VOGONS


First post, by Hakeshu

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HI, my name is Alex and it's my first post here (but I've been reading the forums for quite some time. Recently I got my first retro rig, and I'm really happy with it. Here's the specs:

Pentium 200 MMX
49MB RAM
SL-586V ART CONTROL mobo
Trident 3D Imàge 9750 (withAV and Svideo)
Creative Sound Blaster CT2980
USB x2 PCI card
8GB Quantum Fireball HDD
LG 52x CD Drive
2x 3.5 floppy

Got it for a fair/cheap price assembled and running Windows98. I had a Samsung SyncMaster 794v and overall I'm really satisfied with my acquisition. Also I have more 64MB EDO ram, PC Chips M530 mobo and a S3 Trio 64v2arriving soon.

Only one thing is missing from my dream retro machine, which is a OPL Sound card. I have a few option atm and I would like to hear some opinions about. Here my options:

Yamaha A151-A00 YMF-719-S
Yamaha LSI Audio Wave YMF718-S
Yamaha ATC-6631 YMF719E-S (sold as is, but with a really good price)
Sound Blaster 16 CT2230

Those are my options atm here in my country (unfortunately here in Brazil thing aren't as easy as in other places), and I really can't decide which one I'll bring home to listen some nice FM music.

Thanks in advance. Also here's some pictures of my rig

iWlCQyX.jpg
l94EJY2.jpg
0Wq2ksx.jpg
50FgTCg.jpg
NKeU3yj.jpg
AzYaO2q.jpg

Last edited by Hakeshu on 2020-12-26, 22:04. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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The CT2980 that you currently have uses CQM for FM synth, while all the other sound cards that you listed have genuine OPL3 on board, which is generally preferable.

That said, if at some point you decide to add an external MIDI device or a wavetable daughterboard to your system, then the Yamaha cards are a better choice due to the bugs that most SB16 cards suffer from. See here: Sound Blaster 16 Bugs and Deficiencies Summary

Personally, I would go with the Yamaha ATC-6631 YMF719E-S.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 2 of 14, by Hakeshu

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-12-26, 20:44:

The CT2980 that you currently have uses CQM for FM synth, while all the other sound cards that you listed have genuine OPL3 on board, which is generally preferable.

That said, if at some point you decide to add an external MIDI device or a wavetable daughterboard to your system, then the Yamaha cards are a better choice due to the bugs that most SB16 cards suffer from. See here: Sound Blaster 16 Bugs and Deficiencies Summary

Personally, I would go with the Yamaha ATC-6631 YMF719E-S.

OH NO. Thanks Joseph, great info. I'm inclined for the 719E-S myself, but I was hoping for more info just like the one you posted.

Reply 3 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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Hakeshu wrote on 2020-12-26, 22:25:

OH NO. Thanks Joseph, great info. I'm inclined for the 719E-S myself, but I was hoping for more info just like the one you posted.

Note that Yamaha cards have a few minor issues of their own e.g. no ADPCM support and some mixer bugs.

Even so, I still think Yamaha cards are an excellent choice. If you want to see one in action, check this review by Phil.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4 of 14, by MKT_Gundam

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If using win 95/98, go with Yamaha because OPL3 and the soft wavetable for some MIDImusic in games.

Retro rig 1: Asus CUV4X, VIA c3 800, Voodoo Banshee (Diamond fusion) and SB32 ct3670.
Retro rig 2: Intel DX2 66, SB16 Ct1740 and Cirrus Logic VLB.

Reply 6 of 14, by chinny22

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As you already own the SB16 you could install both and use the SB16 for games that support it (The Yamaha only supports SB Pro or WSS) or the games affected by the post Joseph_Joestar linked.

Depends on which games you want to play if its worth it or not (or use as an excuse for another retro PC 😉

Reply 7 of 14, by Jo22

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-12-31, 09:15:

As you already own the SB16 you could install both and use the SB16 for games that support it (The Yamaha only supports SB Pro or WSS) or the games affected by the post Joseph_Joestar linked.

Depends on which games you want to play if its worth it or not (or use as an excuse for another retro PC 😉

I second that. Some of the Plug&Pray Sound Blasters have the ability to enable/disable the FM unit, also.
So it should be possible to use the SB16 for the later games that support 16-Bit PCM in any way (like mixing, if the game uses MOD files).
The Yamaha SB Pro emulation can then use the classic addresses like Port 220h, IRQ7 (or 5), DMA1 while the SB16 sits on the remaining free resources.
- Games using the SB16 natively should usually be able to use akward addresses, if configured accordingly.

Or let's just do it the other way round. Use the SB16 as the main card for Sound Blaster and SB16 compatibility
and configure the Yamaha's SB Pro emulation to use the oddball resources.
Since SB16 and SB Pro appeared around the same time frame, games needing a SB Pro should be almost as flexible as those requiring an SB16.
With the exception of demoscene stuff, maybe, which might be hard-coded to a small selection of settings.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 8 of 14, by Hakeshu

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-12-31, 09:29:
I second that. Some of the Plug&Pray Sound Blasters have the ability to enable/disable the FM unit, also. So it should be possib […]
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chinny22 wrote on 2020-12-31, 09:15:

As you already own the SB16 you could install both and use the SB16 for games that support it (The Yamaha only supports SB Pro or WSS) or the games affected by the post Joseph_Joestar linked.

Depends on which games you want to play if its worth it or not (or use as an excuse for another retro PC 😉

I second that. Some of the Plug&Pray Sound Blasters have the ability to enable/disable the FM unit, also.
So it should be possible to use the SB16 for the later games that support 16-Bit PCM in any way (like mixing, if the game uses MOD files).
The Yamaha SB Pro emulation can then use the classic addresses like Port 220h, IRQ7 (or 5), DMA1 while the SB16 sits on the remaining free resources.
- Games using the SB16 natively should usually be able to use akward addresses, if configured accordingly.

Or let's just do it the other way round. Use the SB16 as the main card for Sound Blaster and SB16 compatibility
and configure the Yamaha's SB Pro emulation to use the oddball resources.
Since SB16 and SB Pro appeared around the same time frame, games needing a SB Pro should be almost as flexible as those requiring an SB16.
With the exception of demoscene stuff, maybe, which might be hard-coded to a small selection of settings.

Yeah, that's the goal atm. I was thinking about linking both through the line in, so I could get the better of both worlds. In s far away future I could even build a dedicated 486 machine for DOS and FM sound, but for now I'll stick with the P200.

Reply 9 of 14, by dionb

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Nice system! - and welcome. Third vote for YMF71x+SB16, you get best of both worlds that way. I'd also put the YMF on the traditional settings (A220, I5 or 7 if you want to play really old stuff, D1, P330) and the SB16 on alternate (A240 I3 or 7, D3, H5 and disable MIDI). That gives you real OPL and good MIDI with full SBPro2 compatibility on resources older games assume, and avoids most of the SB16 bugs, while you still get SB16 DA.

As for which YMF - functionally they're identical, but build quality can differ and result in more noise. I'm not convinced the second one is actually manufactured by Yamaha. If it is, that's the obvious choice, if not I'd be more suspicious of it than the other two. If the third A-Trend card is significantly cheaper, it's probably a good bet. You can always shell out more later if it disappoints.

Note that linking cards through line-in sounds good, but can add a lot of noise to the signal. I've had bad experiences with it even with really quiet cards (AWE64 Gold), so if possible I'd give both cards a direct link to speakers/amplifier, if you have one that has multiple inputs, or consider a mixer (which is what I use), particularly if you expect to add more computers anyway.

Reply 10 of 14, by Hakeshu

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dionb wrote on 2021-01-01, 15:00:

Nice system! - and welcome. Third vote for YMF71x+SB16, you get best of both worlds that way. I'd also put the YMF on the traditional settings (A220, I5 or 7 if you want to play really old stuff, D1, P330) and the SB16 on alternate (A240 I3 or 7, D3, H5 and disable MIDI). That gives you real OPL and good MIDI with full SBPro2 compatibility on resources older games assume, and avoids most of the SB16 bugs, while you still get SB16 DA.

As for which YMF - functionally they're identical, but build quality can differ and result in more noise. I'm not convinced the second one is actually manufactured by Yamaha. If it is, that's the obvious choice, if not I'd be more suspicious of it than the other two. If the third A-Trend card is significantly cheaper, it's probably a good bet. You can always shell out more later if it disappoints.

Note that linking cards through line-in sounds good, but can add a lot of noise to the signal. I've had bad experiences with it even with really quiet cards (AWE64 Gold), so if possible I'd give both cards a direct link to speakers/amplifier, if you have one that has multiple inputs, or consider a mixer (which is what I use), particularly if you expect to add more computers anyway.

I went with the A151A00. Fair price here in my country and was fully tested unlike the Yamaha ATC-6631, the Yamaha LSI Audio Wave was a little pricey for my budget atm. Thanks for the inputs about connections, do you have some recommendations on cheap mixers? Using a Creative 2.1 speaker Inspire A200 for output. I don't have much knowledge on musical stuff (my interest got way higher now that I'm playing around with the rig), so some tips will be greatly appreciated.

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Reply 11 of 14, by dionb

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Hakeshu wrote on 2021-01-02, 05:28:

[...]

I went with the A151A00. Fair price here in my country and was fully tested unlike the Yamaha ATC-6631, the Yamaha LSI Audio Wave was a little pricey for my budget atm. Thanks for the inputs about connections, do you have some recommendations on cheap mixers? Using a Creative 2.1 speaker Inspire A200 for output. I don't have much knowledge on musical stuff (my interest got way higher now that I'm playing around with the rig), so some tips will be greatly appreciated.

Can't comment on availability in BR, but here in EU Behringer has decent quality for acceptable prices. I use their RX1602 8 channel stereo mixer.

Reply 13 of 14, by dionb

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Hakeshu wrote on 2021-01-11, 19:29:

Just an update.

Got 2 Yamaha cards. Now time to test this beauties.

Nice!

Functionality should be identical. My prejudice says the Labtec card is likely to sound cleaner than the A-Trend, but there's just one way to find out for sure 😉

Reply 14 of 14, by Hakeshu

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dionb wrote on 2021-01-12, 00:37:
Hakeshu wrote on 2021-01-11, 19:29:

Just an update.

Got 2 Yamaha cards. Now time to test this beauties.

Nice!

Functionality should be identical. My prejudice says the Labtec card is likely to sound cleaner than the A-Trend, but there's just one way to find out for sure 😉

Yeah, I'm dying to try both, but my win98 got corrupted and I'm out of floppy disk atm. Waiting for the Gotek drive to arrive this week to format the rig and test both cards.

And of course I'm already looking to build the m32-pi