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Soviet Conscript
12-31-2009, 04:06 PM
finally got a DOS pc up and running and i was thinling about sound cards. right now i'm useing a sound blaster 16 which seems to be the standard for the time. it sounds pretty good overall with my old games but i was wondering if there was any other cards that offered more bang for the buck without suffering combatibility.

i have a HUGE ISA awe32 card but have yet to try it out. i'm assumeing this card is backward compatible so if a game does not support it it will just play it like it was a SB16. anyone know if its even worth switching to it? i also read that the top of the line for older sound would be the roland mt-32. anyone use one here?

Gameguy
12-31-2009, 05:17 PM
Personally I use whatever comes with the PC, which are pretty much Soundblaster-16 compatible. I think one of the ones I have doesn't work well with some DOS games as the sound gradually fades lower until it can't be heard, but it might just be the drivers. I have a few older PCs around, if I can't get a game working properly on one I'll just try it on another one. If I happened to come across a Roland MT-32 I'd keep it though, they are good sound cards.

I don't have a Roland MT-32, but I've seen comparison videos on youtube and you can hear a difference with the sound. It's mostly with older games as some were designed with it in mind, I'll just list a couple of videos for you to compare.

Monkey Island 2 opening;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTz2nkPNXA

Monkey Island 2 opening with Roland MT-32;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rsui2EqOjYo

Push Upstairs
01-01-2010, 03:48 AM
I needed Win98 sound along with good DOS sound so I have a Sound Blaster Live! X-Gamer.

I can't even imagine what this computer would have cost *new* in 1998/1999. Base computer + 384mb of RAM alone would have made this thing astronomical. Then add a Voodoo 3 and a Live! X-Gamer card? Yikes.

Gapporin
01-01-2010, 10:27 AM
From what I've read, the Gravis Ultrasound gives most other sound cards a run for their money, but the compability is somewhat lacking, so if you're planning on building a PC, you might want to keep both a Sound Blaster card (16 is a good choice) and an Ultrasound hooked up in your computer system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravis_Ultrasound

phreakindee
01-01-2010, 12:27 PM
For my pure DOS machines, usually a soundblaster 16 ISA card. It will work with everything I have tried it with. Adlib, Midi, AWE etc.
An AWE32 is pretty much interchangeable with an SB16 and will support nearly anything before as well. Nice high quality cards.
I use an ESS Audiodrive PCI in my Windows 95 machine, which is also nearly identical in sound quality and compatibility to the SB16 cards. In fact I have had better luck with that card than some Sound Blaster PCI cards of the time for DOS games.

Still, Roland and Gravis cards have their advantages on certain games so it may depend on what you really want the most out of it. Otherwise most SB16 cards and clones tend to work perfectly fine for 99% of games.

gokugohandave
01-01-2010, 12:46 PM
godamn that roland sounds sweet.

Soviet Conscript
01-01-2010, 02:25 PM
godamn that roland sounds sweet.

i agree, i think i'm going to stick with my SB16 and eventually pick up an external roland. i beleive you can hook them up through the joystick/midi port on the SB16

Ed Oscuro
01-01-2010, 08:11 PM
I had some non-standard Aztech thing with an integrated modem in the Win95 PBell for years. I often like the MIDI sound off that thing better than on the Sound Blaster I replaced it with.

I very recently got a PCMCIA WAVJammer card; it promises to be a low-noise, high-quality OPL3 sound card. There's a missing 20-pin connector for headphone jack and stuff, though, so I'm hoping I can get sound through the system. That does knock out some of the low noise promise, oh well.

Oh yeah, I have two Roland MT-32 units (had three at one time) for use with the X68000. I would have to buy some extra stuff to use them with a PC, but not much.

PentiumMMX
01-01-2010, 10:47 PM
I have a Sound Blaster AWE64 in mine. A great sound card? Yes. Overkill for the games I play on said PC? You bet

Soviet Conscript
01-01-2010, 11:06 PM
Oh yeah, I have two Roland MT-32 units (had three at one time) for use with the X68000. I would have to buy some extra stuff to use them with a PC, but not much.

i don't know if it would of showed up for you since you use them with a X68 but i read there is all kind of problems with the early mt-32's and that later revisions the issues were fixed. you can tell if its a revision by the headphone jack since apperently the early-mid runs lacked a jack.

Ze_ro
01-04-2010, 03:43 AM
SoundBlaster 16 ISA. I really feel this is the best choice for a DOS machine... it may not be the best sounding card available, but it's compatible with everything without needing any silly software compatibility layers or anything like that. Hell, I used my SB16 in my main PC for close to 10 years. The only reason I gave it up was that I eventually moved to a motherboard that didn't have ISA ports!!

I have a Gravis Ultrasound that I'd like to one day put in my DOS machine... either in addition to the SB16, or just to screw around with for a while. If I'm not mistaken, it requires *2* IRQ's to operate though, so that might be a bit of a problem. I'd also like to one day get an MT-32 to fiddle around with... they don't seem to come up too often though.

