The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

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

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-9-15 @ 14:32

I think i may have the two variations of the CT4180. Ill have to check this out.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby raymangold22 » 2012-9-15 @ 19:22

That CQM card sounds pretty darn good with a high-quality output section doesn't it?!

I recorded from LINE-OUT of the card.
Later I tried throwing its LINE-OUT into the crystal's LINE-IN (and then using the crystal's LINE-OUT to get both devices), but unfortunately it seems like this PnP card won't allow crystal to play FM! :(
--> this of course is a known conflict... sigh...

Okay, I'll specify "hardware emulation" in future videos. Can't believe I'm actually uploading CQM videos :dead:
Still not as good as dual opl3. I was also experimenting with adding some slight extra effects on dual opl3 recordings to create.... POOR MAN'S ADLIB GOLD! :D
(Or to those who simply can't find anywhere to BUY one regardless of price).

Offtopic: it's nice that this site is win98 640x480 friendly! I'm viewing this on the P1 233 with opera 10.63.
User avatar
raymangold22
Newbie
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 2012-5-27 @ 19:56

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-9-15 @ 19:43

I checked the CT4180 I recorded and it has the Phillips chip and the larger caps are nichicon, but the smaller ones are not.

I have another CT4180 without the Phillips chip and it also only has Large nichicon caps, not the small ones.

I have yet a third one that has Phillips chip and all Nichicon caps, even the small ones.
However this card has one cap that has been ripped off so i need to replace it before i try it.

The CQM sure sounds different, Creative cards usually have a poor output but the CT4180 is obviously not bad, so is the SB32. I still prefer a real OPL3 chip in most circumstances. In the THeme hospital song, it sounds very different than opl3 yet CQM does have a pleasant bouquet, i think i may actually prefer it in this case.

Since my all nichicon card is out of order, maybe you could record Descent intro with your card as per specs of the Grand opl3 comparison run? And maybe Wolf level 1 too. This should allow a pretty good comparison of the influence of the capacitor brand.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby raymangold22 » 2012-9-16 @ 08:29

Now for the big huge gigantic comparison of many, many many OPL3 variations, all on the descent theme as requested by MaxWar.
This took awhile to do because I was recording from three separate computers. I hope everyone can hear at least some of the differences between all of them after listening to the below samples.

Descent theme on Creative's CQM
Descent theme on Crystal FM Synthesis
Descent theme on YMF262 via SB16
Descent theme on Dual OPL3
Descent theme on ESS ESFM*
Descent theme on Poor Man's Adlib Gold!

*note that ESS has a custom instrument canvas, as well as a custom OPL3 engine. In order to be properly compared, it would have to be done in an FM tracker where it would be using the same instrument set. ESFM is funny in that it can completely floor YMF262 and sound way better, or respond inappropriately and get close to CQM. Crystal FM is still my favourite of the OPL3 variants, I'm particularly fond of its percussion & noise generator.

Poor Man's Adlib Gold is dual OPL3 with some spiced up effects (to sort of take the same idea from the "surround" module).

I'll be recording the (whole) descent music on Dual OPL3 whenever I get the chance. I'll finish the Lemmings 2 recordings with it first however (volume reasons; dual OPL3 is different in pure DOS, which lemmings 2 requires: and getting behind the computer adjusting that potentiometer wheel is not fun).
User avatar
raymangold22
Newbie
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 2012-5-27 @ 19:56

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-9-16 @ 09:02

Ooh, Descent Shareware, that's a blast from the past.

The registered version sounds different: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXu-2oLRx-M
VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread
[retro swim] | Link | Release Thread
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetroSwimAU
User avatar
SquallStrife
l33t
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: 2010-2-06 @ 15:18
Location: Drowning in consoles

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby raymangold22 » 2012-9-16 @ 09:25

SquallStrife wrote:Ooh, Descent Shareware, that's a blast from the past.

The registered version sounds different: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXu-2oLRx-M


As I don't own the game, I played it through windows media player.
The sample you linked to me uses custom FM instruments (which I explained above).

To recap... OPL3 chips can use a variety of "instrument" canvases...
#1 the instrument canvas provided by windows (although it wasn't made by microsoft being used in other things, not sure who did).
#2 the instrument canvas commonly used in AdLib.
#3 custom instruments such as found on trackers, and in this case, descent.
User avatar
raymangold22
Newbie
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 2012-5-27 @ 19:56

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-9-16 @ 09:56

It sounds like you're arguing with me, but I'm not really sure why.

The title song is different between shareware and registered, and you've played the shareware version of it. Irrespective of custom/delivered instrument sets, and how the file was played. No big deal, just noticed it and thought it was cool.
VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread
[retro swim] | Link | Release Thread
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetroSwimAU
User avatar
SquallStrife
l33t
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: 2010-2-06 @ 15:18
Location: Drowning in consoles

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Ace » 2012-9-16 @ 13:30

raymangold22 wrote:Okay, I'll specify "hardware emulation" in future videos. Can't believe I'm actually uploading CQM videos :dead:


:blah:

No. Do not mix the term "emulation" with anything done in hardware. Use the term "hardware clone" instead.
Creator of The Many Sounds of:, a collection of various DOS games played using different sound cards.
Ace
Oldbie
 
Posts: 529
Joined: 2010-10-16 @ 17:35
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-9-16 @ 15:09

raymangold22 wrote:Now for the big huge gigantic comparison of many, many many OPL3 variations, all on the descent theme as requested by MaxWar.
This took awhile to do because I was recording from three separate computers. I hope everyone can hear at least some of the differences between all of them after listening to the below samples.

Descent theme on Creative's CQM
Descent theme on Crystal FM Synthesis
Descent theme on YMF262 via SB16
Descent theme on Dual OPL3
Descent theme on ESS ESFM*
Descent theme on Poor Man's Adlib Gold!

*note that ESS has a custom instrument canvas, as well as a custom OPL3 engine. In order to be properly compared, it would have to be done in an FM tracker where it would be using the same instrument set. ESFM is funny in that it can completely floor YMF262 and sound way better, or respond inappropriately and get close to CQM. Crystal FM is still my favourite of the OPL3 variants, I'm particularly fond of its percussion & noise generator.

Poor Man's Adlib Gold is dual OPL3 with some spiced up effects (to sort of take the same idea from the "surround" module).

I'll be recording the (whole) descent music on Dual OPL3 whenever I get the chance. I'll finish the Lemmings 2 recordings with it first however (volume reasons; dual OPL3 is different in pure DOS, which lemmings 2 requires: and getting behind the computer adjusting that potentiometer wheel is not fun).


Interesting, thanks for taking the time to do this but i was hoping you could record the samples directly from the Game, using the Grand Opl3 comparison specs, so the recordings could be used for this project.
The music does not sound exactly like in the game when played with media players.
Same goes for many games as i believe dos game developers normally used tweaked drivers. ESS cards do not sound like that AT ALL when played through the descent shareware, they will use the right instrument set when played in the game. In fact I find ESFM to be quite true to the original in descent ( more so than CQM or Crystal ) and for pretty much all the games i tried so far. Listen to my PT-201 recordings for the reference.

This aside, I think you should specify in your video description that this was recorded in media player and also specify what exact card models were used ( For future references) .

All this aside, Crystal is as horrible to me as ever XD. I simply cannot stand those "cutoff clicks" it puts all over the place. Im still hoping to find a crystal card that does not have them.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby raymangold22 » 2012-9-16 @ 18:46

MaxWar wrote:Interesting, thanks for taking the time to do this but i was hoping you could record the samples directly from the Game, using the Grand Opl3 comparison specs, so the recordings could be used for this project.
The music does not sound exactly like in the game when played with media players.
Same goes for many games as i believe dos game developers normally used tweaked drivers. ESS cards do not sound like that AT ALL when played through the descent shareware, they will use the right instrument set when played in the game. In fact I find ESFM to be quite true to the original in descent ( more so than CQM or Crystal ) and for pretty much all the games i tried so far. Listen to my PT-201 recordings for the reference.

This aside, I think you should specify in your video description that this was recorded in media player and also specify what exact card models were used ( For future references) .

All this aside, Crystal is as horrible to me as ever XD. I simply cannot stand those "cutoff clicks" it puts all over the place. Im still hoping to find a crystal card that does not have them.


