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An OSS/Free Driver for WaveFront soundcards
(Turtle Beach Maui, Tropez, Tropez Plus)
Paul Barton-Davis, July 1998
Driver Status
Requires: Kernel 2.1.106 or later (the driver is included with kernels
2.1.109 and above)
As of 7/22/1998, this driver is currently in *BETA* state. This means
that it compiles and runs, and that I use it on my system (Linux
2.1.106) with some reasonably demanding applications and uses. I
believe the code is approaching an initial "finished" state that
provides bug-free support for the Tropez Plus.
Please note that to date, the driver has ONLY been tested on a Tropez
Plus. I would very much like to hear (and help out) people with Tropez
and Maui cards, since I think the driver can support those cards as
Finally, the driver has not been tested (or even compiled) as a static
(non-modular) part of the kernel. Alan Cox's good work in modularizing
OSS/Free for Linux makes this rather unnecessary.
Some Questions
0) What does this driver do that the maui driver did not ?
* can fully initialize a WaveFront card from cold boot - no DOS
utilities needed
* working patch/sample/program loading and unloading (the maui
driver didn't document how to make this work, and assumed
user-level preparation of the patch data for writing
to the board. ick.)
* full user-level access to all WaveFront commands
* for the Tropez Plus, (primitive) control of the YSS225 FX processor
* Virtual MIDI mode supported - 2 MIDI devices accessible via the
WaveFront's MPU401/UART emulation. One
accesses the WaveFront synth, the other accesses the
external MIDI connector. Full MIDI read/write semantics
for both devices.
* OSS-compliant /dev/sequencer interface for the WaveFront synth,
including native and GUS-format patch downloading.
* semi-intelligent patch management (prototypical at this point)
1) What to do about MIDI interfaces ?
The Tropez Plus (and perhaps other WF cards) can in theory support up
to 2 physical MIDI interfaces. One of these is connected to the
ICS2115 chip (the WaveFront synth itself) and is controlled by
MPU/UART-401 emulation code running as part of the WaveFront OS. The
other is controlled by the CS4232 chip present on the board. However,
physical access to the CS4232 connector is difficult, and it is
unlikely (though not impossible) that you will want to use it.
An older version of this driver introduced an additional kernel config
variable which controlled whether or not the CS4232 MIDI interface was
configured. Because of Alan Cox's work on modularizing the sound
drivers, and now backporting them to 2.0.34 kernels, there seems to be
little reason to support "static" configuration variables, and so this
has been abandoned in favor of *only* module parameters. Specifying
"mpuio" and "mpuirq" for the cs4232 parameter will result in the
CS4232 MIDI interface being configured; leaving them unspecified will
leave it unconfigured (and thus unusable).
BTW, I have heard from one Tropez+ user that the CS4232 interface is
more reliable than the ICS2115 one. I have had no problems with the
latter, and I don't have the right cable to test the former one
out. Reports welcome.
2) Why does line XXX of the code look like this .... ?
Either because it's not finished yet, or because you're a better coder
than I am, or because you don't understand some aspect of how the card
or the code works.
I absolutely welcome comments, criticisms and suggestions about the
design and implementation of the driver.
3) What files are included ?
drivers/sound/README.wavefront -- this file
drivers/sound/wavefront.patch -- patches for the 2.1.106 sound drivers
needed to make the rest of this work
drivers/sound/wavfront.c -- the driver
drivers/sound/ys225.h -- data declarations for FX config
drivers/sound/ys225.c -- data definitions for FX config
drivers/sound/wf_midi.c -- the "uart401" driver
to support virtual MIDI mode.
include/wavefront.h -- the header file
Documentation/sound/oss/Tropez+ -- short docs on configuration
4) How do I compile/install/use it ?
PART ONE: install the source code into your sound driver directory
cd <top-of-your-2.1.106-code-base-e.g.-/usr/src/linux>
tar -zxvf <where-you-put/wavefront.tar.gz>
PART TWO: apply the patches
cd drivers/sound
patch < wavefront.patch
PART THREE: configure your kernel
cd <top of your kernel tree>
make xconfig (or whichever config option you use)
- choose YES for Sound Support
- choose MODULE (M) for OSS Sound Modules
- choose MODULE(M) to YM3812/OPL3 support
- choose MODULE(M) for WaveFront support
- choose MODULE(M) for CS4232 support
- choose "N" for everything else (unless you have other
soundcards you want support for)
make boot
<whatever you normally do for a kernel install>
make modules
make modules_install
Here's my autoconf.h SOUND section:
* Sound
#define CONFIG_SOUND 1
#undef CONFIG_SOUND_CS4232
#undef CONFIG_SOUND_YM3812
* Additional low level sound drivers
6) How do I configure my card ?
