VOGONS


First post, by stanwebber

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i was under the impression that all aztech manufactured cards have a discrete yamaha opl2/3 chip on them...well at least all the non-triangle ones that up to this point i've ignored. well i just acquired an oem waverider card and to my surprise, no discrete opl3 or clone that i can see. as it turns out the card uses the last generation azt-2320 chipset which switched to integrated fm synthesis. did i goof? i could have easily gotten a pnp waverider card with an earlier aztech chip for about the same price.

i found very little definitive about the azt-2320 online. someone suggested it has a ymf289 core embedded. to my ears it sounds very close to an opl3, but i'm not exactly practiced, listening only to chorus & reverbed cqm for 20+ years (i can spot crystalfm & optifm though).

is there a definitive answer to this or will it remain conjecture?

Reply 1 of 14, by dionb

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Yes, the AZT2320 has an integrated (and I believe officially licensed, although I don't have a source for that) OPL3-core, just like eg. CT1747.

The C-Media CMI8330 also has a 1:1 clone, but is most definitely not licensed.

Reply 3 of 14, by stanwebber

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thanks for the unambiguous answer. as i read more about the different generations of these cards it strikes me that ALL of those aztech triangle cards you see everywhere must have the azt-2320 chipset. are there any inherent advantages over the previous azt-2316 generation besides being more integrated and perhaps less noisy because of it? as far as i can tell the only other difference is that all azt-2320 cards are pnp while the previous generation had a mix of both. if the assertion that the integrated opl3 is a ymf289, that would be another difference as well.

it's too bad all those oem triangle cards have no wavetable header as a function of their layout...the azt-2320 so far seems like a good integrated solution similar to ess.

Reply 4 of 14, by Gmlb256

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The MPU-401 interface can be accessed thru the gameport. For connecting a DreamBlaster wavetable module on these triangular Aztech cards, check CHiLL and Phil adapter.

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Reply 5 of 14, by dionb

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stanwebber wrote on 2023-01-27, 14:24:

thanks for the unambiguous answer. as i read more about the different generations of these cards it strikes me that ALL of those aztech triangle cards you see everywhere must have the azt-2320 chipset. are there any inherent advantages over the previous azt-2316 generation besides being more integrated and perhaps less noisy because of it? as far as i can tell the only other difference is that all azt-2320 cards are pnp while the previous generation had a mix of both. if the assertion that the integrated opl3 is a ymf289, that would be another difference as well.

Both 3rd gen and 4th gen Aztech cards are pretty quiet and basically have the same feature set apart from PnP - it's just everything is integrated in the 2320. Actually, that started with late 3rd gen 2316R, which integrated codec etc with the 2316A in a nice die shrink.

Can't comment on YMF289 vs YMF232 - I'm tone deaf and (except for listening to two pure sine wave forms interfering) couldn't hear the difference between the two on cards where it's clear which one is used.

As for which is better... prior to Unisound it hardly mattered, you just used a different Aztech config tool. But Unisound is a game changer. No need for any messy config/driver tools. Just SET BLASTER and go with the 2320. That said, I find the card designs of 3rd gen cards nicer, and I am always suspicious of ISA PnP, even when Unisound can fix stuff after boot. So I have a pile of both 😉

it's too bad all those oem triangle cards have no wavetable header as a function of their layout...the azt-2320 so far seems like a good integrated solution similar to ess.

Yes, they followed a very similar integration path, only they didn't make their own FM synth, but just added OPL3 itself. Also, WSS works with Aztech, where I've never really been able to get it to work with ESS.

Reply 6 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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dionb wrote on 2023-01-27, 22:22:

Also, WSS works with Aztech, where I've never really been able to get it to work with ESS.

WSS support is not implemented on ESS 1688 and 1868 cards, despite what their datasheets claim. I think they used the term somewhat loosely as in "we have 16-bit sound under Windows".

The native AudioDrive mode works fine of course, but it's not the same thing.

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Reply 7 of 14, by stanwebber

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oh wow! my other retro pc is a pentium p54c laptop with an ess es688 soundcard. i primarily use the sb pro 2 emulation with softmpu so wss has never really come up. i suppose the stated wss compatibility is also a fantasy for the es688?

Reply 8 of 14, by Gmlb256

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stanwebber wrote on 2023-01-28, 16:24:

oh wow! my other retro pc is a pentium p54c laptop with an ess es688 soundcard. i primarily use the sb pro 2 emulation with softmpu so wss has never really come up. i suppose the stated wss compatibility is also a fantasy for the es688?

Yes, this is true for every ESS AudioDrive sound card. Both the "native" ESS mode they have and the WSS compatibility found on other clones sound much better than the SBPro mode/emulation with later DOS games if supported.

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Reply 9 of 14, by dionb

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2023-01-28, 16:28:
stanwebber wrote on 2023-01-28, 16:24:

oh wow! my other retro pc is a pentium p54c laptop with an ess es688 soundcard. i primarily use the sb pro 2 emulation with softmpu so wss has never really come up. i suppose the stated wss compatibility is also a fantasy for the es688?

Yes, this is true for every ESS AudioDrive sound card. Both the "native" ESS mode they have and the WSS compatibility found on other clones sound much better than the SBPro mode/emulation with later DOS games if supported.

Essentially it's very close to (on paper maybe better than) SB16.

I'm not aware of any titles that do support WSS or AudioDrive that don't support SB16 though, which is why some later clones (CMI8330, ALS100) supported both.

Reply 10 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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dionb wrote on 2023-01-28, 18:28:

I'm not aware of any titles that do support WSS or AudioDrive that don't support SB16 though,

This is true, but there are some weird edge cases like Aladdin which doesn't support stereo music with a SB16, only with SBPro, WSS and PAS16. Thankfully, Cloudschatze made a fix for that, but the retail game behaves as described above. See here: Aladdin (DOS) music - SB16 vs. SBPro vs. WSS

which is why some later clones (CMI8330, ALS100) supported both.

