VOGONS


First post, by alexanrs

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Hello everyone!
I've got a nice old Pentium 133 that I've been playing with recently, but the problem is that the only sound card I had to put in it was my old SBLive!
While things sound decent enough within Windows 98 (not taking OPL into account), under DOS the compatibility is a bit dodgy, and GM doesn't sound that good either.
Since this board does have ISA slots I was thinking about getting an old ISA card and call it a day, but finding nice ones can be a bit hard here in Brazil (can't find a nice ISA AWE64 - that would be a dream come true). I managed to find these:

SB16 CT2910 - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-596024 … JM#questionText
Vibra16 CT2950 (don't know how to identify if it has the OPL chip or not) - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-593766 … -16bits-isa-_JM
Vibra16 C4180 - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-594056 … -computador-_JM

I also found a few clones:
A YMF719e-s based one (non specified) - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-585780 … -ymf7-19e-s-_JM
ECS AudioDrive(?) - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-581682 … -windows-98-_JM
Aztech At-3500 - http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-585527 … 0-u-isa-pnp-_JM

Can you guys help me and point out the pros and cons of these boards? There are also a bunch of Crystal based ones, but reading a few posts here gave me the impression that those aren't good at all

Thanks in advance 😀

Reply 1 of 18, by Sutekh94

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My first picks would be the CT2910 and the YMF719. Both of them have proper OPL synthesis, and should work for just about everything.

The CT2950 doesn't have OPL at all. You can tell if it has OPL or not by looking for two small Yamaha-marked chips; here, it's the YMF289-B, the OPL synth itself, and the DAC for the synth (can't remember the model # off the top of my head). The CT2910 does have these chips; the two Vibras use Creative's emulated FM synth, CQM. It's not bad, but you'd probably still want proper OPL synth. As for the YMF719, the FM synth is integrated into the main chip.

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Reply 2 of 18, by borgie83

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I'd personally hunt down a Sound Blaster 16 CT2230. They're readily available on eBay.

Pros: Real OPL, Waveblaster header, not noisey like the older Sound Blasters, No hanging note bug (tested 4 so far with DSP 4.11 and 4.13), most have a Panasonic/Creative, Mitsumi and Sony CD-Rom interfaces and lastly, they're cheap! 😀

Cons: None that I've found.

Reply 3 of 18, by Skyscraper

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I am going to sound crazy but the ESS Audodrive is not a bad choice (depending on version).
All of the above cards are better than the Live! in DOS.

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Older PC: K6-3+ 400@600MHz, PC-Chips M577, 256MB SDRAM, AWE64, Voodoo Banshee.

Reply 4 of 18, by borgie83

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Skyscraper wrote:

I am going to sound crazy but the ESS Audodrive is not a bad choice (depending on version).
All of the above cards are better than the Live! in DOS.

Not crazy at all! A very overlooked sound card. I've got a ESS AudioDrive ES688F but it's currently for sale on eBay. Really nice card with the following features:

Real Yamaha OPL
WaveBlaster Header
Non Plug and Play
Sound Blaster Pro Emulation
Sony, Mitsumi & Panasonic Interfaces

Filename
image.jpg
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2.17 MiB
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No downloads
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ESS AudioDrive ES688F
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Might be another card to consider using. Pretty sure it wouldn't suffer from the hanging note bug either. Can't confirm this though as I never tested mine with a daughterboard or external midi module so I wouldn't know.

Reply 5 of 18, by badmojo

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That Audiodrive is a nice card, I use an ES1688 based one in one if my machines. The waveblaster header works fine, no hanging notes. Yours would need a TSR for the header to work because it's the earlier chipset, but I'm not sure if that's either here nor there.

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Reply 6 of 18, by alexanrs

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Upon close inspection that card is the ESS968F, and according to this guy (http://goughlui.com/2012/11/29/tech-flashback … -creative-labs/), it is a bit rubbish 🙁
As far as clones go, how is the digital sound of that YMF719? Is is SBPro/16 compatible without a TSR? Can it handle a daughterboard or does it do GM Midi on its own? Sadly searching for Yamaha or Roland MIDI cards arround here hasn't been very successful.
I'm tempted to consider eBay, but I've had a bunch of bad experiences with international shipping (besides de cost), so I'd rather get something more reasonable here and order abroad only as a last resort.

Reply 7 of 18, by DataPro

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I got a Vibra 16 ISA a long time ago. Pretty bad sound - high background noise

Now I have a SB16 ISA (CT2230) and a SB AWE64 ISA PNP (CT4500) and the 2 are great.

