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First post, by n1ghttr4p

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I've noticed using SB Live cards FM will not keep a steady tempo depending on the 'intensity' of the song. This can be heard in Doom and Duke3D in both DOS and Windows, even causing some in-game stutter.

Will an Audigy or Audigy 2 iron this out any? I've ordered a YMF744 II card, as a recently purchased YMF724 arrived DOA. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment. In case this is also a no-go, I was wondering if I could at least find a PCI card that has some semblance of decent FM emu/simulation that doesn't slow the game or itself down. I don't expect it to be fantastic. Just stable and compatible.

Reply 1 of 11, by cyclone3d

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The YMF7x4 cards have genuine OPL3 built in so you will be good there.

The Audigy and Audigy 2 are going to have horrid software FM emulation just like the live. Not sure if the Audigy series will be any better than the Live at all. I haven't compared them. It will still be horrid.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 2 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 04:23:

I've noticed using SB Live cards FM will not keep a steady tempo depending on the 'intensity' of the song. This can be heard in Doom and Duke3D in both DOS and Windows, even causing some in-game stutter.

It depends on the drivers that are used. A SBLive using its own native drivers has this problem. However, if you force a SBLive to use Audigy drivers, this won't happen. Have a listen to some samples of the latter.

Will an Audigy or Audigy 2 iron this out any?

Yes. Those cards (or rather their drivers) don't have that issue.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 3 of 11, by n1ghttr4p

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-25, 06:54:
It depends on the drivers that are used. A SBLive using its own native drivers has this problem. However, if you force a SBLive […]
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n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 04:23:

I've noticed using SB Live cards FM will not keep a steady tempo depending on the 'intensity' of the song. This can be heard in Doom and Duke3D in both DOS and Windows, even causing some in-game stutter.

It depends on the drivers that are used. A SBLive using its own native drivers has this problem. However, if you force a SBLive to use Audigy drivers, this won't happen. Have a listen to some samples of the latter.

Will an Audigy or Audigy 2 iron this out any?

Yes. Those cards (or rather their drivers) don't have that issue.

Just tried the DOS driver pack in pure DOS, loads the 5.0 SB16 emulation TSR (as opposed to 4.x in the Live packages) but still doesn't smoothly play Doom 2 and Duke3D music in FM synth mode. Tried different IRQ settings in BIOS and drivers. I wonder if it being so bad is a quirk of my board/CPU. P4 with 865/ICH5 board. Happens on both SB and CT/value versions of the card.

Reply 4 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 15:55:

Just tried the DOS driver pack in pure DOS, loads the 5.0 SB16 emulation TSR (as opposed to 4.x in the Live packages) but still doesn't smoothly play Doom 2 and Duke3D music in FM synth mode. Tried different IRQ settings in BIOS and drivers. I wonder if it being so bad is a quirk of my board/CPU. P4 with 865/ICH5 board. Happens on both SB and CT/value versions of the card.

Try my guide. You will likely need to do a clean install to get it to work.

That's what I used for the recordings linked earlier.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 5 of 11, by n1ghttr4p

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-25, 16:40:
n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 15:55:

Just tried the DOS driver pack in pure DOS, loads the 5.0 SB16 emulation TSR (as opposed to 4.x in the Live packages) but still doesn't smoothly play Doom 2 and Duke3D music in FM synth mode. Tried different IRQ settings in BIOS and drivers. I wonder if it being so bad is a quirk of my board/CPU. P4 with 865/ICH5 board. Happens on both SB and CT/value versions of the card.

Try my guide. You will likely need to do a clean install to get it to work.

That's what I used for the recordings linked earlier.

I'll try the Windows side if my second YMF, god forbid, doesn't work. Did you record those files, or did you ever test otherwise, to see if the FM playback's fine in pure DOS or does this only work in Windows? I'd think so long as it's pointed to the right SB DOS files and configured in autoexec.bat there's very little to go wrong in pure DOS mode and it's probably just my machine being stupid. I'll report back in coming days.

