Gillius's Programming

Getting the Sound to Work

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Addendum: 9/1/2003:A reader sent in this comment via e-mail. I haven't played with this stuff in a few years (I have XP now and I don't run DOS games anymore but if I did I'd use VDMsound -- 2 links are below). I added his comments verbatim so take them at face value:

If you plan to use the DOS emulation, you need to turn off Plug and Play OS in the BIOS config. This way your BIOS configures IRQs for you, so that you can actually use the SB16 emulation in pure DOS. If you don't do this, it won't work - it will seem to initialise properly, but it won't work (you can test using SBEGO.EXE). There's a chance it may work but NOT if you have ANY devices which share an IRQ, and with the number of devices in modern PCs (on board USB etc) odds are you're sharing something.

If you have a capture card odds are it will take IRQ 5, so it's also good to leave IRQ at 7 (share with printer).

When you're ready to boot into Windows agian, turn Plug and Play OS back on.

Also I recommend getting the 8 MB Waveset and using that, it really sounds better!

Addendum: 6/23/2002: If you are having problems with sound in DOS, there is a VERY good solution if you are on Windows NT/2k/XP called VDMSound (link1) (link2) which emulates a sound card in DOS. It is a true emulation, meaning you can get EXCELLENT DOS support using ANY Windows compatable sound card -- you don't even need a sound card to run it (It can save to a sound file). I've used it and it works perfectly and in some cases BETTER than using my card directly (better in one case because the emulator can emulate the MT-32 which is a MIDI device old DOS games used to use which is not compatable with current hardware, but current hardware CAN play general MIDI). I still left up this info for people wanting to use their SB Live!s directly in DOS.

Note that this "tutorial" applies to the SB Live! and how I got mine to work after buying the card and seeing that it doesn't work in DOS initally (as most people might experience). If you have another card that is not working, and you have the knowledge to do it correctly, set your sound card to the settings shown below (address, IRQ, DMAs, MIDI, etc), and I have found that most of the cards I ever worked on started working in DOS after I did that.

I take no responsibility for the information in this document (it is presented as-is), meaning if your computer explodes in a flaming ball, it's not my responsibility.

The SB Live! comes with the old Sound Blaster 16 support for DOS built in as a driver for Windows, and I speculate that this is because the old standards that all the Sound Blasters worked on from the original 8bit version to the AWE32 would not work with the new PCI bus. Supposedly this driver lets older DOS games detect the card, and so far I haven't seen a single program do that, including my game, and where I first realized it, with the ZSNES emulator. I still haven't figured out how to get DOS apps to recognize AWE32 MIDI through the Live! (rather than MPU-401, if it is capable of doing so), but getting them to recognize the digital interface is actually really simple.

The problem resides with that fact that the old Legacy driver really doesn't fit the old specs itself (Address 220, MIDI 330, AWE32 MIDI 620, IRQ 5, 8bit DMA 1, 16bit DMA 5). It actually shares IRQ 7 with my printer, and why, frankly I don't know unless you have some other device which requires an IRQ like a scanner or something. Either ways, this prevented DOS programs to work. I looked up IRQ 5, the standard, and it wasn't even being used. So this is how I enabled it:

Go into control panel and system, and pick device properties tab:

Then, find the SB16 Emulation driver, and click it, and click properties, and click the settings tab. Turn off the printer IRQ sharing, and older DOS applications that didn't work with the sound will now run:

Note that this wouldn't work if you have a device on IRQ 5 (which most people would not on normal setups), in which case you would have to jockey the IRQs around, and I would recommend a knowledgeable person do that for you if you don't know how.

If anyone has comments, suggestions, or has found this doesn't work, or there is a better way, please contact me since this experience has only been based off one system!

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