PCMCIA Sound Cards

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First post, by lolo799

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Hello, I found a lot of sound cards related threads on this forum, but not much about the Pcmcia sound cards except for a few post about the Roland SCP-55.

I own more than 10 different models, most of them work in pure DOS and only one of them work in anything newer than Windows 9x:

-Roland SCP-55
SoundCanvas and MPU-401 GM device in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x/Win9x
Drivers for DOS/Win3.x/Win9x: http://www.rolandus.com/support/eula/SCP55.EXE
For Linux and for the HP100/200LX: http://zo-kun.to/~risyu/scp55/
Manual: http://media.rolandus.com/manuals/SCP-55_OM.pdf

-EXP Soundnote,
Adlib/SB FM and MPU-401 in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x/Win9x
The breakout box has an integrated mono speaker.
Drivers: http://www.expnet.com/know.nsf/a87c96fe8c9775 … 66?OpenDocument
or http://www.expnet.com/know.nsf/a87c96fe8c9775 … fc?OpenDocument
Manual: http://www.expnet.com/know.nsf/f36fb1d8958b43 … /$FILE/S-16.pdf

Adlib FM and MPU-401 port in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x/Win9x
Drivers: http://www.ratocsystems.com/services/driver/sound/5570.html
Manuals: http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/img/dl/manual_pdf/5571.pdf
or http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/img/dl/manual_pdf/5571w.pdf
Product website: http://www.ratocsystems.com/products/subpage/5571.html

-Eiger Labs/Fujitsu 16-bit Stereo Sound
ESS ES1688
Adlib, SB and SBPro FM, MPU-401 in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x/Win9x + SB/Pro DMA emulation in Win9x
It comes with a simple dongle (phone out/line out/line in) but it can use the Ratoc breakout box with MIDI IN/THRU/OUT
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19961103210304/htt … abs.com/mm.html
Drivers: http://lorezan.free.fr/pcmcia/fujitsu-eigerme … bit%20sound.zip
or https://web.archive.org/web/20030806102236/ht … ort/support.htm

-IBM 3D Sound Card
SB FM and digital audio in DOS/Win3.x and OS/2 Warp
Drivers for DOS/Win3.x and OS/2:
http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/det … ?DocID=DS001550

-NewMedia Wavjammer
Adlib OPL2/OPL3 FM + digital audio support in selected games in DOS/Win3.x (using Miles Sound System), WSS-SB emulation in Win9x
Drivers: ftp://ftp.axiz.com/PCCards/newmedia/sound%20g … orts/wavjammer/

-Newmedia Sound/SCSI2
Identical to the Wavjammer with SCSI 2 capability
Drivers: ftp://ftp.axiz.com/PCCards/newmedia/sound%20g … oast%20&%20jam/

-Panasonic Sound Card CF-VEW211
Yamaha OPL3
OPL2/OPL3 FM in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x/Win9x
Drivers: http://lorezan.free.fr/pcmcia/panasonic/cfvew211.rar
DOS enabler: http://www.ss.iij4u.or.jp/~riki/panas13.lzh

-Panasonic Sound Card Pro CF-VEW212
Yamaha OPL4
OPL2/OPL3 FM in DOS + digital audio in Win3.x
OPL4 + digital audio in Win9x
Drivers: http://lorezan.free.fr/pcmcia/panasonic/cfvew212.rar
DOS enabler: http://www.ss.iij4u.or.jp/~riki/panas13.lzh

Both Panasonic cards have a special option I haven't seen anywhere else, it can output the FM( DOS) or FM+DA (Win9x) generated by the card using the PC speaker, yes you read that correctly!
The card doesn't even need the breakout box plugged in for this, so you can enjoy playing Doom using Adlib music and PC Speaker digital audio outputed at the same time on the poor PC Speaker, even on systems that don't have an integrated sound card and only a very basic system speaker, and it sounds quite good.

Also they don't suffer from the infamous OPL3 slowdown in the Descent sound setup.

