VOGONS


Reply 20 of 45, by jheronimus

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Tiemen wrote on 2020-01-11, 19:32:

Thanks!

What do you think about Audician 32 plus in combination with a S2 Dreamblaster? Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gEF1CujDbI

Sounds pretty good right?

I have S2 — bought it as part of a Black Friday bundle with X2 a couple of years ago. Can't say that I love the sound — it feels too chiptune-like (if that makes sense to anyone). It sounds like stock AWE32 (without the soundfonts) and worse than Yamaha's softsynth that comes with Windows drivers for that Audician 32.

But that's all a matter of taste, of course.

Reply 21 of 45, by clueless1

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I too have a Dreamblaster S2 and X2. The S2 is pretty good, and for some reason, it sounds better than the X2 in Lands of Lore, but other than that, the X2 is very close to sounding like industry-standard Roland SC, depending on the soundfont used.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 22 of 45, by carlostex

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A YMF71x card is a no brainer. Even the dreaded Duke Nukem 2 ADPCM issue os really not relevant anymore since someone has uncompressed the Sound files, and the game now plays all the sounds fine with a YMF card. I'd really recommend if you go with a YMF option to support Tiido and order one of his YMF Sound cards, you'll get a great design and great software too.

Another excellent option is to wait for the Orpheus Sound card. You'll get a great design, SB pro compatible card with Intelligent MPU-401 included.

If you can't wait just grab an Audician 32 or a YMF-719 and you'll be ready to go.

Reply 23 of 45, by appiah4

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That is by far the most hassle free combination you can go for, and you can have both pieces of hardware new. Unless you are going to invest in a MIDI Tower setup or some other such prohibitively expensive investment into MIDI music, I would get a known hassle-free ISA card with a genuine OPL3 or a good alternative implementation (ESFM, CrystalFM) and slap on a Dreamblaster S2.

You can read a detailed review I did on the S2 here: Dreamblaster S2 General MIDI Daughterboard Review

For hassle-free cards, you are best off with the following chipsets IMO:

Yamaha YMF-71x
ESS ES1688/1868
OPTi 82C928/929

Last edited by appiah4 on 2020-01-16, 11:17. Edited 3 times in total.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 24 of 45, by gdjacobs

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carlostex wrote on 2020-01-13, 12:52:

Even the dreaded Duke Nukem 2 ADPCM issue os really not relevant anymore since someone has uncompressed the Sound files, and the game now plays all the sounds fine with a YMF card.

I remember the thread where this was being worked on.
Duke Nukem 2 ADPCM fix?

That should take care of any Apogee games. There might be other titles still with issues. Someone on that thread mentioned "The Last Eichhoff", although source code is out for that one.

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Reply 25 of 45, by badmojo

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Ah my favourite topic! I’ve been obsessing over ISA soundcards since the 90s and still can’t decide, but that Yamaha based card you’ve decided on is fine. Note tho that unless you get a YMF701 based one (rare) then it will be a PnP card, which means Windows 98 will spot it and try and allocate resources, which might mean conflicts. Not a big deal but I prefer a non-PnP card when doing the dual card thing.

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Reply 26 of 45, by schmatzler

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-01-13, 13:19:
For hassle-free cards, you are best off with the following chipsets IMO: […]
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For hassle-free cards, you are best off with the following chipsets IMO:

Yamaha YMF-71x
ESS ES1688/1868
OPTi 82C928/929

True.

Let this also be a quick reminder, that there are new drivers written from scratch for the OPTi 929 chipsets here:
https://github.com/JKnipperts/OPTi82c929_Driver

They fix various bugs and expose options of the chipset for better compatibility with certain games.

Reply 27 of 45, by p6889k

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I'm pretty happy with my 3 card setup

MPU-401 ISA
intelligent mode compatible, modern clone card from https://www.serdashop.com/isa-mpu-card connected via Roland MIDI to USB cable to Falcosoft Software Midi Player running on a cheap Dell windows tablet for MT-32, Roland Sound Canvas, Yamaha S-YXG50, General Midi. All the software is free except the Sound Canvas VA plugin from Roland https://www.roland.com/global/products/sound_canvas_va/, but you can always buy that plugin later while enjoying MT-32, Yamaha and General Midi, which covers a lot of ground. With the software based general midi you can load some really nice large soundfonts without limitation of SIMM RAM on AWE cards. You could always also add real HW MIDI players connected to the MPU-401 if you want that original retro feel - I would love it, just don't have the space for it. Great video explaining it is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSk9S1bkRS8

AWE64 Value ISA
for clean SB16 DOS sounds, music is through MPU-401 card. No need for SIMM memory as music is played through separate MPU-401 card.

Audigy 1 PCI card
for windows 98 or windows XP games; your Audigy 2 is pretty good choice too, i picked the Audigy 1 per recommendation from vogons user "parus" i believe, who built a DOS mixer for it which allows you to connect multiple sound inputs from various sound cards/sources to it in DOS and let the sound play out through single speaker output cable. Alternative is a cheap external HW mixer.

Works really well, the only change I would possibly make is to swap the AWE64 value for AWE32 with OPL3, but in all honesty I don't know if it's worth the loss of higher quality / less noisy output from the AWE64. I may end up dropping to AWE32 for OPL3 or going up to AWE64 Gold for even cleaner audio, but I think it's totally unnecessary. Maybe I'll just have to try them both one day 😀

Oh, and some decent speakers, that makes the biggest difference I think.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k, 48k+, 128k, +2
Amiga 1200, 68030/40mhz
386DX/33, ET4000, SBPro2, MT32
Dual PPro/200, Millennium II, Voodoo 2, AWE32, SC-55
etc.

Reply 28 of 45, by appiah4

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While a decent setup it lacks a genuine OPL3 source and if your system can drive an Audigy that means you dont need a MIDI card as it is already fast enough to run SOFTMPU.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 29 of 45, by Oetker

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-01-13, 13:19:
That is by far the most hassle free combination you can go for, and you can have both pieces of hardware new. Unless you are go […]
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That is by far the most hassle free combination you can go for, and you can have both pieces of hardware new. Unless you are going to invest in a MIDI Tower setup or some other such prohibitively expensive investment into MIDI music, I would get a known hassle-free ISA card with a genuine OPL3 or a good alternative implementation (ESFM, CrystalFM) and slap on a Dreamblaster S2.

You can read a detailed review I did on the S2 here: Dreamblaster S2 General MIDI Daughterboard Review

For hassle-free cards, you are best off with the following chipsets IMO:

Yamaha YMF-71x
ESS ES1688/1868
OPTi 82C928/929

I can't recommend the OPTI 928 - annoying to get to work and the gameport isn't MPU401 compatible.

Right now I'm using an azt2316 based card and it's got more issues than I was led to believe. Doom's audio doesn't work in Win98, in DOS I have to start the game twice. Various games don't work (mostly FM audio) unless I slow down my 550MHz CPU, which wasn't and issue on my SB16 (which has the hanging note bug).

Reply 30 of 45, by appiah4

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Oetker wrote on 2020-01-16, 08:40:

I can't recommend the OPTI 928 - annoying to get to work and the gameport isn't MPU401 compatible.

Right now I'm using an azt2316 based card and it's got more issues than I was led to believe. Doom's audio doesn't work in Win98, in DOS I have to start the game twice. Various games don't work (mostly FM audio) unless I slow down my 550MHz CPU, which wasn't and issue on my SB16 (which has the hanging note bug).

That's strange.. While I don't own a 928, I can ensure that 929 is about as hassle free as it gets. And of the people who use the 928, you are the first to not like it that I know of.

