OPL2LPT

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

Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-25 @ 22:16

Hi all,

Just got my kit and built it only to find the LM358 dual opamp is missing.... I may well have dropped it and lost it though as I didn't check the parts before I started building. Anyway I thought I'd try an alternative opamp which is almost the same pinout - a CA3240 as that's all I had lying around. Only thing is one pin is gnd (lm358) vs -ve (ca3240) power. No idea if it'll work! I thought it can't break anything anyway (opamp inputs/outputs and vcc are the same) until I can try and get the right part tomorrow, and would just give poor volume or sound quality?

Anyway tried it on my PS/2 P70 and the test tool makes either horrible screeching sounds (EMS enabled) or silence (XMS or no EMM386). Anyone tried it on a PS/2 386 yet? Or is this due to the wrong opamp?

I'm now trying to get my oldest laptop working - an old P233 Thinkpad - to see if it works on that, but that already has a soundcard in it.

EDIT - Yes it works on this old Thinkpad! So now to see why it doesn't work on the PS/2 as that's where I want to use it :)

Cheers,
Steve
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-25 @ 23:50

The TSR didn't want to work on the Thinkpad 770 either but patching doom.exe worked a treat - well impressed! I tried going back to patch doom.exe on the PS/2 but it didn't work on there still...
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby Jepael » 2017-11-25 @ 23:52

SteveC wrote:Hi all,
Only thing is one pin is gnd (lm358) vs -ve (ca3240) power. No idea if it'll work! I thought it can't break anything anyway (opamp inputs/outputs and vcc are the same) until I can try and get the right part tomorrow, and would just give poor volume or sound quality?


Ground is the negative supply in single supply designs.

It won't be optimal though - ca3240 input and output ranges it works with do not fall into 1.25V to 3.75V range OPL needs, as typical input value is only 2.6V and maximum output voltage is 3.0V.

It won't break either, but I can't give an estimate if it will just sound distorted or total screeching when playing something.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 00:33

Thanks for the reply! It seems to be working fine, but I will still replace the opamp.

Been doing more testing and Intertia Player (iplay 1.22) works fine - I can play MOD files through it! Didn't know you could do this with an Adlib.
Reality ADlib Tracker works perfectly well too playing samples through this device.

Cheers!
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby dreamblaster » 2017-11-26 @ 07:02

Hi SteveC,
that's cool that inertia player works fine, sample playback ! :-)
Sorry to hear that LM358 was missing, I can send you one if you cannot get hold of one (just PM me).
I checked the 4 prepared kits I still have here, and these all have LM358, so.. yeah maybe I missorted only yours and someone else got 2 of these :-/.
Last edited by dreamblaster on 2017-11-26 @ 07:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby dreamblaster » 2017-11-26 @ 07:10

For those wanting to try adpatch,
you can download it from here : https://github.com/pdewacht/adlipt/releases (it is included in opl2util.zip).
when you start adpatch , it shows the syntax :

Code: Select all
Usage: adpatch [OPTIONS...] -i FILE
       adpatch [OPTIONS...] INPUT-FILE OUTPUT-FILE 
Options:
        -i            Patch in-place
        -a            Ask before applying a patch
        -p PORT       Set OPT2LPT port (default: " DEFAULT_PORT ")


Some more info (also in the repo) :

ADPATCH can patch games to directly support the OPL2LPT.
After patching, configure the game for an Adlib sound card (in case this isn't auto-detected).

Caveats:

Patching can break sound card support (including support for non-Adlib cards).
Patched games might only work on the computer where the patch was done. This is because the patch hardcodes the parallel port I/O address, which I believe might vary from computer to computer.

Pros compared to the ADLiPT TSR:
    No need for 386 CPU
    No Adlib emulation slowdown
    Can work with protected mode games
Cons:
    Patches need to be written for each game by hand

Working games :
    Sierra Games using the "SCI" engine. Patch ADL.DRV.
    id Software
    The Commander Keen series
    Wolfenstein 3D
    DOOM (v1.9 tested)
    DOOM II
    Softdisk
    Keen Dreams
    Dangerous Dave's Risky Rescue
    Dave Does Nutz
    Apogee
    Bio Menace
Games not listed almost certainly will not work (sorry). Patches welcome :)
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby jaZz_KCS » 2017-11-26 @ 10:26

SteveC wrote:The TSR didn't want to work on the Thinkpad 770 either but patching doom.exe worked a treat - well impressed! I tried going back to patch doom.exe on the PS/2 but it didn't work on there still...



I wanted to also add to this my experience when trying to use the patching utility on an IBM PS/2 L40SX (386SX-20).
As the 386 in this PS/2 laptop is rather slow, using the emulation TSR results in Wolf3d being borderline playable (when not hugging the wall too much ;P) and Keen4E is (as expected) a slideshow, due to the many adlib sounds being played per second in addition to the music.

So I wanted to try out the patching alternative, as it eradicates the lag and both - Keen4E and Wold3D are reported working with this.

But I had no luck in using adpatch on the PS/2 L40SX. It failed for both games with both methods - patch in place and creating new exe files. The patching in place does not change anything and aborts with an error in the veins of "no search [...] found. Patch failed!" and the method creating a new exe file creates an exe file that is untouched from the original.

At least on the PS/2, it doesnt seem to work. Maybe this has something to do with the memory management of the PS/2 series being so proprietary/special?

Will try doing the same patching on a 486DX-40 Compaq Contura 400c next.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 14:13

I don't have any other 386, 486 or Pentium computers around to try it on, and eBay is so expensive!