Reply 6 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 18:32:

Did you record those files, or did you ever test otherwise, to see if the FM playback's fine in pure DOS or does this only work in Windows?

Those particular recordings were made under Windows.

I did also test the card under pure DOS at some point and I don't remember experiencing any slowdowns there either. In case it matters, the system I used was this AthlonXP rig.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 9 of 11, by Riikcakirds

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n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 15:55:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-25, 06:54:
It depends on the drivers that are used. A SBLive using its own native drivers has this problem. However, if you force a SBLive […]
Show full quote
n1ghttr4p wrote on 2020-10-25, 04:23:

I've noticed using SB Live cards FM will not keep a steady tempo depending on the 'intensity' of the song. This can be heard in Doom and Duke3D in both DOS and Windows, even causing some in-game stutter.

It depends on the drivers that are used. A SBLive using its own native drivers has this problem. However, if you force a SBLive to use Audigy drivers, this won't happen. Have a listen to some samples of the latter.

Will an Audigy or Audigy 2 iron this out any?

Yes. Those cards (or rather their drivers) don't have that issue.

Just tried the DOS driver pack in pure DOS, loads the 5.0 SB16 emulation TSR (as opposed to 4.x in the Live packages) but still doesn't smoothly play Doom 2 and Duke3D music in FM synth mode. Tried different IRQ settings in BIOS and drivers. I wonder if it being so bad is a quirk of my board/CPU. P4 with 865/ICH5 board. Happens on both SB and CT/value versions of the card.

There are difference in accuracy with the various Dos Sblive drivers.
"Creative SB16 Emulation Driver", Version reported from Sbeinit.com
Sbeinit V 3.00
Sbeinit V 3.07
Sbeinit V 4.00
Sbeinit V 4.05
Sbeinit V 4.08
Sbeinit V 5.00 (Audigy - only works with Audigy 1/2/ZS/4/)

Each one has subtle differences in emulation. SBlive cards work with any V3 - V4 drivers but not V5. Audigy only with V5.
I remember preferring the emulation of the pre v5 versions using Sbelive cards in pure DOS. The Audigy dos drivers, didn't sound as accurate. This is going back 12+ years since I last checked this. One game I remember that didn't sound right with the V5 drivers was Elvira, the sound when you slash someone with a sword and they scream. It was correct with a Sblive using one of the pre V5 drivers but not with Audigy.

Reply 10 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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Riikcakirds wrote on 2020-11-07, 18:14:

SBlive cards work with any V3 - V4 drivers but not V5. Audigy only with V5.

SBLive cards can work with V5 using this approach.

I haven't run any extensive tests to determine the differences in accuracy, other than noticing that there were no slowdowns with V5.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 11 of 11, by Riikcakirds

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-11-07, 18:45:
Riikcakirds wrote on 2020-11-07, 18:14:

SBlive cards work with any V3 - V4 drivers but not V5. Audigy only with V5.

SBLive cards can work with V5 using this approach.

I haven't run any extensive tests to determine the differences in accuracy, other than noticing that there were no slowdowns with V5.

That's a great guide . Your right about v5dos drivers working on Sblive cards. I made some notes and thought the emulation was worse and had some problems with games compared to the pre v5 dos drivers. This is just booting straight to dos, I'm not sure if using them through win98 would be different. Of course the Audigy only works with v5 sbeinit in dos.
The best thing about the Sblive/Audigy dos drivers was the General Midi to me. I tested the different wavesets - 2, 4, 8Mb and quite liked them, even with MT32 ticked in some games.
As a cheap way to add General Midi to a 486/P1 Dos system I use to disabled the poor OPL2/3 emulation in sbeinit (this was also a big resource hog on <166mhz cpu's) and just keep the GM emulation active. Then I would add a 2nd sound card with a real OPL3 to cover most sound options in games.