Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

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

Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby ab0tj » 2018-2-09 @ 16:16

Hey guys,

I'm wrapping up some things right now so I'll actually have some free time soon. So I've been thinking about my next project. Would anyone be interested in a AY-3-8910/YM2149 based ISA sound card? I know there aren't any DOS games that support it directly right now, but there's also quite a few talented programmers that might be able to make use of it in DOS. It would make some good chiptune type sounds...

Thoughts?
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby dreamblaster » 2018-2-09 @ 20:12

yeah this is in the pipeline (an LPT version ),
but many other projects before it,
I first want to implement soundchips that ARE supported by games (makes more sense),
so it will take a long time until i get to it.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby ab0tj » 2018-2-09 @ 21:24

If there is interest, nothing wrong with having both an ISA and LPT version. Anyone who programs for it could support both.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby keropi » 2018-2-09 @ 22:00

I think the lack of PC software to support that great sounding device will be a big problem... I really like how it sounds on the CPC
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby dreamblaster » 2018-2-09 @ 22:49

keropi wrote:I think the lack of PC software to support that great sounding device will be a big problem... I really like how it sounds on the CPC

yeah the only application I could think of, is to run an emulator on PC, and use a real soundchip. (so make a driver for the emulator).
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Jo22 » 2018-2-09 @ 23:00

keropi wrote:I think the lack of PC software to support that great sounding device will be a big problem... I really like how it sounds on the CPC

Oh well, I believe the MSX scene did such things even though there were no actual games (I'm no MSX owner, though). :)
The MoonSound, for example, was made by hobbyists in the mid-90s, long after the MSX platform was considered dead.

That nifty little card was based around an OPL4 chip and got some interesting tracker programs.
Personally, I find the idea of ab0tj interesting.

There's something to it having a chiptune player/composer running
on old PCs running DOS, CP/M or even GEM/Win1.x. ;)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonsound

A few sample videos..

https://youtu.be/fGhML7YmmdQ
https://youtu.be/Dvv4GNFh8g4

https://youtu.be/2Wwhof9z8yI
https://youtu.be/tPLXPswbj6A

https://youtu.be/USHdUqrftPQ


Edit: The Covox Sound Master did also use a AY-3-8910/AY8930 PSG.
Maybe "we" can make the new design compatible to that ?

So we could have at least a little game support. :)
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014/09/the-mysterious-covox-pc-sound-devices.html
Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-2-09 @ 23:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby keropi » 2018-2-09 @ 23:07

Yeah I've known of that opl4 board and it is really amazing.
Not trying to ditch anything here, just stating that obvious lack of software. I'd love to see something working with it.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Jo22 » 2018-2-09 @ 23:26

No, no, what you said was alright and the point was absolutely valid, too. :sweatdrop:
My reply was no critique- I just wanted to note that there's amazing music that could be played on our old hardware.
Or created. For a musican/artist looking for inspiration, it would perhaps mean a lot to put him-/herself in times long gone.
The experience or ambience of working with, say, an IBM 5150, would be quite different than doing the composing on a modern day iPad or all-in-one PC.

Edit: Some of the better AY-3-8910 songs that I have found..
https://youtu.be/nK2vpUE4lSM , https://youtu.be/IVqZ1ev9BC8
https://youtu.be/-l5JkPzXsUs , https://youtu.be/hZ1jaZLnAK0 (2x Monkey Island)
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby chartreuse » 2018-2-10 @ 07:57

Wouldn't be too difficult, if it's a YM2149 running with the clock at 4MHz (I think), to write a simple YM music format player. Since the YM format is basically just a compressed register dump. Would at least let it be somewhat useful by being able to play Atari ST music files.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Scali » 2018-2-10 @ 10:45

Jo22 wrote:Edit: The Covox Sound Master did also use a AY-3-8910/AY8930 PSG.
Maybe "we" can make the new design compatible to that ?

So we could have at least a little game support. :)
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014/09/the-mysterious-covox-pc-sound-devices.html


Yea, although I doubt that MobyGames is very accurate on that: www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/attributeId,80/
I would expect only a handful of games to support it, not 164.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Scali » 2018-2-10 @ 10:47

chartreuse wrote:Wouldn't be too difficult, if it's a YM2149 running with the clock at 4MHz (I think)


Judging from the pictures, there is no crystal/oscillator or anything on the Covox Sound Master. That means there is no way to generate a 4 MHz clock signal. I suspect it divides the 14.32 MHz NTSC clock on the ISA bus to get 3.57 MHz, same as various other sound interfaces on PC do, such as the SN76489 in PCjr/Tandy, and the AdLib.

Even so, it might not be too difficult to take a 4 MHz YM file, and adjust all frequency commands for 3.57 MHz.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Tronix » 2018-2-10 @ 19:04

Nice idea to make YM2149 ISA soundcard. For some reason i build my LPT version back in 2014 (USB connector only to get 5V power from USB):

Image

Then in 2015 i make USB version (based on pic16f microcontroller) :

Image

Demo-records from this devices you can find at https://soundcloud.com/tronix286

As for supporting games, i thing it is possible to modify Miles Sound System driver, as it was done for a sound cards Innovation SSI-2001 MIDI driver and Creative Music System (CMS) / Game Blaster MIDI drivers
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby carlostex » 2018-2-10 @ 20:06

Well have a Covox Sound Master in the works. Fagear, did a lot already checking the traces from Covox Sound Master pictures. shock__ will work with motorumi to reverse engineer the CSM, but only after he finishes ARGUS.

As far as game support it should bem similar to the Innovation SSI-2001, maybe around 12 games support it. Most games that claim Covox Sound Master support are actually referring to the Covox Sound Master II which uses a YM3812 OPL2 chip.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby chartreuse » 2018-2-10 @ 20:49

Scali wrote:Judging from the pictures, there is no crystal/oscillator or anything on the Covox Sound Master. That means there is no way to generate a 4 MHz clock signal. I suspect it divides the 14.32 MHz NTSC clock on the ISA bus to get 3.57 MHz, same as various other sound interfaces on PC do, such as the SN76489 in PCjr/Tandy, and the AdLib.

Even so, it might not be too difficult to take a 4 MHz YM file, and adjust all frequency commands for 3.57 MHz.


Probably could be done real time in the player. YM is just a 50Hz register dump format. Just would need to take the values going to the frequency registers and do some scaling (~ -10.75%) on them.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby matze79 » 2018-2-11 @ 15:48

The Covox Soundmaster also has a DAC right ?
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby Scali » 2018-2-11 @ 15:54

matze79 wrote:The Covox Soundmaster also has a DAC right ?


Yup, a DAC with DMA support.
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Re: Next project? AY-3-8910 Sound Card

Postby matze79 » 2018-10-20 @ 08:35

Hm is there something special on the Covox Soundmaster ? except for DAC ?

i try to connect the AY to ISA Bus and simply hook it to the soundmaster i/o address.
lets see what happens..
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