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New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

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Reply 340 of 380, by TechieDude

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truemaster wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:05:

for dos sound awe64 and even better the awaited awe64 legacy for win32 games go aureal vortex 2. and you will never want to hear about sblive. and i have apollo pro 133a aureal is great

I have an AWE32 on one of my DOS rigs, an ALS100 on the other and an SBLive on my Tualeron/V3 Win98 rig, and I'm quite pleased with them. I also have an Audigy 2 on my P4 overkill WinME/2K rig. I would have loved to use an Aureal Vortex 2 in the latter, but sadly I don't have any. Plus, I actually like the SB Live! card, especially EAX and SoundFonts. I am aware of the fact A3D is technically superior to EAX, but EAX was more widely used in 90's games. Also, I'm not at all a fanboy. SB Lives are much easier to find. Having said that, if I ever find an Aureal Vortex 2, I'll happily install it in the overkill PC.

dr_st wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:37:

Yeah, I go to the grocery store about once a week. Sometimes they are out of Mac&Cheese, but the Dell SBLive OEM shelf is always full.

🤣

Reply 341 of 380, by appiah4

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TechieDude wrote on 2020-06-02, 21:17:
I have an AWE32 on one of my DOS rigs, an ALS100 on the other and an SBLive on my Tualeron/V3 Win98 rig, and I'm quite pleased w […]
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truemaster wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:05:

for dos sound awe64 and even better the awaited awe64 legacy for win32 games go aureal vortex 2. and you will never want to hear about sblive. and i have apollo pro 133a aureal is great

I have an AWE32 on one of my DOS rigs, an ALS100 on the other and an SBLive on my Tualeron/V3 Win98 rig, and I'm quite pleased with them. I also have an Audigy 2 on my P4 overkill WinME/2K rig. I would have loved to use an Aureal Vortex 2 in the latter, but sadly I don't have any. Plus, I actually like the SB Live! card, especially EAX and SoundFonts. I am aware of the fact A3D is technically superior to EAX, but EAX was more widely used in 90's games. Also, I'm not at all a fanboy. SB Lives are much easier to find. Having said that, if I ever find an Aureal Vortex 2, I'll happily install it in the overkill PC.

dr_st wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:37:

Yeah, I go to the grocery store about once a week. Sometimes they are out of Mac&Cheese, but the Dell SBLive OEM shelf is always full.

🤣

Trust me you wouldn't want a Vortex2 in a PC with Windows 2000.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 344 of 380, by dr_st

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truemaster wrote on 2020-06-03, 07:06:

truth to be told aureal and a3d is win9x thing. there no (good) drivers for nt os family.

Not even XP?

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Reply 346 of 380, by RayeR

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I appreciate the attempt of making better AWE64 clone as there's not much homemade x86 HW projects on scene. Someone crying for destroying original cards - I agree there are quite plenty of them yet, nothing rare. Thousand times more ended in scrap for metals recycling or trashed on a dump so those who are crying could went around scrap companies and save some. BTW the chips from original AWE can be extracted with hot air/IR carefully to not destroy the original PCB that could be preserved and one day where no one original AWE64 left it could be restored by soldering the chips back 😀 I would just avoid the lasering of chip marking...

Gigabyte GA-P67-DS3-B3, Core i7-2600K @4,5GHz, 4GB DDR3, 128GB SSD, GF7900GT, SB Audigy + YMF724F + DreamBlaster combo

Reply 347 of 380, by hard1k

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Laser marking was done on one chip just for fun, we don't plan to offer it to the public.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 348 of 380, by mothergoose729

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TechieDude wrote on 2020-06-02, 21:17:
I have an AWE32 on one of my DOS rigs, an ALS100 on the other and an SBLive on my Tualeron/V3 Win98 rig, and I'm quite pleased w […]
Show full quote
truemaster wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:05:

for dos sound awe64 and even better the awaited awe64 legacy for win32 games go aureal vortex 2. and you will never want to hear about sblive. and i have apollo pro 133a aureal is great

I have an AWE32 on one of my DOS rigs, an ALS100 on the other and an SBLive on my Tualeron/V3 Win98 rig, and I'm quite pleased with them. I also have an Audigy 2 on my P4 overkill WinME/2K rig. I would have loved to use an Aureal Vortex 2 in the latter, but sadly I don't have any. Plus, I actually like the SB Live! card, especially EAX and SoundFonts. I am aware of the fact A3D is technically superior to EAX, but EAX was more widely used in 90's games. Also, I'm not at all a fanboy. SB Lives are much easier to find. Having said that, if I ever find an Aureal Vortex 2, I'll happily install it in the overkill PC.

dr_st wrote on 2020-06-02, 16:37:

Yeah, I go to the grocery store about once a week. Sometimes they are out of Mac&Cheese, but the Dell SBLive OEM shelf is always full.

🤣

I have a vortex 2. It's neat, but super overrated. There are three games I have tried where the vortex 2 is actually better than EAX or just standard windows sound, and even in these cases each comes with some pretty serious caveats.

1. Half Life 1 has more effects enabled in A3D 2.0 that is pretty nice. For example, added 3D spacial audio on some intercoms and additional atmospheric sound effects in some rooms. Unfortunately a lot of cards, including mine, have really muffled audio that more than negates any of the benefits. Also, for me at least, it was a pain in the ass to get working. EAX is easier and nearly just as good. ALsoft with HRFT mods for half life source are way better than either.
2. Quake III on a very specific patch has A3D 2.0 support and it is phenomenal. This is really the showcase game for A3D 2.0 IMO. Alternatively, you can also download a quake III source port that is better in literally every way.
3. Painkiller has a bunch of really cool effects but it is very poorly optimized and the framerate tanks with all of them enabled.

I have played other games, like Unreal Gold and American McGee's Alice that support both A3D 2.0 and EAX 2.0, and to me they sound basically the same. Not great by modern standards but neat to see in games of that era. Even if A3D 2.0 is a technically superior API, few games made full use of it. The performance cost at the time was prohibitively expensive.

My audigy 2 zs , on the other hand, was 20$. There is no comparison, it sounds miles better than my vortex 2. The output is way crisper and cleaner. It also supports digital CD audio, and it has drivers for more than one version of windows.

Reply 349 of 380, by TechieDude

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2020-06-09, 08:01:
I have a vortex 2. It's neat, but super overrated. There are three games I have tried where the vortex 2 is actually better than […]
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I have a vortex 2. It's neat, but super overrated. There are three games I have tried where the vortex 2 is actually better than EAX or just standard windows sound, and even in these cases each comes with some pretty serious caveats.

1. Half Life 1 has more effects enabled in A3D 2.0 that is pretty nice. For example, added 3D spacial audio on some intercoms and additional atmospheric sound effects in some rooms. Unfortunately a lot of cards, including mine, have really muffled audio that more than negates any of the benefits. Also, for me at least, it was a pain in the ass to get working. EAX is easier and nearly just as good. ALsoft with HRFT mods for half life source are way better than either.
2. Quake III on a very specific patch has A3D 2.0 support and it is phenomenal. This is really the showcase game for A3D 2.0 IMO. Alternatively, you can also download a quake III source port that is better in literally every way.
3. Painkiller has a bunch of really cool effects but it is very poorly optimized and the framerate tanks with all of them enabled.

I have played other games, like Unreal Gold and American McGee's Alice that support both A3D 2.0 and EAX 2.0, and to me they sound basically the same. Not great by modern standards but neat to see in games of that era. Even if A3D 2.0 is a technically superior API, few games made full use of it. The performance cost at the time was prohibitively expensive.

My audigy 2 zs , on the other hand, was 20$. There is no comparison, it sounds miles better than my vortex 2. The output is way crisper and cleaner. It also supports digital CD audio, and it has drivers for more than one version of windows.

Not all Vortex2's are equal. Unlike Creative, Aureal sold the chips to other manufacturers, so anyone could make them. As a result, some Vortex2 cards sounded like total shit, because manufacturers cut corners on output circuitry, and others sounded phenomenal, because they didn't. Probably even better than Audigy 2ZS sometimes.

Reply 350 of 380, by kolderman

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TechieDude wrote on 2020-06-09, 12:37:

Not all Vortex2's are equal. Unlike Creative, Aureal sold the chips to other manufacturers, so anyone could make them. As a result, some Vortex2 cards sounded like total shit, because manufacturers cut corners on output circuitry, and others sounded phenomenal, because they didn't. Probably even better than Audigy 2ZS sometimes.

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

Reply 351 of 380, by TechieDude

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 19:19:

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

I was referring to analog output, which if done properly, can sound just fine.

Reply 352 of 380, by kolderman

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TechieDude wrote on 2020-06-09, 20:17:
kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 19:19:

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

I was referring to analog output, which if done properly, can sound just fine.

And if not done properly will still sound totally fine if they have SPDIF output 😉

Reply 353 of 380, by 640K!enough

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 19:19:

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

Are we really back to the old myth that a card has to have S/PDIF output in order to produce clean output? At some point between the computer's bus and your ears, the samples must be converted to analogue form. What is so special about S/PDIF output that makes it a requirement for decent sound? I can guarantee that you will find quite a number of S/PDIF decoder units that use cheap DACs and poorly-designed output stages, resulting in sound far inferior to a well-considered design on a card's analogue stage (compared to a Turtle Beach MultiSound or Roland RAP-10, for instance, which were pre-1998). The mere existence of a S/PDIF output does not guarantee quality audio.

You also state that S/PDIF output "should be a given for this generation of sound cards". What proportion of cards in mid-1998 to 1999 had built-in S/PDIF output? What proportion of those didn't also process the audio through an on-chip analogue stage and/or mixer, before running it through another ADC, then onto the serial output for the S/PDIF connector? On a poorly-designed card (and there were many of them), each of these points offers the potential for noise to get into the signal. Once mixed in with the rest of the audio and run through the ADC (not necessarily in that order), you'll get the same noise right out your fancy decoder. With a cheap decoder, there is an even greater chance for noise ingress.

Reply 354 of 380, by kolderman

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640K!enough wrote on 2020-06-09, 20:41:
kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 19:19:

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

Are we really back to the old myth that a card has to have S/PDIF output in order to produce clean output? At some point between the computer's bus and your ears, the samples must be converted to analogue form. What is so special about S/PDIF output that makes it a requirement for decent sound? I can guarantee that you will find quite a number of S/PDIF decoder units that use cheap DACs and poorly-designed output stages, resulting in sound far inferior to a well-considered design on a card's analogue stage (compared to a Turtle Beach MultiSound or Roland RAP-10, for instance, which were pre-1998). The mere existence of a S/PDIF output does not guarantee quality audio.

You also state that S/PDIF output "should be a given for this generation of sound cards". What proportion of cards in mid-1998 to 1999 had built-in S/PDIF output? What proportion of those didn't also process the audio through an on-chip analogue stage and/or mixer, before running it through another ADC, then onto the serial output for the S/PDIF connector? On a poorly-designed card (and there were many of them), each of these points offers the potential for noise to get into the signal. Once mixed in with the rest of the audio and run through the ADC (not necessarily in that order), you'll get the same noise right out your fancy decoder. With a cheap decoder, there is an even greater chance for noise ingress.

I wasn't saying that you *need* SPDIF for good sound. My AWE64 Gold agrees with that sentiment.

I was simply responding to this:

> As a result, some Vortex2 cards sounded like total shit, because manufacturers cut corners on output circuitry

And making the point that it's the lack of SPDIF that exposes you to poor or degraded analog circuitry - yes some is fine but with SPDIF you don't even have to think about it.

And most highly integrated PCI sound chipsets I know of do not resample DACed sound to produce SPDIF, e.g. SB Live, Vortex2. The Live did resample/downsample resulting in loss of precision, and issue that went up all the way to Audigy2, but that is a different issue.

Reply 355 of 380, by darry

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 20:53:
I wasn't saying that you *need* SPDIF for good sound. My AWE64 Gold agrees with that sentiment. […]
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640K!enough wrote on 2020-06-09, 20:41:
kolderman wrote on 2020-06-09, 19:19:

They sound like shit because they don't have SPDIF output, which should be a given for this generation of sound cards.

Are we really back to the old myth that a card has to have S/PDIF output in order to produce clean output? At some point between the computer's bus and your ears, the samples must be converted to analogue form. What is so special about S/PDIF output that makes it a requirement for decent sound? I can guarantee that you will find quite a number of S/PDIF decoder units that use cheap DACs and poorly-designed output stages, resulting in sound far inferior to a well-considered design on a card's analogue stage (compared to a Turtle Beach MultiSound or Roland RAP-10, for instance, which were pre-1998). The mere existence of a S/PDIF output does not guarantee quality audio.

You also state that S/PDIF output "should be a given for this generation of sound cards". What proportion of cards in mid-1998 to 1999 had built-in S/PDIF output? What proportion of those didn't also process the audio through an on-chip analogue stage and/or mixer, before running it through another ADC, then onto the serial output for the S/PDIF connector? On a poorly-designed card (and there were many of them), each of these points offers the potential for noise to get into the signal. Once mixed in with the rest of the audio and run through the ADC (not necessarily in that order), you'll get the same noise right out your fancy decoder. With a cheap decoder, there is an even greater chance for noise ingress.

I wasn't saying that you *need* SPDIF for good sound. My AWE64 Gold agrees with that sentiment.

