VOGONS


First post, by Xses

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Hi,

So I've got a 2005ish AMD Athlon 64 PC. It fully works with Windows 98SE, because It has PATA (IDE) drives and win98 drivers for the graphics card, the only problem is obviously the sound. While it works in win98, the sound card is Sound Blaster 128 Vibra and the motherboard is not allowing its DOS emulation software to run (the problem discussed here before many times). I was wondering about the solutions to make it have the sound in DOS.

Maybe in the US, it is possible to find ISA sound cards and motherboards in thrash, but here they are rare and pretty expensive. So I thought about Covox Speech Thing because it is very simple to build and there are emulators/drivers which allow it to work as a Sound Blaster, Adlib, or Tandy Sound System. The problem is that the emulators I could find only works with Intel 80386, so my question is: is there any software for that card, for later PCs like the one I have?

Reply 1 of 16, by Benedikt

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When it comes to software stating that it "needs an Intel 80386", keep in mind that the Covox Speech Thing is a device from the late 1980s.
In that context, 80386 usually means any 32-bit-enabled x86 processor, i.e. it merely means that the software will not run on an 8088, 8086, 80186 or 80286.
TEMU, for instance, should run on machines way more modern than a simple 80386.

Reply 3 of 16, by Benedikt

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Xses wrote on 2021-08-08, 18:39:

So I thought about Covox Speech Thing because it is very simple to build [...]

BTW.: The original uses an R-2R resistor ladder with R=100kΩ in combination with a 25.5kΩ load resistor.
If you are looking for a PCB-based solution, you can take a look at my clone designs:
Replicas of Covox Speech Thing, FTL Sound Adapter and SiliconSoft SoundJr

Reply 4 of 16, by BitWrangler

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Parallel ports were disappearing rapidly in 2005, you're sure you've got one? 🤣 Just checking.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 5 of 16, by Benedikt

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-08-11, 03:19:

Parallel ports were disappearing rapidly in 2005, you're sure you've got one? 🤣 Just checking.

They were disappearing from the ATX IO area, but most motherboards from that era should still at least have a parallel port pin header.

Reply 7 of 16, by Xses

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Benedikt wrote on 2021-08-09, 09:56:
BTW.: The original uses an R-2R resistor ladder with R=100kΩ in combination with a 25.5kΩ load resistor. If you are looking for […]
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Xses wrote on 2021-08-08, 18:39:

So I thought about Covox Speech Thing because it is very simple to build [...]

BTW.: The original uses an R-2R resistor ladder with R=100kΩ in combination with a 25.5kΩ load resistor.
If you are looking for a PCB-based solution, you can take a look at my clone designs:
Replicas of Covox Speech Thing, FTL Sound Adapter and SiliconSoft SoundJr

Thx, but I want to build one with a headphone amplifier based on lm386 and buffer based on some generic opamp and I want to mount it to PCI card bracket.

Reply 8 of 16, by Jo22

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Xses wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:03:

[..] I want to build one with a headphone amplifier based on lm386 and buffer based on some generic opamp and I want to mount it to PCI card bracket.

Hi, you maybe can use that internal Covox schematic for this:

Re: Covox speech thingy!!!

PS: Other interesting Covox threads:
Rainbow Arts Soundman ? Adlib Clone - can it play Digital Sound ?

Covox Sound Devices

self built covox produces static

This one is an older posting of mine (I'm sorry),
but it has a picture of the real Speech Thing and some links related to it.:

Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 9 of 16, by Xses

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:27:
Xses wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:03:

[..] I want to build one with a headphone amplifier based on lm386 and buffer based on some generic opamp and I want to mount it to PCI card bracket.

Hi, you maybe can use that internal Covox schematic for this:

Re: Covox speech thingy!!!

Thx. Indeed, C560/AD558 is a great solution, but even though I am in Eastern Europe those ICs are crazy rare and expensive.

Reply 11 of 16, by Benedikt

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Xses wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:03:
Benedikt wrote on 2021-08-09, 09:56:
BTW.: The original uses an R-2R resistor ladder with R=100kΩ in combination with a 25.5kΩ load resistor. If you are looking for […]
Show full quote
Xses wrote on 2021-08-08, 18:39:

So I thought about Covox Speech Thing because it is very simple to build [...]

BTW.: The original uses an R-2R resistor ladder with R=100kΩ in combination with a 25.5kΩ load resistor.
If you are looking for a PCB-based solution, you can take a look at my clone designs:
Replicas of Covox Speech Thing, FTL Sound Adapter and SiliconSoft SoundJr

Thx, but I want to build one with a headphone amplifier based on lm386 and buffer based on some generic opamp and I want to mount it to PCI card bracket.

I don't think that the opamp buffer is necessary here. Using the unbuffered output of the resistor ladder as input for the LM386 should be sufficient.
For instance, the resistor ladder configuration described above will result in a line-level input signal when combined with an amplifier with 10kΩ input impedance.

Reply 12 of 16, by Jo22

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What about using an EF95 (6AK5) tube in the future ? 😀
It's pretty common in the east/far east, I assume.
There's an headphone amplifier project that involves one (or two).

http://www.elexs.de/ef954.htm (English Translation)

In fact, I've built such an amp (mono) myself for a Pi running MT32-pi..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y43kYMGZhKk

Of course, it's all about having the right impedance an efficiency.
Tubes often have a high impedance ouput and nowadays devices are usually of low impedance.

An 32 ohms loudspeaker is harder to drive than a pair of headphones, also.

So in some situations an output transformer is needed, which also provides galvanic insulation and DC-free audio.

Or high impedance headphones. Like the AKG K141 Monitor (2x 600 ohm).
Classic headphones from the crystal radio era had 2K ohms, even. 😀

Anyway, if the low impedance headphones are efficient, they may also work at an adequate volume nevertheless.

Edit: For proper working, EF95 normally needs 35v or higher anode voltage, if memory serves.
For ~12v usage, the EF98 (also EF97) used to be better suited.
These were true battery tubes, meant for car radios et cetera.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 13 of 16, by Benedikt

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Xses wrote on 2021-08-12, 11:03:

[...] I want to mount it to PCI card bracket.

Jo22 wrote on 2021-08-12, 14:57:

What about using an EF95 (6AK5) tube in the future ? 😀

What could possibly go wrong?

Reply 14 of 16, by BitWrangler

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Out of curiosity, I just cracked open a bluetooth speaker, one of those cheapy mono ones. I was wondering if they had a bluetooth chip and a DAC etc.. no the BT is one all in one SOC that handles battery charging and everything... BUT... there is an 8002 amplifier chip in there, they run off 5V.. that looks real easy to use in applications such as this, even if you just get the IC separate and don't mod a BT speaker. In this particular one, there would be room inside to put the whole DAC in there. However, should I mod it, I might just break the input to the 8002 and insert a switched 3.5mm stereo jack in. Then it would be general purpose.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 15 of 16, by Xses

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I thought about using Russian 1j24w (1Ж24Б) pencil tubes because they are great for such application, they are small, through-hole and they work perfectly on 12V on the anode and 1.2V heather (and I can buy them here for ~$1.5), but I've already done headphone amp using them and OPA2134, so I can just plug that as well. There is also a power version of that thing and probably would be great for OTL. But I am done with tubes.

2170857838_radiolampa-1zh24b.jpg

Reply 16 of 16, by matze79

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https://www.retrokits.de/index.php/simple-lptsnd/

Here is a list of software I tested.
Also still have some SMD covox plugs left from soldering method testing.

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer