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Your dream sound chip/card combination

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This is a thread for sound chip/card combination, eg. pairing YM3812 with 2a03 for example or Roland MT-32 with SN76489 and POKEY.

Mine dream sound chips combination would be the same as that one from my dream computer - 3x YM2610B, 4x SID 6581, LMC1992 and the CD-DA tracks in parallel. (Imagine listening them all)

 

What is your dream sound chip combination?

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Posted (edited)

I my favorite sound card back in the DOS/Windows days. The Sound Blaster AWE32 had a wavetable synthesizer, in addition to the standard FM synthesizer. What would have made it better would have been an MT32 on board, as well... but alas, it did not.

I eventually did end up owning an MT-32 for a short time, but had to let it go for monetary reasons. Now I wish I'd kept it, although with the new emulated MT32 on the Raspberry Pi, I might be able to make a new one. 

 

Edited by TomXP411
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Well, assuming things like drivers, sound font data, and isolation componentry are non-issues, and no fair using anachronistic or custom silicon...

For a late eighties version, It would feature the following:

Geometry Synthesis Component: Either a QuadPOKEY or x2 Phillips SAA1099

FM Synthesis Component: Yamaha YM2151 OPM, Yamaha YM2164 OPP, or (Especially) YM2414 OPZ and YM3012 DAC

Wavetable/PCM Synthesis Component: Seta X1-010.  It features twice the max sample rate of PAULA, and double the channel count of the SPC 700, at the expense of 8-bit sample width, and a 4 bit master volume registers, and was used by multiple arcade manufacturers.  The Namco C216, SegaPCM, and various chips by Konami were used strictly in-house by their respective makers.

Sound CPU: Hudson HU6280: Between its mass move instructions, three data busses (one of them full-duplex), extra general-purpose register (Z, which can be pressed into service as a Master master volume register), six extra wavetable sound channels, and compact surface-mount package.

 

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My dream combo would be to have all of the PSG/FM/etc type of chips in one big bank to hook up to MAME and have it use the real HW for all non-digi-sample sounds. I imagine something like a giant stack of Arduino shields with one chip each, and the arduino itself providing the USB service to pipe the results back to the computer as if it were a USB microphone or something.

I can't put my finger on it, but something about the sounds in the Capcom CPS1 games like Strider and Ghouls N' Ghosts have certain SFX that sound just plain /wrong/ to me - I've even found a video or two on YT where someone was comparing real HW Ghouls N' Ghosts to MAME - but unfortunately the stuff they featured didn't include the sound I wanted to hear on real HW.

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I like the AWE32 as well, but for the little games I write, I just want the PSG to have ADSR envelopes, and I'd be happy.

 

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I had an AWE32 back in the 90s and it really was an amazing sound card. It was sad once synthesis stopped being a thing and it was all PCM all the time. I think a 68040 system with an AWE32 and VESA SVGA graphics would be a really nice system. You could run Linux or BSD and have a simple desktop environment. It would be great for gaming and simple productivity. It's what the Amiga could've turned into if Commodore wasn't so dead set on self-destruction.

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Once you start trying to sound like real instruments, I feel like a stylistic line has been crossed, and better success would be had using modern sample-based instrument libraries.  I prefer my chiptunes really chippy sounding, and the two I grew up with were the SID and R2a03, so I'll dream of a system with, let's say, 2 of each of those.

In fact, I've been trying (well, not very hard, since I'm busy) to rig up a system where I can create music on an actual R2a03 from an old NES.  It's tricky since the R2a03 is also the NES's 6502 processor.  Unlike most setups where you can just send signals to the sound chip, the R2a03 only ever expects signals from itself; or rather the sound part of it only expects to get signals from the processor part of the same chip.  It's too bad because that NES sound is the one I crave.

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On 3/21/2021 at 11:21 PM, TomXP411 said:

I my favorite sound card back in the DOS/Windows days. The Sound Blaster AWE32 had a wavetable synthesizer, in addition to the standard FM synthesizer. What would have made it better would have been an MT32 on board, as well... but alas, it did not.

I eventually did end up owning an MT-32 for a short time, but had to let it go for monetary reasons. Now I wish I'd kept it, although with the new emulated MT32 on the Raspberry Pi, I might be able to make a new one. 

 

Funny coincidence...

I was cleaning up some very old hardware for scrap (our city has an official spring cleaning day), and found.... my AWE64 (CT4380, the old "standard" model) card in an old computer case.  Maybe $45 on eBay on a good day.

Maybe I oughta keep the card, trash the rest.

Edited by rje
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1 hour ago, rje said:

Funny coincidence...

I was cleaning up some very old hardware for scrap (our city has an official spring cleaning day), and found.... my AWE64 (CT4380, the old "standard" model) card in an old computer case.  Maybe $45 on eBay on a good day.

Maybe I oughta keep the card, trash the rest.

I recently just found old Pentium II PC at a yard sale, so I may be looking for an ISA sound card real soon. I haven't taken the time to really start working on this thing, though.

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8 hours ago, John Chow Seymour said:

In fact, I've been trying (well, not very hard, since I'm busy) to rig up a system where I can create music on an actual R2a03 from an old NES.  It's tricky since the R2a03 is also the NES's 6502 processor.  Unlike most setups where you can just send signals to the sound chip, the R2a03 only ever expects signals from itself; or rather the sound part of it only expects to get signals from the processor part of the same chip.  It's too bad because that NES sound is the one I crave.

Check out MatsukeN's channel on YouTube - he built MIDI cartridges to go into a real NES and one for the SNES. He and several others put on live performances playing the real tunes manually on MIDI keyboards. Their performance of Final Fantasy IV was pretty amazing - it sounded exactly like the original, but since it's being played by humans, there're micro-mistakes that you can hear it's really them playing it and not just faking while the system plays the music. 😉

Basically, there're 9 people in the SNES team - one player for each voice, and one person responsible for switching the patches on the various voices at the correct times. (each keyboard is monophonic, it would seem)

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