AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2018-11-16 @ 06:09

dr_st wrote: That card was some special OEM edition which was really an SB16, but due to some bizarre decisions shared the PCB and number of the AWE64. That card is completely useless for DOS gaming, since it cannot produce FM music at all.


Wait, it can't do FM at all? Isn't the CQM integrated into the main IC?
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby 33oldnew » 2018-11-16 @ 08:57

I checked my Gold CT4390 and Value CT4520.
I do not see an important difference in the quality of sound, noise and harmonics.

IMO:
If we use an external MIDI device, I do not see any important differences.
We have some good SoundFonts between 3 and 4 MB, in this case Gold is a good option.
I found other good SoundFonts in size 4 to 8 MB, and better in size 24 to 28 MB. In this case, we need SimmConn + memory, and choosing Value will be cheaper.

IMO: If we want a better Creative ISA card, let's look at AWE32 e.g. CT3980, but other problems.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby dr_st » 2018-11-16 @ 10:17

Anonymous Coward wrote:
dr_st wrote: That card was some special OEM edition which was really an SB16, but due to some bizarre decisions shared the PCB and number of the AWE64. That card is completely useless for DOS gaming, since it cannot produce FM music at all.


Wait, it can't do FM at all? Isn't the CQM integrated into the main IC?

My understanding from this discussion is that it cannot do FM in DOS, because you still need to run AWEUTIL /S to initialize the part responsible for FM/MIDI, and AWEUTIL won't run on this card. It is possible that I misunderstood, because it is not clear whether the card owner was referring to being unable to run AWEUTIL /EM (for MIDI emulation) or AWEUTIL /S (for FM/EMU8000 initialization).

You are right that CQM is integrated into the main chip, and FM should work without the wavetable samples. It will work in Windows. In DOS you still need to run AWEUTIL /S, unless someone figured a way to initialize the CQM portion in a different way.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-16 @ 10:44

dr_st wrote:
Anonymous Coward wrote:
dr_st wrote: That card was some special OEM edition which was really an SB16, but due to some bizarre decisions shared the PCB and number of the AWE64. That card is completely useless for DOS gaming, since it cannot produce FM music at all.


Wait, it can't do FM at all? Isn't the CQM integrated into the main IC?

My understanding from this discussion is that it cannot do FM in DOS, because you still need to run AWEUTIL /S to initialize the part responsible for FM/MIDI, and AWEUTIL won't run on this card. It is possible that I misunderstood, because it is not clear whether the card owner was referring to being unable to run AWEUTIL /EM (for MIDI emulation) or AWEUTIL /S (for FM/EMU8000 initialization).

You are right that CQM is integrated into the main chip, and FM should work without the wavetable samples. It will work in Windows. In DOS you still need to run AWEUTIL /S, unless someone figured a way to initialize the CQM portion in a different way.


Not being able to run AWEUTIL /S is pretty unlikely but from Creative not wholly unprobable; the card probably has something pretty fundamental neutered so that AWEUTIL may not be able to find any cards on the ISA Bus that it thinks is an AWE. It may have to do with the card reporting itself as a SB16 even.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby walterg74 » 2018-11-16 @ 10:48

So I have to mention, a disappointment I just had…

That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-16 @ 10:53

walterg74 wrote:So I have to mention, a disappointment I just had…

That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…


Aside from lacking Wavetable, IDE headers, onboard RAM and CSP it is the same card essentially; For Windows, lack of any of these will not be important, just slap on 2MBs of 30pin SIMM and load the 2MB Creative GMGS Soundfont for MIDI playback. As an AWE32 card, they have the exact same synthesizer.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby walterg74 » 2018-11-16 @ 11:17

appiah4 wrote:
walterg74 wrote:So I have to mention, a disappointment I just had…

That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…


Aside from lacking Wavetable, IDE headers, onboard RAM and CSP it is the same card essentially; For Windows, lack of any of these will not be important, just slap on 2MBs of 30pin SIMM and load the 2MB Creative GMGS Soundfont for MIDI playback. As an AWE32 card, they have the exact same synthesizer.


So still worth it? What about FM? Read that it has a crappier one than the AWE. By the way, it does have the IDE header.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-16 @ 11:55

walterg74 wrote:
appiah4 wrote:
walterg74 wrote:So I have to mention, a disappointment I just had…

That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…


Aside from lacking Wavetable, IDE headers, onboard RAM and CSP it is the same card essentially; For Windows, lack of any of these will not be important, just slap on 2MBs of 30pin SIMM and load the 2MB Creative GMGS Soundfont for MIDI playback. As an AWE32 card, they have the exact same synthesizer.


So still worth it? What about FM? Read that it has a crappier one than the AWE. By the way, it does have the IDE header.


