Sound card recommendations

LinuxDaily

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Aug 20, 2019
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I dont know if this is the right place to put this but, I recently picked up a compaq deskpro en400 from a thrift store the other day to fix up and maybe do some light gaming on, everything works except for sound, so im looking for a decent sound card for it, specs listed below
cpu: intel pentium II 400 mhz
graphics: ATI rage pro turbo AGP
ram: 64 MB
OS: Windows 95
 
May 22, 2019
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I dont know if this is the right place to put this but, I recently picked up a compaq deskpro en400 from a thrift store the other day to fix up and maybe do some light gaming on, everything works except for sound, so im looking for a decent sound card for it, specs listed below
cpu: intel pentium II 400 mhz
graphics: ATI rage pro turbo AGP
ram: 64 MB
OS: Windows 95
The best sound card for vintage and retro gaming would be a Sound Blaster 16 with the WaveBlaster daughterboard. However, your machine shouldn't have any ISA slots, so you'll need a PCI card. There are some PCI Sound Blaster 16s on EBay - that's probably what I'd look for.
 

Markeno

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Jul 19, 2019
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We used ESS Audiodrive based cards around 97 for basic cards I had several in the day. For PCI in the Pentium II era, Sound Blaster Live cards which are PCI cards. I had those as well, later the Audigy cards came out, which I still have an Audigy 2 I believe, but I haven't used in a decade or more. I think the ESS Cards sell for as much or more than we were selling them.. They always worked fine, and worked as Sound Blaster Compatible cards on Dos Games. Sound Blaster 16 does predate the Pentium IIs by a few years, but I expect it would work if the board has ISA slots.
 

LinuxDaily

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Aug 20, 2019
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The best sound card for vintage and retro gaming would be a Sound Blaster 16 with the WaveBlaster daughterboard. However, your machine shouldn't have any ISA slots, so you'll need a PCI card. There are some PCI Sound Blaster 16s on EBay - that's probably what I'd look for.
Under further inspection of the board, it does actually have a couple ISA slots, but i just went ahead and picked up a pci soundblaster 16, thank you for your recommendation, I was probably going to end up getting a soundblaster anyway!
 
May 22, 2019
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The PCI Sound Blaster isn't actually as good as the ISA version for DOS gaming, but it should work great for Windows 95. Let us know how it goes.
 

LinuxDaily

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Aug 20, 2019
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The PCI Sound Blaster isn't actually as good as the ISA version for DOS gaming, but it should work great for Windows 95. Let us know how it goes.
I apologize about the delay of response, but the sandblaster 16 PCI is perfect for what I'm using it for. The one problem I'm having is I can't get my joystick to work at all with the system. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but I plugged it into the soundblaster and powered up the machine, and windows 95 doesn't seem to recognize it, the joystick is a gravis Blackhawk with the game port connector.
 

LinuxDaily

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Aug 20, 2019
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Did you install the drivers that came with it? It won't work without them from what I am seeing. Back in the day when you had to have a disk for everything.
Its been sitting around for a while and the disk is long gone, so im probably going to have to find either a disk or find the driver on the internet.
Are there any good sources for these old drivers out there?
 
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Markeno

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It looks like Kensington bought them. https://www.kensington.com/ In 2007 ish? But they aren't listing any products on their website. Maybe send a request to the Technical Support? I don't know how far that will go.. It seems awful hard to find their drivers at this point, you will probably have to try one (or many) of the driver websites.. You are talking about a company that has been gone for over 11 years?

From the internet archive:
Blackhawk
Use the Windows Joystick Control Panel to setup the joystick. No Gravis software is needed.

Ok here is the best I came across. The file listed "Xp43r1a_FTP.exe". Does it have Malware/Virus/Spyare in it? I don't know. It is the right filename per the internet archive site, it is basically the right size, it just looks like what Gravis.com was saying was for the Gravis Blackhawk Digital joystick. The website isn't listing the correct info, obviously a file from 2008 era is not for Windows 10 which was released in 2015.. ok.

There is also a http://web.archive.org/web/20060409105824/http://www.gravis.com/html/sup_1037.html
Xperience 4.5 (Xp4.5_FTP.exe) 10.4 MB 4/12/02 you may find somewhere. It may be the latest or close to it. Sofpedia wants you to use "their" downloader, short for "let us install adware on your pc". Cnet, download.com etc does that too and who knows who else. I haven't used any of those sites in forever due to that.

I don't know if the "Blackhawk" and the "Blackhawk Digital" are different sticks.
 

LinuxDaily

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Aug 20, 2019
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Ive tried all the methods you said, the control panel way, installing the driver from helpjet, the only things i have not done are download and try the ones from softpedia or cnet, as I dont trust those sites at all. ive even went ahead and uninstalled and reinstalled the soundblaster drivers hoping that reinstalling the gameport driver would make something work. I do know this software is quite old, i dont expect to use the joystick on windows 10, thats what my windows 95 PC is for.

The message im getting in control panel when I go to "Control panel > Gaming Options > Add > Gravis Blackhawk" it adds it to the list, but under the status bar, it would say unknown, then jump to Not connected, when the joystick is clearly connected to my soundblaster card.

Im sure the gameport part of the card works fine, as i bought it still sealed in the box. and "Creative game port " shows up in device manager