ALS100 doesn't support WSS either, only SB16 and SBPro. The CMI8330 is probably the only chip which supports all three.

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Reply 11 of 14, by stanwebber

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2023-01-28, 18:41:

ALS100 doesn't support WSS either, only SB16 and SBPro. The CMI8330 is probably the only chip which supports all three.

this is also a revalation to me. i have been considering buying a full size non-cost-reduced als100 or als100+ card with opl3. i suppose this means the als120 also doesn't support wss. with all the sb16/wss overlap i guess it's not all that surprising (certainly not to the degree of ess). well, i know for sure that opti, crystal and of course analog devices codecs are wss compatible.

Reply 12 of 14, by mkarcher

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2023-01-28, 04:01:

WSS support is not implemented on ESS 1688 and 1868 cards, despite what their datasheets claim. I think they used the term somewhat loosely as in "we have 16-bit sound under Windows".

stanwebber wrote on 2023-01-28, 21:11:

and of course analog devices codecs are wss compatible.

Indeed, a couple of data sheets use the term WSS for Windows Multimedia Wave API driver support, and not for hardware compatiblity. I wasn't aware that ESS pulled that trick, too. But even analog has an offender here, the infamous AD1816(A). This chip is a highly integrated ISA PnP sound chip, compatible with SB Pro and a native 16-bit stereo full duplex mode - but the hardware is entirely incompatible to the AD1848 (which is the chip that set the WSS "standard"). Nevertheless, the AD1816 datasheets claims "Windows Sound System compatible" multiple times.

Reply 13 of 14, by stanwebber

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so i've had time to play with this card quite a bit now. it passed the opl3 clone test posted here:

The way to detect OPL3 clone

win98se automatically installs a directsound compliant wdm driver, which is my preference since i frequently connect multiple simultaneous clients (munt,roland vsc,yamaha s-yxg100,timidity,dosbox,serial-midi bridge) to the virtual wdm mixer. a win95 vxd driver is also available.

the dos driver situation is a mess. luckily, my award bios is pnp aware so the card automatically works without needing any drivers or initialization. (strangely, my bios has no 'plug and play os installed' setting so pnp can't be turned off.) the card grabs 0x220, irq 5, dma 1, mpu401 0x330, fm 0x388 by default. the dos utilities are only available after installing the windows drivers so i attached them in an archive here to save anyone the trouble. i don't know if it's because my card and bios are pnp, but i never got them to work. supposedly, hwset.exe is all you should need; however, it accepts no arguments when i run it and just annoyingly sets my blaster environment to A0 I0 D0 T4. i found this syntax output online which i can't even get since my hwset.exe really accepts NO arguments, not even /?.

Mixer Control and Hardware Configuration Setting, Version 1.0
Copyright (c) 1993, AZI Labs. All rights reserved.

Command Line Format: HWSET /[S|?] [/MR] [/MS] [/option:value ...]

**** Miscellaneous Setting ****
/S or /? Simplified single screen help message
/MR Reset to factory defaults
/MS Store settings to EEPROM

**** Sound Card Mixer Volume Control ****
/VV:L,R Set Sound Blaster Voice Volume (L = 0 -- 16, R = 0 -- 16)
/VF:L,R Set FM/WaveTable Volume (L = 0 -- 16, R = 0 -- 16)
/VL:L,R Set Line-In/CD Volume (L = 0 -- 16, R = 0 -- 16)
/VM:X Set Microphone Volume (X = 0 -- 16)
/VX:L,R Set Master Volume (L = 0 -- 16, R = 0 -- 16)

**** Sound Card Hardware Address Setting ****
/SBA:X Set Sound Blaster Port Address (X = 220*, 240)
/MPUA:X Set MPU401 Port Address (X = 300, 330*)
/MSSA:X Set MSS Port Address (X = 530*, 604, E80, F40)

**** MITSUMI/SONY DMA Channel Setting ****
/CDDMA:X Set Mitsumi/Sony DMA Channel (X = 0, 3, D -- Disable*)

**** Sound Card Interrupt Setting ****
/SBIRQ:X Set Sound Blaster Interrupt (X = 2, 3, 5*, 7)
/MPUIRQ:X Set MPU401 Interrupt (X = 2*, 3, 5, 7)
/CDIRQ:X Set CD-ROM Interrupt (X = 11, 12, 15, N -- None*)

**** Sound Card CD, Game Port and Sound System Setting ****
/CD:X Set CD (X = M -- Mitsumi/Sony/Aztech, P -- Panasonic,
E -- All Enable*, D -- All Disable)
/GPA:X Set Game Port Status (X = D -- Disable, E -- Enable*)
/MSS:X Set MSS Status (X = D -- Disable, E -- Enable*)
/MPU:X Set MPU401 Status (X = D -- Disable, E -- Enable*)

unisound.com to the rescue as it pretty much handles all of the above (and without messing with the blaster setting). i don't actually need to run it on my pnp system unless switching to wss mode since my card is either sb pro or wss only.

the one thing that still eludes me with this card is getting it to run under linux. my kernel actually has an alsa snd-azt2320.ko kernel module, but it won't load no matter what i try...i keep getting "could not load 'snd_azt2320': no such device". i found someone online who got a gen 2 card working with the snd-azt1605.ko module so i tried copying those options:

modprobe snd-azt2320 port=0x220 fm_port=0x388 wss_port=0x530 mpu_port=0x330 irq=5 dma1=1

but i still get the same 'no such device' error. i'm at a loss as to what to try next. to my mind, it should all just work automatically since everything is pnp, at least under debian bullseye.

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