VOGONS


First post, by dusthillguy

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Hello,

Just last month I had to get a new computer after not upgrading for about 11 years. My new computer has no PCI slots, only PCIe, so I couldn't re-use my old Soundblaster Live that I had been using all that time. So I've been researching what soundcards are available for PCIe.

On ebay right now, there are two different kinds of PCIe sound card that seem to be common at the moment. The cheaper and more common one has the CMI8738 chipset. I bought one of those and it's pretty good, it features the OPL3 synth. There have been some threads on this forum about it.

The second and more expensive one is the 'Sound Blessed'. It's being sold by various ebay sellers for between £17 and £25 or so. In the ebay photos it has a black heatsink on one of the chips and appears to have "Sound Blessed" printed/embossed on the corner of the card, though in a lot of the ebay listings, the 'sound blessed' logo has been obscured with a blur filter.

I got curious about what exactly it would be like, and I decided to get one for christmas.
Surprisingly it seems to be a Sound Blaster Live! adapted for PCIe with a Texas Instruments PCI-PCIe bridge.
The model I got looks a bit different from the ones in the ebay pictures, it has some extra audio connectors on the back panel and the logo in the corner says "Sound Cidblues" instead of "Sound Blessed", although the cardboard box it came in still has "Sound Blessed" printed on it.

I've been using it in my main desktop system with Linux and it seems to work really well, the hardware MIDI synth feature works properly and the sound output quality seems good.
Here are some photos of it: http://dusthillguy.ddns.net/folder/soundblessedcidblues/

Has anyone else got one of these?

Reply 1 of 10, by dusthillguy

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Maybe I spoke too soon about the sound output quality being good. After a day of using it, when it got really quiet in my house, I noticed that there's a constant hissing noise coming from the audio jack. It's very faint and I can only hear it when the room is totally silent, but it's there. The headphones I use are fairly sensitive which might be part of why it's noticeable.

I've solved the problem by using an audio extension cable with a built-in volume wheel, and turning the volume wheel down a bit, and then adjusting the sound card audio mixer up a bit to compensate. oh god oh hell yea man

Reply 2 of 10, by cyclone3d

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I ordered one of the Sound Blessed cards a few months ago because I thought it was hilarious. Still haven't installed it in a system.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 3 of 10, by The Serpent Rider

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My new computer has no PCI slots, only PCIe, so I couldn't re-use my old Soundblaster Live that I had been using all that time

Use PCItoPCI-E adapter.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 4 of 10, by BinaryDemon

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What's the benefit here, EAX support over PCIe? I never really used EAX. It would be interesting to me if the dos emulation worked, but I can't imagine it does.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 5 of 10, by cyclone3d

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BinaryDemon wrote on 2019-12-28, 06:17:

What's the benefit here, EAX support over PCIe? I never really used EAX. It would be interesting to me if the dos emulation worked, but I can't imagine it does.

No, you have X-fi for EAX in PCIe.

It is just a silly Chinese card.

For retro machines, I guess it would be useful for a Win9x machine as there are no X-fi drivers for Win9x. That is if you could make the SB-Live Win9x drivers work with the Sound Blessed card.

DOS support would definitely be out of the question.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 6 of 10, by dusthillguy

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BinaryDemon wrote on 2019-12-28, 06:17:

What's the benefit here, EAX support over PCIe? I never really used EAX. It would be interesting to me if the dos emulation worked, but I can't imagine it does.

For me, the main benefit is the emu10k1 wavetable synth. I wrote a lot of MIDI music for it over the past 14 or so years. Thanks to this chinese PCIe card, I can keep using it in my new computer.
Of course I could just use fluidsynth, but it sounds subtly different.

The Serpent Rider wrote on 2019-12-28, 04:07:

My new computer has no PCI slots, only PCIe, so I couldn't re-use my old Soundblaster Live that I had been using all that time

Use PCItoPCI-E adapter.

I considered that, but that comes with its own set of problems related to physically fitting the adapter + card. It's a bit awkward to manage.

Reply 7 of 10, by dusthillguy

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Sorry to keep bumping these threads, but I'm really curious about how this card even came to exist. How did the chinese manufacturers get hold of the chips? I'd be very interested in knowing the story behind all this.
Also if anyone has any thoughts or opinions about this card or even just about weird chinese knockoff soundcards in general, I'd be curious to know

Reply 8 of 10, by Methanoid

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Apologies for thread necro but can anyone confirm if these work in Win 98, 95 and DOS? I can see other benefits for me in that SB Live with EMU10K chip usually works well in AROS also and can be persuaded to work in MacOS somewhat so this could be a card for ALL OS I might need to play with.

Reply 9 of 10, by Warlord

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for 9X native dos box it might? work for dos games running under windows. Thats if it has a EMU10K1 like a real sblive. If it doesn't have a EMU10K1 it might not work at all. For plain DOS I think it wont work at all becasue the PCI-E only motherboard doesn't have DDMA, and not PCI bus. creatives DOS drivers I'm pretty sure won't work right. I don't own one but thats my speculation.

Reply 10 of 10, by NJRoadfan

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Creative still sells and supports a PCIe card that is based on the EMU10K chip. Depending on the market it's called the SoundBlaster Audigy 5 or Audigy Rx.

Note: Creative also sells a SoundBlaster Audigy Fx which is a simple HDA based sound card. It's no better than onboard audio solutions.