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What Aztech sound card to buy

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First post, by haker120

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Hello, I'm about to buy Aztech sound card but the problem is I'm trying to hit for one that supports not only Sound Blaster and Pro but Adlib, Covox Speech thing (this one not really xD), WSS (that for sure) and Disney Sound (not sure about that one). Can anyone point out what chips should such card to have? I have local offers for these but people doesn't really describe these except it works or not. And price ain't killing me. 😀

Reply 4 of 20, by haker120

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Does it have correct SV Pro 2.0? I've read some boards have it wrong 'reversed' or something.

Edit: Ok, I bought 2 Aztech cards, one on chipset AZT2316A and second AZTSSPT0592-U01 because I never had Sound Blaster 2.5 card so now I will. xD Does it support GameBlaster or only SB2.5?

Reply 5 of 20, by FreddyV

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haker120 wrote on 2021-07-20, 10:18:

Edit: Ok, I bought 2 Aztech cards, one on chipset AZT2316A and second AZTSSPT0592-U01 because I never had Sound Blaster 2.5 card so now I will. xD Does it support GameBlaster or only SB2.5?

It Does not support GameBlaster.

Reply 6 of 20, by jesolo

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AZT2316 chipset is from the 3rd generation.
Normally does not have reversed stereo with excellent Sound Blaster Pro 2 and Adlib support with fairly good WSS compatibility. Also has MPU-401 UART and most models comes with a Wave Blaster header.

AZTSSPT0592-U01 is from 1st generation - no MPU-401 UART, but does support Disney Sound Source and Covox Speech Thing (in mono only).

Reply 7 of 20, by haker120

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I made a mistake, older one has ICC I38-MMSD802 so SB Pro 2.0, good for me, also should I worry about Disney Sound Source and Covox Speech Thing in mono or that's normal like with OPL2?

Last edited by haker120 on 2021-07-20, 19:21. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 20, by jesolo

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Disney Sound Source/Covox Speech Thing was a different sound standard in the late 80's to early 90's.
I wouldn't be too worried about it as Sound Blaster was the de facto standard which was also more widely supported by games.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covox_Speech_Thing

Reply 9 of 20, by haker120

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The thing is I never had any of these two (Disney Sound Source and Covox Speech Thing) so having them next to proper (hopefully not with reversed stereo bug) SB Pro 2 clone is a plus for me. I own SB Pro2. AWEs 32 (one withouth glitches) 64 (one GOLD), SB16 with Yamaha OPL3 and 3 ESS 1868F and 1869F so having great clone with proper Adlib and these two and SB Pro 2 on top is a nice thing not to point out I paid ~$42 for gen3 and ~$32 for gen1. 😁 (not sent yet but bought locally through page similar to ebay just for few EU countries)

So I guess I did choose 2 good 'clones' and I won't regret. 😀

Reply 10 of 20, by dionb

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I have two 1st gen Aztech cards with the Covox/DSS feature:

- NXPro. Definitely the most common out there. Does the job, but no WSS codec, so not what you want. Note that the NXPro 16 is a different card that does have a WSS codec, but supposedly no Covox support...
- MMSN810. Probably the most feature-rich sound card, so highly ironic it's referred to as "Sound Galaxy 16 Basic". SBPro2, real OPL3 (or 1:1 clone, Aztech used both) and WSS codec (either AD1848 or CS4248 depending on what was in the last rubbish bin Aztech raided)

Only downside is no MPU-401 MIDI. Aztech's 1st gen cards don't offer that.

Both work pretty identically software-wise (other than WSS or not), the NXPro is pretty system.bus noise-sensitive, similar to the original Sound Blaster. I have the feeling (but it's no more than that) that the MMSN810 is less sensitive, but haven't done any systematic measurements.

In terms of compatibility they're good, but not perfect. In general they do the job and also support ADPCM (only relevant for Duke Nukem 2, but a lot of people care about it), but I've not been able to get Ultima 7 to give me digital samples on either.

