VOGONS


First post, by Ozzuneoj

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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.

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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

Reply 1 of 18, by cyclone3d

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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.
Searching for SSDK and LSDK fro ARIA 16

I really need to get my ARIA 16 web page I have planned going.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 2 of 18, by Ozzuneoj

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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

Reply 3 of 18, by cyclone3d

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Ah, ok, don't worry about it then. Glad all the files copied off fine.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 4 of 18, by Ozzuneoj

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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 way to download it, but maybe someone could be contacted if this stuff can't be found elsewhere?

Last edited by Ozzuneoj on 2019-03-23, 17:37. Edited 1 time in total.

Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

Reply 5 of 18, by bristlehog

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*) 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.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 6 of 18, by Ozzuneoj

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Small update. I made a bit of progress with this card but not much. For some reason the disks I had do not have any of the .bnk files required by the "playmidi" application to play back midi files. Using an already-extracted installation of aria drivers I found online, I was able to get the card sort-of-working on my 386sx system. It will play midi files with the aria\utils\playmidi.exe application. They sound absolutely horrible though. On most tracks the music is extremely quiet and the percussion is really loud.

Sadly, my 386 isn't fast enough to play any aria-supported games, so I tried it again on my 450Mhz PIII tester system, and sure enough, it all seems to work but I get no music with playmidi. I have basically confirmed that the card is speed sensitive though, because I disabled L1 and L2 cache on this system and playmidi does work (still sounds horrid though). I tried playing Arena with the aria chosen for music and effects but I get no sound with the system at full speed or with caches disabled, so I don't know what the problem is there, but with playmidi at least it requires something far slower than a P3.

It's starting to look like I really should finally put together a 486 system (with Windows 3.11 too) to test these picky early-90s cards.

Also, I've attached the driver zip I found online. I got it from one of the popular driver download sites. The file dates seem to be several months newer than the ones on my installation disks.

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    Aria.zip
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Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

Reply 7 of 18, by dionb

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Bump.

Got my hands on a Prometheus Aria too. Was wondering if you'd gotten it completely working on that 486...

I'm trying it out in a Cx5x86-120 system and SB is working fine, AdLib is working as designed (hilariously awful), but despite everything in diag checking out for GM on P330 I9, I can't get any MIDI output at all. Doesn't make sense as it runs AdLib through the MIDI engine, so it must be working internally.

I'm using the drivers in the Aria16 directory in this collection btw:
http://vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=7 … &menustate=36,0
(which will only install from root of A:, not a subdir...)

Reply 8 of 18, by bristlehog

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You can't get General MIDI out of 330 port? As far as I remember, ARIA cards are not compatible with General MIDI way of operation via port 330. They just have ROM bank compatibility with GM standard, but there must be separate ARIA support via software.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 9 of 18, by dionb

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They certainly don't have hardware MPU-401, and the Aria FAQ states that a driver is needed - but I'm loading the driver here - isn't that what the driver explicitly does when it reserves 0x330 and IRQ 2/9 for General MIDI?

Reply 10 of 18, by cyclone3d

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Looking at a sealed boxed Aria 16 right now and as far as a MIDI port the box says:

Supports Sound Standards:
MPU-401 UART Mode

Compatible Accessories:
MIDI Keyboard

So yeah, it should definitely have MIDI out/in via the joystick port.

What joystick port to MIDI adapter are you using?

Pics?

Here is all the ARIA 16 stuff I have been able to dig up over the past couple years:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dCzwHGrLefj … IfSVE6UPvidV1ta

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 12 of 18, by cyclone3d

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Ah.. ok, yeah I think it should just work.

Do you have the version with jumpers or without jumpers?

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 13 of 18, by dionb

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cyclone3d wrote:

Ah.. ok, yeah I think it should just work.

Do you have the version with jumpers or without jumpers?

full.jpg
No jumpers unfortunately. Software setup, which sets MIDI to IRQ 2/9 Addr 330 - both of which pass verification tests (and work if I hook up an external MIDI device).

