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Digital sound under true DOS with ISA Soundblaster

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 11:46 pm     Post subject: Digital sound under true DOS with ISA Soundblaster Reply with quote

I consider myself a veteran when it comes to getting old games running, but this one has me stumped:

A week ago I bought an old IBM Aptiva 166 with 64Mb RAM and 2.0Gb HDD. I put inside my own old (ISA) AWE64 Gold and a DVD drive. The AWE64 gave me some problems at first because of conflicts with the ethernet card that was in there so I removed it. Win98 had no problem detecting the soundcard, and installation of the drivers went fine. Music and sound would play withotu a hitch under Windows.

BUT. Like I said, I consider myself a veteran. It's commonly known that just using drivers in DOS for your soundcard will often result in sound being too quiet. Since AWE64 didn't come with nearly as many DOS utilities than the older Creative soundcards, I took the liberty of using the older SB16 utilities that work fine - in specific SB16set.exe which lets me set volume on any aspect of the soundcard and quadriple the soundoutput.

Let me get to the problem: nearly half of the games, usually the pre 1995 ones, give me problems with digital sound. Music works fine, no problem. But digital sound won't work - nor under DOS nor under Windows. Weird, because in other games it works just fine. The games where it won't work (among others) are:
Doom
Legend of Kyrandia 1&2&3
Worms
Theme Park (it says "using 8bit sound" at the start, yet the starting movie had sound at first)
...

Games where it does work:
Little Big Adventure
Lands of Lore 2
Command & Conquer
...

I suspect that no older Westwood games (Dune 2, Lands of Lore) will work with digital sound (which is annoying since I have speech versions of all these games).

What could be the problem ? I set all the settings as they should :
config.sys and autoexec.bat have the right lines - 220 I5 D1 H5

Now, the older SB16 utilities also have a diagnostic program which I tried. Oddly enough, it would detect the address, IRQ but not the low DMA. (which is set at 1).

Now I began thinking - despite it saying the soundcard is detected - could it be that somehow DMA 1 is not available ? Music doesn't need Low DMA, and the more recent games use High DMA for digital soundI believe ? Windows does too. So can it be that old games that use low DMA won't have digital sound ?

If that is true, what should I do ? BIOS says that DMA 0,1,2 is free, so what could be taken it ? Is there a way to check ? I really want this to work - I bought this computer just for these old games, and having no sound would be really awful after all the trouble I went through.
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Interon
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:26 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the sound card is too new for those older games. Some games come with their own suite of sound card drivers, and perhaps they weren't ready for the AWE64.

I strongly recommend to put an old SB16 ISA card in that machine to try it out to see if it helps (if you can find one). Or try a different ISA sound card no matter what it is anyway.

Download NSSI at http://www.navsoft.cz to check out your hardware specs.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:30 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

JMS wrote:
Maybe the sound card is too new for those older games. Some games come with their own suite of sound card drivers, and perhaps they weren't ready for the AWE64.

I strongly recommend to put an old SB16 ISA card in that machine to try it out to see if it helps (if you can find one). Or try a different ISA sound card no matter what it is anyway.

Download NSSI at http://www.navsoft.cz to check out your hardware specs.


No, I used that card in my old P166 and it would work on EVERY game. I then stuck it in my PIII450 and it worked perfectly too - even alongside my SBLive. It just won't run sound in some games and I'm sure now that it's the games with have SB16/pro support and so I assume 8bit sound. I really suspect something is preventing me from using the low DMA but what ? BIOS says they're free ? Is there some hardware that is PnP that uses it after boot ?
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Interon
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:57 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Some BIOSes offer resource allocation, Set DMA 1 to Not Available (That's how my IBM works). I think doing that prevents PnP from snatching it and reserves it for an antique ISA device.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 2:25 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

JMS wrote:
Some BIOSes offer resource allocation, Set DMA 1 to Not Available (That's how my IBM works). I think doing that prevents PnP from snatching it and reserves it for an antique ISA device.


Hmmm I might try that! Thanks!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:42 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Bah that didn't work. In fact it didn't do anything! It didn't make a change at all. I'm out of ideas here.
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Frenkel
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 5:59 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried to change the DMA from 1 to 0?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 6:23 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Frenkel wrote:
Have you tried to change the DMA from 1 to 0?


Diagnostic program is supposed to do that when 1 is not available - but it says neither 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 is available.
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Skuzz
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 11:49 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just got my old p166 up n running & it has a awe64 gold pnp, it works perfectly in windows n dos i have win98se i got my mouse n cdrom workin in real dos mode with 2 little programs cute mouse n acer dos drivers for cd my bios is pnp n picks up awe64 no problem, you should try & check ur bios n make sure that the pnp/pci configuration is set on auto & not manual so the pnp will detect all the IRQs & DMAs for the card & disable any com ports ur not using like printer port n second serial port or if ur using a PS/2 mouse the disable both serial ports, every game i have tried with my p166 has worked good no probs with sound at all, & the only setting i have for the sound card is in myAUTOEXEC.BAT which is SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 P330 T6, Im also using UMBSYS for memory management in real dos mode to get more conventional mem i get 617k & that is plenty to run any dos games, so far i have installed LANDS OF LAW CD Version Stonekeep, Dungeon Hack, Might&Magic 3, Might&Magic Clouds Of Xeen & Darkside of Xeen to make WORLD Of XEEN, Also Betrayal At Krondor CD version, & Ravenloft Stone Prophet & all work fine no problems yet Hope any of this can help you Good Luck. Congratulatory
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Skuzz
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:17 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Another problem could be of which you will have to check yourself is to make sure that you have the audio cable that connects from the awe64 to the CDROM cause that cable is what makes the digital voice in dos mode from the old games all speach comes from off the CD, & most older DOS games try to use IRQ 7 so make sure you change it to IRQ 5 & DMAs 1 & 5 whilst your setting up the game.
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