Sound Blaster

From Video Game Music Preservation Foundation Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Sound Blaster
Sound Blaster 1.0 - Box - Front.jpg
Developer: Creative Labs, Inc.
Released: 1989-??-??
Type: Sound Card
Slot: ISA
Icon - Sound Blaster.png
Platforms: Platform - DOS.pngPlatform - W16.png

The Sound Blaster is a sound card released by Creative Labs near the end of 1989, and the first by the company to use FM Synthesis for generating audio. The card proved immensely successful and laid the foundation for the Sound Blaster hardware standard. The card was released as an 8-bit ISA card, used a Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2) audio chip, and had a single-channel digital PCM DAC. The Sound Blaster featured a microphone jack, line-out jack, volume dial, and a DA-15 game port.

The Sound Blaster came with bundled software including Talking Parrot (which would repeat anything you say into the microphone, as well as several pre-recorded sayings), Intelligent Organ (an "organ" that uses your PC keyboard to play notes), and VoxKit (a VOC editor). It also included several example songs which have been recorded here.

Several versions of the Sound Blaster were released during its lifespan. The early versions were backward compatible with the Creative Music System / Game Blaster, but later versions removed this capability.


CTT 1320

CTT 1320

A prototype of the Sound Blaster was released to various game developers in the mid-1980s with the title, "Killer Card." The board had a model number of CTT 1320. The SAA1099 chips, the OPL2, and the DSP were all soldered onto the board and blacked out to prevent identification from rivals. A sticker on the back promises that a trial board would be out, but it is not known if any other test boards were distributed before the Sound Blaster was released.



Now commonly referred to as the Sound Blaster 1, the CT-1320A board was released in late-1989. In order to be fully backward compatible with the Creative Music System, it had two Philips SAA1099 chips built onto the board. Creative described the original Sound Blaster as a "24-voice all-in-one sound card," 12 voices from the SAA1099 chips, 11 from the YM3812, and one from the DAC. This was a little dishonest because, while it may have been possible to use all 24 channels at once, no game ever did.

The bundled software included Talking Parrot and VoxKit, but the Intelligent Organ used the SAA1099 chips, not the OPL2.



Now commonly referred to as the Sound Blaster 1.5, the CT-1320B board was released in 1990. In order to cut costs, the Sound Blaster 1.5 lacked the SAA1099 chips which made the device backward compatible with the Creative Music System. However, the boards did come with two empty sockets where chips purchased from Creative Labs could be inserted, making the board backward compatible once more.

Also on the B boards, the DSP chip is socketed and can be replaced by the owner for version 2 chips sold by Creative Labs. The version 2 chips supported auto-initializing DMA. This chips became standard on the Sound Blaster 2, but some of the later model Sound Blaster 1.5 came with them installed for free.

The 1.5 bundled software included Talking Parrot, VoxKit, a new Intelligent Organ which now used the OPL2, and Dr. Sbaitso, a weak chatbot psychologist that used text-to-speech.



The 1320C is a minor revision to the B board, very little changed in the release.


In 1991, Creative Labs released a redesigned Sound Blaster board.


Picture Gallery


Document Download Notes
Original Product Disks v1.5 Download - (info) Includes both 3.5" and 5.25" disks.

Emulation Status

The Sound Blaster is fully emulated in DOSBox. Aside from "pure" emulators, Windows 32-bit NTVDM subsystem also emulates the card's DAC without any problems.

See Also