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New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

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Reply 20 of 499, by maxtherabbit

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hard1k wrote:

Exactly. Moreover, we don't expect to build more than 30 cards given their very high overall cost, so it will be a very niche product for those who just think that a regular AWE64 is simply not enough. And very few original cards will get cannibalized on the way, and those will be the cheapest and most common ones - in my book it's a better destiny for them than just get recycled after being stored/listed on some local classifieds for ages.

would you be open to selling bare PCBs for those who want to get dirty with their own AWE64 values? 😀

Reply 21 of 499, by hard1k

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We are considering different options as far as the assembly/packaging goes, so watch out for updates 😀

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
New sound card(s) project(s): Vortex2+YMF744 Tribute
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 22 of 499, by dr_st

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I would definitely like an AWE64 with real OPL3 and a Wavetable header. It would be the perfect DOS / early Windows card.

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Reply 24 of 499, by Great Hierophant

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This looks to be a very promising project, and I have no concerns about sacrificing a few of the non-Gold cards to further it along. Creative made them in vast numbers. I would have preferred an FPGA solution, but this will do.

I would hope you add audio input headers for PC Speaker and CD-ROM. Will you be able to obtain digital output from the OPL3 chipset via the SPDIF header? Ideally a three input digital mixer should be included for AWE, CD and OPL3.

My other concern is for the I/O assignments. If you move the OPL3 port from 0x388-0x38B to 0x398-0x39B, what does that do for its other I/O addresses? A Sound Blaster 16 also allows access at FM Synthesis I/O from 0x220-0x223 (assuming base I/O is set to 0x220) and 0x228-0x229.

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Reply 25 of 499, by 640K!enough

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Great Hierophant wrote:

My other concern is for the I/O assignments. If you move the OPL3 port from 0x388-0x38B to 0x398-0x39B, what does that do for its other I/O addresses? A Sound Blaster 16 also allows access at FM Synthesis I/O from 0x220-0x223 (assuming base I/O is set to 0x220) and 0x228-0x229.

I already mentioned that issue privately. I suppose, since their OPL3 is independent of the Creative chip, they could try to disable the on-chip CQM-based functionality entirely (via the resource map), then re-work their address decoding to direct all relevant addresses to the genuine Yamaha part. This, of course, assumes that there is no other processing of the commands within that Creative chip that they would have to replicate.

EDIT: How did it the older AWE cards integrate the YMF262, via direct support as an external device? Is that functionality no longer present in the chip being used (replaced by the CQM "feature"?)?

Reply 26 of 499, by xjas

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Will you still be able to run the OPL3 through the EMU8k's effects processor? That's one of the highlights of the AWE64 for me. Even the CQM synth really comes alive with some chorus & reverb.

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Reply 28 of 499, by Eep386

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Awesome stuff. I wonder if it would be possible to add an option for a YMF289 (OPL3-L) plus YAC516?

Life isn't long enough to re-enable every hidden option in every BIOS on every board... 🙁

Reply 29 of 499, by gdjacobs

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Following up from Hierophant, instead of the standard Yamaha OPL DAC could you not program a small PLD to convert from OPL output to a standard digital bitstream (I2S or SPDIF for instance) then mix digitally?

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Reply 30 of 499, by H_Rush

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xjas wrote:

Will you still be able to run the OPL3 through the EMU8k's effects processor?

The goal is to have an ability to choose from CQM or OPL for FM synthesis. CQM is active by default, but you can disable or move it to another address if you prefer generic Yamaha OPL3 sound.

Reply 31 of 499, by foil_fresh

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H_Rush wrote:
xjas wrote:

Will you still be able to run the OPL3 through the EMU8k's effects processor?

The goal is to have an ability to choose from CQM or OPL for FM synthesis. CQM is active by default, but you can disable or move it to another address if you prefer generic Yamaha OPL3 sound.

damn. i'll definitely be ordering if this comes to fruition.

you guys are awesome keep it up!

Reply 33 of 499, by PARUS

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hard1k, congratulations! It's really fresh and very substantial idea.
I'm very interested this project if you will solve digital output issue.
There is digital out which uses CT8903/8920's own spdif output pin. This digital out is used on "regular" 4380/4500/4520 boards. It plays only EMU8k+FM, and no wave sound.
And there is separate digital output tract with SPDIF-out transmitter which is used on "gold" 4390/4540 cards. The goal is to play all EMU8k+FM+WAVE. But something made wrong and gold cards can't play all wave sounds via SPDIF out. If you could find solution and make proper connection of proper chips I would like to buy one and will happy with it.

I use AWE card as one of several sound cards in the system and I need no OPL, WT-header and RAM chips. So I can order a lite version with DSP and LINE+SPDIF out only. I usually disable built-in CQM and MPU via Creative driver settings.

Thank you very much!

Reply 34 of 499, by Great Hierophant

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Eep386 wrote:

Awesome stuff. I wonder if it would be possible to add an option for a YMF289 (OPL3-L) plus YAC516?

gdjacobs wrote:

Following up from Hierophant, instead of the standard Yamaha OPL DAC could you not program a small PLD to convert from OPL output to a standard digital bitstream (I2S or SPDIF for instance) then mix digitally?

One benefit to the YMF289 over the YMF262 is that the 289 outputs at 44.1KHz while the 262 outputs at 49.7KHz, The lower sample rate is much more friendly to most S/PDIF inputs than the higher rate. But the output is not always identical due to the resampling.

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Reply 35 of 499, by gdjacobs

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Great Hierophant wrote:

One benefit to the YMF289 over the YMF262 is that the 289 outputs at 44.1KHz while the 262 outputs at 49.7KHz, The lower sample rate is much more friendly to most S/PDIF inputs than the higher rate. But the output is not always identical due to the resampling.

That's actually really handy. Instead of having to interpolate/decimate down to 44.1khz, conversion would just require re-quantization and packing to the specified output format.

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Reply 36 of 499, by PARUS

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Great Hierophant wrote:

I would hope you add audio input headers for PC Speaker and CD-ROM. Will you be able to obtain digital output from the OPL3 chipset via the SPDIF header? Ideally a three input digital mixer should be included for AWE, CD and OPL3.

If you want only take signals from different sources and mix them digitally it is not a problem today already, you can use Live or Audigy.

Great Hierophant wrote:

One benefit to the YMF289 over the YMF262 is that the 289 outputs at 44.1KHz while the 262 outputs at 49.7KHz, The lower sample rate is much more friendly to most S/PDIF inputs than the higher rate.

The main problem is not higher rate but digital format. 262 has proprietary format and it is difficult to make it standard I2S, maybe it's impossible. 289 has a standard I2S.

Great Hierophant wrote:

But the output is not always identical due to the resampling.

🤣 Yesterday you did use dirty noisy analog tracts of regular old ISA cards which bring much more distortions than a good digital processing and you were happy. Nobody said "hey we got not ideally sound processing". And now you want digital mixing/resampling quality and tell about its imperfection. If we use good quality resampling algorithms we get excellent sound quality and no one will hear the difference between the sources and the processed mixed audio output.

hard1k, what about digital output functionality? Will it get WAVE output without limitations? Or you don't know answer yet?

Reply 38 of 499, by ElBrunzy

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Do you need more awe64 value ? I just have one but I would be glad to send it your way if you can transform it into an awe64 legacy. That poor emu8k is virtually useless with only 512kb of ram and your project is ... AWEsome !