Speaking of the most compatible card for DOS, I still use my Terratec Maestro 32 (first version).
It has an OPL3.
It has a Waveblaster connector.
It comes with a Roland SC-55 clone on a Waveblaster board, using the Dream chipset with 4 MB ROM.
Marek, I suppose the card on the picture above isn't your card, right? The card above is a Maestro 32/96 (pnp). And so I was wrong, when I said I've the same card like you, I have the one above (32/96) with the synth on the board. Maestro 32 instead should be a Terratec "Soundsystem Gold 16" with a DREAM wavetable daughterboard on it (please correct me if I' wrong). Has it an ESS or a Crystal codec?
I was looking for an alternative that could satisfy all my requirements:
- Waveblaster connectivity (Without any bugs)
- Real OPL3 sound
- SBPro compatible
- Compatible to a 16-bit sound solution for games (Like Windows Sound System)
- Good SNR
I was also thinking about this for a while. Is the "true" OPL3 so important? Why? Because of compability? To get the "real thing"? If you don't mind living without the YMF262, you can consider those cards:
Terratec Maestro 32/96 (pnp)
+ Waveblaster connectivity
+ SBPro compatible
+ Compatible to Windows Sound System
+ Very good SNR ( www.alasir.com/reviews/soundbench/page2of5.html)
+ DREAM chipset 9233/8905 with DSP, 32 voices, 393 sounds, 8 drumkits, 4MB Sample-ROM, GM/GS and "somehow" also MT-32 compatible (you have to switch the bank to #127 by using midi-controller commands).
+ The initilization-program has a manual overwrite-option that might come in handy when conflicts with other cards occur.
+ two MPU401-Midi interfaces (UART-mode), so you can use the onboard synthesizer and a daughterboard or an external midi device.
- Perhaps the Maestro 32 has a true OPL3 chip, the 32/96 hasn't. It uses 40p+ technology with 32 voices stereo and mfx-reverb - sounds great, but nothing for purists.
- Problems might occur with newer mainboards. (As I said, I had problems with this card on my ECS-board, but lately I tried it on a QDI with VIA-chipset - and it worked!)
To connect a Maestro card with an external Midi-device, you better go with this:
cgi.ebay.de/TerraTec-MIDI-Kit-Master_W0 ... dZViewItem
+ Waveblaster connectivity via a 5 1/4" front-modul
+ SBPro compatible - I tried Tyrian - no problems. SBPro 8bit quality is far better than any SB16 - in my opinion.
+ compatible to Windows Sound System / Microsoft Direct Sound (if you need this)
+ Excellent SNR
+ DREAM chipset 9407/9503 with DSP, 64 voices, up to 16.384 sounds (and drumkits). The EWS has no sample ROM but sample RAM (max. 64MB) to upload soundfonts. It is 100% GM/GS and "somehow" (like the Maestro) MT-32 compatible, General Midi is really very good.
+ two MPU401-Midi interfaces, so you should be able use the onboard synthesizer and a daughterboard (or an external midi device) without changing anything.
+ You can load special mixer-settings and add effects via the synthesizer: equalizer, chorus, hall, reverb, V-space (virtual 3d), or turn them all off if you don't like them. You can save your mixer-setting in different files, and load the one you need by the autoexec.bat
- Unfortunatly the dos-initilization routine has no manual overwrite-option (i.E. my EWS64 - or the pnp-bios of this my ECS-board - deactivates its gameport every time when I use it together with an GUS ACE - presuming a conflict that doesn't exist: the ACE has no gameport)
- No true OPL3, uses 40p+ with 20 voices. Again - nothing for purists, but great FM sound.
- Waveblaster connector: the connector is situated in the front-modul. The manual and many ews-websites say that you can use it together with the onboard-synth. Nevertheless I still have problems to use my daughterboard(s) and i.e. the soundblaster emulation together in dos. Maybe the reason is once again my ECS mainboard, or wrong mixer settings, or simply the game I want to play.
If you just have a cheap daughterboard, or plan to plug a real MPU401/AT in the next ISA slot, you should also consider the Turtle Beach Tropez. The card is decribed in one of the articles swayee has posted. It has no wavetable connector, but uses an ICS Wavefront chipset, which isn't bad. I got it from a friend who bought it in the U.S. years ago. In contrast to the EWS64 it was a breeze to install it. It is MPU401, GM, WSS, SBPro and Adlib compatible, it has a true OPL3 and two Midi connectors (one via gameport, the other one is on the card itself.)