VOGONS


Reply 200 of 225, by Oetker

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Thanks for taking the time to post all this info.
I wonder if there are any games that support the ESS mode but don't support Windows Sound System, which serves a similar purpose.
The discussion on ESS vs YMF is interesting but in my opinion Aztech cards do it all: genuine OPL and ADPCM. However I can't really speak on the merits of either cards' build/audio quality.

Reply 201 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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Oetker wrote on 2020-08-14, 14:42:

I wonder if there are any games that support the ESS mode but don't support Windows Sound System, which serves a similar purpose.

Stonekeep is one such game.

Unfortunately, it uses the HMI sound system which does the opposite of what I just demonstrated. Meaning, it reduces sound clarity If AudioDrive mode is selected in setup, at least on the 1868F. I'm not sure whether older ESS cards like the 688F would work correctly with HMI, or if they would exhibit the same behavior.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 202 of 225, by badmojo

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I've never been impressed with the 'AudioDrive' option in games that provide it either - it sounds muffled compared to the SB Pro option. I think someone around here mentioned that it's just additional filtering being added but it doesn't sound right to me.

I can confirm though that the ES1688 will work with the 'ES688' option offered by some games, where the ES1868 doesn't in my experience. From memory I've also had more luck with the 'AudioDrive' option via a Win9x DosBox but yeah the SB Pro option is usually the ticket.

This is still the nicest AudioDrive implementation I've come across: Re: ESS AudioDrive (ES1868) - a surprisingly good ISA sound card

If it's broke, then fix it!

Reply 203 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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badmojo wrote on 2020-08-15, 12:27:

I've never been impressed with the 'AudioDrive' option in games that provide it either - it sounds muffled compared to the SB Pro option. I think someone around here mentioned that it's just additional filtering being added but it doesn't sound right to me.

Yeah, I wouldn't call that filtering either, it just sounds worse to my ears.

I can confirm though that the ES1688 will work with the 'ES688' option offered by some games, where the ES1868 doesn't in my experience.

Nice! Can you test a Miles sound system game like Mortal Kombat 3 using the ESS688 option and see if the sound is clear or muffled? And if possible, also check one of the HMI using games like Tomb Raider or Descent using the AudioDrive option.

So far, my own experience has been: Miles + AudioDrive = clearer sound, while HMI + AudioDrive = muffled sound. I'm mostly curious if this applies consistently across various ESS card models.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 204 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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And just to illustrate what I mean by "Miles" and "HMI" sound systems, here are two screenshots:

Miles:

Miles.jpg
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Miles.jpg
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396 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

HMI:

HMI.jpg
Filename
HMI.jpg
File size
47.6 KiB
Views
396 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Those screens may look different in some games, but Miles can usually be recognized by the presence of .DIG files somewhere in the game directory, while HMI can be identified by the presence of either HMIDRV.386 or HMIDET.DRV depending on the version.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 205 of 225, by badmojo

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-08-15, 13:18:

Nice! Can you test a Miles sound system game like Mortal Kombat 3 using the ESS688 option and see if the sound is clear or muffled? And if possible, also check one of the HMI using games like Tomb Raider or Descent using the AudioDrive option.

Can do one day but I don't think I have a machine with an AudioDrive in it ATM, much to my shame.

If it's broke, then fix it!

Reply 206 of 225, by gdjacobs

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badmojo wrote on 2020-08-16, 05:04:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-08-15, 13:18:

Nice! Can you test a Miles sound system game like Mortal Kombat 3 using the ESS688 option and see if the sound is clear or muffled? And if possible, also check one of the HMI using games like Tomb Raider or Descent using the AudioDrive option.

Can do one day but I don't think I have a machine with an AudioDrive in it ATM, much to my shame.

If you've got a PAS16 up, I forgive you.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 207 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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badmojo wrote on 2020-08-16, 05:04:

Can do one day but I don't think I have a machine with an AudioDrive in it ATM, much to my shame.

Blasphemy! 😁
No worries, whenever you get the chance is fine.

I'm also interested in hearing from people who have an ESS Solo-1 (PCI card) to see how that one behaves with AudioDrive mode in DOS games. It's kinda fun doing this sound card "archeology" and learning about their various quirks.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 208 of 225, by Warlord

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Have one in my blue lightning build but I haven't done much testing other than it just worked in the games I tried. this is the one i have BTC 1688F. It have normal IDE and has no hiss noise unlike a SBpro. I been wanting to get a dreamblaster to use the wavetable or some other decent wavetable I can find for cheap.
EXR5hJz.jpg

Reply 209 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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Warlord wrote on 2020-08-16, 11:18:

this is the one i have BTC 1688F.

That's a very nice card. Can you run these two tests with it:

1) Install Tomb Raider, run SETUP.EXE and select "ESS AudioDrive". Then, run the sound test and check if you get muffled audio like Phil demonstrates here.

2) Install Mortal Kombat 3, run SETSOUND.EXE and select "ES688" for digital sound and check if you get clearer audio compared to selecting SBPro.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 210 of 225, by Warlord

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The filtering sounded better to me, If I get around to it I'll test it. I hope it does filter though cuz her high pitch crackling voice on SB emulation sounds horrible to me. Ya I got that card specifically becasue it has jumpers for everything, so I do not need to deal with soft configs and it will just work.

