VOGONS


Sound Blaster 16 Clones

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Reply 360 of 406, by keropi

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it is true, ALS100 chips if found nowdays they will be stupid expensive
when the MegaCard was created couple years ago I might have bought the last tray of ALS100 in existence...
ALS100 *is* a budget chip so no need to go overkill designs for it , the gains will be super minimal and it could explain why it only got used on super cheap cards that crap out after some decades 🤣
The main advantage for me is that it supports ADPCM decoding for these few games that need it... it does have some compatibility issues forcing you to use it's SB/SBPRO modes and I could never get any CT-VOICE.DRV version to load/work with the ALS100.

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , OrpheusII , Action Rewind , Megacard , MK8330 and 🎶GoldLib soundcard website

Reply 364 of 406, by appiah4

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ux-3 wrote on 2023-07-26, 05:45:

So you made a new card with less noise?
Or is there a trick to make the old one run more quiet?

I did not, Keropi & Marmes did at one point. CMI 8330 is a very, very capable sound chip. I have 2 other ISA cards built using it, and while the noise floor is not comparable to MK8330 they are also just great.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 365 of 406, by ux-3

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Is it that 3D virtual thing, which creates the noise?

I just plugged it in again and gave it another spin. I didn't bother to put a wavetable on. I just don't like the sound of it. It isn't background noise, it is the actual sound output.

I stuck the CT3980 back in. It isn't perfect, but I like it better.

Can I put the card up for trade or is this forbidden here?

Edit: But I have to give it to them, the software is very clean and easy to use.

Retro PC warning: The things you own end up owning you.

Reply 366 of 406, by betamax80

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dvwjr wrote on 2009-06-25, 21:33:
All of Creative's Sound Blaster 16 ISA audio adapters do not have Sound Blaster Pro (1 or 2) backwards compatibility. This was […]
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gerwin wrote:

This got me thinking of somehow getting SB-16 compatibility back. But I don't like my SB-16 Vibra CT2800 enough to give it my ISA slot, as it doesn't do SB-Pro and it gives hanging Midi notes.

All of Creative's Sound Blaster 16 ISA audio adapters do not have Sound Blaster Pro (1 or 2) backwards compatibility. This was a flaw in the initial silicon and was never 'fixed'. You will discover that Creative never claimed anything but Sound Blaster 2.0 backwards compatibility for the Sound Blaster 16 and following SB/AWE/32/64 models.

The hanging MIDI notes affect all Sound Blaster 16/32/64 designs that do not have a DSP version of 4.05 or 4.16, which means only some of the original Sound Blaster 16s or the last ISA design - the AWE64. Trying to find an actual Creative Sound Blaster 16/32/64 (not a clone) that does not have the hanging MIDI and has SB Pro backwards compatibility plus an OPL3 is not going to be successful. The original DSP v4.05 Sound Blaster 16 can do 2 out of 3, but not the Sound Blaster Pro compatibility - however it is a bit noisy...

dvwjr

I have an OEM CT4520 Awe-64 Value, I believe it has the final 4.16 DSP.

Reply 367 of 406, by betamax80

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appiah4 wrote on 2023-07-26, 06:38:
ux-3 wrote on 2023-07-26, 05:45:

So you made a new card with less noise?
Or is there a trick to make the old one run more quiet?

I did not, Keropi & Marmes did at one point. CMI 8330 is a very, very capable sound chip. I have 2 other ISA cards built using it, and while the noise floor is not comparable to MK8330 they are also just great.

I remember PC Chips board that had the CMI8330 "Audio Excel" chip. I was pleasantly surprised. Sadly the SiS graphics chips were another matter.

Reply 368 of 406, by LeCroebar

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betamax80 wrote on 2023-07-29, 22:55:
appiah4 wrote on 2023-07-26, 06:38:
ux-3 wrote on 2023-07-26, 05:45:

So you made a new card with less noise?
Or is there a trick to make the old one run more quiet?

I did not, Keropi & Marmes did at one point. CMI 8330 is a very, very capable sound chip. I have 2 other ISA cards built using it, and while the noise floor is not comparable to MK8330 they are also just great.

I remember PC Chips board that had the CMI8330 "Audio Excel" chip. I was pleasantly surprised. Sadly the SiS graphics chips were another matter.

Ooof, I think I have PTSD from SIS graphics. Those were ROUGH. The motherboard chipsets were really hit or miss too past the 486 era.

Reply 369 of 406, by mkarcher

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ux-3 wrote on 2023-07-26, 15:21:

Is it that 3D virtual thing, which creates the noise?

I just plugged it in again and gave it another spin. I didn't bother to put a wavetable on. I just don't like the sound of it. It isn't background noise, it is the actual sound output.

That virtual 3D stuff (usually called something like "3D stereo enhancement") does usually not create a lot of noise, but it purposefully distorts the output to make more interesting, spacy and "3d-like" sound from boring simple mono sound or primitive stereo sound. Mono sound from Adlib / SB2.0 games often sounds less artificial and more appealing to many people after being processed by the virtual 3D woo-woo. On the other hand, carefully crafted stereo mixes (e.g. by a quality software music synthesizer like timidity, or by pre-mixed PCM music) will sound mushy and considerably less defined after being "enhanced" by the the virtual 3D machinery. So you might want to have virtual 3D sound enabled for games up to 1994 or 1995, but definitely should have it disabled for later games, as they usually come with quality pre-mixed music.

Noise on cheap sound cards is usually created by bad or overly cheap PCB design.

Reply 370 of 406, by Daniël Oosterhuis

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betamax80 wrote on 2023-07-29, 22:55:
appiah4 wrote on 2023-07-26, 06:38:
ux-3 wrote on 2023-07-26, 05:45:

So you made a new card with less noise?
Or is there a trick to make the old one run more quiet?

I did not, Keropi & Marmes did at one point. CMI 8330 is a very, very capable sound chip. I have 2 other ISA cards built using it, and while the noise floor is not comparable to MK8330 they are also just great.

I remember PC Chips board that had the CMI8330 "Audio Excel" chip. I was pleasantly surprised. Sadly the SiS graphics chips were another matter.

PC Chips used it on a couple of boards. I have a Slot 1 AT board with CMI8330 integrated, which thankfully just has an AGP slot and no integrated graphics.

sUd4xjs.gif

Reply 371 of 406, by betamax80

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This is true they had different levels of integration. You had to know the boards well though. The TX Pro II was a vile beast that didn't quite do anything to spec and I seem to remember ran out of IRQ's all the time. I never did get my hands on a TX Pro III maybe they were better. I did a build in an SX Pro and they were better - but the "3D graphics"... well.... nothing to be excited about. I think there were some Pentium III / 4 era boards of theirs with SiS 305/315 or Volari V3 graphics on board - now those were probably okay, and I guess would have only had the original CMI 8738 4-speaker chip - I believe that one still had a DOS driver if you go on the wayback machine.

Reply 372 of 406, by appiah4

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PCChips really don't deserve half the flak they get, IMO. I have a PC Chips M560TG that has the TXPro chipset (not Pro II) and it is by a LONG, LONG shot the FASTEST and MOST STABLE Socket 7 motherboard that I have seen, and I have seen a lot of them.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 373 of 406, by betamax80

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appiah4 wrote on 2023-08-24, 11:56:

PCChips really don't deserve half the flak they get, IMO. I have a PC Chips M560TG that has the TXPro chipset (not Pro II) and it is by a LONG, LONG shot the FASTEST and MOST STABLE Socket 7 motherboard that I have seen, and I have seen a lot of them.

I think they do deserve the flack tbh.... things like those fake cache modules, and honestly their false claims about the abilities of their chipsets.
When placed in the context of the time, they were cheap, always cheap. £50-£100. They were low-tier, at the time, SiS were partners in crime, their chipsets often fell over (physically crashed) when pushed near the top of their reported performance range, and the PC Chips website.... my goodness me.... average download speed was in bytes per second! Downloading a BIOS update flash was truly a labour of love, and at one time you could only download the C-Media audio drivers through them.

But they served a purpose, they allowed first time PC builders to tip their toe in the water, and with that you go the pleasure of selecting your own case, own expansion cards, upgrading as time went on. They were cheap but they were (mostly) functional. Oh and those PCTel HSP56 modem risers.... those things were agonising. No they can't be let off the hook completely I'm afraid.

