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Sound Cards&<Software! Who works w/What?

Posted on 1998-02-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Can you help me better understand the setup workings and application of Sound Cards. -(non-P-n-P. DOS/Win-3.11)-.

The written "Chinglish" mini-pamphlet's, and equally puzzling software supplied with most sound cards are unbelievably enigamatic in both lack of discription and application. Equally puzzling is the lack of available writings on this subject... - At least in plain English -.

Computer magazine writers tenaciously avoid going to far into the How & Why quirks that surround the array of different system resources called for by sound cards. Not to mention avoiding dissertations on the how's & why's behind their confusing software "installations" made up of convoluted settings, drivers,.ini/.inf/.ufo and other files patch-worked, without order or apparent logic), all over a PC's operating system???
I realize that I am asking for more of an "article" than an answer. (Maybe you can simply direct me to a worthwhile book , under $29.95, I have a ton of those already)...  
All the authors that I've collected seem somewhat intimidated by the idea of devoting much time to this subject.

I do however have a few imediate questions:

1. Sound cards all seem to come with a diskette or two. What are the programs on these disk's supposed to do? It's never "really" explained... Is it setup drivers for [that] particular board, (making the software proprietary to a particular model board)??  Or, is largely a virtual sound console for controling play and record functions. Or, is it some combination of both?

Is any of this sound, or sound board, software generic and thus usable with most any board or CD drive? Or, are there compatibility imperatives?

With the sound control "built-in's" in Win-95, (for that matter even in 3.11); are the software "Audiomation Stations" that come with most sound cards even necessary?

If the sound card programs do in fact mirror simular sound control programs already built into Windows OS's, is this not a sure recipe for setup and assignment confusion and system conflicts? If so, which ones should be "switched-on", which ones would be better removed, and where and how does the PC user do this?

You see. The very subject is so unwielding that every question raises another, and can not be confined to anything simple.

Anyway. Any help you can lend would be appreciated.

Thanks. rgh@gate.net
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Question by:rgh1
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magigraf earned 100 total points
ID: 1127468
rgh1...

You really asked for a book here, but let me at least do the best I can to elaborate on that sound issue:

Q. 1. Sound cards all seem to come with a diskette or two. What are the programs on these disk's supposed to do? It's never "really" explained... Is it setup drivers for [that] particular board, (making the software proprietary to a particular model board)?? Or, is largely a virtual sound console for controling play and record functions. Or, is it some combination of both?

A.  Well normally they are BOTH, you would get first to install the card, then run the setup which will install the drivers needed to communicate with the card.  The second part, which recently comes on CD instead of disks are all the fancy stuff, consoles, wave player and editor, midi player etc...
These utilities normallt are set to work with their card, and should not work with another sound card.  On the other hand some shareware are made to work with any card.

Q. Is any of this sound, or sound board, software generic and thus usable with most any board or CD drive? Or, are there compatibility imperatives?

A. As I said normally the cards that ships bundled with their own software, they are meant to work with the card, but again some shareware will still work with your CD, and sound card to give you other feature propably not given with the original disks.

CD-Rom on the other hand need their OWN drivers, and CANNOT use other CD drivers to work.

Q. With the sound control "built-in's" in Win-95, (for that matter even in 3.11); are the software "Audiomation Stations" that come with most sound cards even necessary?

A. Well the feature given with any OS are usually very limited, and could only be used as a quick reference, but when it comes to more sofisticated assignment, you would need these packages, we have discussed earlier.

Q. If the sound card programs do in fact mirror simular sound control programs already built into Windows OS's, is this not a sure recipe for setup and assignment confusion and system conflicts? If so, which ones should be "switched-on", which  ones would be better removed, and where and how does the PC user do this?

A. NO they are not the same, and this is not a recipe for confusion nor a disaster.  You should get your own utilities, with the card or find a better utilities at any shareware site to try what you like first.

If you need URL for shareware, I could provide some.

I hope I did address all your questions, if I did miss, you could  underligne it, and I will post back.

Hope this helped.
Regards
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by:rgh1
ID: 1127469
Your information does help in that it confirms, for the most part, what i've aready discovered or suspected. YES, please, where can functional truble shooting software [URL's] be found w/ accessible shareware (no GALT type scam-sites please).

One of the most remarkably comprehensive diagnostic disks I recall was something called the "MPC Wizard" multimedia (sound card & CDROM) test, tune and diagnostics CD disk. I first saw it released w/the earily REVEAL (2x) CD-multimedia kits... Later released, (as 3.0(?), by SOFTKEY, but like most of Softkeys re-packages it was already several years outdated when they released it.
Is that [remarkable] utility possibly still around in an updated version? Please post me.
Since last night I just removed my sound card software, (out of frustration), cleaned things up and reinstalled it. It still does'nt work and has presented me with an added problem... Now when I shut down Windows [3.11] I get a new "Error, General Protection Failure" in Progman.xyz message.

My sound card is a fairly common generic 3-d, w/crystal/Opti chip sets. All three of the built-in sound tests (sndinit.xxx) pass fine (in DOS mode). My CD-ROM plays music from DOS or Windows @ the drive itself, but not from the windows "Opti" program group. No ..wav .mid etc. play. I suspect a DMA problem, but "none" of my utility snoopers will find it. Oh, by the way. My sound card and all the software Bells&W~s had been working fine, until I installed a new FB-735 Info (parallel port) Scanner, I don't know what that should have to do with it but things haven't been right since, and now they appear to be getting worse...  

   
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by:magigraf
ID: 1127470
If I suggest to switch to Win95, would that be a bad idea??
I don't know what system are you running, but win95 resolved pretty much these issues, IRQ's and DMA's.  It requires some intervention if needed, but NOT FULL intervention as required by DOS and WIN 3.x.

Tell me what do you think.
Regards
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Author Comment

by:rgh1
ID: 1127471
Greatings Magigraf,

Sorry ive been so long replying. Been out^. I run 3 different confgs of hard drives from "Mobile Racks". Only one has `95. Others 3.11. I am simple more comfortable inside 3.11 than `95. -(I can't even find anyone who can explain to me what happened to config.sys, autoexec.bat, etc. in `95. Nor what replaced them, or where its all at now!!! Small town and all that.)- So I struggle w/3.11, Go figure.

Did you get last "comment"??? I did dig out old CD disk of "MPC Wizard" and went back to school. Badly dated but still remarkable.

I'm sorry I took so much of your time (and wasted many of my points) on a subject so nebulous. Your understandings were right on target. I just didn't have the diagnostics software to provide hard evidence which would point you to a diagnosis.
*****************************************************************
- Side Note- I am reasonably certain that a large part of my problem is caused by "scar tissue" built up in the OS(Windows). Computer junkies like myself are forever changing and "upgrading" something in our computers... Video and sound cards are two of the favorites. Problem is that there is no such thing as effective "uninstallers" (is there?). Abandoned shrapnel and other peices of erased software, wandering drivers and so forth build up over time.
Short of a total lobotomy on your hard drive, and starting over what do you do about it!?! MicroSoft is sure no help. They say,(sorry, whisper), when windows starts acting possessed; "back your files, douche your hard drive, and start over"!
- Pretty darned drastic prospect to face with a 3+gig loaded hard drive!!! But unless you have put yourself through micro-surgery med.school for windows, what recourse do you have?

I'll chip my way through to a fix. Meantime, sure would like to know of any good diagnostics utilities tailored to this sort of thing are available in shareware. Still interested to find (from anyone) if the (old) MPC Wizard CD-drive, sound & vid.card test&Diagnostic program has been bought out and updates continued by anyone???

I would appreciate any info you could pass along regarding the couple of software questions I posted the last time and again this time, and then I'l close on this problem. -[Again, didn't get response from last (comment) question. am I doing something wrong?]-

Thanks again
rgh@gate.net  
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Expert Comment

by:magigraf
ID: 1127472
rgh1...

Hi there,
No you're not doing anything wrong here, I realized that you have been busy so am I.  I travel a lot, and try to catch up here in helping people on my free time.

As for Win95 vs Win3.1 I think you're missing a lot.
I have been a dedicated IBM designer for the past 8 years where MAC guys use to laugh at me.  ALL this was thanks to Microsoft windows which allowed me to do what MAC only could.

Now with WIN95, I had my suspicions about the OS and didn't upadte my fleet systems before 8 months of heavy testing after the August95 release.

As for the utilities to UNINSTALL software I find the best to recomment is:
• Clean Sweep 95  (it does a magnificient job)
  P.S.: Don't use it's registry wizard...no good

As for tweaking and tuning the system which is all about our experience, I could then recommend you a good utility that would do good:
• Norton Utilities 3.0 (solid and reliable)

Now don't worry, about bothering me, cause I don't see where did you do it before.  Ask me anything you want, if I can help, I'll be here for you.

Take care, and if I missed a point, do highlight it again, since on the road I try to quickly read in diagonal, and answer the most I can.

Regards
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Author Comment

by:rgh1
ID: 1127473
Thanks alot Magigraf. You've been very patient with some of our folly's. I only wish we had resources of your caliber to mix it up with locally (here in "mayberry"(joke)). Will have to inquire with you again, (soon as I grow some more points...).

Thanks again

rgh@gate.net
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