VOGONS


First post, by pentiumspeed

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When SB 16 came out it was in 1992 which was still mostly DOS era games, thereby breaking SB Pro 2 backward compatibility and noisy so, what is what Creative's intended market to sell to users for? Windows users? I know most play with this SB 16 models but not optimal: both DOS in mono, and no support SB Pro 2.0 would certainly need for another sound card clone that supports Pro 2.0. This does not make sense, back in the day sound cards were expensive and people with technical knowledge to create dual sound cards to straddle both needs is not easy to find, web was not around in 1992 and Web was very early on back then in 1993 and later.

Thus wouldn't the windows games (3.11 and 95, would certainly support games that use 16 bit audio properly? to justify cost of a SB 16 models? By then when Win 98SE rolled around, need for the SB 16 went away and opens up more choices of non-creative decent sound cards that works well?

Also I'm not familiar what is needed for game and windows to support 16 bit feature? As if Creative "wants" you to buy SB 16 theirs which is not funny.

I have finally figured out what exactly what is needed for my DOS computer game. I'll use either ESS1688, ESS1898 or Aztech 2316R card, last two I have these two cards to choose from.

Back in the day after 1994, I had Sound Blaster 16 MCD with ASP IC installed (CT1750) or something like that, but not sure on model, but 100% sure what I had, MCD with ASP. I can remember that was sounding not quite as clear to what I heard with natural sounds like real life sounds would do, even on 8 bit audio. Since then, motherboards that got integrated audio IC was used for some time (using Athlon XP and P4 when had to upgrade from PII 350 computer).

Thanks all and cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 2 of 17, by Grzyb

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derSammler wrote on 2020-02-16, 09:16:

Also, 16-bit audio at 44 KHz was required to fulfill MPC Level 2.

MPC Level 2 came after SB 16.
Creative didn't release a 16-bit card to satisfy MPC Level 2 - Creative included the 16-bit requirement in MPC Level 2 because they already had matching hardware.

Reply 3 of 17, by derSammler

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Grzyb wrote on 2020-02-16, 09:37:

MPC Level 2 came after SB 16.

Don't be that sure. First, the SB16 was *announced* in mid-1992, not released. Second, while MPC Level 2 was made public in 1993, you can be sure that hardware makers were informed way earlier about it to have hardware ready in time.

In any case, Creative had to go 16-bit anyway.

Reply 4 of 17, by Zup

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

When SB 16 came out it was in 1992 which was still mostly DOS era games, thereby breaking SB Pro 2 backward compatibility

SB16 was almost fully compatible with earlier Sound Blasters, it only extended Sound Blaster capabilities (like SB Pro extended SB 1.0). The only thing that couldn't do was CMS music... that was deprecated since SB 1.5 (had sockets instead of CMS chips).

pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

what is what Creative's intended market to sell to users for? Windows users?

Any home user who cared about better sound quality. Not professional musicians, they got better (better quality and more expensive) cards to choose from. Also, it was an evolution to keep in pace with competitors who were selling other 16 bit "home" sound cards.

pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

I know most play with this SB 16 models but not optimal: both DOS in mono, and no support SB Pro 2.0 would certainly need for another sound card clone that supports Pro 2.0.

Again, I had a SB16 (withous ASP) and alter a SB Awe 64 Gold. I choose SB16 for games that supported them, and SB Pro for games that didn't support them (even going all way down to Adlib sound for very old games). Never had a problem to play games with those cards.

OTOH, the so-called SB 16 PCI (and every PCI card) had many problems with older games.

pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

Also I'm not familiar what is needed for game and windows to support 16 bit feature? As if Creative "wants" you to buy SB 16 theirs which is not funny.

Games would need some routines to output sound to the new card (not too much different to SB Pro and earlier routines), and also 16 bit samples (or upsampling 8 bit samples, but if your game had only 8bit samples I'd use a 8bit output mode). Keep in mind that, in worst case, you could ship a game without 16 bit sound and still would work on SB 16.

Windows would only need an adequate driver (provided either by Microsoft or Creative). Windows is capable or resampling to match the quality/frequency of your output sound card, so no changes in applications would be needed (but still I guess that you could get some CPU cycles more if you avoid to output 16 bit samples to a 8 bit card).

pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

Back in the day after 1994, I had Sound Blaster 16 MCD with ASP IC installed (CT1750) or something like that, but not sure on model, but 100% sure what I had, MCD with ASP. I can remember that was sounding not quite as clear to what I heard with natural sounds like real life sounds would do, even on 8 bit audio.

