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Reply 20 of 46, by alexanrs

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I'd say CQM is as "wrong" as using a Yamaha DB50XG to play back GM tracks composed with Roland modules. It is "worse" as it is not what the composer intended, but one can still like it better.

Also, I've heard AWE64's CQM is more resilient to those speed issues than many other cards.

Reply 21 of 46, by clueless1

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Tertz, you use the words "wrong" and "worse" an awful lot on a subjective topic. A lot of people love the Gravis Ultrasound even though it sounds much different. I don't usually hear the words "wrong" and "worse" when people talk about the way the GUS sounds. In fact, I'd say I hear a hint of GUS in the CQM samples. It's cool, and different. Not what I'm used to, but it's not like there is a high-pitched hanging note drilling into my brain. It's just a slightly different sound, with a bit more rawness.

If someone started off with a CQM-based sound card and that's all they knew, I could easily imagine them saying that OPL3 sounded "wrong". It's all in your perspective. Let people listen and come to their own conclusions, don't force your conclusion down their throat.

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Reply 22 of 46, by firage

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GUS FM is all software emulation and widely panned.

Tertz wrote:

So it's better to use SB16 model with OPL3 (not OPL3-L, not CQM)

I prefer the original Adlib/SB/SB Pro/SB16/AWE32 sound to CQM myself, but I don't get the reasoning in excluding the OPL3-L. The low power chip is used in later boards with improved sound quality, and I don't think there's a difference in the chip.

Anyway, to briefly stray back to the original topic, I love the Tualatin. Combined with ISA support it's fine for Win9x/DOS. It takes a bit more work to achieve backwards compatibility with some things, but on the other hand there's always a handful of titles that benefit from all the power you can throw at them.

Last edited by firage on 2016-03-03, 15:32. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 23 of 46, by HighTreason

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I love the GUS, but it really isn't a practical solution.

Tertz wrote:
HighTreason wrote:

Such a machine with a 1.4GHz chip would breeze through games like Doom, Duke 3D and Quake as well as offering some capability for older games like Keen that weren't speed sensitive though you might have some issues with audio and timing in them.

May you say those problematic in sound games? From wich MHz P3 gets those issues. Are there ways to solve (bios settings, software,etc)?

It seems to be random to a degree. My dual slot PIII partially loses PCM in Duke Nukem II somewhere between 500MHz and 750MHz but I don't own processors in between to test where this starts. Meanwhile my Socket 370 system simply never worked well with it in the first place aside from using a slow Celeron or very slow VIA C3. It never concerned me that much as I typically use an older machine to run the game, so I never really looked into why, simply making the observation at some point in the past. Strangely, the Athlon 1500+ (At ~1400MHz) does not exhibit this behavior but it uses a VIA Apollo chipset where the other systems use 440GX/BX.

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Reply 24 of 46, by clueless1

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firage wrote:

GUS FM is all software emulation and widely panned.

My point is there are people who love its quirks and seek the card out to own due to its different sound. Yet CQM, which sounds so much closer to OPL3, usually gets roundly criticized for that minor difference in sound.

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Reply 25 of 46, by Tertz

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clueless1
CQM sounds generally worse than OPL3. And it sounds clearly wrongly in some cases.
I've pointed to example on wikipedia where CQM emulating OPL3 sounds evidently wrongly and I'm sure most will agree with me. Hence, CQM not just "other" - it's bad emulator as sometimes makes unacceptable emulation.
Also anyone, using youtube or other ways, may easily make a direct comparision between how music sounds on OPL3, for wich it was made, compared to CQM (without reverb and chorus wich mask issues). I'm sure most will notice bad elements in CQM play wich are absent on OPL3 and hence will agree CQM sounds worse, like I said. There is nothing to add to the situation from side of those who says "it's just different" as it's clearly worse.
I'm also sure, most of those who think CQM is good or "just different" - did not do direct comparision with attention. They played games without much attention to music and when heard unpleasant elements did not take into account some of them are due to lame CQM.
Both sides have said their arguments. The question is finished here.

firage wrote:

I prefer the original Adlib/SB/SB Pro/SB16/AWE32 sound to CQM myself, but I don't get the reasoning in excluding the OPL3-L.

Same like in case of OPL3 vs CQM you need direct comparision. I address you to OPL3 page on wikipedia. Music made for OPL3 plays on OPL3-L differently and these uplaned by a composer distortions make the music worse.

The low power chip is used in later boards with improved sound quality, and I don't think there's a difference in the chip.

It was made for notebooks, not for quality. AWE64 also has higher quality than SB16 and anyway have lame CQM emulator instead of normal OPL3.

