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First post, by matcarfer

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Hey guys, I just found a lost box in my parents house and found 11 obscure ISA sound cards, could you tell me what do you think of them?
I made a spreadsheet and searched the web for info but I couldnt find much info.

Diamond DT-0196H TRONTEC MF-009 J98MF-009 DT96H-IS A1
Diamond DT-0197H Diamond Multimedia DT197A30 DT197A30
ESS AudioDrive ES1688F Acer Sertek Inc Sound Card S521 L6NS521 S521-SA
ESS AudioDrive ES1868F BTC ESS Audiodrive ES1868F F5X1853
JAZZ MVD1216B Media Vision JAZZ16 IXW-JAZZ16
OPTi 82C925 BTC-1815 Rev 1.1 OPTi OMSND925 LCKOMSND925 BTC-1815 Rev 1.1
OPTi 82C929A Media Chips PRO16 K2Y-PRO16 XP6781F
OPTi 82C929A Newcom High Fidelity 16i HF16i A2-420002-02 Rev. A
OPTi 82C931 ExpertColor MED3931 LUT-MED3931 MED3931 VER:2.0
Yamaha YMF701B-S Addonics Labway A1518-30 LWHA151830
Yamaha YMF718-S Addonics Labway A151-A00 LWHA151A00

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Reply 1 of 12, by matcarfer

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OPTi Ones

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Reply 2 of 12, by matcarfer

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Yamaha ones

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Reply 4 of 12, by matcarfer

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-08, 03:48:

They are not obscure, most are quite good and well known ISA cards. Nothing super special but good nonetheless.

Ok. I say obscure because I cannot find much info on the web. Could you tell me if any is good for MSDOS gaming? Which are the better ones and which are the worst? Thanks!

Reply 5 of 12, by kolderman

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The audiodrives, optis and ymf7xx cards are all excellent, the latter perhaps being the best of all due to genuine opl3, but it's easier to get working under win98. For pure msdos I would go with the audiodrive.

Reply 6 of 12, by Joseph_Joestar

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Phil has a review of the Opti 929A on his channel and I posted my impressions of the Opti 930 (which is very similar) in this thread.

Those cards have good SBPro compatibility and an excellent sounding WSS mode for 16-bit sound. They either come with genuine OPL3 chips or with perfect 1:1 copies which sound identical to the real thing.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 7 of 12, by matcarfer

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-06-08, 04:38:

Phil has a review of the Opti 929A on his channel and I posted my impressions of the Opti 930 (which is very similar) in this thread.

Those cards have good SBPro compatibility and an excellent sounding WSS mode for 16-bit sound. They either come with genuine OPL3 chips or with perfect 1:1 copies which sound identical to the real thing.

Yeah, I JUST watched it. I read somewhere that LS 212 is a Yamaha YMF262 clone, and my OPTi cards come with a real YMF262-M chips, so genuine OPL3 it is.
Great post by the way.

Reply 9 of 12, by dionb

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Rawit wrote on 2020-06-08, 07:06:

Diamond DT-0196H TRONTEC MF-009 J98MF-009 DT96H-IS A1

This is a Sound Blaster 16 clone if I'm not mistaken, based on an Advance Logic chip.

Yep, looks like they both are. The older Diamond uses a relabeled ALS100 (the discrete OPL3 clone next to it is a dead giveaway), the newer one either an ALS100+ or ALS120.

OP, you say you were googling, but there's not much of that in evidence. Apart from the Diamond cards, these all use well-known and documented chipsets you can look up and apparently haven't...

What's best depends on what you want. A few options:

- if you want SB16, only the two Diamond / ALS cards will give you it. The one with separate OPL3 is the better choice, not just for FM but also because it allows true high DMA which the other one doesn't.
- if you want to run Duke Nukem2, you need ADPCM compression. Can't be bothered to look up which one does it, but that could be deciding.
- just want SBPro2 support with best compatibility? Probably the ES1868F is the best option, although you can't beat the YMF7xx OPL3.
- want the clearest sound with best SNR? That's a tough one, the best quality PCB is probably the Mediavision Jazz, but the compatibility of the chip is awful. As for the rest, just listen...

In fact, that's the bottom line: it's all about your priorities and preferences, and what system you want to use the card in. Seeing as you're not sharing any of that with us, we can't really do any more for you.

Reply 10 of 12, by matcarfer

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dionb wrote on 2020-06-08, 10:55:
Yep, looks like they both are. The older Diamond uses a relabeled ALS100 (the discrete OPL3 clone next to it is a dead giveaway) […]
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Rawit wrote on 2020-06-08, 07:06:

Diamond DT-0196H TRONTEC MF-009 J98MF-009 DT96H-IS A1

This is a Sound Blaster 16 clone if I'm not mistaken, based on an Advance Logic chip.

Yep, looks like they both are. The older Diamond uses a relabeled ALS100 (the discrete OPL3 clone next to it is a dead giveaway), the newer one either an ALS100+ or ALS120.

OP, you say you were googling, but there's not much of that in evidence. Apart from the Diamond cards, these all use well-known and documented chipsets you can look up and apparently haven't...

What's best depends on what you want. A few options:

- if you want SB16, only the two Diamond / ALS cards will give you it. The one with separate OPL3 is the better choice, not just for FM but also because it allows true high DMA which the other one doesn't.
- if you want to run Duke Nukem2, you need ADPCM compression. Can't be bothered to look up which one does it, but that could be deciding.
- just want SBPro2 support with best compatibility? Probably the ES1868F is the best option, although you can't beat the YMF7xx OPL3.
- want the clearest sound with best SNR? That's a tough one, the best quality PCB is probably the Mediavision Jazz, but the compatibility of the chip is awful. As for the rest, just listen...

In fact, that's the bottom line: it's all about your priorities and preferences, and what system you want to use the card in. Seeing as you're not sharing any of that with us, we can't really do any more for you.

Thank you for all your suggestions! I really googled everthing as I managed to identify (hopefully correctly) all the cards and its chips. Some cards like The Media Vision Jazz 16 are really unknown to me and many of the audio chips are unknown for me too, or I forgot. It passed 30 years and just recently started to "play" with ISA sound card games under plain MS-DOS. Anyway, thank you! I may have to look up whats the difference between SB16/ADPCM/SBPro2/OPL3 and see what games take advantage better.

Reply 11 of 12, by Joseph_Joestar

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dionb wrote on 2020-06-08, 10:55:

- if you want to run Duke Nukem2, you need ADPCM compression. Can't be bothered to look up which one does it, but that could be deciding.

The ALS100 supports ADPCM and works fine with Duke Nukem 2.

My Opti930 supports it as well, so I'm guessing the Opti929A might also, but you would need to find its reference sheet to confirm.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 12 of 12, by pii_legacy

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That Jazz16 card looks interesting, i'd love to hear it. I have an OPTi 82C930 card (one of the Megaimage32's) and it's not bad for an OPL3 card, but the FM is way too loud for some reason and can get distorted with too many sounds happening at once.