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Last updated 29-Feb-2000

This page deals with
TerraTec's 64 channel soundcard EWS 64, go on to read the spec's and my own opinion about it.

NEW #1: first win2k driver for EWS 64 released! Here's the direct download, here's the READMEVSAMPLER

NEW #2: update for Virtual Sampler is available: Virtual Sampler 1.6 - if you think Ed!son looks good but it's use isn't as easy and intuitive as it should be, and if you miss some features, just try this one, it comes with native EWS64 support.


EWS questions? Like to chat about it? Just enter the IRC channel #ews64 on efnet.

German only: der Problemlöser für EWS-Besitzer:
"TerraTec EWS64" von Thomas Alker, u.a. Redakteur der Zeitschrift KEYS. Auf der Buch-CD befinden sich übrigens über 400 Samples von MAZ :-) Das Buch kann direkt bei bestellt werden.

Some links to other EWS 64 related pages (I kicked my own "news" section + "software" section since I just don't have the time to update it daily, please have a look at The EWS Stress-Panel instead):

The page devides into following 3 sections:

Tech Facts FAQ Personal Impressions

Tech Facts

First for those of you who don't have a clue what the hell an EWS 64 XL is all about, here comes a short overview of some major features (for details please visit
TerraTec's page):

extended full duplex - record one stereo stream while playing several stereo streams simultanously, 6 is default, you can change that in the properties dialog, theoretically up to 32, but due to the limitations of the ISA bus around 10 is maximum - in fact the limiting factor with huge files here is your HD, because to deliver a continues data stream with 10 x 176.4 K (CD-quality) = 1.8 Meg/s if the head has to read the data from 10 different positions all the time is *very* hard even for the worlds fastest UW-SCSI disk ...

20 bit 64 channel synth/sampler with 24dB resonant filters, allows to record the EWS synth (incl. filters, lfo's, envelopes, effects ..) via internal signal routing - no hiss - no noise from the bus or other cards in your computer - pure digital. No matter if MIDI, WAV, XM, MOD, S3M ...

digital In/Out (18 bit SPDIF) + 2 I/O MPU401 MIDI interfaces (on 5¼ front panel)

you can choose from a list of output-wavedevices (EWS#1 ... ), so ANY HD recording software (which supports choosing one soundcard per channel) can use multiple stereo channels

DSP with hall, chorus, delay, flanger and reverb effects, 4 band EQ, virtual 3D audio rendering for 2 or 4 speakers: just listen to an example

up to 64 MB sample RAM, load while play function, which means you can change instruments, even whole soundbanks while playing - without interruptions, pretty impressive feature :)

compatible with DirectX5, GM/GS, MPU401, SB, SB Pro, Adlib, WSS 2.0

cascadable, means you can fill up all your free slots with EWSses, if you want to have 1024 voices ;) - possible due to polling drivers which don't need an IRQ

MOD interface (EWS-mediaplayer with integrated Mod4Win) + free developer-API

The EWS64 control center.

Doesn't all this stuff (designed by
Dimension 4) look sexy?


To get help from other EWS64 users and be up to date with new software/info you should join the unofficial EWS64 daily digest mailinglist.

This FAQ here covers my own experiences + what I got from the EWS mailinglist and my own email-inbox.

Some important words before: the EWS is a card which introduces several new ways to the "common" PC soundcard (such as the flexible internal signal routing), that's why it's necessary to read the docs and to understand the internal/external routing chart (at least in general). The invested time is worth it and results in less problems/questions and generally more overall fun and productivity.

The FAQ consists of the following parts:

General Install Hardware MIDI DOS/Trackers/Games


How do I join the unofficial TerraTec EWS64 mailinglist?

Just click here

Is it possible to have more than one soundcard in one computer?

Sure. EWS 64 combined with AWE or combined with GUS (PnP) - no problem. I have 4 different soundcards in my computer at the moment: GUS PnP + SB Live! + EWS 64 + Digi96pro. Works fine as long as you have enough IRQ's free to handle that. The EWS comes with an Eeprom writer program where you can force it to use the ressources YOU want and even completely disable some devices like game port ... for the GUS PnP there's a similiar tool too.

Many words here, what about some sounds for downloading and checking out?

