Author Topic: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.  (Read 480 times)

L.S.S.

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[SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« on: September 21, 2018, 03:38:51 am »
I've been able to get ArcaOS installed and configured, but now I'm having issues with audio.

The system has two sound cards, a Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold (ISA PnP) and a X-Fi Fatal1ty (EMU20K1, so far it's unsupported as of UniAud, although it's supported by ALSA via snd-ctxfi). The latter is mostly meant for modern OSes such as Windows. (I'm not sure if X-Fi support could be ported from ALSA in the future)

Since the X-Fi isn't supported for now, I intended to get AWE64 Gold working, but after installing ArcaOS I'm getting error saying "Error detected while resetting Sound Blaster AWE32." (although it's printing the correct I/O, IRQ, DMA configurations). The card itself is working as I can always use CTCM under FreeDOS to initialize it for use with DOS stuffs.

I don't know if there are any other tricks involved in initializing AWE64 series as from what I found, AWE64 support wasn't perfect. I tried excluding the serial port driver (VCOM) and adding /G parameter, and even manually specified values as mentioned in those topics, none worked.

Dave Yeo

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2018, 05:08:40 am »
Don't know much about AWE64 but have you tried running CTCM under mdos (OS/2 DOS)?

L.S.S.

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 09:02:55 am »
Don't know much about AWE64 but have you tried running CTCM under mdos (OS/2 DOS)?

I'm not sure the details... is it to load CTCM inside OS/2's CONFIG.SYS or through a command line prompt? (In real DOS, the CTCM can be either loaded from command line or CONFIG.SYS)

The audio card does work under DOS, but it seems I need a mixer to set a correct volume otherwise it's too quiet to be heard (off-topic).

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 01:14:24 pm »
I don't know if there are any other tricks involved in initializing AWE64 series as from what I found, AWE64 support wasn't perfect. I tried excluding the serial port driver (VCOM) and adding /G parameter, and even manually specified values as mentioned in those topics, none worked.

The Creative AWE drivers work fine under OS/2, there were a couple of features missing vis a vis the Windows version but they were rock solid as long as the card had been properly configured and the motherboard BIOS was not trying to share too many interrupts.

What has changed sine then is that Arca Noae has removed ISA support from their system so you have no hope in hell of getting it working

Andi B.

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2018, 01:54:50 pm »
Quote
What has changed sine then is that Arca Noae has removed ISA support from their system...
What do you mean by that? What specifically was removed?


Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2018, 02:32:15 pm »
Quote
What has changed sine then is that Arca Noae has removed ISA support from their system...
What do you mean by that? What specifically was removed?

This may be a misunderstanding, Arca Noa rep stated clearly in their Warpstock talk that all support for ISA had been removed wholesale and that you should continue using eCS if you needed ISA support, however their FAQ says that all ISA drivers except audio drivers have been removed and their release statement says "ArcaOS does not provide extensive support for ISA or MicroChannel hardware", which is not a terribly clear statement.

It may simply have been poorly worded by the Arca Noa gent, and that they simply removed all ISA drivers from the distribution

I found it a bit odd because most systems still have an ISA bus hidden inside the chipset even if the physical bit went missing 15+ years ago, and it is used for connecting to "legacy" hardware such as health monitoring chips on modern motherboards.

Andi B.

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 03:04:53 pm »
I think they only do not provide new/refreshed drivers for ISA cards and they do not spend time in supporting questions about. That makes sense to me cause if you're still using such ancient system with ISA cards you probably run an older version of OS/2 anyway. You need ArcaOS mainly for new hardware which requires ACPI and AHCI. Such systems do not provide ISA slots since many years.

AFAIK there is no OS driver needed to support ISA cards. So there is nothing to left out. You got the drivers for your old ISA card anyway when you bought them. And if the card ever worked with OS/2 on a specific system, I'm pretty sure it will do the same with ArcaOS.

Quote
and it is used for connecting to "legacy" hardware such as health monitoring chips on modern motherboards.
I do not know a single health sensor which is connected via ISA. They are usually on the SMI (I²C) or integrated in some chipset. Managed by PCI registers or older ones by legacy port I/O. So you need a driver which knows the commands for the sensor and the I/O port where it is connected. But that's not ISA.

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2018, 04:02:24 pm »
I think they only do not provide new/refreshed drivers for ISA cards and they do not spend time in supporting questions about. That makes sense to me cause if you're still using such ancient system with ISA cards you probably run an older version of OS/2 anyway. You need ArcaOS mainly for new hardware which requires ACPI and AHCI. Such systems do not provide ISA slots since many years.

That is true of personal computers but industrial systems still use ISA, and motherboards and systems with ISA busses are still being sold. If the original statement by Arca Noa was incorrect, that is somewhat annoying because that is the main reason I put off buying the system and sticking to eCS ....

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2018, 04:10:43 pm »
Quote
and it is used for connecting to "legacy" hardware such as health monitoring chips on modern motherboards.
I do not know a single health sensor which is connected via ISA. They are usually on the SMI (I²C) or integrated in some chipset. Managed by PCI registers or older ones by legacy port I/O. So you need a driver which knows the commands for the sensor and the I/O port where it is connected. But that's not ISA.

Legacy port I/O sits on top of ISA, it may look to you in some cases as something else from a programming point of view but if you have a legacy chip on the motherboard, and since they are cheaper than PCI/PCIe serial chips that is quite likely if your system has an optional serial port or header for instance, you literally have an ISA bus on the system.

L.S.S.

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2018, 05:34:17 pm »
... I'm not sure about this ArcaOS removing support for ISA as if so, why do ISA audio drivers (SB16, AWE, ESS, etc.) continue to exist in the installation media?

The ISA audio drivers might be relatively outdated, though. I found a v1.2 and a v1.9REXX packages for SB16/AWE on Hobbes in the meantime, so I might consider trying these out... as I'm not really sure which version ArcaOS is carrying. The audio card is mainly meant for DOS stuffs, though I probably will have to rely it on ArcaOS for now as X-Fi is not supported yet (only up to Audigy).

And regarding ISA bus... yes, you can have fully functional slots with southbridges up to ICH5 (that'll be up to i865). Industrial motherboards with ISA slots exist, although you won't get ISA DMA with anything later than ICH5 according to this document.

Doug Bissett

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2018, 06:47:08 pm »
Quote
I'm not sure about this ArcaOS removing support for ISA as if so, why do ISA audio drivers (SB16, AWE, ESS, etc.) continue to exist in the installation media?

As I understand it, ArcaOS still supports ISA. What has happened, is that there are only a few drivers included. The ones that are still there are for virtual systems. ISA still works okay, but you will probably need to find appropriate drivers for the devices, and manually install them.

Roderick Klein

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 08:45:18 pm »
All speculation can ended at once by just looking in the DVD and check the directory:
\CID\SERVER\MMOS2\DRIVERS

BUSAUDIO-> ISA
CR4231-> ISA
CR423X-> ISA
ESS1688-> ISA
ESS1788-> ISA
ESS1868 -> ISA
ESS1888 -> ISA
ESS688 -> ISA
SB16 -> ISA
SB16PNP -> ISA
SBAWE32 -> ISA
SBAWEPNP -> ISA
SBLIVE -> PCI
UNIAUD -> PCI

Most the drivers seem to installable for ISA audio cards that are populair...

Roderick

Ian Manners

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2018, 06:21:35 am »
If the card volume is low or non existant, standard trick is to check your x:\mmos2\mmpm2.ini file and in any line under the "mixer sections", what the
"PARMSTRING=BALANCE=50,VOL=80,INPUT=LINE,GAIN=70,OUTPUT=SPEAKER" line values for GAIN and VOL are.

Not all mixers can change, or change the correct VOL and GAIN parameters and I've had no problems with the mixers for SBAWE32 and 64 when I used them. If you do need to manually change these parameters, boot to maintence mode or boot from a CD/DVD otherwise your edits will be lost. You can sometimes change the values and simply hit the reset button as long as nothing else is running but it is not the recommended way of doing it, you could end up with a corrupt mmpm2.ini file.

As already pointed out, check the cards irq and ports are not conflicting with something else as the AWE drivers are not high IRQ aware, they can only use the old base interrupts. If you can check under a different operating system where the AWE card works to double check the card's settings and adjust those on the drivers line in your config.sys file. I now remember when I let the AWE32/64 driver figure it out automatically that it did not work. driver switches should be in one of the packages.




Cheers
Ian B Manners

L.S.S.

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Re: [SBAWED2] Getting an old audio card working.
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2018, 06:16:13 am »
If the card volume is low or non existant, standard trick is to check your x:\mmos2\mmpm2.ini file and in any line under the "mixer sections", what the
"PARMSTRING=BALANCE=50,VOL=80,INPUT=LINE,GAIN=70,OUTPUT=SPEAKER" line values for GAIN and VOL are.

Not all mixers can change, or change the correct VOL and GAIN parameters and I've had no problems with the mixers for SBAWE32 and 64 when I used them. If you do need to manually change these parameters, boot to maintence mode or boot from a CD/DVD otherwise your edits will be lost. You can sometimes change the values and simply hit the reset button as long as nothing else is running but it is not the recommended way of doing it, you could end up with a corrupt mmpm2.ini file.

As already pointed out, check the cards irq and ports are not conflicting with something else as the AWE drivers are not high IRQ aware, they can only use the old base interrupts. If you can check under a different operating system where the AWE card works to double check the card's settings and adjust those on the drivers line in your config.sys file. I now remember when I let the AWE32/64 driver figure it out automatically that it did not work. driver switches should be in one of the packages.

I'll see if I can adjust the gain from the DOS side (thru MIXERSET). I'm not sure if the card remembers the gain settings onboard, but right now it's definitely too low to be heard. The card's output is connected to a mixer which can also provide gains to make it heard, so it's not a severe problem, just that I need the card usable on ArcaOS as I cannot take advantage of the other one (X-Fi, which is mainly for Windows). The driver ArcaOS has is 2.30.00 from what I can see.

EDIT: Never mind... maybe the card's onboard amp is not working anymore, so I'll have to use the mixer to provide the gain to make the card continue to work as intended.

Tried installing the 1.2 package but the problem persists... guess I'm on my own to look for a way to get it working...

EDIT 2: Now I remembered something... especially now seeing that under DOS that AWEUTIL /S is failing, that it's possible that some NMI-related issues might be involved. Back then when I actually wanted to use the GM options on that card with AWEUTIL, a NMI would fire and I need to manually clear (ignore) it, after which it works as intended.

Guess I'll just have to re-enable the onboard audio that's been left dormant (although I sincerely don't like using onboard cards primarily due to noises from motherboard, especially when using the front panel, which is often poorly isolated and the static was so audible that you could actually "hear" the computer's internal communications).
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 05:30:57 am by L.S.S. »