--Zero

Arkhan
01-05-2010, 06:11 AM
Adlib. FM is sex.

I also use an MT-32. Ultima isn't right without one o' those.

vandy160890
01-10-2010, 02:29 PM
I have never installed addittional sound cards on my system.
I have never had any problems in playing games on my PC.
I have never tried to know the specifications of my soundcard.

Soviet Conscript
01-10-2010, 02:40 PM
I have never installed addittional sound cards on my system.
I have never had any problems in playing games on my PC.
I have never tried to know the specifications of my soundcard.

you never played on a PC running anything other then win95+
you enjoy internal speaker music
you don't care about sound quality


to be honest i don't find much improvment on modern systems when i use a sound card, then again i only use 2 speakers and a subwolf. i do usually throw a sound card in though because there super cheap and it gives me the option of upgradeing to 5.1 and over sound. this thread is mainly focused on older systems PRE 95ish and DOS era when all you had was beeps and boops from an internal speaker if you lacked an added soundcard and the type of card acually greatly effected compatibility/quality.

skaar
01-10-2010, 10:21 PM
An AWE32 will give you 100% SB16 compatibility (hardware compatibilty - no drivers required)

I think they had a later revision that was a smaller card that required special drivers for SB16 or it emulated it somehow...

It would be my choice for an old sound card in a DOS box. For games that support it, it supports sound banks for midi very similarly to the Gravis but without as much tweaking of drivers to get everything to work properly. You can also throw more 30 pin (iirc) ram in there to fit more samples.

I paid $400 for one of those cards one summer and used it for years afterwards.

Soviet Conscript
01-10-2010, 11:24 PM
An AWE32 will give you 100% SB16 compatibility (hardware compatibilty - no drivers required)

I think they had a later revision that was a smaller card that required special drivers for SB16 or it emulated it somehow...

It would be my choice for an old sound card in a DOS box. For games that support it, it supports sound banks for midi very similarly to the Gravis but without as much tweaking of drivers to get everything to work properly. You can also throw more 30 pin (iirc) ram in there to fit more samples.

I paid $400 for one of those cards one summer and used it for years afterwards.

i may try replaceing my SB16 with my AWE32 then. the guy I got it off of was supposedly a big audiofile back in the day both the ram banks are full with ram

how does the sampleing work? do you have to download some kind of file depending on the game you want to use it with?

Jorpho
01-10-2010, 11:32 PM
do you have to download some kind of file depending on the game you want to use it with?If a game supports it, it will take care of everything for you. Otherwise you can manually download soundfonts into the sound card's RAM, depending on your preferences.

blue lander
01-11-2010, 11:10 AM
On my 8 bit PC XT I use an Adlib card because I can't use 16 bit Extended ISA cards, but "back in the day" I always used a Soundblaster with my 486. It seemed like it was the default choice amongst most PC owners back then.

Flack
01-11-2010, 11:17 AM
SB16 was the standard. Back then you either had a SoundBlaster card, or a SoundBlaster-compatible card. I knew a few people who had Gravis Ultrasound (GUS) cards, but 99% of the programs out there were written for the SB16 (of that era). The AWE32 is a good choice too. I got one new at Comdex one year ... I have an AWE64 out in the garage as well.

Soviet Conscript
01-11-2010, 07:10 PM
i've been reading diffrent things about the awe32. can the awe32 emulate the MT-32?

skaar
01-11-2010, 07:13 PM
i've been reading diffrent things about the awe32. can the awe32 emulate the MT-32?

Yes with drivers you can. At least I've done it... in 199X

Couldn't tell you how to anymore.

The AWE64 wasn't as good as it emulated an SB16 rather than having it in hardware... think PS3 ;)

Jorpho
01-11-2010, 09:13 PM
Yes with drivers you can. At least I've done it... in 199XYou can upload an MT32 sound font into the card's memory, but no, it cannot emulate an MT32.


The AWE64 wasn't as good as it emulated an SB16 rather than having it in hardware... think PS3 ;)O rly? I''m going to have to ask you to provide a source for that one.

skaar
01-11-2010, 11:09 PM
You can upload an MT32 sound font into the card's memory, but no, it cannot emulate an MT32.

O rly? I''m going to have to ask you to provide a source for that one.

Re: MT32, I swear I had MT32 emulation working for a bunch of Sierra games. That was my whole reason for doing it. Oh and I think it was for Loom and Monkey Island as well that I cared... memory's fuzzy.

My friend had an Awe64 and I remember his never seemed to work in DOS properly without drivers loaded... mine detected as a standard SB16 in every game I ever threw at it... he was always fighting with drivers. It could have just been a system thing. My whole "it being in hardware vs software" was based on that experience and vague memories of the two cards... and me mocking him for years over his. I can quote no source but my own sordid youth.

Edit: Funny thing is wiki says the AWE64 had improved compatibility which was the opposite of my experience...

Jorpho
01-11-2010, 11:29 PM
The AWE64 was a "plug and play" card and such needed to be configured with Creative's plug and play utility. I'm not sure if there were non-PnP AWE32 cards.

skaar
01-11-2010, 11:35 PM
The AWE64 was a "plug and play" card and such needed to be configured with Creative's plug and play utility. I'm not sure if there were non-PnP AWE32 cards.

