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View Full Version : reason for a GUS card in a system that already has a general midi card?



oblivion
December 11th, 2012, 06:33 PM
I have a Yamaha wavetable card on the way for general midi in late DOS era games and I was also considering adding a Gravis Ultrasound to my setup at some point but i'm wondering if it would add very much. are there any games that support GU but not general midi. I know also that sometimes its a matter of personnal preference on midi tracks and cards but are there any games that the GU really stands out from GM?

commodorejohn
December 11th, 2012, 06:45 PM
Jazz Jackrabbit springs to mind; it uses tracker-module music, not MIDI, so if you don't have a GUS, you're stuck with software mixing. There are a handful of others like that (I can't remember whether Zone 66 supports Adlib music, but I'm quite sure it doesn't support MIDI.)

Plasma
December 11th, 2012, 07:54 PM
Epic Pinball and Star Control II also have native GUS. But GUS is useful for demos mostly. Zone 66 has both GUS and Adlib/SB support. (The Adlib/SB music is actually pretty cool since the digital drum track plays on the SB (sampled from When the Levee Breaks btw...) and the synths play on the OPL).

oblivion
December 11th, 2012, 08:51 PM
I'll have adlib/sb support since the GM card is going to be a waveblaster card on a SB16 so that should cover my sound blaster/adlib/gm needs but i just wasnt sure if adding an eventual GUS would be worth it

commodorejohn
December 11th, 2012, 09:27 PM
All depends on what you want to run. For what it's worth, I've found that software mixing of tracker modules, in this era, was not particularly nice (very muffled due to resampling to 8-22KHz,) and I expect the GUS is much clearer.

Unknown_K
December 11th, 2012, 09:29 PM
I got mine just to mess around with games that directly supported the GUS (mostly earlier games and DEMOs). Same reason I have other machines with different sound cards, just to see how they sounded.

RickNel
December 11th, 2012, 09:35 PM
One of the problems with GUS was that game developers were not consistent with how they used it. Some used the MIDI for sound FX, and the FMsynth for music (I think Wacky Wheels was one of those). From memory, some Sierra games used it well, but I forget which ones.

In my experience GUS really came into its own for music outside games - eg with Band-in-a-Box or an attached MIDI instrument, because you could raise the quality of instrument patches according to memory capacity, and make your own instrument patches if you wanted. RAM on the GUS cards was the main limitation.

Rick

Unknown_K
December 12th, 2012, 01:11 AM
The original GUS had 256K RAM I think, mine is the 1MB version? I also have the later PnP version that took SIMMs (2x4MB).

Maverick1978
December 14th, 2012, 07:02 AM
I have a GUS Classic rev3.4 (or was it 3.7??) - anyways... IMO, it's best suited for games that were written specifically for the GUS - and those are FANTASTIC! Ditto if you're into the Trakker and Demo scene stuff, most of these were composed with a GUS so as to keep CPU cycles free for number-crunching the demos visual trickery. I didn't like it's Sound Blaster emulation, however, and as it'll easily live next to a Creative card, I just keep both installed, using the GUS only for specific applications, and using the SB card for everything else.

As an aside, I absolutely loved Trakker music back in the day, but never got a GUS. I recently purchased Fusecon and Trixter's MindCandy DVD Series (http://www.mindcandydvd.com/) as well, though I am missing the vol2 Amiga original... These are DVDs of some of the more popular/influential Demos of the time, and they are fantastic! I was actually fortunate enough to purchase one of the computers used in capturing some of these demos from fusecon on eBay - handily containing a GUS, which I'd never owned before. It was a Gateway P5-series desktop case with a replacement motherboard, configured with a GUS and a Creative card, and it still even had a few of the demos installed that were used in the filming of the MindCandy DVD. Yeah. Cool :)

oblivion
December 14th, 2012, 12:13 PM
I'm mostly just looking to games for the GUS. though i'm thinking I may pick one up for the games that support it. it will be alongside a SB16 and NEC XR385 in a P1 DOS machine that i'm making for later DOS era games. will there be any conflitcs with adlib stuff or the midi port? since I was looking at the ACE card since you can turn those things off with it but there not alvays avaliable so I wouldnt mind grabbing a full blown GUS if its not going to give me any trouble playing nice with the other cards.

Maverick1978
December 14th, 2012, 12:38 PM
That I don't know... I haven't ever chosen Adlib music when I have FM synth or midi available.

Sad, considering that I have an Adlib original, and I also have Sergey's adlib clone half-built (I need to finish soldering that one up..) - These I kind've wanted to setup within my 5160 or 8525, since Adlib and even the pre-SBPro2 Creative cards were out before I ever had my first computer.

RickNel
December 14th, 2012, 03:02 PM
I was looking at the ACE card since you can turn those things off with it

I have the ACE. It maxes out at 512Mb RAM, which takes some active managing of patches. I'd prefer the plug'n'play to go with P1, but they are hard to find. That was the card that sent Gravis broke, IIRC.

Rick

Mau1wurf1977
December 26th, 2012, 04:58 AM
Demos, tracker music and games using tracker technology is what the GUS does very well. But for everything else, the GUS does ok, but there are better alternatives, be it Sound Blaster compatibility, Roland MT-32 and compatible MIDI modules or General MIDI.

So it really depends on what you want to do with it.

I did some comparisons with the GUS and while it does indeed sound better compared to Sound Blaster in tracker games, it still sounded pretty bad to my ears compared to what you get with MIDI.

Unknown_K
December 26th, 2012, 10:51 AM
I think DOOM 2 had support for the GUS but it sounded like hell for sfx.

Megatron-uk
December 29th, 2012, 12:52 AM
I think DOOM 2 had support for the GUS but it sounded like hell for sfx.

Both Doom and Doom 2 support the GUS, directly for music, and for digital fx - it certainly shouldn't sound like hell.

eeguru
December 29th, 2012, 01:52 AM
Second Reality. Period.

RickNel
December 29th, 2012, 12:26 PM
Both Doom and Doom 2 support the GUS, directly for music, and for digital fx - it certainly shouldn't sound like hell.

I thought Doom was supposed to sound like Hell ;)

Great Hierophant
December 31st, 2012, 07:10 AM
I have the ACE. It maxes out at 512Mb RAM, which takes some active managing of patches. I'd prefer the plug'n'play to go with P1, but they are hard to find. That was the card that sent Gravis broke, IIRC.

Rick

The ACE can be upgraded to 1MB of RAM with a single chip.


I think DOOM 2 had support for the GUS but it sounded like hell for sfx.


Both Doom and Doom 2 support the GUS, directly for music, and for digital fx - it certainly shouldn't sound like hell.


I thought Doom was supposed to sound like Hell ;)

The GUS drivers in DOOM and DOOM II are not well-optimized. On my 486 they have issues with the ISA clock speed and give noticeably poorer performance than the SB drivers.

For the games that support it, the GUS will sound much cleaner than any Sound Blaster and with very modest system requirements.

RickNel
December 31st, 2012, 09:36 PM
The ACE can be upgraded to 1MB of RAM with a single chip.


That's something I'd like to do. Can you explain or point to sources for it? I've never had documentation beyond the user guide for the ACE.

I always thought GUS sounded better than any Soundblasters of the same vintage, possibly because the samples were superior?

Rick

commodorejohn
December 31st, 2012, 10:29 PM
I always thought GUS sounded better than any Soundblasters of the same vintage, possibly because the samples were superior?
While I don't have any knowledge of the GUS internals, I'd guess that it can play each channel at a completely independent sample rate, whereas on non-wavetable cards this would have to be achieved by mixing down several software channels to a single output sample-rate (and likely only 11-22KHz!) That'll muddy any sound up pretty noticeably, whereas with hardware mixing it doesn't have to be an issue.

Plasma
December 31st, 2012, 10:58 PM
That's something I'd like to do. Can you explain or point to sources for it? I've never had documentation beyond the user guide for the ACE.

I always thought GUS sounded better than any Soundblasters of the same vintage, possibly because the samples were superior?

Rick

You just need a 256Kx16 SOJ chip. 80ns or faster. Commonly found on old PCI video cards if you have any extra laying around.