View Full Version : Looking for ISA Sound Card equivalent to SB but better

October 27th, 2011, 03:12 PM
Hello everybody, I have a question. So far, I have only used sound cards from Soundblaster and ESS. Are there any other SoundBlaster Compatible cards out there that are just as good / same or better perforance and fairly cheap? Thanks.

October 28th, 2011, 10:05 AM
Depends upon your specific limitation: What CPU are you using? Are you tied to 8-bit ISA slots? 16-bit? Is PCI available? etc,etc,etc

"Better" is a subjective term. Certainly, an SB Pro 2.0 is technically better than the SB 1.5, but you may prefer real CMS on the 1.5 vs the simulated CMS on the 2.0, or you may prefer the optional WAV add-on of some of the later SB cards, or even the Gravis boards.

Or you may want to go a different route and use an audio card with a waveboard attached. I have a Sound Blaster 16 and a Turtle Beach card for those purposes.

I personally run a SB1.5 in machines up to/including 286, SB2.0/SB16 up to/including 486, and Awe64+ on Pentium-level. With the smattering of Turtle Beach, Media Vision, and Ensoniq offerings in the pile to play with when I choose. You can run a Roland synth (MT-32,SC-55,SC-55MKII) off of the joystick/midi port on the Sound Blaster series, as well as most others, so "better" is really, really a subjective term. I tend to just go with what sounds nice in relation to the system that I'm using.

Though I would really like an early and late-revision Gravis Ultrasound to toss in the mix. I've never actually gotten to hear those pieces used, and I know that several of my favorite shareware companies developed with them.

October 28th, 2011, 10:52 AM
Besides the cheap ESS boards I don't think you will find any decent ISA cards that are cheaper then soundblasters. Years ago when I started collecting soundcards I snagged a few ultrasounds , Pro Audio spectrums, Soundscape, Aztec etc just to try them out. Since then those types of cards have become rare (they were never that big in the market to begin with) and prices are kind of high now. If you want less hiss get a newer ISA soundblaster (32 or 64 maybe) that can still be found cheaply.

October 28th, 2011, 04:52 PM
Gravis Ultrasound cards are nice.
Up here in vancouver you can still find them everywhere.

October 28th, 2011, 07:04 PM
If we're talking 16-bit cards, I've got a Silicom Multimedia wavemaster32 fgp rev 1.2 card here. The big chip is a Crystal CS4231A.

Any good? (I'm not up to speed on multimedia cards).

October 29th, 2011, 10:44 AM
Gravis Ultrasound cards are nice.
Up here in vancouver you can still find them everywhere.

How cheap do they run if they're everywhere? And would you be willing to ship? *grin*