Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby moturimi1 » 2015-8-20 @ 21:24

I need a macro objective for my camera. Otherwise it is not possible to take pictures at shallow angles.
Sorry: http://hierbilder.de/dmv8J
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby carlostex » 2015-8-20 @ 23:04

Your efforts are very appreciated. Every try might make a difference!

Loved the recordings. I do like how the Covox Sound Master sounds. And the DAC/DMA is definitely makes the card more interesting. Too bad it was not widely supported.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Formulator » 2015-8-21 @ 04:40

I always wondered what Simcity DOS sounded like with it.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Great Hierophant » 2015-8-21 @ 05:13

Formulator wrote:I always wondered what Simcity DOS sounded like with it.


It only supports digitized sounds, so it will sound just like it does on a Tandy 1000 with a DAC.

The music from Ultima 6 and PoP sound very close to the Tandy music, which should be expected because the music chips in each use the same basic square-wave + noise PSG technology. It does not appear that any of the Sound Master's advanced AY-3-8910 or AY8930 musical features are being used.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby vetz » 2015-8-21 @ 10:37

Awesome recordings :)

Do anyone have a complete list of supported games, or a link to one?
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby moturimi1 » 2015-8-21 @ 11:31

vetz wrote:Do anyone have a complete list of supported games, or a link to one?


The best homepage to gather information on Covox Sound Master (thanks to Great Hierophant):
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014 ... vices.html (list of supported titles)
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2012 ... chive.html (list of supported titles)
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Beegle » 2015-8-21 @ 15:56

These pictures and audio captures are very nice. Thank you moturimi1.
I'm happy to finally hear what the original CSM sounds like.
The more sound cards, the better.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby awgamer » 2015-8-21 @ 23:57

moturimi1 wrote:Here is a first comparison from music within Ultima 6:
Covox Sound Master: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62covox
Ati Stereo F/X CMS: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62cmsati
Sound Blaster 2.0 CMS: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62cmssb20
Ati Stereo F/X OPL2: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62adlibati
Sound Blaster 2.0 OPL2: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62adlibsb20
Aztech SG NXII OPL3: http://www.filedropper.com/ultima62adlibopl3sgnxii

I normalized the peak volume level.
Ati Stereo F/X add sort of stero sound effect.


cms has more polyphony than the sound master, noticeable around 20s where there are notes missing with the sm playback that are present with the cms.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Great Hierophant » 2015-8-28 @ 02:49

moturimi1 wrote:
vetz wrote:Do anyone have a complete list of supported games, or a link to one?


The best homepage to gather information on Covox Sound Master (thanks to Great Hierophant):
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014 ... vices.html (list of supported titles)
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2012 ... chive.html (list of supported titles)


Thanks to your photos I realized that the resources I had for the CSM were incorrect.
Thanks to the new photos, working out the settings is possible. For JP2, there are settings :

DMA3 : 1 & 3
DMA1 : 2 & 4
IRQ7 : 5
IRQ3 : 6

I heard digitized sound effects in Prince of Persia. The default settings for the card appear to be IRQ7/DMA1. Do they work with the alternate settings?
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby moturimi1 » 2016-3-20 @ 20:21

Great Hierophant wrote:
moturimi1 wrote:
vetz wrote:Do anyone have a complete list of supported games, or a link to one?


The best homepage to gather information on Covox Sound Master (thanks to Great Hierophant):
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014 ... vices.html (list of supported titles)
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2012 ... chive.html (list of supported titles)


Thanks to your photos I realized that the resources I had for the CSM were incorrect.
Thanks to the new photos, working out the settings is possible. For JP2, there are settings :

DMA3 : 1 & 3
DMA1 : 2 & 4
IRQ7 : 5
IRQ3 : 6

I heard digitized sound effects in Prince of Persia. The default settings for the card appear to be IRQ7/DMA1. Do they work with the alternate settings?


Sorry for not answering your message.
I haven't tried other jumper setting yet. I can do that in the future, if it is of interest.
Hopefully Shock will be able to make a Replica of the Sound Master. But I think not before he has finished the GUS project.
I can easily hand it over to him, as we both live in Berlin, Germany.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Great Hierophant » 2016-3-21 @ 01:37

moturimi1 wrote:
Great Hierophant wrote:Thanks to your photos I realized that the resources I had for the CSM were incorrect.
Thanks to the new photos, working out the settings is possible. For JP2, there are settings :

DMA3 : 1 & 3
DMA1 : 2 & 4
IRQ7 : 5
IRQ3 : 6

I heard digitized sound effects in Prince of Persia. The default settings for the card appear to be IRQ7/DMA1. Do they work with the alternate settings?


Sorry for not answering your message.
I haven't tried other jumper setting yet. I can do that in the future, if it is of interest.
Hopefully Shock will be able to make a Replica of the Sound Master. But I think not before he has finished the GUS project.
I can easily hand it over to him, as we both live in Berlin, Germany.