-TDK Music card 8000
EMU8000, 2MB wavetable sample ROM, 512KB RAM
General MIDI in DOS/Win3.x/Win95
Its breakout box has a S/PDIF output, MIDI IN/OUT and analog IN/OUT.
Drivers for Win95: http://web.archive.org/web/20060512034948/htt … 01/bda01020.htm
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19991009105447/htt … 01/bda61000.htm
FAQ: http://web.archive.org/web/19980625005458/htt … 01/cab14000.htm

-TDK Digital Music Card 9000
EMU8000, 4MB wavetable sample ROM, 2MB RAM
General Midi and MPU-401 in Win9x
No DOS support at all, not even in Win9x DOS mode.
Drivers & utilities: http://web.archive.org/web/20051121005831/htt … 01/bda01010.htm
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19990922002740/htt … 01/bda80000.htm
FAQ: http://web.archive.org/web/19980625005458/htt … 01/cab14000.htm

Have a look at the extended DMC-9000 control panel:
http://lorezan.free.fr/pcmcia/TDK_DMC9000/TDK … rol%20panel.jpg

I'll make some recordings of the better cards, including the Panasonic Inside Speaker option, the OPL4 FM and the TDK playing midi music.

Here's a list of the 16-bit cards I don't own:
-Media Vision Pro Audio PCMCIA
-Turtle Beach Audio Advantage PCMCIA
-VisionTek Business Audio Card (same the Turtle Beach AA)
-Apex Data Audio Express
-I/O Magic Tempo
-EMU 8710 (same as the TDK MC8000)
-EMU 8710SP (same as the TDK DMC-9000)
-Argosy PCMCIA (same as the EXP Soundnote)
-MediaMagic PCMCIA sound card
-New Media GameJammer
-A-B Soft AB Sound (same as the Fujitsu/Eiger Media cards)
-Yamaha PCC10XG
-Digigram PCXPocket & VXPocket series (the PCXPocket series have DOS drivers)
-Ratoc REX-5571 (REX-5570 + joystick port)
-Ratoc REX-5572 (REX-5571 + SCSI, no MIDI IN/THRU/OUT)
-Panasonic CF-JSC101 (Sound/SCSI)
-Panasonic KXL-C101 (Sound/SCSI)
-Panasonic KXL-D20/DN20 (Sound/CDrom)
-Logitec LPM-SU100 (same as the Panasonic CF-VEW212)
-Logitec LPM-SCSU

The next two cards are joystick controllers that can be used as a MIDI interface with the usual DB15 to 5-pin cables:
-New Media Mobile Gamer

There are some parallel port devices wich could be interesting, but beyond the scope of this thread:
-DSP Solutions PORT.ABLE Sound Plus
-Logitech AudioMan
-Media Vision Audioport

Last edited by lolo799 on 2014-06-12, 17:40. Edited 14 times in total.

Reply 2 of 195, by lolo799

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It really depends of what I use it for:
-best midi quality in DOS games, the SCP-55
-best OPL3 quality in DOS games, one of the Panasonic
-if the game supports it, the Wavjammer
-for full (FM and digital audio) Sb/Sbpro emulation in some DOS games, the IBM 3D
-for full Sb/Sbpro emulation under Win9x, the Wavjammer or the EigerMedia/Fujitsu
-best midi quality in Win9x games, the TDK
-without external speakers nor headphone, one of the Panasonic for its unique feature

Reply 4 of 195, by lolo799

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I was tempted to say no at first, but it seems Ratoc made some cards similar to the 5570 called 5571 and 5572 wich have additional features (joystick port for the 5571 and SCSI for the 5572).
Both cards came with sound drivers for NT 4.0 and are based on the same ESS1688 chip used by the 5570 and the Eigerlabs & Fujitsu card.

Ratoc also made specific cards for the japanese PC-98 standard wich are similar (9871 and 9872)

I have to do some tests...

Reply 5 of 195, by lolo799

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Some in-game recordings done with the Panasonic CF-VEW211 and 212 unique "use system speaker" feature, the laptop used is an AST 700N with only a very basic speaker (no integrated soundcard):

Other recordings are to be found in swaaye's "Sound Cards Recordings" thread.

Reply 6 of 195, by lolo799

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Another model to add to the list:

- Ego-Sys (now ESI-Audio) WAMI BOX
Dream SAM9407 (same chip used in the Terratec EWS64XL, Guillemot Maxisound Home Studio Pro 64 and a couple of other cards)
Sound Blaster/Pro, WSS, General Midi and MPU-401 in Win95/98/XP/2000.
16MB of onboard RAM for samples and soundfonts.
Linux drivers are also available.

