Strange Found Object: Disney Sound Converter

38 thoughts on “Strange Found Object: Disney Sound Converter

  1. That is a parallel port audio device created by Disney for a game that came bundled with it. Basically, an 8 bit DAC run from the parallel port. Audio quality was about what you would expect from such a device. It only ever worked with the one game, that I knew of. There is another piece to it, a speaker in a white box (hole cut in the box to look like mouse ears, got to push the brand) with a volume knob on it.

  2. It is a Disney sound system from the DOS days. Before there were standards, there were Gravis, Disney, and Soundblaster. I remember the settings in some old DOS games.

  3. It is part of a PC game that was sold by Disney, there was a beige box with a volume control knob on it. Sound Source is the name on the beige box. The game had something to do with Mickey Mouse, and the copy protection sheet was red with black figures on it – not able to be photocopied. You matched up a picture to get into the game. I can’t put my fingers on the game just this minute, but its around somewhere. It dates from about 15 years ago.

  4. Greetings, all.

    Am pretty sure it’s a Covox sound converter. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covox_Speech_Thing)

    There were a few Disney games that had this component inside. One of them was a Lion King game, circa 1994 methinks. I bought the game for my son… You could paint, play jungle drums, etc… but sound came through my regular speakers, so I never followed up with connecting this unit.

  5. That is indeed a Disney Sound Source. The little phone-like cord plugged into a small speaker box with the trademark Mickey silhouette visible in the grille. rocked one on my old Compaq 386 laptop. It was mainly for playing .WAV files though it also worked with such fine games like Wolfenstein 3D. I can’t recall if it came with a text to speech, or if that was a separate program I had, but it was quite a hit in my college dorm when I would connect it to my stereo via the headphone jack and make it talk dirty in early 90s computer voice.

  6. The game this was sold with was…. “Who framed Roger Rabbit”
    It came with a soundblaster compatable driver.

  7. ummm…I’m going to guess…it’s where the original mickey mouse’s ashes are stored…with a phone line so fans can commune with a dead mouse with no social relevance anymore, whose ever-renewing copyright leaves us doomed to an eternity of homogenized corporate culture? was i close?

  8. A sound card to output 8bits pcm sound via parallel port.
    Because Adlib was sucking and SoundBlaster very expensive.

    Exactly the reserve thing that did my Amiga sound sampler

  9. I remember these things. Well, I never saw one but I am pretty sure I built my own version years ago. From memory (I may be confused with another device here) it had a R2R resistor ladder inside it as a D to A converter. I made my own version on the back of a parallel port D connector. It all fitted inside the backshell. I remember before I got my very first Soundblaster I would plug in this thing and set the sound to be Disney. Seemed to work pretty well although that was comparing to the usual PC beeper! I am in fact still using the same circuit in a project am working on right now where I am clocking samples out of an 8 bit EPROM and converting them to audio via a similar R2R circuit.

  10. Ah, stupid me. Read the links before posting! It is using a R2R ladder. I still have the ones I made lying around here somewhere.

  11. What a bunch of ubergeeks. Any fool can see it’s a primitive mouse for POTS systems. It’s got a picture of a mouse right on it! GEESH!

  12. It’s the parallel cable for the Disney Sound Source – the lamest (but Adlib compatible) sound card ever created. Basically, it just plugged in to your printer port and was powered either by battery or an optional A/C adapter.

    I couldn’t afford an Adlib, SoundBlaster, or (I wish) Gravis Ultrasound back in the day, so Disney Sound Source was all I had. I can’t complain. It was great for playing Stunt Island. Results in Wolfenstein 3d left plenty to be desired.

    FutureCrew 4ever!!!!!

  13. I never knew there was a soundblaster driver for the sound source. I would have loved that back in the day.

    Doom was so quiet, it seems weird playing nowadays with sound.

    Anyway, the 2 games that I remember seeing in the store that worked with it were Arachnophobia (which I had and now vividly remember quotes from) and The Rocketeer (I never got this one).

    There was another game that I played that used it though, Wolfenstein 3D had an option to play sound effects through the sound source. In a way, Doom felt like a step backwards to me.

  14. Let me share some pain about the wonderful Disney product that included this boat anchor. In the back there was a list of companies to call if you had technical problems with the product. I worked in tech support for Appian Graphics, a video card company. 3 guesses who’s phone number was at the top of the list, and the first two don’t count.

    The Moms and kids calling in asking for help getting the software to run and not understanding that Appian Graphics was _not_ Disney was ever so much fun. Not may calls, but they had a certain entertainment cachet around the office when telling war stories.

  15. It definitely appears to be a Covox Speech thing, which I’m certain of because a lot of early games referred to it as a ‘Disney Sound Source’. Simplified homemade clones of this device with no port through capability were very popular in Russia in early 90s, even fashioned as ISA cards complete with a separate parallel port onboard, because real Sound Blasters were too expensive. I still have one of those homemade devices, neatly constructed within a plug and a 3.5mm jack socket on the other end which you connect to an amplifier.

    Lots of DOS games would work with them with extra drivers, some without, and I have fond memories of completing Star Control 2 with it.

  16. This pictured object was manufactured by Disney for the specific purpose of celebrating the breakthrough technology that was and is still being made, in the field of silent communications. One each of these devices was given to each person that belonged to the “Mickey Mouse Club”, and still wear those ears on occasion. Primarily used to to channel with each other or with Walt himself. Annette is still the leader of this group.
    LL

  17. Clearly it’s a ‘Mickey Mouse’ Sound Converter and thus does absolutely nothing, merely passing the input through or if the input is the cable going in, splitting it.

  18. This is a parallel port sound card. 8-bits, mono, at whatever frequency you throw at it. They’re incredibly simple to build, work decently well and are supported by a surprising number of old dos programs. All it takes to build one is 8 resistors, a male db25 connector, and a 1/8 inch headphone jack.

  19. I had one of these as a kid. I eventually repackaged it into a Radio Shack bluebox for the purposes of playing back quarter drop sounds into payphones with a laptop, as sound cards for early laptops were rare.

  20. Pssh, havn’t you guys been to Tomorrowland? Everyone knows that device is a Electric Flying Car charger.

  21. I used to have the Disney Sound Source as my main audio for one of my early systems. Windows 3.0 had a driver for it, and it worked just fine. Lo-fi, but it didn’t crash.

  22. Agreed with all-it is a Disney Sound Source. I still have one, and the games Mickey’s ABC’s and Mickey’s 123’s.

    The sound was pretty good at the time.

  23. You guys are all wrong. This is actually a very new device made for the cosplay scene. There is a secret Disney phone sex number, and every operator who works the Mickey-line is issued one of these boxes. You plug it into your phone and computer. When you receive a call on the Mickey-sex line, the box is activated, and everything you say is converted into authentic-sounding Mickey-moans.

  24. I have one of those, the phone line connects to a speaker box that runs off a 9 volt battery, it outputs crappy sound from Disney games.

  25. That thing is definitely for the SoundSource. It actually sounded pretty good for the time, I remember, better than the crappy PC speaker on the IBM PS/2 I had the thing hooked up to. It came in the box with Dick Tracy – game released to coincide with the Warren Beatty/Madonna film based on the old comic, which I think was a Disney-produced. That game was freakin’ rad, pretty tough if I remember (I was 12 or 13 at the time), you had a tommy gun and had to find clues and stuff.

  26. Oh. So you found that… Hmm… Supposedly those things aren’t actually allowed out of Block 21B, but you don’t have to worry at all: just phone your nearest friendly DisneyCop(tm) your location, and he’ll send a completely harmless retrieval team to fetch it back.
    I would suggest you not to show it around too much, however, and not to try to press the button on the back. But who would do that anyway, isn’t it? And, by the way, just don’t mind the slightly possible post-traumatic reverie agony that seeing that item might trigger in a very little (irrilevant, really) percentage of our happy and perfectly satisfied customers. In case, just whisper the words “It’s a Small World” in their left ear and they will immediately relax. Isn’t the magic of Disney a wonderful thing?

  27. Actually Sierra supported the “Disney Sound Source” with most of their games, so this device wasn’t limited to just a couple Disney games. Considering that Sierra was the #1 PC game company in their time, there are actually a large number of poplar adventure games that could use it.

  28. Yup, a Disney Sound Source. There were a very few games that supported PCM 8-bit audio with it, but a number of shareware/freeware things were compatible, including at least one player of Amiga modules, which was how I could sort of listen to Amiga mods on my IBM-AT 80286/10MHz… (They sounded better on my Apple IIgs).

  29. I remember playing games on that thing!

    Unfortunately, I broke the leads on mine. If someone doesn’t mind sending my hi-res photos of the board so I can fix mine, I would appreciate it. (What else do I do with a parallel port these days?)

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