setup-windowsxp-sound  Revised 4-28-04  Release 0.8  RTCM Corvin

Introduction | Setting up the Sound Card with Windows XP Emulator | Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound
Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP | Setting up the Sound Card with SoundFX 2000


/!\ Windows NT, 2000, XP users, void this document and use the new DOS Emulator; DOSBox instead /!\
Otherwise Continue...


IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST have read and followed the steps in the "setup-windowsxp-buildgames" document before you can use this document.

The following information is written in away to help you avoid unnecessary modifying your games exe and help prevent the use of external software that you may not need to use. Its actually debugging procedures.

Setting up Standard Sound in Windows XP is much easier than say in Windows 95/98/ME. The reason being is that XP uses the old Sound Blaster Standard regardless of your Sound Card hardware. This is good and bad. The bad is the sound quality can range from poor to good, but never seems to be perfect. Its pure emulation, faulty and poor design. The built in emulator tries to emulate a Creative Labs SoundBlaster 2.0 (Basic SoundBlaster is supported but SB Pro or SB 16 are not.)  The emulator only provides Mono sound.

The emulator has a default SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T3 Line in the AUTOEXEC.NT file. The defaults are listed:
Default Address: 0x220 Default IRQ: 5
Default 8-bit DMA: 1
There is no 16bit DMA in the XP SoundBlaster emulator.
Default MIDI / MPU port: 0x330

GO into your C:\bldgames\blddos\AUTOEXEC.NT and place this line in it  SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T3   If you already have a similar line in your AUTOEXEC.NT, then don't replace it. Leave the line in there.


ALL Downloads for this page are located in the download section under "general-tools-dosxp"


Now on with the rest of the guide.

Setting up the Sound Card with Windows XP Emulator
  1. - In the games setup.exe program select "Sound Blaster or Compatible"
  2. - Ensure that the sound card settings in setup.exe are correct. Here's the settings:
    Port is 220 Interrupt is 5 (ALT 7) 
    8-bit DMA is 1
    16-bit DMA is 5
  3. - Choose 1 (ALT 2) for the voices, set sound to Mono, 8 or (ALT 11KHz) for the Mixing Rate.
  4. - Save and launch the game. If the game runs with Sound then the WinXP Sound Emulator is working. It may not be quality sound, but it works. Proceed to step 5.(If your WinXP doesn't produce sound or it CONSTANTLY slows down the game, you may need to follow the "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" instructions below.)
  5. - At this point you want to go back into the games setup program and see if you can change the Type of Sound Blaster used. Change it to Sound Blaster 2.0 Save and launch. If it still works attempt step 6.(If your WinXP doesn't produce sound or it CONSTANTLY slows down the game, you may need to follow the "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" instructions below.)
  6. - Try bumping up the quality of sound. Set #voices to 8 and select Stereo. For the mixing rate set it to 11KHZ. Save and launch. If the sound still works, and doesn't get any worse from step 5, then move onto step 7.(If your WinXP doesn't produce sound or it CONSTANTLY slows down the game, you may need to follow the "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" instructions below.)
  7. - The only thing left is to see How high you can raise the settings in setup. Increase #voices and mixing rate. Do this gradually until you find the sweet spot. You may want to change one setting at a time before each test to narrow down any problems. (If your WinXP doesn't produce sound or it CONSTANTLY slows down the game, you may need to follow the "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" instructions below.)

Shadow Warrior Notes: This game for me CONSTANTLY, meaning all the time. Produced stuttering sound and CONSTANTLY slowed down the game. CLI2NOP did slightly improve the problem however its so minimal of an improvement I had to go to the section "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" to really fix the problem in its entirety.

BLOOD Notes: If for some reason the Sound stutters and the game appears in slow-motion on OCCASION, the games still playable. This problem isn't on all maps and locations, farther into the game this stops for all its worth. However if you want to try and fix it, jump down to the section entitled "Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP" This patch corrected my OCCASIONALLY problem while using the Windows XP Emulator.

MIDI Note: If your audio card or your motherboards built in audio doesn't support MPU-401 which is required to play MIDI then you should set your MIDI Playback device to "Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth"  Go into your control panel and open up your Sounds and Audio folder and select the Audio Tab at the top. The MIDI Device selection is at the bottom.

The "Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth" is a software driven MIDI player. The software synth uses CPU power for the actual playback of the sounds. This is necessary for the new souncards that don't support MIDI directly. Typically, this synthesizer has a lag of about 100 milliseconds (1/10th of a second) from the time you start playing a note until the time you hear it. Windows XP uses the GM/GS(R) Sound Set Copyright 1996 from the Roland Corporation. The Sound Canvas Sample Set is actually digital sounds that play to give MIDI a near WAV quality playback. Roland GS  Sound Set uses big, beefy instrument sounds and seven different types of drum kits. The GS Standard includes a "fall back" system. If the Sound Canvas receives a request for a bank/program number combination that does not exist, it will reassign it to the master instrument in that family. This will allow all General Midi(GM) files/outputs to play under General Sound(GS). If you wanted to use the extra features of the GS Standard extensions in their sequence you can and it will still work with normal with a GM sound module. I'm not sure what these two extra feature will really do to the enhanced midi files that are included in the commercial games that use Apogee's Enhanced MIDI. Perhaps they will ignore the Apogee special midi instructions.

BUILD Games will use this built in MIDI player and it will enhance the music. However the quality in the built-in MIDI player is not nearly as good as a SoundCard that has its own WaveTable Hardware and custom Wave Sets. If your sound card doesn't have MPU-401 then you can hook up and external device such as a keyboard that will play the music through its speakers.

Redneck Rampage Rides Again Notes
: If the intro movie of the game stutters constantly you will want to use VDMSound.

Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound

If you are required to read this part of this guide then your WinXP sound emulator didn't produce any sound or worked very poorly  or to the point where it caused the game to slow down CONSTANTLY.

You also might be reading this section 'cause you where not satisfied with XPs good sound. The following information can be configured separately from your previous attempts above. Just incase you find that these instructions actually made the sound worse.

We will be using the free VDMSound emulator. Unlike XPs Emulator this one emulates a higher quality sound card, the SoundBlaster 16(stereo) It also provides a bridge to the MIDI and FM hardware of your soundcard.

  1. - Download the DOS Sound Emulator, VDMSound and install it to C:\bldgames\blddos\VDMSound
  2. - Download the VDMSound update1, install this aswell into C:\bldgames\blddos\VDMSound overwriting the existing files.
  3. - Download the VDMSound GUI, VDMSLaunch pad. Install this into C:\bldgames\blddos\VDMSound and run the  install.bat
  4. - Once you have all the VDMSound files unzipped and installed, restart your computer. Upon restart a module will have loaded, unseen.
  5. - Download these pre-configured VDMSound shortcuts and place them in your C:\bldgames\blddos folder. You will be using these shortcuts to launch your BUILD Game. Just leave those MS-DOS Shortcuts you made from   "setup-windowsxp-buildgames" document in your games directory. They are still used for testing and alternate launch.
  6. - Now copy your VLP shortcut to windows desktop.
  7. - Load up your games setup.exe program and set the following select "Sound Blaster 16 or AWE32"

Port is 220
Interrupt is 5
8-bit DMA is 1
16-bit DMA is 5
For number of voices use the maximum setting. (don't modify your config file manually)
For the mixing bits select the maximum setting.
For sound use the Stereo sound setting.
For the mixing rate set it to the maximum.
For MIDI use the default settings.

  1. - Launch your game from the desktop VLP Shortcuts and play the game for at least 10 minutes. If the game runs smooth and stable with clear sound, then your all set. If the game freezes up or the sound stutters then move onto the next section "Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP"

BLOOD Note: Apparently since Blood worked for me using the Windows XP Sound emulator it unfortunately didn't work well with VDMSound. I would get fatal errors upon launch, then once in the game the sound was terrible.

Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP

If you where directed to read this section then your game must have frozen or the sound must have stuttered or there was no sound at all. Blood users may have been directed here if they had the occasional slow-motion sound problem using XPs Emulator.

CLI2NOP is supplied as part of tool called SoundFX 2000 and is included in the free trial ZIP file. It fixes freezing with BUILD Game due to multiple simultaneous interrupt requests parallel to Windows OS use of extensive interrupts. This file is also available separately. VDMSound has a similar on the fly workaround built in. I was unable to get it to work properly so I chose to move on with CLI2NOP.

  1. -VERY IMPORTANT: Make a backup of your games original game.exe, such as duke3dbkup.exe   So now you should have 'duke3dbkup.exe' and 'duke3d.exe' in the games folder. This is a requirement of mine for later use, just do it I'll tell you why later.
  2. - Download CLI2NOP
  3. - Once you have CLIPNOP extracted from its zip, place it into your games folder such as C:\bldgames\blddos\duke3d
  4. - Once you have CLIPNOP.EXE into your games folder, you need to right click it and setup a temporary MS-DOS Shortcut.
  5. - Now on the shortcut right click it and select properties. It will open the shortcut.
  6. - You will see a line highlighted similar to this one   C:\bldgames\duke3d\CLI2NOP.exe

    You will have to add  -p duke3d.exe  to the end of the line. So the line will look like this  C:\bldgames\duke3d\CLI2NOP.exe -p duke3d.exe
  7. - Click okay and you will see "Shortcut to CLI2NOP.exe" Click on that to run the patch.
  8. - Your all set. Now run the game from your VDMSound Shortcut.

BLOOD Note: If you where instructed to come here from "Setting up the Sound Card with Windows XP Emulator" to fix the OCCASIONALLY problem, and these steps didn't fix it, then jump up to the "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" section.

Setting up the Sound Card with SoundFX 2000

This is a last resort to get your sound up and running. In fact its the most reliable method and best quality guaranteed, its open source and free now. Software Systems - SoundFX

SoundFX 2000 integrates it self with windows and works automatically every time a command prompt is used. Using this program WILL completely replace the Windows XP Sound Emulator. Only use this if you NO LONGER want to use XPs Emulator.

SoundFX 2000 is now free. Users of Windows NT4 and 2000 may find this tool there only hope to produce sound. But please, for all NT4 and 2000 users try all the steps in the sections "Setting up the Sound Card with VDMSound" and "Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP"  first.

SoundFX 2000 uses your  system.ini  to set and read the Sound Card settings. This is normal, Windows ME introduced this same capability,  it simply replaces the functions of the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files. So don't sweat it.

For the record I am using v2.03 of SoundFX 2000. Included with this version is the same on the fly interrupt workaround that VDMSound uses. You know the one I couldn't get to work. Although I didn't see any results when using VDMSound, you may find that SoundFX 2000 will use it effectively.

  1. - If you previously patched your games.exe with CLI2NOP then you need to use your backup game.exe. So rename it back to its original name.
  2. - Download the SoundFX 2000 program.
  3. - Extract the contents of the archive and run the Setup/Install program.
  4. - Upon installing you will find that you have no control over the location that it installs. It integrates with Windows. So just let it finish.
  5. - Once it finishes, A configuration panel will be displayed asking you to adjust the settings. The default settings will work fine so just click OKAY.
  6. - Now your all set. Launch your games with the MS-DOS shortcuts we made in the "setup-windowsxp-buildgames" document.
  7. - There you go SOUND and Great Sound it is.

NOTE:  IF the game freezes or stutters you may need to see the section above entitled "Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP"