First post, by FGB
I want to initiate a new project together with you guys here.
Turtle Beach made ICS Wavefront based ISA sound cards have the possibility to load samples and soundfonts in plain DOS to replace the onboard ROM, using the SETWF utility (attached below).
So in theory it is possible to a. create new General Midi compatible soundfonts for DOS games and b. to convert existing soundfonts from the .SF2 (Creative) or .94B (Dream) format into the .WFB (ICS WaveFront) format.
The soundfont can be uploaded into the cards sample RAM which has to be present in form of Simm memory.
The main goal is to convert all the really good soundfont wo the WFB format, including the best soundfonts available in sizes up to 8MB. Think of the existing banks like Roland, Yamaha, Hoontech and the really cool homebrew .SF2 banks. Just think of the possibilities...
User "kemot001" claims he did a conversion of a 4MB UltraSound PnP soundbank, converted from a .SF2 soundbank, but the file isn't available for download.
A second goal is to create a intelligent mode MPU-401 interface on these cards by modifying or patching the firmware of the ICS Wavefront synthesizer. Thanks to gdjacobs for this excellent idea, although I can't tell right now if it's possible to realize.
The following cards support the loading of WFB soundbanks:
- Turtle Beach Tropez (up to 8.25MB Sample RAM)
- Turtle Beach Tropez Plus (up to 12.25MB Sample RAM)
- Turtle Beach MAUI (up to 8.25MB Sample RAM)
2. Creating and Converting existing sound fonts:
With the Turtle Beach WavePatch program one can create soundfonts from scratch. This is the way for advanced users who know how to create a soundfont and how to deal with sample sizes, polyphony and so on. It is the hardest way to go, because one has to start with a blank sheet. It seems much more easy to "simply" convert existing soundfonts using conversion tools like AWAVE studio. There is a free version, but it won't let you save a soundfont, just single samples. Maybe there are other tools that accept the .WFB format, but I don't know of any.
3. Modifying existing soundbanks:
Unlike the Tropez Plus, the Turtle Beach Tropez and the MAUI don't have an effects processor. To enhance the sound, I have the idea to modify existing soundbanks by extracting the .WAV samples, add a reverb through a software (Audacity for example has such function) and reassemble the soundbanks. I don't have any experience with creating / editing soundbanks, so I don't know if it is important that the sample lengths must remain the same or not. In my understanding a good reverb makes the samples a few milliseconds longer. Anyways, a pre recorded reverb would further increase the dynamic of the music experience in DOS games.
4. What do we need to get this going:
Everything! We need people with one of the three Turtle Beach sound cards and enough enthusiasm and knowledge to participate. Maybe our community will be able to create another stunning project and expand the possibilites of these high quality low noise sound cards and lift the midi quality to another level.
Turtle Beach Editors, samples, etc (uploaded from member vmunix): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/74c9dol7lls9xbn/SMgzHOEK3r
www.AmoRetro.de Visit my huge hardware gallery with many historic items from 16MHz 286 to 1000MHz Slot A. Includes more than 80 soundcards and a growing Wavetable Recording section with more than 300 recordings.