FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Scali » 2018-11-16 @ 20:03

Fagear wrote:That card alone is in size like the whole FMonster. :lol:


Yea, it's made by Yamaha for IBM, and is basically their version of the Roland LAPC-I: it's a MIDI interface combined with a Yamaha FB-01 sound module. It contains a Z80 CPU to process the MIDI and control the YM2164 chip.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby dr.zeissler » 2019-1-01 @ 10:41

When and where can I buy such a FMonster?
I have a FSC D1026 motherboard and it has a great Onboard-Sound-Compatibility for the SBpro/WSS-Part (CS432) but FM is not so good.
I think I am able to deactivate only the FM of the Onboard and use this FMonster instead. Would be a
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby dr.zeissler » 2019-1-01 @ 10:53

Is it possible to add a "intelligent MPU 401 Interface" on the FMonster?
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby MrSmiley381 » 2019-2-03 @ 21:37

dr.zeissler wrote:Is it possible to add a "intelligent MPU 401 Interface" on the FMonster?


It'd be great if he did. Would probably save a lot of us yet another precious ISA slot. Then again, with as much as this has it might end up stealing two slots using a daughterboard :P

Just adding I'm optimistic about this project and very much interested.
I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-2-03 @ 21:54

dr.zeissler wrote:When and where can I buy such a FMonster?

Not known yet. The project is in early development state.

dr.zeissler wrote:Is it possible to add a "intelligent MPU 401 Interface" on the FMonster?

Yes it is. I doubt that such a controller could be added onto the main board, but it certainly can be added as a daughterboard.
For the moment there is a debug board with HardMPU implementation that will be attached above one of the "main" debug boards for testing.
2019-02-04 00.45.48.jpg
HardMPU and CST debug boards
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby dr.zeissler » 2019-2-04 @ 06:03

Thx for the Updates! Great to hear :)
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-2-18 @ 21:49

I'll have to post twice because of attachment limit...
For the moment ALL of the debug boards are assembled. But neither of those is tested.

IMG_8268.jpg
Covox Speech Thing (CST): one dual-DAC
IMG_8283.jpg
Covox Speech Thing (CST): two DACs
IMG_8293.jpg
MIDI host controlled (HardMPU-based)
IMG_8287.jpg
Analog mixer/filter
IMG_8301.jpg
All debug boards
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-2-18 @ 21:51

...second part.
IMG_8297.jpg
MIDI daughterboard on the mixer
IMG_8311.jpg
Debug boards installed
IMG_8319.jpg
Debug boards installed
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Jonas-fr » 2019-2-18 @ 22:02

Even without understanding the impressive feat of making these protos, these pictures are astonishly pretty ! Keep up the good work
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby keropi » 2019-2-18 @ 22:10

I agree all these look great!
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby LABS » 2019-2-20 @ 10:21

Neat work, Fagear, with true russian spread 8-O
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby dreamblaster » 2019-2-20 @ 21:41

Wonderful ! looking forward to further progress!
Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, MIDI PCB's, and video converters
OPL2LPT, OPL3LPT, X2, S2, S2P, MCE2VGA, ... many projects ! Have a look, and thanks for your support !
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-4-03 @ 19:19

ik777 wrote:As a eastern, wish OPM or OPN also applied in your FMonster.
Ah, just a dream.

As you (and I) wish. I've made a debug block with OPN2 chip that was used in Sega Mega Drive/Genesis - YM2612/YM3438.
It can be set to 0x2A0/0x2B0/0x2D0/0x2E0 base address and covers 4 ports. It supports writes to all 4 ports and read from base port, no interrupt (as is in SMD).
OPN2_2019-04-03.png
OPN2 debug board

Most work was done while streaming the process and I've managed to squeeze everything into 26 mm width! :exclamation: The only one block that is smaller is PSG at 25.5 mm.

