EC251 InterWave Audio Card

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EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2012-4-07 @ 09:46

Hi.

This is a sound card I bought sometime in 1996. I think I got it to listen to DUKE3D and it was my first `wave table' card.

Image

It has actually been in storage for about 10 years and wasn't detected by the PnP BIOS but did so after wiping the edge connector with some emery cloth. The mainboard is a BioStar MB8500TTD.

If you are curious about the 256x16 RAM chip plugged in, then I definitely remember taking it from an S3 video card and putting it there many years ago. This upgrades the card to 1/2 megabyte which is important for GUS emulation of something like that.

I have managed to get it working in Win98 and DOS and `second reality' plays back sound in GUS mode okay.

If anyone is interested in more information about this ugly looking card then I will gladly update this thread.

I used the drivers from driverguide but it's possible that some gravis drivers may also work? I can dump here how it works in DOS, although SB emulation appears very basic, 8 bit mono in fact...

thanks for reading, bye!
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby keropi » 2012-4-07 @ 09:54

interesting , thanks for sharing this , can't say I've heard about this card before LOL
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby fronzel » 2012-4-07 @ 09:58

Ah an interwave. No idea about gravis drivers, why not try out if ya like to?

I always used the original drivers from AMD. Can find them here:

http://driverzone.com/drivers/amd/audio/

If you have problems then consider the BIOS update for it.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2012-4-07 @ 10:15

fronzel wrote:Ah an interwave. No idea about gravis drivers, why not try out if ya like to?

I always used the original drivers from AMD. Can find them here:

http://driverzone.com/drivers/amd/audio/

If you have problems then consider the BIOS update for it.


That's a great page, I will investigate those drivers tomorrow, thank you.

cya!
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2012-4-09 @ 08:46

hi

just an update, neither the ROM update nor those driver files work with the EC251 IW card. I haven't tried any other
drivers as yet.

if you are bored and have never heard the NOOON Stars demo in GUS mode before then I have uploaded a recording of the audio here. I recorded this because the SB version is just terrible...

EC251-IW_-_nooon_-_stars_wonders_of_the_world.mp3 - 8.2 Mb

bye!
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby fronzel » 2012-4-09 @ 18:49

Ah weird, i didnt know there were different models. To me it was always just THE Interwave. Unfortunately dun have mine any more, but from what you say i guess there were different models around.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby elianda » 2012-4-09 @ 21:05

Hmm, so is there any difference compared to a GUS PnP with RAM ?
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2012-4-10 @ 05:43

hi

from observation the unexpanded EC251 is the same
as a GUS PnP and the expanded EC251 is equal to a
GUS PnP Pro. the expansion being a 256x16 ram IC.

however, the Gravis cards also have both IDE and
SIMM slots which are not available on the EC251.

in windows the EEPROM id would appear to be important
with regard to the installation of drivers but this
is unimportant in DOS where demos don't care of course
and applications like impulse tracker detect it is
a generic interwave card.

bye!

EDIT: update:

I tried the EEPROM toolz found here:
http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=100
They complained that *no* GUS PnP was found.

Next I tried a different ROM update from the
EEPROM preperation disk found here:
http://web.archive.org/web/199706190005 ... om/Public/

That worked okay, and the card is now known
as an ultrasound pnp.

The toolz then proceeded to work whereupon a whole
bunch of features were disabled. The toolz appear
to rename the device `plug n pray' :-)

The win95 driver was then installed in win98 and
all is well.

The card has been paired up with an ES1869F device
with it's own wave table to create a usable setup.

I am quite pleased that this ugly duckling of a card
is back in operation after all these years and if you
find one don't hesitate buying it...

BYE!

final update (2nd may 2012):
The EC251 EEPROM is attached for archival purposes.
Attachments
EC251.ZIP
EC251 EEPROM
(562 Bytes) Downloaded 104 times
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-25 @ 14:24

I am a total noob regarding Gravis Ultrasound cards,
But because of the info in this post, I had hope that a PCA761AW card would be worth messing with.
See image below.

The big amplifier chip of the similar EC251 is absent, no problem.

The card was succesfully flashed to become 'Gravis Ultrasound PnP'.

I got digitized sound, FM and Midi music to play, but game compatibility seemed very very poor. It probably needs RAM to be more GUS compatible.
It does not have a socket for the RAM chip, so eventually one has to solder the RAM there.
So I understand these can be grabbed from an older videocard with removable RAM. I Don't have any.
Any recommendations? Will it have to be 512kB? Does the rated memory speed (ns) matter?
Attachments
PCA761AWs.jpg
PCA761AW
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-25 @ 23:13

Hi.

The document "InterWave IC Am78C201 Programmers Guide v2, (SDK) 1996.pdf" has this to say:

CHAPTER 3
COMPATIBILITY WITH ADVANCED GRAVIS ULSTRASOUND AND ENHANCEMENTS
The InterWave IC is backward compatible with the UltraSound audio board from Advanced
Gravis (commonly referred to as the Gravis UltraSound or GUS) if it has local memory
DRAM available. Backward compatibility means that software written for the GUS will work
with a sound card based on the InterWave IC.


The chip you can see V53C16258HK50 works for me in the EC251, however, this card has
only been used in DOS with demos such as Stars - Wonders of the World and it sounds
okay to me at least.

I have not set this up for SB/OPL emulation and have no intention of doing so, this card
works fine alongside others cards better suited to those tasks. I currently use a PCI
ESS card since I only have the one I.S.A. slot.

WIthout the DRAM, this card is probably only useful as an SB clone, but even then the SB
emulation is only 8-bit mono IIRC and next to useless.

If there is any specific demo you would like me to test then I will see about doing so
with the EC251 and you can at least discover if the card will work for you with DRAM.

Here is the set up of the current EC251 host I use for listening to demos:

M/B: PC PARTNER
CPU: CELERON 900
RAM: 768MB
GPU: MX420
SOUND: EC251, TT-SOLO1 + DB50-XG
NET: INTEL PRO/100

Here is how I set up the sound (as reported by win98):

EC251:
IRQ 5
DMA 6,7
I/O 240-24F, 340-347, 34C-34F

CD-ROM/FM/SB/GAME/MPU-401 ALL DISABLED using TOOLZ.

TT-SOLO1 (SB Emulation):
IRQ 7
DMA 1
I/O 220-22F 388-38B 300-301

Bye-bye
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-26 @ 15:33

Thanks for the reply,

I agree and want to use the card mainly for music. No demoscene stuff (yet), just game-music.

I gathered different type numbers for suitable memory. Memory speed of 70ns is sufficient, even 80ns should be.

The problem is that all the 40-pin memory modules I found are SOJ package. meaning the legs are bend inwards.
This is fine for SMD soldering and insertion in sockets, but for hand soldering this is problematic.
I imagine it is likely that a few legs will fail to connect at first, and SOJ leaves no room for correction with the soldering iron.
Or maybe I can correct by using wire on the sides of unconnected pins. Bending the legs outwards beforehand may help or make things worse.
An alternative is to solder a SOJ socket first, but that thing looks just as difficult.
Attachments
SOJ-40.jpg
SOJ-40 socket and RAM
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-26 @ 19:33

Hi

I agree that these are not the most user friendly packages but look at
this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2AeDGXCwU0

When I put that chip in the EC251 back in '96 or '97 I had to
remove two parts from an S3 card. I still have the spare
part which I will test in the card. If it works I will send it
to you. Let me see if it works first.

Bye.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-28 @ 00:11

Hi.

The second V53C16258HK50 chip passed a memory test and plays back okay.

Image

I also tested a 4P16257DJ-07 from another S3 card and that worked also.

The former chip here supports EDO paged mode and the latter FAST paged mode. Both
work identically, however, I have no interwave hardware documentation to refer to
say if this is expected behaviour or not.

If you want my spare chip then just say and I will post it to you, if you don't want it
then I am sure you can locate an S3 card easily enough to slaughter :-)

Bye-bye
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-28 @ 00:42

Sure, I appreciate it!
But I am in europe, I don't know if that is close or far. I will PM my address anyways.

Looking at that soldering video: I need to get some of that Flux fluid, that they use to prepare the PCB...

I found this topic on a german forum, where elianda explains the software configuration. I need these snippets because the Gravis Installer did not finish properly. Especially "iw.ini".
GUS PnP 1.0 - Konfigurations Frage
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby elianda » 2014-1-28 @ 03:31

@Gerwin: I am sure you can build from the config files from this thread and an installation folder:
ftp://78.46.141.148/driver/Gravis/PnP/installed_folder/
a working setup.
You probably have to cut down the choices for soundfonts a bit.

And not all games will work with just 512 kB. Also overall quality is worse for games that use instrument patches (Ultramid), since they load the samples according to the tighter 512 kB profile. Does your card has the ROM soundfont? You may try Megaem, which shows this.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-28 @ 08:43

hi

gerwin wrote:Sure, I appreciate it!
But I am in europe, I don't know if that is close or far. I will PM my address anyways.


This has been sent by air-mail from London in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. Allegedly a part of Europe but the locals tend to disagree :-)

gerwin wrote:Looking at that soldering video: I need to get some of that Flux fluid, that they use to prepare the PCB...


Personally, I would attempt it pin by pin with a very fine tip. The video link was to encourage you
that it can be done and I suspect that that guy has had a fair bit of practice which you can't afford.

gerwin wrote:I found this topic on a german forum, where elianda explains the software configuration. I need these snippets because the Gravis Installer did not finish properly. Especially "iw.ini".
GUS PnP 1.0 - Konfigurations Frage


I didn't have any problem installing the driver but the wave CODEC doesn't play in Windows 98SE, it reboots.
That's with and without memory expansion. The wave CODEC works okay with the free WDM driver in XP though.

Bye

EDIT: Some additional information: Using the SYNTH wave rather then CODEC wave driver does work for playback.
Last edited by sklawz on 2014-1-28 @ 10:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-28 @ 08:50

hi

elianda wrote:@Gerwin: I am sure you can build from the config files from this thread and an installation folder:
ftp://78.46.141.148/driver/Gravis/PnP/installed_folder/
a working setup.
You probably have to cut down the choices for soundfonts a bit.

And not all games will work with just 512 kB. Also overall quality is worse for games that use instrument patches (Ultramid), since they load the samples according to the tighter 512 kB profile. Does your card has the ROM soundfont? You may try Megaem, which shows this.


I will see about testing MEGAEM on the EC251 later but initially it doesn't work with
a message about expanding server pages or whatnot which on this forum you explain
it is to do with the version of himem.sys in use.

I will report the output here later if it ever loads.

PS. ultramid.exe works okay when loaded before TYRIAN but the PnP install didn't come
with ultramid so I used the exe and ini file from the TES:arena free download. I am not
sure if this a good solution or not.

bye-bye
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-29 @ 15:09

Ah UK, that is just on the other side of the small pond. :)
Give me a week or so to receive it, mount it and test it. then I will report back here.

The amount of utilities that comes with a GUS pnp is too much.
Yes, I think MegaEm was what enabled the ROM waveset, on an emulated MPU-401. It then played midi music with Tyrian setup on 330h. It did FM too, but that was both painful and funny.
The 1MB ROM bank should be pretty decent, as I understand it is the smaller brother of the excellent Voice crystal 4MB soundfont.

Thanks for the link to the utilities on the FPT site.
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby gerwin » 2014-1-31 @ 21:52

sklawz, I received the envelope yesterday, excellent, thanks alot!

In fact, I immediately turned on the soldering iron, to get that little bugger on the card. First put a little solder on all the 40 pins, and also some new solder on the facing pads of the card. Next the RAM was positioned. I kept it pushed down with some weight. I carefully touched one feet after another with the tip of the soldering iron, each like 5 times. Until eventually all 40 connections were verified... It did not go nearly as fast as that video though.

PCA761AW_512kBs.jpg
512kB added [Mosel Vitelic 256K x 16-Bit dynamic RAM (4M bit), SOJ-40 Package, 50ns]
PCA761AW_512kBs.jpg (72.64 KiB) Viewed 2246 times

The GUS PnP Setup.exe now detects the 512kB!
- 'Play.exe' can play Midi files using the the 4MB and 5MB 'fff' soundbanks.
(Though instruments are missing in some tracks. Whilst the ROM set plays them properly. Insufficient memory I guess)
- 'Play.exe' even plays MOD files now.
- Both Sound and music work in 'Hexen', but only when the card was initialized with the ROM set selected.

No problem. I expected a GUS to have peculiarities, especially with just 512kB, just part of the fun.
I will try that Ultramid too, and noticed the Gus PnP ISO is packed with demos and utils (at the FTP address which elianda pointed out).

PS: small question; why is it that 'iwsbos.bat' keeps nagging about a missing library file?
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Re: EC251 InterWave Audio Card

Postby sklawz » 2014-1-31 @ 22:24

Hello

gerwin wrote:sklawz, I received the envelope yesterday, excellent, thanks alot!


I am impressed and glad to hear it arrived.

In fact, I immediately turned on the soldering iron, to get that little bugger on the card. First put a little solder on all the 40 pins, and also some new solder on the facing pads of the card. Next the RAM was positioned. I kept it pushed down with some weight. I carefully touched one feet after another with the tip of the soldering iron, each like 5 times. Until eventually all 40 connections were verified... It did not go nearly as fast as that video though.


You have done a great job and shown great determination in joining the GUS PnP PRO CLONE CLUB :-)

The GUS PnP Setup.exe now detects the 512kB!
- 'Play.exe' can play Midi files using the the 4MB and 5MB 'fff' soundbanks.
(Though instruments are missing in some tracks. Whilst the ROM set plays them properly. Insufficient memory I guess)
- 'Play.exe' even plays MOD files now.
- Both Sound and music work in 'Hexen', but only when the card was initialized with the ROM set selected.

No problem. I expected a GUS to have peculiarities, especially with just 512kB, just part of the fun.
I will try that Ultramid too.


I tested MEGAEM and it only loaded using HIMEM and EMM386 from MS-DOS 5.0 but it appears to
be a better IWSBOS which is definitely the only thing I have ever used before as the EC251 never
came with MEGAEM. I will not remove the ESS card to actually test MEGAEM though because I don't
want it.

There are a few games which I have which support GUS without any drivers or have ultramid built-in
such as DOOM1/2 and DUKE3D (emm386 should be loaded) but to be honest, they are far inferior
using the GUS than a DB50-XG to my ears.

As I stated before I tend to use it if supported in demos, where it's more often the case that
the GUS support is superior to anything else.

PS: small question; why is it that 'iwsbos.bat' keeps nagging about a missing library file?


I don't know the answer to this because you don't say what the missing library is, or is it something
like: library512=C:\INTERWAV.ROM\patches\iwsb512.iwl ?

This would appear to depend on some patch installation floppy, which I don't have either, or am
not aware of because I am not using the emulation.

Bye-bye
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