AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

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AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-06 @ 05:54

There was a discussion about Soundscape cards on German DOSFORUM. Specifically that these cards do work with games that look for an intelligent mode MPU401 interface.

So last night I wondered if this feature made it into the AudioPCI / drivers and indeed it works!

Wing Commander loads just fine, the instruments are all wrong though.

Now we just need to figure out how to drive an external MIDI module (at the moment only the internal synth plays)...
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Cloudschatze » 2011-3-06 @ 07:07

I'd suspected as much regarding the Audio PCI, but never bothered to get one to try it out myself, so this is much-appreciated news. :)

I'm not familiar with the Audio PCI software, but if there are any DOS utilities similar to those of the Soundscape cards, I imagine you ought to be able to switch to External MIDI output in either a setup/config or mixer utility, else through the Windows device configuration.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-06 @ 07:13

Can't test Windows, only got DOS 6.22 to play with :depressed:

There are 2 DOS drivers for these cards. One from Ensoniq which gives you native Soundscape, SB Pro and General Midi and one from Creative which blocks Soundscape, but gives you SB 16 and General Midi. Notice the high DMA option in the Creative driver...

You can also remap instruments to MT-32 mode through the Mixer utility.

There is no configuration tool as such, just a text file:

SBPCI.CFG (Creative drivers):

[SBPCI]

; PCI Hardware Configuration
PCIPort=d880
PCIIRQ=10

; Ports - MPU-401 and Sound Blaster Device
Port=330
SBPort=220

; IRQs - MIDI and Sound Blaster emulation
IRQ=5
SBIRQ=5

; DMA Channels for Sound Blaster emulation
DMA=1
DMA16=5

; Switches - Self-Config, Sound Blaster emulation enable,
; Joystick enable, CD-DA enable, MM KeyBd enable
SelfConfig=true
SBEnable=true
JSEnable=true
CDDAEnable=false
KBEnable=false

; Mixer Settings - Wave, Synth, and CD volumes
MasterVol=115
WaveVol=120
SynthVol=120
CDVol=0

; Digital Settings
SPDIFMode=0

; Waveset - path and file name of current waveset
SynthFile=C:\DOSDRV\eapci8m.ecw


Ensoniq:

SNDSCAPE.INI

[sndscape.drv]

; Product ID
Product=Soundscape

; PCI HW Config
PCIPort=ce80
PCIIRQ=11

; Ports - Base/MIDI, Wave, and Sound Blaster Device
Port=330
WavePort=e84
SBPort=220

; IRQs - MIDI and Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
IRQ=5
SBIRQ=5

; DMA Channel Wave/SoundBlaster emulation
DMA=1

; Switches - SoundBlaster/Soundscape emulation enable, Joystick enable
SelfConfig=true
SBEnable=true
JSEnable=true

; Mixer Settings - Wave, Synth, and CD volumes
MasterVol=115
WaveVol=127
SynthVol=115
CDVol=100

; Waveset - path and file name of current waveset
SynthFile=C:\EAPCI\eapci2m.ecw
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby DonutKing » 2011-3-06 @ 07:24

Wing Commander loads just fine, the instruments are all wrong though.


Are you certain this means they run in intelligent mode? Wing commander works fine on my 486 with an MT32 connected to a CT2800 but with incorrect instruments. I assumed the wrong instruments were caused by lack of intelligent MPU401.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-06 @ 07:34

DonutKing wrote:Are you certain this means they run in intelligent mode? Wing commander works fine on my 486 with an MT32 connected to a CT2800 but with incorrect instruments. I assumed the wrong instruments were caused by lack of intelligent MPU401.


Intelligent mode <> wrong instruments.

The game usually freezes when you load it. E.g. Wing Commander shouldn't load on your machine.

It should freeze after "Expanded Memory detected".

With an intelligent mode adapter it will continue after a while with "Expanded Memory fully used".

Are you sure there isn't another MIDI card in that machine?
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby DonutKing » 2011-3-06 @ 07:54

Nope this was before I had the mpu401 card. I wanted to test the MT32 and all I had were SB16s. This was in the DEC machine I gave to my brother. However I did disable CPU cache before running it, not sure if that's got anything to do with it.

What causes the incorrect instruments?
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-06 @ 07:57

No idea, it shouldn't have worked. I can't explain it :neutral:

PS: Frederik Pohl's Gateway from Legend Entertainment is another one to test.

Start it with GATE mt32

This game doesn't work on the AudioPCI though. So maybe the Wing Commander test is wrong, it does start in DOSBox when configured to UART. Gateway does not...

No idea, but I think I will use Gateway as my new "intelligent mode" test LOL

PS PS: I will get some of the Ensoniq people to test Gateway and see what happens.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Cloudschatze » 2011-3-06 @ 17:41

Eric the Unready is another Legend Entertainment game mentioned as not working properly with the Ensoniq cards.

Bear in mind that none of the Ensoniq cards actually support the MPU-401's "intelligent mode." As mentioned on QuestStudios a number of times, it's more-or-less "faked."

From the Soundscape SDK:
...the Soundscape soundcard does not support any of the MPU-401 "Intelligent" Commands with the exception of Reset (0xff), UART Mode (0x3f), Version (0xac), and Revision (0xad). All other "Intelligent" Commands are acknowledged (0xfe), but otherwise ignored.


So, while simply acknowledging MPU commands and passing subsequent data seems to do the trick for a number of games, including those from Sierra/Lucasarts/Origin, the Legend titles seem to require something more (I haven't checked to see exactly what).

