I'd build a Windows 98 VM in my Mac with VirtualBox to run some old games, like "Z". It is running, but without the great soundtrack. When testing, I realize that the soundtrack is in midi files, and not even Media Player is playing any midi. It opens the file, knows time etc. (recognize the file) but no sound is played.

There is a Sound Blaster Midi Sinth installed, the problem might be the VM itself that don't emulate the full Sound Blaster 16 card. I'm thinking about some alternatives: to change the VM sound card (not a clue of how to do it), or to install a driver that synthesizes the midi in wave to use the wave port that is working, but didn't find one.

There is a topic here but for XP or above. I tried midiox, but hasn't it's own driver, or I don't know how to make it work.

Also couldn't get in the Virtual Box forum, I'd make an Oracle profile, but didn't work. I did ask at and they advise me to ask here. So here I am… any ideas?


I tried to play those MIDI files by Mac OSX Lion (outside VM). QuickTime ask for install v7, but I have 10… I tried RealPlayer but no sound, same situation as inside VM. Finally I tried a free app "MIDI Trail" that plays full 100% the music using as OUT setting the "Apple DLS Music Device". Virtual Bux uses CoreAudio. Is the same?

  • In many cases Win98 may be not needed at all for this: I could imagine Z could run under WinXP as well and other such older software (maybe only with additional proper exe-XP-emulation settings) as well and then you'll find my successful setup (Virtual Box + WinXP + IHC AC97 audio VM hardware) here: stackoverflow.com/a/30582733/1915920. Jun 9, 2015 at 20:21
  • Similar issue using VirtualMidiSynth under W10 as host. In this case adding a dedicated soundcard for the host frees up the onboard emulated SB16 ports. Aug 24, 2017 at 15:43
  • Heh, thought that was solved when upon installing the SB-Z soundcard in W10 the onboard sound (OBS) could be allocated for the VM. But, no other sound devices are available in the VM even after enabling the OBS in the host. So it is an issue extant regardless of whether VirtualMidiSynth is installed or not. Oct 15, 2017 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


(This is an old question, but is the number one result I got googling about this)

I managed to get MIDI sound on Windows 98 SE under VirtualBox by using the Realtek driver for Windows 95 and ICH AC97 audio. (using SB16 is posible to get wave sound but no midi)

On the Realtek website, download the Windows 95 driver, by clicking Downloads->"AC'97 Audio Codecs (Software)"->Next and then click on the "Windows 95 for Driver only".

For reference, the filename is 0001-VXD_A406.exe (and in case you wanna check it, the md5 is b5f78cb9d97297e503fdf20ff722de63)

You can also find it on the web.archive.org, at https://web.archive.org/web/20180913222117/https://az695102.vo.msecnd.net/rtdrivers/pc/audio/0001-VXD_A406.exe

Now, it can't be directly installed on Windows 98; it complains that this driver is only for win95.

So, using 7zip on the host machine, extract the contents of the EXE. Among other files, it contains a directory called "Win95". The driver itself is there.

Next, configure the virtual machine to use "ICH AC97" audio and start the virtual machine. Once plug&play detects the new device, use the driver from the Win95 directory.

And that's it. It should be able now to play MIDI music!

For reference, I tested this using VirtualBox 5.2 and Windows 98 SE.

  • Since MD5 is a very broken algorithm, SHA1:b885c30b7380a5265a1d0431fd99eee8e681252e SHA256:ce24f5036f4a2a0de20e7f351969767e278786f0251c85c8cc26cb841baf99af Dec 24, 2020 at 20:41

Did you changed the Audio Controller to "SoundBlaster 16" (Under Setting, Audio) ? If you already did, it might be VirtualBox bug on SB16 emulation, refer to https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=12425 for more details.

If it is the case, you might try DOSBox. Here is the comparision between Vbox and DOSBox https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/27690/why-do-people-use-dosbox-over-virtualbox-in-a-gaming-context

  • There is only one audio controller, that is set do SoundBlaster 16. Also there is options: ICH AC97 and HD Intel HD Audio (never heard about). There is no settings available for SB16 (strange... I remember had to change jumpers in those old sound cards). As for DOSBox it does not run windows games, the case of this version of Z. I tried the DOS demo version a long time ago, lots of issues like no SVGA, no wave audio (only MIDI), crash at fullscreen, etc., also I don't like the way DOSBox runs, like DOS… I hate DOS!
    – Gustavo
    Dec 12, 2014 at 19:05
  • I remember the Ports, Jumpers and IRQ settings where nearly every Dos base game had different settings! Todays youth is spoiled with the adaptation of the modern pipeline: Hardware -> Drivers -> HAL -> APIs & Libraries -> Application Code -> User. They don't have to worry about configuring the game's sound and video card settings to get it to work properly, they now just configure the settings to get the best output & performance combination producing the most FPS possible. Reminds me of the car industry: from manual to automatic transmissions and soon to be driverless. Oct 12, 2015 at 4:42
  • Thanks for the VirtualBox link. It's extraordinary how the wav works seamlessly, but the midi does not. Midiport APIs in the VM return in-use 337 codes e.g. MidiOx, for the current midiport, usually 1, so VirtualBox must be touching it somehow. Oct 15, 2017 at 12:50

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