A quote from the manual:

The control panel is the central control unit of the WAMI BOX. It contains firstly the analog mixer wich mixes the various audio signals, and feeds them either to the output or the synthesizer for further processing. Switching of the various signal paths also takes place here: the signals are switched as required for the many varied tasks of the WAMI BOX. When the WAMI BOX is started for the first time, the mixer is in a games-compatible mode. In this mode the card is fully compatible with Soundblaster, Soundblaster Pro and Windows Sound System.
Using this setting, DOS games can be played with GM/GS sounds or older FM sounds with effects, four-channel playback and V space.

The card can also be fully reconfigured, however, for example to make hard disk recordings of the best possible quality with digital inputs and outputs.

The SB/Pro emulation work fine but doesn't offer OPL2/FM synth music, only sound effects. However the games tend to slow down (tested with Doom, Duke3d and Descent in WinXP) and the digital sounds produce some clicking. The GM support is flawless though, and with the available RAM you can put a decent quality soundfont.

The drivers are a bit messy, the latest version is incompatible with the control panel software, and the older versions make the system unresponsive.

Full specs (quoted from the website):

  • * 20-bit Analog to Digital Converter
    * 20-bit Digital to Analog Converter about 98dB dynamic range
    * Analog 2 In / 4 Out -10dBV unbalanced with Gold-tipped RCA jacks
    * S/PDIF Coaxial & Optical Digital In/Out
    * Real-time Hardware Sample-Rate Converter(48 to 44.1)
    * Mic Preamp with effects
    * Gold-tipped 1/4" jacks Mic Input
    * full LED Display; 9 large Activity Indicators
    * 32 Channel MIDI Operation; 16 ch Internal and 16ch External
    * Multiple sample rates - 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz
    * Full Duplex: 2 Ch. Record/4 Channel Playback simultaneousely
    * Uses standard PCMCIA socket - DMA Channel not required
    * 16 MB onboard RAM for Synth & Sampler
    * High perfomance Audio DSP based Internal Mixer
    * 17 Delay lines for resonance-free stereo effects
    * Up to 64-voice, 16 multi-timbral professional sampler
    * MPU-401 (UART)1 In/1 Out MIDI Interface
    * Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
    * Supports Windows MME, DirectSound, ASIO driver
    * Windows 95/98 compatible
    * Windows XP/2000 supported with limited features

Official website:
Linux drivers:

I haven't made any progress on the ESS1688 support in NT4.0, managing resources in NT4 is a nightmare...

Last edited by lolo799 on 2012-07-22, 18:56. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 195, by Cloudschatze

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lolo799 wrote:

-Media Vision Pro Audio PCMCIA

I don't have a system in which to actually test it 😵, but the specs for this card are pretty decent. It may be the only card to provide SB-compatible digital audio playback in DOS, an actual Yamaha OPL3 chip (most likely the "L" variant), and a joystick/MIDI port. The SB playback is accomplished via a TSR, however, and compatibility is limited to real-mode games.

Reply 8 of 195, by lolo799

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So it's relatively similar to the IBM 3D sound card except for two things (or three things if we count the absence of the OPL3 chip):
-the MIDI/joystick module is an option for the IBM card though (it only comes with mic-in/speaker-out dongle).
-the IBM card works with games that use dos-extenders 😀

Could you post a photo of the Mediavision card?

Reply 9 of 195, by MaxWar

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Very nice posts here. I have no experience whatsoever with PCMCIA sound cards but this is very interesting.

FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.

Reply 10 of 195, by lolo799

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There are ISA and PCI adapters for PCMCIA cards, but as the cards themselves don't have drivers post Windows 98 for most of them, I guess the ideal use would be something like a 1st generation Pentium.
And seeing the choice of existing ISA/PCI sound cards out there anyway, the best option would be to use either the Roland or the TDK card in a desktop system (the Roland for SoundCanvas/General MIDI in DOS games, the TDK for Windows 9x only games or making music), all the other cards wouldn't feel like an enhanced experience really, maybe the Wavjammer as a good number of DOS late 486/early Pentium era games have direct support for it..

PCMCIA Sound, Storage & Graphics

Reply 13 of 195, by NamelessPlayer

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Media Vision...now that's a name I don't see attached to anything other than the Pro Audio Spectrum (and that's a name I only recognize due to it being a common DOS Miles Sound System option), especially since their biggest contributions to PC audio were after they were reborn as Aureal.

