VOGONS


First post, by zuldan

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I'm pretty new to the retro scene and I was wondering if some of you could help identify the sound cards I found. Hopefully they not all rubbish. I'm looking at building another DOS machine.

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Reply 3 of 13, by Grzyb

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#6 is Sound Booster Pro
https://www.wavetable.nl/files/articles/Perso … 20de%20maak.pdf

Nie tylko, jak widzicie, w tym trudność, że nie zdołacie wejść na moją górę, lecz i w tym, że ja do was cały zejść nie mogę, gdyż schodząc, gubię po drodze to, co miałem donieść.

Reply 5 of 13, by Grzyb

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#2 may be the same as this - DOS drivers for Aztech Multimedia Pro 16 IIB-3D (I38-SN96103)
Differences between Analog Devices and Crystal codecs probably aren't important.

Nie tylko, jak widzicie, w tym trudność, że nie zdołacie wejść na moją górę, lecz i w tym, że ja do was cały zejść nie mogę, gdyż schodząc, gubię po drodze to, co miałem donieść.

Reply 6 of 13, by Grzyb

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#5 is obviously from Dataexpert

Nie tylko, jak widzicie, w tym trudność, że nie zdołacie wejść na moją górę, lecz i w tym, że ja do was cały zejść nie mogę, gdyż schodząc, gubię po drodze to, co miałem donieść.

Reply 7 of 13, by zuldan

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Thank you for everyone’s information so far. Do any of these cards stand out for early 90’s gaming?

They don’t sound like common cards, hopefully drivers won’t be a nightmare to find.

Reply 8 of 13, by Grzyb

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No problem with drivers:
#1 - use Sound Blaster 2.0 drivers, it's just an OEM variant of SB 2.0
#2 - see the linked thread
#3 - use Yamaha drivers
#4 - use ESS drivers
#5 - if you can't find drivers for Dataexpert MED2000, use Opti drivers
#6 - if you can't find drivers for Avid Sound Booster Pro, use Sound Blaster Pro 1 drivers

Nie tylko, jak widzicie, w tym trudność, że nie zdołacie wejść na moją górę, lecz i w tym, że ja do was cały zejść nie mogę, gdyż schodząc, gubię po drodze to, co miałem donieść.

Reply 9 of 13, by Trashbytes

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zuldan wrote on 2023-12-05, 10:08:

Thank you for everyone’s information so far. Do any of these cards stand out for early 90’s gaming?

They don’t sound like common cards, hopefully drivers won’t be a nightmare to find.

The ESS 1869 Audio Drive and the Yamaha card are great cards to have, super compatible cards that should work just fine in any ISA based system you throw them into and neither have speed issues, the fact they both have wavetable headers makes them even better options when using a daughter card like the X2GS or Ewave. (There is a great thread here on Vogons about modding the Yamaha card to make it even better by fixing the swapped sound channels and tweaking the mixer)

I would use these two before the others, the two Sound Blaster cards look like they are in ok condition, they would make great display cards or perhaps good cards to sell to a fellow collector who needs them. The OPTI card ... needs a lot of work, not sure where it was sitting but its got a good amount of corrosion, worth testing to see if it still works.

The SB 1 and 2 are ok cards for early XT/286/386 class machines, I wouldn't be using them in any faster machine, IIRC they both have the speed issues with faster processors.

Dont know much about the OPTI or Aztech cards but I do recall that some early ISA Aztech cards also suffer from speed issues with faster processors.

Reply 11 of 13, by Thermalwrong

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zuldan wrote on 2023-12-05, 10:08:

Thank you for everyone’s information so far. Do any of these cards stand out for early 90’s gaming?

They don’t sound like common cards, hopefully drivers won’t be a nightmare to find.

For DOS gaming I recommend #2 and #6 personally. Both are stereo and SoundBlaster Pro type cards that don't need much in the way of drivers to run on boot, once set up.

#6 is a SoundBlaster Pro 1 with a different PCB layout, probably manufactured by Creative (or Quickshot?) given the font. It doesn't need drivers and is just set up with jumpers, you just select Sound Blaster Pro in a game's setup and match the values to the jumper settings and you should have sound in game. Or use the "set BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T2" value in autoexec and lots of games will know what settings to use.
It should have quite a good sound output for DOS games with the low-pass filtering the Creative SB Pro is known for. The dual OPL2 might sound different from OPL3.
See this thread for another example of the card: Sound blaster pro (2.0) with 2 OPL chips?
You need to reconfigure the jumpers though, J8 and J9 should both be set to 1 for the DMA setting. J10 is the IRQ and 5 is my preference, or 7 - setting it to 10 might cause problems in some games. Set J6 to 22X if it's the only soundcard. Close J7 to enable the gameport.

#2 as others have said is an Aztec I38-SN96103 or Multimedia Pro 16 IIB-3D with the AZT2316R. I was testing this card out just the other day and setup was painless, it's got a real OPL3, no PnP setup trouble and it's a proper Sound Blaster Pro clone. It does need a device driver to initialise but the installation of that is easy and once that's loaded the card works like a SoundBlaster Pro 2.
Driver installation is much less hassle than the later Aztech cards.

#3 is also a great card and very easy to use in Windows or DOS. In DOS just use Unisound to initialise the card. This is the Yamaha OPL3-SAx which is also a Sound Blaster Pro level card with integrated OPL3. Main downside to this one is bad ADPCM support which is used notably in Duke Nukem 2.

#1 is a real CT1350 SoundBlaster 2.0 under an OEM brand which was probably bundled with a joystick or something 😀 it's a great card for OPL2 sounds but it's only mono.

#4 is an ESS1868 card, very compatible with both Windows and DOS, supported by Unisound in DOS. In my experience the Windows drivers work very well for dos-box gaming in Windows too. Similar Sound Blaster Pro compatibility, uses ESFM instead of OPL3 which sounds a bit different but can sound pretty nice.

#5 - the original drivers for these are very Windows 3.1 era and not great in Windows 95/98. Should work in DOS with just Unisound as well. I have a few opti cards and don't use them in builds because I find a quirk here and there when using the Opti cards. Your one is one of the best of the Opti cards with a proper OPL3 on it though.

Reply 12 of 13, by zuldan

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Thermalwrong wrote on 2023-12-06, 02:19:
For DOS gaming I recommend #2 and #6 personally. Both are stereo and SoundBlaster Pro type cards that don't need much in the way […]
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zuldan wrote on 2023-12-05, 10:08:

Thank you for everyone’s information so far. Do any of these cards stand out for early 90’s gaming?

They don’t sound like common cards, hopefully drivers won’t be a nightmare to find.

For DOS gaming I recommend #2 and #6 personally. Both are stereo and SoundBlaster Pro type cards that don't need much in the way of drivers to run on boot, once set up.

#6 is a SoundBlaster Pro 1 with a different PCB layout, probably manufactured by Creative (or Quickshot?) given the font. It doesn't need drivers and is just set up with jumpers, you just select Sound Blaster Pro in a game's setup and match the values to the jumper settings and you should have sound in game. Or use the "set BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T2" value in autoexec and lots of games will know what settings to use.
It should have quite a good sound output for DOS games with the low-pass filtering the Creative SB Pro is known for. The dual OPL2 might sound different from OPL3.
See this thread for another example of the card: Sound blaster pro (2.0) with 2 OPL chips?
You need to reconfigure the jumpers though, J8 and J9 should both be set to 1 for the DMA setting. J10 is the IRQ and 5 is my preference, or 7 - setting it to 10 might cause problems in some games. Set J6 to 22X if it's the only soundcard. Close J7 to enable the gameport.

#2 as others have said is an Aztec I38-SN96103 or Multimedia Pro 16 IIB-3D with the AZT2316R. I was testing this card out just the other day and setup was painless, it's got a real OPL3, no PnP setup trouble and it's a proper Sound Blaster Pro clone. It does need a device driver to initialise but the installation of that is easy and once that's loaded the card works like a SoundBlaster Pro 2.
Driver installation is much less hassle than the later Aztech cards.

#3 is also a great card and very easy to use in Windows or DOS. In DOS just use Unisound to initialise the card. This is the Yamaha OPL3-SAx which is also a Sound Blaster Pro level card with integrated OPL3. Main downside to this one is bad ADPCM support which is used notably in Duke Nukem 2.

#1 is a real CT1350 SoundBlaster 2.0 under an OEM brand which was probably bundled with a joystick or something 😀 it's a great card for OPL2 sounds but it's only mono.

#4 is an ESS1868 card, very compatible with both Windows and DOS, supported by Unisound in DOS. In my experience the Windows drivers work very well for dos-box gaming in Windows too. Similar Sound Blaster Pro compatibility, uses ESFM instead of OPL3 which sounds a bit different but can sound pretty nice.

#5 - the original drivers for these are very Windows 3.1 era and not great in Windows 95/98. Should work in DOS with just Unisound as well. I have a few opti cards and don't use them in builds because I find a quirk here and there when using the Opti cards. Your one is one of the best of the Opti cards with a proper OPL3 on it though.

Such great information. Thank for taking the time to write all this up.