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Saturday, April 7, 2012

SoundBlaster (CT1350B and CT2960) in FreeDOS

CT1350B

The first soundcard I tested with FreeDOS was a SoundBlaster CT1350B which operates in 8Bit mode only, but it works out of the box. There is nothing more to tell, just set the correct BLASTER variable according as the jumpers on the soundcard. There is a tool called SBCHECK.EXE (which seems to be a virus too so be careful when downloading it - I don't have any link for it) which will check your hardware:

C:\>TOOLS\MISC\SBCHECK.EXE
Sound Blaster compatible board found at hex 0220:
  DSP version 2.02
High-Speed Mono 8-bit board... use SB8.ADC driver.

CT2960

This soundcard was much more tricky to bring back to life. I don't have much experience with FreeDOS, no manual and no drivers for this soundcard. Of course I wanted this soundcard working because it operates in 16Bit mode already. Here is my description how to bring the CT2960 back to life (probably this description will help you with your soundcard too). First you need a software called Plug and Play Manager. Use your favorite search engine and search for pnp1632.exe (or see the link below). When you have found a suitable file then copy it to your FreeDOS machine and start it, eg:

C:\>cd install\drv\pnp1632
C:\install\drv\pnp1632>pnp1632.exe
...
Extracting DISK1
Extracting DISK1\README.COM
Extracting DISK1\INSTALL.EXE
...

Then change into the DISK1 directory and run INSTALL.EXE

C:\install\drv\pnp1632>cd DISK1
C:\install\drv\pnp1632\DISK1>INSTALL.EXE
...

Follow the options on the screen and install pnp1632 into eg. C:\TOOLS\PLUGPLAY\. When the installer asks for the second disk then change the path from eg. C:\install\drv\pnp1632\DISK1 to C:\install\drv\pnp1632\DISK2 (or where ever you have unpacked the installer). After the installer has finished it will change C:\CONFIG.SYS, the changes made in this file must be copied to C:\FDCONFIG.SYS manually:

C:\>edit FDCONFIG.SYS
...
DEVICE=C:\TOOLS\PLUGPLAY\DRIVERS\DOS\DWCFGMG.SYS
FILES=40
...

Before you continue reboot your machine and during booting you should see a line like this:

...
Found Plug and Play ISA card: Creative ViBRA16C PnP
...

Now you are ready to install the driver itself. Again, use your favorite search engine and search for sb16w31x.exe (or see the link below). Copy it to your FreeDOS machine and extract it, eg:

C:\>cd install\drv\sb16w31x
C:\install\drv\sb16w31x>sb16w31x.exe
...
Extracting DISK.ID
Extracting INSTALL.EXE
...

One more time, start INSTALL.EXE:

C:\install\drv\sb16w31x>INSTALL.EXE

Install the driver to eg C:\TOOLS\SB16 and follow the instructions on the screen. After the installer has finished it will change C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT like this:

C:\>more AUTOEXEC.BAT
...
SET SOUND=C:\TOOLS\SB16
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E
C:\TOOLS\SB16\DIAGNOSE /S
C:\TOOLS\SB16\MIXERSET /P /Q
...

Finally reboot your machine for the last time. Start the diagnose tool to check your soundcard:

C:\>TOOLS\SB16\DIAGNOSE.EXE

It will first check your soundcard and offers you to play a few samples. The driver installs a little mixer too:

C:\>TOOLS\SB16\MIXERSET.EXE

The mixer allows you to setup all volume level for all channels on the soundcard (CD-ROM, LINE-OUT etc).
There is a tool called SBCHECK.EXE (which seems to be a virus too so be careful when downloading it - I don't have any link for it) which will check your hardware:

C:\>TOOLS\MISC\SBCHECK.EXE
Sound Blaster compatible board found at hex 0220:
  DSP version 4.13
PnP Sound Blaster 16 / 32 / 64  board:
 16-bit ADC input stereo 8-bit DAC outputs
 (or 8-bit ADC with 16-bit DACs) using SB16.ADC driver.
   I:5   D:1   H:5

Links:
http://www.systemhaus-brandenburg.de/download/treiber/creative/creative.html