Sound Blaster 16 Clones

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

Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2009-7-15 @ 12:21

archsan wrote:no, AFAIK FM Synthesizer address on soundblasters (and maybe most cards with real OPL2/3 chip) is usually fixed at 388h, just like on the original AdLib card. I guess that's to maintain perfect compatibility with original AdLib-supporting games (with no option to change address).

I mean like this:
source The Sound Blaster Pro is capable of stereo FM music, which is accessed in exactly the same manner. Ports 0220 and 0221 (hex) are the address/data ports for the left speaker, and ports 0222 and 0223 (hex) are the ports for the right speaker. Ports 0388 and 0389 (hex) will cause both speakers to output sound.

archsan wrote:So, is it rare, this card? How did you find it? I didn't get any result on ggl products or ebay with keyword "CMI8330"...

use some of the other search keywords such as AV310 or Soundpro or audio excel.. I have seen a few on ebay.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby valnar » 2009-7-15 @ 12:48

archsan wrote:
gerwin wrote:
archsan wrote:So, is it rare, this card? How did you find it? I didn't get any result on ggl products or ebay with keyword "CMI8330"...

I just bought one - had to come from the UK to the USA though. I saw one yesterday and it's gone now, so people must be reading this thread. :shocked:
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby archsan » 2009-7-15 @ 13:17

gerwin wrote: I mean like this:
source The Sound Blaster Pro is capable of stereo FM music, which is accessed in exactly the same manner. Ports 0220 and 0221 (hex) are the address/data ports for the left speaker, and ports 0222 and 0223 (hex) are the ports for the right speaker. Ports 0388 and 0389 (hex) will cause both speakers to output sound.

:oops: is that only with SB-Pro's or also with other cards?

valnar wrote:I just bought one - had to come from the UK to the USA though. I saw one yesterday and it's gone now, so people must be reading this thread. :shocked:

That's OK, as long as the sellers stay out of this thread :happyhappy: --that might crank up the price a bit.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby ux-3 » 2010-5-29 @ 20:08

I helped myself to one. Unfortunately, the audio female ext. connectors aren't exactly stable. I had to replace the spk out from an old Soundblaster 16.

Well, I just tried it. I find the audio out too weak. I have it hooked up to my stereo, and it doesn't really deliver a very strong signal, even with the build in amp. And I found it to sound rather distorted too. If I don't find a way to further boost the signal, I won't use it.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2010-5-29 @ 22:53

Did you get a bad specimen, or did I fail to notice these things myself?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby ux-3 » 2010-5-30 @ 09:58

gerwin wrote:Did you get a bad specimen, or did I fail to notice these things myself?


Well, I did get a bad specimen insofar as that the plugin for speaker was mechanically broken. This was easy to understand after I soldered out this socket. The metal connectors are soft as butter. The old SB16 no one wanted here donated her "line in" which is way more sturdy. So after that got fixed, I tried the card.

I use Warlords2 for testing, because its sound gets easily distorted by different cards. There is also speech and sound effects overlay right at the start. I used many cards I have here to test that game.

I am am somewhat puzzled but almost all my card's signals are rather weak for my AV-Receiver. I must turn up the volume, so the receiver noise itself becomes quite audible too. When I use the internal amplifiers, things get somewhat better. I shall try a different cable, but I don't think that it is the cause.

Anyway, I compared the following cards a few times:
Terratec Maestro 32/96
Terratec Gold 16/96
the CMI 8330
Soundblaster 16 CT-1740
Soundblaster 32 CT-2760
Ess 688 & opl3
when possible, with yamaha DB

I was rather surprised about the results. The single most impressive card to me was the Maestro 32/96. If one casually builds a retro PC from scratch, that card offers most bang for the buck. Its own wavetable sounds nice and requires no tsr. The card is very clear with a strong signal. FM does sound better than OPL3 in some places (Percussion stuff in Warlord2)
It is available for 1buck at ebay if you look. It even lets you run a second wavetable with it.

Strongest signal goes to the CT-2760. It also sounds fairer than the ESS 1868f chips (Gold 16/96 & Schubert). Amazingly, SB32 produces hanging notes with its own AWE (via TSR), but so far none with the db.

The ESS688 & OPL3 delivers a strong signal too, sounds like OPL3 but unfortunately does not allow a DB without tsr. I have not seen a 1688 with OPL instead.

The CMI8330 looks exactly like yours but that FM rendition wasn't really clear. And the speech rendering wasn't either. And my receiver creates some hiss at the required volume.