What I can tell you is that you are wrong and the card is MPU-401 compatible: http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/components … ochure_1993.pdf

The fact that the gameport isn't wired up for MIDI is your specific card's issue.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 31 of 45, by Tiido

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928 only has SB-MIDI, there's no MPU401 support on it. SB compatibility is rather poor and didn't work with many games I tried and it also doesn't support stereo in any games I have tried even though it advertises itself as being capable (SB pro 2).
929 is a much improved version without any of the problems that 928 has, they are not directly comparable and not even compatible with one another on software level.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
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mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 32 of 45, by appiah4

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Tiido wrote on 2020-01-16, 10:39:

928 only has SB-MIDI, there's no MPU401 support on it. SB compatibility is rather poor and didn't work with many games I tried and it also doesn't support stereo in any games I have tried even though it advertises itself as being capable (SB pro 2).
929 is a much improved version without any of the problems that 928 has, they are not directly comparable and not even compatible with one another on software level.

That's really curious, the spec sheet says it's MPU-401 compatible..

I will cross that out of my list.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 33 of 45, by Tiido

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It only says "MIDI UART" which doesn't automatically mean MPU-401. You need a device called an UART to talk to any standard MIDI hardware and it is there in the most generic sense. Interface for that UART is SB-MIDI and not MPU-401 unfortunately.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
Newly made 4MB 60ns 30pin SIMMs ~
mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 35 of 45, by Joseph_Joestar

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The one thing that I've learned while browsing this forum is that there isn't such a thing as the "one perfect card" which covers all bases. The music in some early DOS games was created with a MT-32 in mind (Monkey Island etc). Later games (Doom, Duke3D...)sound best on a SC-55 since that's what the developers used while composing the music. But then again some developers composed specifically for OPL2/3 (Tyrian, Dune 1) while yet others made their music sound best on a GUS (One Must Fall, Jazz Jackrabbit etc).

In most cases, it's not really worth fussing about, and a sound card with a genuine OPL3 chip and a decent wavetable synth (or the ability to load soundfonts) will work fine 95% of the time. Personally, I use an Opti 82C930 for pure DOS OPL3 gaming and an Audigy 2 ZS + SC-55 soundfont under Windows 98 for General Midi. It's by no means a perfect solution, but it works well enough for my needs.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 36 of 45, by gdjacobs

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-01-17, 13:51:

The one thing that I've learned while browsing this forum is that there isn't such a thing as the "one perfect card" which covers all bases. The music in some early DOS games was created with a MT-32 in mind (Monkey Island etc). Later games (Doom, Duke3D...)sound best on a SC-55 since that's what the developers used while composing the music. But then again some developers composed specifically for OPL2/3 (Tyrian, Dune 1) while yet others made their music sound best on a GUS (One Must Fall, Jazz Jackrabbit etc).

OMF doesn't use hardware sample mixing, so a GUS doesn't offer any particular advantage over a more traditional sound card.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 37 of 45, by Joseph_Joestar

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-01-17, 16:20:

OMF doesn't use hardware sample mixing, so a GUS doesn't offer any particular advantage over a more traditional sound card.

Interesting, how about Jazz and Epic Pinball?

I remember 90s computer magazines marketing the Gravis Gamepad and the GUS alongside those games. AFAIK, Epic Megagames had a particularly good relationship with Gravis back in the day.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 38 of 45, by digistorm

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I don't know about OMF, but Jazz Jackrabbit and Epic Pinball both use sample based music. The games can software mix the music for SoundBlaster users, but it uses a lot of CPU (with respect to the original target CPU) and even the highest setting of "software" mixing sounds terrible once you have heard how it sounds on a GUS. Sad thing is, an AWE 32 also can be used as a sample player and does it even better, but almost no software supports it in that way. Certainly not the Epic titles.

Reply 39 of 45, by gdjacobs

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-01-17, 18:22:

Interesting, how about Jazz and Epic Pinball?

I'm pretty sure they do use hardware mixing. Honestly, I can't find the source regarding OMF either, although something sticks in my brain about OMF and Crusader: No Remorse both using software mixing because CPUs were becoming fast enough for it not to be a problem.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder