something obvious.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-11-18 @ 03:08

Lin-IN is for recording. You need to use Line-OUT if you are using an amplifier or Speaker-OUT if you are using headphones or regular speakers.

For the awe64 gold, you want to use the RCA connectors and an adapter for your headphones/speakers.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby W Gruffydd » 2018-11-18 @ 06:16

cyclone3d wrote:Lin-IN is for recording. You need to use Line-OUT if you are using an amplifier or Speaker-OUT if you are using headphones or regular speakers.

For the awe64 gold, you want to use the RCA connectors and an adapter for your headphones/speakers.

Thank you. I looked at the RCA inputs and knew I had nothing to plug into them, saw the microphone symbol jack, and assumed the only remaining jack was the one to use.

I might as well use my blunder for more learning. Why did Creative use RCA plugs? Were they trying to differentiate the AWE64 more from the nearly-identical capabilities of the AWE32? Is there really any measurable--let alone discernible--difference in SNR using gold-plated RCA compared with gold-plated 3.5mm?

What adapter is everyone using, if any?
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby dionb » 2018-11-19 @ 13:00

Creative probably used RCA for marketing purposes, like everything else they did ;)

It wasn't to distinguish between the AWE64 and AWE32, but between the concurrent AWE64 Gold and AWE64 Value.

That said, I vastly prefer RCA to 3.5mm. Theoretical sound quality is the same, but the connector is far less fiddly; 3.5mm has a spring clip inside that degrades with age, leading to dodgy connection. RCA is solid. I'd love to have more cards with RCA connectors. The gold is pure bling-bling however.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-19 @ 13:34

Everything dionb said. I too wish the standard PC sound connector was dual RCA too, the 3.5mm jack oxidizes pretty fast and is too loose for my liking.
1989:A500|+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2-66|8M|GD5428|CT2290|S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|V1|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
2004:K8V-D|3200+|2G|X1950P|SB0350
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby dr_st » 2018-11-19 @ 13:51

The small size is the advantage, though - being able to use the same plug for delivering audio on most desktops/laptops/tablets/phones. The dual RCA would be too cumbersome for all above but the desktops.

I've rarely experienced problems due to 3.5mm jack degradation. Cable degradation (usually internal tears) - sure, and frequently (typically on portable earbuds, but not only). But cables are easy to replace.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-19 @ 14:03

dr_st wrote:The small size is the advantage, though - being able to use the same plug for delivering audio on most desktops/laptops/tablets/phones. The dual RCA would be too cumbersome for all above but the desktops.

I've rarely experienced problems due to 3.5mm jack degradation. Cable degradation (usually internal tears) - sure, and frequently (typically on portable earbuds, but not only). But cables are easy to replace.


I have 40 year old amps that have no oxidation but a good deal of my ISA cards have oxidation in their line in/out ports.. It may have to do with how well things get stored too I guess. You have a point about smaller ports being more convenient on portables though.
1989:A500|+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2-66|8M|GD5428|CT2290|S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|V1|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
2004:K8V-D|3200+|2G|X1950P|SB0350
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-11-19 @ 14:52

W Gruffydd wrote:
cyclone3d wrote:Lin-IN is for recording. You need to use Line-OUT if you are using an amplifier or Speaker-OUT if you are using headphones or regular speakers.

For the awe64 gold, you want to use the RCA connectors and an adapter for your headphones/speakers.

Thank you. I looked at the RCA inputs and knew I had nothing to plug into them, saw the microphone symbol jack, and assumed the only remaining jack was the one to use.

I might as well use my blunder for more learning. Why did Creative use RCA plugs? Were they trying to differentiate the AWE64 more from the nearly-identical capabilities of the AWE32? Is there really any measurable--let alone discernible--difference in SNR using gold-plated RCA compared with gold-plated 3.5mm?

What adapter is everyone using, if any?


The adapter I use is just a dual male RCA to female 3.5mm stereo jack.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby W Gruffydd » 2018-11-20 @ 02:01

cyclone3d wrote:The adapter I use is just a dual male RCA to female 3.5mm stereo jack.

I meant more which brand. I ordered this and this yesterday. For the latter, I'm not sure if the AWE64 Gold RCA jacks are standardly spaced, but for 65 cents, why not? If it works it will be more compact.

Is anyone actually running RCA-equipped speakers?
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-11-20 @ 03:46

The second one is a 2-1 mono plug. Not what you want. -- Edit:.. nevermind... I just looked at the actual listing on monoprice. It is 3.5mm stereo. The picture is very deceptive.

First one should work fine although I am not a big fan of the hard/thick metal mono male ends as they are usually a really tight fit and hard to remove. You will have a great connection though.

Mine is just a super generic one. Pretty sure I ordered it off of eBay from China.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby PARUS » 2018-11-20 @ 19:56

Congratulations! The most difficult puzzle is solved! The history will not forget it!
I add: the connectors must be 100% gold, otherwise the sound will not be clean.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby yawetaG » 2018-11-21 @ 07:15

For the cable, just get a 2x RCA to 3.5 mm stereo plug adapter cable from a reputable source like Thomann. No risk of cables that are wrongly wired internally like with some Chinese cables.

dionb wrote: The gold is pure bling-bling however.


Often a thin layer of gold (sometimes other metals) is used to prevent oxidation of the connectors. So it's not completely useless. BTW, the layer is only a few nanometer thick... The reason you find them more often on more expensive gear is that the coating process makes it more expensive to manufacture parts.

RCA connectors are usually uncoated except for the pin in the middle, and almost all of the second-hand gear that I own that have uncoated RCA connectors has corrosion problems on the outer part of the connector.

Pro-level gear uses 6.3 mm plugs, balanced or unbalanced mono as the left and right channel are separated like with RCA. It's easy the clean the female connectors with an ear-bud imbibed with alcohol...
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby W Gruffydd » 2018-11-26 @ 04:32

My gold-plated connectors kept getting delayed in the mail, so I broke down and bought this from a local brick and mortar store. I doubt it will sound any different from the ones I purchased, but I'll let you know.

Also, I discovered that I didn't need to do anything Phil did in his video to get sound working on AWE64 Gold in Windows 95 MS-DOS mode. The Set Blaster variable was already automatically added, after I installed the Creative Audio Software from this and updated the driver to Rev 12 (the last driver from 1997) via sbw95up.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby W Gruffydd » 2018-12-02 @ 17:41

Small update: this adapter doesn't fit the AWE64 Gold, the male RCA plugs are a bit too far apart. This adapter fits nicely, with just a hairs gap between the RCA plugs when inserted. I haven't compared the sound yet to my overpriced, non-gold version.
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Re: Do I have a bad AWE64 Gold?

Postby borgie83 » 2018-12-02 @ 18:52

W Gruffydd wrote:Small update: this adapter doesn't fit the AWE64 Gold, the male RCA plugs are a bit too far apart. This adapter fits nicely, with just a hairs gap between the RCA plugs when inserted. I haven't compared the sound yet to my overpriced, non-gold version.


Glad I didn't buy that small adapter as I was only looking at it last week but decided against it due to not being sure if it would fit. Now I know lol thanks mate :)
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