Personally I far prefer Aztech's 3rd gen cards (AZT2316x chip) for general builds as they are very quiet and have perfect bug-free MPU-401 MIDI. Pair one with a buggy SB16 and you have the perfect mid-1990s setup. These 1st gen cards are more interesting for early 1990s stuff, where the rough, noisy nature of the card is more of a feature than a bug. I intend to combine one with my SSI-2001 replica and a CMS clone once I decide which I want for a turn-of-the 1990s jack-of-all-trades.

Reply 11 of 20, by haker120

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So I38-MMSD802 has DSS/Covox/SB Pro2 but doesn't have WSS? I'm confused because I've read this here: Practically all of the 1st generation sound cards supports Adlib, Sound Blaster Pro II, Windows Sound System, Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing. And on blog: All chipsets implement the AdLib and Windows Sound System. The AZTSSPT0592-U01 additionally implements the Covox Speech Thing and the Disney Sound Source. It lacks the UART MPU-401 interface all later models have.

As for lack of MPU-401 - I have other cards for this and dedicated PC-MIDI card. 😁

I'm glad it does have ADPCM, I care about this. 😀

I cannot wait to get and test these, just your info, @dionb about no WSS confused me.

Edit: I got lucky and managed to order one with ICC: I38-MMSN810! 😁

Reply 12 of 20, by dionb

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haker120 wrote on 2021-07-21, 07:25:

So I38-MMSD802 has DSS/Covox/SB Pro2 but doesn't have WSS? I'm confused because I've read this here: Practically all of the 1st generation sound cards supports Adlib, Sound Blaster Pro II, Windows Sound System, Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing. And on blog: All chipsets implement the AdLib and Windows Sound System. The AZTSSPT0592-U01 additionally implements the Covox Speech Thing and the Disney Sound Source. It lacks the UART MPU-401 interface all later models have.

Unfortunately the blog isn't correct. Take a look at the PCB: no Aztech chip before the 4th gen AZT2320 integrates WSS codec, so if there's no discrete WSS codec on the card, there's no WSS support.

This is the NXPRO:
Aztech-Sound-Galaxy-NX-Pro.jpg

And here's the MMSN810:
Aztech-Sound-Galaxy-Basic-16-FCC-ID-138-MMSN810-Crystal-CS4248-KL-AZT-NXPMIX0592-AZTDSP38-AZTSSPT0592-U01-Yamaha-OP-YMF262-M-Mitsumi-LU005S-Panasonic-CR-5XX-CDROM-Interface-ISA-Singapore-1994.jpg

Spot the difference: that CS4248, which is the WSS codec. No codec, no WSS in 1st/2nd/3rd gen Aztech.

[...]

I cannot wait to get and test these, just your info, @dionb about no WSS confused me.

Edit: I got lucky and managed to order one with ICC: I38-MMSN810! 😁

Well caught. That should match your requirement exactly.

Reply 13 of 20, by haker120

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These are boards I've ordered.

lgHF5o4.png

pQyszCf.png

xu2B2Im.jpeg

Is this really a way to go for me? These chips look different, I see one has legit OPL3 and two have 1:1 clones (as far as I'm aware these are identical just labeled differently).

Reply 14 of 20, by dionb

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Nice collection!

The YMF262 vs LS-212 is purely a matter of labeling, they sound exactly the same.

The MMSN824 is the simplest (and therefore usually best) of the 3rd gen Aztech cards. No frills, but very good SBPro2 support, bug-free MPU-401 MIDI and WSS.
The other two are 1st gen and as I've already described. There's no real reason to use the MMSD802 (NXPro? layout is slightly different but active components the same) over the MMSN810, as the only significant difference is that WSS codec chip, AD1848 here. Still the 802 give you a backup in case the 810 turns out dead.