I noticed that you didn't include the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. Are you specifically concentrating more on obscure DOS/Win9x-era PCMCIA sound cards here?

Reply 14 of 195, by Anonymous Coward

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There is a difference between PCMCIA and Cardbus. Perhaps this only covers the 16-bit cards. They both share the same connector, but the latter being 32-bit.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 15 of 195, by lolo799

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The Media Vision card uses the Jazz16 chipset that was also used in some of their ISA cards.

I don't have an Audigy 2 ZS Notebook card (yet) and I'm focusing on the 16-bit cards only for now.
But if you have such a card, don't hesitate to contribute to the thread 😀

Reply 16 of 195, by lolo799

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Update: 2 cards added to the first post (Newmedia Sound/SCSI2 and TDK MC-8000), links to drivers/manuals and websites when available.

Now some details about cards I don't own:

-Media Vision Pro Audio PCMCIA (see Cloudschatze posts)

-Turtle Beach Audio Advantage PCMCIA, uses the same DSP as the Multisound Fiji ISA card.
Drivers for Win 3.x and Win95: http://lorezan.free.fr/pcmcia/tb-aa/
FAQ: https://web.archive.org/web/20020809204336/ht … /kb_ftp/520.asp

-VisionTek Business Audio Card (same the Turtle Beach AA), VisionTek PCMCIA products webpage http://web.archive.org/web/19970129092833/htt … de/pccards.html

-Apex Data Audio Express

-I/O Magic Tempo
OPL3 chip, compatible with Yamaha Gold Sound Standard (GSS)
Some games have direct support for this card.
Drivers and source code: http://web.archive.org/web/19980211032010/htt … e_downloads.htm

-EMU 8710 (same as the TDK MC8000)
High quality 16-bit, 44khz Stereo Audio playback and recording
Sixteen different Digital Effects including professional quality reverb and chorus
2-megabytes of Wavetable ROM with over 300 GM and GS sounds
True 32-voice synthesizer designed by E-mu Systems
Creative Labs SoundFont® Compatible, 512 kB downloadable RAM
Compatible with most Window's '95 applications utilizing using MIDI and Wave Audio
MIDI In and MIDI Out and S/PDIF with the breakout box WC335 MABOX*
Drivers: http://www.creative.com/emu/support/downloads/legacy/
DL: http://www.creative.com/emu/support/files/storage/pcmcia.zip
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19990428042932/htt … u.com/8710.html

-EMU 8710SP (same as the TDK DMC-9000)
Drivers: http://www.creative.com/emu/support/downloads/legacy/
DL: http://www.creative.com/emu/support/files/storage/pcmcia.zip
Drivers for Mac OS were announced but not released.

-Argosy PCMCIA (same as the EXP Soundnote)
Website: https://web.archive.org/web/19990911202331/ht … 35?OpenDocument
Drivers: https://web.archive.org/web/20010428070418/ht … /multimedia.htm

-MediaMagic PCMCIA sound card
Drivers available for DOS/Win3.x only.


-New Media GameJammer
This card is the first one to have a mono speaker on the card itself, it might be the only one as well...
8-bit/44.1kHz record and playback, joystick port, compatible with the DB-15/MIDI In&out adapter.
OPL2 Adlib FM
Low power consumption
Website: https://web.archive.org/web/19961112083936/ht … corp.com/gj.htm
Drivers for DOS/Win3.x/Win9x: ftp://ftp.axiz.com/PCCards/newmedia/sound%20g … rts/gamejammer/

-A-B Soft AB Sound (same as the Fujitsu/Eiger Media cards)

-Yamaha PCC10XG
General MIDI and Yamaha XG in Win9x
Product website: http://jp.yamaha.com/product_archive/music-pr … 10w/?mode=model
Manual: http://www2.yamaha.co.jp/manual/pdf/emi/japan … xg/PCC10XGJ.pdf
Drivers: http://download.yamaha.com/search/product/?la … duct_id=1041633

-Digigram PCXPocket & VXPocket series (the PCXPocket series have DOS drivers)
Those are professional products, no game supports at all before DirectX I guess.

PCXpocket was the first Type II PC-Card intended for professional sound recording and editing applications on a laptop.
It features two balanced analog mono inputs for microphone or line level and two unbalanced analog mono outputs.