Reply 374 of 406, by Pino

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Finally found a CMI8330 for a decent price and I created the perfect "Sound Blaster AWE" 😀

Everything I tried worked perfectly, noise from this AV310 card is acceptable and definitely better than any SB16 I own.

I can initialize both cards with Unisound easily with no drivers required.

To my ears the FM synth is a 1:1 OPL3 clone.

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Reply 375 of 406, by darry

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Pino wrote on 2023-12-21, 14:13:
Finally found a CMI8330 for a decent price and I created the perfect "Sound Blaster AWE" :-) […]
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Finally found a CMI8330 for a decent price and I created the perfect "Sound Blaster AWE" 😀

Everything I tried worked perfectly, noise from this AV310 card is acceptable and definitely better than any SB16 I own.

I can initialize both cards with Unisound easily with no drivers required.

To my ears the FM synth is a 1:1 OPL3 clone.

Goldfinch with a CMI8330 ?

I am in "AWE" 😉

Reply 376 of 406, by fillosaurus

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After so many years I stuck with tested@tried combos like Yamaha SW20-PC+GUS ACE, or Yamaha OPL3-SaX or ESS1868/9 with Nec XR385 wavetable.
For PCI, ESS are best for SB Pro compatibility. While cards from Creative, like SB128, Live! and Audigy have decent MIDI, they sound like s**t at FM reproduction.
That's why for my builds I prefer Yamaha OPL3 or ESS1868/9 cards. One of my favourite socket 370 mainboards has an ESS1938 aka Solo onboard.

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486

Reply 377 of 406, by fillosaurus

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darry wrote on 2023-12-21, 17:36:
Pino wrote on 2023-12-21, 14:13:
Finally found a CMI8330 for a decent price and I created the perfect "Sound Blaster AWE" :-) […]
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Finally found a CMI8330 for a decent price and I created the perfect "Sound Blaster AWE" 😀

Everything I tried worked perfectly, noise from this AV310 card is acceptable and definitely better than any SB16 I own.

I can initialize both cards with Unisound easily with no drivers required.

To my ears the FM synth is a 1:1 OPL3 clone.

Goldfinch with a CMI8330 ?

I am in "AWE" 😉

To my ears no CMI based card sound right.

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486

Reply 378 of 406, by fillosaurus

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keropi wrote on 2023-05-10, 11:56:
it is true, ALS100 chips if found nowdays they will be stupid expensive when the MegaCard was created couple years ago I might h […]
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it is true, ALS100 chips if found nowdays they will be stupid expensive
when the MegaCard was created couple years ago I might have bought the last tray of ALS100 in existence...
ALS100 *is* a budget chip so no need to go overkill designs for it , the gains will be super minimal and it could explain why it only got used on super cheap cards that crap out after some decades 🤣
The main advantage for me is that it supports ADPCM decoding for these few games that need it... it does have some compatibility issues forcing you to use it's SB/SBPRO modes and I could never get any CT-VOICE.DRV version to load/work with the ALS100.

Have one to sell, how much are you willing to pay for it? 😜

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486

Reply 379 of 406, by fillosaurus

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e8root wrote on 2023-04-13, 15:21:
To me sound of early DOS is sound of ESS ESFM and sound of later DOS is sound of SB 128 PCI MIDI. Anything else sounds off to me […]
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To me sound of early DOS is sound of ESS ESFM and sound of later DOS is sound of SB 128 PCI MIDI.
Anything else sounds off to me including genuine OPL2/3 which has this Yamaha characteristic thing to it I especially hate in YM2612 (Megadrive/Genesis sound chip). ESS cards have almost the same sound as OPL2 but this aspect of sound that irritates hell out of me is greatly reduced.

As for MIDI I like SB 128 PCI with its original 2MB preset. Ensonic unfortunately didn't use the same samples in 4/8MB presets as 2MB preset and these 4MB and 8MB presets are terrible.

For ISA I have lots of various ESS cards including ES1688f which has jumpers. For PCI ESS Solo-1 is the model with the same ESFM implementation and other models are pretty bad for FM synthesis.

Hear hear, brother. I am an ESS fan too. Nothing emulates better a SB Pro.

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486