VOGONS


First post, by TheGoose81

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Hello all!

I am having a strange issues with my AW64 Gold soundcard. Let me start by saying that several months have passed since I last fired up my 486DX2 66mhz machine and the last time I used this machine I had no issues what so ever, which makes this issue even more frustrating!

I am running PhilsComputerLabs MS DOS 7.1 Stand alone Dos environment and the issue I am facing is with Sound Effects and Midi. The midi is outputting to my Roland Sound Canvas SC-55 mkII and the AWE64 sound effects are straight out of the soundcard and mixed through the SC-55. Now, when I fire up a game such as Doom 1, Doom 2, Rise of the Triad, and pretty much any other Dos game which I want Midi music with I get no sound output at all and the games run very slowly. If, for example I run Doom 1 Setup I can disable the sound effects and enable just the MIDI (Sound Canvas) and the midi and the game itself all work just fine. And vice versa, disable midi all together and just enable SoundBlaster and the sound effects work just fine and so does the game.. I have also tried the AWE32 midi option to use the AWE64 to decode the midi, and I get the same issue when enabling Sound effects, however disabling sound affects the AWE32 Midi works just fine!! I was however able to enable PC Speaker output for the sound effects and have midi playing through the Roland just fine!! I am guessing, somehow I have a conflict? So what I have done so far is:

Formatting my C drive and re installing Phils Dos environment, I have also Followed Phils guide on setting up the AWE64 in a Windows Dos Environment CTCM and SB16 folders, and adding the autoexec.bat lines and re installing my games, however the problem still persists. The soundcard seem to initialize just fine, with the defaults as stated on Phils setup. I have also changed the Midi port to 300, but this has made no difference with my issue.

I was planning on removing the AWE64 soundcard and trying it in another machine (Dos) and seeing if it still happens, so I am curious to find out if anyone else has this same issue? Just to be clear, when I last used this 486 some months ago the system worked flawlessly, both Soundblaster and Roland midi worked together perfectly, in all games! and this was using the default settings.

I hope I can eventually get to the bottom of this.

Many Thanks

Mike 😀

Reply 1 of 13, by TheGoose81

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Hi! Me again 😀

Today I have installed and Setup my AWE64 Sound card into another pc! The system is a Pentium 166mhz based machine. I wanted to see if my sound card issues are related to the other pc setup. I have the same issue on this P166 machine as I do with my 486 PC! I used the AWE64 setup cd rom this time round, and its all setup by default, interrupts, DMA etc. Yet I can only use one or the other type of sound and not both as previously mentioned!!! Could this somehow be a damaged soundcard? Is there anyway of proving this?
I am using Phils Ms-dos 7 installation, same setup as on other pc.

As there has been no replies as of yet I take it that this hasn't happened to anyone before?

I hope someone can shed some light ?

Many Thanks

Mike

Reply 2 of 13, by darry

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Setting aside the SC-55 for the moment, you mention an issue even when using AWE32 MIDI and SB16 for effects on the AWE64 Gold in Doom. That should not happen .

Just to be safe and to eliminate one variable, could you retry that with the joystick MIDI adapter disconnected from the AWE64 and see if the issue still occurs ?

Also, I imagine the AWE64 successfully passes all tests in the Diagnose utility ?

If the issue still occurs, it feels like it may be a hardware problem with the card . Simplest test would be to try a cheapish (unfortunately not that cheap anymore) AWE64 Value instead .

EDIT : Oh and while this is unlikely to be the issue are you per chance using irq7 for the card with an LPT port using the same irq ?

Reply 3 of 13, by NewRisingSun

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I see two issues here:

  1. The AWE64 Gold's MPU-401 interface, and its DSP, both share there same IRQ level. Games that are not prepared for that situation will behave erratically when both are used together. The solution for that issue is to disable the MPU-401 interface's IRQ using Creative Labs' SBMPU.EXE utility.
  2. The DSP on the AWE64 Gold (v4.16) has a particular quirk that it will not accept MIDI data from the MPU-401 interface as long as a DSP IRQ is pending. Because MIDI data is normally written into the MPU-401 by the Timer interrupt service routine, and the Timer IRQ has a higher priority than the DSP IRQ, the games' MIDI output routine will time out whenever music data is to be sent while the end of a PCM buffer is reached. This explains why you are not experiencing the problem with either MIDI playback or PCM playback alone, only with the two together. It is a hardware limitation of the AWE64 Gold, and there is nothing you can do about it except switch to using a second MIDI interface card to which to connect the SC-55mkII.

Earlier DSP versions had another issue causing the last received MIDI byte to be re-sent to MIDI Out whenever a DSP IRQ is acknowledged, both on the back of the card and the Wave Blaster header, causing erratic notes to be played. This is commonly known as the "hanging note bug". No AWE64 Gold is affected by this problem to my knowledge, but it is a problem that you may encounter should you decide to try another Sound Blaster card.

Reply 4 of 13, by TheGoose81

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Hi thanks both for your replies, I will test out what is mentioned here soon and update. One other thing I tried yesterday but never updated on the forum; I swapped out the AWE64 with a Creative SB16 pnp card. But I still experience the exact same issues. Midi or Sound effects, but not both. I will re-visit this hopefully later on today so will keep you posted. I will also grab a screen shot of the IRQ settings.

Thanks

Mike

Reply 5 of 13, by Joseph_Joestar

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TheGoose81 wrote on Today, 09:09:

I swapped out the AWE64 with a Creative SB16 pnp card. But I still experience the exact same issues. Midi or Sound effects, but not both.

Check out this thread if you haven't already: Sound Blaster 16 Bugs and Deficiencies Summary

In short, if you want to use an external MIDI device, SB16/AWE cards are not the best choice.

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 13, by TheGoose81

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Hi again, well I pulled my finger out and have fired up the 486 again, except this time I have unplugged the Gameport Midi cable going towards the SC-55. And what do you know, its working! AWE32 midi and Soundblaster effects all working, and DOOM is running sweet!

Not sure if anyone can work out why this is?

Oddly this used to work brilliantly which is why this is boggling me! Is there some kind of stand alone MPU-401 (Gamport/Midi) card which I can run alongside with my AWE64 Gold?

Many Thanks

Mike

Reply 7 of 13, by TheGoose81

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Would running a second soundcard just for the MPU-401 Gameport output be a solution? For Example my SB16? Or is there a better ISA Soundcard out there that I could use instead of the AWE64, in order to achieve the goal of SC-55 midi and Sound effects?

Thanks

Mike

Reply 8 of 13, by TheGoose81

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Well well well, i appear to have found a solution which is working! And a hell of a lot cheaper than buying an MPU-401 stand alone card. I have added in a second soundcard (Creative SB16), I have configured the AWE64 to standard settings, then on the SB16 I have changed out all of its settings so that they dont conflict with the AWE64. I set the MPU 401 to 300 on the SB16. I had to change the Gameport address of the AWE64, simply because i cannot change the SB16 gameport for some reason. And wow! Its working like a champ!! SB16 to handle the Gameport midi out, and the AWE64 for Soundblaster sound effects!!

Hopefully this continues to work! Apologies if this method has already been discussed on the forum 🤣

Thanks

Mike

Reply 9 of 13, by darry

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Have you considered that there may be something wrong with the gameport to MIDI cable that you are using ?

This behavior is not normal (in Doom, for instance, it should work fine, some other games have known issues with simultaneous MIDI and FX on SB16s and AWEs, but not Doom) or expected and the fact that it affects multiple sound cards points toward something other than the actual soundcards being at fault .

Reply 10 of 13, by TheGoose81

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Hi yes I agree it could be something to do with the cable. It has a gameport passthrough attached and midi in/out Din cables. I have inspected for any obvious signs of damage and I cannot see any. As I mentioned before the setup used to work flawlessly, over the months I haven't moved any cabling or damaged etc. Unfortunately I do not have another cable to test with, so I guess its worth trying to find one. I would rather it be a simple fix like this, so I could return to using just one AWE64 card.
A few months back when the system worked correctly midi/sound effects worked on the following game I tried:
Doom
Doom 2
Heretic
Z
Rise of the Triad
Duke Nukem
Descent 1 & 2
Plus a few other, all in pure dos mode. Hence the reason why I am a tad baffled?! I always used the default Blaster settings:

Base I/O address: 220
MIDI Port address: 330
Interrupt setting: 5
Low DMA setting: 1
High DMA setting: 5
I also ran CTCU.exe to make sure there were no conflicts, which there isn't.

Thanks

Mike

Reply 11 of 13, by Tiido

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Doom is a game that will barf when MIDI IN cable is connected, maybe that was the problem.

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 13 of 13, by darry

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TheGoose81 wrote on Today, 18:26:

I do have both Midi In and Midi Out din connectors attached to the Roland, should I not have both connected?

Only computer's MIDI out to module's MIDI in is required for playing game music on the module .