Originally Posted by jmmijo
It's much like the older ISA days for PC's when you purchased just a SB16 or similar sound card you got synth and not samples.
You had to upgrade to a sample supported card like the SB32 or above or my favorite card at that time was the Ensoniq Soundscape.
By the way, all SoundBlasters do/did samples.. That was their cutting edge against the first popular card, the AdLib (which the SB also emulated). The first ones were 8bit/mono, then later on 8bit/stereo and the SB16 was the first 16bit/stereo SB.
It's just that if you wanted your .MID tunes to sound nice, you had to get a wavetable card like the SB AWE32, or perhaps the Gravis Ultrasound or Roland MT-32.
Midi was popular on the PC, because it offloaded the processing and mixing to the sound card. The early PCs didn't have too much horsepower to mix the samples with the CPU. That's the reason most old DOS demos want a Gravis Ultrasound, they didn't have CPU cycles available for mixing the MOD channels to stereo, and the Ultrasound was the only card back then that had also sample mixing in hardware.
AdLib didn't do samples, it had FM synth only.