VOGONS


First post, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

1. Introduction:

So why would anyone want to do this? Because it allows you to use soundfonts for General MIDI in DOS games. I know this is already possible with WDM drivers but those drivers limit DOS emulation to SBPro (instead of SB16) and they sometimes cause issues with Windows games that use EAX. This method allows you to run VxD drivers and still use soundfonts for DOS games. Note that this only works when DOS games are running from within Windows 98. If you choose "Restart in MS-DOS mode" then the soundfonts won't work and the card will use those crappy .ECW sets instead. To my knowledge, there is no way to use .SF2 based soundfonts in pure DOS with a Sound Blaster Live.

Anyway, you don't need to modify the drivers in any way for this to work. All you need is some way to unpack a single CAB file, and 7-Zip does that nicely. This guide assumes that you have a clean install of Windows 98SE and a Sound Blaster Live card. It will probably fail if you already have other versions of Creative's drivers installed, but it works 100% on a clean install.

EDIT - I have personally tested this method with a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 (model SB0100). Later on, different people have tested it with some other SBLive models as well, and all information about that has been summarized in this post

2. Preparation:

2.1 Download and install 7-Zip version 9.20 for 32-bit Windows (it works fine on Win98)
2.2 Download the Audigy2 ZS driver CD ISO
2.3 Use 7-Zip to extract the contents of the "Audigy_2_ZS_Install_CD.7z" to C:\AU1
2.4 After that, right click on "C:\AU1\Audigy 2 ZS Install CD.iso" > 7-Zip > Extract Here to unpack the contents of the ISO image (it may report some errors with CHM files but that's ok)
2.5 Download the Audigy DOS support package
2.6 Extract the contents of audigy2-dospack.rar to C:\AU2 (note: it appears that this archive was created with a newer version of WinRAR, you may need to unpack it on your modern computer)

3. Windows Driver Installation

3.1 Right click on My Computer > Properties > Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers. If there is an "Ad Lib Compatible (OPL2)" device present there, right click on it > Remove > Ok
3.2 Run C:\AU1\CTShared\LaunchApp\SysInfo\Setup.exe which will install the Creative System Information utility and update the InstallShield Engine (important later)
3.3 Run C:\AU1\DirectX\dxsetup.exe which will install DirectX 9.0a and restart your computer (if you already have a newer version installed, skip this step)
3.4 Go to C:\AU1\Audio\Drivers\VxD > right click on VxD.cab > 7-Zip > Extract Files > C:\AU1\Audio\Drivers\ (this should populate the existing VxD folder with the files from the CAB)
3.5 Run C:\AU1\Audio\Drivers\CTZAPXX.exe and select "Driver Installation" and "VXD Drivers" then click Ok
3.6 Driver installation will take several minutes, don't interrupt the process until you are prompted to Restart then click Ok
3.7 After the restart, wait until the installer finishes, then go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Multimedia > Audio > Playback > Advanced Properties > Performance > Sample Rate Conversion Quality > move the slider to "Best"
3.8 Run C:\AU1\Audio\SFBMgr\Setup.exe and install the Sound Font Bank Manager (if you get an InstallShield Engine error here, repeat step 3.2)

Congrats on installing the Audigy VxD driver on a SBLive, now we'll tackle DOS compatibility.

4. DOS Driver Installation

4.1 Run C:\AU2\AUDIGY DOS DRIVER\Setup.exe and restart when prompted
4.2 Wait until the Creative SB16 Emulation drivers are fully installed (this may take a few minutes)
4.3 During the boot process you might see a "Config file incomplete" error. Restart your computer one more time and it should disappear

If the installation was successful, you should now have the following under Device Manager:

002.png
Filename
002.png
File size
2.22 KiB
Views
839 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Congrats on being able to use soundfonts in DOS games while running VxD drivers. Currently, the SBLive is using Creative's default 2 MB soundfont. If you want something that sounds much better, see below.

5. SC-55 Sound Font Installation (optional)

5.1 Download Patch93's SC-55 soundfont and extract the archive contents to C:\AU3
5.2 Download SF Pack and extract the archive contents to C:\AU3
5.3 Run C:\AU3\SFPACK.EXE > Ok > File > Add Files > Files of type: SFPack Files > C:\AU3\SC-55.sfpack > Open
5.4 After that, click File > Go/Stop. Wait for about 30 seconds. Now, if everything worked ok, you should have a SC-55.sf2 file in C:\AU3 (file size should be 45.1 MB)
5.5 Start > Programs > Creative > SoundFont Bank Manager
5.6 Click on "Midi Devices" and use the slider to set SoundFont Cache to slightly more than 50 MB then click Ok
5.7 Click on "Bank" then click on the default soundfont (2GMGSMT) to select it, then click Replace, point to C:\AU3\Sc-55.sf2 wait a few seconds until it loads then click Ok
5.8 Run your favorite DOS game (like Duke3D for example) and in setup choose General MIDI for music

003.png
Filename
003.png
File size
49.36 KiB
Views
839 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Filename
Duke3D_SBLive_SC55-Soundfont.mp3
File size
2.35 MiB
Downloads
17 downloads
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Listen to the MP3s attached above to check how Duke3D sounds on a SBLive using this soundfont. For comparison, here's Duke3D on a real SC-55.

