Category Archives: Sound

Any Soundscape VIVO fans here?

While digging into the implementation of Sound Blaster compatibility on PCI cards, I found an unexpected gem. Ensoniq’s U.S. Patent 5,790,837 includes partial source code for the Sound Blaster emulation driver used with the Ensoniq Soundscape VIVO boards, SSINIT.COM. The VIVO boards were … Continue reading

Posted in Ensoniq, Sound, Sound Blaster, Source code | 5 Comments

Can a DB-50XG Talk?

I seem to have embarked on another crazy research project. It was spurred by a broken Yamaha DB-50XG wavetable daughterboard. The DB-50XG was a bit dirty but not obviously damaged. It produces no output but gets warm exactly like a … Continue reading

Posted in Sound, Wave Blaster, Yamaha | 1 Comment

The Vanishing Dream

By sheer coincidence, three different yet similar wavetable daughterboards landed on my desk. They’re of different ages but all use Dream synthesizer chips. Together they provide an interesting window into the evolution of MIDI synthesizers. The oldest daughterboard is from … Continue reading

Posted in MIDI, Sound | 2 Comments

OPL3 Copies

A while ago, a reader commented that in certain circles, it’s well known that there were “fake” OPL3 chips. This does not appear to be widespread knowledge. After a bit of digging, an interesting chapter in the history of PC … Continue reading

Posted in PC hardware, PC history, Sound, Yamaha | 11 Comments

44-Voice MIDI on Yamaha OPL4

In 1994, sound cards with wavetable synthesizers were all the rage. Typically these supported 24-voice or at most 32-voice polyphony. So 44-voice synthesis sounded fancy. The following text can be found in a README file in the driver package for … Continue reading

Posted in MIDI, Sound | 6 Comments

Do You Know This Sound Card?

The guessing game is back, this time with a twist: I don’t know the correct answer. A generic-looking 1997 vintage sound card recently showed up: This is what I call a high-end low-end card… it’s a standard low-end sound card, … Continue reading

Posted in PC hardware, Sound | 13 Comments

Sound Blaster DIAGNOSE and Disabled MPU-401

Today I finally solved a nagging problem that always seemed like it had to have some sort of reasonable solution. Creative’s DIAGNOSE.EXE utility is quite useful when working with any Sound Blaster 16 derivatives (Sound Blaster 16, AWE32, Sound Blaster … Continue reading

Posted in Creative Labs, Sound, Sound Blaster, Undocumented | 3 Comments

SC-8820 Gripes

After a long while, I dusted off my Roland SC-8820 sound module which I bought used about 10 years ago. The goal was to drive it from an older PC via MIDI. This turned out to be a lot harder than … Continue reading

Posted in MIDI, Roland, Sound | 12 Comments

Do You Know These Peripherals?

After a long pause, here’s another guessing game. Do you recognize the five peripherals below? This should be very easy since the manufacturers’ names are clearly visible, only the model numbers got “lost”. This is all 1980s-1990s hardware from (obviously) … Continue reading

Posted in MIDI, Roland, Sound, Yamaha | 10 Comments

What Is DXP44Q?

Today I came across a random 1996 vintage ISA sound card (no name, made in China). The only two chips worth noting on the board are an OPTi 82C930A chip and a mysterious DXP44Q—a square chip center left, to the … Continue reading

Posted in PC hardware, Sound | 7 Comments