Marketing mumble. I think that ASP feature was mostly overlooked, and it was supported by few software developers. Also (unless your ASP is actively involved or SB16 DAC was way better than SB Pro) I don't think that a SB16 could enhace sound from 8 bit samples.

pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-02-16, 03:28:

Since then, motherboards that got integrated audio IC was used for some time (using Athlon XP and P4 when had to upgrade from PII 350 computer).

I used Sound Cards up to my actual computer, an AMD Ryzen. Although I believe that integrated sound cards offer all features that common users needs, they suffered from higher CPU usage and worst quality (mostly due to shitty DACs). I've heard some humming coming from speakers (that 50Hz associated with european power) on many computers due to their sound circuits not being properly isolated.

When I bought that Ryzen motherboard, I had to put aside my sound card (because I had no PCI slots, only PCIe) and it sounds fine. I guess that (at some point) integrated sound cards have reached a point where quality is not an issue anymore.

derSammler wrote on 2020-02-16, 09:16:

Also, 16-bit audio at 44 KHz was required to fulfill MPC Level 2.

I guess that MPC2 is another marketing mumble, and the target was selling multimedia packs instead of standalone components (i.e.: suggesting you to buy an entire pack instead of a CD-ROM drive for a computer that already had a sound card installed). Does anybody have seen any program that requires MPC2?

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Reply 5 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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16-bit 44kHz was the requirement for CD audio, which was growing in popularity since late 80s.

and no support SB Pro 2

Lack of proper SB Pro 2 support is practically not an issue.

Last edited by The Serpent Rider on 2020-02-16, 10:10. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 6 of 17, by derSammler

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-02-16, 10:05:

16-bit 44kHz was the requirement for CD audio, which was growing in popularity since late 80s.

CD audio was passed analog to the sound card's internal line-in at that time, so it was completely irrelevant whether or not the sound card could play audio at 16-bit, 44 KHz, as the sound card isn't even involved when playing CD audio. And no, no one would have ripped CDs in 1992 on hard disks with sizes about 200 MB.

Zup wrote on 2020-02-16, 10:04:

I guess that MPC2 is another marketing mumble, and the target was selling multimedia packs instead of standalone components (i.e.: suggesting you to buy an entire pack instead of a CD-ROM drive for a computer that already had a sound card installed). Does anybody have seen any program that requires MPC2?

Actually, yes. I've seen many game boxes and multimedia titles stating that it requires MPC Level 1 or 2.

Last edited by derSammler on 2020-02-16, 10:22. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 17, by jaZz_KCS

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-02-16, 10:05:

16-bit 44kHz was the requirement for CD audio, which was growing in popularity since late 80s.

and no support SB Pro 2

Lack of proper SB Pro 2 support is practically not an issue.

Especially due to the fact that it does actually work, but just doesn't output in stereo.

Reply 8 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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so it was completely irrelevant whether or not the sound card could play audio at 16-bit, 44 KHz.

But not to play it digitally or record it.

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Reply 9 of 17, by Grzyb

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derSammler wrote on 2020-02-16, 10:04:

First, the SB16 was *announced* in mid-1992, not released.

So when was it released?
According to Wikipedia, in June 1992.
There was only one consumer 16-bit card released earlier - PAS 16, in May 1992.

Reply 11 of 17, by lost77

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Most people back then (and today) didn't know enough about hardware to know what they could use it for. They did know numbers though and 16 is bigger than 8.

It is the typical checkbox type marketing. Either Creative Labs kept up or they would miss out on sales. So they looked at what the market had to offer and implemented similar funktions.

SB16: 16-bit sound and CD-ROM support (to sell multimedia packs)
Awe32: Wavetable
Live: 3D hardware acceleration
Live 5.1: Surround sound
Audigy: "Audiophile" quality.

It was never about what was needed but what other companies was offering.

Reply 12 of 17, by Joseph_Joestar

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lost77 wrote on 2020-02-16, 22:23:

Most people back then (and today) didn't know enough about hardware to know what they could use it for. They did know numbers though and 16 is bigger than 8.

