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 H-street » 2013-8-08 @ 16:13

Ok hoping someone can help..

i have been round and round all the threads and everyone has sortof the opinion of what card is best for dos..

between these two cards which would have hte most compatability?

CT3600 (Sound Blaster 32 w/2Mb of Ram) , CT2230 (SB16)..

from what i read, steer clear of the PnP cards (my bios i believe is PnP) so that may rule out the CT3600.

i am looking for a card with good compatability, and decent sound - i understand there are better cards out there but my budget is fairly limited (20$ or less)

or i could go with a AWE 64 value, but not sure if the above 2 cards will sound better
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2013-8-08 @ 16:24

go with the CT3600.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-08 @ 16:31

CT3600 (Sound Blaster 32 w/2Mb of Ram): Gives you very clear SB16 digital FX using CT2502, CQM FM music, PnP/ Requires Diagnose.exe /S just once. Has the EMU synth with SIMM memory slots of you care to mess with that. No Waveblaster header. Hanging note problem with MPU-401 port.
CT2230 (SB16): SB16 quality depends a bit on the mixer chip revision used. Usually no Hanging note problem with MPU-401 port. Requires Diagnose.exe /S every boot. Has a waveblaster header for midi daughterboards. Contains a real OPL3 for FM music.

Most soundcards I have are PnP, not much of a problem. I would prefer jumpers too, but these are usually found on older cards with limitations in other areas.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby H-street » 2013-8-08 @ 18:32

Thanks! i ended up finding a true AWE32 (although i think its the value) CT3780..

last question, is it worth getting memory for the card if using primarily in DOS? at that time i only ever had an SB16 so i never really dealt much with the sound font banks or anything like that.. i'm wondering if its worth the $$ and effort to get teh 30pin memory for the card.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-08 @ 18:49

Where do you want to put the additional memory on a CT3780!? Regarding all these creative cards: just because the name sounds better it doesn't mean it works better. You have to make due with the ROM sample set on this card. still, it is better then having no midi in your system at all, and loading soundfonts does not match well with DOS anyways. Other then that: true OPL3 for FM music. Older generation mixer chip: two grades noisier then the CT3600.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby AlucarD86 » 2013-8-11 @ 09:58

I bought those two Creative Soundblasters last week ! The Sound Blaster Audigy SB0160 and the Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Digital SB0220 I had some problems finding Win98 driver for the Audigy SB0160 but the Live! 5.1 Digital SB0220 works fine with the drivers from the creative page in both Win98 and WinXP. Unfortunately I can't seem to get them to run in Win7 64-bit no matter what (I guess they are way too old for that system or there ain't driver for it).
Anyone else having experience with those two cards and what games make fine use of the integrated EAX ?


The Sound Blaster Audigy SB0160
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Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Digital SB0220
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PC Setup: Mainboard ASUS CUBX | CPU Intel Pentium III-S Tualatin 1.4 GHz | Memory 780 MB SDRam | Soundcard Creative SB Audigy SB0160 | GPUs Nvidia FX5900 Ulta Matrox M3D PCI | HDD 2x40 GB WD/Seagate | OS Win98SE and WinXPSP1 in dual boot
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2013-8-11 @ 14:49

kx drivers work in Win7 x64.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby H-street » 2013-8-14 @ 13:23

Ok another question, i have the opportunity to pick up an MT-32 for about $80..

i've read about it producing some great sound for games that support it but wanted to see what others thought.

i never really got into it at the time, i just did the general midi that was on the sb16 i had at the time.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sliderider » 2013-8-15 @ 13:58

gerwin wrote:Where do you want to put the additional memory on a CT3780!? Regarding all these creative cards: just because the name sounds better it doesn't mean it works better. You have to make due with the ROM sample set on this card. still, it is better then having no midi in your system at all, and loading soundfonts does not match well with DOS anyways. Other then that: true OPL3 for FM music. Older generation mixer chip: two grades noisier then the CT3600.


This is true. I hunted for a long time to find a CT3980 even though CT3990's were readily available. The CT3980 has genuine OPL, the CT3990 has Creative's proprietary emulation of OPL that doesn't sound sound nearly as good.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-15 @ 17:27

H-street wrote:Ok another question, i have the opportunity to pick up an MT-32 for about $80..
i've read about it producing some great sound for games that support it but wanted to see what others thought.
i never really got into it at the time, i just did the general midi that was on the sb16 i had at the time.

I cannot comment on the MT-32 much, as I don't have any such device. But if you are not much into Pre 1992 games, particularly Sierra adventure games, then you can easily manage without. For your consideration you can download mp3's of MT-32 output on several places, or try MUNT/MT32-EMU.
What do you mean with general midi on the SB16? On itself a SB16 just does FM music.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Xolares » 2013-8-17 @ 16:47

I am using the AWE64 ISA with SIMM addon 32MB! And it sounds great with a Soundcanvas soundfont! :P
2x P3 800MHZ - 1GB PC133 - 3DFX Voodoo 5 5500 64MB - Soundblaster AWE32 28MB 32Pin ISA & Music Quest ISA MIDI I/O + Roland SC-88 Pro - 2x IDE to CF 16GB Flash HDDs-Win98SE SP3 137GB+-Windows 2000 SP4R2-17" CRT NEC MultiSync 1600x1200
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Xolares » 2013-8-17 @ 16:59

Here are the Roland Soundcanvas and others! :blush:

Descent 1 SETUP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oda07jmlgmM

Descent 1 Music AWE64 8MB Font http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNOw5Iuj-FU

DOOM E3M4 with modded Font SC-88 Pro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MOun1tW0Ec

DOOM 2 MAP20 SC-88 Pro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH2o2iZHSxs

DUNE II AWE64 32MB SF2 from SC-88Pro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ndPuXZ4reA

I captured the sound by the Soundblaster ZXR line in with Creative sound recorder

Classic rig is
Duel Pentium III 800MHZ
512MB SDRAM PC133
ASUS P2B-DS Modded BIOS
Windows 98SE Modded + Windows XP SP3
2x CF 16GB to IDE 90mb/s Cards
3DFX Voodoo 5 5500 AGP 64MB
Soundblaster AWE64 with SIMMCON addon + 32MB EDO 72Pin P330
Roland Soundcanvas SC-88 Pro
Music Quest ISA (1992) P360
2x P3 800MHZ - 1GB PC133 - 3DFX Voodoo 5 5500 64MB - Soundblaster AWE32 28MB 32Pin ISA & Music Quest ISA MIDI I/O + Roland SC-88 Pro - 2x IDE to CF 16GB Flash HDDs-Win98SE SP3 137GB+-Windows 2000 SP4R2-17" CRT NEC MultiSync 1600x1200
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby elianda » 2013-8-17 @ 19:44

Is this some special dune2 version supporting GM ?
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby gerwin » 2013-8-17 @ 19:52

Dune 2 has the 'Sound Canvas' option in setup. Allthough only with a patch and much free base memory does it run with both: 'Sound Canvas' together with 'Sound Blaster'.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby sliderider » 2013-8-17 @ 22:18

I'm still wishing for a Turtle Beach Quadzilla. From what I can find out, it looks like it's a Montego II with two extra channels. There is an SPDIF and a connector for two additional channels on a card that sits in the space of a PCI slot, but does not actually fill a PCI slot. The card is attached to the metal slot cover and connects via ribbon cable to the Montego II so the entire setup takes up two PCI slots even though there is only one card in a slot.

Here's what the thing looks like

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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Xolares » 2013-8-19 @ 14:51

It runs the sound canvas mode directly from the AWE64s SF2 32MB with out the sound canvas plugged it since DUNE 2 Sound canvas selection is just the stock P330! :P
2x P3 800MHZ - 1GB PC133 - 3DFX Voodoo 5 5500 64MB - Soundblaster AWE32 28MB 32Pin ISA & Music Quest ISA MIDI I/O + Roland SC-88 Pro - 2x IDE to CF 16GB Flash HDDs-Win98SE SP3 137GB+-Windows 2000 SP4R2-17" CRT NEC MultiSync 1600x1200
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Geri » 2013-8-21 @ 20:24

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Last edited by Geri on 2019-6-11 @ 12:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby PhaytalError » 2013-10-28 @ 12:30

swaaye wrote:I also have a file of a sound card roundup posted on Usenet back in the day. It covers quite a few cards and gives you the heads up on each :)


swaaye, wow! Thanks for sharing that great Usenet post with us, very detailed and insiteful, was an awsome read through. :cool:

For those of you wondering: the post from swaaye that i'm referring to is located on the very 1st page of this thread, located 3rd from the bottom. :)
DOS Gaming System: MS-DOS, AMD K6-III+ 400/ATZ@600Mhz, ASUS P5A v1.04 Motherboard, 32 MB RAM, 17" CRT monitor, Diamond Stealth 64 3000 4mb PCI, SB16 [CT1770], Roland MT-32 & Roland SC-55, 40GB Hard Drive, 3.5" Floppy Drive.
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby Holering » 2014-5-19 @ 11:11

If you're running DOS games inside Windows 98SE and don't need AdLib, I'd definitely say the emu10k1 cards (live! series) with wdm drivers up to 09-2001, have the best sbpro emulation and DOS compatibility. Works with any mobo including am3+ sb950 one with a ton of USB ports. Never blue screens, CD digital audio available without spdif (no need for analog input; can use sata drive), no loud volume clipping (totally clean sound), and soundfonts sound way better than external midi modules for DOS games. It's better than all the old sound blaster cards this way IMO. There's definitely other options if native DOS is required (and better options at that if mobo has ddma and/or nmi issues). This is what VDMsound should've been in XP (shame on you Microsoft!).

Do any soundcards with flawless DOS compatibility in Windows 95 with am3+ mobo exist? Currently find the vortex2 to be the only card that works in 95 without serious problems (can be glitchy with looping-repeating instruments at first midi track, and DOS sound clips at very loud volume even with wave slider to minimum; using 2048 driver). ESS 1938s card isn't detected by DOS games inside 95, and WDM drivers for Live! don't work (vxd drivers have broken sb16 emulation on am3 mobo). None of these cards are detected by games in native DOS with am3+ sb950 (though they seem to initialize fine).
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Re: Sound cards - from best to worst

Postby moturimi1 » 2014-6-08 @ 17:59

Hi everyone,

I would like to use the GS_8MB.94b soundfont and convert it to a SF2 Soundfont as I really like its perfomance.
I was already able to convert the .94b file to .TTS, but as I do not own an EWS64 sound card I am not able to convert it from .TTS to .TTI file format.
Afterwards it is easy to convert it to SF2.

Can someone help me out?
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