VOGONS


First post, by cyclone3d

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Soooo.. despite the horrid potato camera pics this kinda looks like an Adlib Gold clone to me:

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There are still a few left on eBay - search for : "VINTAGE 2THEMAX"

Yes, I did buy one. Pretty sure the seller had a few of these listed a month or two ago but they went really fast and I didn't get one back then.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
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Reply 1 of 60, by keropi

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thanks for the heads up, interesting card whatever it actually is 🤣
I considered taking a gamble but at the end the total cost would be ~154$ for me (ebay global shipping + prepaid tax) so I'll just have to pass... for US-based members though this is very reasonably priced IMHO

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 2 of 60, by cyclone3d

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How much is tax for you? USPS first class shipping should "only" be $24 US. Sellers can't see what the eBay Global Shipping Program charges until after the buyer has paid and even then the tax isn't separated out from the shipping so it is kind of a wild guess.

That's why I make two different listings when I am selling multiples of the same item... one with and one without the eBay Global Shipping Program and tell the buyers to checks the different listings to see which comes out cheaper... but the non-eBay Global Shipping Program doesn't add in import tax so unless the buyer knows that already then I guess it is not going to be super clear cut either.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 3 of 60, by Cyrix200+

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USD 79,95 for the card
USD 26,76 International shipping
USD 8,00 Domestic shipping
USD 29,29 Taxes

Total USD 144

For me here in NL.

1982 to 2001

Reply 4 of 60, by derSammler

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Even if it would be an Adlib Gold clone, what's so special about it? For a collector, only a real Adlib Gold has value. And for the few games with Adlib Gold support, it's not worth it either. Also, 2themax was just a shitty-cheap brand. You'll just waste money on this, unless you are a die-hard sound card collector.

Reply 5 of 60, by keropi

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-04-03, 14:37:

How much is tax for you? USPS first class shipping should "only" be $24 US. Sellers can't see what the eBay Global Shipping Program charges until after the buyer has paid and even then the tax isn't separated out from the shipping so it is kind of a wild guess.
[...]

the prices are calculated from ebay - even tax is prepaid.
shipping was something like ~42$ and an extra ~39$ tax pre-paid to ebay so the global shipping program would deliver it to my door ... no other shipping option available

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 6 of 60, by cyclone3d

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I'm kind of a die-hard ISA and certain PCI sound card collector of sorts. Not so much into having to have boxed copies but I do like to have weird and strange cards and also collect different versions of certain cards. I have every different version / brand I could find of the Opti930 based cards with onboard wavetable as that card is kind of special to me since it was the first card I ever bought that had onboard wavetable and I still have the original one I bought when I was around 13-14 years old.

I was actually looking into the Adlib Gold yesterday and the OPL3 is supposed to have more accurate output compared to say the Creative cards since it isn't filtered near as much.. so there is that. The Yamaha chip that handles PCM, MIDI, and gameport also intrigues me and it is 12-bit as well.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 7 of 60, by cyclone3d

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keropi wrote on 2020-04-03, 15:46:
cyclone3d wrote on 2020-04-03, 14:37:

How much is tax for you? USPS first class shipping should "only" be $24 US. Sellers can't see what the eBay Global Shipping Program charges until after the buyer has paid and even then the tax isn't separated out from the shipping so it is kind of a wild guess.
[...]

the prices are calculated from ebay - even tax is prepaid.
shipping was something like ~42$ and an extra ~39$ tax pre-paid to ebay so the global shipping program would deliver it to my door ... no other shipping option available

Ewwww.. that sucks. I can ship internationally for $24.50 from the US. eBay is way upcharging for shipping with their global shipping program.

First-Class Package International Service™** Other than rolls: Max. length 24", max length, height and depth (thickness) combine […]
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First-Class Package International Service™**
Other than rolls: Max. length 24", max length, height and depth (thickness) combined 36"
Rolls: Max. length 36". Max length and twice the diameter combined 42"
Value of contents can not exceed $400.00
Select a Delivery Option Expected Delivery Day Retail Click-N-Ship®
Normal Delivery Time Varies by destination $24.50 $24.50

Pretty sure the shipping box dimensions should be 36" or less for that package. If not, then that is why the shipping is more.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 8 of 60, by bristlehog

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They are already gone. Whoever bought one, make a good quality photo for our rare soundcard spreadsheet. At least the mysterious 'JDF-SOUNDMEDIA001' sound card is demystified.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 9 of 60, by cyclone3d

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I'll definitely be taking pictures as well as scans of the manual, box, imaging the driver disk(s), etc.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 12 of 60, by 640K!enough

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As we can see in the top right-hand corner of the box, it may be a Gold Sound Standard-compliant card, but I would stop short of calling it a "clone" of the Ad Lib Gold. Just from those low-resolution pictures, there are some differences that stand out immediately. Cardinal (and probably others) produced GSS-compliant cards, too, but that hardly makes them "clones" of the Gold 1000.

I am wondering if that socketed chip is a micro-controller or programmable chip of some sort that is taking the place of the Ad Lib control chip. If not, I would guess that it is a GSS level 1 design (no mixer, software re-configuration or optional modules supported). It also seems to have Sony CD-ROM support built on, while the Ad Lib versions were either supposed to have an optional SCSI module or have it on-board (on the Gold 2000, which I don't think ever shipped).

The most interesting part, of course, will be what it sounds like. My guess is that it will produce cleaner sound than a Sound Blaster Pro 2 (and maybe even some noisier versions of Sound Blaster 16), but fall somewhat short of the Gold 1000. Are you planning to try the original Ad Lib software with it? I wonder if it will be compatible enough to let you play the RL2-format demo music.

Reply 13 of 60, by imi

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bristlehog wrote on 2020-04-03, 16:28:

They are already gone. Whoever bought one, make a good quality photo for our rare soundcard spreadsheet. At least the mysterious 'JDF-SOUNDMEDIA001' sound card is demystified.

well... someone bought 6... I expect them to reappear soon for a much higher price 😦

Reply 14 of 60, by JidaiGeki

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About 4 years ago I bought the JDF sound card with SCSI on it. Given there was little else to go by at that time, I was intending to try it out with original Adlib software, but not long after it arrived, I moved house twice in short order, and the card went into storage. Had mostly forgotten about it until these auctions popped up, so as can be expected I was keen to get my hands on the board with the drivers, proprietary multi-purpose cable and manual. Thankfully the manual covers the SCSI card as well.

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The contents of the box are:

- 2theMAX SoundMedia (SM) Soundboard - this board is the Sony CDU-31A version, there is also a SCSI version (will pull it out of storage when I can)
- Users Manual
- Drivers (sealed packet with 2x 5.25" disks) - Disk 1 (http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id= … 038835374992642) and Disk 2 (http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=00090615980184124328)
- Breakout cable - 15-pin D-sub to Joystick & MIDI In & Out
- 2x internal audio cables - one for speaker to soundcard, the other for CD-ROM
- Manuals for Voyetra Multimedia Sound Software and Sequencer Plus Jr

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Bit of a shame they didn't stretch to putting a volume knob on it, leaves it looking unfinished. The 20-pin expansion connector is 'reserved', it is unlikely TNC/2theMAX released an expansion but maybe they had plans for a surround module a la the Gold.

The Users Manual is scant, being a thin booklet. Doesn't compare favourably to Media Vision manuals of the time, and is a bit behind Creative's efforts. Compiled a manual from photos, PDF is 14MB - http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id= … 663038986926692

Anyway, basic info about the card is given by the manual, as well as the block diagram.

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Here's the cable ends as best I could capture them. MIDI cables are a usable 1 meter in length. Would have been handy back in the day to get everything in one box, not requiring the purchase of a separate cable set to get MIDI. Don't think it's MPU401 compatible though.

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Finally, will give it a run in a 386 to see how it goes. Never had clean sound from my SB 2.0 or Pro2, so expecting/hoping this will fare a bit better.

Reply 15 of 60, by cyclone3d

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Nice.

According to the datasheet for the Yamaha YMZ263-F, the MIDI should be MPU401 UART compatible.

Edit: looking through the disks and then viewing the contents of PSSCNFG.EXE I am seeing that:

1. There is Sound Blaster support
2. There is WSS support
2. You can set set the MIDI port address
3. Mixer settings
Speaker Output STEREO PSEUDO SPATIAL MONO VOL BASS TREB

The strange thing is that this utility seems to be for an Analog Devices chip. "Analog Devices PSS Configuration Utility."

The text in that utility makes no sense according to what is on the card.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 16 of 60, by JidaiGeki

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Decided to fast track testing to see if those files match the board, but hit a snag during installation. The bloody thing doesn’t fit the desktop cases of either of my working 386s.

Turns out the lengthy volume dial is an obstruction if your case has an external frame around the slots at the rear, which seems to be a feature of some desktop cases. Pics below should explain.

(386SX with ESS1868 and audio recorder attached)

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Have tower cases which might be more promising but be warned if you intend to install this card in a desktop case, you might need to remove the motherboard first, if it fits at all!

Reply 17 of 60, by 640K!enough

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With that higher-resolution picture of the board, and the manual, this thing is looking like a bit of a Frankenstein GSS card. It appears to have a mixer, and it would appear that it is controlled by the on-board micro-controller. Unlike most GSS cards, that usually either have no mixer and no control chip, or both a mixer and full-featured control chip, this one doesn't seem to support the usual control chip features: software-based, jumper-free configuration and mixer control. This one seems to have jumpers for the primary resource assignments. The other oddity is the mention in the manual of a base address at 344H or 354H, and only three I/O addresses. What is that being used for, some purpose similar to the Gold's control chip or maybe for code upload to the micro-controller? Then again, maybe that's how the mixer is accessed, and it will generally appear as a GSS level 1 card to most software.

I would be very interested in the details when one of you gets this thing running.

Reply 18 of 60, by JidaiGeki

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Bit of an update.

As you indicated cyclone, those files suggest features not on this board, and they are NOT for the SoundMedia Soundboard - they appear to be for the Focus 2theMAX SoundMedia Pro, a later model released in 1994. This card was reviewed in PC Mag, April 1994:

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The SM Pro is based on the AD1848, and apparently has wavetable, so clearly a very different card to the SoundBoard. Given the drivers would be hard to find for this card (should it ever pop up) I'll leave the links in the previous post.

As I did buy the first batch of cards, I was able to look at the other disk sets. Turns out that of the three sets:

1. Was for the 2theMax SM Pro
2. Had unique Disks 1 and 2.
3. Had two copies of the same disk (Disk 2), which contains only wave files, so could never have been used for an installation.

Plus one box was missing the manual. Hopefully if anyone who bought a card recently is missing parts, then this thread should at least cover the things they need to get started. Was worried about bad sectors on floppies, turns out it was the contents that were more of a problem!

I've uploaded the correct driver disks now - Disk 1 (http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=09382939403585287662) and Disk 2 (http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=70481762342164124363) Each of these disks is pretty minimal, as can be seen.

Also managed to pull out the SCSI version of the card last night.

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The SCSI version has a shorter volume control, which enabled it to be installed in the desktop. There are also two versions of the Sony card, one with a long shaft, and one with a shorter shaft.

Using the only working disk set, it was possible to proceed with installation. The install program was very, very minimal. By way of configuration, all you get is:

"How do you wish to select IRQ, Mixer Address and DMA Channel?
Factory defaults are IRQ 10, Mixer Address 344 and DMA Channel 0"

Once set, that was it. The driver can be loaded and unloaded, there's a mixer in DOS, some Voyetra utilities, and that's about it.

Have tested both the SCSI and Sony versions. So far, the sound on both is ... really bad. There's a constant loud hiss from the hardware that can't be cancelled, either by setting all Record inputs to 0 in the mixer, or by any combo of volume control. The Windows situation is also appalling - the installation crashed the Program Manager (Win3.11) and now when it starts Windows the mouse can't be used, and it won't quit cleanly. The Adlib sound is OK, and it played well enough in Wolf3D and Stunts, though with the constant hiss underneath. Will try it with Dune, to see if it picks up the Adlib Gold compatibility, but with the constant hiss it's not a fun experience. Be interested to see how others go with their setup.

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Reply 19 of 60, by cyclone3d

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Yay! At least you got it working.

I wonder if the caps have dried out and need to be replaced.

The other option is that the motherboard you are using doesn't have any real filtering on the ISA bus.
The reason I say this is that the way people complain about Sound Blaster cards being "noise blasters" you would think that they are trash. Yet, when put in a system that has good power filtering they are just fine and dandy.

What power supply are you using in that system? Does the motherboard have any electrolytic capacitors?

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself