Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

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

Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-2-11 @ 02:28

I've seen a few posts about this card around here over the years but very little information, recordings or other notes about them. It might be helpful if we compile any known links, files or other information about these cards here. I'll start off with pictures of my card. I got this one in a scrap lot, which is why it is missing the rear bracket. Surprisingly I also found driver disks being sold online around the same time, so I grabbed those too.

0209192318c (1920x1440).jpg


Here is a Google Drive link to the contents of these disks.

If someone could have this uploaded to Vogons drivers that might be helpful. I did notice that the installers are a bit picky about the location and the environment in which they are installed, so you may need to copy them to a specific directory to get them to work properly. For example, I think the contents of the installation disk need to be extracted at the root of the drive.

Here is a gallery link for high res images (zoom in all the way to load the highest resolution version).

So far, the installation media appears to "work" but I have yet to get the card working. The system I have it installed in is probably just too new or fast for the card (it is a Pentium 2 450Mhz). The problem I have is that the DOS driver installs but whenever it attempts to test the card it says it is not physically installed in the system, even though all of the other parts of the installation appear to work. The Windows driver also attempts to load but it says it cannot find any of the card's components at any of the interrupts specified.

I can totally rule out system speed by testing this in the 386sx I just finished putting together. I will report back here once I've tested this.

In the mean time, if anyone has any useful ARIA related links, threads, files, repositories, FTPs, articles or anecdotes, please post them here! A list of games\applications that natively support the ARIA's proprietary MIDI functionality would be most helpful too.

The Sierra Semiconductor ARIA16 is a pretty odd soundcard chipset that evidently requires a lot of direct software support and isn't universally compatible with MPU-401 MIDI or FM (OPL2\3) music. I guess even SoundBlaster digital playback requires some extra software. In this way it reminds me of the Gravis Ultrasound. Once I can get mine working I hope to learn more about it and whether it is worth using in a retro PC or if it is better left as a neat collectors item in a box somewhere. :)

Interesting things I've noted about this particular card:

*It has sockets for more memory, where as some versions just have empty solder points.

*There are absolutely NO jumpers or DIP switches on this, which is very different from the rarer Diamond Sonic Pro Aria16 card.

Also, here is an FTP link with some extra files for this card (I don't believe most of these are Diamond specific, despite their location).
Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401
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Re: Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-2-11 @ 03:51

Awesome. Would it be possible to have you get RAW images of the disks?

RawWrite works great.
http://www.chrysocome.net/rawwrite

There were two different revisions of these cards.

One with jumpers and one without.

If you look at the FAQs in the other thread I started about the SSDK and LSDK, you can see exactly what the differences are.
https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=60634

I really need to get my ARIA 16 web page I have planned going.
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Re: Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-2-11 @ 04:13

I've tried copying the disks with winimage and I just tried rawwrite but in either program the installation disk gives a read error at 53% and quits. Rawwrite says "Read failed error = 1785 (The disk media is not recognized. It may not be formatted.)". I get no read errors when installing from the disk and they all copied normally, so maybe there's an empty area of the disk that is actually bad which causes an issue when creating a disk image but doesn't cause issues when just reading the files from the disk. I tried with my Lacie USB floppy in Windows 10 and in Windows 98SE with a normal floppy drive. Same error in the same exact place on both systems with two different disks (one at 53% one at 48%).

I guess I could try just copying the contents to a disk and making an image of that, if that would suffice. Otherwise, if there's a way to "force" a program to keep going even with errors, that'd probably be fine too.
Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401
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Re: Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby cyclone3d » 2019-2-11 @ 04:18

Ah, ok, don't worry about it then. Glad all the files copied off fine.
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Re: Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2019-2-11 @ 04:35

No problem. I really wanted to have disk images, since I don't think these particular disks have been imaged online before and I don't think I've ever seen pictures of them on any retro enthusiast sites either. Unless someone knows of a way to copy a disk 100% as-is, forcing the system to ignore errors, we'll probably just have to make due with the copied files.

If someone would like to rearrange the files from the .zip and test them so that they can more easily just be extracted and used, feel free. My card isn't working yet and without a system running Windows 3.11 to fully test all of the applications I don't have the best setup (or the time at the moment) to get the drivers all in order in the zip. They seem to work, its just a bit sloppy, requiring some trial and error.

You know... funny thing is, the disks have about ~780,000 bytes of data on them, which is about 54% of the capacity of the disk. Since they both stop at 53%, I think the image reading applications are having issues with the blank space on these disks for some reason.

EDIT: By the way, I just randomly did a google search for one of the file names mentioned in the Aria Support List and found this:
https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/13004
Doesn't seem to be any want to download it, but maybe someone could be contacted if this stuff can't be found elsewhere?
Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401
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Re: Prometheus ARIA16 Sound Card

Postby bristlehog » 2019-2-12 @ 08:29

*) ARIA drivers are on Vogonsdrivers, under the names of Prometheus ARIA16 and Diamond Sonic Sound, Diamond Sonic Sound package #2 respectively.

*) Uploaded your floppy disks to Vogonsdrivers: here.

*) There is ARIA support in widespread middleware sound libraries: AIL 2.0, AIL/32, DIGPAK/MIDPAK (for MIDI and digital) and HMI SOS (only digital). Miles Sound System has dropped ARIA support, unfortunately; same with protected mode DIGPAK/MIDPAK versions.

Thus, list of games with ARIA support is huge, I think hundreds of titles.

Look here for AIL 2, AIL/32 and MIDPAK games. Note that AIL/16, SoundLib and Miles SS have no ARIA support.

Note that it's not guaranteed that all of mentioned games have out-of-the-box support. But with high probability you can add such support to any game using AIL 2.0 or AIL/32. What you need is ariadig.adv, ariaxmid.adv and a32ardg.dll, a32arxm.dll respectively.

List of DIGPAK/MIDPAK games is here. Same applies: not every game in this list does support ARIA out of the box.

*) PX Player supports ARIA for MIDI and XMI playback. I tested it myself with my Prometheus ARIA16.

*) There are versions with 512K ROM and 1024K (though I have never seen one). Your version has 512K, hence the empty ROM socket.

*) Some of the games supporting ARIA out of the box:

Terminal Velocity (DIGPAK)
TES: Arena (AIL 2)
TES: Daggerfall (SOS)
Carmageddon (SOS)
KKND (SOS)
SimCity 2000 (AIL/32)
Witchaven (SOS)

*)
Ozzuneoj wrote:Doesn't seem to be any want to download it, but maybe someone could be contacted if this stuff can't be found elsewhere?


These AIL 2 driver files are available with PX Player and from other sources too.
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