Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Blaster Board – highly compatible Sound Blaster playback

This is a blaster board created by Labs in Latvia. It’s a #DIY #ISA card, which is compatible to #Soundblaster 2.0 and #Adlib.
Contrary to its ancestor, it sports a high audio quality with much less noise coming from the bus, and supports up to 96Khz sample rate, which could easily transfer your good ol’ #286 into a mosquito repellant.
It’s based on an #Atmel ATmega328P as well as an original #Yamaha YM3812 – also known as #OPL2.
The 328P is a #Risc processor, which could run circles around your #386 with its up to 16 MIPS! (386/16: 2.15 MIPS)

The Labs Blaster Board is a kit to build your own Sound Blaster compatible card!

So this is the fully assembled #Blasterboard, which is #Soundblaster 2.0 compatible and fits in every #ISA or #XT slot. It took about 4 hours to fully assemble it.
When connected, I was really astonished how clean its sound was! Even though it is 8 bits, no distortions and no bus crackling (opposed to an original SB 2.0 and a Protac Thunderboard). Its creator claims 94 dB SNR, which is nothing to sneeze at! (Though it only makes sense for the attachable CD audio)
It cannot record, nor can it handle #MIDI nor joysticks, but it can mix #pcpeaker and #cdaudio, and each source can be adjusted on its back via potentiometers – which can also control sample and OPL volume separately.
If you want to assemble your own one, contact Labs on

Does it work?

Sure it does! It appears that it is compatible with the majority of games, demos and software I could throw at it – for example Monkey Island, Stunts, Scream Tracker 3, SoundLib 2 and many more games and programs. There were a few – very exotic – that either didn’t detect the card or had issues, but it’s likely you don’t even know them (Coldcut Demo, Dunkle Schatten). However, Eugene, the creator, received the list and is currently eagerly working on a firmware update (which the card can handle as well).

Look ma, no computer!

It’s a Sony – Walkman. But no usual, but one that records #cassettes! The #Sony WM-D6C is capable of recording to ferro, metal and chrome #tape. It’s a professional machine, and offers line in, line out, a microphone jack, a #quartz controlled drive mechanism, speed fine tune control, #LED based VU meter, as well as #Dolby B and C noise reduction – in a package that can still be carried with you!

Who would use it?

It was preferably used by reporters, but also enabled the first #bootleg recordings because of its high fidelity. You can shake it and it would still maintain its speed!
I never liked tape technology much, especially not as storage media, but this one device solves many of its flaws and brought an audio quality I never knew from tape decks.
#retro #cassette #oldschool #classic #music #recording #80s #90s #mixtape #itsasony