Sure! Here you go! Here's an S3M, Purple Motion's Satellite One (16 K), which was, is and will ever be one of my favourites. It was digitally recorded into WAV via the internal signal routing of the EWS, played back by MOD4WIN 2.40 in E.W.S. mode, with some reverb + slight chorus, then pressed STOP after some seconds of playing, you can hear the reverberated sound.

Grab this
WAV (1.83 MB), load it into a WAV editor, send a warning to your neighbourhood, turn your volume on the stereo to VERY LOUD, imagine your soundcard would produce no noise at all and fire it up through your speakers. Now use your wav-editor and maximize the complete sound to 5000% or whatever you want. At the begin and end of the WAV there's is still digital silence. This little experiment should show the effect of the internal signal routing.

Want to know how the EWS filters sound? Here are
3 wav-loops (358 K) in a selfextracting executable. Just set the looppoints to the begin and end of the file. Those loops where made with SEQ303 and the EWS using some cutoff and resonance variations, the sound itself is dry, no reverb, no chorus, no further edition (just maximized). Two lines with rising cutoff are here as zipped MP3's (336 K). The used instruments are preset GM sounds of the EWS, nothing special. My opinion about the filters: if this is the 1st soundcard /w filters you have - you will be impressed, blown away. If you compare it to external synths - well ... :-)

Here's a
full length song in MP3 format which I got from Purple Snail. He just wants to show the fun you can have with your EWS after taking some minor hurdles. Here's a little description what he did and how.



EWSINIT always says "too few ressources" and I can't get the ControlPanel + Mixer running.

Enter your motherboard's BIOS and set the PNP OS INSTALLED to "NO" (helped with my ASUS T2P4 and with many other brand bords too). Or check if you reserved some IRQ's for ISA use. Kick those entries!

There are no NT4 drivers yet, any way to get some sound under NT4?

Yes. Inspired by Vivid (told me that he installed the generic WSS-drivers under Linux and NT4 - and it worked) I installed the Crystal CS423X PnP driver + Control Base delivered with ServicePack3 - Strike! :) Works fine with up to 48 kHz/16 bit/stereo. I tried to switch to full duplex with the result that after the reboot I had NO sound at all, no EWS sound and no AWE sound, so be prepared ...

Hardware / Concept

How many IRQ's / DMA's / adresses does the EWS need?

The EWS basically consists of two main devices: the DSP/synth and the codec. Since driver version 2.0 you can run your EWS64 without using an IRQ. You only need an IRQ if you need the WSS (codec) wave out. If you only use the codec as mixer, for FM or whatever you'll need no IRQ for the card - cool!.

And you need 2 single I/O adresses for the codec mixer and the digital controls and one block of four I/O adresses for the 64 voice synth + 2 low DMA's (one for rec + one for play).

Which IRQ's / adresses are available for use with the EWS?

IRQs 5,7,9,10,11,12,15 and I/O adresses as you whish, aligned to an 8 ports boundary.

What kind of memory do I need to upgrade the RAM of the EWS?

Nope, just usual PS/2 simms (72 pin) with at least 60 ns. The card ships with 2 MB fixed on board + 4 MB in the simm bank = 6 MB total. The slot supports following simms: 4, 8 (double sided), 8 (single sided, only 4 MB usuable), 16, 32 und 64 MB (9 chips).

Is it possible to connect the SPDIF out of the AWE32/AWE64gold into the SPDIF in of the EWS64?

Sure, that's what every owner of those 2 cards did I guess :)
And you don't need a special expensive cable.

Hehe, and listen to the quality improvement, first with AWE64 gold analog out and then the AWE's output (digitally connected) trough the EWS analog out! Wow! Impressive!


About the SPDIF, if I play a game, WAV, MID, XM or whatever, is it true I can record this digitally without any DA/AD conversion?

Exactly. You really get up to 96 dB noise/signal.

The SPDIF is 18 bit??? But my DAT only handles 16 bit! Is it compatible?

Yes. Every device just ignores (sets to zero) the less significant bits, if it doesn't support the full resolution.

Can you set the card to reverb any sound that comes trough it, like cd music, mp3's, tracker stuff ...? Realtime?

Yes. Of course realtime, since this is all done by the cards DSP hardware and the internal signal routing.

Is it possible to reverb/chorus any channel in a different way, for example first channel with 40% reverb/20% chorus and 5th channel with 0%/80% ?

Yep. There is a little tool called "EWS virtual channels", which has separate sliders per channel.

Is it possible to record simultaneously from both audio inputs, allowing 4 mono tracks to be recorded at one time, for example to record live drums?

Yes! Because you have 2 autark audio devices, the WSS codec and the synth both can record stuff simulataneously. 

Is it possible to assign the output of 4 mono tracks or 2 stereo tracks to OUT1 and/or OUT2?

You can tell every virtual EWS device (=virtual channel) via the Virtual Channels Panel (EWSVCHN.EXE) where to play: out1 left or out2 center position or out2 right ... means you can assign every of the channels to either out1 or out2 or both or ...

Is there a maximum size per sample which the EWS can handle?

No, but there's a drawback though: the EWS automatically uses two voices if ONE sample (not a complete instrument, that's no problem) is bigger than 512 K (converted into length of a 16 bit 44.1 kHz sample: 5.944 seconds). Should be no real problem since this does of course NOT effect wave streams, e.g. audio channels in cubase/cakewalk/...

What about the number "64" in the name? Does this mean 32 hard + 32 soft like AWE"64"?

Nopes. No cheat. The EWS really has 64 hardware channels. In times of a rising number of software synths like Rebirth and RubberDuck every CPU cycle is needed, so the more channels via hardware mixing the better.

The signal level of out1/out2 is rather low compared to other devices I own, like CD-player and tape?!

It's at 0dB 2Vrms - standard "Line Out Level". Unfortunately very most external HIFI-components expect more.


Is it possible to use the out1/out2 for full blasting 4 channel quad sound?

Yes. You can use Wave, MOD, Audio In and MIDI with 4 channel sound.



The WaveSounds are much to loud compared to the MIDI sound, how do I lower their level?

Use the SYNTH control in the Virtual Channels Panel.

I have problems with the MIDI in/out and external MIDI devices. What's that?

This is a known problem, *some* modules / synthesizers do not communicate well with EWS' MIDI INs and OUTs. If you experience this problem please contact TerraTec, they have a solution in store.

DOS / Trackers / Games

Is the EWS64 compatible with SB16 or GUS?

No. It's compatible to SB Pro and WSS. SB Pro means, it runs with games and trackers in 8 bit audio resolution.
WSS means "Windows Sound System" and supports stereo 16 bit with 48 kHz. Worked with most games I tested.
Hmm. Trackers? Impulse Tracker of course. No hardware mixing yet, but surely better than SB PRO. Win-players and trackers use the EWS64-windows drivers of course. Mod4Win 2.40 uses the EWS in native mode. About the GUS compatibility: the EWS is not able to emulate the GUS, no.

Would it be possible to program the DSP/firmware to get a 100% hardware GUS GF1 emulation?

It is not possible right now since the firmware running in the DSP does not support volume ramping and because the EWS64 does not have the same ISA port layout as the GUS. Maybe it's possible under Windows to trap the usual GUS ports and emulate a GUS without heavy changes in the firmware, but at the moment there are some more important tasks to do so this is only a funny thoughts experiment for now ...

What about the DSP effects during games?

Pick up your headphones, turn up the EWS reverb + chorus + VSPACEtm and play your favourite game (actually the EWS DOS software is under development). You never feeled so scared between all those Quake-monsters before ... and you can record all the audio digitally in the background while gaming!

What does this "MOD-interface" mean here? Why the hell should this megacard be interesting for tracking?

The EWS not only supports midi. Since the authors of Mod4Win are the main driver/software developers for the EWS64 it comes with it's own mediaplayer, guess what, with integrated mod4win functions. In words: playing up to 64 channel modules without massive CPU use, known from the cult card Gravis Ultrasound, you play your 32 channel XM in best quality and the CPU indicator shows 2% or something like that. 32 channels, OK. But what about those 64? ImpulseTracker comes in mind, right. Pulse (the author) already wrote a codec driver (just grab the latest ImpulseTracker), means no hardware mixing yet, but at least 48 kHz/16bit/stereo via CPU mixing. The complete synth driver which uses the full potential of the EWS is under development.

Other trackers + players will follow soon hopefully.


