2019-02-10 20:01:18

what is your favorite sound chip? this may include expantion chips for the famicom (vrc6/7, fds...)

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2019-02-10 20:34:56 (edited by FamilyMario 2019-02-11 20:47:31)

Favorites include:
1. Ricoh RP2A03
2. Texas Instruments SN76489 (there are multiple variants of that chip alone, but my favorite variant is the one used in the Neo Geo Pocket line of handhelds, the T6W28
3. General Instrument AY-3-8910 (people have made some amazing and insane stuff with that chip alone).
4. DMG-CPU (The sound hardware inside of the Game Boy. There was an upgraded version of the chip used in the Game Boy Color, the CPU-CGB, which made some improvements to the CPU itself, but the audio portion was unchanged. This was also used in the Game Boy Advance for backwards compatibility, and to provide 8-bit music/sound effects for some games)
5. SSMP (used in the SNES)
6. Television Interface Adapter (TIA) used in the Atari 2600)
7. Yamaha YM2151
8. MOS Technology SID
9. Atari POKEY (Pot Keyboard Integrated Circuit)

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2019-02-10 23:20:22

mine are:
1. namco c series (used in arcade games)
2. ym2151
3. rp2a03 and all expantion chips
4. ym2610 (used in the neo geo)
5. mos tecnologi sid (c64/128 and cbm2)
6. paula (amiga)
7. intel I8048 dac (used in the original donkey kong arcade)
8. Yamaha ESG (used in the pss130 keyboard)
9. Yamaha ma series (used in various cell phones)
10 Capcom q-sound (cps2 and sony zn series)
11. St016 (used in various seta arcade games)
12. Oki msm5232 (8 channel psg used in some older ADK arcade games)

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2019-02-11 09:44:44

This One

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2019-02-11 18:55:05

@defender not that kind of sound chip, but if you were trying to be funny you gave me a good laugh though xD.
We mean sound chip, as in integrated circuits used in various pieces of vintage video game consoles and personal computers that are meant to produce sound (see both lists above).

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2019-02-11 19:33:10

One of my favorite sound chips is the Yamaha YMF262, also known as OPL3.

2019-02-11 19:36:04

uh... uh... uhh, the one that, uh, plays sounds, ;P

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2019-02-11 20:02:48 (edited by pulseman45 2019-02-18 15:50:31)

I would say Yamaha YM2608, I love the duo between FM voices and the square waves played with what is essentially an integrated YM2149. Then I would say HuC6280 from the PC-Engine and also the sound chip from the Wonderswan, though it seems we don't know much about it, it probably also uses WaveTable synthesis

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2019-02-11 20:59:23

another favorite is the ensoniq 5506 (otto), used in the Apple IIgs.

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2019-02-11 22:01:44 (edited by defender 2019-02-12 03:25:03)

Yeah I was making a joke LOL
I'd love to hear some examples of these chips you guys are talking about though, if you guys don't mind, I want to learn more.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-02-11 22:47:46

for apple IIgs, a channel called vintagamersparadise has the complete soundtracks to the IIGS ports of kings quest 1-3. namco c series music is a bit more comin, type something like galaga arcade for example. st016 is a bit harder to find. Sid music is the equivalent of an invasive weed, it's that comin. ym series chips (especially 2612) is also comin (project 2612 for example). intel 8048 dac is used only in some nintendo arcade games, but most of them are quite comin (type donkey kong arcade).

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2019-02-11 23:56:07

OK, here are some examples.

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2019-02-12 00:12:20

another favorite is the bsmt2000, used in various pinball machines.

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2019-02-12 01:15:12

Here are some examples of chips I listed in post 2, which has been updated with some more chips that popped into my head.
1. RP2A03, used on the Nintendo Entertainment System and its variants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi7qrZo110M
2. DMG-CPU-B, used on the Game Boy line of handhelds. Sound wise, it is related to the 2A03, but with a few changes (the triangle channel has been replaced with a custom programmable wave channel, and the noise channel sounds a bit different): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JTeN8sy3Wc
3. Atari POKEY, used in the Atari 8-bit computer family, as well as in Ball Blazer and Commando for the Atari 7800. Most people make Atari music with with a program called RMT (Raster Music Tracker): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSrRkFfsQrI
4. Texas Instruments SN76489. This chip was very basic, with only 3 square waves and a white noise generator with two modes, white noise and periodic noise. This example primarily uses the noise channel's periodic noise mode to create a bassline, since the noise channel could be set in a mode where it stole the pitch information from the third square channel, leaving only 2 square channels to be used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM-vXscAoVA
4. General Instrument AY-3-8910, used in a lot of computers such as the Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum. A rebranded version by Yamaha, the YM2149, was also released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdROMMP-YAM

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2019-02-12 01:48:24

here's an example of the bsmt2000.

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2019-02-12 09:51:01 (edited by musicalman 2019-02-12 09:57:19)

I've always been a junky for wavetable/psg/sample chips. So, roughly in order, my favorite sound chips are:
1. The sound chip used in the PS1 and PS2 (when music is sequenced, not streamed). It's basically an upgraded version of the Snes's SPC700 but it has more channels, more sample ram, and better reverb.
2. Snes (SPC700). It has a warm sound that I like because of gaussian interpolation. It has very limited memory though for samples (I know this from experience because I write Snes music). So, it's a special kind of challenge to make use of the warmth of the SPC700 with the low amount of sample memory and do something that makes the best of both.
3. Nes (2a03 and 2a07). I'm not a fan of the simple stuff because I tend to gear toward more complex, but the complex stuff is really cool.
. And it's a popular chip to work with, so there's a lot of good stuff for it.
4. Konami VRC6. If you enjoyed using it once, you'll never stop using it afterwards. It's obviously meant to complement the 2A03 and it does that really well.
5. mos Technology sid (c64). Not a fan of how overboard some of the music can get to squeeze more out of the limited channels, but the chip is literally a high quality subtractive synth, just with limited polyphony. You can't fault it for having an emphasis on traditional synth design. If it had more channels, then making music for it would be scarily similar to doing it in an 80s studio with all your modular setups. Furthermore some people developed cool strategies to play samples on the C64, so I find the chip intriguing.
6. PC Engine, can't remember what the sound chip is. From what little I've heard, it sounds like it could really be made to do awesome things if used right. Would absolutely love to see music for a Castlevania game or something like that made for the chip. Maybe it exists, I just haven't gotten around to looking it up. The Konami KSS chip is also tied for this spot because while the PC Engine has slightly better specs in most cases, I'm spoiled by the very few soundtracks I've heard for the KSS which have all been awesome. It's late 80s Konami though, what do you expect lol
7. Namko N163. Would tie it with the other wavetable chips above, but it has a lot more distortion. Still, in the right context it sounds really cool. I'd also put the Famicom Disc System (FDS) here, but it only has one channel and 1 channel is boring lol. That said, it can make interesting sounds and it is cleaner than the other wavetable chips.
8. Paula (amiga). Too few channels for my taste, and also not a fan of how you're locked to a certain stereo seperation, but people have done cool things with this chip. I also like how raw and gritty the samples become. It's a polar opposite to the Snes and playstation, which for me, isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, it's just different. I suppose if you're going for a natural sound that's clean, it would be a bad thing, but obviously that will depend on what you want to do.

I also like listening to GBA, Nintendo DS and N64 music, among other things that use samples. I'll admit I really am not an FM fan. I appreciate and enjoy the sound when it's done super well, but otherwise I don't like it as much because it sounds like it's trying to be something it's not, if that makes any sense.

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2019-02-12 10:27:44

Another favorite of mine is the Konami SCC, which is basically like Namco's early arcade sound chip on steroids. It has 5 wavetable channels that are 32 samples long, used in some Konami games for the MSX.

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2019-02-12 11:32:15

I personally am fond of the Philips SAA1099, as is displayed in my signature big_smile. OK sure it's basically a PSG that could produce stereo sound, but I am a fan of how it was used, especially in Creative's CMS demos. I'm also a fan of the MA series of chips produced by Yamaha that were used in many mobile phones from the early 2000s. The MA7, the last in the series, actually supported 3d sound, though I'm not aware of any phones that made use of that capability.

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2019-02-12 12:36:44

I tend to not include sample-based chips in my favourite, but if I had to, it would be Paula from the Amiga, for the same reasons described in post 16.

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2019-02-12 13:22:12

Thanks for the links guys, this is interesting. I wish it was easier to just get solid demos of the different sounds the chips could make and the number of channels they could use though, rather than relying on specific songs that would likely only use a few of those features.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-02-12 18:10:13

I also like the chip used in the XaviX based plug and plays.

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2019-02-12 20:13:10

On a related note, there is a channel called The 8-Bit Guy who reviews old retro technology. He has a secondary channel called 8-Bit Keys, where he reviews old vintage keyboards. My favorite sound chip is the one used on the Yamaha PSS-125, which is a vintage square wave keyboard, but it's not just your average toy keyboard, as it has more things going for it when it comes to sound.

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2019-02-12 20:20:31

@family mario, that chip in question is the yamaha ESG.

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2019-02-15 22:54:44 (edited by Dekyo-NEC2608 2019-02-16 20:10:03)

Oh, this topic is interesting!

Favorite sound chips:

  1. Yamaha YM2608 (why some call it as "YM-2608"?). This was the sound chip that made me the person that I am now. big_smile

  2. Namco N163. I also am a wavetable lover since 2017.

  3. HuC6280. Sound part of the Hudson C62 System.

  4. WonderSwan. Waveform data are 4-bit, 32 steps. The 2nd channel can be used for regular wave data or 8-bit PCM data. WTD doesn't have a function to use PCM samples (?) I think.

  5. VSU-VUE (Virtual Sound Unit) of the Nintendo Virtual Boy. This is almost the same thing as the HuC6280. Nice.

I also like lo-fi sample-based ICs. Toy keyboards maybe? Or  Oki's CPUs used in Casio keyboards, particularly the SA-series. Or this nice melody IC. Sample-based, sound generation method is called DWS (Dual Wave Synthesis). Oh, that characteristic noise due to the DAC's low resolution is the thing that I like.

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2019-02-16 00:18:59

what is wtd? Is that some sort of wonderswan music tracker or the music part of the wonderwitch dev kit?

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