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Old 21st April 2009, 07:16 PM   #1
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Post Frequently Asked Questions for SB AWE64/AWE 64 Gold

Frequently Asked Questions for SB AWE64/AWE 64 Gold

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Frequently Asked Questions for SB AWE64/AWE 64 Gold
================================================== =

This is a frequently asked question document for the Creative
SB AWE64/AWE64 Gold sound cards. In this document, SB AWE64
and SB AWE64 Gold are collectively known as SB AWE64 unless
otherwise specify. If you have a question, please check this
file before calling Creative Technical Support as you may find
the answer contained in this document.

This FAQ is organized into the following sections:

[A] SB AWE64 in General
[B] SoundFont(TM) Banks
[C] How do I ...

Before you continue ...

This document assumes you have a basic understanding of how
MIDI works, the different MIDI messages, and how your MIDI
sequencer works. If you are not familiar with these topics,
please consider consulting a friend who has experience with
MIDI, or consulting books on MIDI.

Contents
========

Section A - SB AWE64 in general
-------------------------------
1. How does SB AWE64 differ from the SB AWE32/SB32?
2. What are the differences between AWE64 and AWE64 Gold?
3. Can I upgrade the memory on my SB AWE64 card?
4. What are the uses of the DRAM on the SB AWE64?
5. Would adding DRAM to the SB AWE64 increase the performance
of WAVE file editing or manipulation?
6. What MIDI sequencers will work with SB AWE64? Are special
drivers required?
7. What is 'CC0' documented in Appendix of SB AWE64 manual?
How are these variation tones accessed?
8. What 'drum kits' are available in GS mode?
9. Does the SB AWE64 respond to MIDI Aftertouch?
10. My PC system does not have a working NMI. What can I do to
use AWEUTIL?
11. Is there a WaveBlaster upgrade option on the SB AWE64?
12. Is it possible to load AWEUTIL into high memory?
13. Does AWEUTIL have to stay memory resident?
14. Will software written for the SB AWE32 work with the SB
AWE64?
15. What are the different reverb and chorus variations
available on the SB AWE64?

Section B - SoundFont Bank
--------------------------
1. What are SoundFont collections?
2. How do SoundFont banks work?
3. What can I do with SoundFont Banks?
4. Will having more memory on the SB AWE64 improve the sound
quality ?

Section C - How Do I ...
------------------------
1. How do I make use of RPN documented in the SB AWE64 MIDI
Implementation chart?
2. How do I select the SB AWE64's reverb and chorus variation
type through MIDI?
3. How can I maximize my system's memory so that I still have
plenty of room to run games after installing the SB AWE64?
4. How do I load a SoundFont bank?
5. How do I setup my sequencer software to access the user
bank that I have downloaded into the RAM ?
6. How do I get the latest drivers for the SB AWE64?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Section A - SB AWE64 in general
===============================

1. How does SB AWE64 differ from the SB AWE32/SB32?

The SB AWE64 has additional 32 polyphony compare to SB
AWE32/SB32. The EMU8000 synthesizer that is used on SB AWE64
and SB AWE32 family cards provide up to 32 polyphony. The
additional 32 polyphony is implemented using Creative
WaveSynth/WG.


2. What are the differences between AWE64 and AWE64 Gold?

Below is a simplify comparison chart between these two
cards :

AWE64 AWE64 Gold
===== ==========
1)SPDIF connector No Yes
2)Onboard RAM 0.5 MB 4 MB
3)Power Amp Yes No
4)Line Out Yes No
5)RCA out No Yes


3. Can I upgrade the memory on my SB AWE64 card?

The Sound Blaster AWE64 has memory header socket that
allow user to upgrade special memory module by Creative. It
can be upgraded up to maximum of 28MB RAM.


4. What are the uses of the DRAM on the SB AWE64?

The on-board DRAM is used to hold samples. In GS/MT-32
synthesizer mode, it is used to hold the sound effects of
GS/MT-32. In GM synthesizer mode, the DRAM is free, so it can
hold SoundFont banks containing samples. Applications that
support 3D Positional Audio will download 3D sound sources to
the DRAM also.


5. Would adding DRAM to the SB AWE64 increase the performance
of WAVE file editing or manipulation?

Addition of DRAM to the SB AWE64 will allow you to
accommodate more SoundFont bank data. This, however, will not
increase the performance of WAVE file editing or manipulation
as the latter does not make use of the DRAM on the SB AWE64.


6. What MIDI sequencers will work with SB AWE64? Are special
drivers required?

The AWE package ships with a Windows AWE MIDI driver.
Therefore, the AWE can be used with any Windows based MIDI
sequencer software. For DOS, the sequencer software needs to
have native AWE support.


7. What is 'CC0' documented in Appendix of SB AWE64 manual? How
are these variation tones accessed?

CC0 is short form for Continuous Controller 0 (zero),
which is MIDI Bank Change.

The SB AWE offers Sound Canvas compatibility by including
the user bank instruments found on the Sound Canvas. User bank
instruments are simply instruments of a similar class or
variation. For example, General MIDI instrument number 25 is
the Steel Acoustic Guitar, and its variation is the Ukulele.

A user bank tone is just like any other General MIDI
instrument. Take for example the Ukulele variation tone. Lets
assume you are currently doing MIDI editing under Cakewalk
Apprentice, and you sequenced a track that uses Steel Acoustic
Guitar. You play the track back, and feel that the Steel
Acoustic Guitar does not quite cut it, so you decide to give
Ukulele a try. What you would need to do is to insert a MIDI
bank change of value 8 (the user bank for Ukulele) in that
track, follow immediately by a program change of 25 (Steel
Acoustic Guitar) to select the user bank tone.

What you have just accomplished is to set the MIDI
channel in which the Steel Acoustic Guitar instrument is
playing to the user bank instrument 'Ukulele'.


8. What 'drum kits' are available in GS mode?

A drum kit is a collection of percussive instruments
(snare drum, bass drum, hi-hats) laid across the entire MIDI
keyboard. Under General MIDI, MIDI channel 10 is reserved for
percussion instruments. General MIDI defines only one drum
kit, which is the Standard Kit. Under the 'GM' synth mode of
the SB AWE, channel 10 automatically uses the 'Standard Kit'.
MIDI music would be very boring if everybody used the same
drum kit in every MIDI song. Imagine all MIDI songs using the
same snare drum and the same bass drum, and you will have an
idea of how similar every MIDI song will sound.

Under the 'GS' synth mode of the SB AWE there are 11
(including the Standard Drum Kit) different drum kits you can
use on MIDI Channel 10. These drum kits are:

Name Program Description
Number
Standard/ Standard General MIDI drum kit.
Jazz 0/32 Jazz is similar to the Standard
drum kit.
Room 8 Similar to that of the Standard kit
except that it has more room
ambiance.
Power 16 Again similar to that of the
Standard kit, but with more power
kick and snare drums.
Electronic 24 Electronic drum kit. Most of the
percussion instruments in this drum
kit are reminiscence of old
analogue and digital rhythm
machines (such as the Roland TR-707
and TR-909 rhythm machine)
TR-808 25 Electronic drum kit, reminiscence
of the Roland TR-808 rhythm
machine.
Brush 40 Similar to the Standard kit except
that brushes have been added. This
kit is mostly used for Jazz MIDI
pieces.
Orchestra 48 An immense collection of concert
drums and timpani.
SFX 56 A collection of Sound Effects.
CM-64/32L 127 Same as the Roland MT-32 drum kit.
This drum kit contains standard
percussion at the lower range of
the keyboard, and sound effects at
the higher range of the keyboard.


Drum kits are very easy to access under MIDI. Each drum
kit is essentially an instrument and you select a drum kit by
selecting an instrument, just as if you would select a melodic
instrument. For example, if you want to select the TR-808, all
you have to do is to perform a program change to 25 on MIDI
channel 10. After the program change, all percussion sounds
will be played back through the TR-808 drum kit.


9. Does the SB AWE64 respond to MIDI Aftertouch?

Yes. SB AWE Windows MIDI driver support MIDI Aftertouch.

10. My PC system does not have a working NMI. What can I do to
use AWEUTIL?

One of the most common causes of a system not having a
working NMI is that the systemís memory parity checking has
been turned off. You can check your systemís memory parity
checking status by activating your systemís BIOS setup.
Consult your systemís user manual on how to activate BIOS/CMOS
setup and memory parity checking.

If your system does not have a working NMI or you have a
DOS protected mode game, then you can only play games using FM
music.

Note that this NMI problem only applies to DOS games or
applications, not to Windows games or applications. Under
Windows, all applications play music and sound effects through
the standard SB AWE Windows drivers.


11. Is there a WaveBlaster upgrade option on the SB AWE64?

No. The WaveBlaster was originally created as an upgrade
option for non-wavetable card, such as SB16. It is also meant
as an upgrade option of wavetable card, such as SB AWE32 to
have additional polyphony. With SB AWE which can provide up to
64 polyphony, the WaveBlaster header is no longer needed.


12. Is it possible to load AWEUTIL into high memory?

AWEUTIL automatically searches for high memory and will
attempt to load itself high if enough high memory is
available.