6. Getting MT-32 compatibility in pure DOS (optional)

6.1 Start > Shutdown > Restart in MS-DOS mode
6.2 C:\Progra~1\Creative\DOSDrv\sbemixer.exe
6.3 Make sure that the MT-32 option is checked, then click Save and press ESC to exit
6.4 Run your favorite DOS game that supports MT-32 (like Monkey Island for example)

Note that MT-32 emulation doesn't sound too great on this card, but I'm including it for completeness sake. That said, these drivers also allow your SBLive to emulate FM Synthesis, should you want that. Of course, this sounds different from a genuine OPL3 chip, but I'd still consider it tolerable. Sample MP3s are attached below.

Attachments

Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2020-07-25, 01:50. Edited 1 time in total.

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 1 of 20, by boxpressed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Thanks for this post. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I am looking forward to doing so. This seems like a really nice solution for those wanting to get a SB32 or AWE32 just to load <28MB soundfonts. Pair a Live! with an OPL3 card and get the best of both worlds if the DOS game can be started from Windows.

Reply 2 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

This post is reserved for listing the SBLive models that were confirmed to work with this approach:

  • SB0100 - confirmed working by me (see initial post in this thread)
  • CT4830 - confirmed working by user boxpressed link
  • CT4760 - confirmed working by user r38007 link
  • SB0060 - confirmed working by user r38007 link
  • Dell SB0220 - confirmed working by me
Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2020-08-22, 06:16. Edited 6 times in total.

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 3 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

So I tried using two sound cards with this setup and it worked fine. If you go to Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers > Creative SB16 Emulation > Properties > Resources then untick "Use automatic settings" and select "Basic Configuration 4" it will allow you to manually configure all the resources and disable port 388 (FM Synthesis) which you can then assign to your second card.

In addition, you want to disable MPU401 on your second card so that SBLive can use port 330 for General MIDI + soundfonts. Either that, or simply configure your second card to use a different port for MPU401 like 300 and you're all set. Lastly, connect the Line Out from your SBLive to the Line In of your second card and you're good to go. This way you can get genuine OPL3 and better SBPro compatibility from your second card, while retaining the SB16 compatibility and General MIDI + soundfonts from the SBLive.

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 4 of 20, by boxpressed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-06-06, 06:52:

So I tried using two sound cards with this setup and it worked fine. If you go to Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers > Creative SB16 Emulation > Properties > Resources then untick "Use automatic settings" and select "Basic Configuration 4" it will allow you to manually configure all the resources and disable port 388 (FM Synthesis) which you can then assign to your second card.

In addition, you want to disable MPU401 on your second card so that SBLive can use port 330 for General MIDI + soundfonts. Either that, or simply configure your second card to use a different port for MPU401 like 300 and you're all set. Lastly, connect the Line Out from your SBLive to the Line In of your second card and you're good to go. This way you can get genuine OPL3 and better SBPro compatibility from your second card, while retaining the SB16 compatibility and General MIDI + soundfonts from the SBLive.

I finally got around to testing this method with a CT4830 card that I couldn't get working with ANY Live! installation CD, and ...

IT WORKS PERFECTLY!

Honestly, I don't know why I'm the only other one posting in this thread. This is such a significant development, especially for people running 98SE on motherboards without an ISA slot. And it's such a great solution for people who want high-quality wavetable sound in later DOS games for the low cost of a Live! card.

It would be hard to beat a Live! + non-PNP OPL3 combo. We're talking the best of both worlds for about $30.

Thanks again for such a great guide. It was well-written and easy to follow. My Device Manager looked a little different with the CT4830, but everything works as it should.

Is it OK to delete C:\AU1 now?

IMG_9849.jpg
Filename
IMG_9849.jpg
File size
1.9 MiB
Views
721 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

Reply 5 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
boxpressed wrote on 2020-06-07, 17:50:

finally got around to testing this method with a CT4830 card that I couldn't get working with ANY Live! installation CD, and ...

IT WORKS PERFECTLY!

Awesome, then we can add CT4830 to the confirmed working list! At this point I'm hopeful that this method will work with any SBLive card, but it would still be great if more people with different models (like that Dell SB0220) could test it and confirm.

This is such a significant development, especially for people running 98SE on motherboards without an ISA slot. And it's such a great solution for people who want high-quality wavetable sound in later DOS games for the low cost of a Live! card.

Yeah, the soundfont stuff is pretty amazing. I think the SoundFont Bank Manager that we install from the Audigy2 ZS ISO is only limited by your total RAM. I have 512 MB and it offers to load soundfonts up to 400 MB! I haven't tried that though, as I'm very happy with Patch93's excellent, yet reasonably sized SC-55 soundfont.

Is it OK to delete C:\AU1 now?

Yeah, it was just needed during the installation. Once everything is set up, you can also get rid of AU2 and AU3, in case you want to move SC-55.sf2 to a more convenient location. As long as the SoundFont Bank Manager is pointed in the right direction, any folder should work fine.

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 6 of 20, by boxpressed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I just created a 260MB soundfont cache to load a ~250MB soundfont, and it worked! I still like Patch93's soundfont better, though.

I've wanted to experiment with large soundfonts on a retro system with good DOS support, and this method allows me to do that.

Reply 7 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
boxpressed wrote on 2020-06-07, 20:31:

I just created a 260MB soundfont cache to load a ~250MB soundfont, and it worked! I still like Patch93's soundfont better, though.

It's amazing what Patch93 accomplished with such a small file size.

Back when I first got into soundfonts, I downloaded several of them which were based on the SC-55, and they were mostly around 75 MB or larger. Despite that, not a single one of those sounded as close to the real thing as Patch93's 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 8 of 20, by boxpressed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-06-07, 22:42:

It's amazing what Patch93 accomplished with such a small file size.

Back when I first got into soundfonts, I downloaded several of them which were based on the SC-55, and they were mostly around 75 MB or larger. Despite that, not a single one of those sounded as close to the real thing as Patch93's version.

Yes, it's fantastic. I have a 25MB SC-55 soundfont that is pretty good and works well with an SB32 or AWE32 with 28MB of onboard RAM. But Patch93's is better.

I added a new entry to my wavetable sample thread with your setup so that others can hear how good it sounds.

Reply 9 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
boxpressed wrote on 2020-06-07, 22:49:

I added a new entry to my wavetable sample thread with your setup so that others can hear how good it sounds.

Cheers! Patch93's soundfont definitively deserves more exposure, and hopefully, it will also interest people to test this approach on other SBLive models.

On an unrelated note, I think that the Audigy DOS driver is slightly more compatible with older DOS games than the one which ships with certain SBLive cards. In particular, I found the DOS drivers on the SB0100 installation CD to be very unreliable. The Audigy driver, on the other hand, is quite stable and it seems to even do proper SBPro stereo, which surprised me quite a bit.

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 10 of 20, by Desomondo

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Yeah, I did this for my Live Value some time ago following a different thread that described a similar process. It worked great and the Audigy driver was indeed a little bit better from what I experienced. Duke3D suffered from the "echo crash" for example when run under Win98 with the Live driver (but not in DOS strangely), but ran perfectly fine with the Audigy driver.

Win98 PC: Pentium 4 3.2 | Gigabyte GA-8I865GME-775 | Geforce3 Ti200 | Aureal Vortex 2 + YMF744
WinXP PC: Core 2 Quad Q9400 | Gigabyte GA-G41MT-S2PT | Geforce GTX 280 | X-Fi
Win10 PC: i7-8700k | ASUS Z370 TUF | GeForce RTX 2070 Super | X-Fi Titanium

Reply 11 of 20, by foil_fresh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

🤣 i've done the opposite. I have an audigy platinum eX that simply won't work with any driver from any audigy cd i have found. it might be some oem dell/hp variant. The error I get is the "could not detect an audigy card in this system, setup will close" or something like that. Forcing the drivers didn't work. I think the card has 2 chips or needs to initialise before driver gets installed? nfi. Big hassle working it out.

So I used the WDM sb live drivers. forced it in, works a treat. EAX 2.0, full audio mixer. Haven't tried in DOS, as the mobo (nforce2) can't support the non maskable interrupts (whatever that means) and bluescreens in windows when installing the SB16 compatibility drivers.