(FYI, a number of Crystal chipsets also ACK intelligent-mode MPU commands. Unlike the Ensoniq cards, however, they ignore/discard any subsequent data bytes. Whoops! :))


Sounds like the jury is still out with the Audio PCI. If MIDI can only be played-back through the internal synth in DOS, its usefulness is questionable.



DonutKing - Do you recall which version of Wing Commander were you using? I'm wondering if there is a later version of WC with a UART MIDI driver.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-06 @ 23:11

The odd thing is that Wing Commander does load with DOSBox in UART mode. But on my "real" machine it locks up. Gateway however, shows the correct behaviour under DOSBox un UART mode (Can't find IRQ 2 message...).

It's weird and totally unexpected, but enough reason for me to use Gateway, or another Legend game for testing full Roland MPU401 compatibility.

I do like the AudioPCI. A lot to be honest. Mostly because it's so damn cheap and for the money it packs a lot of value:

Good compatibility, Cheap as chips, signal is also very clean, no hiss or noise or any of the issues ISA cards come with. Even has SPDIF (I haven't tested this because I don't have the cables, but you can initialize the DOS driver and set it to digital instead of analogue).

The Soundscape driver compatibility is also a nice bonus. Games auto detect it as Soundscape right away. Music quality is subjective, but I do quite like the 8MB version. Again considering how cheap these cards are, how can you complain LOL

It's a shame these cards don't work on modern mainboards though. Because games like Prince of Persia, Doom, Duke Nukem3D or Descent do run very well on a modern Intel or AMD machine in real DOS. But without sound or music it's quite a barebone experience.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby fdlchris » 2011-3-20 @ 14:58

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:It's a shame these cards don't work on modern mainboards though. Because games like Prince of Persia, Doom, Duke Nukem3D or Descent do run very well on a modern Intel or AMD machine in real DOS. But without sound or music it's quite a barebone experience.

Just out of interest, what are your system specs that you use with your AudioPCI?
I have a CT5808 which I believe is a SoundBlaster PCI 128. Is my card the same or similar to your AudioPCI? If it differs, in what way? Because I would like to test both the Ensoniq and Creative drivers to see which is better for my card.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby swaaye » 2011-3-20 @ 18:41

Yup that's basically the same thing as AudioPCI. They did tweak the chip a bit for better support of AC97 though.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-21 @ 04:54

fdlchris wrote:I have a CT5808 which I believe is a SoundBlaster PCI 128. Is my card the same or similar to your AudioPCI? If it differs, in what way? Because I would like to test both the Ensoniq and Creative drivers to see which is better for my card.


Does it look like this?

Image

AFAIK they all look very similar. Also note that the Live! works just as well, but only with the Creative drivers (whereas the AudioPCI works with drivers from Ensoniq and Creative).

In terms of "better", there is no difference as far as quality or features concerned.

Ensoniq drivers: Launch a game and select Sound Blaster or sound Blaster Pro and Soundscape or General Midi.

Creative drivers: Select Sound Blaster or sound Blaster 16 and General Midi.

Forget FM, it's shocking...
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby SquallStrife » 2011-3-21 @ 05:05

Is there a list of non-Roland cards that have "Intelligent" MPU401 interfaces?
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby fdlchris » 2011-3-21 @ 11:40

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:Does it look like this?

Image

Some of the PCB layout is similar but the card is much shorter (not as tall) and without the Joystick/MIDI port on the back. It's like a cut-down version of the one that you have shown in the photo. I'll take a photo tonight and upload it for you.

On the driver front, I read the huge amount of Ensoniq / Creative AudioPCI posts regarding this.

Test Results (all in DOS):
-------------------------------

ENSONIQ DRIVER (AUDIOPCI) :: It cannot identify the PCI device. The driver does not load.

CREATIVE DRIVER (SBPCI) :: The driver successfully installs, and I can hear the white noise in the headphones, indicating it's activated. I run the Setup program of Descent, and when I test the card using the SB16 option, it says "Playing center channel ..." but there is no sound. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes not. When I test the MIDI, it immediately restarts the system. P.S: I have the exact same problem when testing my SBLive! in DOS. I suspect motherboard probem / incompatability - ASUS A7V8X-X (KT400).

PCI64 DRIVER (SBPCI64) :: It cannot identify the PCI device. The driver does not load.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-21 @ 12:15

fdlchris wrote:I suspect motherboard probem / incompatability - ASUS A7V8X-X (KT400).


same...
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby megatron-uk » 2011-3-21 @ 14:37

SquallStrife wrote:Is there a list of non-Roland cards that have "Intelligent" MPU401 interfaces?


Music Quest did one, and there's the Midiman MM401 too.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2011-3-21 @ 14:53

SCC-1 is another good alternative. Roland Sound Canvas and MPU401 in one purchase. Pricey though...
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby gerwin » 2011-3-21 @ 15:06

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
fdlchris wrote:I suspect motherboard probem / incompatability - ASUS A7V8X-X (KT400).

same...

I have both a KT400 (MSI KT4V 6712) and KT600 (ASUS A7V600) mainboard. Ensoniq/Creative SBPro emulation works only on the KT400, not on the KT600. In the KT600 BIOS manual it mentions support for Non Maskable interrupts (NMI's) was dropped on the KT600.

[Edit, sorry I wrote KT300 (MSI) and KT400 (ASUS) by mistake, now corrected]
Last edited by gerwin on 2011-3-21 @ 19:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AudioPCI also supports / emulates "intelligent mode" MPU401

Postby ratfink » 2011-3-21 @ 17:43

It's nice they actually put that in the manual, I never recall seeing it mentioned like that.
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