Talking about PSG... Take PSG, OPN2 and good 8-bit stereo PCM, put them on one board... and you, basically, have complete Sega MD sound system: :roll:
SMDSH_2019-04-03.png
Hypothetical Sega MD sound card

As of composition of all the blocks... Everything will not fit onto main board of FMonster.
What I plan to put onto main board of FMonter at the moment:
= clock generator
= DuoSID (2xSSI = 2xMOS6581) + address selector
= CMS (Creative Music System = 2xSAA1099)
= OPL3 (1xYMF262)
= Tandy PSG (1xSN76489)
= Stereo OPL2 (2xAdLib/SB = 2xYM3812)
= CSM (Covox Sound Master = 1xAY8930)
= mixer/filter

And there will be an optional daughterboard, which for the moment is planned to host:
= MIDI host controller (HardMPU-compatible)
= Stereo 8-bit DAC (2xCovox Speech Thing = 2xADAD7524)
= OPN2 (Sega MD = 1xYM2612)
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Tiido » 2019-4-03 @ 19:46

It should be noted that TI's PSG is not 100% compatible with VDP PSG used in SMS and MD, noise register is 15bits on TI while 16bits on VDP and LFSR taps are also different. End result is that noise sounds different and alternate duty cycle mode has 6.666...% TI vs 6.25% VDP while also being out of tune compared to one another. Luckily most of it can be compensated for in software.
In any case, very awesome ~
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Scali » 2019-4-03 @ 20:27

Seeing that Sega MD card makes me go back to the YM2151 and IMFC/FB-01 mentioned earlier...
We're currently working on reverse-engineering the FB-01 Z80 firmware and making a reimplementation in regular C, to be used for emulation in DOSBox or as a standalone Windows MIDI device.
Now I wonder... if you would put a YM2151 and some modern microcontroller on an ISA card (such as an Atmel, like the HardMPU), you could run the new firmware on there, and create an IMFC clone.
Might have to revisit that idea once the reimplementation works in software.
Also, it would be interesting if we'd add a 'bypass' option to the firmware, so you can send commands directly to the YM2151 (not possible on a real IMFC). Then it'd also be a great card for playing VGM tunes (and it could be combined with a PSG and DAC for certain arcade machines).
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby awgamer » 2019-4-03 @ 22:04

I wonder how different the YM2612 (OPN2) is from the YM2164 (OPP), then there would be FB-01/IMFC functionality as well.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Tiido » 2019-4-03 @ 22:09

As far as FM part goes, OPN vs. OPM/OPP
Second detune parameter : no, yes
SSG-EG : yes, no
Additional LFO waveforms : no, yes
Most instruments will sound same on both families, exceptions being things relying on those features one side lacks compared to other.
Clock differences can play a factor too, most hardware uses these chips at NTSC derived freqs (3.579545MHz).

Most OPN family chips have additional things such as AY and (AD)PCM channel(s) aswell.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Scali » 2019-4-04 @ 07:29

Tiido wrote:SSG-EG : yes, no


What exactly is this?
Because other than that, it seems that the OPM/OPP is a superset of the OPN.
In this particular case it may not matter that the OPM/OPP does not have a built-in AY, because an 8930 will be on the card anyway. Same with (AD)PCM.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Tiido » 2019-4-04 @ 09:35

SSG-EG allows to repeat ADSR phases in similar fashion to AY envelopes, allowing for *very cool* souns to be created. Unfortunately most emulation cores never got it right and official documentation didn't really elaborate on it and as far as Sega's docs went "please keep these at zero, we don't know what they do" essentially lol. (and it has nothing to do with AY itself)
I would have loved the second detune on OPN, it would have allowed for a bit more fuller sounds to be created with less effort. LFO is mostly useless since it is global to all channels, I have only successfully used it with SFX (but in a monotimbral environment it makes more sense).
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby awgamer » 2019-4-04 @ 09:51

If the OPP features weren't used by games' FB-01/IMFC support, could emulate them as they were used with the OPN.
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