VOGONS


First post, by SRQ

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Holy lord that cards name is a mouthful. Anyway, I come here to ask if there's any known issues with this card. My only properly dated alternative is an SB16 2950 which has CQM and the hanging note bug, so it'd have to be pretty bad for me to pick that over it!
It does seem pretty good though. Doom sounds good, and such- although windows 3 gives me an OPL not responding error, even though the OPL works fine when used by Doom or something.

Reply 1 of 30, by gdjacobs

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My understanding is that the Nova 16 is effectively a hybrid between SB 2.0 and SB Pro levels of functionality. It features an OPL3 chip and can apparently do some OPL3-type things, but it doesn't provide full support like a SB Pro compatible card would which limits your ability to use the OPL3 via SB I/O addresses.

I suspect that you'll be happy using it as a SB 2.0, Adlib, and WSS card with further low level programming capability perhaps available on a case by case basis.

FWIW, Hierophant likes his.
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.ca/2014/04/th … nova-pro16.html

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 3 of 30, by kode54

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Minor glitch with those CS4232 based sound cards, at least if you use games based on Jim Dosé's sound code, like Rise of the Triad, Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Shadow Warrior, etc. Some issue with how they initialize the sound card, if you attempt to use up to the SBPro spec of 22050Hz stereo or 43478Hz mono, the DSP will lock up, and sometimes get stuck in almost a SB 2.0 alike mode, until the sound card is hard reset. I experienced this with my Rockwell / Packard Bell Sound Card / 14.4 semi-softmodem (the data compression was performed in software) back in the day. Is this documented anywhere?

Reply 5 of 30, by kode54

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I'm not sure whether the Packard Bell Sound Card, which was a variation of the Aztech Sound Galaxy 16?, was based on the 4232 or 4231. I think it may have been the 4231, but I'm not sure.

I do know the chipset also featured a Windows Sound System component as well, which was the only way to get 16 bit sound out of it. And some games that claimed to support SBPro and WSS did not work with it, for instance that crummy 32 bit DOS Skunny arcade platformer that I had briefly in my possession, which was later returned/exchanged because it wouldn't work with that sound card.

Its SBPro mode worked exactly once per execution, during the setup app, then never again without a cold reboot. The Windows Sound System mode didn't want to work, either.

Reply 6 of 30, by gdjacobs

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PB often used Aztech cards. Depending on what chipset was used, it might not be SB Pro compatible at all.

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Reply 7 of 30, by jesolo

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SRQ, I presume the model number of your sound card I38-MMSN811? There was also another derivative with model number I38-MMSN815.

Aztech cards with the AZT-1605 chipset are only Sound Blaster 2.0 (mono) compatible (in terms of the DSP), but all of them has an OPL3 FM synthesis chip (so you do get stereo sound with FM synthesis for games that do support it).
So, what gdjacobs stated is correct that it is a hybrid card. As such, in games like Doom & Doom 2, you will not get stereo sound with your digital voices (since it is not Sound Blaster Pro compatible).

I would recommend you look at one of the third generation cards (with the AZT-2316 chipset). They fully support Sound Blaster Pro II & OPL3 FM synthesis.
4th generation cards (with the AZT-2320 chipset) were Plug 'n Play, but I prefer to stay away from them when playing in a DOS environment.

Reply 8 of 30, by kode54

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gdjacobs wrote:

PB often used Aztech cards. Depending on what chipset was used, it might not be SB Pro compatible at all.

The card I had was SB Pro compatible with some games. In Scream Tracker 3 and Impulse Tracker 2, it supported up to 43478Hz mono, and supported half that stereo, using the stereo mixer switch to turn on the interleaved samples stereo mode.

The problem was, whatever those other sound drivers did to the sound card wasn't compatible with the Aztech chipset that I had, so they either outright locked up the DSP, or somehow downgraded it to a SB 2.0 compatible mode, either of which would last until a hard reset was triggered.

Reply 9 of 30, by SRQ

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jesolo wrote:
SRQ, I presume the model number of your sound card I38-MMSN811? There was also another derivative with model number I38-MMSN815 […]
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SRQ, I presume the model number of your sound card I38-MMSN811? There was also another derivative with model number I38-MMSN815.

Aztech cards with the AZT-1605 chipset are only Sound Blaster 2.0 (mono) compatible (in terms of the DSP), but all of them has an OPL3 FM synthesis chip (so you do get stereo sound with FM synthesis for games that do support it).
So, what gdjacobs stated is correct that it is a hybrid card. As such, in games like Doom & Doom 2, you will not get stereo sound with your digital voices (since it is not Sound Blaster Pro compatible).

I would recommend you look at one of the third generation cards (with the AZT-2316 chipset). They fully support Sound Blaster Pro II & OPL3 FM synthesis.
4th generation cards (with the AZT-2320 chipset) were Plug 'n Play, but I prefer to stay away from them when playing in a DOS environment.

Are you sure? The drivers explicitely state "SB Pro Emulation TSR"
Is there an easy way for me to test this effect?
Would it be easy to mix it with an SB16 and use that for stuff such as Doom and the Aztech for Midi/OPL?

Reply 10 of 30, by gdjacobs

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Fire up something like NSSI and see what DSP firmware version is on the card. DSP 2.x == SB 2.0 only

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Reply 11 of 30, by SRQ

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NSSI reports that the BLASTER Type is SB Pro, "Some SB Pro or compatible".
Specific type: Sound Blaster 2.
DSP 2.01

This card lied to me I thought it was 16 bit ;-;

I find this odd though, what does that SB Pro TSR do then? What's an easy way to physically test for stereo sound?

Reply 12 of 30, by kode54

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It is 16 bit, if you use the Windows Sound System interface, which the codec offers as an alternative to the Sound Blaster output. The two output methods are mutually exclusive to each other, though.

Windows Sound System will be using port 534, unless you have configured it otherwise. And it will be using either IRQ 5 or 11, and two 8 bit DMA channels, one for playback and one for recording.

It uses an unreported port offset from the currently configured WSS port to configure the port addresses, IRQ, and DMA channels. Feel free to look at the Linux kernel source code for the cs4231 driver, to see how this works.

Reply 14 of 30, by kode54

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A real SB16 would go a longer way with old games than an Aztech card, but at least the Jill of the Jungle patching effort shows that even big developers can sometimes rely on older hardware bugs that get "patched out" of future hardware revisions.

Reply 15 of 30, by jesolo

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SRQ wrote:

Are you sure? The drivers explicitely state "SB Pro Emulation TSR"
Is there an easy way for me to test this effect?
Would it be easy to mix it with an SB16 and use that for stuff such as Doom and the Aztech for Midi/OPL?

The "SB Pro Emulation TSR" doesn't work. Some software might be able to run in stereo, but I've had no luck with any game, since they all "see" the DSP as version 2.01.

Reply 16 of 30, by jesolo

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SRQ wrote:
NSSI reports that the BLASTER Type is SB Pro, "Some SB Pro or compatible". Specific type: Sound Blaster 2. DSP 2.01 […]
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NSSI reports that the BLASTER Type is SB Pro, "Some SB Pro or compatible".
Specific type: Sound Blaster 2.
DSP 2.01

This card lied to me I thought it was 16 bit ;-;

I find this odd though, what does that SB Pro TSR do then? What's an easy way to physically test for stereo sound?

Start up Duke Nukem 3D's setup program and run the sound test (after selecting Sound Blaster Pro). It should give you a warning if it doesn't "like" your selection.
You can also try the Star Wars X-Wing setup program (the Tie Fighter sound should be coming from left to right). Once again, you have to select Sound Blaster Pro, but the setup program will "complain" if your selection doesn't match what it identifies the card as.
If you don't hear a "panning" effect, then you don't have stereo sound.

As stated, it is a 16-bit stereo card. If you boot up into Windows, you will get full 44.1KHz 16-bit stereo sound. It is merely limited under DOS to 8-bit (like most other clone cards of that era). The exception is if you have a game or software that directly supports the Windows Sound System, of which there were few.

Last edited by jesolo on 2017-05-16, 13:07. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 17 of 30, by SRQ

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I cannot for the life of me get the Aztech and the SB16 to play together.
SB music plays to /both/ despite them being on different ports and DMA addresses?!?

Also can sadly confirm no SB-Pro emulation or compatiblity. Damnit I'd just use the SB16 but the hanging Midi bug! aaaaa

E: How would I easily test for the hanging midi bug?

Reply 18 of 30, by badmojo

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SRQ wrote:

E: How would I easily test for the hanging midi bug?

Grab yourself the Hexen demo and run it thusly:

hexen -warp 02

If your card has the bug then you'll know it immediately.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 19 of 30, by kode54

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SRQ wrote:

I cannot for the life of me get the Aztech and the SB16 to play together.
SB music plays to /both/ despite them being on different ports and DMA addresses?!?

Both cards map their OPL3 chips to 388-38B, you'll have to look up how to disable the FM chip mapping in the CS4231 codec, if it's even possible.