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Deniska(R)

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13.02.2008, 00:11
 

ISA Sound Card (Miscellaneous)

I have 2 ISA sound cards: Sound Blaster AWE 32 and Sound Blaster 16. I have been experiencing problems with both of them on 2 different machines.

1. When I set "Plug and Play" option in BIOS to "NO", it configures my SB16 for IRQ 5, DMA 1 and HDMA 3. When I run the SB16 configuration utilility CTCM in DOS, it tells me to use DMA 1 and HDMA 1. Is it normal to set both DMA's to the same value? Mpxplay seems to play fine with HDMA 1, but fails with HDMA 3. However, several programs misbehave.

2. This is a more serious problem. I only get clean sound when none of my hard drives nor CD/DVD drives are accessed. For example, when I load Mpxplay with -bl switch, which preloads the entire song into memory before playing, I get perfect sound. However, without -bl I get static "clicks" whenever any of the LED's on my hard drives/CDROM drives flash. It obviously gets much worse while watching movies, since you get much more frequent media access.

Could anybody please suggest anything?

Rugxulo(R)

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Usono,
13.02.2008, 01:51

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> I have 2 ISA sound cards: Sound Blaster AWE 32 and Sound Blaster 16. I have
> been experiencing problems with both of them on 2 different machines.

My P166 has a SB AWE64. By default, though, (for faster bootup), I don't load the CTCM + other config programs unless needed.

> 1. When I set "Plug and Play" option in BIOS to "NO", it configures my
> SB16 for IRQ 5, DMA 1 and HDMA 3. When I run the SB16 configuration
> utilility CTCM in DOS, it tells me to use DMA 1 and HDMA 1. Is it normal
> to set both DMA's to the same value? Mpxplay seems to play fine with HDMA
> 1, but fails with HDMA 3. However, several programs misbehave.

What programs misbehave? Face it, there is no optimal DOS configuration, you're pretty much stuck using CONFIG.SYS menus to choose what's best for certain apps (i.e. probably a driver conflict).

AFAICT, the CTCM etc. setup programs aren't needed (at least, with my Award BIOS) unless you want MIDI. I can play normal sounds correctly with just "BLASTER=A220 I5 D1".

> 2. This is a more serious problem. I only get clean sound when none of my
> hard drives nor CD/DVD drives are accessed. For example, when I load
> Mpxplay with -bl switch, which preloads the entire song into memory before
> playing, I get perfect sound. However, without -bl I get static "clicks"
> whenever any of the LED's on my hard drives/CDROM drives flash. It
> obviously gets much worse while watching movies, since you get much more
> frequent media access.

As I was told, Mpxplay can't inherit file handles when shelling out, so you have to preload (e.g. -bl) to get fluid playback. CD-ROM access is always pretty slow, though, compared to a hard disk, and that itself is obviously slower than RAM.

P.S. Sorry if this wasn't much help. Good luck anyways! :-/

Deniska(R)

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13.02.2008, 03:23

@ Rugxulo

ISA Sound Card

> My P166 has a SB AWE64. By default, though, (for faster bootup), I don't
> load the CTCM + other config programs unless needed.

I usually don't either, but CTCM helps me to determine the correct parameters for the sound card when needed.

> What programs misbehave? Face it, there is no optimal DOS configuration,

Some programs (like Duke Nukem 3D) assume that HDMA can not be 1.

> AFAICT, the CTCM etc. setup programs aren't needed (at least, with my
> Award BIOS) unless you want MIDI. I can play normal sounds correctly with
> just "BLASTER=A220 I5 D1".

Yes, I know. In fact I can also play MIDI without running CTCM.

> As I was told, Mpxplay can't inherit file handles when shelling out, so
> you have to preload (e.g. -bl) to get fluid playback.

I am not talking about shelling out of Mpxplay. I get static clicks while using Mpxplay user interface. I get clicks with QuickView and Mplayer as well, when they are accessing my hard drives or CD-ROM drives.

