OPTi 82C929A MAD16 Pro ISA DOS Sound Card Review


Hey guys welcome to another sound card review for DOS and with the ISA interface. This one is a little bit hard to identify It’s got the OPTi 82C929A chipset, but it might also go under the name of MAD 16 Pro. We got the sound card from Electromyne. You’re looking at around 23 to 25 euros, there are links down below in the description and for you guys, there’s also another 20% off just check the coupon down below. So in this video we will go over the features of the card, there are some sound recordings, we will check out the software and the drivers and at the end my conclusion and summary. So let’s have a look at these two chips We’ve got one labeled LS-212 and there’s another one here LS-215 and these are basically clones, this one is a clone of the Yamaha OPL3 and this is a clone of the Digital analog converter, that usually goes with the Yamaha OPL3. We will find out later how this one sounds. And this is the main chipset, the OPTi 82C929A? And looking at the official data sheet that I found on the internet It officially is compatible with Adlib and Sound Blaster But it doesn’t mention Sound Blaster pro although in another area on the same page It does mention it is Sound Blaster compatible up to 44 kilohertz in stereo. But if we take a look at the user manual of one of these sound cards, it does mention Sound Blaster Pro compatibility, and this discrepancy is quite interesting, and we will find out very soon why. And the other chipset on the sound card is from analog devices, the AD1846JP. Now some sound cards have a similar chip in a similar position but from crystal and it does the same function as this one is basically the codec and under DOSt handles the Windows Sound System compatibility There’s a jumper here right behind the headphone jack and that basically configures the output Be it either line out or headphone with an amplifier. in this position It is configured to lineout and the volume wheel gets deactivated which is good. The volume wheel on this card are crackles quite noticeable. So turning it to lineout mode you get a clean output and the volume dial just doesn’t do anything anymore. And there’s one more jumper down here, and this one I believe has to do with the CD-ROM options. I had a look on the internet. I didn’t find much information but I believe it toggles between the IDE option for CD-ROM or the other ones. And here we have a look at all the CD-ROM interfaces. We’ve got one for Sony. This one is for IDE optical drives. This one is for Mitsumi and one for Panasonic and up here you can connect the audio cable for you CD-ROM drive the Software has a mixer built in and there’s a slider for the CD-ROM drive, so if you’re not using that you can just mute it We also have a wave table header. So you just take your wavetable board and you attach it like that. The MPU MIDI interface on this sound card is bug free and it is also compatible with SoftMPU. Looking at the ports at the back we’ve got a line in and microphone, the volume dial which only works if the jumpers are set to speaker out so if the onboard amplifier is actually activated. We’ve got the output for line out or speaker out and we have a game port. But this is also a MIDI interface, so if you want to connect an external MIDI device you just plug it in like that and off you go. I think it’s time for some audio recordings of the sound card. I put together a new test bench for my sound card reviews We’re using a Pentium 100 but the level 1 cache has been turned off, 32 MB RAM and we’re using a SD card. which makes it really easy for me to load games and drivers onto the machine. So first up let’s listen to the FM quality of the sound card. So what do you think of this one? To my ears, this is a perfect clone of the YAMAHA OPL3. I really couldn’t detect any difference so in terms of FM quality this is the real deal, and you should be very happy. And now let’s check out the Sound Blaster compatibility first up it is compatible with the ADPCM codec so games like Duke Nukem 2 will sound just fine But what about the DMA clicking bug? Let’s find out So that sounded pretty good, I wasn’t able to hear a DMA clicking bug on the sound card. So this is perfect for older games that use the single cycle DMA mode Unfortunately we do have one little issue remember how the datasheet actually didn’t mention sound blaster Pro ?compatibility well Let’s listen to a few games that support the sound cluster Pro with stereo sound effects So in some games like TIE fighter and Duke Nukem 3d we’re getting proper stereo, but in other games like in decent turrican 2 and epic pinball unfortunately the sound plays back only in mono Played around a little bit more and if you run the Duke Nukem 3d sound test it will enable stereo for example in Turrican 2 in Epic pinball however it will only work during The intro sequence and as soon as you start a new table it will go back to mono and descent unfortunately I couldn’t, I couldn’t get it going however Descent and Turrican 2 do support Windows sound systems at least with those games you have an option. But there will be games where the stereo doesn’t work in Sound Blaster pro mode. And we also have Windows sound system compatibility, you need to run the software and toggle the mode between Sound Blaster Pro and Windows sound System and there are quite a few games that support it and if they do, you get Crystal-clear audio for example in descent and then Turrican 2 this sound