If there's any testing I can do on the PS/2 to help, let me know!
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby pdw » 2017-11-26 @ 14:38

@jaZz_KCS Probably the EXEs you have are compressed. That was very common in the DOS era. They need to be uncompressed before they can be patched. Try using Ben Castricum's UNP tool: http://unp.bencastricum.nl/

@matze79 I took a look at GLX, my impression is that it's very timing sensitive and that the emulation just messes it up. I guess it might work on some computers but not on others. Inertia Player worked for SteveC, maybe you could try that?

@SteveC That's odd. I don't know anything about the PS/2 line -- did they have a special kind of parallel port? Is there a BIOS setting you can toggle?
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 15:04

I did wonder if it's something to do with the capabilities of the parallel port (ECP vs EPP etc.) but I can't change any settings even with the reference diskette (apart from LPT number 1, 2, 3 or disabled). Anyone got a 486 PC/motherboard I can have for cheap :)

Just looked up parallel ports on Wikipedia and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1284#IEEE_1284_modes mentions the PS/2 - "Byte Mode, also known as "Bi-Directional" (although all modes except Compatibility Mode are in fact bi-directional), is a half-duplex mode that allows the device to transmit eight bits at a time using the same data lines that are used for the other direction. This mode is supported on a minority of pre-IEEE-1284 interfaces as well, such as those built into the IBM PS/2 computers; because of this, it is sometimes unofficially called the PS/2 mode." - so maybe it is unusual.

Oh tried Alone In The Dark on the Thinkpad 770 and that works great!
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby pdw » 2017-11-26 @ 15:47

@SteveC Can you try this program and tell me what numbers you get? https://2k38.be/adlipt/iospeed.exe
Maybe the PS/2 has a higher bus speed, that might cause trouble.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 16:45

Hi pdw,

I get on a normal boot with EMM386 etc etc running:

ps2 iospeed.PNG


And this gives me screeching distorted sound using opl2test.exe.

On a completely clean F5 boot I get:

io speed2.PNG


And this just gives silence.

Don't you just love the orange gas plasma screen? :D

I thought it might be grounding/power because I was using USB for 5v on my Thinkpad and that works, but if I used any other power source it turned out it didn't work. So I made up a PS/2 mouse port to 5v cable and that still works on the Thinkpad but doesn't help the PS/2 386.

Cheers,
Steve
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby pdw » 2017-11-26 @ 18:48

Those timings should be good, in both configurations... I don't think it's a bus speed problem. Still it's strange that it does seem to have an effect. Just to be sure, here's a version of OPL2TEST with all delays doubled: https://2k38.be/adlipt/opl2tes2.exe

I can't find any mentions of PS/2 systems having incompatible parallel ports. They did add the bidirectional mode, but the software is not enabling that, so that should be fine.

Do you have other stuff that plugs in the parallel port? An old printer, Covox device, Laplink cable? I guess with old computers there's always a chance that a part is defective...
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 19:04

I'll go give that a go. I've successfully used a Zip drive and a home-made Disney Sound Source/Covox speech thing (the ladder resistor one) on the same port and it worked OK.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby SteveC » 2017-11-26 @ 19:55

Nope afraid no difference. Just get long drawn out loud noises still.

On the plus side Galaxy Music Player v2.12 works fine for MOD files (on the Thinkpad, not the PS/2)
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby sf78 » 2017-11-27 @ 19:12

I tried it with a PS/2 55sx (MCA) and it plays music fine, but when I tried 4D Sports Boxing the music was really slow and the game also. It seems that the 386sx doesn't have enough power to run it. Which kinda sucks.

edit: Also tried it on a 486sx/25 and it ran games fine without slowing down. I might try Am386sx next to see how it compares.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby jaZz_KCS » 2017-11-28 @ 09:26

sf78 wrote:I tried it with a PS/2 55sx (MCA) and it plays music fine, but when I tried 4D Sports Boxing the music was really slow and the game also. It seems that the 386sx doesn't have enough power to run it. Which kinda sucks.

edit: Also tried it on a 486sx/25 and it ran games fine without slowing down. I might try Am386sx next to see how it compares.


Yes, on these slow systems, the difference of patching the game vs. using the TSR makes all the difference between a 1-5fps slideshow and playable speeds.
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby matze79 » 2017-11-28 @ 16:56

Nice,

Spear of Destiny patched and playable, light disortions on 386SX 33Mhz.

And EMM386 seems slower then QEMM.
Some Games run faster with QEMM :O

GLX Player is heavy optimized it even plays MODs with Covox on XT 4,77Mhz :)
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby mrkirkby » 2017-11-28 @ 19:00

I got mine, soldered it up and after a re-socket and a bit of isopropyl on the second ya ha ha chip, I have sound! Woo.. Fired up Monkey2 and it seems to be working after a bit of emm386 startup config alteration.

There's slight distortion on the sound. I'm guessing that's normal for the adlib era? or do I have a crappy solder joint some place?

Word of enlightenment. If your sound is all 90% noise / distortion and 10% signal, you probably want to re-seat that smaller Yamaha chip in its socket.

Great product! Now for an LPT MPU / Midi interface for the MT32? ;) ??
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Re: OPL2LPT

Postby Scali » 2017-11-28 @ 19:16

mrkirkby wrote:There's slight distortion on the sound. I'm guessing that's normal for the adlib era? or do I have a crappy solder joint some place?


An AdLib can distort a bit in some cases, but that is done 'deliberately' by the composer then.
Normally AdLib music sounds very 'clean'. I suggest you compare it to some YouTube capture, eg this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z-kDGwHiss
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