The Official Unofficial Guide to Using the Creative Labs AWE32, SB32, and SB16 with OS/2 Warp

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by Colin Hildinger

CREATIVE LIES ABOUT RESUMING OS/2 SUPPORT

5/28/1998 -- Obviously Creative lied to me last summer. It let them release the drivers that they'd been sitting on for 6 months without having to take responsibility. If you run OS/2, do NOT buy a Creative product and think that it will work. I especially wouldn't buy one of their new PCI sound cards (I seriously doubt that the drivers here will work with them and I don't expect new drivers from Creative). There are some very good cards out there with actively developed OS/2 drivers. Buy one of them. If you can take your Creative Labs card back, do so. I recommend buying a card based on a Crystal Audio chipset.

If you're stuck with a Creative card and my page doesn't solve all your woes, there's another install utility available for the beta drivers. Try it out.

7/27/1997 -- Creative has confirmed with me via email that they will be releasing AWE64 drivers for OS/2 soon. I happen to have received a prerelease distribution package. I FINALLY got a report that they worked. According to Brice Ligget they worked for him on the first try. The steps he took were:

  1. Install the AWE32 PnP drivers using selective install
  2. Run Creative's install and install the new AWE 32/64 drivers
  3. Make sure you answer "yes" to replace all existing files, even if it says that they're newer. Also make sure you select the PnP option in Creative's install.
  4. Shutdown, reboot, and enjoy.

I THINK that people who are having problems aren't managing to get all of the files replaced. Specifically the DLL files. If you have to you might try booting to a command prompt and replacing the drivers and dll's manually. The only reason I say this is that the install program actually crashed repetitively while trying to copy the files over on my system. I had to copy them manually. If you have an AWE64, let me know if they work (if they work, let me know what CT # your card is [this is the model number at the top left hand corner of the card] and if you had to copy the drivers manually). If you have an AWE32 (like me) I don't know if they contain any bug fixes or not (they don't fix the bug with Netscape MIDI playback or with Toyland and SimCity 2000 dropping MIDI after a minute or two), I'm trying to find out about others. Note that this package also contains an old readme which doesn't mention the AWE64, but (accorting to CT) works with the AWE64. PLEASE do not spread these drivers around, take them for your own personal use only. When the drivers show up on Creative's web page (they move slower than I do), distribute that package to all the sites you can think of, as it should contain updated documentation, etc. For discussion of the new drivers, go to comp.os.os2.multimedia. The readme is wrong, no one from Creative watches that news group as far as I know, but there will be many other users there to discuss things with. While the release of these drivers is good (er, if they turn out to work...), let them know that you want more. If you've ever complained to Creative about their dropping OS/2 support, send them a thank you (when they produce functional drivers), even if you're not going to be using them. In the same note -- ask for features equal to the Windows drivers such as Full-Duplex sound and SoundFont 2.0 support.

Tell Creative Labs what you think. The following statement from their web page "Currently, OS/2 does not have sufficient multimedia system services to enable us to deliver drivers that have Full-Duplex audio or software wave-table & waveguide synthesis" is a lie. Make sure and write to the people on the "Audio Products" link. It would be trivial for them to update the AWE Control Panel to support SoundFont 2.0 and to write Full-Duplex drivers. All the device driver developers at the other sound card companies can do Full-Duplex audio under OS/2 and Creative can't? Whatever. The only thing that would be difficult (but it would also be really cool if they'd do it) would be the porting of their WaveGuide technology. This technology allows wavetable synthesis using the Digital Audio DSP on the card and you Pentium or better CPU. It's cool, and could probably be implemented under OS/2 using DART, but Creative doesn't want to put in the effort so they have said it isn't possible to do under OS/2.



On a lighter note, I'm looking for someone to go in on a new project with me. I won't be able to start working on it for a few weeks, but I'd like to add a whole new wing to this page. I want to add a MIDI repository for MIDI's and SBK's. Since most Sound Banks are now in SoundFont 2.0, I'm looking to start a repository of SoundFont 1.0 Sound Banks and associated MIDI files. I've found a pretty decent General Midi SBK for users (like me) who have at least 2 megs of RAM on their AWE. Note that the instructions included are for Windows 3.1, but it's not too hard to use it with OS/2. Just play around a bit and you should be able to figure it out. I'll post some documentation on it soon.


For those of you with SB PnP cards wanting to use the EIDI adapter on the card, here's a driver written by Robert Lalla of Germany. I haven't used this driver, but it supposedly works.


Creative Labs has written some OS/2 software. They have an entire "ensemble" of multimedia players. They also have a mixer, a little game called "mosaic" and a (pretty useless) wave player. This file is called capos2.exe (Creative Applications Package for OS/2). This file must be installed before installing the new drivers, according to their web page. The DLLs in these files are older than the ones that ship with the drivers, and if you overwrite the DLLs that come with the drivers, the AWE Control Panel won't work. An easy solution to these versioning problems is to use my install package.

Check their web page for more info on their products. While you're there, send them some feedback about the fact that we need AWE64 drivers for OS/2, the mixer applet doesn't work with the newer OS/2 drivers, or help them to see that they need to make full-duplex drivers for OS/2. Just take the link for feedback about "Audio Products."


If you're still having trouble with your Creative Labs sound card, call their Tech Support at (405) 742-6655. They have people devoted to OS/2 and NT tech support, so they should be able to help you with your problem. They are considering dropping OS/2 support entirely. They have supported it very well in the past. If they can't resolve your problem, get them to take out an IR (Information Request). These have the potential of actually being seen by their programmers and engineers. Hey just give them a call and say, "Thanks for supporting OS/2." But most of all, if you call these guys, be nice, they have a high stress job and it's good to have someone on the other end be nice to you.


An apology: For all those whose emails I haven't responded to. I just get too many "please help me" emails to respond to them anymore. I'm happy if this page helps you, but Creative Labs DOESN'T WANT YOUR BUSINESS. Don't give it to them. The good news is that the shear volume of emails I receive is a good sign that OS/2 is alive and well. For the latest OS/2 news check out the Warpcast.


I receive no compensation from, nor am I a paid employee of Creative.