VOGONS


My DIY sound card replicas

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First post, by kdehl

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Hello!

Someone told me I should announce here the sound cards that I currently have on offer. They are:

Gravis Ultrasound PnP
Sound Blaster ISA
Sound Blaster Micro Channel (aka MCA)
Disney Sound Source / Covox Speech Thing / FTL Sound Adapter

The GUS card is a reverse-engineered replica of the Argus card that was published here a few years ago.

The Sound Blaster cards are based on the Snark Barker cards but contain some improvements. Both have support for CD-ROM audio and microphones that require external voltage.

The MCA Sound Blaster also has support for internal audio. That is, you can use the internal PC speaker for as output so that you don't need to use external speakers. A neat feature that the Micro Channel bus provides, but the ISA bus does not.

The last piece is the parallel port adapter. Don't know what to call it exactly, a sound card for the parallel port? Anyway, it is not quite like the ones you can find aplenty on eBay; this one has a number of additional features that I haven't seen on others. It has three modes:

* Regular Covox Speech Thing; just a DAC
* Disney Sound Source
* FTL Sound Adapter detection for Dungeon Master

It also has a built-in headphone amplifier, some filters and stuff that makes sure the sound won't get distorted by the headphones (something that is rather common for the simplest adapters that you can find on eBay) or that the sound level gets reduced. It is powered either by a USB-B or USB-C connector. Use whatever suits you.

All my cards can be found on Tindie or eBay. Due to eBay's constantly increasing fees I had to increase the price on eBay, so I'd recommend Tindie, where they are slightly cheaper:

Sound Blaster ISA:

https://www.tindie.com/products/kdehl/8-bit-i … clone-with-cms/

Sound Blaster MCA:

https://www.tindie.com/products/kdehl/mca-mic … laster-replica/

Gravis Ultrasound:

https://www.tindie.com/products/kdehl/gravis- … us-pnp-replica/

Parallel port sound adapter:

https://www.tindie.com/products/kdehl/covox-s … source-ftl-snd/

If you have any questions, naturally, don't hesitate to ask!

David

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  • IMG_2681.JPEG
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    Gravis Ultrasound
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  • mca_sound_blaster_2.0_frontside.jpg
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    MCA Sound Blaster
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  • s-l1600.jpg
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    ISA Sound Blaster
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Reply 1 of 23, by ahyeadude

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I recently purchased the GUS and SB1.5 ISA clones with the metal brackets. These cards are awesome! GUS PnP has worked flawlessly (after reprogramming the ISA-PNP EEPROM with GUS PnP XSS InterWave EEPROM Toolz 1.3) and is a very low noise card. I used the pre-installed Orpheus II Gus PNP DOS driver pack as well. I haven't tested out the SB1.5 yet, it will be a part of my 386sx-40 build I'm currently piecing together.

Thanks for producing these and looking forward to purchasing your other offerings!

Reply 2 of 23, by MadMac_5

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Your work looks great, if I had a MS-DOS retro build I'd probably grab one of those GUS replicas! I am so happy that you're making these cards more accessible for people than the current hyper-inflated used market.

Reply 3 of 23, by Ensign Nemo

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I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have. Could someone clarify how many games would be supported with the Covox/Disney device? Would I be correct to go off of the Mobygames lists for these two devices?

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/44/

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/43/

I've also read that you can use a TSR (Temu) to get Tandy sound as well with a Covox. Am I correct in assuming that this would also work with this device?

Thanks in advance.

Reply 4 of 23, by Pierre32

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Oh nice. I discovered your site recently thanks a Youtube video, and mentioned it in this thread: The comprehensive list of all modern reproductions of vintage sound cards

Glad you're here!

Reply 5 of 23, by NightShadowPT

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Ensign Nemo wrote on 2023-08-06, 06:07:

I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have.

I've also read that you can use a TSR (Temu) to get Tandy sound as well with a Covox. Am I correct in assuming that this would also work with this device?

Hi,

I recently got a CVX-4 (Covox clone) and it works well with Temu, but please bear in mind that many games only have one option for Tandy, and for these either you also have a Tandy graphics card, or you won't be able to benefit from the Tandy sound.

NightShadowPT
----------------
Compaq Deskpro M 486/66 - 64MB Ram - Compaq QVision 1MB - Orpheus II Sound
Card - 4GB SCSI HDD + 4GB CF Card - SCSI CD-ROM Plextor PX-32TSi - Adaptec WideSCSI AHA-2740W - 3COM Etherlink III Card

Reply 6 of 23, by Ensign Nemo

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NightShadowPT wrote on 2023-08-08, 11:31:
Ensign Nemo wrote on 2023-08-06, 06:07:

I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have.

I've also read that you can use a TSR (Temu) to get Tandy sound as well with a Covox. Am I correct in assuming that this would also work with this device?

Hi,

I recently got a CVX-4 (Covox clone) and it works well with Temu, but please bear in mind that many games only have one option for Tandy, and for these either you also have a Tandy graphics card, or you won't be able to benefit from the Tandy sound.

Thanks. That's good to know. I don't own a Tandy anything, so I would be limited to those that support the sound separately.

Reply 8 of 23, by dj_pirtu

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I'm buying this: https://www.tindie.com/products/kdehl/simple- … us-pnp-replica/

But never had GUS PnP so I don't know do I need the wavetable rom or not. I have many Classic and MAX cards and those loads all the instruments in memory every time.
I have Orpheus II too and I've been using it like regular GF1 GUS.

Reply 10 of 23, by ahyeadude

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ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-11, 21:47:

Quick question. What DSP version is flashed on the Soundblaster 1.5 clone?

To answer my own question, SBDIAG reports DSP 2.02. So this card is technically a SB 2.0? Haven't tested any 44khz sample rates yet.

Reply 11 of 23, by ahyeadude

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ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-14, 01:30:
ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-11, 21:47:

Quick question. What DSP version is flashed on the Soundblaster 1.5 clone?

To answer my own question, SBDIAG reports DSP 2.02. So this card is technically a SB 2.0? Haven't tested any 44khz sample rates yet.

8-bit 44khz wav files play fine!

Reply 12 of 23, by kdehl

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ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-15, 22:37:
ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-14, 01:30:
ahyeadude wrote on 2023-09-11, 21:47:

Quick question. What DSP version is flashed on the Soundblaster 1.5 clone?

To answer my own question, SBDIAG reports DSP 2.02. So this card is technically a SB 2.0? Haven't tested any 44khz sample rates yet.

8-bit 44khz wav files play fine!

I think I read somewhere that functionality-wise the only difference between the 1.5 and 2.0 is that 2.0 could handle this sampling frequency; is this correct? If so, the card should probably be advertised as a 2.0 clone.

I used the firmware that Eric Schlaepfer dumped for his Snark Barker.

Reply 13 of 23, by kdehl

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Ensign Nemo wrote on 2023-08-06, 06:07:
I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have. Could someone clarify how many game […]
Show full quote

I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have. Could someone clarify how many games would be supported with the Covox/Disney device? Would I be correct to go off of the Mobygames lists for these two devices?

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/44/

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/43/

I've also read that you can use a TSR (Temu) to get Tandy sound as well with a Covox. Am I correct in assuming that this would also work with this device?

Thanks in advance.

Sorry for the late answer, but yes, you are right. Those are the games that this device supports.

A side note is that it has an "FTL mode," which is basically a Covox Speech Thing with detection circuitry that makes it usable as an FTL Sound Adapter in Dungeon Master. Doesn't matter much, since DM can use the device as a Disney Sound Source anyway. But I still thought it was a cool feature. 😀 I'm currently working on getting the joystick port working on the device, but I still haven't managed to figure it out.

I have not tried the TSR.

Reply 14 of 23, by kdehl

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Thanks everyone for the kind words here. I created this thread quite a while ago and then forgot about it after no one commented for a while. Strangely I didn't get any notifications when people actually started replying.

By the way, Retro Erik on YouTube will review a few of my cards in the near future. First up is the GUS that will be published in the next week or so:

https://www.youtube.com/@RetroErik

Reply 15 of 23, by Ensign Nemo

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kdehl wrote on 2023-09-27, 20:47:
Sorry for the late answer, but yes, you are right. Those are the games that this device supports. […]
Show full quote
Ensign Nemo wrote on 2023-08-06, 06:07:
I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have. Could someone clarify how many game […]
Show full quote

I'd like to get a parallel port sound card to use with a couple of thin clients that I have. Could someone clarify how many games would be supported with the Covox/Disney device? Would I be correct to go off of the Mobygames lists for these two devices?

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/44/

https://www.mobygames.com/attributes/attribute/43/

I've also read that you can use a TSR (Temu) to get Tandy sound as well with a Covox. Am I correct in assuming that this would also work with this device?

Thanks in advance.

Sorry for the late answer, but yes, you are right. Those are the games that this device supports.

A side note is that it has an "FTL mode," which is basically a Covox Speech Thing with detection circuitry that makes it usable as an FTL Sound Adapter in Dungeon Master. Doesn't matter much, since DM can use the device as a Disney Sound Source anyway. But I still thought it was a cool feature. 😀 I'm currently working on getting the joystick port working on the device, but I still haven't managed to figure it out.

I have not tried the TSR.

No worries. I ended up buying it anyways. After adding a cheap ground loop isolator for the audio cable, it works great!

Reply 17 of 23, by kdehl

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I had some progress with my HardSID clone. I have completely redesigned the power supplies (there are a surprising number of different voltages involved!) and amplification circuitries. Hopefully this makes it a little less sensitive to noise than the original.

It's just a prototype with lots of debug pins and some fix wires, but it does work.

Next revision will have an integrated SwinSID emulator that can be switched off in case one wants to make use of one's own real SID chip.

This is Giana Sisters run with the SwinSID emulator:
https://aws.dose.se/files/hardsid/hardsid_0.1 … ith_swinsid.mp4

And this is using an actual 8580 SID:
https://aws.dose.se/files/hardsid/hardsid_0.1_with_8580.mp4

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    HardSID with SwinSID installed
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Reply 18 of 23, by DerBaum

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Oh wow. A SID Soundcard.
That thing would be awesome to check my sid collection for broken chips.
I bought the Sids many years ago for a Midibox with 8 Sids project and never used them.
I have some noob questions 😀
Is there a software to test the channels and features of the sid on pc?
is it possible to use the card as a device in music production software? If yes, is it possible to use multiple cards in one system?
does the card support both sid variants?

great project!

FCKGW-RHQQ2

Reply 19 of 23, by Jo22

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DerBaum wrote on 2023-10-09, 10:47:

Oh wow. A SID Soundcard.

Yup. It's a fine clone of the classic HardSID that the OP has made here. Kudos.
It's being supported by a few C64 emulators, too, I think. 🙂👍

Btw, if you're interested in SID on DOS,
there are replicas of the Innovation Sound Standard (SSI 2001).
I remember the times when it was being discussed here.

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