DOSBox is capable of emulating various Sound Devices. By emulating the hardware the user can utilize whatever Audio Device they have installed (in whatever configuration), while the DOS Game or Application believes it is running on the emulated hardware. Most of the Sound Devices are capable of existing inside the same computer at the same time, so when configuring DOSBox Sound you need to think of it as separate devices that can be enabled or disabled. A game will likely only use a single device at a time, so you don't gain much in the way of performance by having only one device enabled. DOSBox also makes sure the appropriate environment variables are defined for each device so game audio device auto-detection usually works.
DOSBox can emulate
The Sound Blaster is widely considered the most popular audio device standard. In the DOS era of games, it came in a few editions. In most cases sb16 is the best option, though many older games that were produced before the SB16 was manufactured might have some issues with working with the otherwise backward compatible device. Here is a list of the different capabilities of the various Sound Blaster cards.
|none||Sound Blaster Emulation disabled||n/a||n/a|
|sb1||Sound Blaster ver. 1.0||8||no|
|sb2||Sound Blaster ver. 2.0||8||no|
|sbpro1||Sound Blaster Pro ver. 1.0||8||yes|
|sbpro2||Sound Blaster Pro ver. 2.0||8||yes|
|sb16||Sound Blaster 16||16||yes|