VOGONS


First post, by suntac

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Did you know there was a predecessor to the AdLib Music Synthesizer Card (1987)?

Designed in 1986 or earlier as a school project at University of Delaware, it seems hundreds of them may have been produced. According to the numbers stamped under the solder mask (8640) on the card's bottom side, the bare PCB was manufactured in September or October 1986.

Although the card's OPL2 chip was originally mapped to a different I/O port range, it was pretty simple to deduce the meaning of the DIP switch configuration and to remap the OPL2 to the now-standard AdLib's I/O port range, 388h/389h.

The card provides one amplified mono output via the ¼ inch jack socket and two identical line-level mono outputs via the RCA sockets. The card's signal-to-noise ratio is pretty good, possibly comparable to Roland's.

I never liked the original AdLib Music Synthesizer Card's design and considered it somewhat ugly. This one, on the other hand, has some real aesthetic appeal.


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Reply 3 of 19, by Tiido

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Very retro looking, cool find ~

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 6 of 19, by pan069

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It looks to be in pristine condition, i.e. I can't see/spot any wear or tear on the ISA connector at all. Maybe worth adding some info and a photo to Wikipedia?

Reply 7 of 19, by Cloudschatze

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It would be interesting to know what the use-case was for this particular card. Is the obscured letter that follows "University of Delaware" an "O"? If so, the "OIT" acronym presumably represents "Office of Information Technology," which makes me wonder if the card may have been a component of some campus-wide video/teletext system or similar.

Reply 8 of 19, by Cyberdyne

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I always "like" the cynisysm of early hardware and software manufacturers, everybody stole from everybody and everybody went to court. Rubbing letters off the chips is one thing. But going to court all the time.... i am looking at you apple.

So Even Adlib was stolen from someone else 😁

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 9 of 19, by Grzyb

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suntac wrote on 2020-10-21, 18:37:

it seems hundreds of them may have been produced

So it was sold comercially?
It's hard to believe - if there were hundreds of them in use, why it got so forgotten?

Reply 10 of 19, by jmarsh

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Grzyb wrote on 2020-10-22, 07:08:

So it was sold comercially?
It's hard to believe - if there were hundreds of them in use, why it got so forgotten?

I was thinking maybe it was part of a course (like electrical engineering or such) and each student assembled their own and was assessed on the final product... but that would probably have to include some sort of extra design-solving problem (like coding/programming a ROM or such) rather than just sticking a bunch of components in a predesigned board.

Reply 11 of 19, by suntac

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jmarsh wrote on 2020-10-22, 07:49:
Grzyb wrote on 2020-10-22, 07:08:

So it was sold comercially?
It's hard to believe - if there were hundreds of them in use, why it got so forgotten?

I was thinking maybe it was part of a course (like electrical engineering or such) and each student assembled their own and was assessed on the final product... but that would probably have to include some sort of extra design-solving problem (like coding/programming a ROM or such) rather than just sticking a bunch of components in a predesigned board.

Yes, that's exactly what I think. It wasn't intended to be a commercial product. On the PCB there were remnants of solder rosin which I cleaned with isopropylalcohol before taking these pictures.

Reply 13 of 19, by suntac

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VileR wrote on 2020-10-22, 09:51:

So where did you find your information? And could "JBI" on the back be the initials of the designer? 😁

It's just a qualified guess. JBI was the name of the PCB manufacturer, or its acronym. The 94V0 supports that.

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Reply 14 of 19, by suntac

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Cyberdyne wrote on 2020-10-22, 05:00:

I always "like" the cynisysm of early hardware and software manufacturers, everybody stole from everybody and everybody went to court. Rubbing letters off the chips is one thing. But going to court all the time.... i am looking at you apple.

So Even Adlib was stolen from someone else 😁

I don't believe the AdLib design was stolen. The idea is the same, but the design is different. We see no cost-cutting on this card. It is also very uncommon to see an 8-bit I/O address selector DIP switch in a commercial ISA card.

Reply 15 of 19, by NewRisingSun

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Cloudschatze wrote:

If so, the "OIT" acronym presumably represents "Office of Information Technology," which makes me wonder if the card may have been a component of some campus-wide video/teletext system or similar.

How appropriate that both the original YM3526 and YM3812 are described as being "designed for Captain systems and videotext systems" in their original datasheets (CAPTAIN=Character and Pattern Telephone Access Information Network).

suntac wrote:

Although the card's OPL2 chip was originally mapped to a different I/O port range

Which one?

Reply 17 of 19, by Anonymous Coward

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Did the founder of Adlib have any connection to the University of Delaware?

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 18 of 19, by rmay635703

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-10-24, 23:47:

Did the founder of Adlib have any connection to the University of Delaware?

The founder was a Vice Dean in Quebec

Lyrtech was highly integrated into Adlib and provided electronic audio processing / design for military and government customers.

If I had to guess Lytech may have had a hand with UODs system which likely spilled forward to Adlib since it’s easier to make software you already have.