That being said, this is a great guide. I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time i'm tooling around with that Audigy to see if i can get it working with actual Audigy drivers. I've also got some CT4760s and CT4870s to try this with too. Cheers 😀

Pentium MMX 166MHz / Shuttle HOT591-p / S3 Virge DX / SB 16
Pentium II 266MHz / Lucky-Star 6ABX2V / Riva128 / AWE64 / YMF724
Pentium III 950 MHz / SY-7VBA / Voodoo 3000 / Aureal Vortex 2
Pentium IV 3.4GHz/ GA-8S655FX / Geforce 6800 GT / Audigy

Reply 12 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
foil_fresh wrote on 2020-06-12, 07:34:

🤣 i've done the opposite. I have an audigy platinum eX that simply won't work with any driver from any audigy cd i have found. it might be some oem dell/hp variant. The error I get is the "could not detect an audigy card in this system, setup will close" or something like that. Forcing the drivers didn't work. I think the card has 2 chips or needs to initialise before driver gets installed? nfi. Big hassle working it out.

Yeah, Dell branded cards can be odd. They typically need their own custom drivers to function properly.

That being said, this is a great guide. I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time i'm tooling around with that Audigy to see if i can get it working with actual Audigy drivers. I've also got some CT4760s and CT4870s to try this with too. Cheers 😀

Thanks! BTW, I think it might technically be possible to use this method for installing the ZS drivers on an Audigy1 or an Audugy 2 (non-ZS), but I don't have any of those cards to test it. Not sure about the various SE/LS/OEM versions though.

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 13 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I have recorded some additional game music samples using this setup for General MIDI and uploaded them to SoundCloud:

SBLive General MIDI

Also, here are the same music sample played using the Live's FM synth emulation:

SBLive FM synth

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 14 of 20, by r38007

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Add another to the supported list, CT4760 Tested it with Duke3d and Doom (E1M1) with the SC-55 sound fonts and it sounds great! I had to up some of the volume in the SBEMIXER program,but other than that, working good.
I also have a few other SBLive cards, SB0060 and then a Dell OEM SB0200.

SB0060 may work as I think its pretty close to the same card as the CT4760.

I'll try to get some time to test the other cards later. Been messing with a 486Dx2 machine I just picked up,but waiting on some parts.

Win98se: P!!! Coppermine @ 1.0Ghz | Intel D815EEA | PC133 384MB | PNY Geforce 4TI 4200 64MB AGP | SBLive CT4670
DOS/Win3.11: 486DX2 @ 66Mhz | PC Chips M919 V3.4 | 16MB | Cirrus logic cl-542x | ESS Audiodrive 1868

Reply 15 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
r38007 wrote on 2020-07-24, 17:03:

Add another to the supported list, CT4760 Tested it with Duke3d and Doom (E1M1) with the SC-55 sound fonts and it sounds great!

Awesome! Thanks for the confirmation, glad it worked for you as well.

I also have a few other SBLive cards, SB0060 and then a Dell OEM SB0200.

There shouldn't be any problems with the SB0060 but I don't think that Dell SB0200 will work. From what I've read, it's not a true SBLive card.

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 16 of 20, by r38007

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-07-24, 17:48:

There shouldn't be any problems with the SB0060 but I don't think that Dell SB0200 will work. From what I've read, it's not a true SBLive card.

Yeah, that's right I forgot that card is not really a SBlive and uses an EMU10K1X.
I'll need to triple check that its not a SB0220 I have, as that has the EMU10K1 restored which may work ok.

I'll try getting to the SB0060 this weekend and test it out to confirm. I am sure it will work but nice to confirm it 😀

Win98se: P!!! Coppermine @ 1.0Ghz | Intel D815EEA | PC133 384MB | PNY Geforce 4TI 4200 64MB AGP | SBLive CT4670
DOS/Win3.11: 486DX2 @ 66Mhz | PC Chips M919 V3.4 | 16MB | Cirrus logic cl-542x | ESS Audiodrive 1868

Reply 17 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
r38007 wrote on 2020-07-24, 23:06:

I'll try getting to the SB0060 this weekend and test it out to confirm. I am sure it will work but nice to confirm it 😀

Cheers!

I have reserved this post for listing known working cards and will be updating it whenever new information becomes available.

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 18 of 20, by r38007

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Confirming that the SB0060 works just as expected!

I decided not to even waste my time with the SB0200 as I am sure that will not play nice.

Win98se: P!!! Coppermine @ 1.0Ghz | Intel D815EEA | PC133 384MB | PNY Geforce 4TI 4200 64MB AGP | SBLive CT4670
DOS/Win3.11: 486DX2 @ 66Mhz | PC Chips M919 V3.4 | 16MB | Cirrus logic cl-542x | ESS Audiodrive 1868

Reply 19 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
r38007 wrote on 2020-07-25, 17:54:

Confirming that the SB0060 works just as expected!

Very nice, added to the list. Thanks again!

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