New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

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

Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Schyz » 2019-8-23 @ 12:42

appiah4 wrote:What are these options?


You can load Soundfonts on RAM with an SB Live, or even with Falcosoft Midi Player.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby appiah4 » 2019-8-23 @ 12:47

Schyz wrote:
appiah4 wrote:What are these options?


You can load Soundfonts on RAM with an SB Live, or even with Falcosoft Midi Player.


Falcosoft Midi Player can not be used with games, it is not a MIDI driver per se in Windows 98.

SB Live is a PCI card and not an option for 486 VLB systems; moreover it has no FM synthesis.

Neither is a replacement for having soundfont MIDI synthesis on the card.

Believe me I've tried. What you are proposing does not exist.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Schyz » 2019-8-23 @ 13:37

appiah4 wrote:SB Live requires a PCI Slot and has no FM synthesis.


If you want to do soundfonts with only ISA slots, you're right, AWE32/64 is the best(*) option, but that's not the kind of machine I was thinking about when talking about Win9X soundfonts.

About FM, in the text you quoted I wrote after the part in bold "alongside the AWE Legacy", so FM could still be there.

Otherwise, You can choose the preferred MIDI device in Windows, Control Panel -> Multimedia, I never had an issue with this. The tricky part might be DOS games under Win9X, for this I remember that with the Vortex 2 you could choose what midi will be assigned for DOS programs, and I could even assign MIDI from my Audigy using the Vortex 2 control panel, but to be honest, is not a scenario that I've explored in deep, I mostly use DOS mode for DOS games.

(Totally offtopic, I know, but... If you really, really need DOS games under Windows 9X (WinME maybe?), and you can use a more powerful machine than one with just ISA slots, DosBox works in Windows 98. There are even builds of DosBox that can passthrough the FM signal to a real OPL3 on 388h. Even on more modern machines without ISA, there are Dosbox patches to use FM sound directly on a OPL3LPT)

* It's not the best midi card, just the better card between the two we were talking about, AWE and Live.
Last edited by Schyz on 2019-8-28 @ 17:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby ZipoBibrok » 2019-8-23 @ 14:51

Schyz wrote:- Loading soundfonts and emulate GM/GS/MT32 with the AWE drivers doesn't work in protected mode, and it takes ages to load a big one, which has to be done every single time you turn on the machine, and for soundfont use in Windows 9X there are better and cheaper solutions that can work alongside the AWE Legacy. Still, I understand the no-compromises approach of maxing out the RAM.

Has anyone looked at possibility to modifying AWE drivers of games to load custom soundfonts? At least for Duke Nukem 3D and other Apogee games using Apogee Sound System/audiolib it should be doable as the audiolib source is included with game source code and the AWE32 driver is mostly copied from AWE32 developer information pack demo code, using older version of Creative's library that can only load SBK. I've been trying to fiddle around with newer version of the library supporting SF2 too, but don't have enough experience of DOS/hardware programming to get it actually working as there seems to be some timing/memory allocation issues I can't figure out.

Edit: Now it loads a soundfont and plays, wohoo. Sound effects have to be disabled, otherwise hangs on start.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby dr_st » 2019-8-23 @ 15:13

Schyz wrote:I did the survey but I'm not sure if the questions available can reflect my preferences.
...
I understand other people might have some preferences, this is only my opinion.

It almost exactly reflects my preferences as well. :)
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby erek » 2019-8-25 @ 04:06

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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby truemaster » 2019-8-25 @ 09:29

i didnt read everything now this project is amazing. having true olp3 chip will be nice thing, why keep the cqm anyway? also is there a way to make it nonpnp?
also for people with only pci slots but with pc-link on ther mobo is possible a pci awe with pc-pci header? too bad i already ordered a awe64 ct4380
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby the Goat » 2019-8-25 @ 11:16

truemaster wrote:also is there a way to make it nonpnp?

I also think that would be a nice feature. Full physical jumper selection of IRQs, I/Os, DMAs, & component enable/disable
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby 640K!enough » 2019-8-26 @ 03:54

the Goat wrote:
truemaster wrote:also is there a way to make it nonpnp?

I also think that would be a nice feature. Full physical jumper selection of IRQs, I/Os, DMAs, & component enable/disable

This may sound like a nice idea, but wouldn't be the easiest thing to implement, given the lack of documentation for the chips they are using. I suspect they would have to add some sort of programmable logic (MCU, etc.) to the board so that they could support the various options (jumper-based, software-based resource assignment, full ISA Plug-and-Play). It's likely possible, but it depends how badly their eventual customers want the features, how much more they'd be willing to pay for those options, and whether the development team wants to put in that amount of effort and investment.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby appiah4 » 2019-8-26 @ 06:16

What system would actually benefit from a non-pnp card but actually manage to utilize any of the AWE64 or Legacy features? Sounds like a useless tickbox feature to me.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby dr_st » 2019-8-26 @ 06:40

appiah4 wrote:What system would actually benefit from a non-pnp card but actually manage to utilize any of the AWE64 or Legacy features? Sounds like a useless tickbox feature to me.
Agree and it's not even a tickbox feature. It sounds like it would be rather complicated, and detrimental to the project.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby jaZz_KCS » 2019-8-26 @ 10:04

dr_st wrote:
appiah4 wrote:What system would actually benefit from a non-pnp card but actually manage to utilize any of the AWE64 or Legacy features? Sounds like a useless tickbox feature to me.
Agree and it's not even a tickbox feature. It sounds like it would be rather complicated, and detrimental to the project.

It would surely mess up the board layout as it is now, considering the necessity for a shitload of additional jumpers...
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby canthearu » 2019-8-26 @ 10:05

I agree with the others, changing the AWE64 from PnP to non-pnp would be a huge undertaking.

Virtually all of the systems that you would want to put a sound card like this into actually work well enough with plug and play already.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby truemaster » 2019-8-26 @ 10:20

so bad idea. anyway once is confiqured via a pif everything is sweet. what really matters is the real opl chip and that the card will come with max memory. also are the opl chips salvaged from other cards?
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Daniël Oosterhuis » 2019-8-26 @ 12:06

truemaster wrote:so bad idea. anyway once is confiqured via a pif everything is sweet. what really matters is the real opl chip and that the card will come with max memory. also are the opl chips salvaged from other cards?

Likely not, there's still big batches of Yamaha FM chips from Chinese sellers. Just go take a look on AliExpress, lots of OPL2, OPL3, even other chips like the OPN2 from the MegaDrive and so on. Plus, they're far cheaper to get separately in bulk than buying individual cards with OPL3 chips.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Schyz » 2019-8-27 @ 09:59

Plug & Play Sound Blaster should not be a problem, the issue is how difficult was to set it up, but Phils Computer Lab has a couple of fantastic guides that work perfectly:
How to install ISA Plug and Play Sound Blaster in DOS
How to install ISA Plug and Play Sound Blaster in Windows 9x MS-DOS Mode
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Tiido » 2019-8-27 @ 10:02

it isn't really possible to turn a PnP card into non-PnP one, there needs to be a middleman that sits between ISA and the card that does full PnP init to resources needed and it isn't really a trivial process, large CPLD is probably not gonna be able to fit the necessary state machines in it so an FPGA is needed and at that point I wouldn't bother with using original chips at all.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby matze79 » 2019-8-28 @ 08:58

Schyz wrote:
appiah4 wrote:SB Live requires a PCI Slot and has no FM synthesis.


If you want to do soundfonts with only ISA slots, you're right, AWE32/64 is the best option, but that's not the kind of machine I was thinking about when talking about Win9X soundfonts.


Terratec EWS64 XL is superior to AWE in every single point.
Loading Soundfonts for DOS and Win9x is no Problem at all.
Its the Best Card for General MIDI Support.

I would not even Consider a AWE for this purpose.

AWE is clearly designed with 9x in Mind.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby lvader » 2019-8-28 @ 14:45

Yet I have both cards and I have an AWE64 Gold in my DOS machine (with 3 other cards). For Midi purposes I'd use neither of them.
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Re: New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

Postby Schyz » 2019-8-28 @ 17:20

matze79 wrote:Terratec EWS64 XL is superior to AWE in every single point.
Loading Soundfonts for DOS and Win9x is no Problem at all.
Its the Best Card for General MIDI Support.

I would not even Consider a AWE for this purpose.

AWE is clearly designed with 9x in Mind.


I've corrected the text, not that I'm familiar with the Terratec EWS64 XL (I wish I could buy one) but I trust there must be better options outside of Creative when only considering MIDI capabilities.
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