View Full Version : Digispeech DS201A

May 30th, 2017, 07:30 PM
I've had two of these hiding in a box here. They are triangular white boxes with a speaker and microphone grille on the front plus two quarter inch headphone jacks, a 3.5mm microphone jack and a volume knob. On the back you get a drum socket for power and either a 9 pin or 25 pin serial cable.

Some googling around gets me some vague information about it. It does not seem to be compatible with other more common sound systems but can either be made slightly more compatible with a TSR patch for IBM's speech system or apparently with the Digpak sound driver (whatever that is. Uhhh, paging Trixter?). Likewise there's no sign of any drivers anywhere and it seems someone here has asked for them here before (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?49801-Digispeech-DS201A-drivers). The only other thing I can pull up about it is that IBM LinkWay supports it (and by chance I have a copy of that).

Anyone else by chance have experience with the Digispeech?

May 31st, 2017, 09:08 AM
(Trixter flies in, wearing a superhero cape) Did someone ask for ESOTERIC SOUND DEVICE ASSISTANCE?

"Digpak" is a series of sound drivers created by John Ratcliff. Digipak sits on int 66h and gives the programmer a standardized API for playing digitized audio from any DOS program, using any output device (including the PC speaker). Think of it as a commercial third-party "DirectSound" system for DOS. There were a few companies trying to do this, but Digpak was the most successful for the 16-bit real-mode DOS crowd. (There were others that were more successful for the 32-bit protected-mode crowd.)

John lent me the Digpak source, so I can peek at it to see what the Digispeech is capable of... Looks like Digpak requires an LWDIGI driver loaded before it can work:

hard db "LWDIGI must be loaded first, consult DIGISPEECH documentation",13,10,'$'
msg0 db "Digispeech DS201 DIGPAK Driver"

So finding LWDIGI.EXE is going to be required for various games to support the unit. It also appears to downsample any audio sent to the digispeech to 8KHz, so don't expect hi fidelity.

May 31st, 2017, 10:56 AM
I don't have a cape, but here's an archive of the diskette that came with my DS201/A:

And the software portion of the DS201/301 SDK, if it's of any interest (I haven't gotten around to scanning the printed documentation):

May 31st, 2017, 01:24 PM
You don't need a cape to be a hero. Now that you've provided actual drivers, his units are now useful!

June 1st, 2017, 06:49 PM
Thank you both of you. I will now see if I can get some form of a squawk out of them.

It also appears to downsample any audio sent to the digispeech to 8KHz, so don't expect hi fidelity.
I wouldn't expect anything less from a serial port sound system. ;)

June 1st, 2017, 10:12 PM
Well, go through everything on the disk, because there's hints of CVSD, ADPCM, and LPC playback in the code, all of which are compression algorithms. If the DS201A really has some smarts built into it, you might be able to pump more quality out of that serial port.