Ah that might have been it. That wasn't needed for my AWE32 but I could use it I think if I wanted to... I seem to recall jumpers on the card (IRQ 5 DMA 1/3?)... sounds familiar.

Ed Oscuro
01-14-2010, 05:45 PM
Speaking of MT-32 (and to answer an earlier post, I think all three MT-32s I've seen and personally held had the headphone jack - but I can't comment on the quality), what sound cards are recommended to connect the MT-32? Anything come to mind in particular?

Soviet Conscript
01-14-2010, 06:37 PM
Speaking of MT-32 (and to answer an earlier post, I think all three MT-32s I've seen and personally held had the headphone jack - but I can't comment on the quality), what sound cards are recommended to connect the MT-32? Anything come to mind in particular?

seems that the AWE32 is a bad choice. i beleive it requires some kind of special driver and even then you get all kinds of problems

skaar
01-17-2010, 11:57 AM
seems that the AWE32 is a bad choice. i beleive it requires some kind of special driver and even then you get all kinds of problems

From what I recall an MT32 was an add-on anyway, not a dedicated sound card. Or am I crazy? I thought it connected through the MIDI port.

Battlehork
01-17-2010, 12:16 PM
From what I recall an MT32 was an add-on anyway, not a dedicated sound card. Or am I crazy? I thought it connected through the MIDI port.

Yeah, it's only a MIDI box.

Ze_ro
01-19-2010, 03:54 PM
Wow, okay, so apparently this whole time I had no idea what the MT-32 was... I always thought it was a regular sound card in the sense that the AdLib/SB/GUS were sound cards...

Since everyone always claimed it was the best you could do at the time, I always planned to add one to my DOS PC... but how exactly do you go about that then? Do I just get the appropriate cable and plug it into the MIDI/Game port on my SB16? Do you need drivers or anything? What is a good price for an MT-32? Is it even worth bothering with?

--Zero

skaar
01-19-2010, 05:54 PM
You just plug it into any midi port.

There's also emulation drivers for a lot of older cards.

mario2butts
01-19-2010, 07:20 PM
Here's a good retrospective on the history of sound cards that I found awhile back:

http://www.crossfire-designs.de/index.php?lang=en&what=articles&name=showarticle.htm&article=soundcards&page=1

Flack
01-19-2010, 08:52 PM
Wow, okay, so apparently this whole time I had no idea what the MT-32 was... I always thought it was a regular sound card in the sense that the AdLib/SB/GUS were sound cards...

Since everyone always claimed it was the best you could do at the time, I always planned to add one to my DOS PC... but how exactly do you go about that then? Do I just get the appropriate cable and plug it into the MIDI/Game port on my SB16? Do you need drivers or anything? What is a good price for an MT-32? Is it even worth bothering with?

--Zero

The MT-32 sounds awesome, but I'm not sure how many games out there take advantage of its capabilities. It was distributed by Sierra starting in 1987, so a lot of Sierra games catered to it. The problem is there's a fairly small window of opportunity there. They started distributing it in 1987 and the market switched to plain ol' MIDI in the early 90s. MIDI music still sounds great through the MT-32, but there were only a hundred or so games that specifically took advantage of the unit's capabilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MT-32-compatible_computer_games

Soviet Conscript
01-20-2010, 01:26 AM
The MT-32 sounds awesome, but I'm not sure how many games out there take advantage of its capabilities. It was distributed by Sierra starting in 1987, so a lot of Sierra games catered to it. The problem is there's a fairly small window of opportunity there. They started distributing it in 1987 and the market switched to plain ol' MIDI in the early 90s. MIDI music still sounds great through the MT-32, but there were only a hundred or so games that specifically took advantage of the unit's capabilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MT-32-compatible_computer_games

yhea but 100 games is still a good amount and alot of those games are quality.

Ze_ro
01-20-2010, 03:54 PM
Even if it is only for a few games, the design means it isn't a drain on system resources (ie, it's not taking up an ISA slot, or hogging an IRQ), so it's easier to justify.

I notice a lot of games have an option for "General MIDI"... is that something best done through an MT-32? Or would that sound exactly the same coming out of an AWE32?

--Zero

skaar
01-20-2010, 04:55 PM
Generally any card will do MIDI, and the Awe32/GUS do it with wavetable audio (iirc)

So yes it'll sound way better on an Awe32 and APPARENTLY godly on an MT32... but I never got to find that out. I do recall liking the samples better when emulating one but it varied game to game.

phreakindee
01-20-2010, 07:30 PM
For a side-by-side comparison of how most of the best sound cards sound, you can check out my short video here. It compares Secret of Monkey Island themes on the sound devices it was ported to.

Evolution of PC Audio as told by Monkey Island (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a324ykKV-7Y)

Battlehork
01-20-2010, 08:00 PM
Wow, okay, so apparently this whole time I had no idea what the MT-32 was... I always thought it was a regular sound card in the sense that the AdLib/SB/GUS were sound cards...

