Aztech

Aztech Labs started in 1986 as a manufacturer of disk drives and modems. They arrived slightly late to the home computer audio market, but became very successful in this area, primarily because they formed strong partnerships with the big box PC-compatible OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and peripheral manufacturers such as Packard Bell, Reveal, Trust & HP.

While the Aztech range of sound cards doesn't quite rival Creative Labs in terms of sheer model numbers, they probably run in 2nd place with in excess of 30 different sound cards produced between 1992 and 1998. The company are still in business but focus these days on wireless technology for businesses and IP cameras.

2nd- through 4th-generation cards all supported Sound Blaster Pro 2.0. None of their cards supported Sound Blaster 16.

The best Aztech card that supports the broadest audio formats is the Sound Galaxy Pro 16 (I38-MMSD810). This supports Covox Speech Thing, Disney Sound Source, Sound Blaster Pro 2.0, Ad Lib and Windows Sound System. The only thing it doesn't have is wavetable header support under MS-DOS.

1st Generation

The first generation of Aztech sound cards was based around the Aztech AZTSSPT0592-U01 or AZTSB0792-U07 chipset. Practically all of the 1st-generation cards support Adlib, Sound Blaster Pro 2, Windows Sound System, Disney Sound Source & Covox Speech Thing, apart from I38-MMSN808/812. *None* of the 1st generation cards got an MPU-401 UART-compatible MIDI interface.

2nd generation

All 2nd-generation cards have the AZT-1605 chipset. Whilst these have the excellent Yamaha YMF-262 OPL3 chip for stereo FM synthesis, they only support Ad Lib, Windows Sound System, and Sound Blaster 2.0 (mono) on their DAC. They do not support Sound Blaster 2.0 under DOS. The 2nd generation also dropped support for Covox Speech Thing and Disney Sound Source. All of this generation got an MPU-401 UART-compatible MIDI interface.

3rd generation

All 3rd-generation cards have the AZT-2316 chipset. These all support Adlib, Windows Sound System & Sound Blaster Pro II. They are configured through a combination of jumpers on the board and software settings via the CONFIG.EXE utility in the driver software. Settings from this utility are saved to the card's EEPROM, so it will retain its settings next time you reboot assuming the jumper marked JMPCFG is set to EEPROM on the card.

All 3rd-gen cards have an MPU-401 UART-compatible MIDI interface. One advantage of these is that the first two generations were supposedly timing-sensitive, i.e. if you're running a gen-1 or gen-2 card in anything faster than a 486 you may experience issues - these problems are gone in the 3rd generation of cards.

4th Generation

The 4th-generation cards are based around the AZT-2320 chipset. These still come in both PnP and non-PnP variants. For DOS gaming, the PnP ones are naturally more difficult to configure (you usually need to load the DWCFGMG.SYS driver at startup - this is the Intel PnP configuration manager - and then run DIAGNOSE.EXE), so probably best to avoid these. The 4th generation really doesn't provide any benefit over the 3rd-gen cards either, and since most 4th-gen cards are PnP, I would advise sticking to 3rd-gen non-PnP cards.

 

issues with poor digital sound quality

Poor digital sound quality in DOS is actually due to a setting in the soundcard's Mixer control utility. This can affect 1st-gen right up to 4th-gen cards. All you have to do is to load the Mixer control TSR (normally found under the relevant soundcard's subdirectoy called "utility") and look for a setting where you can toggle between MONO or STEREO (the older soundcards' Mixer control had drop down menus, whereas the newer ones had a more simplified Mixer control). Select MONO (not STEREO), save and exit. You can unload the Mixer TSR afterwards. If you playback your games' digital sounds now, the sound quality will not sound as distorted/muffled. Bear in mind that this won't affect the actual digital sound output - a stereo sound source will still produce stereo sound provided you select the correct option in the game (SB Pro or SB Pro 2).

Wavetable Support

Some cards support wavetable daughterboard cards via a WaveBlaster header. Some support Aztech's own wavetable daughterboard called WaveTide - this require both a WaveBlaster header and an EXPCON (expansion connector) header to be present in the correct locations on the card.

