Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Emulation of old PCs, PC hardware, or PC peripherals.

Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby jmrydholm » 2011-5-23 @ 18:58

Hi everyone (I need to log in here more often!) I recently got a Gravis Ultrasound, rev 2.4 off ebay for dirt cheap. I wanted to put it in my old Dell Optiplex as it has tons of full length ISA slots I'm not using. I currently have a Sound Blaster AWE32, model CT-3900 for my main sound card. This is the one with the big memory slots and it's controlled by software instead of jumpers. My question is, will this cause an IRQ conflict in either DOS or Windows 98? Doesn't the Ultrasound use IRQ 240 instead of 220 by default, like the Blasters? Can I use the Gravis for MIDI and the AWE32 as a "SB16?" If not, I have a real SB16 lying around somewhere. I don't mind experimenting- always have been a DOS nerd. :) I'd like to try games like Doom, Blood, X-Com etc with the Gravis as I'm currently using my Roland SC-55 on my laptop. Thanks for any input!
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby megatron-uk » 2011-5-23 @ 20:13

220 and 240 are memory IO addresses - they can happily co-exist. The biggest problem with the GUS is ensuring that you have two free IRQ's and two free DMA channels (for full duplex audio). If you're not capturing any audio with the GUS and don't mind about losing SBOS (sb emulation - why would you? You've got an AWE32 for that!) then you can reduce that to one IRQ and one DMA channel.

Lots of later DOS games support a digital effects device and a MIDI/music device. Experiment to find which setup sounds the best!
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby elfuego » 2011-5-23 @ 20:15

Of course you can use both. 240h is the address, not IRQ and you can always reconfigure AWE32 to use different address if it locks up in a conflict. You can use creative CTCM program to set it up in DOS, or just use windows to fix it. Just set it up nicely and enjoy :-)
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby megatron-uk » 2011-5-23 @ 20:15

BTW, I wouldn't bother installing the Gravis GF1 driver for Windows - nothing really took advantage of the GUS under Windows, and you're left with a wave device; something the AWE can happily provide anyway. Plus, Windows really doesn't appear to manage lots of interrupts and dma channels very well ;-)
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby megatron-uk » 2011-5-23 @ 20:18

Oh yeah, one more thing - if you manage to upgrade the GUS memory, then make sure to install the Propats pack (there are links in the dosbox sub forum) in your Ultrasnd/midi folder - there's some nice upgraded instruments in there!
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby jmrydholm » 2011-5-23 @ 20:20

Cool beans, thanks guys! I have never actually installed more than one sound card in ANY computer, modern or vintage. Ironically the older computers have never let me down- it's my XP system I rebuilt four times. First I fried the memory, then the motherboard. Then we had some crazy storms in MO and I lost my venerable old AGP 7800. The Audigy 2 ZS never died. The irony is I own a DeLorean...yup. Me and lightning. Not friends. :3
"The height of strategy, is to attack your opponent’s strategy” -Sun Tzu
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby DonutKing » 2011-5-23 @ 21:31

I run an Sb16 and a GUS classic under dos without issues.

Sb16 uses I/O 220, IRQ 7, DMA 1, MIDI 330
GUS uses I/O 240, IRQ 5 and 11, DMA 0 and 3, MIDI 300

make sure you get the latest drivers for the GUS, last version of megaem, 4.10 I believe, makes SBOS redundant. Although the SB16 is better for games that don't support the GUS, if you try to run MIDI through the GUS megaem can be useful. I think you run megaem -I to get the config menu.

I also use an external MIDI device with the SB16 like an sc55, I tried to get it to work with the GUS but it's midi port seems gimped under dos. If you manage to make it work please let me know.
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby elfuego » 2011-5-23 @ 22:12

jmrydholm wrote: The irony is I own a DeLorean...yup. Me and lightning. Not friends. :3

Uh - oh. Try not to go too far in the past, prices of vintage H/W were much higher then :P
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby rfnagel » 2011-5-24 @ 02:34

Although not GUS related, I used to have a P233MMX rig running Windows 98SE. I had installed in it a Sound Blaster 16, as well as a Sound Blaster Pro... both non-PNP.

I had hard-jumperd the SB16 for it usual settings (P220/IRQ5/LDMA1/HDMA5/MIDI330), and IIRC the SBPro for P240/IRQ7/DMA3/MIDI340.

The reason for this?

Certain games who's sound was horrid running under an SB16 (SilverBall, Flight Simulator 4.0 (with the SGA; "Sound, Graphics, and Aircraft" upgrade installed), as well as Flight Simulator 5.x. Those games' sound was extremely scratchy when heard through the SB16, but sounded great through the SBPro. They also suffered from mysterious random sound dropouts under the SB16 (that were NOT due IRQ or DMA conflicts, but rather poorly written sound drivers). There may have been a few other games that I did this with, but I can't remember... the above are the ones that came to mind.

For each game I simply configured them for the SBPro's jumpered parameters, and then had batch files to run various Sound Blaster configuration programs (e.g. DIAGNOSE.EXE) and mixers to enable them (or "kick" them in).

I had the speaker output of the SBPro fed into the line input of the SB16, and the batch files ran the respective sound cards' mixers to adjust the volumes of each.

Anyhow, worked like a champ; and I simply disabled the SBPro in the Device Manager in W98SE (so's I could normally use the SB16 within Windows) :)
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby DonutKing » 2011-5-24 @ 02:47

I had the speaker output of the SBPro fed into the line input of the SB16, and the batch files ran the respective sound cards' mixers to adjust the volumes of each.


I was doing this with my SB16/GUS but its actually a bit of a pain because the GUS is MUCH louder than the SB16, and the DOS mixer for GUS doesn't seem to work properly. The text baxed ULTRAMIX and the graphical mixer don't seem to do anything.
Throw an external synth in that you want to play on the same speakers and it starts to get painful.

I ended up just buying a 4 channel passive stereo mixer for cheap and it seems to do the job :)
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby rfnagel » 2011-5-24 @ 03:00

DonutKing wrote:I ended up just buying a 4 channel passive stereo mixer for cheap and it seems to do the job :)


That's prolly a good idea :)

I myself was able to get fairly balanced sound simply by running the SB16's and SBPro's DOS mixer apps from the batch files.

They were text-based GUI mixers, but would accept command line parameters that would completely bypass the GUIs :)

Oh, IIRC, the filenames for the various SB utilities/mixers were:

SBP-SET.EXE
SBP-MIX.EXE

SB16SET.EXE
SB16MIX.EXE
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Re: Two ISA sound cards on a DOS/98 machine?

Postby jmrydholm » 2011-5-26 @ 16:37

I currently have the AWE32 working great in Win98, but for some odd reason it won't initialize in DOS. I've heard real mode DOS doesn't like that card in particular...but I have no trouble recognizing it as a regular "SB16" for games like Doom, Heretic, etc. I ended up using my Roland Sound Canvas in pure DOS, and the AWE32 synth under a Windows for games like Descent. I should probably tweak my autoexec and config.sys files.
"The height of strategy, is to attack your opponent’s strategy” -Sun Tzu
“Make your fighting stance, your everyday stance and make your everyday stance, your fighting stance.” - Musashi
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