Since everyone always claimed it was the best you could do at the time, I always planned to add one to my DOS PC... but how exactly do you go about that then? Do I just get the appropriate cable and plug it into the MIDI/Game port on my SB16? Do you need drivers or anything? What is a good price for an MT-32? Is it even worth bothering with?

--Zero

Like the others have said, it's amazing on the games that fully support it.
Compare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n4nOiURgzg to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqoiVgZARiY&feature=related

They go for around $50 these days.

What would be REALLY cool is a CM-500 which combines the MT-32 and SC-55 (for General MIDI) into a single unit. They would go for way more than the two of those together though.

The '55 itself has an MT-32 emulation mode.

Ryaan1234
01-20-2010, 08:08 PM
Hmmm, well the computer I used before the one I'm currently using was considered "old", but I just brought the same sound card up to my recent build. It's a Santa Cruz Turtle Beach sound card, and a very nice card if I do say so myself.

I was at a garage sale about a year ago and the people there had a Roland PC-200 MIDI controller keyboard for sale, $20. I decided it was worth that price and bought it. As I was leaving the sale the lady running it said "Hey wait, don't forget the card that goes with it". She gave it to me, I got home, and whaddya know, it's a Roland SCC-1 MIDI card. I tried using it on my previous computer, actually, which had a single ISA slot. It didn't work too well, and it was probably because my computer was too new to begin with. The SCC-1 looks like a really nice retro sound card, though, and I hope to be able to use it someday. I'm hoping that eventually someone will invent a sort of ISA adapter for new computers that works maybe USB/PCI, or something like that.

Battlehork
01-20-2010, 08:10 PM
Hmmm, well the computer I used before the one I'm currently using was considered "old", but I just brought the same sound card up to my recent build. It's a Santa Cruz Turtle Beach sound card, and a very nice card if I do say so myself.

I was at a garage sale about a year ago and the people there had a Roland PC-200 MIDI controller keyboard for sale, $20. I decided it was worth that price and bought it. As I was leaving the sale the lady running it said "Hey wait, don't forget the card that goes with it". She gave it to me, I got home, and whaddya know, it's a Roland SCC-1 MIDI card. I tried using it on my previous computer, actually, which had a single ISA slot. It didn't work too well, and it was probably because my computer was too new to begin with. The SCC-1 looks like a really nice retro sound card, though, and I hope to be able to use it someday. I'm hoping that eventually someone will invent a sort of ISA adapter for new computers that works maybe USB/PCI, or something like that.

Nice score! The SCC-1 is basically an SC-55 on an ISA card.

Soviet Conscript
01-20-2010, 09:11 PM
Even if it is only for a few games, the design means it isn't a drain on system resources (ie, it's not taking up an ISA slot, or hogging an IRQ), so it's easier to justify.

I notice a lot of games have an option for "General MIDI"... is that something best done through an MT-32? Or would that sound exactly the same coming out of an AWE32?

--Zero

i wouldn't quote me on this but i beleive GM midi and roland mt-32 are two diffrent midi standards. i don't think a mt-32 can do general midi well (or at all) and you would need something like a Roland SC-55 to do general midi, though i'm pretty sure the sc-55 can emulate mt-32

here, i found this thread about this very topic here when i was trying to figure all this out. http://www.gamehourz.com/Roland-sound-options-legacy-machine-ftopict232728.html


For a side-by-side comparison of how most of the best sound cards sound, you can check out my short video here. It compares Secret of Monkey Island themes on the sound devices it was ported to.

Evolution of PC Audio as told by Monkey Island (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a324ykKV-7Y)

neat link. i still like the sound from the MT-32 best

Jorpho
01-20-2010, 11:01 PM
I'm hoping that eventually someone will invent a sort of ISA adapter for new computers that works maybe USB/PCI, or something like that.Sure, you can get a ISA to USB adapter right now. My understanding is that actually persuading ISA-era software to use it is a much, much more difficult matter.

Ze_ro
01-21-2010, 02:50 AM
here, i found this thread about this very topic here when i was trying to figure all this out. http://www.gamehourz.com/Roland-sound-options-legacy-machine-ftopict232728.html

Wow, thanks for the link... that answered a ton of questions I was just about to ask (namely, what the difference was between all the different Roland devices out there). However, the ultimate conclusion that you need a Sound Blaster and two Roland devices attached is a bit more unwieldy than I plan to go... Seems to me that an AWE32 or GUS would do General MIDI well enough to cut at least one of those Roland units out of the picture...

Also, I had no idea that the Sound Blaster Live had an SB16 emulation mode... My DOS machine lacks PCI ports, so this wouldn't work for me (unfortunate, since I have two SB Live's sitting around collecting dust)... but is anyone actually using one for this purpose?

--Zero

Jorpho
01-21-2010, 09:08 AM
Also, I had no idea that the Sound Blaster Live had an SB16 emulation mode... My DOS machine lacks PCI ports, so this wouldn't work for me (unfortunate, since I have two SB Live's sitting around collecting dust)... but is anyone actually using one for this purpose?As the driver requires an expanded memory driver to be loaded, it is not suitable for everything.

Soviet Conscript
01-21-2010, 01:18 PM
Wow, thanks for the link... that answered a ton of questions I was just about to ask (namely, what the difference was between all the different Roland devices out there). However, the ultimate conclusion that you need a Sound Blaster and two Roland devices attached is a bit more unwieldy than I plan to go... Seems to me that an AWE32 or GUS would do General MIDI well enough to cut at least one of those Roland units out of the picture...

--Zero

yhea, i'm not thrilled about that prospect either.

i've been useing an awe32 and it sems to work well enough. i've mostly been playing menzoberranzan lately which supports the awe32 and it sounds pretty good, better then my sb16 sounded (at least from what i remember). there does seem to be an issue with the digital voices. when you talk to a major NPC they have voice actong for the text. usully it only gets through a sentence or two then cuts off. origionally i thought this was just a space limitation but alot of the time it cuts off mid sentence or mid word which makes me wonder.

when i eventually get a mt-32 i'll probibly go back to the SB16 if only for the fact that the awe32 (from all i read) has a very hard time linking up with the mt-32, you need special buggy drivers and what not since creative labs went with some diffrent configuration for the awe32's midi input.

i'm not completely sure you can daisy chain a SB - mt32 - SC55. which means haveing to use up anouther ISA slot and possibly more convetional mem :(

Push Upstairs
01-22-2010, 04:17 AM
Also, I had no idea that the Sound Blaster Live had an SB16 emulation mode... My DOS machine lacks PCI ports, so this wouldn't work for me (unfortunate, since I have two SB Live's sitting around collecting dust)... but is anyone actually using one for this purpose?

--Zero

That is part of the reason why I picked up a SB Live! for my Win98 computer. If I had to run games in pure DOS, I'd still get SB-16 support.

And my Win98 machine has an open ISA port, but I have no idea what I can use it for. I got sound and video...what else really is there?

Jorpho
01-22-2010, 09:12 AM
That is part of the reason why I picked up a SB Live! for my Win98 computer. If I had to run games in pure DOS, I'd still get SB-16 support.

And my Win98 machine has an open ISA port, but I have no idea what I can use it for. I got sound and video...what else really is there?You can get an AWE32 or AWE64, and then brag on forums about how you can get sound in DOS games that won't tolerate expanded memory drivers. I guess.

Push Upstairs
01-23-2010, 03:39 AM
How about something actually useful? Or was ISA's best use used for sound cards?

I'm rather happy with the SB Live! card. I should be, I spent a good amount of time researching the perfect one for my needs along with waiting for one to pop up on ebay.

Jorpho
01-23-2010, 11:36 AM
How about something actually useful?If it already does everything you need, what use could something else be?


I'm rather happy with the SB Live! card. I should be, I spent a good amount of time researching the perfect one for my needs along with waiting for one to pop up on ebay.I wasn't aware there was significant differences between them.

skaar
01-23-2010, 11:41 AM
From what I recall the SB16 emulation on the Live! was all software, so you'll take a hit on older games. Get the AWE32 already.

Jorpho
01-23-2010, 12:45 PM
From what I recall the SB16 emulation on the Live! was all software, so you'll take a hit on older games.What is that supposed to mean? The computer is probably hugely overpowered for anything that would require an SB16 in DOS! And how can a piece of hardware do emulation that's "all software" ?!

Ze_ro
01-23-2010, 12:47 PM
How about something actually useful? Or was ISA's best use used for sound cards?
ISA was used for EVERYTHING back then. Video cards, sound cards, network cards, modems, you name it. Hell, I think there was even a time when PC's would use the ISA bus for memory expansion... but that would have been before my time. A lot of that stuff is just built into the motherboard these days and we take it for granted, but I remember a time when I had to have a card for a floppy drive interface, another for a hard drive, and another just for serial and parallel ports. Back in those days, the fact that the SoundBlaster cards had a game port on them was a big selling point, because then you didn't need to use another ISA slot for a game port card!

One of the ISA slots in my DOS machine is being used for a special card that hooks to a separate box for reading Atari Portfolio memory cards. I also have a pair of ISA cards that hook to PCMCIA brakets that can mount in a 3.5" drive bay (Though I don't currently have them installed, since the cables between them are horrendous).

--Zero

Push Upstairs
01-23-2010, 03:37 PM
The computer is probably hugely overpowered for anything that would require an SB16 in DOS!

It is indeed overpowered for any "old" DOS games. I'm sure the 384MB of RAM would seem like a bottomless well to most "old" DOS games.

I think It would be cool to get a SB Live Drive to go with my sound card.

Soviet Conscript
01-23-2010, 06:28 PM
ISA was used for EVERYTHING back then. Video cards, sound cards, network cards, modems, you name it. Hell, I think there was even a time when PC's would use the ISA bus for memory expansion... but that would have been before my time. A lot of that stuff is just built into the motherboard these days and we take it for granted, but I remember a time when I had to have a card for a floppy drive interface, another for a hard drive, and another just for serial and parallel ports. Back in those days, the fact that the SoundBlaster cards had a game port on them was a big selling point, because then you didn't need to use another ISA slot for a game port card!