Laaca(R)

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Czech republic,
13.02.2008, 07:41

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

SB16 and AWE32 besides DMA use the HighDMA. Some programs use the HDMA and don't work with the normal DMA settings.

Typical BLASTER variable in autoexec.bat is:
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330

D=normal, 8bit DMA
H=high(extended) 16bit DMA

You might try to determine the correct settings also by hardware detection programs like HWinfo or NSSI (both are for DOS)


BTW: isn't the DMA 3 als used for hard disk access?

---
DOS-u-akbar!

Japheth(R)

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Germany (South),
13.02.2008, 08:34

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> > My P166 has a SB AWE64. By default, though, (for faster bootup), I don't
> > load the CTCM + other config programs unless needed.
>
> I usually don't either, but CTCM helps me to determine the correct
> parameters for the sound card when needed.

the SB16 and SBAWE have a mixer chip which allows to read (and set) the current values for IRQ and DMA. The GETSB tool included in HXGUI\TEST reads the current values from these mixer ports and checks if current BLASTER environment variable matches these values.

---
MS-DOS forever!

RayeR(R)

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CZ,
13.02.2008, 11:13

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> I have 2 ISA sound cards: Sound Blaster AWE 32 and Sound Blaster 16. I have
> been experiencing problems with both of them on 2 different machines.

Tell us also something about your mobo, CPU and add on cards you use. I think there shouldn't be problem on most of older MB with intel chipset. In my embedded MP3 player I used some i430+P166 mb with SB AWE 64 and hadn't problems with sound during media access. I didn't need use ctxx drivers, mpxplay find it itself. But with ctxx it also works in other dos progs.
If you have newer mobo maybe due to some IRQ sharing? Try to set IRQ 5 reserved for legacy devices in setup and switch off unnecessary peripherals like USB.

---
DOS gives me freedom to unlimited HW access.

Deniska(R)

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14.02.2008, 00:03

@ RayeR

ISA Sound Card

> Tell us also something about your mobo, CPU and add on cards you use.

I have a Pentium III, 800 MHz, TNT2 GFX card, 2 hard drives, CD-RW and DVD+RW drive. I don't remember the chipset. I'll post it later. Another machine, where I experienced identical problems, was a Pentium ??, 450 MHz, TNT2 GFX card, 2 hard drives, 2 CD-ROM drives.

> I think there shouldn't be problem on most of older MB with intel chipset.

I haven't experienced any sound-related problems on my old Pentium Pro, 200 Mhz. I also don't get any problems on P4, 2.67 GHz, but that doesn't have any ISA slots and uses a PCI ESS card.

> I didn't need use ctxx drivers, mpxplay find it itself.

I only use CTCM to retrieve DMA and IRQ settings after playing around in BIOS.

> If you have newer mobo maybe due to some IRQ sharing?

Maybe. But if the same IRQ is used for hard disk access shouldn't I be getting lots of disk errors, for example, when recording sound? I don't get any errors.

> Try to set IRQ 5 reserved for legacy devices in setup

I have tried that in the past. When I do this, my sound card gets reconfigured for a different IRQ, usually 9, and the problem doesn't go away. Is it possible to force IRQ to remain at 5, while reserving IRQ 5 for legacy?

> and switch off unnecessary peripherals like USB.

No effect.

Deniska(R)

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14.02.2008, 00:09

@ Laaca

ISA Sound Card

> BTW: isn't the DMA 3 als used for hard disk access?

What surprises me is that my BIOS reports IRQ = 5, LowDMA = 1, HighDMA = 3, while DOS software tools, which identify IRQ and DMA settings say IRQ = 5, LowDMA = 1, HighDMA = 1. If I try to use HighDMA = 3, programs either crash or do not generate any sound. HighDMA = 1 works fine, but with static clicks, when HD LED's flash.

rr(R)

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Berlin, Germany,
14.02.2008, 10:02

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> What surprises me is that my BIOS reports IRQ = 5, LowDMA = 1, HighDMA =
> 3, while DOS software tools, which identify IRQ and DMA settings say IRQ =
> 5, LowDMA = 1, HighDMA = 1. If I try to use HighDMA = 3, programs either
> crash or do not generate any sound. HighDMA = 1 works fine, but with
> static clicks, when HD LED's flash.

Did you enable ECP or EPP for your parallel ports? Try to disable.

Stupid question: Are DMA channels 0, 1, or 3 really suitable for 16 bit transfers? AFAIK these are 8 bit only. Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number and motherboard model.

Laaca(R)

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Czech republic,
14.02.2008, 10:29

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

You are now talking about SB AWE32 or about SB16?

Because SB AWE32 is PnP card but some SB16 aren't and you have to set them by jumpers. (there are legacy SB16 and SB16 PnP or SB16 PnP Vibra)

---
DOS-u-akbar!

RayeR(R)

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CZ,
14.02.2008, 16:25

@ rr

ISA Sound Card

> Did you enable ECP or EPP for your parallel ports? Try to disable.

AFAIK only ECP mode uses DMA (which may cause collision).

---
DOS gives me freedom to unlimited HW access.

RayeR(R)

Homepage

CZ,
14.02.2008, 16:30

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> I have tried that in the past. When I do this, my sound card gets
> reconfigured for a different IRQ, usually 9, and the problem doesn't go
> away. Is it possible to force IRQ to remain at 5, while reserving IRQ 5
> for legacy?

Hm intersting. In my older machines when I set some IRQ to legacy mode it is then NOT used by any onbloard/addon card PCI device according to BIOS table listing during boot. Then I was able to init my ISA PnP cad for IRQ5.

---
DOS gives me freedom to unlimited HW access.

Deniska(R)

Homepage E-mail

14.02.2008, 23:51

@ Laaca

ISA Sound Card

> You are now talking about SB AWE32 or about SB16?

I have the same problem with SB AWE32 and SB16 PnP Vibra.

Deniska(R)

Homepage E-mail

14.02.2008, 23:59

@ rr

ISA Sound Card

> Stupid question: Are DMA channels 0, 1, or 3 really suitable for 16 bit
> transfers?

I'm not sure, but Mpxplay and other players (Cubic, DSS) play very well if you preload a song into a buffer or play from a RAMDISK.

> Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number and motherboard model.

The sound cards are SB16 PnP Vibra and SB AWE32. I will post the motherboard model later today.

Deniska(R)

Homepage E-mail

15.02.2008, 11:41

@ rr

ISA Sound Card

> Did you enable ECP or EPP for your parallel ports? Try to disable.

I have tried. No effect.

> Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number and motherboard model.

The motherboard is VIA VT82C694X APOLLO PRO133A.

rr(R)

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Berlin, Germany,
15.02.2008, 13:52

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> > Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number and motherboard model.
>
> The sound cards are SB16 PnP Vibra and SB AWE32. I will post the
> motherboard model later today.

Again: "Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number..."

RayeR(R)

Homepage

CZ,
15.02.2008, 19:06

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> The motherboard is VIA VT82C694X APOLLO PRO133A.

Aha, this is why I personally prefer intel on intel :)

---
DOS gives me freedom to unlimited HW access.

Deniska(R)

Homepage E-mail

18.02.2008, 23:46

@ rr

ISA Sound Card

> Again: "Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number..."

Well, my AWE card has CT3990.

rr(R)

Homepage E-mail

Berlin, Germany,
19.02.2008, 10:07

@ Deniska

ISA Sound Card

> > Again: "Please tell us your sound card's CTxxxx number..."
>
> Well, my AWE card has CT3990.

Is this the model with an IDE controller? Did you try disabling IDE via CTCM/CTCU or jumper?

Deniska(R)

Homepage E-mail

19.02.2008, 23:42

@ rr

ISA Sound Card

> Is this the model with an IDE controller? Did you try disabling IDE via
> CTCM/CTCU or jumper?

No, this model doesn't have an IDE controller.

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