Reply 211 of 225, by badmojo

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-08-16, 06:10:

If you've got a PAS16 up, I forgive you.

You know it baby! Also a surprisingly good ISA sound card.

If it's broke, then fix it!

Reply 212 of 225, by gdjacobs

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badmojo wrote on 2020-08-17, 11:54:

You know it baby! Also a surprisingly good ISA sound card.

Not just good, but also really innovative. Still sad Mediavision didn't survive.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 213 of 225, by HandOfFate

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I've had an issue with my ES1869F for a while now and that is MIDI in DOS games when running them under Windows (95 and 98SE).

To get music at all I have to select General MIDI (at 330h) instead of "Sound Blaster" like normal, in DOS. But the music sounds completely different then, wrong even. In Doom E1M1's music instruments are missing even.

I've tried different drivers and so far I didn't hear any difference.

Has this been your experience as well?

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 + Yucatan FX /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 214 of 225, by gdjacobs

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Does your card have a built in MIDI synthesizer? If not, do you have a MIDI daughter board or external module? Most sound cards, including most based on the ES1869, only provide the MPU401 MIDI interface but no way of internally converting MIDI instructions to sound.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 215 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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HandOfFate wrote on 2020-08-28, 23:14:

To get music at all I have to select General MIDI (at 330h) instead of "Sound Blaster" like normal, in DOS. But the music sounds completely different then, wrong even. In Doom E1M1's music instruments are missing even.

I think two things are happening here:

1. you are using WDM drivers which often don't provide FM synthesis in games launched under the Win9x DOS prompt. This is why selecting "Sound Blaster" for music in Doom setup doesn't work under Windows, but selecting "General MIDI" does

2. by selecting General MIDI in Doom setup, you have activated either the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth or the ESS FM Synthesizer, depending on what's chosen as the preferred device in the Windows Control Panel. Both of the aforementioned options will sound different than FM synth

For comparison, check this video starting at 7:35 to hear how Doom sounds using the ESS FM Synthesizer as a General MIDI device under Windows. And here is how Doom sounds using Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth. Lastly, over here you can listen to how an ESS card sounds using FM synth (Sound Blaster music option) under pure DOS.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 217 of 225, by HandOfFate

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-08-29, 03:27:

Does your card have a built in MIDI synthesizer? If not, do you have a MIDI daughter board or external module? Most sound cards, including most based on the ES1869, only provide the MPU401 MIDI interface but no way of internally converting MIDI instructions to sound.

I think it has because in DOS it works very well. It's my first ESS card (I don't think I ever heard of them "back in the day") but I'm really happy with it. It's probably the WDM driver that is messing me up here.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-08-29, 05:08:
I think two things are happening here: […]
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HandOfFate wrote on 2020-08-28, 23:14:

To get music at all I have to select General MIDI (at 330h) instead of "Sound Blaster" like normal, in DOS. But the music sounds completely different then, wrong even. In Doom E1M1's music instruments are missing even.

I think two things are happening here:

1. you are using WDM drivers which often don't provide FM synthesis in games launched under the Win9x DOS prompt. This is why selecting "Sound Blaster" for music in Doom setup doesn't work under Windows, but selecting "General MIDI" does

2. by selecting General MIDI in Doom setup, you have activated either the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth or the ESS FM Synthesizer, depending on what's chosen as the preferred device in the Windows Control Panel. Both of the aforementioned options will sound different than FM synth

For comparison, check this video starting at 7:35 to hear how Doom sounds using the ESS FM Synthesizer as a General MIDI device under Windows. And here is how Doom sounds using Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth. Lastly, over here you can listen to how an ESS card sounds using FM synth (Sound Blaster music option) under pure DOS.

Ha, yes, that comparison video is exactly what I'm getting too. The sudden silence is really weird. Why is the "ESS FM Synthesizer" so different from the "FM Synthesis" in DOS? Do they use different hardware? Is the "FM Synthesizer" trying to use wavetable-like effects to emulate MIDI?

appiah4 wrote on 2020-08-29, 06:30:

Install the VxD drivers to get proper Legacy Audio under Windows 9x.

I guess I just never come across the VxD drivers. But I should've realized that they exist because even the ES19xx PCI series have them. I see a Windows 95 VxD driver on VogonsDrivers but I guess it'll work just as well on Windows 98. I'll try it out and report back 😀

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 + Yucatan FX /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 218 of 225, by Joseph_Joestar

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HandOfFate wrote on 2020-08-29, 14:38:

Why is the "ESS FM Synthesizer" so different from the "FM Synthesis" in DOS? Do they use different hardware? Is the "FM Synthesizer" trying to use wavetable-like effects to emulate MIDI?

I'm not 100% sure myself, but I think ESS cards run in "native mode" under Windows when used as a General MIDI device. This is supposed to provide enhanced music in theory, but from my experience, most DOS games sound worse using that approach compared to regular FM synth. Here's the datasheet for your card if you want more details.

Also, as noted above, you'll get normal FM synth functionality under Windows if you install the VxD driver.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 219 of 225, by Marmes

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For me there are few sound cards with this chipset that are good. I vote for terratec profimedia gold 16/96 and Maxisound 64. These are good sound cards. Most cards from this era were cheaply designed, but these ones I mention make this ESS shine as it should!