AdLib Music Synthesizer: Main Page

Friday, April 29, 2016

Last Updated: Friday, July 1, 2016

Things posted at the update date are in tildes (~).

Full credits go to Cloudschatze, especially for most of the downloadable content. Source is here.

Adlib Personal Computer Music System Logo


A short summary of the music synth card itself:

The sound card was created by Ad Lib, Inc. in 1987. There are two versions of the card; the original 1987 version had a 1/4" (6.35mm) stereo audio jack, originally meant for composers. The redesigned 1990 version had replaced the 1/4" (6.35mm) stereo audio jack with a 3.5mm stereo audio jack to fit with the current standards (assuming attempts with the USB-C as a standard never happen). The redesign also made the sound card sound less noisy. The FM synth sound chip is a Yamaha YM3812, which is an OPL2 chip capable of producing either 9 individual voices in rhythm mode or 6 melody voices with 5 percussion instruments in percussion mode, like its YM3526 predecessor. The card's interface is 8-bit ISA. It has no digital sound effect capabilities, making this a music-only card, at least technically. Since the parts were freely available, or off the shelf, quite a few clone cards existed since its existence despite eariler attempts to obscure the main sound chip on the original 1987 cards (though their own programmer's manual unwittingly gave some somewhat subtle hints), and a few original clone cards pop up on eBay and other auction sites from time to time.

And a short summary of the (now defunct) company itself:

A Canadian company founded in 1987 by Martin Prevel, a university professor in Quebec at the time, that produced and released sound cards. They were known mostly for the original AdLib Music Synthesizer sound card. Somewhere along the line, a Singapore-based company called Creative Technologies (at the time) was designing their prototype, ironically called the "Killer Card", now known as the Sound Blaster, which was released in late 1989. This took over the hold that Ad Lib had previously. Also, according to Rich Heimlich, there was evidence of anti-competitive behavior by Creative against Ad Lib, Inc. by having their AdLib Gold 1000 continually fail testing until after their Sound Blaster 16 was released. Then, coincidentally, it passed testing. As a result, the AdLib Gold 1000 hadn't sold all that well, and the company subsequently filed for bankruptcy in 1992.



Specs of the sound card.

Song Album Collection
The original AdLib song album collection, which contains music from eight known original albums and two program example sets, making this a total of ten sets and 164 songs, for which one is a duplicate. An ambitious music preservation and recording project. Also the main highlight of this section.

Notes regarding Ad Lib, Inc.'s programs and the card itself.

Downloads of assorted programs and stuff written by Ad Lib, Inc. and others.

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