PDA

View Full Version : 16-bit SoundBlaster Cards for XT 286-Pro, Pro 2, or SB16?



itsvince725
April 24th, 2017, 06:33 PM
I'd like to get a 16 bit SoundBlaster for the XT 286, since it has 16 bit ISA slots. However, I'm not overly familiar with SoundBlaster cards and compatibility and all that. There's three I was considering-the Pro, the Pro 2, and the SoundBlaster 16, all late 80s/early 90s SoundBlaster 16-bit cards. What would work best on an old system like this? I plan on running at least DOS 5.0 on the machine.

evildragon
April 24th, 2017, 06:34 PM
SoundBlaster 16 is the way to go honestly, has all the backwards compatibility you need.

Xacalite
April 24th, 2017, 09:00 PM
I think the best option is SB Pro 2, as plenty of software supports it.
SB Pro 1 - few games support its 2xOPL2 synthesis.
SB 16 - it's _not_ compatible with SB Pro, which means no stereo unless your software has native SB16 support, and such software usually needs 386+

Scali
April 24th, 2017, 11:07 PM
SB 16 - it's _not_ compatible with SB Pro, which means no stereo unless your software has native SB16 support, and such software usually needs 386+

SB16 also has bugs in its DSP implementation, causing annoying clicking and popping in sample playback, or even samples dropping out altogether.
See here for example: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.nl/2015/05/16-bit-sound-blaster-8-bit-playback.html
I don't get why so many people recommend this card. It is one of the worst cards Creative ever made.
SB Pro 2.0 is the 'holy grail' for early DOS. It has perfect backward compatibility with AdLib and early Sound Blasters, and its stereo feature was supported by a wide range of games. It also has the OPL3 chip, although not a lot of software supports it.
Any game that would support SB16, will also support SB Pro 2.0.
There are very few games, if any, that work on a 286 and use 16-bit samples or 44.1 kHz audio, so it's not like you'd be missing out.

Xacalite
April 25th, 2017, 12:38 AM
It also has the OPL3 chip, although not a lot of software supports it.
Still more than the software with support for 2xOPL2, isn't it?
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=32517 - according to this, games for 2xOPL2 are very rare

I'm not sure about 286-playable games, though.
If OPL3 games need 386, then for a 286 both SB Pro 1 and 2 are equal.

Scali
April 25th, 2017, 01:34 AM
Still more than the software with support for 2xOPL2, isn't it?
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=32517 - according to this, games for 2xOPL2 are very rare

I'm not sure about 286-playable games, though.
If OPL3 games need 386, then for a 286 both SB Pro 1 and 2 are equal.

No idea really.
I only know of one OPL3-game, and that's Dune. But that game only enables OPL3 on an AdLib Gold, not on any other OPL3 card.
I've had an SB Pro 2.0 since they have been around, and I don't think I've ever heard OPL3 in a game :)

The only advantage the SB Pro 2.0 would have over the 1.0 is that the OPL3 chip is faster, so it will have less issues on faster systems with poorly designed delay-code in music routines. But that probably won't affect even the fastest of 286es.