VOGONS


First post, by vetz

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I just got hold of this card. It supports 5 sound standards, including Covox and Disney Sound System.

While I've found the drivers and it installs correctly I would like to know more about the emulation of Covox and Disney Sound System. Does anyone have the manual for this card and can take some pictures?

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Reply 1 of 11, by j^aws

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These cards seem to come in various flavours. What CODEC does your card have? I've got one with a Crystal chipset and one with an Analog Devices chipset.

I've never seen a manual for these as well, but I doubt they'd explain much. It's a simple matter of enabling a jumper for the port, then the onboard DSP/DAC do the rest to mimick Covox/ DSS...

Reply 3 of 11, by j^aws

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Also, check your driver directory for an obviously sounding filename to enable/disable the COV/DSS, and ensure your Parallel port is at a different location or disabled.

Reply 4 of 11, by shock__

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I think my card had a jumper called "virtual lpt" which enabled a combined covox/dss mode.

Current Project: new GUS PnP compatible soundcard

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Reply 5 of 11, by jesolo

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I have the Sound Galaxy Basic 16 sound card (FCC ID: I38-MMSN810) which I bought back in late 1994 (it was my first sound card and I still have the original box, disks & manuals).
It is currently performing it's duties again in my retro Cyrix 486DLC machine after many years in storage.
My card is sometimes called the Sound Galaxy Pro 16 but, it also has the Analog Devices chipset and is the same generation as the Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16 - your card's FCC ID should be I38-MMSN803.

You can run the diagnostics program (SG3.* but, I think earlier cards used SG2.*) to test that everything works on your soundcard (including the Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing modules).
Just take note that the Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing modules on the sound card has its own volume control in the Mixer control utility (you can either load the tsr and set the volume or use the DOS command line mixer control utility).

According to my manual, the Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing modules are enabled by default on the sound card but, you can disable/enable it via the SGCOX.exe program.

The jumpers that "shock__" referred are J4 & J5. If you do not have an available parallel port at address 3BCH, 378H or 278H, then you can use the virtual parallel port jumpers to create a virtual parallel port at address 278H. To enable the virtual parallel port, make sure that pins 1-2 of both jumpers are closed (open to disable). However, there is no need to enable the virtual parallel port if you have an available parallel port at the addresses as described above (just make sure nothing else is utilizing the same parallel port address).

Reply 6 of 11, by FGB

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I own almost the complete range of cards aztech released, including the card in question. I have itin the box with manual and disks. So if you need something specific, let me know. However, the manual has no special section about the DSS mode, beside a simple introduction to the jumpers already mentioned above.

The AD Soundport chip is the 16-Bit codec chip, it has nothing to do with DSS. DSS is provided via the big old Aztech 0592 chip, introduced in 1992 with the initial Aztech Sound Galaxy NX.

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Reply 7 of 11, by jesolo

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I've always wondered what the difference between the NXPro 16 and Basic 16/Pro 16 was.
From what i can see, they share the same hardware components.
Might be a matter of the software that were bundled with the cards.

Slightly off topic, but why were the sound cards, that utilized the AZT1605 chipset, only Sound Blaster compatible?
I have two of those models and were actually surprised to see this when I installed them (since they were released after the above models).

Reply 8 of 11, by FGB

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jesolo wrote:
I've always wondered what the difference between the NXPro 16 and Basic 16/Pro 16 was. From what i can see, they share the same […]
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I've always wondered what the difference between the NXPro 16 and Basic 16/Pro 16 was.
From what i can see, they share the same hardware components.
Might be a matter of the software that were bundled with the cards.

Slightly off topic, but why were the sound cards, that utilized the AZT1605 chipset, only Sound Blaster compatible?
I have two of those models and were actually surprised to see this when I installed them (since they were released after the above models).

All of the NX-series cards feature the DSS / Covox feature. Most of the other cards don't. The AZT1605 based cards are SB Pro compatible and also have a Crystal or a register compatible AD SoundPort 16-Bit Codec. But these cards lack the 0592 chips and therefor lack the DSS / Covox emulation.

According the names.. well, it was the same chaos as with the SoundBlaster 16 series. The same hardware was labeled different, depending on the bundeled software, the packaging etc. Creative also changed the value of the "VALUE Edition" declaration: The old "VALUE Edition" cards included MORE than the normal boxes (SoundBlaster 2 came with bundeled games, SoundBlaster Pro 2 came with games, software, etc) while later SoundBlaster 16 and AWE cards with the "VALUE Edition" label actually LACKED additional bundeled stuff and / or hardware features. So the old "VALUE" was a the "DELUXE" and the new "VALUE" became the "CHEAPO" edition. Strange stuff but pretty normal in a world of advertisement and marketing.

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Reply 9 of 11, by vetz

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Thanks for all the detailed information, this thread alone has produced more info about this card than anything else on the web 😀

Jesolo: How is the Soundblaster compatibility on this card? My card has the FCC ID I38-MMSN803 as you said.

I also tested SoftMPU with the card. It works with the SB MIDI switch 😀

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Reply 10 of 11, by jesolo

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vetz wrote:

Jesolo: How is the Soundblaster compatibility on this card? My card has the FCC ID I38-MMSN803 as you said.
I also tested SoftMPU with the card. It works with the SB MIDI switch 😀

I think your card has the volume control thumb wheel at the back, whereas my card has a full software based volume control.
Apart from that, I think both cards share the same hardware components.

I can't speak for your card since I don't own that particular model but, my card (which utilizes the same chipset) is fully Sound Blaster & Sound Blaster Pro II compatible (apart from the Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing compatibility).
It has the same Yamaha OPL3 chip on board so there's no problem there in terms of FM synthesis.
As for digitized sounds, I've never come across any game where I experienced problems. Even demo's play back perfectly when choosing Sound Blaster Pro
Some sound cards suffered from the so called "reverse stereo" problem but, this card has always played back the digital sounds correctly (pan left to right and not right to left).

However, what I have noticed on some games is that you experience muffled/distorted digital sound playback.
To avoid hearing muffled digital sounds, you have to select the MONO playback option in the sound card's software mixer control utility (although, actual playback will still be in stereo for those games that support it) - I guess it has to do with the onboard mixer.

I've never actually tried SoftMPU on this particular model (due to the fact that it lacks an MPU-401 UART MIDI interface - the only drawback of this card) but, I have tested SoftMPU on both a Sound Galaxy with the AZT1605 chipset (popular models that utilized this chipset were the Sound Galaxy Nova16, Orion16 & Pro16II - I38-MMSN822) & AZT2316/A/R chipset (popular models that utilized this chipset were the Sound Galaxy Pro16II (I38-MMSN845), Nova16II Extra II-3D & Waverider 32+).
Unfortunately, it completely locks up with models utilizing the AZT1605 chipset but, works quite well on models utilizing the AZT2316/A/R chipset.

You can post your test results under this topic: SoftMPU project needs your help! (game & sound card testing)

I do wish to point out that these particular sound card models were designed back in the day when your mainstream PC was a 486DX2-66. So, don't be surprised if you experience weird sounds or lockups on faster CPU's (I noticed that my Basic16 card didn't want to play back on any CPU's that supported write back cache).

Reply 11 of 11, by Peter z80.eu

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jesolo wrote:

[...]
According to my manual, the Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing modules are enabled by default on the sound card but, you can disable/enable it via the SGCOX.exe program.

The jumpers that "shock__" referred are J4 & J5. If you do not have an available parallel port at address 3BCH, 378H or 278H, then you can use the virtual parallel port jumpers to create a virtual parallel port at address 278H. To enable the virtual parallel port, make sure that pins 1-2 of both jumpers are closed (open to disable). However, there is no need to enable the virtual parallel port if you have an available parallel port at the addresses as described above (just make sure nothing else is utilizing the same parallel port address).

I have a similar sound card, a "Sound Galaxy Basic16" - my Parallel Port ZIP drive isn't working if I plug in the card. I already set the jumpers to "Disable" the virtual parallel port, but it's still influencing ZIP drive operation.
Does it help to use the SGCOX program also (to disable the above mentioned "extra" features) ?
If not, is my sound card just "incompatible" with my Parallel Port ZIP drive ?
Driver (GUEST) is loaded, I can also access the drive, but it always generates weird junk character directory listings....

Edited later: I already tried it, it works ! "SGCOX /off" was the solution, although I do not understand what "expert" split configuration tasks into several separate utilities (they should integrate all configurable items into one setup program).