Okay... tell you what. I'll purchase descent later, and then record the main menu music. CD access only has the bundle, not standalone, but that's better!
(I've long since threw out redneck rampage, guess I'll own it again!) Gotta order other games that I'm missing, too. Last time I bought games, I ordered lands of lore 1, and kings quest mask of eternity! I don't think those particular games are in stock anymore, though.

There's one guy who has a discreet crystal card. Here's an example of it.
Apparently it came from an IBM aptiva (too bad... so many nice aptivas have been recycled). Has a bit better output balance than the onboard of my old IBM opl3-3dfx-megados-machine.



SquallStrife wrote:It sounds like you're arguing with me, but I'm not really sure why.

The title song is different between shareware and registered, and you've played the shareware version of it. Irrespective of custom/delivered instrument sets, and how the file was played. No big deal, just noticed it and thought it was cool.


No I wasn't arguing, just half awake.
User avatar
raymangold22
Newbie
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 2012-5-27 @ 19:56

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-9-16 @ 19:03

raymangold22 wrote:
Okay... tell you what. I'll purchase descent later, and then record the main menu music. CD access only has the bundle, not standalone, but that's better!


If you want to compare with the recordings i made no need to buy anything :p
Im using shareware specifically to allow any one to get the games easily for free.

Furthermore, As SquallStrife pointed, the retail version does not have the same version of the song. The Grand OPL3 comparison run uses the Shareware so it would be better to use the shareware in that regard.

But if you want to buy Descent because its an awesome game, Im not going to tell you otherwise ;)

In the meantime you can download Descent Shareware In the official gamepack here: https://sites.google.com/site/soundcardcomparison/home/the-games Or alternatively it is obtainable all over the internet.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-9-16 @ 21:24

raymangold22 wrote:
SquallStrife wrote:It sounds like you're arguing with me, but I'm not really sure why.

The title song is different between shareware and registered, and you've played the shareware version of it. Irrespective of custom/delivered instrument sets, and how the file was played. No big deal, just noticed it and thought it was cool.


No I wasn't arguing, just half awake.


Heh heh heh, I know the feeling! :)
VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread
[retro swim] | Link | Release Thread
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetroSwimAU
User avatar
SquallStrife
l33t
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: 2010-2-06 @ 15:18
Location: Drowning in consoles

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby leileilol » 2012-9-16 @ 21:33

MaxWar wrote:@Leileilol : Oh this happens to be one of my favorite midi song, i may do a little special for this one.


And here's the obligatory CQM version. Unfortunately Youtube clipped the last 20 seconds off (!) and I have to reupload it again. which is why i haven't posted it
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
User avatar
leileilol
l33t++
 
Posts: 9139
Joined: 2006-12-16 @ 18:03

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby raymangold22 » 2012-9-16 @ 23:03

Okay because I'm lazy and don't want to upload TOO many descent theme variations on my channel :p

descent theme IN-GAME via dual opl3
descent theme IN-GAME via cqm

The CQM version gained some annoying line noise after DOS started in full screen. Beats me. I was able to record the first game track in the installer without any line noise as the DOS window wasn't full screen.
There are also tempo drops which all computers did, I'm guessing this game would prefer restart in MS-DOS mode?

MaxWar, if you want all of these WAV recordings, you'll have to PM me, and I can send them via email, skype, or something.

I really like the in-game dual OPL3 version... the crystal percussion gains some sort of weird surround-soundness to it. It's been damaged by youtube compression.
User avatar
raymangold22
Newbie
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 2012-5-27 @ 19:56

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-9-16 @ 23:32

My CT2260 has the same annoying noise problem. But my CT4180 does not have it. I have not tried the card in windows but the noise is always there when dos starts. It gets worse in some games. Also seems to be lessened by deactivating digital audio and can somehow get worse or better apparently at random, at least thats how it behaves here.

Edit: The tempo drops are present on any computer, on any OPL3 sound card, clone or not. It does not happen on OPL2 though. And ive read it does not happen on OPL4 either.

If you ever want to contribute to the GOCR official file collection, I takes flac files only. I wrote a guide for the recording methodology to be used for consistency here. Anyone can volunteer for it however i ask that the guidelines be followed.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundcard ... ing-method

@Leileilol hehehe, i usually listen to the midi with my sound canvas. Hearing it with FM CQM is hmmm... refreshing :p I dont know why youtube would censor the end of the song though.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-10-22 @ 00:28

OFFICIAL UPDATE #6

Ok been a while since i added a card, i know...too many nerdy projects going on but here i have a pretty nice one for you guys!!
An adlib gold you ask??
Naaaaaaah...

The Zoltrix Audio Plus 3200 V.1 (Av303) !!!


Image

"Dafuq??" you ask?
Well.. Ok not very mainstream bur still a nice one.
Update your collection here : https://docs.google.com/uc?export=downl...0IxVVhFUFE
Read about it on TGOPL3CR website.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundcard...home?pli=1
If you are lazy i quoted the general review here.

Overview:

This card looks pretty no name, no brand whatsoever on it. Only a number (AV303). After looking it up it appears to be a Zoltrix Audio Plus 3200 V.1, they even had the jumper details for it on the Zoltrix website. ( http://www.zoltrix.com/support_html/Mul...V303JP.HTM ). I also found references of it being a card by Voicon or Audioexcel. Did they make this card too? The card in the picture was bought on eBay and was listed as Voicon. This might stay a mystery forever... The drivers I found were specified for the Audio_excel but they worked without a hitch and once installed it only takes 2k of conventional memory.

Now about the quality. Well, its surprisingly good!! At least for FM, GM and compatibility... (read on)
It worked in all my games without a problem, both audio and FM. It seems to be very compatible with SB and SBpro but not with SB16.

It has a genuine yamaha OPL3 and the FM sound quality is very nice. I bypassed the onboard amp with the jumpers before installing the card and i got a nice strong and clean signal out of it. It has very low background noise, a wide frequency spectrum with clear highs and fat lows. It sounds maybe slightly compressed as it seems to have an inherent loudness to it, but its really not much, its subtle. Honestly its in my top FM cards so far.

When I compared it with my best sounding FM card ( so far the Rock16), It was a tough pick. The AV303 has a lower floor noise but I found that it seemed to distort a little more on some frequencies/type of sounds. Sounds that are naturally noisy seem to come off a little worse, this is somewhat noticeable in Cybersphere with the sort of rhythm distorted guitar in the background, or with some of the Swooping sounds in Dune. Yet, on some other frequencies it was the opposite, the AV303 comes out cleaner, just listen to Monkey island, the very first sound, its night and day. Overall, for FM sound I decided I still preferred the Rock16, it feels slightly better balanced and somehow its softer on the ears.

The AV303 also has a good GM support. It just worked without a Hitch using my SC55 in a couple games and more importantly NO HANGING NOTE BUG. I did the Hexen test and all was flawless, this is certainly a plus.

Where this card falls short is with Digital audio... You may not notice much during normal operation but when you compare you find out its clearly below average. The audio is just dirty, noisy, staticky, distorting, thin... Just listen to TheDig, its pretty horrid. There does not seem to be much settings in the drivers or card itself to play with, and playing with settings in the games setup did not yield positive results either. Maybe my card needs a recap?? I don't have time to recap all my cards unfortunately but Ill keep it in a separate drawer because if you could fix the audio part this would be a great card, it passed pretty much all the other tests with flying colors.
Last edited by MaxWar on 2012-11-28 @ 05:09, edited 1 time in total.
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-11-28 @ 05:06

OFFICIAL UPDATE #7

Ok you guys probably thought I had given up on this project by now, WRONG!!!
I am merely a bit slow at updating the project with new cards.
I noticed my last update did not stir much in the way of reactions, not that I am surprised mind you, considering the no-name forgettable card I produced last time...
This time I am hoping to get your interest with an Excellent card.
Not a no-name oddity either, this time its a genuine Creative labs product!!

*Applause*


Behold...
The Sound blaster 16 CT2290!!!


Image

Allright, I wrote a nice little review of it on the Grand Opl3 Comparison run page, but as usual, let the sound samples speak for themselves.
Update your collection now:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/43851675/CT2290/CT2290.zip

I still invite you to go and visit the official page:
https://sites.google.com/site/soundcardcomparison/home?pli=1

But if you are lazy here is the bit i wrote about it.

Alright guys, you like sound blaster cards? Yeah sure I love them too, but I've never been a massive fan. Creative Labs just have too many damn CTnumbers and many of them are somewhat lackluster.
But then I tried CT2290. Now that's a quality sound card!
This makes me forget some of the prejudices I have about creative labs. Looks like they can give you a No-Compromise product when they want to!

Ok, I might be stretching it a bit, Creative labs made a bunch of very cool cards but if you want to invest in a sound blaster 16, this one is a sure value.

Firstly, It has one of the best FM sound i have heard so far. Its on par with cards like the Rock16. Very clean output, wide and clear spectrum range. The FM out of this card will please your ears.

I was actually very troubled deciding if i liked this card or the Rock16 better. They are both of very good acoustic quality but have different default coloration, or default EQ if you prefer. In the end I decided it did not really matter as it amounts to personal taste and you can always EQ them to your need.

I think that the Rock16 might be a little more "natural" sounding but it does not matter, this Card beats the Rock16 as an overall package.

It has superior compatibility. The Rock16 is excellent for a clone card but the CT2290 is a cut above. It worked with the more anal games out there like Comanche maximum overkill and provided a glitch free performance in everything I tried.

Talking about glitches, this card did not exhibit the hanging note symptoms. It has DSP 4.13, which has mixed reports about it however i can vouch that this card passed the Hexen Test with flying colors.

It also has very good digital Audio. I got some very clean results with my digitized sound tests. Its always harder to test old ISA cards for this type of performance using games but I can say its better than your average card. Just listen The Dig, much better than say, the AV303 right? Ok it may not be as clean as the ATI stereo F/x but that does not count.



As usual feel free to comment and add up on it, this project is very much Open :)
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-11-28 @ 05:38

What kind of storage requirements are you looking at for this stuff at the moment, MaxWar?

I could mash a subdomain under VogonsDrivers if the storage requirements aren't outrageous.
VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread
[retro swim] | Link | Release Thread
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetroSwimAU
User avatar
SquallStrife
l33t
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: 2010-2-06 @ 15:18
Location: Drowning in consoles

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby MaxWar » 2012-11-28 @ 06:00

SquallStrife wrote:What kind of storage requirements are you looking at for this stuff at the moment, MaxWar?

I could mash a subdomain under VogonsDrivers if the storage requirements aren't outrageous.


That is very generous of you. :)

I need around 100 mb of Flac samples for each card.

So far I am using about 2.5 gb

I am using a Dropbox account but it will be full soon, I can add about 4-5 more cards at this point. My plan was to also use Google Drive and Sky drive after that :p
Talk about a ghetto hosting plan!

My main issue with them is the <100 KB/s speed but thats better than nothing.

I have around 25-30 more sound cards in my storage crates here atm.
(total collection is close to 50 )
Including some pretty interesting specimens. It should be safe to assume that once im done with this project it will be using around 6-7 gb total internet space.

I tell you, I will try skydrive, I have probably enough space on it since im a long date Hotmail member, if it offers good performance that might be the easisest solution. Otherwise I consider your offer seriously and I thank you in advance :)
FM sound card comparison on a Grand Scale!!
The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run.
User avatar
MaxWar
Oldbie
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 2011-4-12 @ 23:32
Location: Canada

Re: The Grand OPL3 Comparison Run!

Postby Merri » 2012-12-08 @ 15:00

I was planning on doing some recordings on Yamaha Audician 32 plus, but I'm hitting a wall of not getting music on Monkey Island or Descent. Monkey Island is just some noise that never quite gets anywhere. Kinda like noise generated by some 8-bit computers when something is on fire.

Some other games have worked fine though and now that I also remembered to install Transport Tycoon Deluxe on my DOS computer I was amazed by how good it actually sounded. Yamaha's card has a genuine OPL3 of course :)

I also have Epox EP-8KTA3PRO motherboard with VT82C686B sound chip and IBM ThinkPad 390X that has ESS Solo-1 both of which I could consider recording. Especially if people are interested.
User avatar
Merri
Newbie
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 2006-5-12 @ 23:16
Location: Finland

PreviousNext

Return to Sound

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests