ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

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ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby etherlore » 2018-6-12 @ 07:53

I have an ESS AudioDrive with an ES1868F chip that I am using in a 486 dx2 66 build, with dos 6.22. This is a great card overall and works really well in most games

However, I am experiencing severe glitchy noise in some games, to the point of them being unplayable. To be clear, the audio works, it just has an overlay of these weird noises. Here's a video showing this in action:

https://youtu.be/ZXm16L6y0Vw

That's x-com/ufo showing the issue, but some other games do as well, such as Psycho Pinball. And to be clear, lots of games work fine, like Doom, Wolfenstein, Raptor etc.

I have tried both the drivers on vogons, as well from Phil's computer lab. Changing irq, interrupt and isa slots have no affect. Anyone know what could be going on?

Uploading pic of card for reference. There are some jumpers on the card that I haven't touched, no idea what they are for. I understand some of these cards have a built in amplifier that can be disabled, but I doubt that's the issue.
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby canthearu » 2018-6-13 @ 10:32

Change the 2 jumpers on the right hand side of the card near the audio output.

This should turn off the internal amplifier, may fix your problem. Let us know if it doesn't
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby DracoNihil » 2018-6-13 @ 18:13

Judging by it seems to happen when the screen changes in certain ways, it's some sort of interference with the video card...?

I don't get it.
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby etherlore » 2018-6-14 @ 05:25

Thanks for the suggestions. I changed the jumpers as suggested and it didn't solve the issue. I think the change worked as intended, as sound is a lot more quiet now at the same master volume setting. I also tried closing the three jumpers in the middle of the board, to no avail.

It definitely seems to be sound FX only, music by itself is fine. Just pressing buttons that produce sound fx in UFO exhibits the problem. I moved the Graphics card to a different slot (Cirrus logic 5428 VLB) with no change.

Not sure how to proceed, I'm considering just getting a sound blaster at this point. Something that could be useful is if anyone with a es1868f could try running UFO/X-Com or Psycho Pinball to see if this is just me.

I also wonder if these games are unique in some way as it relates to sound, like maybe they are stereo, or using the same sound engine.
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby canthearu » 2018-6-14 @ 11:11

Have you tried DMA 1?

Maybe it just doesn't like DMA 3 on your system?
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-6-14 @ 20:29

I was going to say, try DMA 1/5 (low/high) and IRQ 5, PORT 220h, disable the IDE interface, disable wavetable if you're not using it and disable the amplifier. Then go to your mixer settings in the config.sys and zero out anything you don't need like mic or line in. The less stuff that's on, the better. Not saying it will fix the problem but these are easy things you can rule out. I have the same card but don't play those games. I noticed some noise that I was able to eliminate via the mixer but otherwise the card has performed admirably.
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby etherlore » 2018-6-14 @ 22:45

I have tried DMA 1, but not the others, so I'll give that a shot tonight. Do you know how to disable the wavetable? The installer just asks what port I want it on. Is there a port that disables it?
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-6-15 @ 02:01

etherlore wrote:I have tried DMA 1, but not the others, so I'll give that a shot tonight. Do you know how to disable the wavetable? The installer just asks what port I want it on. Is there a port that disables it?


I might have been mistaken about the hardware toggle for the wavetable. It is merely controlled through software. However there are other things you can turn off:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/sound-cards ... ESS-P.html
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby etherlore » 2018-6-15 @ 05:39

Not sure how to set Low/High DMA, I can only set the single value. 1 and 3 produces sound, but with the distortion, 5 doesn't work at all for some reason. I know sound blasters have the ability to set Low and High, but not sure I can do that. Also tried various port and irq settings again with the same results. Gave the board a good cleaning too. I set everything but FX and synth to 0 volume.

I tried under clocking my bus to 25 Mhz to see if the resulting ISA bus speed had any affect. It didn't.

My board doesn't quite look like the one on stanson. The jumpers don't match. Also, it has what looks like 3 cd audio ports, plus two additional 4 pin slots next to them. I wonder if this is some non standard OEM version of this board that requires special drivers.
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Re: ESS AudioDrive ES1868F Loud glitchy distortion

Postby etherlore » 2018-12-17 @ 01:56

Wanted to post an update since I have somewhat figured out the cause of the audio problems (6 months later).

This was not a problem with the audio card, but rather an issue with the motherboard or how the motherboard interacts with the CPU. The CPU I use is an Intel 486 DX2 66, specifically the SX955, otherwise known as P24D. This is the only intel DX2 with a write-back cache. My motherboard, discussed here: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=60007 seemingly has a specific jumper setup for the P24D that I used accordingly. However, after getting a SB16 (CT2291), I still had audio issues, and started trouble-shooting other components. I had a DX2 50 around, and with that installed I no longer had any problems. This lead me to discover that with my DX2 66 the audio glitches disappeared if I set the jumpers in the non P24D configuration. The motherboard then recognizes it as a regular DX2 66, rather than P24D and the audio is perfect, both with the SB16 and the ES1868F.

Not sure why this is the case, but I also discovered that even in the P24D configuration, the audio is fine if I disable the CPU internal cache. That could be a coincidence, but I am curious that this has something to do with the motherboard not being fully compatible with write back functionality. Either way, everything works well now.
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