SBSoundMidi Driver, for SoundBlaster ISA/EISA bus audio cards.<\b> by Stephen Brandon, Music Department, University of Glasgow.

This driver, and the SBMixer application, work together to provide superior audio performance on NeXTSTEP 3.3 and OpenStep 4.2 systems running on Intel based PCs.

The "SBMixer" application interfaces with the driver and controls all internal levels on the card eg external audio in, CD in, audio out, main out, main in. It also controls which of the inputs are routed to the SoundKit audio input.

This driver supplies hooks to allow a MIDI driver to access the external SoundBlaster MIDI port (see below).

Installation help is provided within the Configure application, once the SBSoundMidi driver is loaded.

Supported Hardware:

This driver supports 16-bit Sound Blaster cards, including many "compatible" cards and PnP cards. Used by itself it supports more cards than the 'official' SoundBlaster16 driver, as well as coming with the SBMixer application which allows the user to use all of the mixer functions on the card.

In order to use the MIDI support, you need to get hold of the MusicKit MIDI driver v0.98 (or more recent) that is able to hook into the SBSoundMidi driver and provide both sound and MPU-401 MIDI on the one card. As yet, the on-board synthesizer on SoundBlaster cards is not supported.

Stephen Brandon
Systems Administrator,
Department of Music,e-mail:
14 University Gardens,(NeXT mail welcomed)
University of Glasgow,Tel: +44 (0)141 330 6065
Glasgow.Fax:+44 (0)141 330 3518
G12 8QH

Leigh Smith writes:
I've submitted the MusicKit build I have on tomandandy's ftp site to SoftTrak. I'll update the URL's to eventually point back to CCRMA's page. In addition to the major contribution by Stephen, thanks go to Keith Hamel and everyone else who has helped in the OpenStep port or downloaded the code.

Note: As I write, the SoftTrak application is currently still pending.

-- Leigh Smith (MIME)
+1-212-334-0421 (W) +1-212-334-0422 (F)
89 Greene St. New York, NY 10012, USA


The 4.2 release of the Music Kit is now available free of charge via FTP at the following URLs:

Music Kit package
Music Kit source pakcage (you only need this if you are developing the Music Kit itself.
Above packages in easier-to-load chunk format
Music Kit release 4.2 release notes

This release is compatible with NEXTSTEP software releases 3.2 and later on NeXT and Intel-based hardware. Also, Music Kit programs that are compiled under NEXTSTEP can run on OPENSTEP for Intel and NeXT hardware.

Release 4.2 is an incremental release with several significant additions:

Support for Turtle Beach Fiji/Pinnacle DSP cards (Intel-based hardware)
The 4.2 Music Kit includes a new driver and musickit support for the Turtle Beach Fiji and Pinnacle DSP cards. These cards provide the best price/performance of any currently-available Music Kit-compatible DSP cards (as of July 1997). They have a DSP56002, 32K of fast static RAM, and both digital and high-quality analog I/O. The Pinnacle also has an MPU401-compatible Kurzweil synthesizer that will work with the Music Kit MIDI driver. In addition, the Music Kit driver for the Turtle Beach Multisound, Tahiti and Monterrey has been upgraded to support the full Turtle Beach DSP memory space.
Upgraded Intel-based hardware support
The Intel implementation has been optimized. Support for writing soundfiles from the DSP is now supported on Intel hardware. This functionality was previously available only on NeXT hardware.
New Applications
Two MusicKit applications of note are available separately:
a Music Kit Sequencer developed by Pinnacle Research. Available free via ftp at This was released to the Net in the summer of 1996. The ftp site now has an updated version that includes the Fiji/Pinnacle support.
"SynthBuilder", a synthesis instrument design and performance tool. SynthBuider was the Grand Prize winner of the Second Annual International Music Software Competition at Bourges. It was developed by Stanford University's Sondius program, and is now being supported and further developed by Staccato Systems Inc. The NEXTSTEP version, including a free license authorization code, is available from or Staccato Systems is also porting SynthBuilder to Windows 95, using the host CPU to do synthesis.
New Unit Generators
There are a variety of new UnitGenerator classes. For example, rock-solid real-time envelopes are now available with AsympenvUG, which down-loads its envelope to the DSP, instead of feeding the break-points down one at a time (as does AsympUG.)
Other New Features
For more details on these items, as well as other new features, please see the Music Kit release notes.


Until recently, we were making extensive use of the "Frankenstein" cards (in various forms), home-brewed DSP cards based on the Motorola EVMs. However, with the advent of the Turtle Beach Fiji and Pinnacle cards, we no longer feel it is necessary (or worth the trouble) to pursue the "Frankenstein" direction.

We have been planning to provide a combined sound/MIDI driver for SoundBlaster-compatible cards. We negotiated with NeXT to do this (because we needed permission to use their sound driver code) and everything was ready to happen, but then there were some legal complications that held things up, so we weren't able to get this done for the 4.2 release.


The Music Kit is an object-oriented software system for building music, sound, signal processing, and MIDI applications under the NEXTSTEP operating system. It includes programmer libraries, applications, a music scripting language, documentation and programming examples. It has been used in such diverse commercial applications as music sequencers, notation packages, computer games, and document processors. Professors and students have used the Music Kit in a host of areas, such as music performance, scientific experiments, computer-aided instruction, and physical modeling of musical instruments. The Music Kit was the first to comprehensively unify the MIDI and Music V paradigms, thus combining interaction with generality. It was developed by NeXT Computer, Inc. from 1986 to 1991, and by CCRMA at Stanford University since 1992. It has also been supported by developers such as Pinnacle Research, Inc., as well as the Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing.

The following is a partial list of the highlights of the Music Kit:

Please send Music Kit requests to

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