VOGONS


First post, by geertjanb

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For the first time in my life I own a AWE64 (value) and im suprised how good it sounds, especially in build engine games. When I was a kid I owned a SB-16 clone and even after 25 years the difference is between night and day.

I also bought a SC-55. Would it be an upgrade to use it for the music?

Reply 3 of 14, by Gmlb256

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geertjanb wrote on 2022-04-29, 08:28:

For the first time in my life I own a AWE64 (value) and im suprised how good it sounds, especially in build engine games. When I was a kid I owned a SB-16 clone and even after 25 years the difference is between night and day.

I also bought a SC-55. Would it be an upgrade to use it for the music?

Yes, as most DOS games with GM music were composed with the SC-55 in mind.

The AWE64 is still great. Check the AWEstruck... thread for interesting stuff around the EMU8K and DOS32AWE which allows using AWEUTIL TSR with protected mode DOS games. On Windows you could use SF2 soundfonts especially when you increase the amount of RAM that is onboard (up to 28MB).

Trelokk wrote on 2022-04-29, 08:55:

I would say almost any wavetable synth is a night-and-day difference compared to OPL.

In the case of MIDI music, yes.

Most developers lacked the skill to get most of the OPL FM synth, leading to that perception it sounded like crap. However there are several games whose developers did bother to get some impressive music with OPL such as Lollypop, Tyrian and Cybersphere, the latter which uses OPL3 capabilities which was very rare in DOS games.

Reply 4 of 14, by maxtherabbit

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How exactly do you get a win98 system with the AWE card to output external MIDI in DOS games? Regardless of whether I pick the AWE synth or the external MIDI port in the sound control panel DOS games running in 98 still play music through the AWE synth

Reply 5 of 14, by Gmlb256

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-04-29, 12:53:

How exactly do you get a win98 system with the AWE card to output external MIDI in DOS games? Regardless of whether I pick the AWE synth or the external MIDI port in the sound control panel DOS games running in 98 still play music through the AWE synth

Open the AWE Control Panel, click the "Device..." button, in the following dialog that appears uncheck "Allow MPU-401 emulation" and apply the settings. This allows the use of external MIDI devices in DOS games within Windows.

Still surprised that some people doesn't know about this. 😉

Reply 6 of 14, by chinny22

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I've nothing against the AWE, also not owning one until getting back into this hobby
but yeh the SC-55 is in a different league (both sound and price so it's fair enough) plus watching the SC55's display never gets old 😉

Reply 7 of 14, by maxtherabbit

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-04-29, 13:11:
maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-04-29, 12:53:

How exactly do you get a win98 system with the AWE card to output external MIDI in DOS games? Regardless of whether I pick the AWE synth or the external MIDI port in the sound control panel DOS games running in 98 still play music through the AWE synth

Open the AWE Control Panel, click the "Device..." button, in the following dialog that appears uncheck "Allow MPU-401 emulation" and apply the settings. This allows the use of external MIDI devices in DOS games within Windows.

Still surprised that some people doesn't know about this. 😉

neat, thanks

Reply 8 of 14, by dormcat

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Trelokk wrote on 2022-04-29, 08:55:

I would say almost any wavetable synth is a night-and-day difference compared to OPL.

Ditto. I still remember the jaw-dropping moment when I heard DANCE.MID under EMU8000 at the end of AWE32 installation for the very first time in my life (especially when Creative intentionally included MINUET.MID in OPL3 for comparison).

Reply 9 of 14, by darry

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Have a look (listen) to the Voice Crystal 4 Meg General Midi GM/GS Set from EYE & I Productions (19.95 US$ ) on an EMU8000 based card --> http://www.voicecrystal.com/sfengine.mv

Some samples of MIDI playback :

Re: How much ram do I really need sb32
Re: Noisy AWE64 recording from any input (line in, EMU8000 MIDI, etc) + upcoming AWE64 comparison

Reply 10 of 14, by Shreddoc

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geertjanb wrote on 2022-04-29, 08:28:

For the first time in my life I own a AWE64 (value) and im suprised how good it sounds, especially in build engine games. When I was a kid I owned a SB-16 clone and even after 25 years the difference is between night and day.

I also bought a SC-55. Would it be an upgrade to use it for the music?

Yes.

On the internet, there are even some comparison videos where you can directly hear the differences yourself. (If for some reason you can't directly compare the gear you said you've just bought, in person.)

I'd definitely recommend checking some of those out, they'll answer your question more fully than our words ever could.

For example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9iyi7_BNRQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EWJRLE9bl0

Let us know what conclusions you arrive at, look forward to hearing the follow-up.

Reply 11 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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If you want a quick comparison between the two, I have recordings of some common tracks from Doom, Duke3D and Tyrian here:

SC-155
vs.
AWE64

As previously mentioned, many game composers in the '90s used a Sound Canvas for creating their music. Therefore, the games they worked on tend to sound best on that device.

That said, I was still impressed with how good certain tracks could sound on an AWE card. Here are some of the nicer ones, recorded on an AWE64 Gold via SPDIF out. Lastly, you could always hook up your SC-55 to your AWE card and then choose which device to use for music in a game's setup menu.

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 12 of 14, by Stretch

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There are 2 MIDI files that only sound correct on the AWE-32 at the bottom of this page Techno Toys Samples. They don't sound correct even with Foobar2000, XMPlay, SC-VA due to advanced usage of AWE-32 specific NRPNs.

Win11 - AMD Ryzen 9 3900 - 16 GB - GeForce RTX 2060S - Sound BlasterX AE5-Plus
Win98SE - ASRock 775i65G R3.0 - Celeron 2.2 GHz - 2 GB - GeForce FX5700 - Ensoniq 1373
Win98SE - Via Apollo Pro Mobo - Pentium II 233 - 256 MB - Voodoo 3 1000 - ESS Solo-1 1938

Reply 13 of 14, by Cuttoon

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Well, you already bought it, so, duh?
Else, some years ago I'd told you the huge price difference isn't quite worth it, but since the world has gone utterly bonkers and even the sb64 will cost three figures, whatever... 😁
Wavetable in general is an entirely different breed than FM systhesis of SB16, etc.

I like jumpers.

Reply 14 of 14, by Spikey

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For those who don't know, the AWE64 is a wavetable card as well as a FM Synthesis card.

But having owned an AWE32 and SC-55 "back in the day", I was fairly disappointed at the AWE32's stock GM set and very impressed with the SC-55's. Add a little reverb on top of the SC-55 (tab out of your game and send a QuestStudios MIDI file, for example) and you really start to see the benefits of hardware modules. Serious ear candy, in a different but (mostly) no less impressive way to the MT-32.

The AWE banks sound like soundfonts. Some instruments work well, some less so. And of course most GM scores are balanced for the SC-55, so soundfonts will have instruments too loud, too quiet, respond to velocities different etc etc. So I'd be using the AWE for FM and the SC-55 for GM/GS.

I think now that I'm older, I appreciate the AWE banks more for what they are and not for what they aren't. But for balanced sounds in GM gaming, I wouldn't be using the AWE32 at least (not sure how improved the 64 is with memory and soundfonts).