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|
Tandy Sound System
Disney Sound Source
The Disney Sound Source is an external audio device that connects to a PC via a Parallel Port (Printer Port). The device is surprisingly capable of producing polyphonic audio and voice. The sound quality is distinctive and tinny, though by no means high quality. One notable game that supported the device was Sierra's Kings Quest 6 which managed to provide an audio experience similar to the Sound Blaster audio card. There isn't much needed in the way of configuration because it connects to any available Parallel Port, but applications that utilize a printer might lock up if the device is enabled.
A Windows Driver exists that can let the device work as an audio device in Windows 3.11.
The most ubiquitous Audio Device of all time. Built into every personal computer, the PC Speaker acts as diagnostic device during the initial booting up of a computer (to inform the user in a series of beeps, if there is any low lever hardware issue). Early game developers utilized the PC Speaker to generate music and sound effects to good effect. Later some developers invented ways to generate complex audio through the PC Speaker, even reproducing voice. Very few games utilized the PC Speaker in this way (as the CPU requirements were high and the quality was severely limited), however a Windows Driver (similar to the Disney Sound System driver) allowed Windows games to utilize the PC Speaker. There is nothing to configure in the PC Speaker.