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Ensoniq Soundscape Elite recordings

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First post, by swaaye

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Ok this was an interesting little project. I threw together a DOS machine with my Ensoniq Soundscape Elite card. I recorded the machine playing the games by running the line out to my main computer's Audigy's line-in. Then I made videos in DOSBOX on my main computer and created a combination of the recording and the DOSBOX vids within MS Movie Maker.

I tweaked Movie Maker's settings to put out 960x720 4:3 and 256kbps WMA. Youtube plays 128kbps AAC when in HD output and ~90kbps AAC in 480p output.

I've never used Movie Maker before.. I have to say that the latest edition of it is pretty nice for this kind of thing!

Doom (first two missions)

Betrayal at Krondor intro and start

Dark Forces Intro

And here are the audio files. MP3 (LAME -V0) and FLAC choices.
http://www.mediafire.com/?h8627uele8ni8

Reply 1 of 23, by retro games 100

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Congratulations on doing this excellent project! 😀 The Dark Forces music sounds particularly good - I don't think I've heard DF sound any better, than on an Ensoniq Soundscape elite.

Reply 2 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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Just had a listen to the Doom recordings with my headphones. Very interesting!

EDIT: Hmm if I where you I would sell that "beast" and get a Sound Canvas (unless you allready have one...)

Your card reminds of my first "wavetable" product I bought. It was a SPEA Media FX. And I fell for the "MT-32 compatible". 🤣 I was a young noob back then and of course it wasn't MT-32 compatible and the Sound Blaster compatibility was also poor.

It was also quite a long card, but not nearly as long as yours. I sold it and got a SB16 with a Sound Canvas wavetable board.

Reply 3 of 23, by swaaye

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Well your opinion is a bit of a contrast to what RG100 said above. 😉 But I hear ya. The quality of these cards is all personal opinion and preference. I have a Roland SCD-15 around. It's ok but I think the Roland Sound Canvas stuff is overrated. I have played around with both the SCD-15 and Soundscape Elite and to me it's difficult to choose one over the other. They are similarly disappointing at times but each has its strong points.

An interesting aspect to the Soundscape cards is that the Elite and the original have different patch sets. The Elite has particularly strong percussion, and this can be both good and bad. The two cards definitely have their own personalities.

But overall these days I prefer loading up soundfonts that blow all of these old cards out of the water and playing old games in Dosbox. Or I just go with OPL3 because sometimes it's nicer to go full synth than listen to fakey wavetable.

Reply 4 of 23, by swaaye

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Guys, check out the 3DO Doom soundtrack. Forget these wavetable cards this stuff kicks ass. 😁

Just go a google search for "3do doom music". I think posting a link might be bad form here on the forum.

Reply 5 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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I admit I'm a Roland / Creative Labs fan boy when it comes to DOS MIDI 😀

That 3DO recording is awesome. Digital recording basically killed MIDI 🙁

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Reply 6 of 23, by keropi

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

I admit I'm a Roland / Creative Labs fan boy when it comes to DOS MIDI 😀

That 3DO recording is awesome. Digital recording basically killed MIDI 🙁

I have one more branch 😜
Creative Labs fan boy for digital
Yamaha DB50XG for GM
LAPC-I/CM-32L for roland midi 😊

back on topic, those recordings sound like a medium-quality synth, not bad for games! back then with our crappy speakers all sounded pretty much the same 🤣

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

Reply 7 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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Yes the Dark Forces Track sounds quite nice... Though the Doom one is quite rough.

I will record Dark Forces on my SC-55mkII and see what it sounds like.

EDIT: What is the difference between selecting General Midi and Ensoniq Synth?

Does the Ensoniq have instruments outside the scope of General Midi?

Reply 8 of 23, by retro games 100

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Re: 3DO Doom music. Honestly, I prefer the cheesy old retro sounding music!

Re: Dark Forces sounding nice. Just for a bit of fun, try listening to the intro tune by selecting AWE32 for the music! 🤣

Reply 9 of 23, by megatron-uk

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Has anyone got a later Sound Canvas device, like the SC-88 Pro, SC-8820 or SC-8850? I'd be interested to see (hear!) if there is much improvement over the SC-55 mkII. From the recordings on wavetable.nl, the later SC-88xx series are very impressive (although sadly still rather expensive to buy).

Reply 10 of 23, by swaaye

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retro games 100 wrote:

Re: Dark Forces sounding nice. Just for a bit of fun, try listening to the intro tune by selecting AWE32 for the music! 🤣

I made a recording of that years ago for here but I can't find the file anymore.

I believe one fellow commented on the brass sounding like squeaking rodents. 😁 But to be fair, it's only a 1MB patch set and those never turn out well...

Reply 11 of 23, by swaaye

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retro games 100 wrote:

Re: Dark Forces sounding nice. Just for a bit of fun, try listening to the intro tune by selecting AWE32 for the music! 🤣

I made a recording of that years ago for here but I can't find the file anymore.

HunterZ wrote:

The high brass notes in the AWE32 recording sound like someone is stepping on a rodent.

😁 But to be fair, it's only a 1MB patch set and those never turn out well...

Reply 12 of 23, by swaaye

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retro games 100 wrote:

Re: Dark Forces sounding nice. Just for a bit of fun, try listening to the intro tune by selecting AWE32 for the music! 🤣

I made a recording of that years ago for here but I can't find the file anymore.

HunterZ wrote:

The high brass notes in the AWE32 recording sound like someone is stepping on a rodent.

😁 But to be fair, it's only a 1MB patch set and those never turn out well...

Reply 13 of 23, by swaaye

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retro games 100 wrote:

Re: Dark Forces sounding nice. Just for a bit of fun, try listening to the intro tune by selecting AWE32 for the music! 🤣

I made a recording of that years ago for here but I can't find the file anymore.

HunterZ wrote:

The high brass notes in the AWE32 recording sound like someone is stepping on a rodent.

😁 But to be fair, it's only a 1MB patch set and those never turn out well...

I may need to do some more recordings. It's fun to capture the wacky flawed sounds of old wavetable cards and I have quite a few around here.

Reply 14 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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megatron-uk wrote:

Has anyone got a later Sound Canvas device, like the SC-88 Pro, SC-8820 or SC-8850? I'd be interested to see (hear!) if there is much improvement over the SC-55 mkII. From the recordings on wavetable.nl, the later SC-88xx series are very impressive (although sadly still rather expensive to buy).

I doubt there would be much of an improvement. That game is just to old to make use of the etra features of these newer MIDI modules.

QUESTION:

What Ensoniq cards would work with DOS Games that had a sound option for Ensoniq (Like Dark Forces)...

What about Ensoniq AudioPCI? Would this still work?

Reply 15 of 23, by swaaye

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There are quite a few games that came in around '94 and later that either came with an Ensoniq option or got patched to have it. It became almost as popular as Sound Blaster.

AudioPCI is lacking. It was designed to be cheap. Even the 8MB patch set is not so great. It is clean sounding though. In DOS it uses a precursor to the Live!'s DOS driver but has Soundscape support instead of SB16. It supports SBPro instead of SB16. You can read Ensoniq's own site about it in the Internet Archive.

In Windows the AudioPCI has two software-driven MIDI effects (chorus and reverb). It also has software support for A3D and EAX. But everything it does is software driven.

Last edited by swaaye on 2010-10-12, 22:57. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 16 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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Heheheheheh

I can see a new project forming...

Well I will definitively check out my Ensoniq AudioPCI and see what it can do. It's funny because I have come across a few references claiming the 8MB Soundfont is better than the 2MB that came hardwired with older cards.

In a way it would have to be true. I mean 8MB is heaps more storage than 2MB. And if the memory is onboard or from system RAM shouldn't really matter...

Well I guess I will find out soon! Yeaaaa a new project 😀

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
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Reply 17 of 23, by swaaye

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If you go look up the Ensoniq .ecw waveset format info, you can find out why AudioPCI doesn't sound that great. I've found that the 2MB on the Elite sounds better than the 8MB for AudioPCI. At least to me anyway.

http://www.johnnengelmann.com/technology/ecw/index.php

Reply 18 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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Sweet!

I found installation files on Maliks SB page. It only includes the 2MB ECW however. It also doesn't seem to be the installation disk, rather all the files and autoexec.bat to get going...

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Reply 19 of 23, by Mau1wurf1977

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Ok the card works now. At least with General Midi and Sound Blaster options.

However the "Ensoniq" option in Dark Forces doesn't do anything 🙁

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
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