I can absolutely attest to that! As a kid back in the day, I had a SB16 and was super jealous of seeing AWE32 as a setup option in a bunch of games.

A few years later, when I was shopping for a new computer, I saw the SB128 being offered for a budget price. I figured that it still had to be exponentially better than my SB16 or the mystical AWE32, and went for it immediately. Man, was I ever wrong!

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
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Reply 13 of 17, by Grzyb

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I think the most important use of 16-bit audio for many years was multichannel trackers, like Scream Tracker 3 or Fast Tracker 2.

Hard disk sound recording wasn't very useful with disk capacities of that era.
For games, 8-bit was good enough - SFX was 8-bit samples anyway.
For 4-channel MODs, 8-bit was also good enough.
More channels, however, greatly benefited from being mixed into 16-bit.

And finally, around 1997, MP3 got popular...

Reply 14 of 17, by pentiumspeed

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-02-16, 22:45:
lost77 wrote on 2020-02-16, 22:23:

Most people back then (and today) didn't know enough about hardware to know what they could use it for. They did know numbers though and 16 is bigger than 8.

I can absolutely attest to that! As a kid back in the day, I had a SB16 and was super jealous of seeing AWE32 as a setup option in a bunch of games.

A few years later, when I was shopping for a new computer, I saw the SB128 being offered for a budget price. I figured that it still had to be exponentially better than my SB16 or the mystical AWE32, and went for it immediately. Man, was I ever wrong!

This! Back then, web was not around till late 1993, and when I was at college, I was trying to fit out my 486 box to play Doom and later on doom 2 and I get a marketing vomit from a college follow on several video cards among them is tseng ET4000 VLB and S3 805, to research on this is not possible even with text based web at this time. So there. Later on when web got more traction and plentiful (1996 onwards), I was able to research properly. Before that, I had ATI Ultra ISA which was said to be best from a business owner. Now I know better.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 15 of 17, by pentiumspeed

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-02-16, 10:05:

16-bit 44kHz was the requirement for CD audio, which was growing in popularity since late 80s.

and no support SB Pro 2

Lack of proper SB Pro 2 support is practically not an issue.

What was other options then because the SB Pro 2.0 was not the issue?

MPC 2 requirement involves playing back video. The best one I recall best for game was Myst using quicktime utility. And to play MPEG 2 best had to use a accelerator and that came out much later. But this does not do 1024x768 or higher for digital steaming video playback is harder with PIII back then even right off the disc in some games.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 16 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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What was other options then because the SB Pro 2.0 was not the issue?

Games, which properly supported SB Pro 2 digital stereo sound (not OPL3 stereo music), in most cases also had SB16 support.

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Reply 17 of 17, by SirNickity

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Sound cards were going to keep improving until the point where the technical qualities of the card no longer presented a bottleneck. The SB, and later the SB Pro, still had to improve to meet the quality of a consumer audio CD player -- a quality threshold that most people will use to define a bar of "as good as humans can hear". So, the SB16 was a natural evolution. There was certainly a bit of marketing voodoo involved in being able to claim 16-bit 44kHz support, and I'm sure some people cared about all the MPC levels, but that wasn't what sold me back in the day.

For me, it was actually the PAS 16 bundled MOD player. It sounded better than ModPlay on an 8-bit card. That was all I needed, and I coveted a 16-bit card like crazy from that moment. The PAS 16 was cool, but software support was lackluster, and I got tired of having to fall back to Sound Blaster compatibility. So, my next jump was an AWE32. Partly to regain that compatibility loss, but also for that sweet, sweet wavetable MIDI.

True, DOS and Win 3.x software didn't fully take advantage of 16-bit audio. I remember having like two songs on my hard drive that I recorded at 16-bit 22kHz, and compressed with ADPCM. It still took up a sizable chunk. Professionals weren't using Sound Blasters, they were using ADAT interfaces. So, the target market was simply the consumer who wanted to have hardware that would provide them with a better audio experience in a couple niche applications, but also to prepare for the next wave of software when CD-ROMs were standard equipment, and CPUs, RAM, and hard disk space could catch up. To wait, when the DAC hardware existed at a reasonable price point, and other vendors had already made the leap... that would have been silly.