ChrisTOTG wrote on 2022-09-15, 05:12:
Thanks a lot for that info. I've been reading a huge list of sound card threads, but there are hundreds and hundreds of comments to get through.
No wonder, it's a massive rabbit-hole to dive down 😉
At least you seem to have set some clear priorities for your build, which helps narrow down the options a bit.
That said, I would suggest you go back to the drawing board. If you want MT-32, you're talking about very old games. A lot of them are speed-sensitive and you'll struggle to get a P3 down to the sort of speeds they will work with. Some can also be very touchy when it comes to sound card compatibility.
After trying for a long time to do an "all DOS games and all sound standard in one system" monstrosity, I gave up and split it over two systems:
1) dedicated system for really old games, based on a 486SX-33, with turbo to go slow at the press of a button. It has my Snark Barker SB1.0 replica (with CMS chip upgrade) and a Roland MPU-401AT intelligent mode MIDI card. Oh, and some more obscure stuff (SSI-2001 replica, Covox and/or Tandy) as well.
2) almost identical system to the one you're building for later DOS stuff, with P3-600 on i440BX board (with 3 ISA slots 😉 ), an AWE64 Gold, a GUS and an Aztech AZT2320-based card for real OPL3 and bug-free MPU-401 MIDI.
Both are hooked up via a Roland A-880 patchbay to all my MIDI devices, but 1 mainly uses MT-32, and 2 mainly SC-55ST
If you don't have a GUS, you only need two ISA slots for build 2. The AWE64 Gold gives you excellent 16b sound and the EMU8k synth. It lacks real OPL3 and if you use its MIDI for an external device, it gives you slowdowns when playing 16b sound simultaneously. That's why I have the AZT2320 next to it, to give bug-free MIDI and a real OPL3. Added bonus is WSS, although I've yet to find a game that does support WSS and not SB16. Note that the AZT2320's not so unique - you could just as easily use an OPTi 929/930 or ALS/CMI based card as well.
This is great for everything from Master of Magic to Quake - but not so great for the really old stuff. I really think you should look at an older, slower system for that. If you really want a single system for all your DOS needs, look for a Via C3 CPU, as it can be slowed down much more effectively than a P3. Support for those on BX boards isn't universal so you might need to shop around.