AdLib Sound Driver

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AdLib Sound Driver
Released 1987-??-??
Formats ROL, INS, BNK

The AdLib Sound Driver is a special sound engine written by Ad Lib to feed sound to their AdLib sound cards. The DOS program was run before the start of a game and ran hidden in the background. When a game developer wanted to play music or sound effects, they would issue a call to the program with the specified ROL music file and its necessary INS or BNK instruments. Songs could be started and stopped, and there were probably other features like fade-in and fade-out.

Version History

Version Released Notes
1.0 1987-??-?? Initial release.
1.3 1988-??-??
1.5 1989-??-?? Added support for instrument BNK format.
1.51 1989-??-?? Most likely a bug fix release.


The driver outputs all sound to the AdLib sound card which uses a YM3812 (OPL2) audio chip. The AdLib card defaults to port 388, but can also be configured for ports 218, 288, and 318.


Dozens of games, especially those that use ROL format music, utilized AdLib's sound driver.


Version Download Platform Notes
1.3, 1.5, 1.51 Download - (info) DOS Binaries only.


The driver is called SOUND.COM and runs as a TSR (terminate and stay resident) program that can be called by the main program to play ROL files in the background. The program accepts at least one argument, which appears to be a memory address.

The program was probably written in Microsoft C and x86 Intel assembly, like most of the software developed Ad-Lib.