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Sound Blaster 16 Clones

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Reply 280 of 301, by dionb

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Little bump as I'm playing around with my ALS cards again.

Installed my "J-Sir" ALS007 card in a slightly exotic (VLB...) Pentium 100 system. ALS007 and ALS100 drivers are in the same package, but the config util is clearly quite different - most obviously because there's no separate high DMA option - it just gets given same DMA as you select for low. That was already noted by gerwin years ago. Thing is, I'm not totally convinced this is a hardware difference, so I'm going to try the ALS100 drivers on this card, and both drivers on an ALS100 that I know does allow separate high DMA. Will report findings here.

(in any event this system is getting a different card afterwards, as the 3.5mm audio out connector is dodgy, losing me the right channel unless I physically push against the plug)

Edit:
Finished testing and it's clearly hardware, unfortunately. Even if I have ALS.INI from the ALS100 specifying SB16DMA16=5, running ALSINIT.EXE pointing to that ALS.INI results in High DMA being equal to Low DMA, i.e. A220 I5 D1 H1. Conversely, if I take my ALS100 card, the same setup gives H5.

Reply 281 of 301, by dnewhous

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Tiido wrote on 2020-08-31, 12:49:

Sound Edge (SW20PC) most definitely has no SB16 support, only WSS and partial SBpro support.

This is why DOSBox X emulates the OPL3 and not the OPL4.

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Reply 282 of 301, by Rawit

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Got my ALS007 today. It's a model with a seperate line out and speaker out and has a crystal in place (seen a lot of them without crystals). Soundwise it's clear and it has a punch. It's SB16 compatibility is hit and miss though.
Jazz Jackrabbit works with SB16 but stereo is reversed. In Duke Nukem 3D it works with a config edit but here stereo is correct. In Doom stereo is reversed, but in MDK it's correct with the SB16 option. In Tyrian2K sound effects work flawlessly, which is often not the case with clones of any sort in my experience. Also Dyna Blaster works which often has trouble with FM and faster systems. Skyroads works also but SFX are cut off after the first 1 or 2 effects (CPU speed issue).

In comparison to the onboard Cyrix AudioXpress solution I had before (SB16 compatible) it's an improvement. It doesn't click in single cycle DMA games, works in Jazz Jackrabbit and sounds aren't weirdly interpolated. However the AudioXpress works in FastTracker 2 as a SB16 where the ALS007 won't play back anything. It might be the lack of high DMA causing the issue.

I plugged in my Yucatan FX but at its default volume its too much for the ALS007 and it causes distortion.

I didn't have high expectations but this card would be almost perfect wouldn't it be for its unpredictable reversed stereo behavior. It seems often reversed on game basis where with the AudioXpress I didn't have this issue. I will check out other driver versions and games and see how it fares.

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Reply 283 of 301, by Oetker

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Rawit wrote on 2021-03-06, 21:23:
Got my ALS007 today. It's a model with a seperate line out and speaker out and has a crystal in place (seen a lot of them witho […]
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Got my ALS007 today. It's a model with a seperate line out and speaker out and has a crystal in place (seen a lot of them without crystals). Soundwise it's clear and it has a punch. It's SB16 compatibility is hit and miss though.
Jazz Jackrabbit works with SB16 but stereo is reversed. In Duke Nukem 3D it works with a config edit but here stereo is correct. In Doom stereo is reversed, but in MDK it's correct with the SB16 option. In Tyrian2K sound effects work flawlessly, which is often not the case with clones of any sort in my experience. Also Dyna Blaster works which often has trouble with FM and faster systems. Skyroads works also but SFX are cut off after the first 1 or 2 effects (CPU speed issue).

In comparison to the onboard Cyrix AudioXpress solution I had before (SB16 compatible) it's an improvement. It doesn't click in single cycle DMA games, works in Jazz Jackrabbit and sounds aren't weirdly interpolated. However the AudioXpress works in FastTracker 2 as a SB16 where the ALS007 won't play back anything. It might be the lack of high DMA causing the issue.

I plugged in my Yucatan FX but at its default volume its too much for the ALS007 and it causes distortion.

I didn't have high expectations but this card would be almost perfect wouldn't it be for its unpredictable reversed stereo behavior. It seems often reversed on game basis where with the AudioXpress I didn't have this issue. I will check out other driver versions and games and see how it fares.

Isn't the Yucatan distortion an issue with all sound cards? Thanks for sharing your experience in any case, never knew that Cyrix had a sb16 compatible chip.

Reply 284 of 301, by Rawit

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Oetker wrote on 2021-03-06, 21:35:

Isn't the Yucatan distortion an issue with all sound cards? Thanks for sharing your experience in any case, never knew that Cyrix had a sb16 compatible chip.

The distortion seems to be the case with most cards but not all (can't find the post with an example, perhaps the Santa Cruz) but still wanted to share it. Stereo is also reversed with the Yucatan I just found out. The guitars in Doom in E1M1 start at the left instead of the right. Not sure if it's the Yucatan or the ALS007, but most Yucatan samples I've heard seem to be reversed.

Cyrix actually got sued by Creative Labs because of the AudioXpress. But it's on-board only so not an option in many cases.

Last edited by Rawit on 2021-03-16, 08:15. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 285 of 301, by Paar

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My Terratec Maestro 32/96 has no distortion at all and basically has Yucatan FX integrated on the board. It behaves like that probably because engineers from Terratec knew about the issue and made necessary changed in the board's design to address it.

Reply 287 of 301, by Rawit

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I tested the ALS007 some more, most seems in line with James-F review of the ALS100+: My review for the ALS100+

One of the things I tested was Wolf3D where the mixer is being used for stereo effects. Here stereo was reversed as well. I then tried the mixer, muting all the left channels. This resulted in audio only coming from the left... So the card is wired incorrectly and this could be fixed for the most part with a cable/swapping leads. Stereo would be correct for the Waveblaster, SB Pro and the mixer. Some SB16 modes will still be reversed however. FM is correct as is, so swapping the leads would reverse this as well.

Edit: correction, seems like the Yucatan FX is reversed, not the header on the card.

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Reply 289 of 301, by Rawit

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The datasheet for the ALS007 is not available, but mine doesn't do high DMA. Reading the datasheet of the ALS100 makes me think the high DMA is being used for full duplex/recording only and not in the way the original SB16 uses it.

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Reply 291 of 301, by Joseph_Joestar

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anakin94 wrote on 2021-04-18, 10:42:

Is there a clone which is better than a real SB16?
In other words, is there a clone without the SB16 bugs, vibra issues etc... ?

Avance Logic ALS100 (not plus) is pretty much a SB16 without the bugs.

Those cards tend to be quite noisy though, at least mine is.

Build #1: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
Build #2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
Build #3: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 292 of 301, by keropi

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I recently tested the ALS100 chip , it is true that the available implementations are on cheap cards with questionable quality - so noise is a given.
I have no idea if a better implementation can fix this or it's the chip itself to blame.

It is indeed a nice SB16 clone and I would say it is 90% compatible with the standard. There are some issues - for example in Turrican2 SB16 playback works but the system can freeze during music transitions. FastTracker2 needs some command line switch to work else no SB is detected.
I am sure there are more examples but they don't seem to be many... at any rate choosing SB/SBPRO in offending titles fixes all the above issues so it's not like there is no workaround.

🎵 PCMIDI mpu site buy+info
🎧 WIP Orpheus soundcard site
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Reply 293 of 301, by anakin94

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When the known games running without issues, then i have no problems with these cards.
I will take a look at them.
They're some offers, so it's good available.

Enhanced for Matrox Mystique

Reply 294 of 301, by Retroit

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keropi wrote on 2021-04-18, 11:33:
I recently tested the ALS100 chip , it is true that the available implementations are on cheap cards with questionable quality - […]
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I recently tested the ALS100 chip , it is true that the available implementations are on cheap cards with questionable quality - so noise is a given.
I have no idea if a better implementation can fix this or it's the chip itself to blame.

It is indeed a nice SB16 clone and I would say it is 90% compatible with the standard. There are some issues - for example in Turrican2 SB16 playback works but the system can freeze during music transitions. FastTracker2 needs some command line switch to work else no SB is detected.
I am sure there are more examples but they don't seem to be many... at any rate choosing SB/SBPRO in offending titles fixes all the above issues so it's not like there is no workaround.

Hello, keropi. Could you share photos of your card?

Reply 295 of 301, by keropi

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Retroit wrote on 2021-04-18, 16:33:

Hello, keropi. Could you share photos of your card?

sure! I have 2 cards:

NiKVPkY.png

Pa3LG8j.png

both unspectacular though 🤣

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Reply 296 of 301, by Retroit

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keropi wrote on 2021-04-18, 16:53:
sure! I have 2 cards: […]
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Retroit wrote on 2021-04-18, 16:33:

Hello, keropi. Could you share photos of your card?

sure! I have 2 cards:

NiKVPkY.png

Pa3LG8j.png

both unspectacular though 🤣

Thank you, keropi. As I see it the same card that I have. I should check if my is the same saw noise as it was mention here

Reply 297 of 301, by appiah4

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I have an ALS007 that I dug out of storage just to test out for this thread, I will give it a spin and report back tomorrow..

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Reply 298 of 301, by betamax80

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I honestly feel the AWE32/64 were very special cards in their own right - especially since there was specific DOS game support for the expanded capabilities of these cards and the relative rarity of on-board waveblaster capabilities alongside FM (I know that the Aztech MM32-3D at least also had this but it seems like Aztech cards were rare in the UK).

Reply 299 of 301, by BraveToaster

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keropi wrote on 2021-04-18, 16:53:

sure! I have 2 cards:
both unspectacular though 🤣

Fascinating - the ALS100 card I got my hand on is almost exactly the same, named without the "-4", and with a few different chips throughout:
pro16pnp.jpg