Here are some drivers that aren't necessarily model-specific:

Aztech Business Audio Drivers for Win3.1, Aztech Sound Galaxy Drivers for Win3.1, Aztech IDE CD-ROM driver., Aztech Multimedia Kit add-on programs, Aztech WaveTide MIDI Synthesizer software, Sound Galaxy Developer Kit Version 1.06

 

Sound Galaxy BX

Introduced in early 1992.
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2).
Chipset: APP20A0392 (pre-1st generation).
Ad Lib and Sound Blaster-compatible. No Covox/Disney support.
CD-ROM interface.

 

Sound Galaxy NX

Introduced in March 1992.
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2).
Chipset: AZTSSPT0192-U05 (pre-1st generation).
Wavetable Support: None
Supports Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, Covox Speech Thing and Disney Sound Source.
40-pin CD-ROM interface.
FCC ID: I38-SGNX01

More Images

 

Sound Galaxy BXII

Introduced: 1992
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2).
Chipset: AZTSB0792-U07 (1st generation card).
Wavetable Support: None
Ad Lib and Sound Blaster 2.0 compatible only.
No CD-ROM interface.
FCC ID: I38-SGB21 (non Extra), I38-SGBX21 (Extra) or I38-MMSNBX2

A "BX II Extra" was also sold. This bundled the BX II card with some speakers and over 12 programs on 3.5" floppy disks.

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BX III Box Front / Rear

Drivers

Original BXII Floppy Disks v2.31: 1 2

Sound Galaxy NXII

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2).
Chipset: AZTSSPT0592-U01 (1st generation card)
Covox, Disney, Ad Lib and Sound Blaster 2.5 compatible.
40-pin CD-ROM interface.
Wavetable Support: None
FCC ID: I38-MMSD801

NXII "Extra" is the same card but also gets a Mitsumi CD-ROM header. It's a 16-bit card but works in an 8-bit slot as long as you don't use the Mitsumi interface.

Drivers

NXII disks v2.11: 1 2

Sound Galaxy NX Pro

Introduced in 1993.
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3) or LS-212.
Chipset: AZTSSPT0592-U01 (1st generation card).
DAC: Yamaha YAC512.
CD-ROM Support: Mitsumi and Panasonic (both 40-pin)
Wavetable Support: None
FCC ID: I38-MMSD802 or I38-SGNXPRO

The first sound card that supported 5 sound standards: Ad Lib, Sound Blaster Pro 2.0, Covox Speech Thing, Disney Sound Source, and Windows Sound System.
Most cards have a proper OPL3 chip but some are known to have the LS-212 "copy".
Wavetable connector only works in Windows 3.1, not DOS.

Some NX Pro cards (like the one shown) have a Mitsumi and Panasonic CD-ROM header, compatible with the Mitsumi LU005S or Panasonic CR-521 and CR-522 CD-ROM drives. Others have a SCSI and AT (IDE) CD-ROM header - this was called "NX Pro Extra". Aztech provided an optional 'Future Domain SCSI Upgrade Kit' which included a Future Domain SCSI controller chip and device driver software. The large socket in the top-left corner of these cards is for this SCSI controller chip.

The card originally came bundled with a good amount of software: First Byte's Monologue text-to-speech synthesizer; Voyetra's WinDAT waveform editor for Windows; SoundScript, a multimedia authoring program; and Galaxy Master, a digital recording and playback program. Another utility program called Jukebox permits you to create playlists and play sound files, and CD Player serves as a CD-audio control panel. Another disk, called Sound Tracks, is a collection of song files, and still another disk contains Windows 3.1 drivers.

Install this card on the "far side" of the bus - its sound is disturbed easily by neighbouring cards.

Since the card is just a Sound Blaster Pro clone you can use the SBPro DOS driver to set the resources as well as the built-in Windows 95 Creative SBpro driver for Windows sound.

Apparently this card also suffers from the reverse stereo issue - you can overcome this by using a twisted audio cable.

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Drivers


NT 3.x
Windows 95
NX Pro disks v2.11: 1 2
NX Pro Extra disks v2.41: 1 2 3

Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3) or LS-212.
Audio codec: Crystal CS4248-KL or Analog Devices.
Chipset: AZTSSPT0592-U01 (1st generation card).
DSP chip: AZTDSP38.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible
FCCID: I38-MMSN803, I38-MMSN808 or I38-MMSN812 (the '812 seems to have reverse stereo output).

