To continue about this card...
Maybe topic title was a little provoking, but still, The Magic S23 is extraordinarily sweet. some advocacy:
Here the top 5 of Rich Heimlich's Patch Set Overview. He knew what he was talking about back then on the newsgroups. (The full document is attached below)
7/95 Rich Heimlich's Patch Set Overview [Top 5 only]
Turtle Beach Tropez 8.0
Roland SCC-1 8.0
Ensoniq Soundscape 7.9
Ensoniq Soundscape Elite 7.9
Media Vision Pro 3-D (Korg AI2) 7.8
SCC-1 and Tropez share 1st place, there is the Soundscape too. The SCC-1 is a music only card, so his highest rated General purpose soundcard at that time is the Tropez. That's a CS4231/Opti based card with a Wavefront wavetable with RAM and a real OPL3. I read the CS4231 was the most expensive mainstream sound codec chip to find on a sound card, with excellent SNR. The CS4231 is a big chip, but no standalone sound card chip.
What followed whas the Tropez Plus, based on the new CS4232, and the other parts somewhat similar. Now if you could just replace the wavefront wavetable with a soundcanvas in the form of a SCB-55 on a daughterboard header... but it has no such header.
I had the Terratec Maestro 32/96 installed for a while. Based on the CS4232 chipset. It sounds flawless, and every game digged it as a SBPro compatible, indeed it was not always WSS compatible. Its wavetable is a well done yet imperfect SoundCanvas clone, but it has a header for a daughterboard so you can fix that. Its FM is done by one of the wavetable FM chips, very nice but not genuine OPL3.
In october 1998 when I look a the most expensive sound cards (set out to some well known others):
ZYSTM/INFORMATIQUE [price in Dutch Guilders]
Crystal Soundcard 16 bit PnP .......................... 23,-
Soundblaster Pro compatible PnP ISA ................. 34,-
Soundblaster 16 PnP ISA ............................. 69,-
Soundblaster Live! PCI ................................ 470,-
Terratec EWS64 S ...................................... 475,-
Guillemot Maxi Sound 64 Home Pro ISA ................. 551,-
Terratec EWS64 XL ..................................... 985,-
The two most expensive Semi-Pro cards use the CS4236 chipset. The cheapest probably uses the CS4235 or CS4237. Strangely enough the CS4232/35/36/37(B) are very similar, allmost identical. Often you can use the same drivers. But only the CS4232 has no integrated FM. AFAIK this is the only chip of the series you can hope to find on a board with a real OPL3.
The point I want to make is... Even though it looks humble, the Magic S23 retains most essentials of the above mentioned cards (highly rated and priced), with less drawbacks.
swaaye wrote:The safest combo is something like a SB16 or SBPro2 + a Roland MIDI card. I personally like the Ensoniq cards for their clean audio quality. Lots of games made after 1994 support them natively for digital audio. They can be run alongside a SB card without any trouble.
That will certainly allow you to get some great sound out of DOS games.
But you will need four ISA slots, many system resources and an external mixer, and still... how to get OPL3 music without noise, you would need a SB16 of the Vibra-S kind and no other, and then one would have no working
wavetable header on any of these cards. The Soundscape seems like a fine card, and sure it deserved it's 7.9. But it has crappy FM and is not SBPro compatible. Neither is any SB16 SBPro compatible in stereo. SBPro games will need the noisy genuine SBPro then, which has its stereo reversed.
leileilol wrote: I've had issues with wss-based hardware being incompatible with having opl3 or pcm at the same time, or if it worked it had mad static (like in Tyrian)
I tried it and tyrian only detects the CS4232 as a WSS in the setup program, but gives no sound as such in the game. The OPL3 music worked fine. When I configure it for SBpro both sound and music work well.
Another thing: Terratec gave a fix for their Maestro 32/96 as it may give bootup or rebooting problems on some systems. But I found the problem and the fix to apply to other CS4232 cards as well: Topic with info on the bad capacitor rating
Last but not least a screenshot I made of the generic CS4232 DOS setup. The cwaudio.bin line is no error, it is an optional thing. I don't know if the initializer is required as a TSR and how much memory it uses. It never gave me any problems with games as such.
...And sorry for this big post