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Recommend a PCI Sound Card for DOS

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Reply 20 of 127, by valnar

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Hmmm. I don't know the answer to this question. For the purpose of thread posterity, can somebody name the older chipsets which definitely support Distributed DMA? According to that Ultima 7 soundcard site
http://www.it-he.org/sound.htm

The Yamaha YMF-724 would be a good choice provided you get a compatible motherboard, right?

Reply 21 of 127, by gerwin

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Crash: The Yamaha YMF724 seems to be an ideal option, since it is a PCI card that claims to have a legacy audio block that provides hardware compatibility for PC games on DOS without any software driver.

The card requires you to run the SETUPDS.EXE with the "/s" parameter to set up the legacy system in pure dos. I just checked and it won't give any sound when skipping that.

Valnar: can somebody name the older chipsets which definitely support Distributed DMA?

Mainboard chipsets supporting DDMA:
Listed are Intel 430TX and 440BX, ALI Aladdin 4 and Aladdin 5, and probably more....
SB-128/Live! emulation works for me on a VIA apollo pro 133A and VIA KT400, but support seems dropped since the VIA KT600.

Valnar: The Yamaha YMF-724 would be a good choice provided you get a compatible motherboard, right?

It is a good choice indeed, IMHO the best PCI based SB-Pro emulation including genuine OPL-3 FM music. It lacks a bit on the general midi music support for pure dos: It can use an external midi device through the joystick port if you have one, but has no header for a daughterboard midi device.

Reply 22 of 127, by crash.

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Yes, I think the SETUPDS.EXE is necessary, but only to configure or activate the card. I don't think that this is a driver that (more importantly) uses memory needed by games. According to the datasheet for the YMF724 and YMF754:

"Legacy Audio block supports FM synthesizer, Sound Blaster Pro, MPU401 UART mode and Joystick function
in order to provide hardware compatibility for numerous PC games on real DOS without any software driver."

The "genuine" Sound Blaster Pro 2 that I am using has polyphony issues with FM music from certain games, while the YMF based onboard sound on one of my boards does not have this problem. Unfortunately, that motherboard uses a lot of the memory I need for DOS games. I think I'm going to try a PCI Yamaha card with YMF7X4 and see how that does.

Reply 23 of 127, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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gerwin wrote:

Valnar: can somebody name the older chipsets which definitely support Distributed DMA?

Mainboard chipsets supporting DDMA:
Listed are Intel 430TX and 440BX, ALI Aladdin 4 and Aladdin 5, and probably more....

How about Intel 845 chipset? Does it support Distributed DMA?

gerwin wrote:

Valnar: The Yamaha YMF-724 would be a good choice provided you get a compatible motherboard, right?

It is a good choice indeed, IMHO the best PCI based SB-Pro emulation including genuine OPL-3 FM music.

Is it better than Aureal Vortex 2?

By the way, doesn't this thread belong here?

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 24 of 127, by crash.

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Yeah, unfortunately this thread was placed here by accident before the new forum was opened. Definitely my bad. I personally think the Vortex2 is an amazing card for Windows games, and works fine for many DOS games, but it does have a hefty memory footprint for legacy drivers. I could not get it to work properly with certain games, which was what sent me searching for an ISA motherboard and Sound Blaster.

I still use a Vortex2 card on my Voodoo5 6000 system, and I swear it sounds better than any other card I've used. Their surround technology wins my vote, and it's too bad EAX won the war, in my opinion.

Reply 25 of 127, by MiniMax

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Moved

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Reply 26 of 127, by valnar

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crash. wrote:

Yeah, unfortunately this thread was placed here by accident before the new forum was opened. Definitely my bad. I personally think the Vortex2 is an amazing card for Windows games, and works fine for many DOS games, but it does have a hefty memory footprint for legacy drivers. I could not get it to work properly with certain games, which was what sent me searching for an ISA motherboard and Sound Blaster.

I still use a Vortex2 card on my Voodoo5 6000 system, and I swear it sounds better than any other card I've used. Their surround technology wins my vote, and it's too bad EAX won the war, in my opinion.

Huh. 'Looks like this old thread got moved, then came back to life.

Yah, I agree with everything you said. I'm sticking with my Aureal SQ2500 for my legacy PC. 'twas the best sound card ever made when you take into account it's timing.

Reply 27 of 127, by tikbalang

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the least problematic DOS soundcard for me are the esstech pci audiodrives. they are not perfect sounding, but not horrible either, just functional. they are very common and cheap.

ESS PCI DOS Drivers
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Reply 28 of 127, by fillosaurus

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I agree with tikbalang on ESS PCI cards (Solo, Maestro, etc).
Another PCI chipset that has good DOS compatibility is CMI 8338 and derivatives (8738). These ones are SB16 compatibles, instead of the more usual SB Pro compatible chipsets.

Voodoo box: Celeron 800 MHz, 512 Mb SDRAM, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP, 80 Gig Seagate, Yamaha OPL3 SAx 718+NEC XR 385, SoundBlaster Live!, NEC USB 2.0 PCI card.
WIP: external midi module based on NEC wavetable (Yamaha clone); VLB 486

Reply 29 of 127, by Dant

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gerwin wrote:
Mainboard chipsets supporting DDMA: Listed are Intel 430TX and 440BX, ALI Aladdin 4 and Aladdin 5, and probably more.... SB-128/ […]
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Valnar: can somebody name the older chipsets which definitely support Distributed DMA?

Mainboard chipsets supporting DDMA:
Listed are Intel 430TX and 440BX, ALI Aladdin 4 and Aladdin 5, and probably more....
SB-128/Live! emulation works for me on a VIA apollo pro 133A and VIA KT400, but support seems dropped since the VIA KT600.

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I have further answers to this question!
While I cannot speak for AMD boards, or VIA/other brands of chipsets, I can say with absolute certainty that any Intel chipset board up until the 865PE/G (Specifically it's associated southbridge) support DDMA as a matter of wanting to support ISA bridge chips.

Also, Via has very good support for DDMA in their mid-2000's chipsets... Currently I'm eyeing the possibility of putting together a Mini-ITX DOS rig just to experiment with the concept.

You might note that the 865 was the last of the Pentium 4 chipsets, so, that means that getting good DOS-compatible audio and having a Core 2 CPU or above is impossible. Interestingly, ASRock has helped us get around this, as they've made (and are still making) 865 chipset boards, that even have support for early Core2Quad and Core2Extreme CPUs with a 1066Mhz FSB!

Ex. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?It … N82E16813157338

Meanwhile, there are LGA1155 boards in the wild with 6 PCI slots... Now I need to find a way to get around the DDMA/ PC/PCI barrier...

Last edited by Dant on 2013-05-19, 04:56. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 31 of 127, by Kahenraz

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The only problem with going for an all-PCI solution is the lack of support for MPU-401 with intelligent mode. You should always have at least one ISA slot for this in any retro build, in my opinion.

Reply 32 of 127, by Mau1wurf1977

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Kahenraz wrote:

The only problem with going for an all-PCI solution is the lack of support for MPU-401 with intelligent mode. You should always have at least one ISA slot for this in any retro build, in my opinion.

Really depends on what this system is for.

I believe anyone building a Pentium 4 (or faster) DOS machine is likely going after late DOS / high resolution games. Things like System Shock in SVGA and stuff like that.

Here all you need is Sound Blaster and General MIDI. Cards like a Live!, AudioPCI or Vortex2 will do the trick.

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
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Reply 33 of 127, by sunaiac

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Can't be solved by USB ?

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Reply 34 of 127, by Dant

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Kahenraz wrote:

The only problem with going for an all-PCI solution is the lack of support for MPU-401 with intelligent mode. You should always have at least one ISA slot for this in any retro build, in my opinion.

This is not true! There are very good 'external' MPU-401 interfaces that support intelligent mode that work splendidly, and connect through a serial or parallel port.

Can't be solved by USB ?

No, in pure DOS it's not reasonable to solve any problem with USB. USB drivers for DOS are very limited and consumer MASSIVE amounts of conventional memory. (Think around 400K!)

Also, a question. Since FM doesn't require ISA DMA in order to work, would it be reasonable to use a card, like the Yamaha YMF724 stuff for OPL3, and then use another card that can emulate Sound Blaster digital audio without DDMA, like the Ensoniq AudioPCI/Creative Sound Blaster 16-PCI/128/64V, to get around the DDMA barrier and still have good DOS compatibility?

Reply 35 of 127, by dr.zeissler

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I have a D1321 S478 with SoundMax AD1885. What PCI-SoundCard should I use, if I want some Dos-Support?
http://www.eastcomp.de/fsc/d1321.html

Thx
Doc

Retro-Gamer 😀PowerMac 6100-66/Houdini 486/66 - G4 Cube 450/Rage128pro OS9.0.1 - Macintosh LC/Apple IIe Card OS6.0.8 - Acorn A4000 Archimedes - Unisys CWD 486/66 + Aztech Washington

Reply 36 of 127, by Kamerat

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dr.zeissler wrote:

I have a D1321 S478 with SoundMax AD1885. What PCI-SoundCard should I use, if I want some Dos-Support?
http://www.eastcomp.de/fsc/d1321.html

No PC/PCI or DDMA support on that one, so not the best motherboard for PCI sound cards under DOS.

One of theese chipsets will maybe work:
Aureal Vortex 1/2
Creative Sound Blaster PCI/Live!/Audigy
Forté Media FM801-AU
Ensoniq AudioPCI
Yamaha YMF7x4 (with DSDMA TSR)

DOS Sound Blaster compatibility: PCI sound cards vs. PCI chipsets
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Reply 37 of 127, by keenmaster486

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Doc,

I've noticed that you've resurrected a few old threads... I recommend that you make new threads instead since necroposting is kind of annoying.

World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 38 of 127, by dr.zeissler

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Thx, but I think this thread is really a good choice. The others do not have the specific thread-title. So please forgive my that I use this one instead 😀

Retro-Gamer 😀PowerMac 6100-66/Houdini 486/66 - G4 Cube 450/Rage128pro OS9.0.1 - Macintosh LC/Apple IIe Card OS6.0.8 - Acorn A4000 Archimedes - Unisys CWD 486/66 + Aztech Washington

Reply 39 of 127, by dr.zeissler

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Here are my problems with PCI-Audio within Dos6.22

First attempt: Creative PCI 128
- Does not work at all, no sound under plain Dos, no Digi, no Adlib, no nothing. Glx does not find it, setblaster does not find it.

Second attempt: ESS-Solo1
- Win31 driver installs the Dosdriver, Adlib is working everywhere, Digi is working in all Demos/Intros but only in very view games. GLX finds a SBpro and works really fine, setblaster finds it, Win3x is working fine.

Why is it that most Dosgames don't like or find the Digisound (A220 I5 D1 T4) ?

The Bios is set to maximise Dos-Memory. Emm386 does not get it's 64KB frame in that Bios-setting. I'll have to use emm386.exe /frame:none to get enough free memory under 640K. Qemm386 leads to a "command interpreter not found". But if I only use himem.sys it does not get any better.

Here are some examples:

1. PinballDreams2 => Sound starts but hangs emidiatly
2. PinballFantasies => the same as above
3. PinballExtreme => I hear nothing, no error message
4. Silverball => no soundcard is found
5. Eyeofthebeholder2/3 => no samples are played
6. DarkForces => the samples sound that they wer cut at the end, they seem to be shorter.
7. PrinceofPersia1 => I do no get anything else then the PC-Speaker (command-line, no setup.exe available)
8. PrinceofPersia2 => Intro starts, first line is spoken, game hangs.

I will make some pictures of the configuration.

I will have to do further testing, perhaps someone has an advice for me 😀

Thx a lot
Doc

Retro-Gamer 😀PowerMac 6100-66/Houdini 486/66 - G4 Cube 450/Rage128pro OS9.0.1 - Macintosh LC/Apple IIe Card OS6.0.8 - Acorn A4000 Archimedes - Unisys CWD 486/66 + Aztech Washington