quality is amazing better than with the sound blaster Pro option So we had a look at the card and all the ports, let’s check out the software and the drivers. So let’s have a look at the drivers, and I must say they’re awesome. It’s such a user friendly interface. It’s all graphical version 2.5 is the latest I believe. At least the latest I was able to find. I found a few earlier ones, and they look similar but not as polished so what I like about these drivers is that you can do everything Right at the beginning, even the mixer so we click on start installation, and it’s just gonna ask what drive and what folder I’ll leave all that at the default settings I press ok and it’s gonna proceed to copying a few files across to the hard drive, then we’ve got the choice of if we want the cd-rom Controller, so I’m gonna go with no we’re gonna press ok and here I can control all my resources Here are toggle between sound blaster pro and Windows sound system. I’m gonna use the same resources Interrupt and DMA for the sound blaster, so let me just toggle back here I’m gonna change the interrupt to 7 game port we can turn it on or off I’ll leave it leave it turned on we have the MIDI interface here. We can turn it on and off address 330 and also the interrupt. I can go to volume this is my mixer and usually what I do is Tune it for low noise so I’m gonna Turn down the CD audio. However if you’ve got a CD audio cable connected and of course you wanna turn that up one thing is missing and that is the Control for the wave table board so you can’t control the volume of the wave table board But you can control everything else around it in order to Fit the FM music in my opinion is a little bit too quiet at 60 so I recommend also putting that up to 85 and usually you usually speech is actually louder, so you might want to turn that down a little bit But it really depends on your Preferences and we’ve got some input here as well There’s a sound test so you can test that your sound card works I’ve got a little speaker plugged into my mixer, which you can’t see and that’s all working fine and once we’re done here with the Sound tests we’re gonna press ok press done done That’s all configured correctly We press accept, and it’s gonna tell us it’s gonna update the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG file And then we’re gonna reboot our machine Ok so we are rebooting now into DOS. This is my startup menu if you’re interested in that let me know I’ll give you a link where you can download all these files and here we can see the driver being loaded so Sound Blaster on 220 interrupts 7 DMA 1 We’ve got the MPU MIDIinterface turned on address 330 interrupts 9 and also the game port Turned on if you want to reconfigure anything it is in the sound16 directory There is a file we need to run let me just see what the filename is it is soundinit so SNDINIT and it’s basically the same program. We looked at before Why do you wanna go in here? Well if you want to switch your card to Windows Sound Ssystem you have to do it in here Select when it says is sound system press accept, and then restart your machine Or if you want to change any of the resources, or if I wanna change the volume, so there’s no dedicated mixer app It’s all in this one device installation program so very convenient so I’m gonna change that back to Sound Blaster Pro. And we are good to go so Very impressed with the drivers very user-friendly I like the user interface graphic being graphical and being able to use it with the mouse so Well done a real highlight of this sound card So let’s summarize the sound card overall I’m very impressed so we have a lot of good things here the software and the drivers are fantastic I also like the FM quality it is basically a YAMAHA OPL3 clone So it sounds just like the real thing we have excellent sound blaster compatibility in terms of games actually Working all the games I tried and I might put a list on the screen they all work just fine We have no DMA clicking bug so old games will sound click free and good on this Sound card we do have a bug free MIDI interface also SoftMPU Comparability, so you can drive a wavetable header, a sound canvas or mt-32 with SoftMPU all of that works fine We have Windows sound system support for games well that supported with 16-bit quality and 44.1 or 48 kilohertz even Like games in turrican 2. They sound absolutely gorgeous with that and Really, the only negative is the issue with the stereo In Sound Blaster Pro mode and and really it depends, how how many games are affected because some games might work and some games might support the Windows sound system anyway, so really, this is a perfect sound card apart from that little issue with the sound blaster Pro a stereo compatibility. So looking at all of this This is a really good sound card And I can definitely recommend it to you price-wise 23 to 25 euros is perfectly fine You can spend a lot more on a Creative Soundblaster card, which might have a buggy MPU MIDI interface Or is a little bit noisier than this card, so definitely the value is also very good So there you have it guys I really like the sound card, but what do you think share your thoughts down below in the comments? And that’s it for this video as always if you haven’t subscribed to this channel, please do so Hit the notification bell, like or dislike the video, share with your friends, and I shall see you soon with another one!

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