FM depends on the model; some SB32s have OPL3 some have CQM. Similarly, some AWE32s have OPL3 and some have CQM. Neither is automatically the better choice.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby realnc » 2018-11-16 @ 12:35

appiah4 wrote:FM depends on the model; some SB32s have OPL3 some have CQM. Similarly, some AWE32s have OPL3 and some have CQM. Neither is automatically the better choice.

IMO, OPL has to be the better choice, since CQM will sound different in some cases. Which one sounds better is subjective. IMO, OPL sounds better.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-16 @ 12:51

realnc wrote:
appiah4 wrote:FM depends on the model; some SB32s have OPL3 some have CQM. Similarly, some AWE32s have OPL3 and some have CQM. Neither is automatically the better choice.

IMO, OPL has to be the better choice, since CQM will sound different in some cases. Which one sounds better is subjective. IMO, OPL sounds better.


Define OPL. SB Pro's OPL sounds infinitely different from SB16's, which in turn sounds different from OPL on other cards like Sound Galaxy or PAS cards. And they ALL sound different from Adlib and Adlib Gold. They are all filtered differently and some even seem to run on different clock speeds. There is no ONE OPL3, and not all OPL3s sound 'better', in many instances Crystal FM sounds better to me than OPL3. ESFM sounds better than any other FM Synthesis to my ears. It really is subjective.

That said, I never meant CQM may be better than OPL3 (it is not, imo), I just stated that AWE32s have no guarantee of having OPL3 and SB32s are not all inferior models with CQM.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby dr_st » 2018-11-16 @ 13:14

walterg74 wrote:That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…
CT3670 is a SB32. It was never called "AWE32". It is in fact an AWE64 with 0KB RAM and SIMM slots (instead of the proprietary connectors). If you are looking for external sound fonts, it may actually be a better option than a "true" AWE64, because you just need standard SIMM modules to expand the RAM.

walterg74 wrote:What about FM? Read that it has a crappier one than the AWE. By the way, it does have the IDE header.
Being an AWE64, it uses the CT8903 chip which has the integrated CQM FM module. No AWE64-based card has true Yamaha OPL3. Even most AWE32 do not (but some do).
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby walterg74 » 2018-11-16 @ 13:44

dr_st wrote:
walterg74 wrote:That AWE32 CT3670 that I thought I had gotten, it turns out it is the same model number but it is an SB32…
CT3670 is a SB32. It was never called "AWE32". It is in fact an AWE64 with 0KB RAM and SIMM slots (instead of the proprietary connectors). If you are looking for external sound fonts, it may actually be a better option than a "true" AWE64, because you just need standard SIMM modules to expand the RAM.

walterg74 wrote:What about FM? Read that it has a crappier one than the AWE. By the way, it does have the IDE header.
Being an AWE64, it uses the CT8903 chip which has the integrated CQM FM module. No AWE64-based card has true Yamaha OPL3. Even most AWE32 do not (but some do).



I guess then this is just wikipedia screwing up the model numbers again,,,
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby realnc » 2018-11-16 @ 13:45

appiah4 wrote:Define OPL. SB Pro's OPL sounds infinitely different from SB16's, which in turn sounds different from OPL on other cards like Sound Galaxy or PAS cards. And they ALL sound different from Adlib and Adlib Gold. They are all filtered differently and some even seem to run on different clock speeds. There is no ONE OPL3, and not all OPL3s sound 'better', in many instances Crystal FM sounds better to me than OPL3. ESFM sounds better than any other FM Synthesis to my ears. It really is subjective.

Hm, I wasn't aware of that. I was referring to comparisons like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hzxE1_nl0k

and this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXWIx60FKS0

I thought the OPL just sounds deeper and with better bass. Is this due to different components around the used FM chip and not due to the chip itself?
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-11-16 @ 15:00

I would argue that ESFM has better range and bass response in that second video but unfortunately it was recorded on a poorly filtered cheap card hence the floor noise.

Check this out for how different Genuine YaMaha OPL3 can sound on different cards with different filtering.

https://youtu.be/_ibdIm-ZBB4

Last card is a properly filtered ESS Audiodrive with great warm and punchy FM Synthesis, it sounds closer to the SB Pro than some of the SB16s with no bass response whatsoever IMO.

Also check out the Crystal FM. People diss Crystal for not being genuine OPL3 but can you honestly tell me it is worse? It is different but still very pleasant. That sweet drumset..

Long story short, OPL3 is not the holy grail of FM music. :)
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby buckeye » 2018-11-16 @ 16:27

tayyare wrote:^^ Completely agree with that. Besides, as it is already mentioned above, SIMMCONN will eliminate the RAM size difference, too.

But a "Gold" feels much cooler than a "Value" however :blush:


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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby tayyare » 2018-12-02 @ 13:54

ahh, you are hurting my feelings...

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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-12-07 @ 17:33

But a "Gold" feels much cooler than a "Value" however

20% cooler.
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Re: AWE64 Gold vs non Gold: What’s the deal?

Postby badmojo » 2018-12-08 @ 11:42

But 200% more expensive :lol:
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