Ad Lib

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Ad Lib, Inc.
Ad Lib.png
Founded 1987?
Closed 1994
Headquarters Quebec City, Canada

Ad Lib, Inc. was a Canadian manufacturer of sound cards and other computer equipment. Their most popular sound card, the AdLib became the first de facto standard for video game audio in the PC market thanks to Sierra Online popularizing it. However, the company was too slow to release a more advanced sound card and lost their market majority to the Sound Blaster by Creative Labs. By the time Ad Lib released their follow up sound card, the AdLib Gold 1000, a better Sound Blaster was already out and at a cheaper price.

Ad Lib was unable to compete and declared bankruptcy on May 1st, 1992. There were several bids for Ad Lib's assets, including from Mediatrix Peripherals who eventually hired some of the old Ad Lib staff. However, it was German conglomerate Binnenalster GmbH, who made the successful bid and created Ad Lib MultiMedia, Inc.

Ad Lib MultiMedia sold the remaining AdLib Gold 1000 cards and went on to produce two other sound cards to little fanfare prompting Binnenalster to sell AdLib Multimedia to Softworld Taiwan in 1994.


These are the games that credit the music and/or sound to Ad Lib. This may be a possible alias of Derek Schofield.

Released Title Sample
1989-??-?? The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge (DOS)

Music Development

Audio Formats

Ad Lib developed the following file formats to use with their sound cards:

Released Formats Notes
1987-??-?? ROL, INS With first release of AdLib Visual Composer
1988-06-29 MUS (AdLib), SND (AdLib) To compile music from ROL & INS formats
1989-01-?? BNK An update to AdLib Visual Composer v1.5
1989-05-08 MDI To compile music from ROL & BNK

Audio Personnel

Ad Lib sold various music disks that featured music arranged into the ROL format. This music was arranged by personnel at Ad Lib, though their identity has not yet been discovered. The 'Ad Lib Inc.' name has also appeared in some video games such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge! (DOS).


Sound Devices

Released Sound Card Audio Chips
1987-??-?? AdLib YM3812
1992-??-?? AdLib Gold 1000 YMF262, 12-bit stereo DAC
199?-??-?? MSC 16/32 QS1000, CS4236
199?-??-?? ASB 32/64 CS9233, CS4232, CS8905


Ad Lib wrote the following programs to function with their sound cards:

Released Software Notes
1987-??-?? AdLib Juke Box Bundled with the sound card.
1987-??-?? AdLib Visual Composer First release of the ROL editor.
1988-06-29 AdLib Convert, AdLib Play Converts ROL to MUS (AdLib) and plays MUS.
1989-01-?? AdLib Visual Composer v1.5 Used new BNK format.
1989-01-?? Bank Manager Command line BNK modifier. Included with later versions of bundled software and AdLib Visual Composer.
1989-??-?? Play ROL Command line ROL player.
1989-05-08 ROL to MIDI, MIDI Play Converts ROL to MDI and plays MDI.