PCXpocket V2 is a Type II PC-Card intended for professional sound recording and editing applications on a laptop.
Like the PCXPocket, it features two balanced analog mono inputs for microphone or line level and two unbalanced analog mono outputs.
Audio performance is notably improved compared to PCXPocket.

Products website:
PCXpocket V1 http://www.digigram.com/products/product_info … 1200&mode=specs
PCXpocket V2 http://www.digigram.com/products/product_info … 1250&mode=specs
PCXpocket V3 http://www.digigram.com/products/product_info … 00&mode=manuals

-Ratoc REX-5571 (REX-5570 + joystick port)
One of the very few cards with drivers for NT4.0.
Product website: http://www.ratocsystems.com/products/subpage/5571.html
FAQ: http://www.ratocsystems.com/services/faq/5571.html
Drivers: http://www.ratocsystems.com/services/driver/sound/5571.html
Manuals: http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/img/dl/manual_pdf/5571.pdf
or http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/img/dl/manual_pdf/5571w.pdf

-Ratoc REX-5572 (REX-5571 + SCSI, no MIDI IN/THRU/OUT)
One of the very few cards with drivers for NT4.0.
Product website: http://www.ratocsystems.com/products/subpage/5572.html
Drivers: http://www.ratocsystems.com/services/driver/sound/5572.html
DOS/Win3.x Driver:

File size
886.06 KiB
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception


-Panasonic CF-JSC101 (Sound/SCSI)
OPL3 and SCSI2

-Panasonic KXL-C101/-D745/-D20/-DN20 (Sound/SCSI)
ESS ES1688

-Logitec LPM-SU100 (same as the Panasonic CF-VEW212)
Drivers: http://www.logitec.co.jp/down/soft/pcmcia/lpmsu100.html

-Logitec LPM-SCSU 'same as the Panasonic CF-JSC101)
OPL3 and SCSI2

-Ositech King of Diamonds
OPL3 & Ethernet
Windows 3.1 and 3.11 SoundBlaster v1.05 Emulation, with DMA emulation
Windows 95 SoundBlaster 2.02 Emulation
" SoundBlaster v1.05 emulation is supported while in a DOS box in
Windows, allowing you to use the Trumpcard to hear many DOS games."
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19970127161229/htt … /king/index.htm
Drivers: http://web.archive.org/web/19980423035103/htt … m/kingsoft.html

-Ositech Queen of Diamonds
OPL3 and Modem
Windows 3.1 and 3.11 SoundBlaster v1.05 Emulation, with DMA emulation
Windows 95 SoundBlaster 2.02 Emulation
Product website: http://web.archive.org/web/19970127161244/htt … queen/index.htm
Drivers: http://web.archive.org/web/19980423035234/htt … /queensoft.html

-Sharp AD-AJ1
4MB GM wavetable rom
This one is unique, it's used to transfer .WAV and convert .MID files to a Sharp Minidisc HiFi systems, the MD-8X via a special cable.
It also features a serial connection to the audio system to edit the TOC of the Minidiscs.
Press release: http://web.archive.org/web/19980204061829/htt … news-e/9722.htm
About the MD-8X: http://www.minidisc.org/part_Sharp_MD-X8PC.html

-Sharp AD-AJ2
4MB GM wavetable rom.
This card has a digital optical out (TOSLINK), and can be used to connect to anything with the correct input.

The next two cards are joystick controllers that can be used as a MIDI interface in Win 9x only with the usual DB15 to 5-pin cables:
Product website: http://www.iodata.jp/products/pccard/pcjoy2.htm
Drivers: http://www.iodata.jp/lib/product/p/416_win98se.htm

-New Media Mobile Gamer
Drivers: ftp://ftp.axiz.com/PCCards/newmedia/sound%20g … mobile%20gamer/

Last edited by lolo799 on 2016-04-12, 21:19. Edited 9 times in total.

Reply 18 of 195, by mr_bigmouth_502

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So, if I were to get myself a Pentium or 486-era laptop, which soundcard would work best for OPL3 and digital audio? In other words, which one would best approximate an SBPro/SB16 in DOS? MIDI in/out doesn't matter so much for me.

Reply 19 of 195, by archsan

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Anybody has an idea about the possibility of using a PCMCIA MIDI module (esp. the Roland SCP-55) for use with DOSBox in Win XP or 7 (or Linux, for that matter) through a USB - PCMCIA adapter? I like the compactness but hesitated when I saw one of these on ebay...