VOGONS


First post, by retropol

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Hi,
i need your advice - what soundcards should I put into my setups:

1. 486dx2 66 / dos + win311- 1994, at
2. pentium 200mmx - win98 - 1997, at
3. athlon - 2001, atx - winxp

Reply 3 of 10, by sunaiac

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I'd go SB pro, AWE32 and Audigy 2 ZS (+ an ISA card if this Athlon is also a high power DOS machine).
Let's call it the "standard by default".
But given the price of those cards, if you don't already own them, might as well turn to community efforts such as the Orpheus, at least for the two first machines. It's not "consistent" is the way you seem to mean it, but it corrects some shortcomings of original hardware.
If on a budget, well, SB Vibras, ensoniqs are totally fine.

R9 3900X/X470 Taichi/32GB 3600CL15/5700XT AE/Marantz PM7005
i7 980X/R9 290X/X-Fi titanium | FX-57/X1950XTX/Audigy 2ZS
Athlon 1000T Slot A/GeForce 3/AWE64G | K5 PR 200/ET6000/AWE32
Ppro 200 1M/Voodoo 3 2000/AWE 32 | iDX4 100/S3 864 VLB/SB16

Reply 4 of 10, by zyga64

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It depends... My choice is:

1. SBPro2 (AZT2316, ESS1868, Yamaha OPL3 SAx... to name a few good, hassle-free) + alternatively GUS
2. AWE64
3. SB Live! / Audigy

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /CL-GD5422 /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
3) i440BX /P!!!750 /256MB /MX440 /SBLive!+Vibra16s

Reply 5 of 10, by chinny22

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1. 486dx2 66 / dos + win311- 1994, at
Tricky.
DX2/66 SB16 was the default system requirements for years and the classic combination. But doesn't offer anything different to the AWE below.
YMF or ESS chip for something different? + Midi module

2. Pentium 200mmx - win98 - 1997, at
AWE if dos is also important, Live! but drivers may be a bit heavy?

3. athlon - 2001, atx - winxp
Audigy 1 or 2 is closer to period, X-Fi is last card win XP support

Reply 6 of 10, by MN_Moody

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I'm going to pivot from the usual suspects/greatest hits into some affordable gems that are also period correct for each build:

486 / 1994 setup - Aztech Waverider Pro (I38-MMSN852)? - OPL3 for FM plus the Samsung 0164 GM Wavetable module with 1 meg soundbank, non PnP config (software programmed EPROM), MPU-401 is SoftMPU compatible, SB Pro II compatible.

Pentium 200 / 1997 setup - Yamaha PCI YMF-724/744 based card, great true OPL3 FM support for DOS plus Yamaha XG wavetable support in Windows + DOS titles, DirectSound3D support in Windows. An Aureal Vortex 1 card would also sneak into the '97 time period.

Athlon / 2001 setup - Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, solid all-around performance and support for both A3D and EAX, plus it has a wavetable header for legacy DOS support if you want to throw a Dreamblaster S2 or other crazy wavetable card in the mix. The original SB Audigy 0090 model would also fit the 2001 time period and brings both decent DOS compatibility + positional Windows audio via EAX while remaining rather affordable .

Reply 8 of 10, by Shreddoc

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Excuse the long post. I have some spare time, so I'm going to indulge in 5 minutes furious typing on topique le intereste. *may not be actual French

A note about the Win98 machine, P200. Since the P200's release date (June 1996) is about 2 years before the Windows 98 release date (June 1998), it will only run the more modest end of Windows 98 games. Most of the games which include post-'96 sound standards like EAX, simply won't be practical to run on that machine. Even the driver footprint alone starts to get onerous, for late 90's cards (especially Creative).

So, while one common recommendation for "best of Windows 98" is the Audigy 2, I wouldn't really recommend one for a P200 machine. I think in this case the Yamaha YMF7x4 PCI card is a good option, and they are readily available at ok price, which is a rare combination in modern retro world. But ultimately the choice depends upon which specific features are wanted by the person. A musician may require different ideals and features than a gamer.

What I -do- use :

DOS / Win98 machine : Yamaha OPL3 SAx, with MT32pi and SC-55 as external MIDI.

WinXP machine : Audigy 2.

What I -would- use, if I had endless money and no bills :

DOS machine: Orpheus sound card with PCMIDI, connected to LGR's MIDI Mountain V2. And a GUS.

(Fast) Win98 machine(s): Multiple separate machines, e.g. one with an Audigy2ZX Platinum dedicated to EAX, one with an AU8830 dedicated to A3D 2.0, one with a Yamaha XG card dedicated to, well, XG. Could have multiple cards and driver sets in one machine, if you want to tempt the Windows 9x Instability Gods every time you dare to shift in your seat. I have had enough of them, so in my ideal world with no practical concerns, I would have separate machines.

Windows XP: Frankly not a great deal different than above. There is no great wonderful new Windows XP era sound standard, apart from incremental bits and pieces. About the only mainstream "innovations" in PC sound during those years that I can think of, and they weren't overly earth-shattering, were: Dolby Digital Live, as per Nvidia SoundStorm on nForce2 motherboards, and later soundcards including ones from manufacturer Auzentech, who introduced ranges of pro-sumer/enthusiast soundcards with superior technical specifications in terms of noise floor and frequency reproduction etc. (and which would not be overly recommended now due to various factors)

Reply 9 of 10, by Brawndo

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I won't chime in on your 486 because I didn't get into computers until Windows 95 was released, so I don't have experience with DOS sound cards. Though I did play a lot of DOS games, I didn't give the sound card a second thought, as long as it worked.

That said, my recs are an original SB Live! for your Pentium if Windows games only, or an Awe64 Gold if Win/DOS.

For your Athlon, Audigy 2 ZS hands down.

Reply 10 of 10, by dionb

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retropol wrote on 2021-11-06, 20:19:

thank you very much guys for your recommendation...

How about the extra info from your side that has already been requested?

Budget - and/or what you already have - is a significant consideration, not to mention how many of which slots you have available. Oh, and what you intend to play the most.

For the 486 DOS/Win3.11 system I'd ideally go for three cards: a GUS (Classic, Max or Ace - but given price and low availability, any GUS is fine), an SB16 (ideally SB AWE64 Gold) and something SBPro2 compatible with bug-free MIDI (I like 3rd gen Aztech cards, but there are lots of options). But you're looking at well over EUR 250 for that lot, so unless price is no issue (or you already have good stuff), you're going to have to compromise somewhere.

For Win98 the canonical option is the Audigy2 for best SNR and EAX. A nice Turtle Beach Montego II or Diamond MX300 (both with Aureal Vortex 2) would be a good alternative, or better, good second card to give optimal A3D in things supporting it. But none of these are period-correct for the Pentium 200MXX (a 1997 CPU). Perhaps a Yamaha YMF74x card, or otherwise a good ISA card (anything with decent WSS would be fine, as Win98 has its own software MIDI GM synth and doesn't need hardware compatibility with SB or other standards), I'd tend towards a 4th gen Aztech card, but really it doesn't matter too much under Windows.

Finally the WinXP system could equally use the Audigy2 and/or Vortex 2.