Personal Impressions


Kay Bruns (Mod4Win-Team) told me that he doesn't have tooo much time for developing mod4win currently because of something mysterious called "EierlegendeWollmilchSau" ... and then he told me some features ... "dream on Kay, who the hell should pay that baby" I thought ...

06-Sep-1996 till 17-Apr-1997:

From now on every Kay-mail contained some info about the progress of the EWS, development problems, future dreams, new or changed features ... and mod4win was reborn too. Initially TerraTec planned to use the InterWave (known from the GUS PnP and Reveal soundcards) and so we got as side product of the software development a Mod4Win with full InterWave support (even under NT), an MOD-MCI device + a tiny program called IWEEPROM as freeware, which killed the IRQ-hunger of the GUS PnP monster. Magic. Some months later Gravis also released such a tool btw ...
The first planned official release date for the EWS 64 was october'96 and so it morphed into a kind of myst here in germany. Some hardware distributors even had it on their selling list in computer mags. Crazy prices made the round. Now it's finally out, official price is 899 DM, street price is about 720 DM.


Got it: a brandnew EWS 64 XL version 1.0 with 9 MB Sample RAM.
The first impression after unpacking: whoops, it looks pretty rustic. Especially the front panel looks funny, no plastic front, but massive steel ;-). OK, to avoid conflicts (red vs. black hehe, insider joke), I took my GUS out and the EWS in. Installed the drivers + software, perfect plug & play. Looked into the control panel/device manager. 2 IRQ's (codec + synth) and 2 DMA's (record + play). And 8 stereo wave devices as EWS#1 till EWS#8. Cool. Dropped an XM to the EWS media player. Wow. I never was fully satisfied with the sound of the GUS PnP, but interpolation and "clearness" (I can't describe, you must hear it) of the EWS make me happy. At the CeBit I played around with the EWS effects (reverb + chorus) for the first time. Heard completely nothing, even with both 100%. Environment was much to loud, in fact next time TerraTec should use some amps > 2 x 10 Watts in their demo-computers to exist in this wall of noise at the CeBit SoundCard-Hall  .

The quality of the effects is OK, it can't compare to high end standalone effect sections of course, but hey! In fact even while listening the whole day to XMs, MODs, S3Ms, MIDs ... (hehe, that's what I did the first 3 days) it's a pleasure to use it. One point why many mods don't sound too good/not realistic is their sharp rough dryness and their poor sample quality (hint: somewhere there is a Tracker-Sample-CD out with high quality sa ... ahm, Okok. Not again ). I like the sound with 40% reverb + 20% chorus, hehe, depends on the song of course (you can build your own effect combi's by using the
FX-panel). You never heard your own MOD's (especially impressive to listen to some old classic pieces from stoneage) in such a quality. I can't describe it, you must hear it.

About the noise to signal ratio: the card itself doesn't produce this typical noise floor know from the SB, AWE or GUS or ... But there is a permanent high frequency whimpering + noises picked up from the BUS transfers and other cards. It's pretty low and no problem with speakers. But with headphones it is annoying if you listen carefully to do serious work (creating samples or building a pre-master for a CD). For sampling analog sources I still use my DAT machine and then I transfer the recorded sound to EWS via SPDIF. The internal digital mastering is not effected by those noises of course.


Yoh! Finally ("after a long and strong fight ...") I have my EWS64 hardware revision 1.2 with bugfixed SPDIF! My 1st impression was "wow, *THIS* looks like a pro card" now. Still "Please RTFM" on the upper side of the board :). Two (?) capacitors added, a slightly modified board layout and a newer revision of the Crystal chip were the 1st things I saw.

So I took the EWS 1.0 out and the 1.2 in. Started EWS64CFG under DOS and adjusted the card to the same IRQs/DMAs/adresses as before the 1.0. Started win95. All worked fine. The Control Center got a new "internal/external synth" button.


