VOGONS


Ensoniq / Creative AudioPCI

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Reply 20 of 166, by swaaye

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Well apparently the ecw wavesets are themselves limited to 22 KHz samples. There's a lot of info at this site. It took years but someone finally dived in deep to figure out how they work.
http://www.johnnengelmann.com/technology/ecw/index.php

AudioPCI has great output quality though, especially compared to most ISA cards. That would make it sound very clear. For the same reason I like to put my Roland daughtercard on Vortex cards instead of nasty SB16s.

Reply 22 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Well last night I tried a bunch of other games and the Sound Blaster compatibility isn't really that good after all 🙁

Most games I tried either crash or freeze.

The main thing that always seems to work is General Midi however. So at least that's something but the digital sound effects are a real challenge.

I have another Audio PCI card though, so I might try that.

I also haven't found the AudioPCI installation CD / disk that gives you all the tools and updates. Creative just gives you update drivers.

Reply 23 of 166, by swaaye

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It could be your motherboard. This emulation uses a part of PCI that isn't always there/good. It's called non-maskable interrupt (NMI) and some boards don't do it well or at all.

But still it is definitely a problematic tech. Nothing beats a real ISA card.

Reply 24 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Yea and my 800MHz PIII doesn't help either...

I'm just testing my 2 new Voodoo 2 cards. I don't have a SLI bridge so I am testing each card on their own.

- I found the 3DFX driver which gabe me the 3DFX control panel in the Display Properties
- Downloading a version of DX 8.1 for W98
- Downloading a few 3DFX and DirectX tech demos which I found on a 3DFX site

Will test the other AudioPCI with a Celeron 300 chip later. I settled for using the 4GB CF card for W98 and the 2G CF card for DOS 6.22. That way I can just swap it if I need to test something under windows and vice versa

Ok it seems the Voodoo 2 cards work fine although windows didn't like when I swapped the cards... Need to hunt down a SLI bridge to test both cards...

Back to DOS now 😀

Got the Celeron 300 installed and will try the other AudioPCI card and see if I can get more Sound Blaster games to work

Reply 25 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Ok guys I did more testing with Game and Demos!

In a nutshell, games that support Sound Blaster 16 and General Midi should work just fine. The AudioPCI seems to be most compatible with the Sound Blaster 16.

I had a lot of trouble with older Games from Sierra (e.g. Space Quest 4 with speech) and Lucasarts (Fate of Atlantis with speech). I simply couldn't get them to work.

However I managed to get most newer games I tried to work out of the box with no tweaking whatsoever!

Here is a list of games I have tested successfully!

Unless stated otherwise I selected Sound Blaster 16 for Sound and General Midi for Music. The Sound Blaster is 220/5/1 and General Midi is 330.

Monkey Island (in MT-32 mode through MT32 /ON file)
Monkey Island 2 (in MT-32 mode through MT32 /ON file)
Blood
Dark Forces
Descent
The Dig
Full Throttle
Doom
Doom 2
Duke Nukem 3D
Need for Speed
Epic Pinball
Pinball Illusions (Sound looping when selecting SB16 but works perfectly when selecting SB Pro)
Quake
Radix
Shadow Warrior
Simon the Sorcerer 2
Terminal Velocity
Tomb Raider (Config Menu has sound looping when testing twice, but game works just fine!)
Virtual Karts
Wolfenstein 3D (Perfect Sound Effects in Stereo, but this game has no MIDI so stuck with FM which sucks on this card)
Warcraft
Warcarft 2
Amazon Queen (in MT-32 mode through MT32 /ON file)
Sam and Max

Games I couldn't get to work:

Tyrian (Runtime Error 200 when launching setup or game, seems to be speed related)
Space Quest 1 VGA, 4 and 5 (Perfect GM music, but sound looping or error with Sound Blaster)
Fate of Atlantis (Unable to get speech working)
Day of the Tentacle (Unable to get speech working)

Reply 26 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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rfnagel wrote:

Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Live and Audigy cards use those same wavesets (and similar, if not the exact same) DOS drivers for their DOS MIDI music playback.

Sound Blaster Live and Audigy come with DOS drivers? 😳

Could you please confirm this because if this is the case I will get these cards and muck around a bit more 😀

Or let's ask the million dollar question:

What is the latest Creative Card that comes with DOS drivers (using the AudioPCI DOS legacy drivers DNA)

Reply 27 of 166, by retro games 100

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Sound Blaster live! recommendation: CT4620 model. It's a minor update on the original model. Gold contacts, that kind of thing. It's got a "pure DOS SB16 emulation" driver. I know that the Audigy 2 ZS model was the last Creative card to include a Windows 98 driver. However, I don't know if this VxD driver (a WDM also exists for Win98) contains the SB16 DOS emulation driver.

Reply 28 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Sounds good!

It's amazing that once you start looking into things, all these other options pop up 🤣

It never ends 🤣

Just so you know what my thinking is...

I am hoping that all or some of these turn out to be true:

- Even better sound quality in DOS regarding digital speech and General MIDI
- Hopefully better support for more DOS games
- Hopefully able to use this card in a modern machine (the AudioPCI was a no go...)

Reply 29 of 166, by Amigaz

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
Sounds good! […]
Show full quote

Sounds good!

It's amazing that once you start looking into things, all these other options pop up 🤣

It never ends 🤣

Just so you know what my thinking is...

I am hoping that all or some of these turn out to be true:

- Even better sound quality in DOS regarding digital speech and General MIDI
- Hopefully better support for more DOS games
- Hopefully able to use this card in a modern machine (the AudioPCI was a no go...)

That SB card RG100 mentoins is nice, the digital output is mega-crystal clear! but the OPL emulation is horrible but the card is ultra compatible with the games I've tried so far.

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Reply 30 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Sounds good...

I wonder if it also uses wavetable to "emulate" FM 🤣

The AudioPCI is fantastic with late DOS Games (as per list above). It just struggles with the older games.

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 31 of 166, by retro games 100

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

It's amazing that once you start looking into things, all these other options pop up 🤣

It never ends 🤣

I couldn't agree more. I've had many "false starts".

The live! card is quite nice. However, are you not tempted to get some more ISA cards? For GM, you can't beat the SCC-1, or an equivalent external synth. You've got the SC-55 MkII, so that's good. You've also got an MT-32, so that's good too. For digital sound, most options are acceptable. SB16 model CT2230 is good, so too are the Vibra based ones, eg CT2800. And so too is the AWE64 gold. For OPL, there's a fairly wide choice of cards available. Most older retro mobos have at least 2 ISA slots. All of my i440BX mobos have 3 slots, for instance.

Or, looking at this from another angle, you could try a Terratec Maestro 32/96, or an EWS64XL. Both high quality ISA sound cards.

If you are building a super fast PC, then I would match it up with something a bit more modern, like the Audigy 2 ZS. It's ready to go with both types of Win98 drivers (VxD and WDM).

Reply 32 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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ISA cards I'm covered 🤣

AWE64 Gold with SPDIF I don't think it gets any better when it comes to Speech and Sound Effects.

And I have two ISA MPU401AT compatible cards and a stack of Roland MIDI modules...

But the PCI option interests me for another project / video I could see doing down the track...

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 33 of 166, by Amigaz

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
ISA cards I'm covered LOL […]
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ISA cards I'm covered 🤣

AWE64 Gold with SPDIF I don't think it gets any better when it comes to Speech and Sound Effects.

And I have two ISA MPU401AT compatible cards and a stack of Roland MIDI modules...

But the PCI option interests me for another project / video I could see doing down the track...

btw. did the pile of AWE64 gold's arrive?

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Reply 34 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Oh yea they arrived the other day. They work fine, but the 2.0 didn't survive the trip 🙁

Only getting distortion and faint music. RIP

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 35 of 166, by Amigaz

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

Oh yea they arrived the other day. They work fine, but the 2.0 didn't survive the trip 🙁

Only getting distortion and faint music. RIP

Weird, tried cleaning the ISA contact and output jacks?

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Reply 36 of 166, by Mau1wurf1977

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Shame I didn't get the 2nd card 🙁 That's why I like to get more than one item just in case...

