Back to the past: BeOS multimedia machine (help for audio card)

Hi, a decade is passed since i had a machine with Pentium 3, where BeOS 5.0.3 was installed. One of the evident things that I remember was the multimedia ability, especially (since I worked as sound technician) in the low-latency of the audio side.
Well, yesterday I installed again BeOS (developer edition, based on 5.0.3) on an old laptop, due nostalgia and the will to see again a responsive system in terms of multimedia capabilities. Everything works fine, except for one thing:
As we can see in the following screenshot, in the Media Preflet of BeOS I have the ability to choose the buffer size, from 64 (which could give me a 1,7 ms seconds - ! - of latency) till 2048. Well: if I attempt to choose any value, this option will switch back again to 512, as if the preferences were unable to save. Obviously i have selected “Use real-time audio”, and I’ve also tried to add the value “export OVERRIDE_AUDIO_BUFFER_FRAME_COUNT=128” to the UserSetupEnvironment file, but without success. The audio card is an AC97 and is using the ich_ac97 driver.

Any hints?

If I remember correctly, the AC97 driver was quite a difficult area and did not implement all the functionality normally required in an audio driver. Setting buffer count may well be among the missing functions which would result in the behaviour you observe.

Thank you, this make sense.
In anyway seems that the following link contains the source code for that driver: /src/add-ons/kernel/drivers/audio/ac97/ich/
(this is 1.8 version; on BeOS I have the 1.7 version) quickly looking at the code, I can see two interesting entries:
“BUFFER_SIZE” set as 2048 with 4 times frame count and another entry named “BUFFER_FRAME_COUNT” instead of “AUDIO_BUFFER_FRAME_COUNT”. I’ve tried to compile this driver under BeOS, but without success, so maybe is not the same.

Do you know if BeOS supports PCMCIA audio cards? Maybe I can try with this kind of card, since on the laptop I can’t install PCI cards :slight_smile:

Many thanks.

Very faint memory regarding PCMCIA - I know that some network cards were in fact supported but I don’t know if sound card drivers for PCI cards would also scan and service similar cards regarding chipset on the PCMCIA bus.

So, there isn’t any chance to get a fully working audio card on this laptop with BeOS? Obviously I exclude usb from the list; the other optional port is a parallel port.
I think that the only possibility is to get an old Desktop pc with a compliant Sound Blaster Live (as i had in past with BeOS)!

I would suggest a Roland UA-100 interface, easily found on ebay. The drivers were on the R5 Pro disc, and there was a third party mixer/controller that was very nice. It works beautifully with Be (but not with Haiku).

It’s cool :slight_smile:

But… Wait. Here: I read that has an USB interface. So BeOS has some support for some USB audio devices?

However I’ve seen these pages:


But these drivers and applications are no longer available; besides were also experimental, so I can’t be sure to be able to enjoy this audio interface on BeOS…

Ok, I’ve found the drivers and the control panel for the Roland UA-100 on BeOS:

The control panel also needs some files from the official driver of Roland.
The instructions are available here:

The UA-100 control panel on BeOS (this ain’t my installation):

click to enlarge

There were drivers for the Echo Indigo IO and Indigo DJ PCMCIA cards but I seem to remember them not working. I could try get R5 going on an old machine here to see - I have an Indigo DJ sitting in front of me, but that’s a Christmas Day project.

At least, these cards seems to be supported by Haiku: haiku/src/add-ons/kernel/drivers/audio/echo/echo.cpp at master · haiku/haiku · GitHub but I’m not sure if the PCMCIA version is supposed to be supported.
Did you remember where were available, BeOS’s drivers? I cannot find them.

Thank you.

Some news about the situation: I’ve bought an old PC with a Pentium 3 Tualatin @ 1400 Mhz, 768 MB of RAM and a SB Live sound card. Well… BeOS is very impressive: I am able to achieve a very short latency: 0,25 ms! And it works without audio glitches! The only “issue” is that the SB Live, under BeOS, doesn’t provide a Midi I/O interface. But I have the ability to buy a Roland UA-100 audio interface for a very good price. Someone is able to tell me, how this audio interface work under BeOS? I’ve also found the drivers and the control panel. Just two needs: i wish to record audio @ 48 Khz and I’d like to keep a low audio latency. Some impression?

Many thanks.