The (re)Birth of a synth!

2013-04-04 02.22.25I decided to dust off a project that I’ve been working on-and-off for over a year now.  Just to introduce it really fast…  I’m taking a vintage sound generation chip, the YM2149F or AY-3-8910 and giving it a modern upgrade.  First thing I did was see how hard it would be to add a MIDI interface to it.  I was able to create a USB MIDI stack, and map notes of the chip to MIDI notes, then I thought it would be cool to add hardware MIDI as well.  I’ve created most of the things in the MIDI world to equivalents on the chip.  Most of the noise generation and ADSR envelope filters are implemented as CC commands.  Pitch-bend works, velocity is toggleable via DIP switch (and just really does a volume, I personally don’t like velocity implemented this way).  And volume works.  I’ve been able to use fruity loops to create some cool retro sounding music.  Then it dawned on me that I didn’t even implement the most obvious feature!  Streaming old chiptunes!  With the help of The Leonard Homepage I used his open source emulation app to hack into my device and just stream the registers to the chip, producing really awesome music!

I’m looking to make this a kit for other people to experience, so I was going over the assembly instructions last night.  I need to work on documentation, some code fixes, and to order a buncha parts first so its not quite ready but… soon enough. I’ll see if I can throw a video up soon.

  1. I would happily pay high dollor for 2 of these in a custom lasered case…my favorite chip

    • Cool, I’ll let you know when I make more progress on it. Unfortunately the board design doesn’t lend itself to a case well, I’ll see if I can do a sick of beige style on it. I hope to get it done soon, just so busy with other projects at the moment.

  2. Please do, as I would be very happy to purchase a few……please feel free to contact me. Cheers

  3. I was curious if you’ll be implementing the hard wave and pseudo pwm using software interrupts ala Atari hacks. I loved the stray technologies ym synth but yours appears to be more advanced and closer in features to the Atari computer synth hacks etc. very much looking forward to this one. Thank you for developing this project. Cheers

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