FM OPL3 frequency differences

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FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby Ace » 2016-6-18 @ 15:53

Personally, I'd stay with a SoundBlaster 16. I haven't tested the CT2800, but it should be the ideal card for you. I don't know how picky you are about audio, but I will tell you this: after I found out the YMF289, the low-power version of the YMF262, has a lower sound pitch than the YMF262 (all of Yamaha's YMF7xx cards use the YMF289), I ditched my Yamaha cards and no longer recommend them for those who want the true sound of OPL3 FM Synthesis. It's not TOO noticeable, but some games make the lower pitch more noticeable than others (it was really apparent in the floppy disk version of X-Wing to me). As such, I suggest you get a SoundBlaster 16 with a YMF262 or CT1747, the latter of which is an ASIC in which a YMF262 is built in, not a YMF289 like Yamaha's chipsets.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby gdjacobs » 2016-6-18 @ 16:29

Indeed, the SB16 could be an excellent option. I'd also recommend a Vibra 16 with a proper OPL3 due to improved noise characteristics. If the on board chip can be used for MPU-401 duty, the one significant weakness of the CT28xx series will not be a concern.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby Apples555 » 2016-6-21 @ 02:39

As someone with perfect pitch, that would drive me nuts. Thanks for the heads up.

The onboard chip is a CX4237B-XQ3 (seen here). Certainly not real OPL.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby archsan » 2016-6-22 @ 01:50

Ace wrote:all of Yamaha's YMF7xx cards use the YMF289


Need confirmation. :|
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby gdjacobs » 2016-6-23 @ 22:08

Apples555 wrote:As someone with perfect pitch, that would drive me nuts. Thanks for the heads up.

The onboard chip is a CX4237B-XQ3 (seen here). Certainly not real OPL.


Nope, not real OPL3, but the Crystal FM hardware can be disabled. It should work well as an MPU401 interface.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby James-F » 2016-6-24 @ 08:51

brostenen wrote:YMF-718/YMF-719 plus a Dreamblaster-S1 daughterboard is my best bet. If you want to have creative, then get one with OPL chip, and one of those goldfinch (think it is spelled like that) and an Dreamblaster-S1.

stamasd wrote:I recommend the above mentioned ISA YMF718 or YMF719. That will give you decent SB support, true OPL3, and has a waveblaster header in which you can plug a daughterboard such as the Dreamblaster S1 for great MIDI music.

+1

Ace wrote:after I found out the YMF289, the low-power version of the YMF262, has a lower sound pitch than the YMF262 (all of Yamaha's YMF7xx cards use the YMF289)

Ace, you post that in every opportunity, but can you actually provide a concrete evidence (post MP3 comparison)?
I think it's utter nonsense, and I can provide concrete evidence, I can record any game from my collection in DOSBox and my Yamaha YMF719E.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby Ace » 2016-6-24 @ 21:11

I would immediately reject your comparison as I do not trust DOSBox's OPL3 emulation. Genuine YMF262 recording or bust.

There was actually a discussion on VOGONS regarding the lower sound pitch of the YMF289 in this thread: viewtopic.php?t=38201&p=341958

This is how I was made aware of the drop in the sound pitch.

Also, this isn't my recording, but if you pay attention to this recording of MELT.AMD posted on Wikipedia... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:YMF2 ... YMF289.ogg

You will notice a subtle drop in sound pitch on the YMF289. My ears are very sensitive to this, so I notice it right away, but in this regard, I am in the minority. I don't know how sensitive your ears are, but from what I heard with my own YMF719 cards compared to anything else with a YMF262 or the Creative CT1747, the difference may be subtle enough that many people won't even notice it. Some games do seem to make the lower sound pitch more noticeable than others, and I specifically remember Star Wars X-Wing (floppy version) making the drop in sound pitch more noticeable. I'll go grab some audio samples from this game using the YMF719 and a SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 CT1600.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby brostenen » 2016-6-24 @ 22:34

I simply can not hear the difference. Perhaps I am not tuned into what it is exactly that I am supposed to hear.
I know that there is a difference between the small rectagulair YMF-262 and the Creative branded 1747 OPL chip.
I think the 1747 sounds better than the 262 when using Creative branded soundcards.
Tough I am not picky, so every 262, 289, YMF-718/719/724 are good cards in my book.
It's when we move into emulation territory that I am "going off the train". CQM and DosBox are just not my thing.
Yeah.... I personally regard CQM as emulation.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby stamasd » 2016-6-24 @ 23:11

Yes I can hear the difference, small as it is,but it doesn't bother me. If anything, I actually prefer the YMF289 sound.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby nforce4max » 2016-6-24 @ 23:26

Could you take and post a picture of your system with the cover or side panel removed so we can see what we really are dealing with. If there is room for something bigger that will leave you with more options.

Aztech cards often have opl3 (ymf262) and are fairly short, should still be a few on eBay for less than $20 shipped.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby carlostex » 2016-6-25 @ 00:45

Yes there is a slight difference in pitch. Sounds 1KHz lower minimum. Not a big issue IMO. I mean does anyone complain about "Still Loving You" by the Scorpions not using standard A=440Hz tuning?

I'm probably gonna test this myself using an analog tuner. Maybe using the FM organ software i can try many cards and check which ones can hit a A note at 440Hz and which ones sound flatter or sharper.

I wecommend a YMF718 card. It's cheap and silent.
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Re: Need Help Choosing Sound Card

Postby James-F » 2016-6-25 @ 05:32

Using the OPL440 soft (attached) by a user called NewRisingSun to play a pure 440Hz sinewave using the OPL chip:
*I used high FFT number for maximum accuracy.
DOSBox.png

YMP289.png


I have been a musician and recording hobbyist all my life.
I am musically trained and have excellent relative pitch hearing, I can play any pop/rock song by ear on a guitar in a matter of seconds.

Yes I can hear a 1Hz difference but only with a pure sinewave in a direct comparison in my DAW with a signal generator and fast switching between the two.
Adding any harmonic distortion or impurity to the sinewave makes it several times harder to hear.
The chances an average person will hear any difference in pitch while sequentially listening to a complex music track with 1Hz pitch shift is slim to none.

This 1Hz deviation from 440hz with YMF719 is nothing to fuss about and probably within spec.
I wholeheartedly recommend the YMF71x cards.

* Anything that is not a double blind listening test is meaningless in the audio comparison world.
Claims like "I definitely can hear a 1hz pitch difference between two full compositions played in sequential order", is 100% biased and false.

The attached comparison files are 15 seconds of Duke Nukem 3D soundtrack with 1Hz deviation between them.
Try to do a double blind test, someone else switching between the songs while you being blindfolded with headphones and looking away.
Or you can use ABX plugin for Foobar2000: http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx
The whole audio community uses this plugin to test if they can hear difference between MP3/FLAC, 96000/44100, etc...
Most self proclaimed audiophiles fail miserably an ABX test and get a 50/50 result they are guessing... :)
Attachments
Duke3D 440.mp3
Duke3D 440Hz
(226.12 KiB) Downloaded 43 times
Duke3D 439.mp3
Duke3D 439Hz
(226.12 KiB) Downloaded 42 times
OPL440.zip
by NewRisingSun
(243 Bytes) Downloaded 34 times
Last edited by James-F on 2016-6-25 @ 15:00, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-6-25 @ 06:09

Split from viewtopic.php?f=46&t=48590

Interesting discussion. I thought it deserves its own thread so it can be Googled / found more easily :)
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby James-F » 2016-6-25 @ 06:10

Thanks Phil.
I would include Ace's post with the link to the older discussion though.
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-6-25 @ 06:13

James-F wrote:Thanks Phil.
I would include Ace's post with the link to the older discussion though.


Done. I hope I got them all :) Still learning the ropes :blush:

I listened to your recordings, I can't tell a difference.

Hoping Ace will provide some recordings directly from the sound cards, I'd love to find out if my ears are worth anything :lol:
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby James-F » 2016-6-25 @ 06:33

Here's a site you can calculate the difference in semitones between two frequencies:
http://users.utu.fi/jyrtuoma/speech/semitone.html

440 to 880 would be an octave or 12 semitones.
440 to 439 would be 0.039 semitones or less than half of a 1/10 of a semitone. :)
You gotta be super-human to hear a difference in complex music with that imperceptible pitch shift.

Last but not least I added pure sinewaves for you to hear the difference of 1Hz.
440.mp3
Pure Sinewave 440Hz
(75.92 KiB) Downloaded 31 times

439.mp3
Pure Sinewave 439Hz
(75.92 KiB) Downloaded 31 times


As a side note,
The frequency of the OPL and Mixer in DOSBox have to be that same or else a distortion of the sound occurs.
I just set both to 49716 and let windows mixer do the sampling rate conversion, it's a much cleaner way than the unknown SDL conversion which generates distortion.
Last edited by James-F on 2016-6-25 @ 07:27, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby firage » 2016-6-25 @ 07:15

If the CT1747 is right and the Yamaha wrong here, I'll still pick the Yamaha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7y5z4BBq3w

There are bigger differences between individual board models than just the OPL sampling rates.
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby James-F » 2016-6-25 @ 07:47

In this video the CT1747 has a slightly louder noise channel thus making the Yamaha sound cleaner/mellower/quieter.
Indeed a more obvious difference than a minuscule 1hz pitch shift.
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby stamasd » 2016-6-25 @ 12:24

Since I do have a digital oscilloscope, this is another project I could be looking into. Lessee, I have cards with OPL3, CT1747, YMF718/9, YMF724/44, CQM, Vortex2, ALS4000, various ESS including a Solo-1, also I seem to remember I have a *gasp* CS4235 somewhere. Could be interesting to test frequency response and envelopes. Any ideas of where to find interesting OPL files to do some testing with?
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Re: FM OPL3 frequency differences

Postby James-F » 2016-6-25 @ 13:13

stamasd wrote:Since I do have a digital oscilloscope, this is another project I could be looking into.

Wow, this will be a huge contribution to our beloved community!
By all means DO!
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