A Sound Blaster clone. Also supports Ad Lib, Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and Windows Sound System.
Wavetable connector is supported in DOS.
Mitsumi and Panasonic CD-ROM headers (40-pin).
Game port is NOT MPU-401 compatible.
Unlike other 1st gen cards, this one does NOT support Covox/Disney.
The NX Pro 16 (I386-MMSN808) had a Philips AT-Bus (IDE) CD-ROM interface. The NX Pro 16 "Extra" (I38-MMSN812) had Sony, Mitsumi and Panasonic CD-ROM interfaces. The drivers are a little different as a result.

This card is known to work with SoftMPU when used with the SB MIDI command-line argument.

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Drivers

I38-MMSN808: NT 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 95, NX Pro 16 v1.71 disks: 1 2 3
I38-MMSN812: NT 3.x, Windows 95, OS/2 2x & 3.x, NX Pro 16 Extra v1.03 disks: 1 2 3

Sound Galaxy Basic 16 and Pro 16 / Basic Audio 16

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3) or LS-212.
Chipset: AZTSSPT0792-U07 (1st generation card).
Audio codec: Analog Devices AD1848 or Crystal CS4231.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible (Basic 16 & Pro 16 only)
FCC ID: I38-MMSD813 / I38-MMSN810

Image to the right shows the Basic Audio 16.

Supports Ad Lib, Sound Blaster 2.0, Sound Blaster Pro 2.0, Covox Speech Thing, Disney Sound Source, and Windows Sound System.
Game port is NOT MPU-401 compatible.
Basic 16 got Panasonic and Sony CD-ROM headers.
Unlike the "NX Pro 16", the "Pro 16" cards did not get the 50-pin expansion connector.

Basic Audio 16 (I38-MMSN813) came in two flavours. The Basic Audio 16A card came with an Analog Devices AD1848 codec, whereas the Basic Audio 16B card came with a Crystal CS4231. The drivers differ accordingly.

Note that the Disney Sound Source / Covox Speech Thing module on the sound card has its own volume control in the Mixer control utility. You can either load the TSR and set the volume or use the DOS command line mixer control utility. The DSS/Covox module is enabled by default on the card but can be disabled via the SGCOX.exe program (with the /off argument).

If you do not have an available parallel port at address 3BCH, 378H or 278H, then you can use the virtual parallel port jumpers (J4 and J5) to create a virtual parallel port at address 278H. To enable the virtual parallel port, make sure that pins 1-2 of both jumpers are closed (open them to disable). However, there is no need to enable the virtual parallel port if you have an available parallel port at the addresses as described above (just make sure nothing else is utilizing the same parallel port address).

If you hear muffled digital audio playback from anything games or apps using Sound Blaster or SB Pro mode, this can be fixed by choosing the Mono playback option in the mixer control utility.

Note also this these cards were designed to work in systems that ran a 486DX2-66. Using them today on much faster CPUs is known to cause problems (lockups or no playback at all - especially on CPUs with write-back cache).

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Drivers

Basic 16/Pro 16: NT3.x, Windows 95 wave drivers, Original disks v2.07: 1 2 3
Basic Audio 16A (with AD1848): Original disk, Windows 95, NT 3.x, OS/2 2.x & 3.x
Basic Audio 16B (with CS4231): Windows 95

 

Nova 16 Extra

Introduced in 1994.
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3) or LS-212.
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231-KL.
Chipset: AZT-1605-U05 (2nd generation card).
DAC: Yamaha YAC512.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible
Sony, Mitsumi and Panasonic CD-ROM headers.
FCC ID: I38-MMSN811

Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 compatible, MPU-401 compatible. The base address can be chosen via jumper, but other changes must chosen via the Aztech configurator software. There is a configurator that works in plain DOS, but it's hidden inside the Windows driver package which can't be extracted under DOS! If you install the Windows 3-floppy package below, you'll find a file called HWSET.EXE in the Utility directory. This is the one program you need to get the card intialized and configured under pure DOS.

The Nova 16 Extra is directly supported in Voyetra's Sequencer Plus Gold.
SoftMPU apparently locks up when used with cards that have the AZT-1605 chipset.

OEM'd by Packard Bell (model 030053) as the Forte 16SBP, Reveal (SC400 revision 3) and others (often detected by the OEM's sticker on the lower-left main chip).

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Drivers


NT 3.x driver v1.02
OS/2 2.x and 3.x
Windows 95
Windows 95 wave drivers
Windows 3-Floppy Package v1.01 disks: 1 2 3

Nova 16

Released in 1994.
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231-KL.
Chipset: AZT-1605-U05 (2nd generation chip).
DAC: Yamaha YAC512.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible
MPU-401 compatible.
Sony, Mitsumi and Panasonic CD-ROM headers.
FCC ID: I38-MMSN815

Supported in Sequencer Plus Gold by Voyetra.
SoftMPU apparently locks up when used with cards that have the AZT-1605 chipset.

Drivers


Windows 95 wave
NT 3.x driver v1.02
OS/2 2.x and 3.x
Windows 95

Windows 3-Floppy Package v1.03 disks: 1 2 3

Pro 16 II

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231A-KL.
Chipset: AZT-1605-U05 (2nd generation chip).
DAC: Yamaha YAC512.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
MPU-401 compatible.
Auto-initializing.
40-pin CD-ROM connector.
FCC ID: I38-MMSD822 or I38-MMSN822

To get this card working in DOS, you usually need Windows to install it. The DOS installation does not copy any files (config or otherwise) to your hard disk, therefore it's unlikely you will get the desired configuration just by using the defaults. The Windows installation does allow you to configure the card during installation, but it also copies CONFIG.EXE to your UTILITY folder so you can tweak it later. To make things easier for DOS installation, please download P16II_UTILITY.RAR from the link below, which is a copy of the utility folder after Windows installation. Using this, you don't need to use the Windows installer if you're just trying to get the card working in DOS.

The problem with this card is that it uses MIDI 330 by default which conflicts with other MIDI devices and you need to change it to 300 to make things work. Also, the HWSET utility used with other Aztech cards DOES NOT work with this one, you need the config utility mentioned before.

SoftMPU apparently locks up when used with cards that have the AZT-1605 chipset.

This card was also sold to OEMs, including Packard Bell.

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Drivers

Original disks v3.00: 1 2
Windows 95
OS/2 2.x & 3.x
NT 3.x v1.02
P16II_UTILITY.rar

 

Orion 16

Chipset: AZT-1605-U05 (2nd generation chip).
Mitsumi/Panasonic/Sony CD-ROM headers.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible
FCC ID: I38-MMSN816

Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 card.

SoftMPU apparently locks up when used with cards that have the AZT-1605 chipset.

Drivers

Original disks v1.00: 1 2 3
NT 3.x
OS/2 2.x & 3.x
Windows 95

 

Waverider 32+

Codename: "Washington".
FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Mitsumi/Panasonic/Sony CD-ROM headers.
Sound Blaster Pro II, Windows Sound System and General MIDI support.
Price when New: $159
FCC ID: I38-MMSD826

The first Wavefront ICS cards have 2MB of samples (the same as found in the Turtle Beach Tropez and Maui cards) and the VoiceCrystal Lite soundfont is better quality than the later Samsung chipped ones that only had 1MB of samples.

Rich Heimlich said this: "Would have been a really nice 1-card solution except that Aztech decided to go the cheap route and use the less expensive and less functional WaveFront Lite chipset.  It sounds as good as a Tropez but lacks the RAM feature. Another downside to the initial Waverider was its software implementation with a 37KB TSR needed to run General MIDI.". He scored it 3 out of 10 for digital quality and 4 out of 10 for music quality, with a total score of 5 out of 10.

SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

Drivers

NT driver v1.00
Windows 95

 

Washington 16

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231A-KL or Crystal CS-4248-KL.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
FCC ID: I38-MMSN824 (the manual has this incorrect as MMSN822)

Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 card.

This board has an EEPROM on-board with a jumper that can be set to use either EEPROM or software. The jumper is set to use EEPROM.
SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

This card was OEM'd by Packard Bell with model number 030056.

Image of same card but with CS-4248-KL audio codec chip.

