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SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio Problems

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December 19, 2001 7:53:16 PM

Greetings,

I just bought sn "El Cheapo" $99.00 computer, a 400MHz computer with an Intel BP810 ATX Motherboard. I installed Windows 98 (not Windows 98SE) and all the drivers. It works fine... except for the sound. The sound works fine in all formats except MIDI. I checked all the MIDI settings and they are all 'greyed out'It has an on board sound card ("AD1881 Analog Codec. The AD1881 is a fully AC ’97 compliant codec.") The driver I installed is SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio version 002. (I downloaded the driver.)

Questions:

1) Is it possible that a sound card does not support MIDI?
2) Where can I find out if this particular card supports MIDI?
3) If this sound card cannot support MIDI --by the way, there are no empty slots... just 4 usb ports-- is there any way to add an external card or something so that it will play MIDI?

4) Would installing Windows 98SE make any difference? In other words, are there any files in windows 98SE that are not in 98 that support MIDI?

5) Is there something I have missed? I found the Intel PDF manual for this motherboard and it states:

"AC ‘97 Audio Codec ‘97 Revision 2.1, May 1998, Intel Corporation.
16-bit stereo full-duplex codec
· CD-quality audio
· Stereo line level output
· Power management support
· Full duplex variable sampling rate (7 kHz to 48 kHz) with 1 Hz resolution
· Phat † Stereo 3D stereo enhancement"


I have spent about 10 hours installing, reinstalling, downloading drivers, etc. Any help will be GREATLY appreciated. This is for my granddaughter's Xmas gift.

Thanks in advance.

Pat
December 20, 2001 4:10:00 AM

You can definitely add another sound card, as long as the mainboard has a free slot. Then you can disable the integrated sound card in the BIOS, and remove it from the Device Manager. For most sound cards, the external game port will function as a Midi port.

Integrated sound cards take up more CPU cycles, and can cause driver issues, especially with older systems. I'd certainly consider installing a separate card, in your situation.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847&lt;/A>
______________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
December 20, 2001 11:52:51 AM

Thanks Tojam31, for your prompt reply.

My first or second thought was to add a sound card... but as I mentioned, this cheapo has NO FREE Slots!

Do you know of any sound cards that can be added by USB?

Thanks!

Pat
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December 20, 2001 2:33:25 PM

Hi, jp ...

I've spent all morning looking into this, and as far as I can tell ... you are basically out-of-luck. That particular integrated SoundMAX audio card does not appear to support MIDI, and doesn't even have a game port. And as you mentioned, you have absolutely no free slots ... (heck, no ISA/PCI slots at all ... <i>everything</i> is integrated) and that makes your options kinda limited.

Those options appear to be, (and I'm sure you have come to the same conclusion):

A new mainboard or a USB sound card.

Yes ... there are USB sound cards, but it is a recent development, and at this time, you are really looking at paying somewhere in the $200 dollar range for an external device. Considering that this would be about twice the amount you paid for the entire system, I think you'd end up with a better deal just replacing the mainboard. And since you only have a few days before Christmas, it would also probably be the fastest thing you could do ... if you ordered something online, you might not get it until sometime in January. But you might be able to get a local shop to swap out the mainboard in a day or two, and still have time to install the drivers. It oughtn't to be that difficult to locate a Celeron mainboard, depending on your location.

It will be much easier to locate a new mainboard than a USB sound card, believe me. Cheaper, too.

Here's an example of a USB sound card. I think the very first were produced by Roland:

<A HREF="http://kellysmusic.mb.ca/ua100.asp" target="_new">http://kellysmusic.mb.ca/ua100.asp&lt;/A>

And two more:

<A HREF="http://www.tracertek.com/u24.htm" target="_new">http://www.tracertek.com/u24.htm&lt;/A>

<A HREF="http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/mar00/articles/swissonic.h..." target="_new">http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/mar00/articles/swissonic.h...;/A>

Note: It's not a Win98 problem ... the OS fully supports the playback of MIDI files. Upgrading to Win98SE wouldn't change anything.

That's my two cents.

Good luck ...

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847&lt;/A>
______________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
December 20, 2001 3:03:36 PM

Hi ToeJam31,

I really appreciate all your help and hard work... and the time you spent trying to find a solution. I guess I am stuck for the time being since I have an other zillion things to do before Xmas.

I guess from now on I will get only software that does not use MIDI. I really don't think this particular computer is worth any upgrades.

Thanks a zillion! Have a wonderful Xmas.

This was just going to be a temporary computer... my grandkids are very young and very active.

Take care.

Pat
!