Virtual equipment drivers

There are some various resources which can be found at various other locations on this page. This section is meant simply to highlight those. If one wishes to support a specific card, but doesn't have that card, then card drivers might be sufficient.

MIDI drivers
Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth

This is sometimes installed on the Control Panel's Multimedia applet's Multimedia Properties window's MIDI tab, and sounds well. If available, it is recommended to try using that instead of other Single instrument MIDI output entries, even if this isn't the default.

TOOGAM's experience is as follows: When using a GUS Extreme that had ESS Technology, Inc.'s "Sound Blaster"-compatible ES1688 AudioDrive circuitry, and installing the "ES1688 AudioDrive" driver, the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth driver did not appear. But when installing another driver that came with Win98SE, which was the "ES1688 AudioDrive (WDM)", then this MIDI driver appeared. So if WDM is supported, it is recommended to try that. Whether this is better than QuickTime or not may be a toss-up, but having that option can be nicer than not having the option, especially if QuickTime hasn't been installed yet.


When running the QuickTime installer, there is an option for MIDI support. This should work on basically any sound card.

GUS emulators do exist. TOOGAM hasn't had much success (in Win98SE), but perhaps they'll be improved, or simply work better for others. See also the system emulators section below.
Sound Blaster
VDMSound has received positive remarks, referenced in the Creative Labs section.
System emulators
Emulators such as DOSBox and Qemu may support sound cards. There is a patch for Qemu to support a GUS.
Gravis UltraSound (GUS)
The discontinued line of sound cards had quite a few files, including source code of their official drivers. The relevant resources were large enough that this site has made a separate pge for the UltraSound cards. The Synergy Vipermax cards which feature UltraSound-compatible circuitry may also be able to use software from this section.
Creative Labs

Creative Labs is the US subsidiary of a company called Creative Technology. Although Creative Labs may be the more well known name, the CT abbreviation has been the more common abbreviation.

Drivers for real cards

Creative Labs made the popular Sound Blaster line of audio cards. Creative support: download area allows one to obtain drivers. When choosing what to download, look at dates and descriptions. Sometimes a small program like DIAGNOSE.EXE may be offered as a separate download, but a much newer disk set is also available and is described as coming with the small program that is years older.

After selecting a product, the page may discuss that the product has been classified as “End of Service Life”. The hyperlink that says “Search archives now.” will make use of the product selection made on the prevous screen, and its linked to page will ask what operating system is desired.

PCI cards
ISA cards
  • SB16/SB32/AWE32 basic disk for DOS/Win3.1 is found in the drivers section of the SB AWE64 DOS downloads page, although an AWE64 disk released eight days earlier is found in the applications section (and might be better since it is described as being for the Awe64). The basic disk's FILE_ID.DIZ does say “Supports AWE64 upgrade”. Note that INSTALL.EXE won't run if it detects Windows 95 (which it does in Win ME, even if the DOS box isn't allowed to detect Windows). (That might be caused by a version check, overridable by SETVER in Win9x, although WinME can't do that as noted in Q250238.)
  • Creative PnP Configuration Manager (Rev 4) “for use with DOS 6.x and Windows 3.1x systems. This file is only applicable to those users who own PnP ISA (Plug and Play) versions of Creative hardware.”
  • There are other files on Creative's site which may be useful. (Or perhaps they are just in the disk?) SB16 for DOS may also have a 95dosapp.exe or so. (Perhaps these files are just included in the latest drivers disk too, though?)
  • Easy MAMECab DOS Sound Drivers has some hyperlinks to some more drivers.

The Sound Blaster was a heavily emulated card series back in the days when an individual product line of sound cards mattered more and operating system drivers mattered less, a set of priorities that changed with the popularity of Microsoft's Windows 95 and successors. Competitors included compatibility with the Create Labs Sound Blaster lines of products. Such cards included Media Vision's Thunderboard, which according to Media Vision was fully Sound Blaster complaint except for enhacements that were only detected and usable if software attempted to ID the card multiple times. Creative Labs later supplied to game authors some drivers that detected the Thunderboard and failed when the enhacements were detected, resulting in Media Vision's next product having separate IRQ and DMA usage so the Sound Blaster compatible portion of the product could be fully compliant. Other SB emulation was sometimes sub-optimal, including the emulation provided by some of Creative Labs's own PCI-based cards.

The VDMSound Project's page on SF, download page, local files

VDMSound for WinNT/2K/XP allows those Windows operating systems to emulate a Sound Blaster even if a totally different sound card is being used. A possibly newer (even though it is over five years old) is 2.1.0 beta for 2K/XP+ from Vogon forum post. hyperlinked download URL for VDMSound 2.1.0.exe. Also there is VDMSound for Win9x download URL, download URL

Audio Codec '97 (AC97)

Developed by Intel Architecture Labs in 1997, there are various versions and so there is not just one simple driver supporting all AC'97 devices. Many motherboards may include AC'97 sound, but drivers may also be needed.

For OpenBSD, the AC'97 codec man page for OpenBSD makes it sound like the AC'97 is designed to be a sub-driver, used by other drivers that support cards directly. For BeOS, there is one AC'97 driver for BeOS for use with many cards from Intel, NVIDIA and SiS. For DOS and Windows, finding one working sound card driver won't necessarily be sufficient for a different AC'97 system.

On some pages about chipsets, like the Chipset audio driver information, Intel gives some useful information: "Due to the variety of different AC'97 codecs that are available, Intel does not offer AC'97 reference audio drivers for public download." They refer customers to the manufacturers of the motherboards, modems, and sound cards that contain the chips. Some more information on the page that may be useful is that there are "2 components - an Audio Codec '97 (AC'97) digital controller, which is built into the I/O Controller Hub (ICH) of the chipset, and a AC'97 codec, which is the analog component of the architecture." Audio Codec page references the old Audio Codec '97 page that now simply redirects to the page of Intel High Definition Audio (HD Audio), the newer technology that replaces AC'97.

Some of the different Chipsets appear to be:

vsyncmame has some DOS drivers. Scitech's SNAP directory has the graphical SNAP (unrelated) and snapaudio, the latter of which is apparently a DOS driver.

The following are audio codec manufacturers. They will not significantly help when searching for drivers: Find out what other company made the audio controller as that is what the driver will need to be made for.

Realtek says (in question 3 of Realtek Sound/AC'97 Audio Codecs FAQ) that it is an audio codec manufacturer, which the FAQ distinguishes from the audio controller in the chipset provided by chipset manufacturers. (This is why the Realtek name may be seen with other AC'97 names like VIA and SiS.) Realtek takes credit for supplying sound blaster emulation for DOS programs running under a Windows DOS box.
STAC references the STAC9### codec (with a four digit number in the 9000 range) by AMD chips.
forum post referenced this.
Less common cards

Media Vision's Pro Audio Spectrum 16, ESS, some AC97 card(s), and other cards may appear in the Less Common Sound Cards page.

Sound systems
Many sound systems
The Advance Projects Sound Drivers really describe sound systems (which are like drivers, but which support a wide variety of cards).
Audio Interface Library
Another sound system is the Audio Interface Library (AIL). Gravis used the usage of this system to add support for their card to games that use AIL. There are at least two varieties of AIL. One uses *.MDI and *.DIG files, and the other uses A32*.DLL files.
Misc driver(s)
Volumouse can allow volume levels (and screen brightness) to be controlled with a mouse that has a scroll wheel. I made some zip files and have the software stored in 8.3-style filenames locally.
Fast ROM Emulation
Q199030 reveals that part of Windows 98's "Fast ROM emualtion" (in the Screen tab of a DOS prompt) may involve intercepting some PC speaker beeps and causing it to play the default sound (specified by going from the STart Menu to Settings, then Control Panel, and then the Sounds applet, and then under Events the Default sound is ding.wav). This can be noticed by pressing Ctrl-G in a command prompt. The Q190030 doesn't mention that restarting the MS-DOS Prompt window may be required in order to have the change be effective.