Single Status Update
I recently found music I recorded from DOOM, DOOM 2, and Final DOOM played on a Creative VIBRA128 (8MB waveset) sound card. I recorded the music years ago, and all I have left of the card is the installation CD and the three ECW wavesets, which are now pretty much useless.
I might upload the recordings, if anyone wants to listen to them, and if I'm able to (my Internet connection is being atrocious)...Unless there's already recordings of it. The VIBRA128 played some MIDIs, including the DOOM music, with some missing notes and I don't know why.
The VIBRA128 was one of the first sound cards I got that had wavetable synthesis (the other one being a card by ESS, which had both an FM synth and a wavetable synth). The very first sound card I had was a Yamaha OPL chip. Later I got the card by ESS. I remember the electric guitars sounding very "boingy" on that card compared to the Yamaha OPL chip. Then I got the Creative VIBRA128.
The 8MB ECW had pretty cool sounding instruments. I *love* the synth bass in the "DOOM" track, the synth strings in the DOOM 2 intro, the guitar in "Sign of Evil", and the ending of "The Demon's Dead".
I also later got the Yamaha S-YXG50 soft synth. I have all the DOOM music recorded on that, too.
Back onto the VIBRA128: It's the only card I've heard that used a "unique" sound for "Ad Lib" music. For example, the bass in Duke Nukem 2 and Bio Menace songs sounded like a normal bass, instead of the "boing" sound I always hear, and the drumkits in the Monster Bash, Nitemare 3D, Vinyl Goddess from Mars, etc. music sounded like actual wavetable drums instead of the poofy FM synth drums. Other cards and Ad Lib emulators I use always seem to have the same boingy synthy sound. Are there any emulators or something that play Ad Lib music with "normal" sounding instruments instead of the same old boing-boing-poof sound? Oddly, when I selected Ad Lib music in DOOM (instead of General MIDI), the music sounded extremely weird....it used different instruments from when I used the General MIDI option, and didn't sound like the Ad Lib on the other sound cards.
Well, I'll probably never hear the VIBRA128 again, but at least I have the DOOM music recorded on it. These days I use soundfont 2.0, emulators, etc. but I still liked the sound on those old cards.
DOOM music download links
not yet uploaded
Other cards and Ad Lib emulators I use always seem to have the same boingy synthy sound.
That's how it's supposed to sound. There are countless of threads about this subject, and they all boil down to people using speakers with bass boost or "3D sound" options, which "colored" the sound, got used to that sound, and so this was the One True Way It Should SOund (TM). Myself, I was shocked to discover that YES, if I turned the treble and bass boost off my Quickshot "multimedia" speakers, suddenly my VERY ORIGINAL Sound Blaster 16 ASP sounded just every bit as "tinny" as the OPL2 emulators found in MAME, ZDoom etc.
Also, most sound cards had "almost" compatible OPL2 chips that sounded way different even in pure AdLib mode, some "colored" the sound with onboard amplifiers, echo effects, fake stereo, fake 3D depth, bass boost, etc. and it was not always easy/obvious to turn those effects off and get a more "neutral" sound.
On a related note, some poeple lament the impossibility for emulators to synthesize sound at the precise rate used by Adlib (49716 Hz) as a source of fidelity problems and "wrong" sound. Well, actually they could, but no sound card can sync to this bizarre sample rate, so they "chop" stuff down to 44.1 or 48 KHz or multiples thereof.
Are there any emulators or something that play Ad Lib music with "normal" sounding instruments instead of the same old boing-boing-poof sound?
No, but there are plenty of them playing them exactly like they were programmed to sound. There are NO "standard" AdLib instruments (if you exclude the built-in "5 melodic + 6 percussion sounds" mode of OPL2 chips, which no serious game ever used). Every game was responsible for bringing its own samples to the party, so to speak. Doom was excellent in that respect, later games cheapened out and used whatever samples their sound library carried. Those of the Miles library were particularly dull and dire.
Oddly, when I selected Ad Lib music in DOOM (instead of General MIDI), the music sounded extremely weird....it used different instruments from when I used the General MIDI option, and didn't sound like the Ad Lib on the other sound cards.
And there's your killer: you COULD use the General Midi option even on an Adlib-compatible soundcard, but this would result in different instruments than the ones that Doom programmed into the OPL2 chip. Exactly how they would sound, depended on the sound card and its drivers, and what presets they would load for "MIDI Adlib". The card themselves, had none.
I recall that the Voyetra FM timbres were considered the "best" set of Gen. MIDI instruments for Adlib cards (and OPL3 cards, too) at the time, under both DOS and Windows. The Vibra128, which came much later, was more of a bastardized ESS, with little relation to the "canonical" Sound Blaster series.
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