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New DreamBlaster S2 !

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First post, by dreamblaster

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Hi,

the new DreamBlaster S2 is ready, available for shipping today !!

The smallest waveblaster board in the world !
-> Well I think so, never saw a smaller one. The first to have proof of a smaller waveblaster board, I will send him an S2 for free 🤣 )
Dimensions are 24mm x 34mm.

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Special temporay bundle offer for forum members : buy S2 + X2 and get a CHiLL n Phil board for free : VOGONSBLASTERPACK :
http://www.serdashop.com/Webwinkel-ProductBun … LASTERPACK.html

Some other bundles as well, you can see them listed below on http://www.serdashop.com/waveblaster

Phil recorded one hour of game music with it, for your enjoyment, you can hear it here : https://youtu.be/3OhVLt6d5PY

Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
OPL2LPT, OPL3LPT, X2, S2, S2P, MCE2VGA, ... many projects !
Special vogons LPT bundle : https://www.serdashop.com/Parallel-port-retro-sound-bundle
Thanks for your support !

Reply 1 of 113, by keropi

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I believe it is indeed the smallest db out there - small but full of wonder 😁
At one point I had an OPL4 daughterboard, that's the smallest I've owned but the S2 is almost half: eBay 5$ Yamaha ISA soundcard with wavetable addon

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 2 of 113, by konc

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What are the differences, in terms of sound playback, compared to the S1? Does it use a different soundfont for example? Or is it just the PCB & ICs that change? I'm trying to see if there's any meaning for an S1 owner to get the S2.

Reply 3 of 113, by F2bnp

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First off, I'd like to say that this is an amazing piece of hardware, much like your other daughterboards! The dimensions of the S2 are just amazing, to the point where I would be fearful of losing it somewhere in all the cluttered mess of hardware I own, if I were to store it 🤣 . Seriously though, it's amazing how small it is, congratulations on that part. I have to say that the price is fantastic as well. 30 Euro for a brand new, super tiny daughterboard that you can fit even on an Audician 32? Superb deal.

Unfortunately, and I don't want to be that guy, but I am slightly disappointed in the instrument quality in some samples from the video. I will not pretend to fully understand how MIDI and soundfonts work, but I have dabbled with them for some years now, I love fooling around with my AWE32+DB60XG and Roland SC-7. I realize that this board might not be for me, seeing as I've already covered a few fronts with my MIDI hardware, and this is the same reason I did not buy the S1 when it was available, the MIDI quality did not sound all that impressive to my ears. Phil mentions that both the S1 and S2 sound the same to his ears, is this correct?

If you don't mind, would you mind telling me the following tracks in the video, sound as they should or if they could be tweaked further/sound better in-game due to MIDI commands not issued with a normal player and such?

Descent - 11:26
Final Fantasy VII - 29:46
Tyrian 2000 - 1:03:40

Please, do not take this as a negative take on the board, I see many of its merits and like I said I fully know that it might just not be the product for me.

Reply 4 of 113, by keropi

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Well, the S1/S2 are using highly integrated ICs and the soundfont is pre-configured from Dream themselves - nothing can be done in that area AFAIK.
I'll be honest: back then I also thought the S1 wasn't anything special - especially since I have a variety of Roland synths at hand. But I got one with the X2 bundle and I changed my mind since there are more variables to this....
Sure it's not a roland/yamaha killer BUT for what it is it's doing really really well. I mean if you compare it to a SCB-7/55 or a DB-50/60XG daughterboard then it's limited but compare it to some other random daughterboards out there and it's actually better than the vast majority of them. I've tested it in several games, stuff like Tyrian's music is very pleasant to hear with an S1/S2 , as for the rest, IMHO it's more tolerable than chinese random oem daughterbords....

For 30e it's a good piece of hardware easily obtainable and new, you can easily spent more on a 90s random daughterboard that sounds worse than FM - done it in the past 🤣 🤣 🤣
Is it for everyone? Hard to tell, one should listen to recordings and decide for themselves the pros and cons of it. Phil's videos as always are really helpful on this.

regarding the size.... it's really tiny 😁

ruYYYYql.jpg

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 5 of 113, by PhilsComputerLab

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For me it's the simplicity. Grab an ESS AudioDrive or Audican 32 Plus, put the S1 / S2 on and off you go. It's with minimal fuss and you get an immediate upgrade over FM in a ton of games.

It doesn't and isn't meant to compete with the big boys from Roland or Yamaha, but the price reflects that. I help promote them because I get really annoyed at the prices of used wavetable boards and because anyone making new toys for us is awesome 😊

YouTube, Facebook, Website

Reply 6 of 113, by clueless1

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keropi wrote:

Well, the S1/S2 are using highly integrated ICs and the soundfont is pre-configured from Dream themselves - nothing can be done in that area AFAIK.
I'll be honest: back then I also thought the S1 wasn't anything special - especially since I have a variety of Roland synths at hand. But I got one with the X2 bundle and I changed my mind since there are more variables to this.... ]

When I played through Lands of Lore some months back, it was with the S1, and it was an amazing experience. I got the X2 when it came out and went back to listen to some Lands of Lore music on it, and honestly, the S1 sounds better, at least on this particular game.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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Reply 7 of 113, by konc

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

For me it's the simplicity. Grab an ESS AudioDrive or Audican 32 Plus, put the S1 / S2 on and off you go. It's with minimal fuss and you get an immediate upgrade over FM in a ton of games.

