VOGONS


Reply 20 of 37, by gdjacobs

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dionb wrote on 2020-09-03, 10:53:
Jo22 wrote on 2020-09-03, 10:27:

On the bright side, the ALS100 is SB Pro compatible and does support the SB16 instead, which almost has the same capabilities as WSS (SB16: 16bit, stereo 44Khz).. 🙂

Almost, but not quite: WSS specifies 48kHz. 44 vs 48kHz is the whole sampling rate problem. Whether this is at all relevant here is a moot point though. Almost all DOS-era stuff is 44kHz anyway and problems tended to only crop up when cards stopped supporting 44kHz without resampling.

Or when they used a really, really bad resampling algorithm.

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Reply 21 of 37, by Joseph_Joestar

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-09-05, 06:16:

Or when they used a really, really bad resampling algorithm.

Indeed. I have recently acquired an ESS 1868F which is a native 44.1 kHz card, and I was surprised how much better certain Win9x games sound on it compared to my SBLive.

I know that StarCraft and Quake 2 use 22.05 kHz audio samples (this is documented) and they sound way better on a native 44.1 kHz card than on a native 48 kHz one, likely due to the simplicity of integer resampling.

And that's even without taking into account the inherently flawed resampling algorithm of the SBLive. From what I understand, Creative didn't fully fix that until the X-Fi series.

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 22 of 37, by Tiido

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A proper WSS thing handles both 44 and 48KHz without resampling due to presence of both base clocks. Two crystal YMF71x cards, various Analog Devices and Crystal codec based cards with two crystals. Unfortunately most PCI cards lack this capability, the only ones that I can think of that can are VIA Envy24 based cards that have both clocks present and don't need to resample anything.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
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Reply 23 of 37, by Ozzuneoj

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dionb wrote on 2020-09-03, 10:53:

Almost all DOS-era stuff is 44kHz anyway and problems tended to only crop up when cards stopped supporting 44kHz without resampling.

Are you referring to music or sound effects? Most effects in DOS games are 11khz. I don't think 44khz effects became common until the early 2000s.

Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

Reply 24 of 37, by dionb

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Ozzuneoj wrote on 2020-09-06, 17:29:
dionb wrote on 2020-09-03, 10:53:

Almost all DOS-era stuff is 44kHz anyway and problems tended to only crop up when cards stopped supporting 44kHz without resampling.

Are you referring to music or sound effects? Most effects in DOS games are 11khz. I don't think 44khz effects became common until the early 2000s.

Not exactly common, but the games that did have it were fairly prominent, things like Duke Nukem 3D, Quake and Origin's Crusader series.

Reply 25 of 37, by Ozzuneoj

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dionb wrote on 2020-09-06, 23:11:
Ozzuneoj wrote on 2020-09-06, 17:29:
dionb wrote on 2020-09-03, 10:53:

Almost all DOS-era stuff is 44kHz anyway and problems tended to only crop up when cards stopped supporting 44kHz without resampling.

Are you referring to music or sound effects? Most effects in DOS games are 11khz. I don't think 44khz effects became common until the early 2000s.

Not exactly common, but the games that did have it were fairly prominent, things like Duke Nukem 3D, Quake and Origin's Crusader series.

I don't think that's correct, I'm sorry.

Quake used mostly 8bit 11khz effects, Q2 used 16bit 22kHz effects. Even Q3, which was basically the most advanced game engine of the 90s (1999) used mainly 16bit 22Khz effects as far as I remember.

Forgive me for being skeptical, I just did a lot of sound modding of games in that era (replacing and editing sounds using Goldwave) so I frequently had the files themselves open in audio editors so I knew what the bitrates and sample rates were. The Crusader series is so old, I just can't imagine it using 44kHz effects. Those games as well as Duke 3D had the distinct "scratchy but muffled" sound I remember of low sample rate effects. I just found this page too:
https://infosuite.duke4.net/index.php?page=re … nces_sound_list

Note that the majority of Duke 3D's effects were either 8kHz or 11kHz.

Support for high sample rate files on DOS sound cards was likely only a bullet point feature, an attempt at future-proofing or possibly to appeal to (inexperienced?) audio professionals. PCs at the time wouldn't have been able to handle tons of 44kHz 16bit samples in real time anyway. Remember the sizeable performance improvements brought on by hardware accelerated 3D sound in 1998-2000? Even those games only used 22khz effects for the most part. Mixing lots of 44khz effects in a pre-3D acceleration game on a ~100Mhz Pentium class CPUs (a reasonable gaming system spec in 1996-1997) would have certainly created a huge performance hit. The memory requirements are also obviously much larger.

EDIT: Just dug through a pile of old sound effects I borrowed out of games almost 20 years ago and the first game I found that had 44khz wav files was Medal of Honor: Allied Assault from 2002. Half-life used 11Khz 8bit sounds, and most games that used the Q1 or Q2 engine used a mixture of 11khz or 22khz 8bit or 16bit wav files. Checked several other older games and some less graphically intensive games (C&C: Red Alert for example), from 1997 have mostly 22khz effects, but most are only 11khz.

Most effects from Half-Life range from ~3KB to 50KB file size for 8bit 11khz. Effects in MOHAA are generally 50-400KB per file for 16bit 44khz effects. On a system with only 16-32MB of RAM (most computers in 1995-1997) this would be a huge difference. It's no wonder the games just didn't bother with high sample rate effects, even if the sound cards could play them.

Anyway, my only point: Don't worry about sample rates for DOS games. Bit depth, mono\stereo or WSS\SB16\SBPro support will limit you long before sample rate will. As mentioned by others, using a native 44khz card will probably sound better for effects that are 11khz or 22khz. I'm not sure how much of a difference there is in quality when dealing with sample rate conversion of 8khz effects on a 44khz card versus a 48khz one (48khz being an even multiple). That would be a good experiment for someone who has time for it! 😀

Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

Reply 26 of 37, by dionb

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Ozzuneoj wrote on 2020-09-07, 02:00:

[...]

I don't think that's correct, I'm sorry.

Quake used mostly 8bit 11khz effects, Q2 used 16bit 22kHz effects. Even Q3, which was basically the most advanced game engine of the 90s (1999) used mainly 16bit 22Khz effects as far as I remember.

I can most definitely hear a big difference between 16b 11kHz and 16b 44kHz in Quake in the recordings here:
A List of DOS Games with 16-Bit Sound

[...]

Anyway, my only point: Don't worry about sample rates for DOS games. Bit depth, mono\stereo or WSS\SB16\SBPro support will limit you long before sample rate will. As mentioned by others, using a native 44khz card will probably sound better for effects that are 11khz or 22khz. I'm not sure how much of a difference there is in quality when dealing with sample rate conversion of 8khz effects on a 44khz card versus a 48khz one (48khz being an even multiple). That would be a good experiment for someone who has time for it! 😀

Fully agreed, the only real issue is with 44kHz vs 48kHz and you're not going to find any ISA cards that only do the latter. You probably will hear the difference between 11kHz and 22kHz, but there again. 11kHz cards are very old, everything recommended here does at least 22kHz.

Reply 27 of 37, by utahraptor

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The card arrived today. On initial inspection all I noticed was one bit pin on the wave table header. Any tips on straightening?

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Reply 28 of 37, by Ozzuneoj

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dionb wrote on 2020-09-07, 19:01:
Ozzuneoj wrote on 2020-09-07, 02:00:

[...]

I don't think that's correct, I'm sorry.

Quake used mostly 8bit 11khz effects, Q2 used 16bit 22kHz effects. Even Q3, which was basically the most advanced game engine of the 90s (1999) used mainly 16bit 22Khz effects as far as I remember.

I can most definitely hear a big difference between 16b 11kHz and 16b 44kHz in Quake in the recordings here:
A List of DOS Games with 16-Bit Sound

I see what you're saying now, you're talking about having the game mix\play at a higher sample rate. It is interesting to do this, and I remember tweaking games that supported this at the time, but the original effects are still only 8bit 11khz. It's mainly just a matter of preference whether to bother upsampling or not.

Thanks for explaining what you meant. 😀

Time Machine = FIC PA-2013 2.1 - K6-2 500 - 256MB PC-100 - TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP - Labway Yamaha YMF719-E - Midiman MM401

Reply 29 of 37, by dionb

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utahraptor wrote on 2020-09-07, 22:26:
The card arrived today. On initial inspection all I noticed was one bit pin on the wave table header. Any tips on straightenin […]
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The card arrived today. On initial inspection all I noticed was one bit pin on the wave table header. Any tips on straightening?

ports.png

front.jpg

Back.jpg

Nice card, one of the best ALS100 cards you could have found 😀

I looked it up and listened to some nice recordings made on it:
https://youtu.be/6ORNdUafZFQ

The nice thing here isn't that it's real OPL3 (or rather: 1:1 exact clone) as all ALS100 cards have that, but how clear and sharp it sounds.

As for the pin: it's only a little bit out. I'd use a crosshead screwdriver (same size you use for the screws to mount the card in the case) and gently but firmly push with that.

Reply 30 of 37, by utahraptor

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So I have the ALS100 working for every game except heroes of might and magic 2 which is my best game. The sound effects work, but no matter what I select for midi in the sound config I can’t get it to play midi. Any ideas?

Reply 32 of 37, by Joseph_Joestar

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utahraptor wrote on 2020-09-11, 01:41:

So I have the ALS100 working for every game except heroes of might and magic 2 which is my best game. The sound effects work, but no matter what I select for midi in the sound config I can’t get it to play midi. Any ideas?

Heroes 2 with the latest patch but without the expansion has non-functional FM synth music.

Either use CD audio, install the expansion or don't patch the game.

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 33 of 37, by utahraptor

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-11, 04:34:
utahraptor wrote on 2020-09-11, 01:41:

So I have the ALS100 working for every game except heroes of might and magic 2 which is my best game. The sound effects work, but no matter what I select for midi in the sound config I can’t get it to play midi. Any ideas?

Heroes 2 with the latest patch but without the expansion has non-functional FM synth music.

Either use CD audio, install the expansion or don't patch the game.

Thanks! I will reload the game tonight and not install the 1.3 patch to test. I will try to get the expansion as well.

Reply 34 of 37, by Joseph_Joestar

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utahraptor wrote on 2020-09-11, 11:09:

Thanks! I will reload the game tonight and not install the 1.3 patch to test.

I would suggest using CD audio anyhow since it's vastly superior and contains vocals as well. But if you're nostalgic about FM synth, then stay with the unpatched version.

I will try to get the expansion as well.

The expansion is great, but it changes all the castle songs. For example, in the original game the Sorceress castle theme sounds like this. After you install the expansion, it changes to this.

IMHO, the best way to experience the original campaign is to play Heroes2 patched to 1.3 using CD audio (with opera). After finishing the campaign, you can install the Price of Loyalty expansion and listen to the new CD audio tracks that are on that disc.

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 37 of 37, by Joseph_Joestar

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Velociraptor wrote on 2020-09-13, 05:56:

There don't seem to be anything like the same downsides to this card as there are with SB16s. Is there anything significant it can't do?

Many ALS100 cards have high self-noise. Even with all inputs muted in the mixer and using conservative volume settings, it's still an issue. This does vary depending on the manufacturer, so it's possible to get lucky and score one where the noise isn't as pronounced.

Essentially, it's a noisy SB16 without any of the bugs.

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