good SB16 replacement?

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

good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-11-30 @ 08:21

So i've been looking for a replacement for my hanging note bug affected SB16, after getting Dreamblaster X2 and found these 4 cards:
- ESS ES1688F
- YAMAHA YMF-719F-S
- YAMAHA YMS-719E
- YAMAHA ATC-6631

Now question is: if any of them would be a good replacement for a CT1750, anyone use these?
never used yamaha cards before in dos so i'd be glad to know if there are some issues with drivers or compatibility across DOS games
any help is much appreciated :)
Last edited by heretic on 2017-11-30 @ 09:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby ODwilly » 2017-11-30 @ 08:48

Honestly all of those cards should be pretty decent, in fact you will probably prefer the Yamaha cards over any Soundblaster card. EDIT: http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=31284 Found this thread on here, first google result searching for YAMAHA ATC-6631.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby jheronimus » 2017-11-30 @ 10:05

I think ESS cards are easier to work with under DOS — in fact, their configuration/drivers are dead simple. Yamaha cards have the benefit of "true OPL3", but you want to use the card for MIDI, so that shouldn't matter.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-11-30 @ 23:44

Been discussed before, but ESS is a bit more compatible wrt PCM while Yamaha cards are slightly better for OPL3. They're all fine chipsets.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-04 @ 07:48

thanks for your replies :) i decided to go with ESS card which should arrive today, internet says it has great compatibility in DOS, will verify that and go with Yamaha eventually :D
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby derSammler » 2017-12-04 @ 08:03

Keep in mind, however, that all these cards will only do SB Pro 2.0. You'll lose SB16 compatibility.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-04 @ 08:23

i know that :(
Are there any SB16 compatible cards that have good DOS support, possibly OPL3 or compatible, mpu-401 interface and no hanging note bug?

I've got also other concerns now after weekend playing with my current DOS build, i feel my system is greatly unstable especially throwing later (96'ish) games at it like Nascar 2, Z, HOMM and HOMM2. It would freeze occasionally, especially in Z - every after few seconds after launch. Already found my cmos battery is dead, which is kinda quirky on my motherboard - dallas ds12887. Losing time settings after each reboot is not a problem here, however this rtc chip also contains NVRAM holding cmos settings. Right now i can't change anything in BIOS, settings wont save, after each reboot they go back to their previous state :(
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby derSammler » 2017-12-04 @ 08:50

heretic wrote:i know that :(
Are there any SB16 compatible cards that have good DOS support, possibly OPL3 or compatible, mpu-401 interface and no hanging note bug?

Yes, ALS100(+) for example. Stay away from ALS120 cards however, as those no longer use real/unlicenced OPL3 but a rather bad clone.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2017-12-04 @ 09:11

Yamaha cards have the benefit of "true OPL3"

Some ESS ES688F cards have true OPL3.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby derSammler » 2017-12-04 @ 10:25

The Serpent Rider wrote:Some ESS ES688F cards have true OPL3.

But no SB16 compatibility either.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby badmojo » 2017-12-04 @ 10:50

These are worth considering: viewtopic.php?t=22046#p163720

Not a real OPL3 but a decent clone, and the SB16 compatibility works pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the software too I recall.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-11 @ 07:25

Unfortunately can't get one of these now but i'll give a try Yamaha card now. ESS 1688F gave me hell, its much more noisy than SB16, in some games Soundblaster driver doesnt even work for sound effects (ie. Winter Challenge), Adlib driver gives turbo output - sound is played so fast only a hiss or zzz noise comes out of speakers. The Yamaha card i found has YMS-719E chip, however can't tell what card model it is actually, it looks like this:

Image
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby dr_st » 2017-12-11 @ 08:49

heretic wrote:ESS 1688F gave me hell, its much more noisy than SB16, in some games Soundblaster driver doesnt even work for sound effects (ie. Winter Challenge)
Yep. Had similar issues with a plain old ESS688, I recall. Some games just would not recognize the SB portion of it, or recognize it intermittently.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby 1541 » 2017-12-12 @ 21:57

For the hanging notes bug Sound Blaster models you might want to consider this source (google translate-link):
https://translate.google.de/translate?h ... ellnummern

Did you also take Aztech sound cards into account for your decision?
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-13 @ 07:16

Did you also take Aztech sound cards into account for your decision?


I picked only those cards available locally with affordable price (around $10). At the time i last checked there were no Aztech cards.
But i must report update on this topic, swapped the ESS 1688F for some OEM Yamaha YMF719E card, which is almost identical to Yamaha Audician 32 (its missing cd-rom interface).
This card sounds superb! Installation from Audician CD is as straightforward as it can be, i only had to move jumpers to disable onboard amplifier and disable all the 3d sound effects. Output is crystal clear + WSS compatibility makes it even more awesome! Obviously MPU-401 isnt bugged to hell like SB16: no hanging notes problem, no stuttering in build engine games and more importantly, MPU-401 doesn't hang my computer in Ecstatica :lol:
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-13 @ 07:35

I used to be crazy about "True OPL3" because most people into retro computing are..

Then I sampled ESFM next to "True OPL3" and believe me it mostly sounds the same, and when it sounds different it sounds better.

So my vote is for the ES1688F. And I am really curious about the bugs you encountered as my experience with the ESS chipsets have always been flawless. You may have been using a wrong driver?

That said, the YMF-719 is also a great chip, if you don't mind dealing with its quirky dos drivers and mixer.
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-13 @ 08:05

The ESS 1688F i used was PnP so it only needed ESSCFG to initialize, there were no drivers for it. MPU-401 worked well with this card, however it was really very noisy, plus in some older games Soundblaster driver wasnt working at all.
After a day of playing with the Yamaha card im really impressed, so believe me there is difference :)

if you don't mind dealing with its quirky dos drivers and mixer

So far the opl3sax mixer works flawlessly and range of options is really great.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby derSammler » 2017-12-13 @ 08:44

heretic wrote:however it was really very noisy

Note that the ES1688F is only a sound chip, not a sound card. Noise comes from the sound card design and not from the chip. A very cheap, badly designed sound card with ES1688F might be noisy, a good one may not.
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-13 @ 08:57

derSammler wrote:
heretic wrote:however it was really very noisy

Note that the ES1688F is only a sound chip, not a sound card. Noise comes from the sound card design and not from the chip. A very cheap, badly designed sound card with ES1688F might be noisy, a good one may not.


Yeah, this. Sounds like the card OP had either had really bad amplification or filtering or both.
1991:A500R6|512K+RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1|C1084S
1994:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|ES1868/S2
1997:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|M220|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS|MX300
2004:K8V-MX|S64-3000+|1.5G|R9800|SB0350
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Re: good SB16 replacement?

Postby heretic » 2017-12-13 @ 09:04

Yes, im not saying every ESS 1688F chip sounds the same, im referring to the exact card i was using.
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