HP Vectra 562 P166Mhz/256Ko L2 cache/Triton 430FX - 112Mo RAM - 2x 32Go+64Go CF Card - Matrox G2 8Mo - SB AWE64 ISA (PnP) + Roland MT-32 & M-GS64 (SC-88) & JV-1010 - Nec USB 2.0 PCI - Promise Ultra100 TX2 - Hama multicard reader

Reply 8 of 18, by borgie83

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alexanrs wrote:

Upon close inspection that card is the ESS968F, and according to this guy (http://goughlui.com/2012/11/29/tech-flashback … -creative-labs/), it is a bit rubbish 🙁

Had a look at the link you provided and the card that guy has is a different card to mine. Mine sounds absolutely fine and not "muddy" as he describes it as.

Could be one of those things like how a SB16 CT1740 is "noisy" compared to a SB16 CT2230 yet they both use the same CT1745A mixer chip and TEA2025B amp but have slightly different Yamaha OPL chips. CT1740 uses the YMF262-M OPL3 and the CT2230 uses the CT1747 which has a OPL3 core. Both Yamaha chips sound exactly the same. Difference between the 2 chips is the "OPL" logo as Yamaha trademarked the logo later on which didn't exist at the time of the CT1740.

Reply 9 of 18, by chinny22

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SB16 CT2910
+ Good Drivers
+ 16 Bit Sound
+ True SoundBlaster... Some may say this is a bad point 😉
- Average Midi
- Hanging note bug?

YMF719
+ Great Midi
+ Supports Daughterboard
- Horrible drivers
- Only SB Pro compatible

16 bit sound only really affects late Dos games, say Doom and later games. So if your playing earlier games the Yamaha card is a pretty good choice. Drivers are a mess but once the card is setup you can try and forget about that experience and gain true OPL and GM Midi.

If your playing later games, a common setup is to have both soundcards in the 1 PC to get around the hanging note bug by plugging in your Midi module into the Yamaha and using the creative card for everything else. That's if you even notice the hanging note bug which is only an issue if you have a Midi daughterboard or external device.

I don't know enough about ECS or Aztech to comment.

Reply 10 of 18, by alexanrs

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borgie83 wrote:
alexanrs wrote:

Had a look at the link you provided and the card that guy has is a different card to mine. Mine sounds absolutely fine and not "muddy" as he describes it as.

What really put me off was that the board as shown in the ad looks exactly like the board in that article.

chinny22 wrote:

16 bit sound only really affects late Dos games, say Doom and later games. So if your playing earlier games the Yamaha card is a pretty good choice. Drivers are a mess but once the card is setup you can try and forget about that experience and gain true OPL and GM Midi.

If your playing later games, a common setup is to have both soundcards in the 1 PC to get around the hanging note bug by plugging in your Midi module into the Yamaha and using the creative card for everything else. That's if you even notice the hanging note bug which is only an issue if you have a Midi daughterboard or external device.

Does the YMF719 need a TSR loaded to emulate the SBPro? If so, does it cause issues with protected mode games or stuff like that?

The YMF719+SB16 sounds like a promising setup. If I plug the YMF's line out into the SB's line in (or the other way around) and organize the ports/IRQs/DMA settings I could actually get away with a single BLASTER line, and tweak specific games in case I prefer the Yamaha's OPL to the SB one, or the YMF's SB Pro compatibility for older games. Should I be wary of any conflicts with this setup? Like game ports trying to hook the same address or both cards trying to reclain the Adlib (388h/389h) port?

Anyway, thanks for everyone who has answered me so far 😀

Reply 11 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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CT2230: Cons: None that I've found.

Uh...have you ever tried hooking this card up to a stereo amplifier. It sounded pretty nasty when I gave it a shot. I got some pretty bad hum. Disabling the onboard amp made it sound even worse like there was some kind of impedance mismatch or something.

I can't speak for hanging notes on this card, but I seem to recall others on this forum reporting issues with it.

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Reply 12 of 18, by badmojo

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Anonymous Coward wrote:

CT2230: Cons: None that I've found.

Uh...have you ever tried hooking this card up to a stereo amplifier. It sounded pretty nasty when I gave it a shot. I got some pretty bad hum. Disabling the onboard amp made it sound even worse like there was some kind of impedance mismatch or something.

I can't speak for hanging notes on this card, but I seem to recall others on this forum reporting issues with it.

How do you disable the onboard amp? It has a line out, is that what you mean?

There are no issues with hanging notes on this card in my experience either.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 13 of 18, by borgie83

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alexanrs wrote:
What really put me off was that the board as shown in the ad looks exactly like the board in that article. […]
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borgie83 wrote:

Had a look at the link you provided and the card that guy has is a different card to mine. Mine sounds absolutely fine and not "muddy" as he describes it as.

What really put me off was that the board as shown in the ad looks exactly like the board in that article.

chinny22 wrote:

16 bit sound only really affects late Dos games, say Doom and later games. So if your playing earlier games the Yamaha card is a pretty good choice. Drivers are a mess but once the card is setup you can try and forget about that experience and gain true OPL and GM Midi.

If your playing later games, a common setup is to have both soundcards in the 1 PC to get around the hanging note bug by plugging in your Midi module into the Yamaha and using the creative card for everything else. That's if you even notice the hanging note bug which is only an issue if you have a Midi daughterboard or external device.

alexanrs wrote:

Does the YMF719 need a TSR loaded to emulate the SBPro? If so, does it cause issues with protected mode games or stuff like that?

The YMF719+SB16 sounds like a promising setup. If I plug the YMF's line out into the SB's line in (or the other way around) and organize the ports/IRQs/DMA settings I could actually get away with a single BLASTER line, and tweak specific games in case I prefer the Yamaha's OPL to the SB one, or the YMF's SB Pro compatibility for older games. Should I be wary of any conflicts with this setup? Like game ports trying to hook the same address or both cards trying to reclain the Adlib (388h/389h) port?

Anyway, thanks for everyone who has answered me so far 😀

No point using a YMF719 + Sound Blaster 16 in the same PC. Yes the Yamaha has OPL and SB Pro emulation but the SB 16 has OPL as well, depending on which model you choose of course. The SB 16 will also work with almost, if not all games that support SB Pro even though people say that the SB 16 will play sound in mono instead of stereo for games that support SB Pro stereo sound. I personally cant think of any games that this would occur though even though this issue has been mentioned many times here at Vogons. Cant recall anyone actually mentioning a game in particular, just a lot of talk on the issue. Decent maybe?

Reply 14 of 18, by borgie83

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Anonymous Coward wrote:

CT2230: Cons: None that I've found.

Uh...have you ever tried hooking this card up to a stereo amplifier. It sounded pretty nasty when I gave it a shot. I got some pretty bad hum. Disabling the onboard amp made it sound even worse like there was some kind of impedance mismatch or something.

I can't speak for hanging notes on this card, but I seem to recall others on this forum reporting issues with it.

I've never hooked mine up to an amp before so I cant comment on this sorry. What issues are you referring to exactly?

Reply 15 of 18, by PeterLI

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Try http://www.amibay.com, http://www.queststudios.com, http://www.vintage-computer.com as alternatives to eBay. Try MIDI modules and SoftMPU as an alternative to expensive cards. Roland RAP-10 cards are usually pretty cheap and I have seen them listed in BR.

Good luck and have fun!

Reply 16 of 18, by alexanrs

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borgie83 wrote:

No point using a YMF719 + Sound Blaster 16 in the same PC. Yes the Yamaha has OPL and SB Pro emulation but the SB 16 has OPL as well, depending on which model you choose of course. The SB 16 will also work with almost, if not all games that support SB Pro even though people say that the SB 16 will play sound in mono instead of stereo for games that support SB Pro stereo sound. I personally cant think of any games that this would occur though even though this issue has been mentioned many times here at Vogons. Cant recall anyone actually mentioning a game in particular, just a lot of talk on the issue. Decent maybe?

Yeah... I guess it is a bit redundant, but I didn't want to give up neither 16-bit sound nor the possibility of a MIDI module. Anyways, I just looked into that YMF further and it supports WSS as well, so I've got 16-bit sound anyways. Purchased 😀

PeterLI wrote:

Try http://www.amibay.com, http://www.queststudios.com, http://www.vintage-computer.com as alternatives to eBay. Try MIDI modules and SoftMPU as an alternative to expensive cards. Roland RAP-10 cards are usually pretty cheap and I have seen them listed in BR.

Good luck and have fun!

Thanks for the links... I might shop arround for a nice MIDI module now 😀

Thanks everyone for the help! I hope this little sound card is fine, but I'm not afraid of trying to change a few caps in case I have to 😀

Reply 17 of 18, by SquallStrife

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I think that unless your ears are trained on the "genuine" Yamaha OPL sound, the Creative CQM sounds just fine. If you're new to the hobby, don't be too upset if your first cheap SB16 or Vibra16 has integrated OPL or CQM. It's always something you can replace later if you decide you're going to stick with the hobby.

Same with ESS FM and Crystal FM. They don't necessarily sound "bad", they're just different. Obviously this is no consolation if you're specifically after THE genuine thing, but if you just want a 486/Pentium rig for a bit of DOS gaming fun, don't stress too much.

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Reply 18 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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I guess what I meant to say was that I tried bypassing the amp using the line out. The card does not have a jumper to disable the amp as far as I know. I believe first I tried the amplified speaker out port which gave the double amp hum. The line out was just really distorted (maybe my card was defective?)

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V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium