VOGONS


First post, by Intel486dx33

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In DOS mode running at 386 and 486 speeds what are the draw backs if any ?
Which card is best supported and has the best audio in DOS game play ?

Right now I am using the AWE32.

Reply 1 of 17, by Joseph_Joestar

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AWE64 uses CQM instead of OPL3 for FM synthesis. Some people are bothered by this, others not that much. In any case, music in games which use FM synth will sound slightly different on that card.

As for SBPro vs. AWE32, it basically comes down to whether or not you care about a (seemingly) small subset of games which don't play stereo correctly on Creative cards newer than the SBPro. Personally, I care more about having 16-bit sound in DOS games (mostly those from '95 onward) so I'd stick with the AWE32, but that's just my own preference.

Now, if you're planning to hook up an external MIDI device (i.e. MT-32 or an SC-55) to one of those cards, things may change due to hanging note bugs and whatnot. I don't have any personal experience with those devices, so I'll let someone else chime in on that.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 2 of 17, by 1541

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Choosing the "right" ISA soundcard for DOS is almost impossible.
However, try to get a bug free version of your preferred choice!
Sound Blaster 16 & AWE32: From best to worst

Due to the "hanging notes bug" or the MPU-401 slowdowns of SB cards, I personally switched to an ESS 1868F card, which has other drawbacks I can live with...

Windows 98 SE inofficial Service Pack & NUSB (German)
Windows 9x device drivers and tools (German)

Reply 3 of 17, by bloodem

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:20:

music in games which use FM synth will sound slightly different on that card.

Uhm, I'm usually not very picky, but in this case, "different" is not the word I would use... "trash" would be more appropriate. 😀
ESFM is "slightly different"....

2 x Socket 3 / 3 x Socket 7 / 4 x SuperSocket 7 / 4 x Slot 1 / 2 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
3 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 2 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 4 of 17, by daikatana_

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AWE32 doesn't have the cleanest output, but it's certainly better, than SB Pro. If you care about FM synth, stick with AWE32. Most of the AWE32 versions allow you to put more RAM in it, if that's the one you've got, stick with it. AWE64 uses proprietary module, which is almost impossible to find. AWE32 can handle almost any game, so if I were you, I'd stick with AWE32, put at least 8MB RAM in and forget about AWE64 or SB Pro.

Game MIDI soundtracks

Retro games and HW reviews

Reply 5 of 17, by Joseph_Joestar

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bloodem wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:33:

Uhm, I'm usually not very picky, but in this case, "different" is not the word I would use... "trash" would be more appropriate. 😀

I'd say the SB128's pathetic attempt at FM synth is trash, while CQM is still within the realm of "passable", though that might vary from game to game. For me, CQM is certainly different enough to notice right away, but I can at least tolerate it, unlike the crap that a SB128 spews out.

ESFM is "slightly different"

I find ESFM very pleasing and almost indistinguishable from the real thing. That said, I don't own an ESS card, so I can only judge from what little I've heard in recordings.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 6 of 17, by bloodem

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:54:

I'd say the SB128's pathetic attempt at FM synth is trash, while CQM is still within the realm of "passable", though that might vary from game to game. For me, CQM is certainly different enough to notice right away, but I can at least tolerate it, unlike the crap that a SB128 spews out.
I find ESFM very pleasing and almost indistinguishable from the real thing. That said, I don't own an ESS card, so I can only judge from what little I've heard in recordings.

Damn... listening to that was a real pain for my ears. I think "trash" is too nice a word to describe SB128' attempt at FM synth. 😁 I do have a few SB128, but never tried them in DOS (and for sure I never will after listening to that).
So, yeah, CQM is definitely quite a few steps above that abomination that is SB128.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:54:

I find ESFM very pleasing and almost indistinguishable from the real thing. That said, I don't own an ESS card, so I can only judge from what little I've heard in recordings.

Yes, I have quite a few ESS cards (such as the ISA Audiodrive ES1868f, PCI ESS Solo1) and they sound very close to a real OPL3. Still, I prefer the real deal. Since I usually use high quality headphones, my favourite cards are those with the Yamaha YMF724F-V chip- the FM sounds absolutely amazing, it's crystal clear, deep bass with no distortion, extremely low noise (for that time). On the other hand, I also have some YMF724E-V cards and those are not that great (noisy and obvious distortion)

2 x Socket 3 / 3 x Socket 7 / 4 x SuperSocket 7 / 4 x Slot 1 / 2 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
3 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 2 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 7 of 17, by Joseph_Joestar

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bloodem wrote on 2020-05-24, 16:38:

Since I usually use high quality headphones, my favourite cards are those with the Yamaha YMF724F-V chip- the FM sounds absolutely amazing, it's crystal clear, deep bass with no distortion, extremely low noise (for that time).

I have one of those as well and I have to agree, FM synth sounds phenomenal on it. Under Win98, its General MIDI wavetable is pretty nice as well. Also, I've been testing Sensaura on that card recently, and was blown away with how well it handles A3D 1.0 games.

On topic, I realized that it's technically possible to put both a SBPro and an AWE32 in the same machine, as long as they are configured to use different resources. I wouldn't bother with that myself, but if the OP can't decide between the two, using both is a possibility.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 9 of 17, by dionb

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daikatana_ wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:54:

AWE32 doesn't have the cleanest output, but it's certainly better, than SB Pro. If you care about FM synth, stick with AWE32.

Word of warning here: several AWE32 cards also use CQM. (CT3990 and CT4330)

As for cleanliness - Creative did a great mix&match job with the CT1703 revisions on the AWE32. -A and -TBS (the cleanest) are quite common, but some have -T, which is lightly noisy. If you care, check the individual card.

Reply 11 of 17, by daikatana_

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dionb wrote on 2020-05-24, 19:11:
daikatana_ wrote on 2020-05-24, 14:54:

AWE32 doesn't have the cleanest output, but it's certainly better, than SB Pro. If you care about FM synth, stick with AWE32.

Word of warning here: several AWE32 cards also use CQM. (CT3990 and CT4330)

You're right, I forgot about that.

Game MIDI soundtracks

Retro games and HW reviews

Reply 12 of 17, by gdjacobs

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James-F wrote on 2020-05-24, 17:33:

SBPro2.0 wins flawless victory fatality animality.

No babality? Not looking good.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 13 of 17, by darry

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-05-24, 17:24:
bloodem wrote on 2020-05-24, 16:38:

Since I usually use high quality headphones, my favourite cards are those with the Yamaha YMF724F-V chip- the FM sounds absolutely amazing, it's crystal clear, deep bass with no distortion, extremely low noise (for that time).

I have one of those as well and I have to agree, FM synth sounds phenomenal on it. Under Win98, its General MIDI wavetable is pretty nice as well. Also, I've been testing Sensaura on that card recently, and was blown away with how well it handles A3D 1.0 games.

On topic, I realized that it's technically possible to put both a SBPro and an AWE32 in the same machine, as long as they are configured to use different resources. I wouldn't bother with that myself, but if the OP can't decide between the two, using both is a possibility.

I run an SB Pro compatible (YMF715 based ) and an AWE64 . IMHO, it's the best of both worlds . SETUPSA does not like that setup, but SETYMF or INIT3DXG can be used (UNISOUND might work too, have not tested) . I mention this because getting a real SB Pro is not getting any easier .

Reply 14 of 17, by bloodem

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Well, truthfully, I have a SB Pro 2 and I still prefer the Yamaha YMF 724F-V with SB Link or DDMA 😀

2 x Socket 3 / 3 x Socket 7 / 4 x SuperSocket 7 / 4 x Slot 1 / 2 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
3 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 2 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 15 of 17, by darry

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bloodem wrote on 2020-05-25, 14:46:

Well, truthfully, I have a SB Pro 2 and I still prefer the Yamaha YMF 724F-V with SB Link or DDMA 😀

My AWE64 and YMF715 (Audiotrix 3D/XG) have a little hum (inaudible at normal listening levels with headphones) on my DPS12 (used as a mixer) . Everything is on the same 15A circuit, so not a ground issue. The perfectionist in me wants to try a YMF724 because of digital output, but lack of SBLINK on the motherboard has been putting me off

I wonder how compatible DDMA is versus PC/PCI .

EDIT: ICH2 does not support DDMA, so not an option for me .

Reply 16 of 17, by bloodem

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I haven't tried it myself, but based on this thread, ICH2/4/5 should support "LPC DMA" which, according to cyclone3d, "is just a slightly different implementation that should work the same as DDMA". He actually shared the modified SETUPDS files for each chipset on his Google Drive

Now, I've been using the YMF724F-V on 440BX with both DDMA and SB-Link and as far as I can tell they are both identical and VERY compatible (as in, everything works, except for a few games that only work with Adlib, but those games have the same problem when using a real Sound Blaster Pro 2 ISA card. Prehistorik is such a game, for some reason it only detects the sound blaster when using a Sound Blaster 16 card, and I have literally tried this on 10 different platforms, with/without expanded memory, different CPU speed combinations, even down to 386)
I've also used it on overkill chipsets up to i865/ICH5 (with DSDMA - legacy DMA emulation, haven't tried the modified SETUPDS file yet) and it's also very compatible (however, the CPUs on such systems are... not 😁 )
For best compatibility, the sweet spot for me is with Super Socket 7 and AMD K6-2/3+ CPUs (also with DSDMA emulation - again, didn't try the modified SETUPDS for VIA, because everything that I play works fine without 'real' DDMA). The only issue with DSDMA is the need for expanded memory (which some very old games don't like).

2 x Socket 3 / 3 x Socket 7 / 4 x SuperSocket 7 / 4 x Slot 1 / 2 x Slot A / 5 x Socket 370
3 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 2 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: AM4 - Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: LGA1151 - Core i7 7700k

Reply 17 of 17, by darry

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bloodem wrote on 2020-05-25, 16:45:
I haven't tried it myself, but based on this thread, ICH2/4/5 should support "LPC DMA" which, according to cyclone3d, "is just […]
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I haven't tried it myself, but based on this thread, ICH2/4/5 should support "LPC DMA" which, according to cyclone3d, "is just a slightly different implementation that should work the same as DDMA". He actually shared the modified SETUPDS files for each chipset on his Google Drive

Now, I've been using the YMF724F-V on 440BX with both DDMA and SB-Link and as far as I can tell they are both identical and VERY compatible (as in, everything works, except for a few games that only work with Adlib, but those games have the same problem when using a real Sound Blaster Pro 2 ISA card. Prehistorik is such a game, for some reason it only detects the sound blaster when using a Sound Blaster 16 card, and I have literally tried this on 10 different platforms, with/without expanded memory, different CPU speed combinations, even down to 386)
I've also used it on overkill chipsets up to i865/ICH5 (with DSDMA - legacy DMA emulation, haven't tried the modified SETUPDS file yet) and it's also very compatible (however, the CPUs on such systems are... not 😁 )
For best compatibility, the sweet spot for me is with Super Socket 7 and AMD K6-2/3+ CPUs (also with DSDMA emulation - again, didn't try the modified SETUPDS for VIA, because everything that I play works fine without 'real' DDMA). The only issue with DSDMA is the need for expanded memory (which some very old games don't like).

Thanks, I might give it a shot when I finish setting up my new monitor .