My website with reviews, demos, drivers, tutorials and more...
My YouTube channel

Reply 37 of 166, by Amigaz

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

Shame I didn't get the 2nd card 🙁 That's why I like to get more than one item just in case...

Yeah, these old hardware is very brittle and fail easy....but I feel uneasy to sell this stuff as defective when I know it has previously worked

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Reply 38 of 166, by rfnagel

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

Sound Blaster Live and Audigy come with DOS drivers? 😳

Could you please confirm this because if this is the case I will get these cards and muck around a bit more 😀

Dunno about the Audigy cards (although, I think that they too come with the DOS drivers), but, per one of my previous posts:

Here's a dir listing of the DOS drivers for my SBLive:

01/01/2009  12:00 AM               350 CTSYN.INI
01/01/1999 03:00 AM 2,259,070 EAPCI2M.ECW
01/01/1997 03:00 AM 4,986,999 EAPCI4M.ECW
01/01/1999 05:00 AM 8,292,462 EAPCI8M.ECW
04/08/1999 01:01 AM 10,811 PSBEG.BIN
06/23/1999 03:00 AM 839 SBECFG.CFG
07/06/2001 04:00 AM 31,133 SBECFG.EXE
07/06/2001 03:01 AM 272,064 SBECORE.BIN
03/27/2001 03:00 AM 200,900 SBEGO.EXE
07/06/2001 05:00 AM 5,853 SBEINIT.COM
07/06/2001 04:00 AM 16,995 SBELOAD.EXE
11/24/1999 01:04 AM 60,496 SBEMIXER.EXE
11/04/1998 01:02 AM 34,187 SBESET.EXE
09/17/1998 01:00 AM 6,064 SBESET.TXT

Note that the EAPCI4M.ECW and EAPCI8M.ECW I added later (downloaded elsewhere on the Internet).

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

I wonder if it also uses wavetable to "emulate" FM 🤣

Any of the Live/Audigy/Aureal cards that use similar DOS drivers (like the dir listing above) with the ECW wave sets will use those to emulate the FM sound AFAIK.

(thinking out loud) Actually, I think I should boot to DOS on my current rig and test it out... I swear I seem to remember when I was first trying out those DOS drivers with my SBLive that the FM synth music in games did indeed sound like FM synth. Gotta test it out though, as it really doesn'y make sense (as the SBLive doesn't have an OPL chip... If the music indeed sounds correct, then maybe the SBLive's DOS drivers do a little better emulation of the FM synth music).

Gotta test out though...

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

The AudioPCI is fantastic with late DOS Games (as per list above). It just struggles with the older games.

As would the SBLive as well. The problem (I think) with the crashes at least, is needing EMM396 loaded in for the MIDI emulation to function (re: "SBEINIT.COM" in the dir listing above), and a lot of games don't like that <grin>.

Rich ¥Weeds¥ Nagel
http://www.richnagel.net

Reply 39 of 166, by rfnagel

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OK, just did a bit of testing with the SBLive's DOS drivers and how the FM synth music sounds. I have a bootable USB flash drive that I can boot my PC to Win98's DOS (with the usual compliment of DOS/mouse/memory management drivers, as well as my SBLive's DOS drivers).

Anyhoo... I tested Wolf3D, and it's a DEAD RINGER. The FM synth music sounds IDENTICAL to what I remember in native DOS with my various SB/SBPro/SB16 sound cards that I've had throughout the years 😀 Apparently the SBLive doesn't use those ECW wavesets for it's FM synth emulation, and it's FM emulation (with it's DOS drivers) must be a bit better than the AudioPCI card.

As I replied before, I'm pretty sure that it's all emulated; as the SBLive doesn't have an OPL/FM synth chip.

(edit) P.S. Here's where I got my SBLive a year and a half ago -> http://www.txmicro.com/Creative-Labs-Sound-Bl … 780-p-3580.html 😉 😀 It's a used Dell pull, and doesn't come with any drivers, but those are easy to find on Creative Labs' web site (at least for the WXP drivers).

P.P.S. FWIW, here are the online docs for the card (CT4780) from Dell's web site -> http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/acc/9624P/En/index.htm

Rich ¥Weeds¥ Nagel
http://www.richnagel.net