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AdLib GOLD clone is now a reality

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Reply 81 of 141, by 640K!enough

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GL1zdA wrote on 2022-10-20, 06:24:

What is the fastest CPU known to work well with the Adlib Gold?

Decades ago, I had an official response from a support person at Ad Lib Multimedia. He said that, depending on the software and particular configuration, many 486 systems didn't respect the necessary delays for the Ad Lib Gold 1000, particularly at or beyond 33 MHz.

His response aside, practical experience tells me that there are some types of 486 motherboards that won't work well unless very carefully configured, particularly those with many bus timing options. This was common on inexpensive SiS-based VLB boards; some of them didn't offer the timing options via the BIOS setup, and couldn't easily be made to work at all. However, with a decent board, careful configuration and decent software, I have had the original card running on Socket 7-era boards, and even some from the 440BX era.

Never under-estimate the need for well-behaved software. Remember that this was one of the first software-configurable sound cards, and it was designed when 8086, 286 and 386SX systems were most common. Some software didn't really work too well, and would modify the configuration, instead of reading it, thereby creating a conflict, just before trying to play audio (with predictable results). Other software has such sloppy timing routines, that getting it to work at all is an exercise in frustration.

In summary, a mid-range 386DX is probably the sweet spot for this card. Too much slower, and there may be problems getting clean playback at 44.1 kHz stereo. Too much faster, and you start playing bus-timing and delay-routine roulette.

Last edited by 640K!enough on 2022-10-20, 20:59. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 82 of 141, by keropi

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oh that is very useful info 640K!enough , thanks for sharing!
I will add this info in the goldlib site as it is important info
I had no idea games could alter the card's configuration, that is a weird side-effect!

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Reply 83 of 141, by 640K!enough

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keropi wrote on 2022-10-20, 20:53:

I had no idea games could alter the card's configuration, that is a weird side-effect!

It can be quite an annoyance, and difficult to figure out, especially when you don't expect it. They usually don't also write the new configuration to the EEPROM, so a re-boot is usually enough to get everything back to normal. Getting such software to actually work, on the other hand can be "interesting", especially if you have other hardware that actually needs the resources that it tries to steal.

Reply 84 of 141, by Shponglefan

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640K!enough wrote on 2022-10-20, 20:48:

In summary, a mid-range 386DX is probably the sweet spot for this card. Too much slower, and there may be problems getting clean playback at 44.1 kHz stereo. Too much faster, and you start playing bus-timing and delay-routine roulette.

This is very good information for sure.

I have a pair of 386 machines (SX-25 and DX-40) so it would be interesting to test them both out to see how the Adlib Gold behaves at these respective speeds.

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Reply 85 of 141, by bnz99

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A related question: did the software with which the RL2 demo songs were created ever get leaked, is the file format known or is it in any other way possible to somehow easily make use of the mixed OPL3/PCM functionality of the Adlib Gold/Golddlib card for new music in a retro machine when coming from a modern software like Deflemask or Furnace Tracker?

Reply 86 of 141, by GL1zdA

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640K!enough wrote on 2022-10-20, 20:48:
GL1zdA wrote on 2022-10-20, 06:24:

What is the fastest CPU known to work well with the Adlib Gold?

Decades ago, I had an official response from a support person at Ad Lib Multimedia. He said that, depending on the software and particular configuration, many 486 systems didn't respect the necessary delays for the Ad Lib Gold 1000, particularly at or beyond 33 MHz.

His response aside, practical experience tells me that there are some types of 486 motherboards that won't work well unless very carefully configured, particularly those with many bus timing options. This was common on inexpensive SiS-based VLB boards; some of them didn't offer the timing options via the BIOS setup, and couldn't easily be made to work at all. However, with a decent board, careful configuration and decent software, I have had the original card running on Socket 7-era boards, and even some from the 440BX era.

Thanks for this answer. Do you remember which timing options have you used for the Socket 7 and 440BX boards? Were the socket 7 boards Intel Triton based, or have they used some 3rd party chipsets?

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Reply 87 of 141, by 640K!enough

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GL1zdA wrote on 2022-10-21, 06:09:

Thanks for this answer. Do you remember which timing options have you used for the Socket 7 and 440BX boards? Were the socket 7 boards Intel Triton based, or have they used some 3rd party chipsets?

Given the wide variety of boards, getting this to work will be a process of trial and error; probably a frustrating one. I don't remember much about the Socket 7 board, as it was about 20 years ago. I do remember that it was a 430VX-based board from a company commonly called m-Tech (officially M Technology, Inc.). I don't remember anything about its settings.

The 440BX-based board I still have and use. Getting it running here can be somewhat tricky, depending on your configuration. Absolutely do not try to run the ISA bus out of specification in any way; standard timing/clocking options only, if you have them. You will have to increase the 8-bit I/O Recovery Time close to as high as it will go. On my board, this has to be at least 4, or I get only awful noises. You will also have to experiment with Delayed Transaction and Passive Release to see which combination yields the most stable results.

It is also important to point out that some other cards won't be able to work under these conditions. For instance, the InterWave sometimes doesn't like having "too much" I/O Recovery Time, so they won't co-exist too peacefully. If we're talking specifically about the GoldLib (clone), given that it doesn't contain a genuine Ad Lib control chip, I don't know how close the timing is, compared to the original. This may change the behaviour slightly, and may require somewhat different settings.

Reply 89 of 141, by keropi

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Megadragon15 wrote on 2022-10-21, 16:08:

Have you checked out Ebay lately? Someone from Canada has listed two separate auctions for add-on modules to the Adlib Gold 1000: a cd-rom interface and a SCSI interface.

I have not seen it and I cannot find anything related
so at least the cd-rom addon was released then? I had no idea - would be interesting to see what kind it was!

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Reply 90 of 141, by JimWest

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Megadragon15 wrote on 2022-10-21, 16:08:

Have you checked out Ebay lately? Someone from Canada has listed two separate auctions for add-on modules to the Adlib Gold 1000: a cd-rom interface and a SCSI interface.

Can you please send a link? Unfortunately I am not able to find that listing.

Reply 92 of 141, by keropi

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now all that is missing is the modem addon 🤣 🤣 🤣

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Reply 93 of 141, by GL1zdA

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I'm adding the photos here, since they vanish from eBay after some time. None of these looks complicated, I guess the "interface" pins of the AdLib Gold are just a subset of ISA pins, probably the only thing Adlib is doing is managing resources. There were sound cards that had a socket for an NCR chip, AdLib and later MediaTrix loved daughtercards. These will probably sell for an insane amount of money and I doubt buyers will be interested in sharing them for reverse engineering, though as I said, they don't look too complicated.

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Reply 94 of 141, by Shponglefan

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That SCSI adapter already has a bid price of $400 CAD. That does seem a bit excessive, but I guess these are more about the collectability than practicality (which arguably applies to the Adlib Gold as a whole).

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Reply 95 of 141, by vetz

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Shponglefan wrote on 2022-10-21, 19:12:

That SCSI adapter already has a bid price of $400 CAD. That does seem a bit excessive, but I guess these are more about the collectability than practicality (which arguably applies to the Adlib Gold as a whole).

Only the imagination is the limit here.

I'd compare this to the memory module for the 3D Blaster VLB, if that ever got on Ebay, it's all about that collectability!

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Reply 96 of 141, by keropi

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I wonder if both these interfaces actually work - at the very least they would need a newer set of drivers
especially the SCSI adapter is rev.0 , that 0 is prototype-land number

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Reply 97 of 141, by mr.gravis

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is there driver support for windows?

is it possible to record a guitar through the microphone output? I mean through a dynamic microphone. I understand that there are better ways to record, but here I'm talking about nostalgia

nostalgia, nostalgia and nostalgia again

Reply 98 of 141, by Pierre32

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mr.gravis wrote on 2022-10-24, 19:37:

is there driver support for windows?

is it possible to record a guitar through the microphone output? I mean through a dynamic microphone. I understand that there are better ways to record, but here I'm talking about nostalgia

nostalgia, nostalgia and nostalgia again

User guide, driver info and everything else you want to know is on the site: http://pcmidi.eu/goldlib.html

Reply 99 of 141, by keropi

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I will add the drivers to the site as well - nothing the world didn't already see though
there is also this nice archive -> https://archive.org/details/adlib-gold-users-guide
it even comes with recordings

If anyone has a nice structured drivers archive and wishes it to be mirrored on goldlib's site do tell me about it 😀

also 1st batch is now sold, 2nd and final one will be made available in due time (because it's REALLY a time consuming work...)

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