setup-windowsxp-sound Revised 4-28-04 Release 0.8 © RTCM Corvin
/!\ Windows NT, 2000, XP users, void this document and use the new DOS Emulator; DOSBox
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:
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
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
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.
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.
Port is 220
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.
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 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.
NOTE: IF the game freezes or stutters you may need to see the section above entitled "Compatibility issues fixed using CLI2NOP"