Often referred to as a GUS
, this PC soundcard
was the premier soundcard for anyone in the mod
scene around 1993 - 1995 because it had expandable onboard memory
up to 1 MB. This not only freed the CPU from mixing, but offloaded sample
memory requirements and made sound programming
considerably easier. Its 32 channels
of sound was usually more than any PC at the time could muster by itself. Each independent channel had 15 panning positions and 4096 volume levels. The GUS also had amplitude envelopes built-in.
The synthesizer was based on wavetable synthesis, as opposed to the SoundBlaster's FM Synthesis. wavetable synthesis, being flexible, could emulate FM synthesis. An emulator was provided so SoundBlaster and Adlib programs could utilize the GUS. This made the card a very powerful (at the time) MIDI-capable synthesizer.
The GUS could record at a maximum of 8-bit stereo 44.1kHz, and playback at 16-bit stereo 44.1kHz. An optional daughterboard allowed recording at 16-bit stereo 44.1kHz. A note about the 32 channels: as the number of channels used went up, the playback quality went down. To play at maximum quality, less than 14 channels could be used. The bottom end, at 32 channels, was 19293 Hz.
The soundcard had 5 slot ports: stereo line in, stereo line out, stereo amplified out, stereo microphone in, game port/midi port. It had 3 ports on the card: CD audio in, daughtercard slot, and memory slots.
As someone who was heavily into composing and playing modules, this card was a godsend. I bought the card along with the obligatory DRAM chips to upgrade to 1 MB. I could now use FastTracker and ScreamTracker to their full extent! My lowly 486 could now handle Second Reality without sweating! I still have the card. It holds a place in my heart.