Now, since I own the CMI8330, there is no reason for me to put it down. :blush: But I have failed to like it. If I don't find some solution for the signal, I can't use it anyway. Would I only use the screen speakers, it would probably be quite nice, but the stereo with those large speakers reveal things you don't like to hear.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2010-5-30 @ 14:18

Where can one buy a maestro 32/96 for a buck?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby ux-3 » 2010-5-30 @ 16:51

Ebay
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby SquallStrife » 2011-4-27 @ 03:42

Bumping this thread because it's mainly about the CMI8330:

Gerwin, are you able to get sound from a CMI-mounted wavetable DB via the CMI's SPDIF out?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2011-4-27 @ 08:51

SquallStrife wrote:Bumping this thread because it's mainly about the CMI8330:

Gerwin, are you able to get sound from a CMI-mounted wavetable DB via the CMI's SPDIF out?

Well, I don't remember. But technically it would be nonsense. Since any daughterboard only outputs analog left and right. And for the soundcard to convert that back to S/PDIF... very unlikely.

The world would be a better place if Midi Daughterboards gave digital output instead, but it was never like that.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby SquallStrife » 2011-4-27 @ 09:23

gerwin wrote:Well, I don't remember. But technically it would be nonsense. Since any daughterboard only outputs analog left and right. And for the soundcard to convert that back to S/PDIF... very unlikely.


Yeah, that makes sense. I was just making sure! ;)

It's a nice enough sounding card if you turn off the amplifier, so it's not a huge loss.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2011-4-27 @ 11:17

With the CMI8330 review in this thread I should have specified the testing system was at least 600MHz. I found that a few games do not detect SB16 hardware on a system above 200MHz.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-21 @ 14:02

gerwin wrote:I mean like this:
source The Sound Blaster Pro is capable of stereo FM music, which is accessed in exactly the same manner. Ports 0220 and 0221 (hex) are the address/data ports for the left speaker, and ports 0222 and 0223 (hex) are the ports for the right speaker. Ports 0388 and 0389 (hex) will cause both speakers to output sound.

I am wondering about this technical info. My experience is that a soundblaster with much shifted base IO to 280 will still play FM music fine, even though the software is configured for IO 220. Does that mean I can only use it for OPL2 and not for OPL3. I will have to test if I can hear stereo effects...

The Base IO (default 220) is used for communicating mixer volume settings for sure.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-22 @ 10:39

My testing shows that there is no relation between the Base IO (default 220) and stereo FM.
I can hear stereo FM music while I am sure the software only communicates to IO 388 and above.

The Gamedev.net article is false.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby gerwin » 2011-6-23 @ 21:22

Correction, again...
Both are true. The OPL3 FM is accessible at the base IO (220), but also at the Adlib IO (388). Although the hardware guide does not mention that the Adlib IO is extended to include OPL3 features over OPL2, other documents and my findings say that it is extended.

It depends on the software which IO is used: Base, Adlib or user defined.
The problem with software that only uses the Base IO for FM is that it will mess up two card configurations, like pairing an AWE64 with another card with genuine OPL3.
But if the software only does OPL3 and no digitized sound, one may be able to work around this by temporarily changing the BLASTER environment setting.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby Filosofia » 2012-8-06 @ 23:52

bump :sweatdrop:

Today I came back home with a similar card to this:

Image

The only (big) difference is, instead of Audio Excel it reads Analog Devices Soundport, is it any good?
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby Ace » 2012-8-07 @ 00:47

Filosofia wrote:The only (big) difference is, instead of Audio Excel it reads Analog Devices Soundport, is it any good?


Analog Devices SoundPort??? :shocked:

HELL NO! These sound cards are terrible! They're nothing like the CMI8330; no SoundBlaster 16 support and a HORRIBLE OPL3 clone integrated within the chip. Trust me, I have one, and its OPL3 clone is BY FAR the worst I've heard of any ISA sound card.
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby Filosofia » 2012-8-07 @ 02:25

OK thanks, just checking. The main reason I ended up reading this post is that I was looking for some reference to my first sound card.
In the mid 90's I upgraded my PS/1 with a soundblaster clone SoundMate2, but can't seem to find it anywhere now :depressed:
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby TheMAN » 2012-8-07 @ 03:09

I remember back in the 90s, I stumbled upon this page where this guy hacked together a S/PDIF converter for his real SB16... sadly, that page has gone down in the abyss of history
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Re: Sound Blaster 16 Clones

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2012-8-07 @ 03:16

In the mid 90's I upgraded my PS/1 with a soundblaster clone SoundMate2, but can't seem to find it anywhere now


Wait... do you perhaps mean Sound Machine? Because Quickshot put out some bundle deals years ago that included a joystick, some cheesy speakers (which I believe used the 'Soundmate' moniker), and a Quickshot-branded sound card. I know the card included in the earlier bundles a relabelled Sound Blaster 2.0, and the later ones had an Opti MAD16... I'm thinking there may have been a Mediavision card in there at some point too, but I'm not sure on that (and Google doesn't really return anything to indicate one way or the other).[/quote]
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