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Thread: Pre-AdLib PC sound

  1. #1

    Default Pre-AdLib PC sound

    Once upon a time I found this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a324ykKV-7Y
    But it isn't complete, so I'm trying to do a better list of the early era, before AdLib (1987):

    1981 - IBM PC Speaker
    1983 - IBM PCjr SN76489, also in Tandy 1000 (1984)
    1984 - IBM PCjr Speech Adapter
    1984 - MPU-401 with MIF-IPC or MIF-IPC-A
    1985 - Mockingboard from the Bank Street Music Writer package
    1985 - NEC SAR-10, "Audio Response Board"
    1986 - Tecmar Music Synthesis System / Music Magic Synthesizer
    1986 - Yamaha FB-01
    1986/87, probably never released but supported in games - Microprose The Entertainer

    Also possibly released before AdLib:

    1987 - Covox Speech Thing
    1987 - Covox Voice Master
    1987 - IBM Music Feature Card
    1987 - IBM PS/2 Speech Adapter
    1987 - Roland MT-32
    1987 - Street Electronics' Echo PC+
    1987? - Yam Educational Software SoundBuster

    Anything else?
    Last edited by Xacalite; August 25th, 2017 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    There's the IBM Music Feature Card, not sure if it was released before or after the AdLib though. All I can find is that both are from 1987.
    This blog claims the IMFC is from March 1987: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.nl/2...verpriced.html
    Chances are it was before AdLib then.
    Last edited by Scali; August 24th, 2017 at 05:16 AM.

  3. #3

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    OK, and according to Wikipedia, MT-32 was also in 1987, so I've conditionally added them both.

  4. #4
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    Well, depending on how you look at it, the first games with AdLib sound didn't arrive before 1988 anyway (AdLib was initially aimed at musicians, not gamers, as were the IMFC and MPU401/MT-32 by the way).
    Sierra was one of the first to support AdLib, and I believe they supported IMFC and MT-32 at the same time.
    Only the PC speaker and PCjr audio were really 'pre-AdLib' in that sense I suppose, as in actually being used in games.

  5. #5

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    This list is not supposed to be limited to games.
    Anyway, Covox was also supported in games, though first such games were from 1989.

  6. #6

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    There's Microprose "The Entertainer" which was a SID card much like the Innovation SSI-2001, which we can speculate should be the spiritual successor (or the actual final product). Th Entertainer was advertised in some Microprose games but it seems it was never a commercial product. If someone can contact Ken Lagace (sound programmer for Microprose back in the day) maybe we can shed some more light about these cards. He should definitely know something.

    "The Entertainer" it seems, was a card that would most certainly meant to be a commercial product by the end of 1986/early 1987, instead only in 1988/89 the Innovation card was a SID PC commercial product. The fact is, patching the games, you can hear SID sound on Innovation card, so it seems there should be a relationship.

    I made a video about this (i'm sorry for the neverending rant):


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlosTex View Post
    There's Microprose "The Entertainer" which was a SID card much like the Innovation SSI-2001, which we can speculate should be the spiritual successor (or the actual final product). Th Entertainer was advertised in some Microprose games but it seems it was never a commercial product. If someone can contact Ken Lagace (sound programmer for Microprose back in the day) maybe we can shed some more light about these cards. He should definitely know something.
    I'd corresponded with Ken Legace and Roland Rizzo about the "Entertainer" board back in late 2013. Ken couldn't recall much more than the general idea of the card, but was near-certain that it was never commercially produced/released.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    Anyway, Covox was also supported in games, though first such games were from 1989.
    Covox introduced the Speech Thing in late 1987, for what it's worth.


    Here are a few other honorable mentions:

    1985 - NEC SAR-10, "Audio Response Board" - Intended for individualized "voice response" computing purposes, but allows for uploading up to 250 digitized samples of varying length into a 256KB sample-RAM space, which can then be played-back via simple routines
    1986 - Tecmar Music Synthesis System / Music Magic Synthesizer - 16-voice AM synthesis.
    1987 - Street Electronics' Echo PC+ - LPC speech, 8-bit PCM playback, gameport.
    1988 - Tandy PSSJ (IC) - Enhanced SN76496 PSG, 8-bit PCM playback, gameport.

    There are also a number of "speech-synthesis-only" cards/solutions that have not been mentioned. Are those of interest?
    Last edited by Cloudschatze; August 24th, 2017 at 09:48 AM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudschatze View Post
    Covox introduced the Speech Thing in late 1987, for what it's worth.
    Source?
    According to Wikipedia, "the circuit was marketed around 1986", so indeed, 1987 may be true.

    And I'm adding the rest, "Entertainer" conditionally.

    Edit: and YES, I'm also interested in those "speed synthesis only" products.
    Looks like the list is going to be pretty short anyway.
    Hey, a list of pre-VGA video adapters would be probably two orders of magnitude longer!
    Last edited by Xacalite; August 24th, 2017 at 11:36 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    Source?
    According to Wikipedia, "the circuit was marketed around 1986", so indeed, 1987 may be true.
    Quoting an older post of mine:

    • The applicable patent, US4812847, lists a filing date of Oct. 2, 1987.
    • The "Speech Thing" trademark, 1506939, lists a filing date of March 1, 1988.
    • Finally, a company profile from September, 1991, re-posted from the Covox BBS, states that, "In late 1987, the IBM PC version of Voice Master made its debut along with the popular "Speech Thing"".

  10. #10

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    OK, moving Speech Thing to 1987.
    Also, conditionally adding Voice Master, even though a picture on this site - http://www.415.spb.ru/page.php?60 shows (C) 1989

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