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Reply 21 of 44, by retro games 100

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Old Thrashbarg wrote:

If the card works, is it decent, though? I mean, better than an SB16, at least? I know it still wouldn't cover MIDI, so I'd need to figure out what to do there... or maybe I'll start a thread for troubleshooting on my AWE64, see if I can get that going.

I'm sorry, I have very little experience with PAS16 cards.

I just thought of something else. If you have two soundcards, one for digital effects, and the other for music, are you going to use a stereo mixer or 2 pairs of speakers?

Also, consider posting your AWE64 related config file(s) here, so that Farfolomew can spot any potential problem(s)?

Reply 22 of 44, by Farfolomew

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Ok, I made a bare-bones AWE64 DOS configuration. It has everything you need excluding the 4 DOS system files: io.sys, msdos.sys, command.com, drvspace.bin. Just unzip it to your DOS machine drive c:\ using PKUNZIP (which I included in the root of the zip file).

http://www.tacmod.com/Files/tac/misc/awe64.zip

Here are the contents of the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files:

CONFIG.SYS

DEVICE=c:\dos\himem.sys
DOS=high,umb

[menu]
MENUITEM=umbpci, UMBPCI (Upper memory by UMBPCI)
MENUITEM=awe64, AWE64 (Upper memory by EMM386 NOEMS)
MENUITEM=awe64ems, AWE64 w/EMS (Upper memory by EMM386 16MB EMS RAM)
MENUDEFAULT=awe64,10
MENUCOLOR=7,0

[umbpci]
DEVICE=c:\dos\umbpci.sys
FILESHIGH=50
BUFFERSHIGH=50
DEVICE=c:\dos\awe64\ctcm\ctcm.exe
DEVICEHIGH=c:\dos\cdrom.sys /D:cdrom1

[awe64]
DEVICE=c:\dos\emm386.exe D=256 I=B000-B7FF NOEMS
FILESHIGH=50
BUFFERSHIGH=50
DEVICE=c:\dos\awe64\ctcm\ctcm.exe
DEVICEHIGH=c:\dos\cdrom.sys /D:cdrom1

[awe64ems]
DEVICE=c:\dos\emm386.exe 16384 MIN=0 D=256 I=B000-B7FF RAM
FILESHIGH=50
BUFFERSHIGH=50
DEVICE=c:\dos\awe64\ctcm\ctcm.exe
DEVICEHIGH=c:\dos\cdrom.sys /D:cdrom1

AUTOEXEC.BAT

@echo off
SET PATH=c:\dos;c:\dos\awe64;c:\dos\awe64\ctcm;c:\dos\shsucdx;
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 E620 T6
SET SOUND=c:\dos\awe64
SET CTCM=c:\dos\awe64\ctcm

GOTO %config%

:umbpci
GOTO all

:awe64
GOTO all

:awe64ems
GOTO all

:all
c:\dos\awe64\aweutil /s
c:\dos\awe64\diagnose /s
c:\dos\awe64\mixerset /p /q
LH shsucdx.com /d:cdrom1,P /d:*shsu-cdh,D
LH ctmouse.exe
LH doskey.com
GOTO end

:end

Reply 23 of 44, by Farfolomew

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One more thing, you will have to turn off the BIOS PNP settings if you havn't already. In this case, you don't want the BIOS assigning resources to the AWE64, as you'll be using CTCM.EXE to do that. In my particular case (Abit BH6, Intel 440BX), I told the BIOS to reserve IRQ 5, DMA 1, and DMA 5 for Legacy ISA devices; the rest are automatically (PNP) assigned to my PCI devices.

Reply 24 of 44, by Old Thrashbarg

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Well, I appreciate the effort you took to post the config, but I can't do much with it right now... in keeping with the "one f-ing thing after another" motif, the machine has suddenly decided it only wants to boot straight into the BIOS setup menu, and I have so far been unable to convince it otherwise. 😒

I'm curious, though, why the three different options in config.sys? I've just been using umbpci rather than EMM386.

@Retro Games
If I get the AWE64 working, I won't need two cards. I'll hold off using the PAS16 until which point I find a suitable MIDI box/card, and figure out how to hook it up dependent on what sort of connection options the particular piece of equipment gives me. I have some mixers and such, so it shouldn't be a problem whatever I do.

Reply 25 of 44, by Farfolomew

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Well, I decided to include EMM386 because it's been my experience that some games just aren't completely stable using UMBPCI. I've never really had any issues with EMM386, as long as I've chosen the NOEMS or RAM option when the other gave me trouble. I'm not completely sure UMBPCI was the culprit, but i'm fairly certain. Maybe there's a switch i'm not using that would prevent the instability issues; I still need to spend time troubleshooting it. I do like UMBPCI better, as it gives me more Upper and Conventional memory to play around with. In my config.sys I posted above, you can just take out the EMM386 sections if you don't want them. They execute the exact same settings as UMBPCI.

Reply 26 of 44, by retro games 100

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Because the O.P. mentioned the Yamaha DB50XG clone daughterboard, I decided to do a very quick "group test" of my daughterboard cards - on a Roland 401-AT card. They [original Yamaha XG, NEC Yamaha clone, Roland SCB-7 & SCB-55, Waveblaster 2] all sounded OK, but both the Yamaha and NEC clone sounded the worst, which doesn't make much sense, as these DBs are well known quality boards.

My test was to run Descent 2, and leave it running on the "Choose/create Pilot" screen. The Yamaha and NEC clone boards played this music too "heavy-handedly", and as a result, the music sounded "muddy" and unclear in places.

I found this test result unusual, and so I tested my backup Yamaha board, but I got the same result. Perhaps if I tried mounting these DBs on a different host card, that would fix the problem, but I haven't got anything immediately available to try out that test.

Reply 27 of 44, by Old Thrashbarg

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Interesting. I've seen a few reports where the Yamaha card was described as 'bassy', so it could be that you just don't like such a sound signature. (Or that you're just very accustomed to something else.) These sorts of things are rather subjective.

Reply 28 of 44, by Farfolomew

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Very subjective. But I think I tend to agree with Retro on the "bassy" thing. While they sound 10x better than my crappy SB16, and certainly better than the SBLive software General Midi, there are some tunes that sound odd, especially in Privateer. They still sound good though, just different. Like I mentioned before, I thought the AWE64 sounded pretty good if the game supports it natively. It's worth a try before buying anything else, i'd reckon.

Reply 29 of 44, by Old Thrashbarg

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Alright, well, I'll see if I can get the AWE going, then, but it's looking like I may need a new motherboard before I can worry about such things.

On a related note, there's a slight possibility that some of my seemingly inexplicable issues with sound cards could have been due to a problem with the system itself, rather than the cards.

Reply 30 of 44, by retro games 100

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Update on my last post. I just retested an NEC clone dboard, but this time mounted on a SB 16 (DSP 4.11) It sounded fine (when using it on the Descent 2 "Pilot selection screen") - much better than when it was mounted on the old Roland 8-bit MPU 401AT card. Curious!

Reply 31 of 44, by Menkau_ra

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retro games 100,
I've just got my Nec clone of db60xg too. I put it on my mx300 card and found that daughter board makes a lot of noise. Can you share your expirience with nec clone and original db50xg? Do they have any difference in SNR? In my case, was it a daughter board makes that noise or it was a mx300 input from waveblaster connector?

Reply 32 of 44, by Amigaz

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Menkau_ra wrote:

retro games 100,
I've just got my Nec clone of db60xg too. I put it on my mx300 card and found that daughter board makes a lot of noise. Can you share your expirience with nec clone and original db50xg? Do they have any difference in SNR? In my case, was it a daughter board makes that noise or it was a mx300 input from waveblaster connector?

I've got two DB60XG clones and an original DB50XG, haven't noticed any difference in SNR but I've only used them on Sound Blaster 16 or AWE32

My retro computer stuff: https://lychee.jjserver.net/#16136303902327

Reply 33 of 44, by retro games 100

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Menkau_ra wrote:

retro games 100,
I've just got my Nec clone of db60xg too. I put it on my mx300 card and found that daughter board makes a lot of noise. Can you share your expirience with nec clone and original db50xg? Do they have any difference in SNR? In my case, was it a daughter board makes that noise or it was a mx300 input from waveblaster connector?

That's interesting. They should both be OK. I wonder if there is a problem with your MX300 waveblaster connector - in terms of resource allocation? ie, a conflict of some kind. ATM, I don't have both original and clone DBs immediately available to test. Is there any way you could try your clone DB with a 2nd soundcard with wavetable header. Anything really, just something for a few dollars off ebay..?

Reply 34 of 44, by Menkau_ra

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The quality of the sound is good. I just don't like the SNR. It is like if you an ald cheap ESS isa card, and when you add sound volume you can hear "shhhhh" from the head phones. It is not an electrical noise, but SNR. I have Bose ones, so if I would use It on just regular speakers I guess I wouldn't hear any noise.
And I don't have any other sound cards to test on.

Reply 35 of 44, by retro games 100

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Menkau_ra, I've just returned from the attic o' doom, and retrieved some archaic artifacts. I'm about to test them all. Before I do this, can you please tell me what music (game?) you were listening to, so that I can replicate your testing conditions as much as possible. Thanks a lot.

BTW, very unfortunately I only have a pair of $5 crappy headphones. I hope that won't make my tests not worth doing.

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Reply 36 of 44, by retro games 100

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8 hours later, and about 2 dozen (no really) windows 98 reboots later, and I've got the montego 2 + yamaha db working. About 2.5 hours was spent trying to get the DVD-ROM working on my crusty socket 7 board, in order to install the software. The fix was to delete an intel bus master system device in safe mode, then reboot to allow windows to reinstall it. Finally, it then installed the primary and secondary devices. Beforehand it would just install the parent device, but no primary and secondary devices. Then afterwards, the montego card's mpu-401 device kept vanishing. The fix was to "hard wire" its mpu-401 resource to 300 and not 330. That seems to work. Using the montego's software mixer, I'm confident that when I play a midi music file, I'm hearing the sound coming from the daughterboard, and not the card's own synthesizer. (All channels are muted except for the mpu-401.) I guess I need a good midi file to listen to, to test out the quality of the 2 daughterboards. I thought maybe use one of those old Roland SCC-1 demo tunes, eg demo1. I need a break from this, so I'll run some tests tomorrow. BTW, my logitech headphones aren't that bad, although they were incredibly cheap.

Edit: BTW, using the yamaha DB I couldn't hear any noise or anything "wrong". It sounded OK, no problems. (When I was having install/resource problems, the midi music sounded wrong - missing notes, crackles, generally "odd" sound.) The interesting thing is that windows 98 control panel device section said that nothing was in conflict. (But I guess that windows 98 and the crusty socket 7 mobo weren't communicating 100% with each other.)

Reply 37 of 44, by retro games 100

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I've just finished testing the yamaha and clone dbs, on the montego 2 soundcard. Menkau_ra, you said that you "found that daughter board makes a lot of noise". Personally speaking, I can confirm that both these dbs have no "noise" when listening to midi music. They both sound clear. I increased the volume, and my ears hurt but I hear no background noise, or "shhhhhh" sound.

There may be something "wrong" with your mx300 card, either in terms of windows resource handling or a driver related issue or possibly even a hardware defect. Perhaps also investigate your headphones and its audio cable, and any potential interference issues. Also, perhaps retest your headphones using another sound source.

Good luck, I hope you fix this problem.

Reply 38 of 44, by retro games 100

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Something has just jogged my memory. I remember testing an mx300, with a couple of pairs of headphones. (I had to, as one working pair strangely would not work with it.) I now vaguely remember something weird about the mx300's headphone port. Its "ohm rating" ? (I think) of the headphones must be within a certain range. If this value falls outside of this range, then the headphones don't work correctly. I also vaguely recall that this information was stated in either the mx300 manual or the mx300 installation windows help documentation. It is possible that your specific pair of headphones and the way in which the mx300 headphone port operates causes this noise/shhhhh sound to be heard. Is it possible to get a cheap pair of 'phones off ebay, to double check this?

Reply 39 of 44, by retro games 100

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I just tested both DBs on the Roland MPU-401AT card. If I adjust my headphones built-in volume control and set it to maximum, I can hear a small amount of background hiss (when no music is being played). IMHO, it's at a level which is perfectly acceptable. When music starts, I have to turn down the volume anyway, because otherwise it's too loud. At that point, the hiss volume level goes down to a point where I can't really hear it. (It's at a very low level that wouldn't bother me at all.) It's interesting to note that the general overall music quality coming from the Roland MPU card is a bit better than that coming from the Montego. I'm not an audiophile, so I'm probably not very good at describing the differences between the two, but the general quality of the Montego DB sound was "a bit flat and lifeless". OTOH, the general quality of the Roland DB sound was "fairly powerful and lively" but perhaps "a bit too loud and forced". IHMO, it doesn't sound quite as good as a Roland SCC-1 card, but it's not too far off.