Downloaded the 2.0 beta1 drivers. Started the update. After the reboot all worked fine. Ooops! No MIDI sound? Ahh, they changed the bankloader (hehe, I'm sure, 99% of the EWS users had this "problem"), there was no bank loaded at startup by default (btw, it's not longer necessary to start EWSINIT before win95, for details and why it makes sense sometimes please read the new help file). So I selected the 3.2 MB GS bank as standard startup bank and rebooted. MIDI worked. So the next thing I did was to disable the CODEC (who needs it) - one of the new features of the 2.0 drivers. After the reboot nothing worked. No synth, no EWS program started, exactely as with the previous driver version with disabled codec. And no chance to do anything, since the update removed EWSINNOT and EWS64CFG (OK, there was the 1.3 drivers-CD of course). But I saw the good old EWS64CFG with my own eyes some minutes before?! After searching trough my HD I started EWSMIXER.EXE under DOS  - and voila :)

Now I tried to reenable the CODEC (you never know ...) with pretty small success - EWSMIXER crashed while writing to eeprom several times (this bug is fixed since beta2 of the 2.0 drivers). To make it short: after some reboots and a 2nd install of the update all and everything worked. And the whole EWS monster now only needs one IRQ, great. Haven't tried the IRQ less mode yet :)

Now it was time to do some serious tests with the SPDIF in both directions. I created some weird test tones with Cool Edit Pro (a single max peak pixel in between seconds of silence and some more funny things ...). Sended it to my DAT via coax digi out with 44 kHz and readed it back via optical digi in. This test failed with drivers 1.3 since they had no switch "clip on/off" - and clip was ON. Btw, this made sense since you can't output several channels with maximized signal without causing heavy speaker killing digital clipping and distorsion - but of course this should only be an option and not a must, now you have a switch to choose between multi channel mode (Clip ON) and single channel mode (Clip OFF) for 1:1 transfers. So I setted Clip to OFF and sync to AUTO.

After finishing the transfer to/from DAT I had to sync the file beginnings (CEP's superzoom rocks ) and to save both (the original and the backreaded) as raw PCM without header. Then I did a binary compare with "FC /B" (dos command "file compare" binary) - NO DIFFERENCES FOUND - FILES WERE IDENTICAL. *phew*

Repeated the whole process with a 6:32 minute song I had on my HD as WAV. Same. Both files 100% identical. Not one single different byte! Wow! Cool! Great! No timing problems. No clicks. No temperature problems  - are 20 hours powered on enough to be sure about this? I think YES! :).


Downloaded the 2.0 beta2 drivers. Hehe, I was not able to crash them, the problem with the crashs of the EEPROM writer are fixed too, so are my weird problems with the jumping mixer knobs. Fine. A real step ahead.


MAZ becomes angry more and more. Still randomly jumping filters, still no Ed!son (and of course no AKAI-support), still not the slightest sign of NT4 drivers ... I STILL use my AWE 64 gold 99% of the time :-(
Unfortunatly I can't use the AWE's wavetable under NT. It needs the ISA-PNP device of NT, but as soon as I install it the EWS blocks the start of NT4 - it just hangs (no matter if the EWS was initialized in DOS before + warmstarted or not) ... EWS: I love you ...


The "jumping filters" problem has been fixed. Still no NT4 drivers, rumours tell that TT not even started to work on this matter and won't work on it till NT5. So I bought myself a Digi32 (digital 24 bit card which works without problems with win95 and NT4) and kicked my EWS. As soon as the EWS64 stops hanging NT4 (with installed ISA-PNP) while startup it will be back.



Checked the Ed!son beta 0.55 to create some multisamples. Worked fine. Some strange things here and there, the attacks of the envelope graphs could be more representative, but finally you can do some semi-serious work with it :-) Wish this damn NT problem wouldn't exist ...



First version of Win2k drivers out. Now we have a 400$ soundcard without Wavetable functionality nor MWPC support under Win2k and the same under NT4. With Win2k that's OK at this time since it's brandnew and not even Creative Labs managed it to release their LiveWare (the wavetable enabling stuff) yet. The difference just is that we have a DATE for the LiveWare release (mid march) and I'm sure TerraTec will name their (in)famous SOON(tm) as date. We all know what this means.

Guillemot and HoonTech use the same synth/dsp chip (Dream's SAM9407) as the EWS you can use their soundbanks for your EWS64 too, technically spoken. Of course they wouldn't like that very much since you never payed a penny for their work and bought the product of a competing company. Probably using those soundbanks is a copyright violation, read the disclaimer-text included with the sounds and decide yourself.

Here are the linx: