Guillemot Maxi Sound 64 Home Studio

Guillemot Maxi Sound 64 Home Studio

The Maxi Sound 64 hosts two sound solutions on a single board. As codec a Crystal CS4236 is used and for music there is a Digital Sound processor from Dream, the SAM9407. The 9407 denotes the introduction date in July 1994 and it was advertised as Sound Studio on a single chip. Brief specifications list a 64 channel polyphony, multi timbral on 16 channels, 8 reverb and/or 8 chorus variations per channel, four channel parametric equalizer and surround sound capable with two stereo outputs. For direct digital playback the Dream chip offers 8 simultaneous wave devices and one simultaneous record device. There is a dynamic noise filter and effects can also applied on the recording channel.
The equalizer and surround can be applied to MIDI, Wave, CD, Line-In and Microphone. Reverb, Chorus, Delay, Flanger are useable on each Wave or Midi track, also pitch on the Wave tracks. Echo and Reverb can be applied in realtime on the inputs.
The card brings a 4 MB ROM with a sound font that is closely related to the sound font of the Roland Sound Canvas. It is GM and GS compatible. Additionally it is possible to plug up to 16 MB RAM for custom sound fonts as PS/2 SIMM. It should be mentioned that with all features enables the Dream chip polyphony is reduced to 34 channels. There exists a program (dspconf.exe) for Windows 9x to disable not needed features to gain polyphony. In DOS with the default firmware it is very likely that the actual polyphony is 34 channels.
The Crystal codec is capable of max. 16 bit, 64 kHz playback and record. In DOS it is compatible to SB 2.0, SB Pro, WSS, FM Synthesis and controls the external MPU-401 port as well as the Waveblaster connector.
So far so good...
Guillemot uses the default firmware for the Dream and drivers that are based on the reference drivers from Dream released in 1994 prior Windows 95. There exists also Windows 9x drivers though that map the functionality to the 16 bit driver. The Dream chip can run also custom firmwares like on the Terratec EWS64XL but Guillemot didn't took this path. It is not possible to load the EWS64XL firmware on the Maxi Sound 64.
For the configuration of the Maxi Sound 64 Home Studio first the Crystal Codec gets configured. The tool CS4232C.EXE is run for this. It is a common tool for all Crystal codecs since CS4232. The configuration is given in CWDAUDIO.INI (or CS4232.INI with some versions of this tool) which is a text file. The desired resources can be entered there. The resources for Sound Blaster Int, DmaPlay and DmaCapture have to be identical to the ones used for WSS. The setting CDIO and CDInt refers to the resources where the Dream SAM9407 appears, typically IO 330 and Int 9. When CS4232C.EXE is called without parameter it tries to configure the card according to the ISA-PnP profiles saved on the card. With /O/C it is forced to use the desired setting from the CWDAUDIO.INI file.

After this the Dream chip is visible at port 330 and can be configured with 94DINIT.EXE. This tool loads the firmware, sets the soundfont and switches the chip to UART mode to receive MIDI notes. The notation is 94DINIT F=firmware S=Sound_Bank_name P=port. The defaults for 94dinit are 'gm94' for firmware, '4mg1' for sound bank and '330' for port. The extension bin and 94b for firmware and sound bank have to be left out. However the ROM sound bank of the card already counts as a loaded sound font and prevents loading any to the RAM. So the line looks like this:
94DINIT.EXE F=94pc4m1 S=rom P=0x330

All of the programs can be found here. It is recommended to issue also a General Midi reset to the Dream chip before using it in a game. This can be done with GSPLAY GM. (if it reports an error, issue a a reset twice).
For custom sound fonts it is recommended to boot up Windows 9x and run the game then in a DOS window. There is also a driver available for Windows NT4 and Win2K/XP. For Win9x and Win NT4 exists a graphical tool to set all available card parameters (effects, EQ, Surround and so on.) and to load multiple sound fonts.
It is also worth to mention that MOD4WIN has native support for the SAM9407 chip as the player is from the same programmer (Kay Bruns) who worked on the driver for Terratecs EWS64XL.


Dream SAM9407 documentation