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Reply 26 of 46, by Tertz

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HighTreason wrote:

My dual slot PIII partially loses PCM in Duke Nukem II somewhere between 500MHz and 750MHz but I don't own processors in between to test where this starts.

There are unknown important factors: were there no sound issues at P3 500 MHz in any games or some still had them; was the bus for 500 - 100 MHz or downclocked 66 MHz; wich was that problemstic sound card.

Dual slot PIII is not typical P3 MB. Anyway, there is some base to suspect, as 1st P3 boards were made for max P3 600, and later were revisions for Coppermines in times of ISA was thought as not important - producers could did not update ISA logic as should for Coppermines. So the possible barrier for sound issues may to be 600-650 MHz, at least for your MB.

Last edited by Tertz on 2016-03-05, 11:23. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 27 of 46, by firage

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Tertz wrote:
firage wrote:

I prefer the original Adlib/SB/SB Pro/SB16/AWE32 sound to CQM myself, but I don't get the reasoning in excluding the OPL3-L.

Same like in case of OPL3 vs CQM you need direct comparision. I address you to OPL3 page on wikipedia. Music made for OPL3 plays on OPL3-L differently and these uplaned by a composer distortions make the music worse.

I know about claimed differences in OPL3 compared to the original OPL2, but this stuff about the OPL3-L is news. This must be your own original research?

It was made for notebooks, not for quality. AWE64 also has higher quality than SB16 and anyway have lame CQM emulator instead of normal OPL3.

Yeah, it was designed for low power applications with a few extra features, but it and the low power DAC paired with it distort less - and late SB16 revisions, some with the OPL3-L, can achieve digital audio quality comparable to AWE64.

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Reply 28 of 46, by clueless1

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firage wrote:
I know about claimed differences in OPL3 compared to the original OPL2, but this stuff about the OPL3-L is news. This must be yo […]
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Tertz wrote:
firage wrote:

I prefer the original Adlib/SB/SB Pro/SB16/AWE32 sound to CQM myself, but I don't get the reasoning in excluding the OPL3-L.

Same like in case of OPL3 vs CQM you need direct comparision. I address you to OPL3 page on wikipedia. Music made for OPL3 plays on OPL3-L differently and these uplaned by a composer distortions make the music worse.

I know about claimed differences in OPL3 compared to the original OPL2, but this stuff about the OPL3-L is news. This must be your own original research?

It was made for notebooks, not for quality. AWE64 also has higher quality than SB16 and anyway have lame CQM emulator instead of normal OPL3.

Yeah, it was designed for low power applications with a few extra features, but it and the low power DAC paired with it distort less - and late SB16 revisions, some with the OPL3-L, can achieve digital audio quality comparable to AWE64.

I think this is what Tertz is referring to:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YMF262
Under Yamaha YMF289 there is "A comparison of the outputs of Yamaha's YMF262 and YMF289 FM sound chips."
I can't hear any difference.

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Reply 29 of 46, by firage

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So there's meant to be artifacts and a pitch change from resampling. The difference in the clip is about the same as you'd expect in recording two different sound cards maybe at different volumes, the OPL3-L only sounds like it's being driven harder there. At some point the rest of the card becomes more important even to me. 😀

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Reply 30 of 46, by mattrock1988

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HighTreason wrote:
@mattrock1988; You said my name, this summoned me from the darkness in a cloud of acrid smoke. […]
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@mattrock1988; You said my name, this summoned me from the darkness in a cloud of acrid smoke.

I had a similar board to that made by Asus and it seemed to work fine. I have more experience with Intel chipsets for the Pentium III but I'm not inclined to think the VIA has any outstanding issues unless there's something I don't know about - There's a VIA chip where some iDE drivers slow the drives down or something, but I think it was either the MVP3 or an Apollo used for Athlon machines and I've never seen it personally - but it should be overkill for running DOS stuff.

At the end of the day with such questions there's no right or wrong answer, it comes down to what you prefer and what you want the machine to do and nothing comes with guarantees when you're operating outside of the manufacturer's intended parameters. In short if you don't mind the sound of CQM (Which I don't, it sounds fine to me) you'll be fine with nearly any Creative ISA card. If you don't like CQM you'll have to find one with a real FM chip (Probably the YMF262) or find another substitute like the cheap and easily available ESS cards. The down-side to non-creative boards is that you only have SBPro support, not SB16. Skip the SBPCI cards as they have no FM/CQM and they sound crappy. AWE64's seem to be the go-to card for this kind of machine and with good reason, I used one in both my Athlon and Pentium III where they had no real issues, they also have the waveguide synth which isn't great versus pro equipment but works well if you're into that stuff.

Such a machine with a 1.4GHz chip would breeze through games like Doom, Duke 3D and Quake as well as offering some capability for older games like Keen that weren't speed sensitive though you might have some issues with audio and timing in them.

The only real negatives for that board are;
No SB-Link, this removes a few PCI cards you could have used. You would probably have compatibility issues with cards like the YMF724 in DOS and cards which don't need the connector, like the CMI8738, are hit and miss at the best of times.

No AGP. Not an issue in DOS, but if you want to run Windows 9X games you might start noticing a performance drop at the upper end of the scale.

Hello HighTreason,

Thanks for opining within this rambling thread. I appreciate your insight.

It appears I won the auction for the motherboard and picked it up for $30 USD (including shipping) in virtually new condition. Hopefully it will work with my tests, but I suppose there's always the SE440BX-2 if I want something that's considered a known quantity in the DOS world, at least with sub 600 MHz Coppermine Pentium III CPUs.

I did also see an AWE64 Gold new in the box as well, but it was listed at an absurd $180. I am considering going used, but most used AWE64 Gold ISA cards look extremely nasty and would stand out in a bad way when put against the rest of the parts in my system build, which are in new old stock condition. Hopefully, the ISA bus won't prove to be an issue with the chipset. Fingers crossed.

PCI video is not an issue for me. I don't intend to run many Windows games from 2004 on using this system. The latest title I might consider is Digital Anvil's Freelancer, and I hear that performs rather well, even on an Nvidia GeForce4 MX2 on PCI.

Matt

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Reply 31 of 46, by gerwin

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mattrock1988 wrote:

I am also open to different CPU options like a Celeron or even a VIA C3 Ezra core, if I should be using something slower instead.Thoughts?

VIA C3 Ezra core and earlier are kinda weird, with SetMul they can emulate all kinds of 386 and 486's in speed. But they do not impress in Quake 1 at 640x400.
VIA C3 Nehemiah, on the other hand, is a solid choice that runs Quake 1 at 70 FPS, though can still be switched to lower speeds on the fly. With that in mind it is a good choice for DOS, arguably better then a PIII...or an unlocked PIII.

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Reply 32 of 46, by mattrock1988

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gerwin wrote:
mattrock1988 wrote:

I am also open to different CPU options like a Celeron or even a VIA C3 Ezra core, if I should be using something slower instead.Thoughts?

VIA C3 Ezra core and earlier are kinda weird, with SetMul they can emulate all kinds of 386 and 486's in speed. But they do not impress in Quake 1 at 640x400.
VIA C3 Nehemiah, on the other hand, is a solid choice that runs Quake 1 at 70 FPS, though can still be switched to lower speeds on the fly. With that in mind it is a good choice for DOS, arguably better then a PIII...or an unlocked PIII.

Hi gerwin,

I considered getting a VIA C3 Nehemiah, but the Biostar motherboard I ultimately acquired did not mention support for that particular CPU, though the board allegedly supports Tualatin, a chip which I managed to grab on ebay for a mere $7. Unless I feel adventurous, I'll probably stick with the 1.4 GHz Tualatin, seeing as most Nehemiah chips are in the $30+ dollar range in any good condition.

Matt

Retro PC: Intel Pentium III @ 1 GHz, Intel SE440BX-2, 32 GB IDE DOM, 384 MB SDRAM, DVD-ROM, 1.44 MB floppy, Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600 AGP, Creative SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold, Aureal Vortex 2, DreamBlaster S2

Reply 33 of 46, by xjas

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Tertz wrote:
xjas wrote:

The CQM is *different* than the OPL3. It's not better or worse.

It's definetely worse as you get wrong sound, not as composer wanted. Degree of issues may differ from a little wrong to disgustingly wrong elements. The better you have music taste, the more aversion you'll get from random variations CQM inputs into original music in case you'll compare with OPL3 sound. Also without such direct comparision it's hard to understand are lame elements in a track caused by lame composer or by lame CQM emulation. CQM is just wrong. [...]

How do *you* know what each and every composer intended? What makes you think professional musicians back then wouldn't have bought the higher-end sound card? Maybe they weren't using a Sound Blaster at all; maybe it was a Terratec or M-Audio or Pro Audio Spectrum. Maybe they were using external MIDI gear. Maybe they were writing tracker music and converting it. Maybe they were on a Mac.

Even back then musicians didn't just buy the cheapest "value edition" SB16 and pair of "computer speakers" they could find, and say, "yep, this is what the average gamer would have. I'm going to compose on that." Trust me on this when I say musicians LOVE high-end gear, and when you write your music with quality gear in mind it sounds better on the budget stuff too.

Don't forget that nobody waxed on about the 'purity' of the FM sound when these cards were around. Yes, it was revolutionary when the DX7 came out in the '80s but for PC audio in the mid-'90s it was seen as the most basic option and a stopgap at best. Everyone *wanted* the wavetable cards and that's what the composers put all their effort into writing for; FM conversions were often done after-the-fact.

I'm not going to spend an hour "debating" your whole-page reply of chuffed-up knowitallism, because it's useless to, but assuming you know the be-all-end-all way a given soundtrack is *supposed* to sound is ludicrous. Even if they were composing on a 'Genuine OPL' they sure as hell weren't using the same speakers, amplifier, equalizer, or whatever *you* have in your setup.

REGARDLESS OF ALL THIS, the OP is asking about a Pentium III from ~1998. Any DOS stuff that you would want to play on that would have AWE support (Descent, late 2.5D games like Eradicator, Powerslave, etc.), *if* it even used the onboard synth at all. By then CD audio and streaming formats (e.g. Command & Conquer) were far more common. You're trying to argue it's better for him to have a low-range soundcard from 1992 because *you* think it sounds "correct" in Commander Keen.

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Reply 34 of 46, by Tertz

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firage wrote:

The difference in the clip is about the same as you'd expect in recording two different sound cards maybe at different volumes

I have no basis to think so. The fact is there is evidently worse sound on OPL3-L compared to normal OPL3. Some instruments sound differently and worse.

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Reply 35 of 46, by Tertz

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mattrock1988 wrote:

PCI video is not an issue for me. I don't intend to run many Windows games from 2004 on using this system.

You'll get lower fps on PCI on games made in AGP era, from ~1999. Games to run goodly on high P3 are not far from 2002, with later you'll get issues with minimum specs limits, if they'll run ok at all.

Freelancer, and I hear that performs rather well, even on an Nvidia GeForce4 MX2 on PCI

This game has as recommended Geforce3.
There was no MX2 model
For high P3 to get normal, not MX, Geforce4 is better. Or some Geforce3 with HDMI.

Last edited by Tertz on 2016-03-04, 10:28. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 36 of 46, by brostenen

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Well....
If you are going for something in the area of P-II or P-III, running Win98, then you might as well install some PCI sound card.
A card like one of the Vortex cards, seem to be in favor here on Vogons. Personally I would go for a YMF-724 instead.
Have been talking about this Vortex VS. YMF-724 with a fellow user here on Vogons, and we both feel that 724/754's are slightly better.
Then again.... It's really 100% about personal taste on these matter's. Some like it one way, some like it another.

I would say that if you have to go for ISA, then keep away from GUS. It's a great card (no doubt about that), only that the GUS
have most potential, if you are running Demo's, running Trackers and using hardware/software from circa 1989 to 1993.
Stuff after that, you are moving into different kind of hardware and software, and most titles are unsupported on the GUS.
Then you need stuff like an AWE32 with a real OPL chip, and possible an AWE64-Gold.
The only title I have really had bad experience with, running with a non-OPL chip card, is Dynablaster. It REALLY need OPL.
And I can't stress this too much.... Dynablaster need OPL. Period. 😁
DB + CQM just screams and tries to poke out you'r eardrums, with a glowing red hot firepoker, and begins to melt you'r brain.
Other than that, CQM is good enough, and if you are running post-93 Dos games, Wavetable is most likely supported in games.

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Reply 37 of 46, by brostenen

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It's actually the same with Voodoo cards, as with GUS cards. They are a specific type of hardware, for a specific timeframe of games.
None the less. These type of hardware is a piece of history and they are fun to play games on.

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Reply 38 of 46, by Tertz

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brostenen wrote:

The only title I have really had bad experience with, running with a non-OPL chip card, is Dynablaster. It REALLY need OPL.

While other titles just sounded worse on CQM. 😀 Just without melting your ears.

Other than that, CQM is good enough

Yep. If to think that anything wich does not melt your ears is good enough. While direct comparisions shows issues in the sound of CQM wich absent on OPL3. If to have wrong sound with issues is good - it's ok.

post-93 Dos games, Wavetable is most likely supported in games

But to get good wavetable on recommended by you AWE you need additional ram and good banks. And to get GM support in DOS games on AWE (as there are many ones without AWE support for music) in many cases you'll need to run DOS games under Win9x. Windows-Wavetable card.

brostenen wrote:

It's actually the same with Voodoo cards, as with GUS cards. They are a specific type of hardware, for a specific timeframe of games. None the less. These type of hardware is a piece of history and they are fun to play games on.

Voodoo cards work ok on P3. I doubt such is with GUS classic.

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