First post, by Ozzuneoj
Well, this is pretty neat! This popped up for sale recently and after talking to the seller for a while he made me an offer I couldn't turn down. According to the seller, this came from an estate sale. The family of the previous owner said that they didn't know much about his old stuff, but he was an electrical engineer.
What it appears to be: Either a prototype or sample of a Windows 9x "studio" oriented MIDI card based on the Dream SAM9707 synthesis chip. It came with a CD and a manual (which appears to have been printed from a document included on the CD). It is an ISA card but seems to have been made sometime after 1998, with the latest dates being in 2001.
What makes it interesting: The SAM9707 is apparently a mostly drop-in replacement for the SAM9407 which is used on many highly regarded wavetable MIDI sound cards... however the 9707 seems to be pretty much unheard of online aside from a couple datasheets (which are also included on the CD). It apparently has some updated features, but I am not sure if they are anything that would matter for the average retro enthusiast. Also, the card has 2MB of onboard sample RAM (not ROM) and allows for a single SIMM up to 16MB, which came with the card, wrapped in a little antistatic baggy.
It seems that the device itself is made by Dream and was manufactured in France. The SIM memory also has French writing on it, so I would imagine that this card, CD and RAM were sent from Dream in France directly to a developer here in the US back in 2001 or so.
EDIT: After much trial and error, the card can work easily in DOS and Windows! Here are some highlights from the thread:
The card requires -5v from the motherboard\PSU to produce sound!
MIDI in DOS breakthrough thanks to old post by Elianda
DOS Files + Stable Windows Sound Bank Loader
It makes insane music if you use the wrong program to initialize it in DOS
... and here's why.
Thank you to everyone who was interested in this obscure old thing and helped to get it working! Being from 2001, this may be the last "official" ISA MIDI card produced that works in pure DOS. 😀
Now for some blitting from the back buffer.