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First post, by Winston846

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Looking for a PCI sound card that will work with Windows NT 3.51. I have an Ensoniq AudioPCI 1000 (ES1370), which is supposed to work, and a Creative Sound Blaster CT5807 PCI (ES1371/ES1373). I can't get either to work, but I think my problem is more driver related than hardware related. The box (OptiPlex GX110) supports NT 3.51, and everything else is working, video, networking, etc., but the box had no sound card. And there's no ISA slots. Any ideas or recommendations for a different card would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

--Lance

Reply 1 of 6, by bakemono

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Did you find NT 3.51 drivers for those cards and try to install them? Or you have no driver at all?

I got PCM sound working on Realtek AC'97 by manually installing a driver for NT4 into NT 3.51, but this is integrated sound on an i855 board, not a PCI card.

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Reply 3 of 6, by OMORES

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Check this out... M-Audio Delta cards (1010 and Audiophile 24/96) do work on NT 3.51! I just installed drivers for Audiophile 24/96 in NT3.51 SP5 and after restart :"Ta da"! (This is not the case with shitty drivers available for ESS1938 and Ensoniq/Creative ES1371 - I think these drivers will never work...)

In NT 3.51 control panel doesn't seem to work. Maybe a reinstall is needed, but I guess it will work in NT 4.0 because there is a single driver for both.

I don't know any other sound card which has drivers from NT3.51/95 to every other Windows version. There are official 64bit drivers which are perfectly working with the latest update of Windows 10.

Bonus: these cards are not hard to find - they were best selling in their class and stayed on the market for too many years...

There is no DOS support, but sound quality is in the professional range...On my setup, Windows NT 3.51 never sounded so good and crisp...

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Reply 5 of 6, by OMORES

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diovanti wrote on 2020-12-02, 01:50:

Avance Logic ALS4000 works in NT 3.51.

Yes, a very good recommendation for NT 3.51. Today I have installed an ALS4000 on a newer machine (Ryzen 3900x) which uses a PCI-E to PCI bridge, and this card didn't care at all, it simply worked from the start. Unreal and Hexen II both ran with good, quality sound. With M-Audio Audiophile I have sound only in Windows and 16 bit applications/games.

The MIDI part needs some fiddling, there are some instructions in the readme.txt. Basically you have to create a new entry in Control Panel > Midi mapper, but (for now) I don't know if it's a driver problem or Windows problem, because everything is greyed out.

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Reply 6 of 6, by LSS10999

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Can confirm both audio and MIDI work perfectly with ALS4000 on NT3.51, though you need to manually configure Midi Mapper for MIDI (FM Synth) to work, which should be straightforward.

However, the particular ALS4000 card I have appears to have issues with audio channels: It only outputs on the right channel, but the sound still feels complete as if it is actually mono. I originally thought something wrong with the jack (such as dirt, lint) and even tried cleaning it after searching online about the audio channel issue with 3.5mm jacks, but it made no difference. The card was fairly cheap and its PCB has fewer components comparing to other ALS4000 sound card pictures I could find on the web, so it might be just the card.

I additionally tried a YMF754 card on my AM3+ system, but not successful. The card cannot be initialized using default settings (which uses INTA# as IRQ), returning an error code 0x0013. Should note that on the same system, the card works correctly (with both audio channels) on Linux and it's original (pre-routed) interrupt was indeed INTA# (pin A routed to xx), according to "lspci -vv".

The Yamaha NT4 drivers are supposed to be usable on NT 3.51, as at one time I tried them on an old Sony laptop (440BX-based) with onboard YMF744, and it got configured correctly. Just that the laptop's built-in speakers do not work on NT3 or NT4 (speakers only works out-of-box on WinME/2K/XP). Probably one needs a 440BX or compatible motherboard to get such drivers configured, similar to its DOS drivers.

AudioPCI NT351 driver (apnt3x86) doesn't work on that system, either. The driver can't detect the card correctly (IO range and IRQ are empty). The exact reason is unknown, though.

I didn't try Aureal cards, but most likely the drivers would not work, as one of the key DLLs imports missing symbol _alldiv. On the other hand, I checked some C-Media PCI drivers (and applications) for NT4 I found online (not sure if they are for CMI8738), and they seem to be okay to run on NT3 (no red symbols encountered in Dependency Walker), though one has to actually check it with real cards.

In overall, it seems NT4 audio driver model is mostly compatible with NT351, but there may or may not be other issues that can prevent drivers from working correctly. Your mileage may vary.

EDIT: Tried one of the CMI8738 drivers I found with my Terratec Aureon 5.1 PCI. PCM audio works correctly, but there's no MIDI support.

EDIT 2: Some inspection of the driver binaries in question, as well as related system logs, revealed something that may or may not be helpful...
- EAPCI driver had a routine that queried for an Intel (0x8086) host bridge but after some fiddling it doesn't appear to be related to the errors. The driver doesn't appear to be able to find the device, with a final error (found in Event Viewer) of ERROR_DEV_NOT_EXIST (The specified network resource or device is no longer available), but in reality the card is present and is functioning correctly on Linux, so unless I could debug the process somehow I won't be able to find out exactly where this error code was thrown.
- YDSXG.SYS seems to require that legacy audio interface to be properly initialized for the driver to be loaded. Looking for the error code I'm having (0x0013) in the driver led me to the MPU401 configuration routine (which generates this error if the port fails). As legacy audio functionality can't be guaranteed to work with newer chipsets... need to find ways to skip the initialization.
(UPDATE: Managed to patch the routine to only init the FM for the legacy part. The driver now installs, but not working correctly. The system freezes as soon as it tries to play audio.)