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Picking a sound card for a low-end 486

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Reply 81 of 90, by appiah4

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I redid the Doom recording (because I accidentally cut the song short) full version is attached. Also updated the Soundcloud.

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  • Filename
    DOOM CS4232-CS4289.zip
    File size
    3.66 MiB
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    5 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

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

Reply 82 of 90, by appiah4

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Alloyrun and Dune on ES1868 added to playlist: https://soundcloud.com/user-470084971/sets/vi … esis-comparison

It behaves more like OPL3 I suppose but I'm kind of surprised about how thin the bass is.

I will also re-record Dune on CS4232/CS4289 once I'm done with ES1868, apparently I cut the recording short on that one as well. 😵

EDIT: I just had a chance to properly listen to my recordings and wow, the Crystal sound card is attrociously loud, and it seems to pick up some terrible interference/noise from somewhere, it's totally unusable.

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

Reply 83 of 90, by appiah4

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Added Doom and Monkey Island 2 on ES1868 to the Soundcloud Playlist: https://soundcloud.com/user-470084971/sets/vi … esis-comparison

There is some weird ground loop / interference in all the recordings when using this 486.. I ordered an external soundcard, hopefully using that and a laptop for recording will fix the issue.

Anyway, as a last update to the thread, I settled on the OPTi YMF719/OPL3 sound card 😀

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

Reply 84 of 90, by Marmes

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Problem with your cs4232 card is the low quality construction. It uses motherboard oscillator, poor ground and power planes and cheap amp design, if you get a s23 or a Tropez plus, you will notice big difference.

Reply 85 of 90, by gdjacobs

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Marmes wrote:

Problem with your cs4232 card is the low quality construction. It uses motherboard oscillator, poor ground and power planes and cheap amp design, if you get a s23 or a Tropez plus, you will notice big difference.

Just to be clear, the Tropez cards are the epitome of analog design for ISA cards (in my opinion). I don't think you can get better PCM audio from an ISA sound card. However, when it comes to OPL3, both those cards use genuine OPL3 chips, so differences in FM sound are definitely not just down to the quality of the card design.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 86 of 90, by Byrd

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Marmes wrote:
matze79 wrote:

yeah crystal is just fine but... some are bugged as hell.

Cs4235 sucks big time!

Really? I keep reading this, and I recently shoved a ISA Crystal CX4235 into my Toshiba T3200SX luggable laptop - because the card it small, supports SB Pro and it was all I had.

I'm not taking it out. The sound is clean, DOS driver small and effective, and I'm not noticing any sub par performance in games.

Reply 87 of 90, by appiah4

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Marmes wrote:

Problem with your cs4232 card is the low quality construction. It uses motherboard oscillator, poor ground and power planes and cheap amp design, if you get a s23 or a Tropez plus, you will notice big difference.

I have an S23A, but it's a CS4236:

Acer-Magic-S23-A.jpg

And yes, these half card ISA products are usually half assed solutions, but I'll keep it in my collection regardless. Maybe on a higher quality Slot 1 or Socket 370 board they may produce much better sound and less noise. An ancient 486 board is not a great setup for recording from, I find. A LOT of interference inside and it really shows on the cheaper hardware..

Last edited by appiah4 on 2019-08-28, 13:50. Edited 1 time in total.

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

Reply 88 of 90, by matze79

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Marmes wrote:
matze79 wrote:

yeah crystal is just fine but... some are bugged as hell.

Cs4235 sucks big time!

Yeah sucks extrem.

http://ftp.dosreloaded.de/Soundkarten/Crystal … audio%20cs4239/

This one sounds good. Also comes with SoftSynth

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 89 of 90, by appiah4

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OK So I bought a $1 USB sound card to test a hypothesis and turned out right..

The interference/noise in my recordings with certain ISA cards in my 486 system is due to some weird ground loop between the two PCs; and if I use the $1 USB sound card's Mic In as the recording source instead of my ASUS Xonar DG's Line In I get crystal clear sound and recordings.

Here are the YMF719E recordings: https://soundcloud.com/user-470084971/sets/vi … esis-comparison

I removed the noisy CS4289 and ES1868 recordings, and I will re-record them at earliest opportunity.

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

Reply 90 of 90, by Eep386

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ESFM is definitely interesting. It sounds fairly close in most cases, but there are a few 'stand-out' differences:

- The envelope noise effects tend to be MUCH more prominent and slightly harsher than genuine OPL3.
- The tremolo/vibrato LFOs don't seem to oscillate at the same frequency as Yamaha OPL3. Perhaps a minor thing, but it might mean something to some.
- And, of course, a unique distortion which I call the 'banjo effect', which sounds like a flanger effect placed on some sounds. This can cause some rather cool sounding effects in some songs, but can make others (Whlchair.dfm) sound a bit strange.

For its flaws though, I rather like it. It gets most of the basics right at least.

My synthesizer hierarchy: Novachord > DX-7 > YM2151 > YM3812 > CT1747/YMF262/YMF289 > CQM > PC Speaker > AudioPCI "FM" (retch)