I was simply responding to this:

> As a result, some Vortex2 cards sounded like total shit, because manufacturers cut corners on output circuitry

And making the point that it's the lack of SPDIF that exposes you to poor or degraded analog circuitry - yes some is fine but with SPDIF you don't even have to think about it.

And most highly integrated PCI sound chipsets I know of do not resample DACed sound to produce SPDIF, e.g. SB Live, Vortex2. The Live did resample/downsample resulting in loss of precision, and issue that went up all the way to Audigy2, but that is a different issue.

According to https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/v4.10/sound/a … figuration.html

 SPDIF output has a copy of the AC97 codec output, unless you use the spdif pcm device, which allows raw data passthru.         

So you can route a raw datastream directly to the SPDIF out , but the actual soundcard WAVE device (AU8830 PCM out, including SB Pro emulation) is actually routed through the AC97 CODEC before being sent to SPDIF . At least, that is my understanding .

Reply 356 of 380, by hard1k

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Hey guys, a quick question: is anybody aware of any game or software that can access OPL3 only at the SB base port (220/240) and not at the classic Adlib port (388)?

We're thinking about adding some circuitry to mirror the OPL3 at SB base port, but unexpectedly haven't found a single game that wouldn't make it through the 388 port. So, if that is the case, then we wouldn't add that unnecessary circuitry to save time, money, efforts and avoid another prototype run.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)

Reply 357 of 380, by jesolo

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hard1k wrote on 2020-06-21, 20:00:

Hey guys, a quick question: is anybody aware of any game or software that can access OPL3 only at the SB base port (220/240) and not at the classic Adlib port (388)?

We're thinking about adding some circuitry to mirror the OPL3 at SB base port, but unexpectedly haven't found a single game that wouldn't make it through the 388 port. So, if that is the case, then we wouldn't add that unnecessary circuitry to save time, money, efforts and avoid another prototype run.

Interesting question.

Speaking purely from an end user perspective, wouldn't that break Adlib compatibility in a game? You would then be required to specifically write an Adlib driver to access the OPL chip via port 388h.

In some games, I remember the music option would actually only have one option for both Adlib & Sound Blaster. Many games, that had a separate music option for Sound Blaster, simply used the Adlib driver.

Not too sure about later games that specifically supported stereo FM synthesis (via the Sound Blaster Pro or later models that used the OPL-3 FM chip), and whether any of those games or software would access the OPL-3 FM chip via the base port address.

Reply 358 of 380, by kolderman

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hard1k wrote on 2020-06-21, 20:00:

Hey guys, a quick question: is anybody aware of any game or software that can access OPL3 only at the SB base port (220/240) and not at the classic Adlib port (388)?

We're thinking about adding some circuitry to mirror the OPL3 at SB base port, but unexpectedly haven't found a single game that wouldn't make it through the 388 port. So, if that is the case, then we wouldn't add that unnecessary circuitry to save time, money, efforts and avoid another prototype run.

I feel like I'm sure ive seen some, that have sound blaster but not adlib in the menu...would have to look....worth investigating.

Reply 359 of 380, by hard1k

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jesolo wrote on 2020-06-21, 20:10:

Speaking purely from an end user perspective, wouldn't that break Adlib compatibility in a game? You would then be required to specifically write an Adlib driver to access the OPL chip via port 388h.

No, we were thinking to put the discrete OPL3 at the SB port address in addition to the standard 388, not instead of it. Just in order to comply better with original SB line, where the FM synth is always both at 388 and the SB base port.

jesolo wrote on 2020-06-21, 20:10:

In some games, I remember the music option would actually only have one option for both Adlib & Sound Blaster. Many games, that had a separate music option for Sound Blaster, simply used the Adlib driver.
Not too sure about later games that specifically supported stereo FM synthesis (via the Sound Blaster Pro or later models that used the OPL-3 FM chip), and whether any of those games or software would access the OPL-3 FM chip via the base port address.

We've just tested Wolf3D, Doom, Dune, Dune 2, Warcraft 2, Another World, Tyrian - all of them used 388 for FM, with no difference if we chose SB or Adlib for music.

kolderman wrote on 2020-06-21, 20:17:

I feel like I'm sure ive seen some, that have sound blaster but not adlib in the menu...would have to look....worth investigating.

Same here! But at the moment of need I just couldn't recall any!
Edit: and even if some game doesn't have Adlib but has SB, that doesn't necessarily mean that it will go to 220/240 for FM, because the FM chip at the 388 is part of SB standard too.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted at Amibay)