LGR – Evolution of PC Audio – As Told by Secret of Monkey Island

LGR – Evolution of PC Audio – As Told by Secret of Monkey Island

Computer audio has come quite a way since 1981. Here is a short video I made comparing the major steps from the PC speaker to Adlib on up to today’s chips! At least, from the perspective of the Lucasarts classic, The Secret of Monkey Island.

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Monkey Island was chosen due to its having a wide breadth of versions of the same song, as compared to many other games which didn’t support this many cards. The final version of the song is from the recent “Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition” on PC/360/PS3 – recorded using live instruments, NOT the CD-ROM version from the early nineties. See the menu it was taken from here:

Some clips recorded by me, others from Crossfire Designs

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  1. BtizeF200
    BtizeF200 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Yet I prefer the adlib all those years ago. It just sounds are so well balanced.

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  2. I am Not A Number
    I am Not A Number 15 January, 2022, 00:16
  3. John King
    John King 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    At some point wave table synthesis started being used instead of FM synthesis for music on the PC. I don't remember what year that was but it seemed like a huge step up at the time.

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  4. ropersonline
    ropersonline 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    This video suggests there was separate CMS / Game Blaster audio, but not separate Sound Blaster audio (other than AdLib). I wonder if that was in fact the case?

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  5. A Jim Fan
    A Jim Fan 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    We're that many songs actually composed for those different audio benchmarks, or was their so kind of algorithm that compromised the audio based on the sound card in use?

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  6. Deneteus
    Deneteus 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    There was no printer port sound devices lol.

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  7. Mr. Whiskers
    Mr. Whiskers 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    I dislike the CD because it misunderstands the piece, the soundcards played audio but the CD plays actual instruments Wich in my mind strays from the original

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  8. Farish
    Farish 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    11 years later…

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  9. Miguel Baptista
    Miguel Baptista 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    MT-32 followed close by Adlib, and in a distant third…… the PC Speaker.

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  10. Paul Hammons
    Paul Hammons 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Bad ass man

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  11. Jonathan R.
    Jonathan R. 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Nice video Clint!

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  12. fyrstikken
    fyrstikken 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    I got this very nice 2021 BrainBlaster, makes me voices in my head

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  13. hamberq
    hamberq 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    I'm very surprised how close is Gravis Ultrasound to Roland. I remember very well the hype on Gravis and I even owned GUS PnP 🙂

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  14. Nathan's Stuff
    Nathan's Stuff 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Stereo sound in 1987 PC hardware huh?

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  15. madmancheg
    madmancheg 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    1K GET! You are Awesome!!!!! My childhood in 3 minutes! =)))

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  16. Dennis
    Dennis 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Most will agree the mt32 is best, but I think everyone will agree the Gravis sounds terrible

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  17. 98of99
    98of99 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    While the GUS and Roland cards add some extra effects I feel the AdLib has the fullest, most distinct and recognizable sound for vintage PC games. It had the largest impact on the PC sound scene, much that came after was incremental improvement at best with the exception of the GUS on games and demos that fully utilized it – which were few.

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  18. Richard Adams
    Richard Adams 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Very creative, Clint. Imagine how the composer of the music felt as the technology allowed the same basic music to continue improving.

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  19. Всеволод Дзюба
    Всеволод Дзюба 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Roland LAPC-1/MT-32 1:22 sound like a music of second half of 80th. Very interested sound. Unique sound. I want to buy this sound card, but it's very very rary thing.

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  20. vikingfortiesfaeroes
    vikingfortiesfaeroes 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Reducing the main melody to xylophone only on the CD version was a big mistake

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  21. Borko Rusev
    Borko Rusev 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    What sound card was used to achieve the CD audio quality in 1994?

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  22. SilentStorm1172
    SilentStorm1172 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Back when manufactures made their own remixes.

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  23. Mike Mayer
    Mike Mayer 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Ten years later and I still come back to this video every so often. The Monkey Island theme is infectious in every form. Thanks Clint!

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  24. Michael Menges
    Michael Menges 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Was it me, or did the CD quality sound the worst of all???

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  25. Steffen Nilsen
    Steffen Nilsen 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    The IBM PC speaker sounds so stressed when trying to achieve polyphony trough its paltry 1bit interface

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  26. Ethan Machac
    Ethan Machac 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Why do I kind of like the GameBlaster version?

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  27. Anthony Quigley
    Anthony Quigley 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    adlib and mt-32 best

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  28. PrinceJack
    PrinceJack 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Is this all the same midi file just rendered by different sound cards?

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  29. djbassaus
    djbassaus 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Love the MT-32, so smooth.

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  30. Mercury13kiev
    Mercury13kiev 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Кто так ремастерил звук, что музыка CD-качества оставила бит, но потеряла мелодию?

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  31. JDM-Spirit-Gamer
    JDM-Spirit-Gamer 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    Mt32, SCC 1, and cd quality audio was the best

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  32. xp xp
    xp xp 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    excellent demo

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  33. Planktonyeijk
    Planktonyeijk 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    I like the Game Blaster version the most somehow. The bassiness of it (is that a word?). With MT32 as a close 2nd.

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  34. Thomas Hansen
    Thomas Hansen 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    It also shows how much the x86 was behind the other computersystems. It took half a decade plus some to surpass the Vic-20/C64, so that SID-chip in the C64 really was something back in the '80s. And then it took further 2-3 years, before the Amiga was surpassed with the CD-quality sounds. By then most of the other systems has disappeared anyway, and only the x86 as a big market seller was left. Since then the x86 and the consoles has ruled the markets, but sound in games really hasn't moved much further (I'm not sure how much sound in games can be enhanced by now anyway – i mean… you only have the frequency, amplitude and direction to play with anyway).

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  35. Ricardo Barros
    Ricardo Barros 15 January, 2022, 00:16

    I still have it in use on my computers: X-Fi Titanium HD, Audigy 2 ZS Gold, Live! 5.1 Digital. Great cards.

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