13. Does AWEUTIL have to stay memory resident?

AWEUTIL serves two purposes; to initialize and control
the reverb and chorus effects of the FM hardware on the SB AWE
card, and to provide NMI MIDI Feedback.

AWEUTIL /S

will initialize and set the reverb and chorus effect of
the FM hardware, and then terminate. It will not stay resident
in memory.

If you want to activate NMI MIDI Feedback, then run

AWEUTIL /EM:XX (XX = GM, GS or MT32)

before starting your game.

When you finish the game, remember to run

AWEUTIL /U

to unload AWEUTIL from memory.


14. Will software written for the SB AWE32 work with the SB
AWE64?

Yes. The SB AWE64 is fully compatible with SB AWE32.
Games or application software that support SB AWE32 will be
able to work on SB AWE64.


15. What are the different reverb and chorus variations
available on the SB AWE64?

Reverb and chorus effects add warmth and movement to MIDI
playback. There are eight reverb types and eight chorus types
available on the SB AWE64 when using EMU8000 synthesizer.

Room 1 - 3
This group of reverb variation simulates the natural
ambiance of a room. Room 1 simulates a small room, Room 2
simulates a slightly bigger room, and Room 3 simulates a
big room.

Hall 1 - 2
This group of reverb variation simulates the natural
ambiance of a concert hall. It has greater depth than the
room variations. Again, Hall 1 simulates a small hall,
and Hall 2 simulates a larger hall.

Plate
Back in the old days, reverb effects were sometimes
produced using a metal plate, and this type of reverb
produces a metallic echo. The SB AWE's Plate variation
simulates this form of reverb.

Delay
This reverb produces a delay, that is, echo effect.

Panning Delay
This reverb variation produces a delay effect that is
continuously panned left and right.

Chorus 1 - 4
Chorus produces a 'beating' effect. The chorus effects
are more prominent going from chorus 1 to chorus 4.

Feedback Chorus
This chorus variation simulates a soft 'swishing' effect.

Flanger
This chorus variation produces a more prominent feedback
chorus effect.

Short Delay
This chorus variation simulates a delay repeated in a
short time.

Short Delay (feed back)
This chorus variation simulates a short delay repeated
(feedback) many times.

These effect variations can be selected by the following
sysex messages:

Reverb sysex macro

F0 41 10 42 12 40 01 30 XX 00 F7

where XX denotes the reverb variation to be selected. The
valid values for XX are

00 - Room 1
01 - Room 2
02 - Room 3
03 - Hall 1
04 - Hall 2
05 - Plate
06 - Delay
07 - Panning Delay

Chorus sysex macro

F0 41 10 42 12 40 01 38 XX 00 F7

again, XX denotes the chorus variation to be selected. The
valid values for XX are

00 - Chorus 1
01 - Chorus 2
02 - Chorus 3
03 - Chorus 4
04 - Feedback chorus
05 - Flanger
06 - Short Delay
07 - Short delay (FB)



Section B - SoundFont Bank
==========================

1. What are SoundFont collections?

E-mu SoundFont collections are CD-ROMs that contain
SoundFont banks of varying sizes (0.5 MB to 8 MB). E-mu's
SoundFont banks include both instruments and sound effects.
Many of E-mu's traditional instrument sounds are included (for
example Proteus 1-3) as well as some new sounds.

2. How do SoundFont banks work?

SoundFont banks can be loaded into RAM on the SB AWE64.
They can then be used in conjunction with a MIDI sequencer to
create soundtracks or other kinds of audio creations.


3. What can I do with SoundFont Banks?

You can:

a.Load SoundFont banks of your choice into the RAM of your
SB AWE64 and use this set of sounds as you compose with a
MIDI sequencer.

b.Create your own SoundFont bank with SoundFont objects
from various SoundFont banks you already have using
Vienna SF Studio software.

c.Edit individual SoundFont parameters with Vienna to
create your own version of the sounds and then assemble
your own SoundFont objects into a SoundFont bank.
Creating your own SoundFont objects and banks gives you
the freedom to create your own unique instruments and
sound effects to differentiate your soundtracks.


4. Will having more memory on the SB AWE64 improve the sound
quality ?

The more RAM memory on your SB AWE64, the larger and
fuller the sound samples you can include in your SoundFont
Banks.



Section C - How Do I ...
========================


1. How do I make use of RPN documented in the SB AWE64 MIDI
Implementation chart?

RPN is a short form for 'Registered Parameter Number'.
Registered Parameter Numbers are used to represent sound or
performance parameters. MIDI 1.0 specified three RPNs: RPN 0
for Pitch Bend Sensitivity, RPN 1 for Coarse Tune and RPN 2
for Fine Tune. The SB AWE implements only RPN 0, Pitch Bend
Sensitivity.

Before going into how to set pitch bend sensitivity,
let's go into how pitch bending is used in MIDI. Pitch Bending
is normally used to pitch shift (that is, make the pitch go
higher or lower) a sustained note to achieve a 'pitch gliding'
effect. The default pitch bend sensitivity of the SB AWE is +/-
2 semitones, that is, you can go high or low of the current
note by 2 semitones when using the pitch bend wheel. If you
desire a more dramatic pitch bending effect, then you would
need to change the pitch bend sensitivity to a higher value.

Following are step-by-step instructions to set a pitch
bend sensitivity value other than the default 2 semitones.
Cakewalk Apprentice will be used as an example.

1. Bring up the 'Event List' window for the track you want
to set pitch bend sensitivity.
2. Go to the top of the event list (page up) and insert a
MIDI controller event, with controller number 101 and a
controller value of 0
3. Insert another MIDI Controller event immediately, with
controller number 100 and controller value of 0.
4. Insert another MIDI controller event immediately, with
controller number 6, and set the controller value to
the desired pitch bend sensitivity.


2. How do I select the SB AWE64's reverb and chorus variation
type through MIDI?

You can select the reverb and chorus variation via sysex.
The SB AWE Windows (not DOS) driver recognizes two strings of
sysex; one for selecting reverb variation, and the other for
selecting chorus variation.

Reverb sysex string:
F0 41 10 42 12 40 01 30 XX 00 F7
Where XX indicates the reverb variations (from 0 to 7).

Chorus sysex string:
F0 41 10 42 12 40 01 38 XX 00 F7
Where XX indicates the chorus variation (from 0 to 7).


3. How can I maximize my system's memory so that I still have
plenty of room to run games after installing the SB AWE64?

There are two drivers (CTMMSYS.SYS and CTSB16.SYS) you
can remove from CONFIG.SYS. These two drivers provide digital
playback and recording interface under DOS. They are not used
by the EMU8000 subsystem.

By removing these two drivers, you will not be able to
run PLAY.EXE, RECORD.EXE under DOS, but you will gain
approximately 30K of memory.


4. How do I load a SoundFont bank?
Loading SoundFont Banks is easy. Just use the SB AWE
Windows Control Panel Applet, as follows:

1.Use the up or down arrow keys next to the user bank
number to select the desired bank. A dialog box
appears.

2.Select the directory that contains the *.SBK/*.SF2
files.

3.Double-click the desired file to load it into the
particular user bank.



5. How do I setup my sequencer software to access the user bank
that I have downloaded into the RAM ?

In order for a sequencer software to access the user
bank, you will need to issue MIDI Continuous Controller 0
(which is a MIDI Bank Select) at the channel that you need to
access the instrument. After that, follow by a MIDI Program
Change to select the patch/intrument within the user bank.
Using the SAMPLE.SBK that is bundled with the SB AWE64 as an
example, we will illustrate how this can be done. The patches
contains in SAMPLE.SBK are :

0 - bubble
1 - dog
2 - door
3 - carstop
4 - carpass
5 - laughing
6 - screaming
7 - punch

Supposing that you would like to use the 'door' sound in
Channel 5 of a piece of music. Here is the step-by-step guide
that what you should do :

1. Activate the SB AWE Control Panel
2. Download the SAMPLE.SBK as user bank 1 ( Note : you can
download to any user bank that is empty ranging from 1 to 127.
Bank 0 is ALWAYS reserved for Syhthesizer Bank. )
3. Activate sequencer software
4. Insert MIDI CC0 1 at Channel 5 ( CC0 1 means do a Bank
Select to Bank 1. We do it at Channel 5 since we wish to apply it
to this channel. )
5. Insert MIDI Program Change 2. ( Since 'door' patch number is
2. Please take note of the numbering convention used in your MIDI
sequencer. It can be either from 0-127 OR 1-128. If you are using
numbering convention from 1-128 , then you should do a MIDI
Program Change 3 instead of 2 )

If you do any Note On in Channel 5 now, you will be able
to hear the 'door' sound.


6. How do I get the latest drivers for the SB AWE64?

The latest SB AWE drivers, utilities can be found at the
following sites:

Inside U.S.A., Canada and South America
Creative Labs, Inc. BBS : (405)742-6660

Inside Europe
CL-UK BBS : (44)743-360287
CL-Germany BBS : (49)2131-919820

Inside Asia Pacific
Creative Technology Ltd BBS : (65)776-2423

CompuServe
type GO BLASTER to enter the Creative Labs Forum

Internet
http://www.creaf.com
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