Drivers

OS/2 Warp 3.0
NT 1.00

 

Multimedia Pro 16

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231A-KL.
DAC: Yamaha YAC512.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
FCC ID: I38-MMSN837
Mitsumi/Panasonic/Sony CD-ROM headers.

This card was an OEM version for Packard-Bell.
SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

 

Multimedia Pro 16 IIB-3D

Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Audio codec: Crystal CS-4231A-KL.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveBlaster-compatible
FCC ID: I38-SN96103

This is the last card produced by Aztech that is *not* PnP. It does have a wavetable header.

SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

 

 

Multimedia Audio Telephony 3200 or 3260

Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
FCC ID: I38-MMSN842 or I38-MMSN855
Combined sound card and modem.

This card was an OEM version for Packard-Bell (model number 030101).
SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

Drivers

AT3200
AT3260

 

 

Pro16 II-3D PnP

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Audio codec: Crystal CS4231A-KL.
Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
MPU-401 compatible.
40-pin CD-ROM connector, 34-pin expansion connector.
Plug and Play.
FCC ID: I38-MMSN845

SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

Drivers

Windows 95 drivers
Original disks (English) v1.10: 1 2
Windows 3.x full-duplex
Win95 full-duplex
OS/2 2.x & 3.x
NT 3.x v1.03

NT 4.0 driver disks: 1 2
NT 4.0 driver v3.00

 

Nova 16 Extra II-3D

FM synthesizer: Yamaha YMF262-M (OPL3).
Audio codec: Crystal CS4231A-KL.
Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
MPU-401 compatible.
40-pin CD-ROM connector, 34-pin expansion connector.
FCC ID: I38-MMSD846 or I38-MMSN846

Drivers

Original disk
Windows 95 wave
Windows 3.x full-duplex
Win95 full-duplex
OS/2 2.x & 3.x
NT 3.x v1.03
NT 4.0 driver disks: 1 2
NT 4.0 driver v3.00

 

 

Multimedia Pro 16 ABI/ABO

Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Audio codec: Crystal CS4231A-KL.
Wavetable Support: Yes, WaveTide only
FCC ID: I38-MMSN850

MPU-401 compatible.
Wavetable connector.
IDE CD-ROM interface.

This is Aztech's last card that was both non-PnP and does have a wavetable header.

Lacks a low pass filter when running in Sound Blaster Pro mode, which really is a must. Overall though, this card is nice and quiet (low noise).

SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

Drivers

ABI variant Windows 95 driver disk v1.10
ABO variant Windows 95 driver disk v1.10
ABO Driver disk 1 v1.20
ABO Driver disk 2 v1.20

 

Waverider Pro 32-3D

Chipset: AZT-2316/A/R Wavefront ICS (3rd generation chip).
Wavetable Support: Yes, onboard
FCC ID: I38-MMSN852

This is one of the last cards produced by Aztech that is *not* PnP. It has no wavetable header since it has embedded wavetable support.

SoftMPU is known to work with the AZT-2316 chipset.

This card was OEM'd by Trust - they called it "Sound Expert DeLuxe Wave 32".

More Images

Drivers

Original disks v2.10 (English): 1 2 3
NT 3.x driver v1.03
Windows 95
NT 4.0 driver disks v1.09: 1 2
NT 4.0 driver v3.00

Waverider Pro 32-3D PnP

Chipset: AZT-2320 (4th generation chip).
Plug and Play.
FCC ID: I38-MMSN853

Drivers

Original disks v2.00 (English): 1 2
Windows 95 drivers v4.06 (for AZT-2320 family only)
OS/2 3.0
OS/2 4.0
NT 4.0 driver disks v1.08: 1 2
NT 4.0 driver v3.00
Aztech PnP Configuration Manager

 

Waverider Platinum-3D PnP

Chipset: AZT-2320 (4th generation chip).
Onboard wavetable.
Plug and Play.

Drivers

Windows 95

 

Multimedia Pro-16V

Chipset: AZT-2320 (4th generation chip).
Plug and Play.
FCC ID: I38-SN96116

This card was designed for the OEM market - this one has an HP part number. Cheaply built, I wouldn't trust any 'triangle' card to be of good quality given that their very shape screams "cost reduced".