It is of interest, even if I had forgotten the original request.

This is encouraging news, although I hope that his health will not be broken on the GUS PNP clone project. One PAL chip should not be any great obstacle to him if he can replicate a far more advanced board.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby carlostex » 2016-3-21 @ 12:50

Keropi has been able to crack a PAL on a Music Quest MPU card by sending it to the proper people so its doable.

If Shock_ can help that's awesome. Fagear already did a very good job and most of the board has alredy been traced.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby shock__ » 2016-3-21 @ 13:47

Great Hierophant wrote:This is encouraging news, although I hope that his health will not be broken on the GUS PNP clone project. One PAL chip should not be any great obstacle to him if he can replicate a far more advanced board.
No worries there :) Health is going strong, even when the project is going at a slow pace once again.
The PAL chip very likely can be replaced easily, since we should be able to derive it's function once a full schematic has been drawn. That way we could replace it with standard logic since PAL chips have a "shelf life" of 20-50 years (also eliminating the need for an additional programmer). Another thing I considered would be replacing the R2R ladder on the left (above the 74LS74 - using 8 resistors with different values, which is sufficient but also the lowest quality approach) with a dedicated DAC circuit, allowing superior quality.
But yeah, ARGUS comes first.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Yvan256 » 2016-12-19 @ 14:38

I haven't forgot about this project, but a lot of stuff has been happening since I last posted here.

Here's something interesting, if it could further help this project:
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/272490757158
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Fagear » 2018-8-09 @ 23:43

moturimi1 wrote:I am still willing to contribute (I own the card). I hope it is possible to reverse engineer the card without having to desolder anything. And if we have to, well that would also be ok for me.
If you have any suggestions to keep the project moving forward go ahead...

At the moment I have all the equipment and skills to reverse all the traces on the board in a span of one day. But I don't have a card.
2018-08-10 02.25.17.jpg
My equipment.


What I can tell from the experience of re-routing Tandy PSG, CMS, SSI-2001, OPL2?
This card uses usual set of A0...A9, AEN address lines, usual set of D0...D7 data lines as all of those do. It does not use IO_RDY.
The card uses one +5 rail (of two) and +12 rail (for analog output circuits).
It takes 14.318 MHz clock and listens to RESET signal.
Also it allows writes AND reads from it, probably just for joystick ports.
It also can use IRQs 3 and/or 7.
Somewhat difficult part is that it also can use DMA 1 and/or 3.
GAL chip is involved in address decoding - that is not a problem for me now if I'll know what ports this card can use. I can reconstruct decoder on 74 series based on that information. But also GAL brobably handles DMA...
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby carlostex » 2018-8-10 @ 00:14

Nice equipment Fagear!

I also invested in a vacuum desoldering pump. I got a Hakko FR-300 gun. A bit expensive, but a top notch product. It has helped me saving a some hardware that would be otherwise be thrown in a bin. From what i can understand the Covox Sound Master is a 2 layer PCB design, so one can use less heat in the gun, which is always good. I guess since you have most of the board already layed out you also wouldn't need a lot of desoldering.

Well if moturimi1 doesn't mind to send you his card your way, i guess we would have a finished replica by the end of the year. Which would be nice, it's been almost 4 years now since i created this thread.

Then a 4 way sound card with SID, AY, CMS, Tandy would be possible.
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Fagear » 2018-8-12 @ 18:33

carlostex wrote:Nice equipment Fagear!

Thanks! :happy:

carlostex wrote:Well if moturimi1 doesn't mind to send you his card your way, i guess we would have a finished replica by the end of the year.

I'm all for it! If moturimi1 will agree to do this, I'll take his board and try to reverse engineer it without disassembling (shining high power light through, looking at shallow angles, buzzing traces out with multimeter). But if that will not be enough I'll partially disassemble the card, examine and put it together again with little to none evidence that it was disassembled (but only if it will be needed and moturimi1 will allow me to do that).

carlostex wrote:Then a 4 way sound card with SID, AY, CMS, Tandy would be possible.

I'm afraid that there's no space left for such a big chip as AY. :depressed: Probably. :confused:
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby carlostex » 2018-8-13 @ 00:35

Fagear wrote:I'm afraid that there's no space left for such a big chip as AY. :depressed: Probably. :confused:


My suggesting in this case would be getting rid of OPL modules and just keep the rare synths. A 4 in 1 card would help save a lot of ISA slots. Maybe in the future you can design such a card after the FMonster?
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Re: Covox Sound Master Reverse Engineering / Replica

Postby Fagear » 2018-8-13 @ 23:41

carlostex wrote:My suggesting in this case would be getting rid of OPL modules and just keep the rare synths. A 4 in 1 card would help save a lot of ISA slots. Maybe in the future you can design such a card after the FMonster?

I think I could get rid of OPL2 module which is the longest one and can be replaced with only OPL3 one. Or make another daughterboard. There are some variants.
But first, we have to make a copy of a schematics and figure out functions of GAL chip.
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