One of the ISA slots in my DOS machine is being used for a special card that hooks to a separate box for reading Atari Portfolio memory cards. I also have a pair of ISA cards that hook to PCMCIA brakets that can mount in a 3.5" drive bay (Though I don't currently have them installed, since the cables between them are horrendous).

--Zero

yhea...i'm learning about this the hard way with my little 486 pc project. those old motherboards have nothing built in, lucky to not have to do RAM via the ISA.

i have found that DOS on a newer PC tends to run happly with things such as built in floppy/hd controllers as well as video cards running through PCI and others, BUT it does seem DOS gets a bit picky for sound and tends to give the least trouble with the ISA sound cards. IMHO

Push Upstairs
01-24-2010, 12:41 AM
I don't remember much of the 486 I used way back when, but I don't remember ever having too much trouble having sound in DOS. It was an IBM Aptiva computer and I think it had a SB-16 in it.

The 333 we had didn't seem to have any DOS sound problems, but this was a later computer.

Soviet Conscript
02-12-2010, 10:54 PM
That is part of the reason why I picked up a SB Live! for my Win98 computer. If I had to run games in pure DOS, I'd still get SB-16 support.

And my Win98 machine has an open ISA port, but I have no idea what I can use it for. I got sound and video...what else really is there?

you don't happen to remember where you got the drivers for it did you? i've had no luck getting my SB live! 5.1 card to run under win98SE. the drivers for it arn't on the win cd like the awe32/64 are and any drivers i DL from the internet that claim to be for SB live! win9X fail to install or work.

so right now i'm useing an AWE64 in my win98 machine. not a bad card but still....

Jorpho
02-13-2010, 02:06 AM
you don't happen to remember where you got the drivers for it did you? i've had no luck getting my SB live! 5.1 card to run under win98SE. the drivers for it arn't on the win cd like the awe32/64 are and any drivers i DL from the internet that claim to be for SB live! win9X fail to install or work.I had a hard time finding those too. It seems there's just no substitute for an original driver CD.

Have you tried http://www.megaupload.com/?d=9FHXIOWI ? It was posted at http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=23018 . No, wait, that's not for 5.1 - never mind.

I'm pretty sure I saw something appropriate on the VOGONS board once, or at least a link to some Creative forum. Maybe it was http://www.filefront.com/user/creativeiso, posted at http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound-Blaster/Iso-CD-Sound-Blaster-Live-5-1/td-p/545254 ?

Push Upstairs
02-13-2010, 03:05 AM
you don't happen to remember where you got the drivers for it did you?

Oddly enough, Creative still had some.

But mine isn't a 5.1, it was a Live! X-Gamer. If you know the Model # (either CT#### or SB####) then you (generally) have a good chance finding stuff.

Soviet Conscript
03-08-2010, 10:47 PM
well, finally have a mt-32 on the way to get some great sound out of those games. so before it gets here can anyone tell me what all i'm going to need to get this thing running with my dos pc? i have a SB16 installed in the pc so will all i have to do is connect the mt-32 to the joystick port with a midi - joystick adaptor cable and i'll be ready to go? will i need to download any drivers or diffrent patchs?

Jorpho
03-08-2010, 11:22 PM
This is an external device, right? I suspect you're going to have to plug it into your audio mixer one way or another, or perhaps the Line In port on your sound card.

Not sure about drivers or patches.

Ze_ro
03-09-2010, 10:54 PM
I don't think you need drivers for it. The whole idea is supposed to be that the computer just streams MIDI data out through your MIDI port, and the MT-32 makes sound from it. You'll probably need to supply games with port addresses and such though.

--Zero

gravitone
03-10-2010, 04:00 PM
there's quite a bit of games out there that use the mt-32 intelligent mode. You need a real MPU-401 interface card for these games to work. They will not work with the mt-32 hooked up to a midi/gameport on a soundblaster or compatible card. They're pretty hard to find these days. Another option is to get a LAPC-1 which is basically an mt-32 in ISA form. But these are rare and go for a premium these days.

Also, the AWE64 sound quality when it comes to opl3 emulation is pretty bad compared to the real deal. It's better to stick with a soundblaster 16, even though it's output is a lot noisier.

For the best midi sound quality for dos games released from the early 90's on, you will need a roland sound canvas. You can get a sound canvas daughterboard, external module, or ISA card (SCC-1). Almost every games was composed with one of these and produce fantastic sound.

Gravis ultrasound game support is extremely limited. You could add one as a secondary or tertiary card if you'd like, but relying on it as a primary or only card is not a wise choice. Since it's 0% hardware compatible with the soundblaster range. The soundblaster emulation TSR gobs up quite a bit of essentail ram (first 640kb range) and is horribly incompatible.

Moving over to windows 95/98 games, you have a few api's you want to look at. Directsound, directsound 3d, EAX, and A3D. The older soundblasters (awe range and lower) only provide directsound support, and with a limited number of voices. Im not even sure it actually supports hardware mixing. Which means the soundquality is reduced, and provides a performance pennalty. The Live range is good for games that support EAX and directsound 3d. Stay away from these if you use a VIA chipset though. My personal favourite, the Diamond Monstersound MX300 is a great PCI card that uses the aureal vortex 2 revision B chip that has support for EAX, A3d 1.0, and A3d 2.0. Unlike EAX which is just some cheesy reverb/delay, A3d 2.0 offers true positional audio over 4 speakers and sound great with the games that support it. Also provides 64 hardware directsound voices, and 16 directsound 3d voices.

After aureal went bankrupt the only half decent soundchip alternative on the market for a while was the trident 3d wave. There's a few cards out there that use it, including the monstersound MX400. They only support a3d 1.0, and EAX if memory serves me right. I never owned one so cant really tell much about the features and its compatability.

Using ISA cards in windows 9x is fine if you're interested in playback of an mp3 file, or just hearing the windows chime, but for games, are horribly lacking in features. Any dos user should use an ISA based soundblaster and avoid PCI based cards like the plague. And no, and onboard AC97 codec chip is definitly not a good option in either situation.

PC-ENGINE HELL
03-12-2010, 11:21 PM
Stay away from these if you use a VIA chipset though.
The line of Muse sound cards released by Hercules actually performed pretty well from what I gather from reading reviews and friends who owned the 5.1 and Fortissimo III. They made a good alternative to SB for people who had run into issues using VIA based boards or who wanted to avoid using their on board audio. I only got to use a Muse Xl first hand though, but that card did do me quite well from around early 2002 to late 2006 until I sold it. It was the only other sound card I was willing to use on Athlon and Duron systems I built back then, other then the Vortex 2 and SB Live. I may pick up another soon for the heck of it, wouldn't mind having one on hand again.

Soviet Conscript
03-13-2010, 12:16 AM
*sigh* well the mt-32 showed up and dispite my hope that this would be simple....of course it hasn't been.

can't get the damn thing to work. useing one of these

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-M-AUDIO-FEMALE-JOYSTICK-MIDI-INTERFACE-CABLE-2072_W0QQitemZ350326731873QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item519119b461

to connect my sound blaster16 to the mt-32. of course in my haste i ordered the female cable so when it arrived i had to by a short M-M midi cable to bridge and connect. as for the 1/4 mono jacks that the mt-32 uses to output i have 2 mono to stereo 1/4 to 1/8 converters and then i have a stereo 1/4 splitter to let my speakers connect to that.

anyways, as i said i can't get it working dispite what i hook the midi cable up to. i tried both midi in and out. i'm testing with kings quest 4 as i read it requires no patches to utilise the mt-32. i know the game is fine because when i set it up to use the sb16 it plays perfect but if i setup for MT-32 and compatibles when i start the game i get a black screen and a mouse pointer. i get no midi message on the mt-32. acually even when i do a sound test with the sb16 i get no sound like nothing is passing to the mt-32.

anyone have any ideas? btw i'm running it on a 486 under dos 6.11

Jorpho
03-13-2010, 01:56 AM
Do you have a Windows computer you can try it with?

Soviet Conscript
03-13-2010, 04:28 AM
Do you have a Windows computer you can try it with?

yhea, probibly try it on that pc after work tommarrow. if it works at least i can rule out a faulty mt-32

Soviet Conscript
03-15-2010, 03:53 AM
tried it under win xp with the same results as well as doxbox. spent a good hour+ fiddeling with settings but the mt-32 just sits there like a rock. i hope its a cable or settings issue rather then the unit itself.

*update* got it to work under XP...sort of. the mt-32 worked but the sound blaster sfx were not but i'm sure that can be corrected with some more setting fiddeling. good news is the mt-32 definatly works as well as the cableing so that narrows down my issues of whats going on here.

aaron7
03-24-2010, 01:58 PM
I've got an AWE64 in my DOS gaming rig. Mostly because I always wanted one when they were new haha

diskoboy
03-25-2010, 12:33 AM
My NT4 rig still uses an old Sound Blaster PCI128 I bought in 1998.

Ze_ro
03-25-2010, 01:51 AM
I've got an AWE64 in my DOS gaming rig. Mostly because I always wanted one when they were new haha
Do you have any compatibility problems with games? Or does it just work if you pick SB16 mode for games that don't know later models? Does it require drivers?

I have an AWE64 sitting around that I've considered putting in my DOS machine to replace the SB16 currently in there, but I was always worried it wouldn't be worth the trouble getting it to work.

--Zero

Jorpho
03-25-2010, 02:29 AM
I've always understood that it's supposed to be SB16 compatible. I've been reading all kinds of weird things about MIDI that I've never really understood, though.

There are actually drop-in replacements for the Miles drivers used by some games, though I've never been clear on why exactly they are necessary.

Soviet Conscript
03-25-2010, 07:05 AM
Do you have any compatibility problems with games? Or does it just work if you pick SB16 mode for games that don't know later models? Does it require drivers?