It doesn't and isn't meant to compete with the big boys from Roland or Yamaha, but the price reflects that. I help promote them because I get really annoyed at the prices of used wavetable boards and because anyone making new toys for us is awesome 😊

...and you're very correct in everything you said. I also own more than one S1s for my retro PCs (mostly interested in the Win95-is-the-border era) and I'm really enjoying the difference they make. Apart from nostalgia which ends soon, they really give a reason to revisit many games as I couldn't afford and didn't own anything else except from a plain and cheap SB compatible sound card back then. It's just amazing being able to experience this for ~30euros nowadays.

Reply 8 of 113, by F2bnp

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Good points from all of you guys. However, I really agree with what Phil said right here:

PhilsComputerLab wrote:

I help promote them because I get really annoyed at the prices of used wavetable boards and because anyone making new toys for us is awesome 😊

I had not thought of this angle, but I am certainly in agreement now!

Reply 9 of 113, by keropi

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clueless1 wrote:

When I played through Lands of Lore some months back, it was with the S1, and it was an amazing experience. I got the X2 when it came out and went back to listen to some Lands of Lore music on it, and honestly, the S1 sounds better, at least on this particular game.

Interesting, I'll have to check it out now. Some stuff really sound amazing on the S1/S2 - it all depends on the style/instruments I guess.

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 10 of 113, by jesolo

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If the S2 is very much the same as the S1 (in terms of the Dream chipset) then it should also be very programmable. Refer this post: Tweaking the DreamBlaster S1

By tweaking the S1 (and S2), you can alter your listening experience to your own liking/preference.

Keep up the good work.

Reply 11 of 113, by dreamblaster

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Thanks for the warm words !

Yes the S2 sounds quite similar to S1, though not exactly the same : I find the S2 sound has slightly more 'punch', but generally it has the same strengths and weaknesses as S1 :
Good for synth/retro sounds, but real world instruments don't sound very realistic, rather like 80's synth renditions of them. It is a good match for many DOS game soundtracks,
but wouldn't use it for playing back classical music midi files.

The SAM2695 in S2 has mostly the same tweaking capabilities as S1 : see the datasheet :
https://www.dream.fr/pdf/Serie2000/SAM_Datash … ets/SAM2695.pdf . The bank is ROM based, so one cannot upload a different bank.
For its size, it does a great job, kudos to Dream 😀.

Keropi : that opl4 board looks nice, but still giant compared to S2, hehe.

Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
OPL2LPT, OPL3LPT, X2, S2, S2P, MCE2VGA, ... many projects !
Special vogons LPT bundle : https://www.serdashop.com/Parallel-port-retro-sound-bundle
Thanks for your support !

Reply 12 of 113, by clueless1

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keropi wrote:
clueless1 wrote:

When I played through Lands of Lore some months back, it was with the S1, and it was an amazing experience. I got the X2 when it came out and went back to listen to some Lands of Lore music on it, and honestly, the S1 sounds better, at least on this particular game.

Interesting, I'll have to check it out now. Some stuff really sound amazing on the S1/S2 - it all depends on the style/instruments I guess.

Post back your thoughts if you do check it out. I'm curious if it was just me. MIDI quality can be quite subjective, maybe it's because I played the whole game on the S1.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 13 of 113, by keropi

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I just checked it - some tunes are great, some really show that they are Roland-optimized. Back then I played the game with my Yamaha SW-20PC (OPL4) so now I am curious to hear it again 😁
Here is one of the better tunes, sadly almost all my saves are late in the game inside dungeons (so music isn't really that great at this point, just creepy background melodies to rise the tension) except one in Yvel Woods -

S2 playback: https://soundcloud.com/user-919839499/lands-o … e-yvel-woods-s2
S1 playback: https://soundcloud.com/user-919839499/lands-o … e-yvel-woods-s1
SC-55 playback: https://soundcloud.com/user-919839499/lands-o … vel-woods-sc-55

it sounds unique and I like it, so thanks for the heads up clueless1 !

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 14 of 113, by clueless1

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Nice...thanks for posting those. Looking forward to listening closely.

Here's my favorite song in the game in .mid format. I don't have a way to record except from my desktop, and you'd be hearing the Santa Cruz rendition if I did that. I could play it through the X2, but it's in my DOS PC right now.

edit: weird, the pitch is higher on the DreamBlasters than on the SC-55. The S1 and S2 sound the same to me, and the SC-55 definitely better, but only by comparison. Both sound great. 😀

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Last edited by clueless1 on 2017-03-30, 01:02. Edited 1 time in total.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 16 of 113, by keropi

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another great tune indeed clueless1 , here are some recordings for comparison

S2 playback: https://soundcloud.com/user-919839499/lands-of-lore-8005-s2
SC-55 playback: https://soundcloud.com/user-919839499/lands-o … lore-8005-sc-55

it really performs great on the S2!

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 17 of 113, by clueless1

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Thanks for recording it, keropi. Yep, that's how I remember it sounding. 😀 There's missing instruments on the S2 (that you can hear in the SC-55 version) that help the bass line stand out more, which I think is what I liked about it. Made it sound kind of like a Rush song.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 18 of 113, by dr.zeissler

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I got back from the awe64gold to the audician32plus. I think I need an upgrade for the midi part.
what should I buy?

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 19 of 113, by clueless1

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dr.zeissler wrote:

I got back from the awe64gold to the audician32plus. I think I need an upgrade for the midi part.
what should I buy?

The S2 is a very good value while the X2 has a higher quality sound for about double the price. Listen to both on Phil's YouTube channel and decide if the X2 sounds enough better to justify the cost.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks