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sparcstation 20 cd audio?

twmiller

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Fort Collins, CO
I picked up a sparcstation 20 off of craigslist for cheaps, and have been playing around with it and Solaris 2.6. i found a copy of workman that works with the built-in scsi cd-rom, but when I play an audio disc, I get no audio anywhere aside from the headphone jack on the cd player itself. just wondering if that's expected, or if I'm missing something.

p.s. I have been having an absolute blast with this system.
 

kgober

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
617
Location
New Jersey, USA
I've never used a SS20 (just SS1 and SS10) but it wouldn't be unexpected to get no CD audio from a system of that vintage. At that time the typical way to get CD audio was via dedicated analog outputs from the CD-ROM drive which went to your sound card. Modern systems use "Digital Audio Extraction" (DAE) which relies on new commands added for that purpose to the SCSI/IDE protocols.

One of the benefits of the original analog audio scheme was that you could play an audio CD without the CPU being involved (you will often see CD-ROM drives with a stop/play button for this purpose). Digital Audio Extraction requires some CPU involvement to read blocks from the CD, possibly resample/remix it if your audio hardware doesn't support 44.1KHz 16-bit stereo audio, then arrange for the digital audio to be delivered to the audio hardware (usually via some kind of DMA).

I found a web page that indicates that WorkMan 1.3.4 at least did not support DAE, but that it would be supported in a future version:
http://www.mit.edu/afs.new/sipb/user/zacheiss/workman-1.3.4/HTML/faq.html

Finally, looking at the SS20 service manual it appears that there is no analog audio cable for the internal CD-ROM drive, unlike in the SS5 which has it. So in the SS20 it looks like it will be DAE or nothing.
 

twmiller

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Fort Collins, CO
Finally, looking at the SS20 service manual it appears that there is no analog audio cable for the internal CD-ROM drive, unlike in the SS5 which has it. So in the SS20 it looks like it will be DAE or nothing.

Yeah, that was my discovery, too. I knew there was no analog cable going into the mobo. The reason why I thought it might support audio playback from the drive is that I found this little gem among the cobwebs of the internet:

Looking at the specs for the XM 4101B, it sez "This drive supports CD-DA transfer over SCSI function that the host system can read CD audio data". (also sez that it can be used as an independant CD audio player seperate from the system).

You can tell that it's an old quote because the authur uses the archaic internet lingo 'sez' instead of 'says'. ;). The 4101B is what the system has in it, and given that it's 3/4 the size of a half-height cd drive, I figured it was OEM.
 

kgober

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
617
Location
New Jersey, USA
If the drive you've got has the CD-DA feature then the next step is finding software that can use it. This is going to be an active playback scheme where that software reads blocks from the drive then sends data to an audio device. Unless Solaris has a kernel driver that does most/all of that for you.
 
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