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Thread: Looking for source to AdLib SOUND.COM program

  1. #1

    Default Looking for source to AdLib SOUND.COM program

    All --

    One of my side projects is working with the RetroBrew Computers project, most recently with the 80188-branch of the boards. I've designed a few cards for it, and now I'm going an AdLib sound card which is based on the replica ISA one from Sergey Malinov.

    Anyway, the IO port allocation on the system is not PC-compatible (even though the '188 board runs MS-DOS), so I have had to re-create a lot of driver software from scratch. It's like the Tandy 2000 in that respect. What I'm looking for now is an AdLib sound card driver in source form. The software from AdLib ( is a DOS TSR that assumes certain port IO addresses (388-389H) and intercepts INT65h to provide sound services.

    Having said that, some versions of the AdLib software are supposed to be able to take a "port" parameter (which would solve my problem), but I can't test it until I get the board built. So, I'm getting a "plan B" together. I have found quite a few drivers on Simtel and elsewhere, but all are "library" type drivers (to be included in application software) rather than a standalone DOS TSR.

    Does anyone know of a freely-available driver like this? Any pointers would be appreciated.


  2. #2


    I dont know of any software that used adlib drivers are pretty basic things, but are all as you noted IO port driven. I know Vibrants released their code (such awesome chip tunes).

    for making things work on other ports you need to either patch the games/apps or use protected mode/vm86 and redirect IO ports at that level. Thats pretty much what the Tandy sound card projects have to do.

  3. #3


    Thanks very much. I'll take a look at this. I wasn't sure how often the base software was actually used by games and other software rather than "direct to hardware".


  4. #4
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    SOUND.COM was used by all Adlib software, and a few games (I recall some Marvel-themed games from Paragon).

    The source was never released, but it is a .com file so it's trivial to disassemble. It's also trivial to patch: Just look for 0388h little-endian and patch it to wherever your adlib port is.

    I'm not getting a clear understanding of your motives: Do you want existing PC software to work with the board, or are you just looking for example adlib code? I scanned and released the official programmer's guide and example code last year:;s%20Manual/
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  5. #5


    Yes, I have disassembled it using Sourcer. It was built with a mix of assembly and C-code. There are two locations which reference 0388H which could be easily patched as you mention, and that's what I may ultimately do. Given the elapse of time between the availability of the board and now (20+ years), I though maybe the actual code surfaced and/or someone had written a work-alike driver. What I'm finding out is that the AdLib software itself may not have been used much because the programs/games access the card directly.

    There are plenty of AdLib driver examples, but mostly as libraries to be built into other programs rather than as a stand-alone TSR (again, maybe reflective of programs writing directly to the HW). I have found that with other programs for this platform (communications programs, for example), I've had to develop new or modify existing source code to get it to work properly with the CPU card and its memory/IO map. I do have a copy of a manual from Taro Totto, but I will download yours as well.

    So, I call it digital archeology


  6. #6


    I am always interested in articles that handle programming video and sound. I know the name Adlib but that's all. So I went to Wikipedia and read about Adlib. This raised the question: SoundBlaster being 100% Adlib compatible, why don't you look for sources written for the (older) SB cards?
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

  7. #7


    Two things:

    @Trixter: Thanks for posting those manuals. The "programming" one I did not have, and it has the full API, which is great. Thanks!

    @Ruud: Actually, in my searching, a few SoundBlaster things came up, but they're similar to the AdLib ones -- no real "internal" code (or direct replacements) for the actual programs distributed by the original vendor. It seems to me that many third-party programs opted to bypass the DOS drivers and go right to the hardware; something seen with video (i.e., writing right to the screen buffer) as well. So, I'm not surprised that I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for.

    So, for now, I think I'm just going to go with the "port patch" method and see how that works.

    Thanks all!



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