Originally Posted by buckrogers
OK. So I need an ISA card. But do I need a midi daughter card? Should I get a Yamaha DB50XG or Roland. What about a Gravis Ultrasound? What difference does it make?
It all depends how old the games you want to play are. Up until 1990, only FM music is usually supported. Getting a Soundblaster / Adlib compatible card is essential for these games. Then, for about two or three years, Roland synthesizers got popular with the developers. Keep in mind that these are only good for music, though, not for sound effects. After that, General Midi was supported most (again, only for music - Soundblaster still remained the de facto standard for effects). Soundblaster AWE* has a software emulation mode of General Midi, but that driver is huge and quite frankly sucks badly. That card is natively supported by games made in 1995 and later. If that's your focus, it's a very good choice as it offers excellent quality if used right, and it's also compatible to the original Soundblaster as well as Soundblaster 16 by hardware, so no trouble with any older games. Another good choice would be to get a real Soundblaster 16 (not the 'Value Edition') to which you can add a Midi daughterboard (but you don't have to as that card offers some of the best FM music of the competition).
What I'd advise against is any solution which requires software drivers to emulate compatibility to said (pseudo) standards. It never works well enough. No matter how impressive a sound cards technical capabilities might be, they're no use if the games don't support them natively.