I have an AWE64 sitting around that I've considered putting in my DOS machine to replace the SB16 currently in there, but I was always worried it wouldn't be worth the trouble getting it to work.

--Zero

well, i have a awe32 with full ram in my one DOS pc and to be honest i'm not crazy about it. i think its basicly the same as the awe64 but the 64 is cleaner sounding, at least for later games.

i think the awe64 is a decent sound card for later win95-98 era gameing but i don't know about DOS. i don't think to many games support its features. the midi port gives issues as its even less compatible then the sb16's port if you want to use midi devices through it like an mt-32 (this is fixable with drivers and some screwing around) and for the record i personnaly have run into compatibility issues. Cyclones for instance, i coudn't figure out why i wasn't getting sound then i read the box side. "compatible with all sb16 and sound blaster compatible cards (except awe series)"

i've consided replaceing it with a sb16 for better compatibility but since i already have anouther dosbox with a sb16 and i do use this particular pc with later dos games that do tend to support the awe more i decided to just leave it in there. as for a general all around dos pc though i would just stick with a sb16.

Soviet Conscript
06-17-2010, 10:51 PM
well, after 4 months with my mt-32 i finally got it working. replaced my sb16 with a slightly newer version and reinstalled the drivers. sounds awsome.

it does seem to have issues with some games though, mostly sierra games because of an issue with the sb16's midi port not being able to use the correct protocals. i've been told the midi port on ensoniq sound cards its much more compatible. anyone have any experence with ensoniq sound cards? any good? game compatibility?

Ze_ro
06-26-2010, 01:09 PM
I bought an MT-32 just recently. Got it set up, and it seemed to be working great... but now after about 10 minutes of playing a game, all sound (including regular sound effects not from the MT-32) starts to crackle, and eventually cuts out. At that point, I tried running the "DIAGNOSE" program that was installed with the SB16 software, and it claims it can't find a soundblaster at IO address 220 (which is where it definitely is installed). If I turn the computer off and on, it works fine (at least for another 10 minutes or so).

My theory is that the card is somehow overheating and eventually "crashes". Anyone had this happen to them? Maybe my Gameport-to-MIDI breakout cable is bad or something? (Joystick and MIDI-Out certainly work).

I still have an AWE64 and GUS that I'd like to try out, but is the whole "MIDI on Gameport" a standardized thing? Like, the same cable should work on the GUS too, or would I need Gravis's official MIDI box? I'm a little hesitant to try, because while SB16's aren't hard to find, I certainly don't want to fry my GUS.

I have empty memory slots on my GUS. I probably only have 256k of RAM on there. Is it worth trying to fill this up? Even though they're not SIMMS, they look like standard RAM chips, so I'm guessing they can be found pretty cheap, but would it actually provide any noticable difference in games?

--Zero

Soviet Conscript
06-26-2010, 01:27 PM
I bought an MT-32 just recently. Got it set up, and it seemed to be working great... but now after about 10 minutes of playing a game, all sound (including regular sound effects not from the MT-32) starts to crackle, and eventually cuts out. At that point, I tried running the "DIAGNOSE" program that was installed with the SB16 software, and it claims it can't find a soundblaster at IO address 220 (which is where it definitely is installed). If I turn the computer off and on, it works fine (at least for another 10 minutes or so).

My theory is that the card is somehow overheating and eventually "crashes". Anyone had this happen to them? Maybe my Gameport-to-MIDI breakout cable is bad or something? (Joystick and MIDI-Out certainly work).

I still have an AWE64 and GUS that I'd like to try out, but is the whole "MIDI on Gameport" a standardized thing? Like, the same cable should work on the GUS too, or would I need Gravis's official MIDI box? I'm a little hesitant to try, because while SB16's aren't hard to find, I certainly don't want to fry my GUS.

I have empty memory slots on my GUS. I probably only have 256k of RAM on there. Is it worth trying to fill this up? Even though they're not SIMMS, they look like standard RAM chips, so I'm guessing they can be found pretty cheap, but would it actually provide any noticable difference in games?

--Zero

from what i hear the awe32 and possibly the awe64 use a diffrent kind of midi port protocal (sp?) it is possible to get a mt-32 working with them but i hear its a headache and you have to play with special drivers.

yes, apperently there are varitations on the diffrent midi ports on sound cards. for the mt-32 some games use a "dumb" mode and some a "smart". cards like the sb16 only support the "dumb" mode and thats why as i recently found out games like kings quest IV will not work with a mt-32/sb16 combo. though there is a patch i found that lets most sierra games work fine.

i don't know about the GUS but i have read the ensoniq isa sound cards midi port supports both smart and dumb mode but i havn't been able to find dos drivers anywhere for my ensoniq card so i havn't been able to test this.

i have no idea why your mt-32 is cutting off like that but i can swear i've hear about this issue before when i was researching the mt-32. try this site http://www.queststudios.com/roland/roland.html

sometimes it takes a day or two to get a reply but i've found it very helpful