Getting Sound working on Compaq Deskpro 4/33I

edited July 2017 in Hardware
A few months ago I bought this lovely 486 off Ebay for my birthday. I picked it because I say it had on board sound and came with the hard drive with some software and Win 3.1 on it.
When I received the machine, I quickly learned that while it had DOS 6.0 and Win 3.1 on it, the sound had not been set up in DOS or Windows.

After doing some sleuthing on the motherboard I learned that the "Compaq Business Audio" this machine has is supposed to be similar to the "Windows Sound system".(Has the same ADP1848JP chip). This is supposed to Sound blaster compatible, but most of what I've read people can only get it to work under a DOS prompt, not actual DOS. This wont work for me as a lot of the games I want to run wont run under Windows.

What I am going to try when I get home today.

The SET BLASTER settings in the AUTOEXEC.BAT are typically A220 I5 D1 T1 for a sound blaster compatible, however the CBA's address is at 537 and the interrupt is set for 10, so if I'm right, I should try


And Ill install the drivers for a sound blaster normally.

I respond back on how this goes.

I'm making this post as a reference for anyone else trying to do this.


  • That was a failure I should have seen coming. When trying to install the sound blaster drivers, the installation insisted on trying to detect the card. And of course it can only look at 220,240,260 and 280. Not 537 like set in the Bios.

    After working on this for the past few months I'm half tempted to give up and buy a soundblaster.

    Next thing to try is installing the Windows 3.1 drivers for the Windows Sound System.
  • So I found the drivers for the Microsoft sound system on Vogons. Once getting that installed the installation actually recognized it as Compaq audio. Which is great.

    The installation came with Wssxlat.exe, which is supposed to allow sound blaster compatibility in DOS. But only for digital sound, not FM or Wavetable Synthesis. I'm not an expert on DOS sound but I don't think any of the DOS games I have use digital sound.They all use FM synthesis,I think. Not one single sound out of any games.

    I'll keep working on it and post if I get anything else to work. I'll also post a link to the drivers on Vogons for anyone else that is trying to do this.
  • They'd use digital sound for sound effects. IIRC, WSS cards often had real OPL3s, so FM should be nice.
  • So I came to the unfortunate conclusion last night that using Compaq's built in soundboard to play most DOS games simply isn't going to be possible. :cry:

    The reason for this? Total lack of an OPL chip of any form. While the WSS board has a YMF262 chip, the Compaq does not.

    Unless I've missed something and the AD1848 chip can emulate this, You cant be Soundblaster compatiable.

    I came to this conclusion after trying to install the original Soundblaster drivers while in Soundblaster compatibility mode. It's the only program to give me more helpful error messages than just "Detection: Failed!". It showed as having interrupt issues, which I found from another forum that it may be a conflict from the parallel port. So I disabled all of the parallel and serial ports in the bios and this fixed the interrupt issue. But then the issue remained where the sound card could not be found at 220h. And that's what I have it set to with WSSLAT.exe. This led me to believe that something physically was missing. There was some reason that the WSSLAT was relating data to something that isn't there.

    So, for now, I give up. Ive ordered an ESS Audiodrive 1868 off eBay and all will be well in my audio world.

    Links for persons interested.

    VOGONS thread about WSS

    Direct link to WSS drivers

    VCFed thread about Sound blaster emulation
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