Ensoniq Soundscape S-2000

Ensoniq Soundscape S-2000

Ensoniq Soundscape S-2000

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Soundscape S-2000 was Ensoniq's first direct foray into the PC sound card market. The card arrived on the market in 1994. It is a full-length ISA digital audio and wavetable synthesis device, equipped with a 2 MiB Ensoniq-built ROM-based patch set. The card's analog audio quality is superior to many cards of the time.

Hardware overview

The card uses an 'OTTO' synthesizer chip with a companion 'Sequoia' chip for MIDI duties, along with a Motorola 68EC000 8 MHz controller (low-cost variant of 68000) and a small amount of RAM. Note that although it has RAM, the card does not support uploading of sound samples for the synthesizer. With a coprocessor on the sound card, host CPU overhead is tangibly reduced. This was a marketed feature of the card, in fact, and was mentioned on the box and in advertisements. Digital audio conversion to analog output was handled by an Analog Devices codec. Soundscape S-2000's MIDI synthesizer lacks an effects processor, meaning digital effects, such as reverb and chorus, are not supported. Without these effects, the sound samples were often described as "dry". The quality of the samples themselves still earned the card good reviews, however.

The card carries a variety of CD-ROM interfaces. Support for so many interfaces was necessary because, at this point in time, proprietary interfaces were the only connectivity for CD-ROM drives. The adoption of the ATAPI standard, along with the Serial ATA standard of today, has removed this burden...
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