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Windows Sound System

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Title: Windows Sound System  
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Subject: Adaptive differential pulse-code modulation, Gravis Ultrasound, Sound cards, Windows 3.0, Mpxplay
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Windows Sound System

Windows Sound System (WSS) was a sound card specification developed by Microsoft released at the end of 1992 for Windows 3.1. WSS featured support for up to 16-bit 48 kHz digital sampling, better than the contemporary Sound Blaster Pro. Also, the WSS featured RCA analog audio outputs, an uncommon feature among sound cards of this era.

The WSS 1.0a drivers released in February 1993, introduced single-mode DMA, supports games in MS-DOS, supports Ad Lib and Sound Blaster emulation.
The WSS 2.0 drivers released in October 1993, supports OEM sound cards also (Media Vision, Creative Labs, ESS Technology), improved DOS driver, WSSXLAT.EXE, that provided Sound Blaster 16 compatibility for digital sampling. However, they did not provide support for FM or wavetable synthesis.

Much like today's Intel High Definition Audio, the actual hardware was standardized as well. WSS was based on Analog Devices AD1848 codec chip with Yamaha OPL3 (YMF262-M) FM synthesis sound chip.

References

  • Comparing Features of Windows Sound System 1.0, 1.0a, and 2.0, Microsoft
  • Contents of the Windows Sound System 1.0 README.TXT, Microsoft
  • Analog Devices supports Microsoft's new Windows Sound System, September 21, 1992 TheFreeDictionary.com
  • Microsoft Windows Sound System soundcards, YJFY Computer Component Museum


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