VOGONS


Iconic Sound Blaster CT numbers

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First post, by mpe

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I found a free wall in my house and I am going to replicate the display unit installation I've done earlier for my GUS card collection. But now with Creative cards.

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Obviously, unlike GUS, there is a plenty of SB models. So I want to shortlist 4-5 Creative Sound Blaster ISA cards that are historically significant or interesting to be displayed.

I am now thinking about having one of SB originals (or even the Snark Barker), a SB Pro model, SB16 and AWE32. Ideally they should be on green PCBs. The biggest constraint is they should all fit in 52x52cm square space of my display unit.

Which CT numbers would you pick?

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-10-12, 19:24. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 1 of 22, by firage

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I don't know how many people could spare to mount them, but I'd go for an early SB with CMS CT1320A, SB Pro with dual FM chips CT1330A and the fully featured AWE32 CT2760 as a strong set of three to start. The fourth would be an SB16, probably an early one.

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Reply 2 of 22, by darry

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mpe wrote on 2020-10-11, 19:05:
I found a free wall in my house and I am going to replicate the display unit installation I've done earlier for my GUS card coll […]
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I found a free wall in my house and I am going to replicate the display unit installation I've done earlier for my GUS card collection. But now with Creative cards.

GUS.jpeg

Obviously, ulike GUS, there is a plenty of SB models. So I want to shortlist 4-5 Creative Sound Blaster ISA cards that are historically significant or interesting to be displayed.

I am now thinking about having one of SB originals (or even the Snark Barker), a SB Pro model, SB16 and AWE32. Ideally they should be on green PCBs. The biggest constraint is they should all fit in 52x52cm square space of my display unit.

Which CT numbers would you pick?

Nice GUS display . That's a about 2000 CAN$ (at current-ish Ebay prices) on display and, ironically, most visitors to your home would have no idea .

I have an affection for the CT3670 whose 4.16 DSP essentially makes it an AWE64 with SIMM slots . Maybe not wall-worthy, but definitely one of my favourites .

Reply 3 of 22, by Anonymous Coward

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CT1770. That was the top of the line among the early SB16s.

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Reply 5 of 22, by The Serpent Rider

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I found a free wall in my house and I am going to replicate the display unit installation I've done earlier for my GUS card collection

Ah, replicated Deus Ex Human Revolution meme.

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Reply 6 of 22, by mpe

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darry wrote on 2020-10-12, 00:51:

Nice GUS display . That's a about 2000 CAN$ (at current-ish Ebay prices) on display and, ironically, most visitors to your home would have no idea .

Thanks. Luckily I was able to get some of them for cheap (like miracleously getting the ACE in a pile of cards for $20 or so) and I am off the market right now. I've already convinced myself that I don't need the GUS Extreme as it was OEM product.

And it is a favourite part of my role of a host to explain my guests what are they looking at 😀

darry wrote on 2020-10-12, 00:51:

I have an affection for the CT3670 whose 4.16 DSP essentially makes it an AWE64 with SIMM slots . Maybe not wall-worthy, but definitely one of my favourites .

I know that one. However, that's SB32 not AWE32. It was meant to be a value version of AWE32 so less desirable for displaying. Makes a nice actual AWE32 in a retro system though (if you don't mind CQM).

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Reply 7 of 22, by jheronimus

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firage wrote on 2020-10-11, 23:07:

I don't know how many people could spare to mount them, but I'd go for an early SB with CMS CT1320A, SB Pro with dual FM chips CT1330A and the fully featured AWE32 CT2760 as a strong set of three to start. The fourth would be an SB16, probably an early one.

Would add the CT1300A (the CMS) and probably CT4760 (the original Sound Blaster Live!)

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Reply 8 of 22, by mpe

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firage wrote on 2020-10-11, 23:07:

I don't know how many people could spare to mount them, but I'd go for an early SB with CMS CT1320A, SB Pro with dual FM chips CT1330A and the fully featured AWE32 CT2760 as a strong set of three to start. The fourth would be an SB16, probably an early one.

Sounds like a plan. CT1320A/B + CT1330A + CT2760 + a SB16 (most likely 17Xx or full-featured CT2230 MCD ASP)

Need to workout the layout as some of these are full-sized models and the space might get quite cramped.

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Reply 9 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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I would also add the original Sound Blaster Live! from 1998. The model number should be CT4620.

It's not any better than the later models, it was just the first in that series.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
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Reply 10 of 22, by dionb

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firage wrote on 2020-10-11, 23:07:

I don't know how many people could spare to mount them, but I'd go for an early SB with CMS CT1320A, SB Pro with dual FM chips CT1330A and the fully featured AWE32 CT2760 as a strong set of three to start. The fourth would be an SB16, probably an early one.

Tbh these are exactly the cards you could spare for mounting: very collectible, but actually when looked at objectively and compared to other stuff out there (including other Creative stuff) sort of crap. The SBPro1 is hardly supported (compared to the v2), the AWE32 is decent, but not for MIDI and early SB16s were noisy as hell.

Reply 11 of 22, by mpe

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dionb wrote on 2020-10-12, 12:54:

Tbh these are exactly the cards you could spare for mounting: very collectible, but actually when looked at objectively and compared to other stuff out there (including other Creative stuff) sort of crap. The SBPro1 is hardly supported (compared to the v2), the AWE32 is decent, but not for MIDI and early SB16s were noisy as hell.

Exactly. Fancy early Creative cards are collector items or historical artefacts more than anything else. I'd rather use something cheap and trouble-free like late ESS1868 in actual retro PC.

Frankly speaking GUS cards are similar in that respect. They look great and are sought after but the actual number of supported games is rather slim and only of a fraction of those makes actually use their unique features. As a GUS user in mid-90's I was sick of all TSR programs I had to load every time when I wanted to play anything. Sometimes I really wished I went with another sound card...

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Reply 12 of 22, by darry

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mpe wrote on 2020-10-12, 13:11:
dionb wrote on 2020-10-12, 12:54:

Tbh these are exactly the cards you could spare for mounting: very collectible, but actually when looked at objectively and compared to other stuff out there (including other Creative stuff) sort of crap. The SBPro1 is hardly supported (compared to the v2), the AWE32 is decent, but not for MIDI and early SB16s were noisy as hell.

Exactly. Fancy early Creative cards are collector items or historical artefacts more than anything else. I'd rather use something cheap and trouble-free like late ESS1868 in actual retro PC.

Frankly speaking GUS cards are similar in that respect. They look great and are sought after but the actual number of supported games is rather slim and only of a fraction of those makes actually use their unique features. As a GUS user in mid-90's I was sick of all TSR programs I had to load every time when I wanted to play anything. Sometimes I really wished I went with another sound card...

Megaem and sbos were necessary evils. If Gravis had actually implemented hardware level SB compatibility in the Interwave, things might have turned out differently for them and AMD's audio division .

Reply 13 of 22, by firage

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dionb wrote on 2020-10-12, 12:54:
firage wrote on 2020-10-11, 23:07:

Tbh these are exactly the cards you could spare for mounting: very collectible, but actually when looked at objectively and compared to other stuff out there (including other Creative stuff) sort of crap. The SBPro1 is hardly supported (compared to the v2), the AWE32 is decent, but not for MIDI and early SB16s were noisy as hell.

That's one way to look at it, I don't disagree. Very impressive collection for the showcase, nonetheless.

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Reply 14 of 22, by Cloudschatze

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firage wrote on 2020-10-13, 00:22:
dionb wrote on 2020-10-12, 12:54:
firage wrote on 2020-10-11, 23:07:

Tbh these are exactly the cards you could spare for mounting: very collectible, but actually when looked at objectively and compared to other stuff out there (including other Creative stuff) sort of crap. The SBPro1 is hardly supported (compared to the v2), the AWE32 is decent, but not for MIDI and early SB16s were noisy as hell.

That's one way to look at it, I don't disagree.

It's a highly-opinionated way of looking at it. The criteria was "iconic and/or historically significant" Sound Blaster models, which can be arguably and legitimately applied to your earlier suggestions, as opposed to "Sound Blaster cards that dionb thinks are crap."

Reply 15 of 22, by Shreddoc

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It's easy with the benefit of hindsight to see the technical drawbacks of cards.

What's more important here, I think, is the mass-market (*insofar as the 90's PC component market can be referred to as a "mass"!) position and desirability of these items, around the time of original release.

P.S. wish I had a single GUS, to use and enjoy <looks damningly/jokingly at person hanging 4 of them on walls for fun!, haha>. I jest. You're well within your rights, and I really admire the display. Better than most million$ artworks, in my nerdly opinion.

Reply 16 of 22, by dionb

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Cloudschatze wrote on 2020-10-13, 01:12:

[...]
It's a highly-opinionated way of looking at it. The criteria was "iconic and/or historically significant" Sound Blaster models, which can be arguably and legitimately applied to your earlier suggestions, as opposed to "Sound Blaster cards that dionb thinks are crap."

Sure it's opinionated, but there's no contradiction between considering these board iconic and/or historically significant and considering many of them crap.

There's no doubt at all that Creative set the standards in PC sound cards from the first Sound Blaster to basically the end of discrete sound cards, and that the listed cards here are milestones on that path, so deserve their place in the frame. However, apart from the original Sound Blaster (which was technically as much of a milestone as it was commercially), the rest of the lot are proof that exceptional marketing (and some downright anti-competitive practices here and there) enables inferior products to beat superior ones in the marketplace. Particularly the SB16 was egregious - a quick&dirty rip-off of the PAS16 feature set cobbled together in less than a month, copying the (hanging note) bugs but not the exceptional shielding & sound quality, particularly in earlier models. And all those models - all through the SB16 lifespan they were trying - and failing - to get it completely right, not one is completely bug-free, there is no 'definitive' design. As an engineer it makes me cringe, all the more so knowing how successful and even worshiped it became despite that.

But it did, so it earned it's place on the wall. Just not in my PC.
(at least, not as a primary card - SB16 support is still a must for later DOS games, and I use a late SB32 and/or an AWE64 Gold for that).

Reply 18 of 22, by Unknown_K

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FreddyV wrote on 2020-10-14, 08:09:

Gravis UlraSounds on a Wall and not used 🙁 When so many peoples never heard how they sound.

One of my friends had a GUS back in the day when I had a SB16 and I got a lot more use out of my card then he did, dumping it for a soundblaster after a year.

If you like the old demo scene, tracker music, or enjoy the games with direct GUS support they are cool.

I have a 1MB expanded GUS and the PnP model picked up when I got back into DOS games ages ago when they were cheap. A SB16 with wavetable card is still what I prefer.

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Reply 19 of 22, by shock__

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They're his cards, so ... I don't get the fuss, it's not like they're rare - just expensive.
I'd re-arrange the cards tho ... GUS, GUS Max, GUS ACE, GUS PnP for chronological reasons.

CT1320, CT1330, CT1350B (extra points for the Quickshot rebranded "Sound Machine"), CT1740 and an AWE32 of your choice would be my picks.

Current Project: new GUS PnP compatible soundcard

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