Reply 14 of 18, by boxpressed

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I finally had a chance to test my card. I started off with a 386SX-33 build and used bristlehog's install disk from vogonsdrivers (that I think came from the thread OP's set of disks). The install process seemed to work and arrived at the diagnostics part. Then it crashed. The process had created the ARIA directory and subdirectories. However, there were lots of weird ASCII characters for filenames in the subdirectories.

I tried again with my trusty 486SX-66 system, and the install process got to the diagnostics screen, which did not detect an Aria card. I noticed that the connector had a lot of corrosion across a number of pins and hit it with some Deoxit. That did the trick.

I tried the shareware version of Terminal Velocity, and it sounded really good. I tested the MIDI with the PLAYMIDI app and Grabbag, and it sounded fine. Nothing to write home about, but at least it works.

I'd like to find a game that natively supports the GM but don't know if one exists.

Reply 15 of 18, by bristlehog

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boxpressed wrote on 2020-05-02, 21:39:

I'd like to find a game that natively supports the GM but don't know if one exists.

Try these:

Elder Scrolls: Arena
Lords of the Realm
Sim City 2000

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 16 of 18, by boxpressed

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bristlehog wrote on 2020-05-03, 14:04:
Try these: […]
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Try these:

Elder Scrolls: Arena
Lords of the Realm
Sim City 2000

Thanks, bristlehog. I'm finding it more challenging than I'd thought to find versions of these games with DOS installers. I managed to install a version of Arena that came with DOSbox and then just used the files in the Arena folder. It started up with what sounded like FM music (good, though), but I didn't see how to change the audio settings.

Reply 17 of 18, by bristlehog

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Either use INSTALL.EXE, or put this into your ARENA.BAT:

@A -sariadig.adv -mariaxmid.adv

Also, look here or there for a more extensive list of games with native ARIA support.

More or less comprehensive list of ARIA supporting games:

Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse
Capitalism Deluxe
Darkhalf
Dark Queen of Krynn
Dark Sun
Dark Sun II: Wake of the Ravager
Destination: Mars!
DinosaurAdventure3D
Dune 2
Fantasy Empires
Freddy Pharkas
Frontier Pharmacist
Gabriel Knight: The Sins Of The Fathers
Gateworld
Jonny Quest
Kasparov's Gambit
King's Quest VI
Leisure Suit Larry VI
Lords of the Realm
Master of Orion
Menzoberranzan
Metal & Lace: The Battle Of The Robo Babes
Monopoly Deluxe
Panzer General
Pickle Wars
Police Quest IV
Quarter Pole
Quest for Glory III
Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession
Ravenloft II: Stone Prophet
Rebel Assault
Return to Zork
Road To Baghdad
SealTeam
SimCity 2000
SimCity Classic 2.0
SimFarm
Space Quest V
Strike Commander
Terminator Rampage
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Elder Scrolls: Arena
Ultima V
Ultima VII: The Black Gate
The Seventh Guest
Trump Castle III SVGA
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
Warlords II
When Two World War
World War II

I think you can make virtually any game using AIL 2.0 or AIL/32 work with ARIA by shoving corresponding drivers. However, there's no guarantee you'll like what you hear music-wise, since such games had no ARIA in developers mind when making the soundtrack.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 18 of 18, by boxpressed

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bristlehog wrote on 2020-05-05, 02:02:
Either use INSTALL.EXE, or put this into your ARENA.BAT: […]
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Either use INSTALL.EXE, or put this into your ARENA.BAT:

@A -sariadig.adv -mariaxmid.adv

Also, look here or there for a more extensive list of games with native ARIA support.

More or less comprehensive list of ARIA supporting games:

Thanks again, bristlehog. I still don't quite understand the concept of middleware sound systems like Miles or how to get them to work with certain cards, but that's on the list of stuff to investigate!