- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

PC speaker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The PC speaker is the most primitive sound system used in IBM compatible PCs, and in fact used to be the only one in use in PC games before more technologically advanced sound cards such as AdLib or the Sound Blaster were introduced as ISA plug-in cards in the late 1980s. However, even some years after these sound cards became mainstream and widely used, game manufacturers continued to support PC-speaker-only sound/music in their games in order to maximise their customer base. This was in part due to the fact that sound cards did not originally follow any commonly agreed-upon standard and were largely incompatible with each other, whereas the PC speaker was the only sound system that could be regarded as universally present.

The PC speaker is best characterized by its inability to play more than one tone at once, the waveform being generated by the Programmable Interval Timer. Because of this, it was often nicknamed a PC beeper or PC squeaker, especially when sound cards became widely available. In spite of its limited nature, the PC speaker was often used in very innovative ways to create the impression of polyphonic music or sound effects within computer games of its era, such as the LucasArts series of adventure games from the mid-1990s, using swift arpeggios. Several programs, including MP (Module Player, 1989), ScreamTracker, Fast Tracker, Impulse Tracker, and even a Microsoft Windows device driver, could play Pulse-code modulation (PCM) sound through the PC speaker using special techniques explained later in this article. Several games such as Space Hulk and Pinball Fantasies were noted for their elaborate sound effects; Space Hulk in particular even had full speech. However, because the method used to reproduce PCM was very sensitive to timing issues, these effects either caused noticeable sluggishness on slower PCs, or sometimes failed completely on faster PCs (that is, significantly faster than the program was originally developed for).

All modern operating systems include a generic sound API, so that applications no longer need to know the specifics of each sound card. Correspondingly, the use of high-quality sound hardware has become commonplace. As a result, the PC speaker today deals mainly with low-level warning signals such as start-up errors though it can still be used to its full potential should the need arise (as long as it hasn't been reduced to an onboard miniature piezo speaker, whose acoustic properties are so different from the paper cone speakers of old that most of the usual "tricks" don't sound nearly right).

Pulse-Width modulation

The PC speaker is normally meant to provide only 2 levels of output (i.e. 1-bit sound), through writing to the least significant bit of PC I/O port 61H (61 hexadecimal). However, by carefully timing a short pulse (i.e. going from one output level to the other and then back to the first), it is possible to drive the speaker to various output levels in between the two defined levels. This effectively allows the speaker to function as a crude DAC, thereby enabling a sort of approximate playback of PCM audio.

This technique is called Pulse-width modulation (PWM) and is notably used in class D audio amplifiers. Getting a correct sound output out of this technique requires that the switching frequency between the min-max level be much faster than the audio frequencies reproduced, e.g. over 100 kHz switching frequency for a 10 kHz audio signal.

However, it is not possible to achieve such high switching frequencies on the PC speaker, and as a result the precision of this technique is comparable to a 6 bit PCM DAC, while the final audio results will depend on precise timing, the nature of the reproducted sound, internal hardware noise, CPU activity, and the exact method used to produce the source audio data. This technique will also not work on modern machines, particularly laptops, that use a piezo speaker. (The reason for this is that PWM-produced audio requires a low-pass filter before the final output in order to suppress switching noise and high harmonics, something which a normal dynamic loudspeaker can do on its own right, while a piezoelectic speaker will let most switching noise pass, as will many direct couplings (though there are exceptions to this, e.g. filtered "speaker in" ports on some motherboards and sound cards.))

On some hardware implementations, the same I/O port can be read, providing not only status information but also a rough "recording" of the PC speaker's output or a sort of "white noise" if nothing is being played back at the moment, making for a limited use as a random number generator. However, this doesn't appear to be standard and doesn't work on all implementations.

External links

  • Site for old PC without sound cards.
  • article on programming the PC Speaker.
  • Part 1 of another article about programming the PC speaker.
  • Part 2 of the article
    (includes a very detailed explanation of how to playback PCM audio on the PC speaker, and why it works)
Retrieved from ""