You need to edit /etc/modprobe.conf. Here's mine (edited to show the
relevant details):
# Sound system
alias char-major-14-* wavefront
alias synth0 wavefront
alias mixer0 cs4232
alias audio0 cs4232
install wavefront /sbin/modprobe cs4232 && /sbin/modprobe -i wavefront && /sbin/modprobe opl3
options wavefront io=0x200 irq=9
options cs4232 synthirq=9 synthio=0x200 io=0x530 irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0
options opl3 io=0x388
Things to note:
the wavefront options "io" and "irq" ***MUST*** match the "synthio"
and "synthirq" cs4232 options.
you can do without the opl3 module if you don't
want to use the OPL/[34] FM synth on the soundcard
the opl3 io parameter is conventionally not adjustable.
In theory, any not-in-use IO port address would work, but
just use 0x388 and stick with the crowd.
7) What about firmware ?
Turtle Beach have not given me permission to distribute their firmware
for the ICS2115. However, if you have a WaveFront card, then you
almost certainly have the firmware, and if not, its freely available
on their website, at:
The file is called WFOS2001.MOT (for the Tropez+).
This driver, however, doesn't use the pure firmware as distributed,
but instead relies on a somewhat processed form of it. You can
generate this very easily. Following an idea from Andrew Veliath's
Pinnacle driver, the following flex program will generate the
processed version:
---- cut here -------------------------
%option main
^S[28].*\r$ printf ("%c%.*s", yyleng-1,yyleng-1,yytext);
<<EOF>> { fputc ('\0', stdout); return; }
\n {}
. {}
---- cut here -------------------------
To use it, put the above in file (say, ws.l) compile it like this:
shell> flex -ows.c ws.l
shell> cc -o ws ws.c
and then use it like this:
ws < my-copy-of-the-oswf.mot-file > /etc/sound/wavefront.os
If you put it somewhere else, you'll always have to use the wf_ospath
module parameter (see below) or alter the source code.
7) How do I get it working ?
Optionally, you can reboot with the "new" kernel (even though the only
changes have really been made to a module).
Then, as root do:
modprobe wavefront
You should get something like this in /var/log/messages:
WaveFront: firmware 1.20 already loaded.
WaveFront: no response to firmware probe, assume raw.
WaveFront: waiting for memory configuration ...
WaveFront: hardware version 1.64
WaveFront: available DRAM 8191k
WaveFront: 332 samples used (266 real, 13 aliases, 53 multi), 180 empty
WaveFront: 128 programs slots in use
WaveFront: 256 patch slots filled, 142 in use
The whole process takes about 16 seconds, the longest waits being
after reporting the hardware version (during the firmware download),
and after reporting program status (during patch status inquiry). Its
shorter (about 10 secs) if the firmware is already loaded (i.e. only
warm reboots since the last firmware load).
The "available DRAM" line will vary depending on how much added RAM
your card has. Mine has 8MB.
To check basically functionality, use play(1) or splay(1) to send a
.WAV or other audio file through the audio portion. Then use playmidi
to play a General MIDI file. Try the "-D 0" to hear the
difference between sending MIDI to the WaveFront and using the OPL/3,
which is the default (I think ...). If you have an external synth(s)
hooked to the soundcard, you can use "-e" to route to the
external synth(s) (in theory, -D 1 should work as well, but I think
there is a bug in playmidi which prevents this from doing what it
8) What are the module parameters ?
Its best to read wavefront.c for this, but here is a summary:
wf_raw - if set, ignore apparent presence of firmware
loaded onto the ICS2115, reset the whole
board, and initialize it from scratch. (default = 0)
fx_raw - if set, always initialize the YSS225 processor
on the Tropez plus. (default = 1)
< The next 4 are basically for kernel hackers to allow
tweaking the driver for testing purposes. >
wait_usecs - loop timer used when waiting for
status conditions on the board.
The default is 150.
debug_default - debugging flags. See sound/wavefront.h
for WF_DEBUG_* values. Default is zero.
Setting this allows you to debug the
driver during module installation.
ospath - path to get to the pre-processed OS firmware.
(default: /etc/sound/wavefront.os)
9) Who should I contact if I have problems?
Just me: Paul Barton-Davis <>