BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby LABS » 2018-7-08 @ 22:30

Hi!

This is a new thread dedicated to my BlasterBoard 2.0 project:
A modern Sound Blaster 2.0-compatible 8-bit ISA sound card for retro PCs.

The prototype looks like this:
P1010556.JPG

It consists of 2 boards: DAC board (left) and OPL2 board (right).
The card supports playback of FM music and digital samples.

At this moment BlasterBoard 2.0 operates as SB2.0 in all DOS applications and games I tested it with.

Here is a short demo:
https://youtu.be/Hrpn6uMCRac

Unlike original SB2.0 card, BlasterBoard has an analog crossfader for manual
adjustment of FM music and digital sample playback levels.

Built on discreet 74HC logic, ATmega328P microcontroller, modern DAC and audio-grade
components in sound path for lowest possible noise and highest audio quality.

Done so far:
- FM music playback as Adlib (0x388) or Sound Blaster (0x2X8)
- 8-bit PCM samples playback in all modes
- Playback frequency from 4KHz to 96KHz

Still to be implemented:
- ADPCM playback
- Handling of sound recording commands (silent output)
Last edited by LABS on 2018-7-14 @ 18:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby keropi » 2018-7-08 @ 23:45

very nice! keep up the good work!
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-08 @ 23:47

LABS wrote:Hi!

This is a new thread dedicated to my BlasterBoard 2.0 project:
A modern Sound Blaster 2.0-compatible 8-bit ISA sound card for retro PCs.

The prototype looks like this:
P1010556.JPG

It consists of 2 boards: DAC board (left) and OPL2 board (right).
The card supports playback of FM music and digital samples.

Unlike original SB2.0 card, BlasterBoard has an analog crossfader for manual
adjustment of FM music and digital sample playback levels.

Built on discreet 74HCT logic, ATmega328P microcontroller, modern DAC and audio-grade
components in sound path for lowest possible noise and highest audio quality.

Done so far:
- FM music playback as Adlib (0x388) or Sound Blaster (0x2X8)
- 8-bit PCM samples playback in all modes
- Playback frequency from 4KHz to 96KHz

Still to be implemented:
- ADPCM playback
- Handling of sound recording commands (silent output)

Here is a short demo:
https://youtu.be/Hrpn6uMCRac

At this moment BlasterBoard 2.0 operates as SB2.0 in all DOS applications and games I tested it with.


This is a really great project and has a potential to address one of the fundamental weak points of DOS gaming -- the lack of sound cards without weaknesses.

How much of the bus controller and codec functionality is fixed? Could this base design be expanded to interface via SB Pro, WSS, Ensoniq, and SB16 hardware interfaces, ideally with a second DAC and expanded firmware? Is there enough reserve performance to implement a FIR filter a la the SB16?
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby Phreeze » 2018-7-12 @ 06:34

i will bookmark this thread :)
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby root42 » 2018-7-12 @ 07:51

Awesome project, great results! I am looking forward to the first single board prototype!
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80286@12 MHz, 2 MiB RAM, Tseng ET4000 1 MiB, schlae AdLib, XT CF Lite, OSSC 1.6
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby dreamblaster » 2018-7-12 @ 20:29

great project, if you need any help just pm me
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby LABS » 2018-7-14 @ 19:20

gdjacobs wrote:This is a really great project and has a potential to address one of the fundamental weak points of DOS gaming -- the lack of sound cards without weaknesses.

How much of the bus controller and codec functionality is fixed? Could this base design be expanded to interface via SB Pro, WSS, Ensoniq, and SB16 hardware interfaces, ideally with a second DAC and expanded firmware? Is there enough reserve performance to implement a FIR filter a la the SB16?

Thanks, if there will be enough interest in BlasterBoard 2.0, then there will definately be new projects you are talking about :cool:

root42 wrote:Awesome project, great results! I am looking forward to the first single board prototype!

Single board version will be available very soon, I'm going to make some limited quantity available for purchase, so if you are interested - please let me know.

dreamblaster wrote:great project, if you need any help just pm me

Just visited your shop - really great stuff. Thanks for your support and congrats on the 3rd place)
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby LABS » 2018-7-14 @ 20:07

Which games that use ADPCM samples do you know?
Thanks
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby derSammler » 2018-7-14 @ 20:30

Duke Nukem 2, afaik.
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby jheronimus » 2018-7-14 @ 20:36

Can I reserve a card for myself? Will it only be available as a DIY kit, or as a finished product as well?
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby keropi » 2018-7-14 @ 20:45

kinda interested as well - I don't mind to solder my card (prefer it actually) or even anyone else's who cannot solder
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby root42 » 2018-7-14 @ 20:58

I am also interested in a card. DIY kit absolutely ok, as long as there aren't any very small SMD parts. :)
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-15 @ 18:23

derSammler wrote:Duke Nukem 2, afaik.


Major Stryker, as well.
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby LABS » 2018-7-16 @ 11:21

jheronimus wrote:Can I reserve a card for myself? Will it only be available as a DIY kit, or as a finished product as well?

keropi wrote:kinda interested as well - I don't mind to solder my card (prefer it actually) or even anyone else's who cannot solder

root42 wrote:I am also interested in a card. DIY kit absolutely ok, as long as there aren't any very small SMD parts. :)


You got it. You can have either a kit or I can solder it for you.
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby Scali » 2018-7-16 @ 11:28

Very nice work!
I take it a SB Pro 2 version would not be too far off, now that you've gotten this far.
You'd need to replace the OPL2 with OPL3, and extend the DSP a bit to support stereo samples, and hook up a stereo DAC instead of a mono one, and you'd pretty much be done!

Edit: I do not see mention of any MIDI support. I take it you have not added that functionality to the DSP yet?
I don't see any MIDI/joystick connector on the card either.
Last edited by Scali on 2018-7-16 @ 11:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby matze79 » 2018-7-16 @ 11:35

i also would like to get a board :)

Thank you!
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Re: BlasterBoard 2.0 : A modern SB 2.0-compatible ISA sound card

Postby canthearu » 2018-7-16 @ 12:03

Looks like a fun project. My NEC V30 based computer could use sound blaster.

So count me in ... either as a kit or premade.
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