In general WSS software support is limited and tends to be found on later titles that also support SB16.

Reply 15 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

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dionb wrote on 2021-07-21, 19:39:

There's no real reason to use the MMSD802 (NXPro? layout is slightly different but active components the same) over the MMSN810, as the only significant difference is that WSS codec chip, AD1848 here. Still the 802 give you a backup in case the 810 turns out dead.

I don't have any experience with Aztech, but on OPTi cards, Analog Devices chips seem to have slightly better WSS compatibility than their Crystal counterparts. I don't have any conclusive evidence for this, just a few observations here and there, but it would be nice if someone could do some proper testing with different WSS codecs.

In general WSS software support is limited and tends to be found on later titles that also support SB16.

Some early Sierra games support it too. For example, Space Quest V is from 1993 and works great with WSS, while its Sound Blaster driver tends to misbehave on faster CPUs.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 17 of 20, by jesolo

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dionb wrote on 2021-07-20, 23:30:

- MMSN810. Probably the most feature-rich sound card, so highly ironic it's referred to as "Sound Galaxy 16 Basic". SBPro2, real OPL3 (or 1:1 clone, Aztech used both) and WSS codec (either AD1848 or CS4248 depending on what was in the last rubbish bin Aztech raided)

The MMSN810 was the first sound card I bought.
However, I have to crank up the treble (in the mixer utility) all the way as my card's sound playback is fairly muffled (almost like it has a heavy filter applied).
Have you perhaps noticed the same issue on your card, compared to a later generation Aztech card or your NXPro?

I've actually been on the lookout for another MMSN810 card

Reply 18 of 20, by haker120

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So, I've tested all cards.

I38-MMSD802 - no WSS, other than this good card, has WSS/DSS, noisy, and I left this one in my working but looking horribly 386 after 'barrel' leaked.
I38-MMSN810 - everything works as intended. Windows Sound System and Speach Thing/Disney Sound Source, much less noisy.
I38-MMSN824 - the best card so far, config was a pain in da butt. No noisy at all.

I'm pleased with these cards but I didn't know config will be that hard. 😁 I had easier time to configure Sound Blasters and ESS 1868/1869 cards. 🤣

BTW, I am completely not sure I got the best drivers for these.

Why is there WSS? Didn't I check this one correctly? Link.
A0l2we1.png

Reply 19 of 20, by dionb

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haker120 wrote on 2021-07-23, 19:06:
So, I've tested all cards. […]
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So, I've tested all cards.

I38-MMSD802 - no WSS, other than this good card, has WSS/DSS, noisy, and I left this one in my working but looking horribly 386 after 'barrel' leaked.
I38-MMSN810 - everything works as intended. Windows Sound System and Speach Thing/Disney Sound Source, much less noisy.
I38-MMSN824 - the best card so far, config was a pain in da butt. No noisy at all.

Apart from the config exactly as expected 😀

I'm pleased with these cards but I didn't know config will be that hard. 😁 I had easier time to configure Sound Blasters and ESS 1868/1869 cards. 🤣

Config hard on the MMSN84? How? I'd expect having to do one-off EEPROM config, then it just behaves as if you'd done jumpers for the same settings.
[q]BTW, I am completely not sure I got the best drivers for these.[/quote]
Drivers? None require any drivers (for DOS at least) or even init programs. Once config has been programmed, they just work.

Why is there WSS? Didn't I check this one correctly? Link. https://i.imgur.com/A0l2we1.png […]
Show full quote

Why is there WSS? Didn't I check this one correctly? Link.
A0l2we1.png

Lincoln-on-Internet-Quotes.jpg

Fortunately, most info on vintage stuff online is correct. Unfortunately, not all is correct. You seem to have bumped into such stuff regarding the NXPro.

In the site's defence. documentation on Aztech cards is hopelessly poor, particularly compared to the generally very good cards themselves. Now we know better, when that site did that comment they clearly didn't.