Covox / Disney

The Covox Speech Thing receives an 8-bit mono signal via the PC's parallel port, and produces an analogue output than can then be amplified and played through speakers. The sampling rate is not determined by the hardware (the PC software is responsible for sending bytes to the DAC at a given rate to allow for convincing digitised sound) so in theory Covox can support any sampling rate - only the speed of the parallel port limits this however to not even break the CD-quality 44100 kHz barrier. Also, given the fact that the PC was responsible for all the heavy lifting, performance can suffer.

The Covox card doesn't emulate any other formats, such as Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, etc. In a few games that support Disney Sound Source, your Covox can be detected as a Disney Sound Source so you can output sound to your Covox Speech Thing by selecting the 'Disney Sound Source' option.

If you have a sound card that supports Covox, for example, the Aztech 1st-generation cards, it's likely you need to disable your parallel port or move its address to something other than 378h for Covox emulation to work.

 

Covox Speech Thing

This was an external device that plugged into your PC's parallel port. It sold for $70 USD.

It was a very basic 8-bit DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) which used a resistor ladder and an analogue signal output. It was bundled with speech synthesis software.

A modern-day clone has been developed called CVX. At the time of writing, it is in its fourth iteration, so is called CVX4. You can purchase this from Serda Shop for 22 EUR.

Drivers

Windows

Disney Sound Source

Included here because the Disney card is largely similar to the Covox Speech Thing, and is superior technically. Selecting 'Covox' in a game that supports it should work just fine with your DSS.
It doesn't emulate any other formats, such as Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, etc.

Based on the Covox Speech Thing, this consisted of the same type of DAC but with an added amplifier with low-pass filter/speaker box.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the Disney Sound Source is near-identical to the Covox Speech Thing, Wolfenstein 3D only works with the Disney Sound Source - it does not work with the Covox Speech Thing, Voice Master, or Sound Master.

The following titles directly support Disney Sound Source's digital sound playback without supporting Sound Blaster:

  • Arachnophobia
  • Dick Tracy: The Crime-Solving Adventure

 

Covox Voice Master

This is assumed to be the circuitry from the external Voice Master box on an ISA card.

 

 

Covox Sound Master (1989)

A very rare card. Uses a Yamaha AY8930 (backward-compatible with the AY-3-8910). Some have the AY8910 instead.

The following titles directly supported the AY8930 PSG, either with music and/or sfx:

  • Conan - The Cimmerian
  • Galleons of Glory
  • Megatraveller 2
  • Prince of Persia (v1.0 only)
  • Punisher, The
  • Sim Earth
  • Spirit of Excalibur
  • Twilight 2000
  • Ultima VI
  • Vengeance of Excalibur
  • Where in Time if Carmen Sandiego (AY8930 music)
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (320x200 VGA Version)

Several clones of the Sound Master exist that simply connect to your computer's parallel port:

  • Logitech Audioman
  • StreetSound External
  • MediaVision AudioPort
  • DigiSpeech Port*Able Sound Plus

Covox Sound Master + (1990)

A Sound Blaster clone.

Covox Sound Master 2 (1991)

A Sound Blaster [2.0?] clone with Ad Lib compatibility.