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MP3 player on a 386/387?

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Reply 20 of 29, by 386SX

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swaaye wrote on 2020-08-10, 17:08:

Perhaps instead of MP3 the thing to do is AWE32 with ASP/CSP and ADPCM audio. 😁

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Impressive! I always wondered if those audio chips would be able to "do something" more than just being more or less compatible with games and comparing their outputs audio quality. They actually could process something heavier, who knows mabe even into some other compression format?
Those graphs make me remember the MPEG2 decoding story from the early vga internal few features and the more complex specific hw decoders. 😀

Reply 21 of 29, by shamino

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I remember trying the DSP thing back when I had gotten an AWE32, but that was on a Cyrix 6x86, not a 386. A few years later I found myself with a bunch of broken .wav files that I couldn't play anymore because they depended on that feature. I was a little silly with it, recompressing the .wav files in games and such just to get some use out of it.
When I learned about MP3s, I compared ADPCM .WAVs against MP3 and wanted the compressed .WAVs to be a better option, but of course they weren't. For a 386 though, it does become more interesting.

Reply 22 of 29, by Gahhhrrrlic

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread but this seems exactly what I'm looking for.

Trying to run mp3s on a 386 WITH a 387 coprocessor. The issue I had the last time I tried this was that the file itself didn't play. Didn't seem to have anything to do with the speed, as I couldn't get past the file itself. I tried different bit rates, sampling rates, etc but nothing worked.

Can someone tell me first, what version of OCP I should be using... like if there's a "best" version for doing this sort of thing (386 + 387 + MP3) and second, what sort of mp3 file it likes and what program I need to create such a file. There have been suggestions that the way current mp3s are written might be incompatible with OCP so if there's some old program I can use to re-save any modern mp3 which is known to work with OCP, I guess that's the way to go right?

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Reply 23 of 29, by appiah4

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CPU galaxy recently did a video on mp3 playback on 486 CPUs. It's pretty hopeless on anything below a DX4 for Stereo so I doubt a 386 has even the slightest chance at anything, even an 8000KHz Mono.

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Reply 24 of 29, by Gahhhrrrlic

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-12, 09:03:

CPU galaxy recently did a video on mp3 playback on 486 CPUs. It's pretty hopeless on anything below a DX4 for Stereo so I doubt a 386 has even the slightest chance at anything, even an 8000KHz Mono.

I mean there is a video on youtube demonstrating that it IS possible on a 386-40 /387 combo ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jj97NXgHw4&t=54s )

I'm having problems getting the files to work, which is a file format issue but performance-wise, it can be done. Furthermore, you can optimize the OCP configuration to use less memory and run it in text mode without all those visualizations to gain a further boost.

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Reply 26 of 29, by matze79

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You can play it by first preprocessing it to wav but in real-time ?

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Reply 27 of 29, by Gahhhrrrlic

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I think wav is trivial because it doesn't require decoding. The challenge with mp3 decoding is that it's floating point intensive (so I've heard). So there's no real practical use for it on a 386... this is more of a pushing the limits of old hardware thing. To my knowledge, Open Cubic is the only thing that will decode mp3 on a 386, unless that's not true... if I could only get past this file format issue.

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Reply 29 of 29, by Gahhhrrrlic

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Nevertheless I suspect there's a reason why no other piece of software other than OCP has managed to play an mp3 on a 386 so they must be onto something.

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