VOGONS


First post, by HandOfFate

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I've been thinking about recording the music, sound of DOS games generated by my various sound cards and MIDI modules. I was wondering what I can do to get a clean as possible signal with hopefully the equipment that I've already got?

Three options that I am thinking of:

1. Record on the PC itself by recording the "What you can hear" channel if available, or by patching the "line out" (or speaker out, if there is no separate "line out") to the "line in"/"mic" port
2. Recording using one of the smart phones gathering dust in my drawer, using the shortest cable that I can find to go from "line out"/"spk out" to the phone.
3. Record on another PC or laptop.

The first option is probably not an option, except on relatively newer systems.

The second option would have my preference. It would be simple and portable, and because my 486s aren't too keen on running games from Windows I doubt that they would be able to record things at the same time. Plus some sound cards might not work well, or play MIDI differently depending on the drivers, in Windows.

The third option would mean I have to drag stuff around and I wonder if the moving fans, other power hungry parts could add noise?

Last edited by HandOfFate on 2020-09-11, 13:30. Edited 1 time in total.

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 + Yucatan FX /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 1 of 9, by Joseph_Joestar

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Nowadays, I'm using a Sound Blaster X-Fi on a separate PC for all of my recordings. It has an excellent resampling algorithm and can record using optical input (toslink) providing completely noise-free digital sound. This works because one of my retro rigs uses a SBLive + front panel which has optical out.

For older sound cards without digital output, I connect the line out from my retro rig to the line in of the X-Fi PC using a very short cable with gold-plated 3.5mm jacks. This also results in fairly clean sound, unless the ISA card that I'm recording from is noisy. Software wise, I'm using Audacity for recording and editing the sound clips.

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 9, by Wolfus

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-09-11, 13:14:

Nowadays, I'm using a Sound Blaster X-Fi on a separate PC for all of my recordings. It has an excellent resampling algorithm and can record using optical input (toslink) providing completely noise-free digital sound. This works because one of my retro rigs uses a SBLive + front panel which has optical out.

For older sound cards without digital output, I connect the line out from my retro rig to the line in of the X-Fi PC using a very short cable with gold-plated 3.5mm jacks. This also results in fairly clean sound, unless the ISA card that I'm recording from is noisy. Software wise, I'm using Audacity for recording and editing the sound clips.

Exactly this. I tried many other options (even semi-pro dedicated audio recorders), but modern PC with X-Fi is unbeatable for what I need and want.

Reply 3 of 9, by firage

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Another PC is the way to go. Even a motherboard integrated line-in, if it's recent, will beat 20 year old mainstream sound cards. For something a bit better, you can get used PCI sound cards with fantastic converters for cheap. ESI Juli@ is a really nice one. Some flavor of X-Fi might be great.

I have an E-MU 1616m that provides two analog stereo inputs and a further optical/coax digital input, plus real-time mixing. I'm currently assembling a top quality analog to SPDIF converter for a primary recording/measuring input.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 4 of 9, by darry

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If you have a firewire (IEEE394) equipped PC, you can get cheap external pro audio "cards" for it from local pawn shops . These things being discontinued (firewire is pretty much dead) and useless to most people makes them extra affordable. Just make sure your OS of choice supports it (some of this stuff is supported only until 32-bit Windows XP whereas newer stuff will have Vista x64 (or newer) drivers ) .

EDIT : As for software, Audacity is free and can even supports ASIO (if you need it for one of those firewire devices, for example), if you are willing to compile it on your own (non-trivial, but good instructions exist) .

Reply 5 of 9, by HandOfFate

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Alright, that's pretty unanimous 😁

I do happen to have a Firewire port on my main PC (built in 2011). I've never used it though but I'll check how Linux (main OS) responds if I try to read from it. But if it works it might be a nice option. I'm used to patching and compiling sources so I guess I could get Audacity to work with it.

I don't think my on board audio connectors are very good, I've had cases of sound leaking from speaker out to the mic over the years. But there are plenty of X-Fi's for sale where I am, both PCI and PCI-e. Are there any features between the different models that are important or best avoided (list on Wikipedia)?

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 + Yucatan FX /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 6 of 9, by Joseph_Joestar

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HandOfFate wrote on 2020-09-12, 11:48:

But there are plenty of X-Fi's for sale where I am, both PCI and PCI-e. Are there any features between the different models that are important or best avoided (list on Wikipedia)?

The PCIe versions come with built-in optical in/out. For the PCI models, you need the corresponding front panel to get that functionality. There are some other differences in terms of available X-RAM and such, but that's mostly relevant for gaming, not so much for recording purposes.

Stay away from the Xtreme Audio models. Those use a different chip and don't have all the features of a proper X-Fi card.

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 7 of 9, by darry

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HandOfFate wrote on 2020-09-12, 11:48:

Alright, that's pretty unanimous 😁

I do happen to have a Firewire port on my main PC (built in 2011). I've never used it though but I'll check how Linux (main OS) responds if I try to read from it. But if it works it might be a nice option. I'm used to patching and compiling sources so I guess I could get Audacity to work with it.

I don't think my on board audio connectors are very good, I've had cases of sound leaking from speaker out to the mic over the years. But there are plenty of X-Fi's for sale where I am, both PCI and PCI-e. Are there any features between the different models that are important or best avoided (list on Wikipedia)?

The front panels (X-FI drive) for the legacy PCI X-FI cards have no Linux support AFAIK . The cards themselves work fine .

I don't know much about the PCI Express ones as I have never tried one (probably have one stashed somewhere) . I much prefer the legacy PCI ones because of their front panel layout and options .

If you do go the Firewire route, have a look here http://www.ffado.org/

Reply 8 of 9, by Tiido

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I have been using a card named ESI Juli@ for all my stuff, it is an actual production orientated card that has no resampling and other stuff getting in the way. I have been most happy with the results it can provide, just be sure not to miss the breakout cable as that's where all the digital I/O and MIDI connections are.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
Newly made 4MB 60ns 30pin SIMMs ~
mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 9 of 9, by HandOfFate

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Thanks for the information and links everyone. I'm going to dive into the different options and see what's available (and affordable) around here 😀

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 + Yucatan FX /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!