Sound cards - from best to worst

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Loganammy » 2011-7-19 @ 09:11

From my opinion u can choose 1 from these 3...........
Microsoft Windows Sound System
ESS Technology ES688 Digital Audio
Sound Blaster 16
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sliderider » 2011-8-31 @ 12:19

rfnagel wrote:
DonutKing wrote:Isn't that what they call a 'Gold Finch' board or am I confused with something else?


The GoldFinch connector was an audio connector (left out, right out, ground, etc..) that could be connected to the line/aux inputs of your sound card (or a matching GoldFinch connector, if your sound card had it).

(Edit) See attached pic.


Which SoundBlasters have the connector for the Goldfinch board, and can someone please post a photo of a SB card that has it with the connector circled?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Cyberdyne » 2011-10-12 @ 20:33

Does someone have AZTECH AZT2320

It has many names:

WaveRider Pro 32-3D
Pro16 III-3D

How is its DOS Sound Blaster compadibility, and can you use the wavetable feature in DOS, GM or MPU401 emulation?

Ok, I ask, I answer:

Card is good, but Drivers are a mess! Wavetable only works in Windows ......... useless, no DOS games support.

So i treat it as a Sound Blaster PRO, no more, no less.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby McMick » 2012-1-23 @ 00:00

Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I have some interest in the topic.

My (possibly uninformed) picks for best sound cards:

SoundBlaster 16 CT1740 or any which have 1. Jumper-set configuration and 2. a volume knob. I don't care about noise or CD-ROM or daughterboards, I just care that it will work with any old game there is. For retro gaming it's da bomb.

Asound ALS100/120+: These are the first breed of soundcard that I'm aware of that offered full SB16 compatibility in both Windows and DOS. And they were super cheap! You could pick up one at a computer show for $8! The only problem is their quality was variable and they could tend to stop producing sound. But every other card I know of which was made at the time that only offered SBPro compatibility, which amazed me. The funny thing about the Asound cards is that their early box art looked basically exactly like the Sound Blaster box art. They must've gotten into trouble for that because they changed it to pictures of different birds (a hummingbird at first, then later a penguin!?) At any rate everyone got a good laugh out of the box art.

I guess the question I'd put to everyone else is, of the Creative Sound Blaster 16 ISA Jumper Set Volume Knob cards, which model is the best?

UPDATE: Managed to find an Asound Box Art Pic:

http://members.fortunecity.com/landyp00 ... ld_box.jpg
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby DonutKing » 2012-1-23 @ 00:18

SoundBlaster 16 CT1740 or any which have 1. Jumper-set configuration and 2. a volume knob. I don't care about noise or CD-ROM or daughterboards, I just care that it will work with any old game there is. For retro gaming it's da bomb.


If you don't care about MIDI, CDROM or sound quality then I think most of those non-Vibra SB16's are pretty much all the same. Apart from maybe the ASP chips but that doesn't make much of a difference to anything either.

I'd say forget the SB16 and get an SB Pro instead as it will sound better and be more compatible with older games (SB16's are not 100% SB Pro backwards compatible, although I couldn't tell you what games are affected by this) and will fulfill your requirements of a volume knob and non-PnP.


If you must have an SB16 I say get a CT2800 or CT2900 - although it is a Vibra, it is not totally PnP - you set the base address with jumpers and the other resources are set when initialised with DIAGNOSE.EXE (rather than the PnP manager software). It does however lack a volume knob, and bass/treble software controls. However sound quality is much better than the non-vibra models with a volumeknob... I personally can't stand all the crackle and hiss that those cards have.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sprcorreia » 2012-2-02 @ 22:36

Anonymous Freak wrote:
Well, first off, "Microsoft Windows Sound System" is Windows' generic sound card driver, not really any particular card.


Yeah, I know, I'm replying to a five-year-old post, but...

I beg to differ. While "Windows Sound System" was meant to be a standard that many sound cards could adhere to; Microsoft did make a reference card of the same name.

How do I know?

Image

(I have the box lying around somewhere, too.)


Anonymous, do you have your card at hand? And a multimeter? :happyhappy:
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2012-2-02 @ 23:09

sprcorreia I have both, card + multimeter, what info do you need?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sprcorreia » 2012-2-02 @ 23:46

keropi wrote:sprcorreia I have both, card + multimeter, what info do you need?


Mine is acting all weird. I can get sound for a few seconds then goes dead silent... What i noticed is that there is one oversized component that is soldered where it shouldn't (i think), so a comparison is needed with another one.

This is what i'm talking about:

Image

I searched the net and there are several versions of the card. What i need to know is if the points where the yellow arrows point and the one that exists beneath LM317T (around blue arrow points) are all connected (have continuity).
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby keropi » 2012-2-03 @ 10:20

Just checked my rev.B1 card.
All 3 points that you mention are connected. So this is normal.
When audio dies, it might worth to check for an overheating component , the LM1877 is an audio amplifier, maybe it just craps out after a while...?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sprcorreia » 2012-2-03 @ 17:17

keropi wrote:Just checked my rev.B1 card.
All 3 points that you mention are connected. So this is normal.
When audio dies, it might worth to check for an overheating component , the LM1877 is an audio amplifier, maybe it just craps out after a while...?


Thanks for checking.

Very likely it's the amplifier. It just lasts a few seconds working. It seems it shutdowns with some kind of protection.

The card works ok using the RCA, giving a strong feeling that the LM1877 may be faulty.

By the way, do you have continuity between pin 6 and pin 9?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby bowserjps » 2012-5-23 @ 13:17

The YMF701(OPL3-SA) supports WSS, not SB16.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby pinkdonut666 » 2012-7-21 @ 05:51

I'm going to have to find some 30-pin sims for my AWE32 that i put in my voodoo PIII rig, the SB16 found it's way into the P100. BTW dose anyone know what an opti mf-009 might be? I pulled it from the P100 system and it was using some generic MS driver, I think it's an SB pro 2.0 clone but IDK for sure
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby SPBHM » 2012-10-28 @ 13:10

to be honest I'm pretty new when it comes to old sound cards, my first sound "card" was already integrated on the motherboard in 95 or 94, after that I had a few PCI cards,
so I'm struggling a little with the ISA card I have at the moment
was the Aztech Sound Galaxy Nova 16 any decent?

also is there any special trick to installing these cards? I place the card on the ISA slot, reserve the IRQs and DMAs, but Windows never detects anything, and installing the driver manually, assigning the IRQ/DMA doesn't do anything either...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby MaxWar » 2012-10-28 @ 16:43

SPBHM wrote:to be honest I'm pretty new when it comes to old sound cards, my first sound "card" was already integrated on the motherboard in 95 or 94, after that I had a few PCI cards,
so I'm struggling a little with the ISA card I have at the moment
was the Aztech Sound Galaxy Nova 16 any decent?

also is there any special trick to installing these cards? I place the card on the ISA slot, reserve the IRQs and DMAs, but Windows never detects anything, and installing the driver manually, assigning the IRQ/DMA doesn't do anything either...


On what type of system are you working, what version of windows are you running?
Do you also plan to use it in pure DOS ?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby SPBHM » 2012-10-29 @ 01:14

MaxWar wrote:
On what type of system are you working, what version of windows are you running?
Do you also plan to use it in pure DOS ?


the motherboard is a Asus P2B (Pentium II),
Windows 98SE

for now, I'm not trying to use the card on pure DOS.

thanks!
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby pinkdonut666 » 2012-10-30 @ 15:03

I can speak for the P2B-DS (dual core board) and I've got an ISA SB 16 on it, windows 98 is usually fairly simple for cards it has drivers for. Only thing I've run into is it gives the sound-card a higher IRQ than any dos game can handle. there is also the DMA 16bit and 8bit to worry about. they are not hard to shuffle around, i usually use the IRQ for my LPt1 port or something if the sounds cards too high, then just play a game of shuffle the IRQ's and DMA,s to see what works.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby SPBHM » 2012-11-04 @ 02:19

OK, thanks for the help, but I think my card is defective, I tested a network card on the same slot and it worked 100%,

so I need a "new" card, from the options I found for a reasonable price, which one is more interesting?

Ct3620 (sound blaster 32)
Ct2980 (vibra 16?)

50% more expensive:
CT2230 (sound blaster 16)
Yamaha A151 A00

I plan on using the card for both DOS and Window 9x gaming...

thanks.

edit: the SB32 is not available anymore, for $5 I think it was a good deal!?
anyway, I think I'm going to try the CT2230.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby pinkdonut666 » 2012-11-20 @ 00:15

The SB32 and SB16 are really good all around cards... I have 2 SB16's in rigs and an SB32. and I have nothing but good things to say about them. though I have had the SB16 a little overworked with windows apps. but It does adlib, SB 8bit, SB16bit so it's all around a great sound solution...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2012-11-20 @ 02:42

Well, it is usually the comparison to other cards you have to have first...
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby fillosaurus » 2013-2-14 @ 19:28

@Cyberdine
"Does someone have AZTECH AZT2320 " - yes I do. Excellent DOS card. Does not need any drivers, the SET BLASTER line in autoexec.bat was enough.
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WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486
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