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Last active March 17, 2023 21:09
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Collecting info on Yamaha FM soundchips

Yamaha GS1 / GS2 (1981)

  • GS1: 8 operators per voice: 4 carriers with one modulator each (crossmodulation between 2 modulators), 88-key velocity and poly-pressure sensitive weighted keyboard
  • GS2: 4 operators per voice: 2 carriers with one modulator each (crossmodulation between 2 modulators), 73-key velocity sensitive weighted keyboard
  • Non-programmable, uses magnetic "voice cards" to load new sounds. Has vibrato, tremolo, ensemble and equalizer controls.
  • 2x OPC (YM34501) "Operator-Carrier", 2x OPM (YM34502) "Operator-Modulator", 4x EC (YM322) "Envelope Controller", 4x PG (YM344) "Phase Generator"

Yamaha CE20 / CE25 (1982)

  • Uses two 2-op layers per voice (Same as GS2?)
  • 2x OP1/OP2 (YM2011) "Operator", 1x PA (YM2010) "Phase Accumulator"

DX7: YM2128(0) (OPS, FM Operator Type-S) and YM2129(0) (EGS)

  • mid 1983, the original FM synthesizer, direct predecessor to YM2151/YM2612 etc.
  • 16 voices (6-op) (32 in DX1/DX5)
  • Used in DX7, DX9 (firmware reduces it to 4-op, 8 algo), TX7, DX1/DX5 (Dual)
  • DX9 defines algorithms 1-8 as 1,14,8,7,5,22,31,32 (with removed OP 1 and 2). These algorithms are shared in OPN/OPM/OPZ series.
  • Requires two chips, one for operators and one for envelopes

YM2604 (OPS2) and YM3609 (EGM)

  • 1986, Used in DX7 mark II, TX802
  • 16 voices (6-op)
  • Requires two chips, one for operators and one for envelopes

YM2164 (OPP, FM Operator Type P)

  • 1985, Used in DX21, DX27, DX100, FB-01, SFG-05, Korg DS-8, Korg 707, IBM Music Feature Card
  • 8 voices (4-op)
  • The supposedly improved successor to OPM. It is VERY similar. Same pinout and is backwards compatible. In fact, any differences may not affect sound.
  • Most differences are probably firmware-bound. For example DX21 has a "Pitch EG" which DX27/100/FB-01 do not. FB-01 has weird stuff like "AR Velocity Sensitivity". This is all probably specific to the firmware and not the chip. Velocity Sensitivity for example is fully controlled in firmware when processing MIDI.

YM2414 (OPZ, FM Operator Type-Z)

  • 1987, used in synths TX81Z, DX11, YS100, YS200, PortaTone PSR-6300, PSR-80 and DSR-2000
  • 8 channels (4-op), 8 waveforms, two LFOs
  • combines the 8 algorithms of YM2151/OPM with 8 waveforms, allowing for sophisticated sounds. Interestingly, borrows the waveform concept from OPL series but uses custom list of waveforms.

YM2424 (OPZII, FM Operator Type-Z-II)

  • 1989, only known to be used in V50 (uses 2xYM2424 for 16 note polyphony)
  • 8 channels (4-op), 8 waveforms, two LFOs
  • Identical to OPZ but has fixed frequencies down to 0 Hz.

YMF292 (SCSP)

  • 1994, used in Sega Saturn, Sega Model 2/3
  • hybrid FM/PCM, uses 32 channels (4-op, but configurable). Mostly PCM was used.

YMF271 (OPX)

  • 1993, used in Seibu SPI and Mega System 32 arcade boards
  • hybrid FM/PCM, flexible 2/3/4 operators + PCM. Mostly only PCM was used.
  • operators can use a unique set of 7 waveforms plus a custom exernal waveform.
  • FM: quite unique and flexible. 48 operators (slots), split into 12 "groups". Each group can be configured with 4 "sync" modes (4op mode, 2op x2 mode, 3op + 1?, PCM) 2. 28 algorithms - 4 (2op), 8 (3op), 16 (4op). example: 12 channels with all 4-op, 24 channels with all 2-op. "up to 30 sounds".
  • PCM: depending on configuration, PCM can be used extensively; "up to 12 voices".

OPM

YM2151 (OPM, FM Operator Type-M)

  • Year of release: 1983
  • FM: 8 channels (4-op)
  • Used in: Yamaha CX5M SFG-01 (Yamaha PC, 1983), Arcade, Sharp X1 Turbo (1984), Sharp X68000 (1987)
  • Related to: Yamaha YM2164 (aka OPP/FM Operator Type P, derivative used in DX21/27)

Notes

Datasheet. 4 operators per channel, using same algorithms in DX21. The chip is possibly stereo. Channel 3 mode is absent.

Example music

  1. BGM - Enduro Racer (1985) (Arcade, YM2151, SegaPCM)
  2. Passing Breeze - Out Run (1986) (Arcade, YM2151, SegaPCM)
  3. The Heat Waves - Super Monaco GP (1989) (Arcade, YM2151, SegaPCM)
  4. Ending - "Last Drive" - Knight Arms: The Hyblid Framer (X68000, YM2151, OKIM6258)
  5. Time Attack - GP Rider (1990) (Arcade, YM2151, SegaPCM)
  6. Red-Hot Desert - R-Type Leo (1992) (Arcade, YM2151, GA20)
  7. Photonic - Room Service (VOPM VST)
  8. pedalsteeldrummer - Strawberries and Cream (VOPM VST)
  9. Keishi Yonao - Eusion (iYM2151 Demo song)

OPN

YM2203 (OPN, FM Operator Type-N)

  • Year of release: 1984
  • FM: 3 channels (4-op)
  • SSG: 3 channels (YM2149 PSG(?), register-compatible with AY-3-8910)
  • Used in: Arcade, Certain models of NEC PC-6001 (1984)/PC-6601 (1984)/PC-8001 (1985)/PC-8801 (1985)/PC-9801 (1986)
  • Related to: YM2608/OPNA (enhanced version of OPN), YM2612/OPN2 (also based on OPN, but no SSG)

Notes

Datasheet. 4 operators per channel, using same algorithms in DX21 and OPM. The chip is possibly mono. Channel 3 has two special modes:

  1. Sound effect mode: Allows for individual freq control of each operator, and can mute operators for additional polyphony.
  2. CSM (Composite Sine Mode): for speech synthesis (?)

Example music

  1. Main Theme - Space Harrier (1985) (Arcade, YM2203 + SegaPCM)
  2. Opening - Silpheed (1986) (PC-8801, YM2203)
  3. First Step Towards Wars - Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished (1987) (PC-8801, YM2203)
  4. Opening - Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes (1990) (PC-8801, YM2203)
  5. Title Theme - Rusty (1993) (PC-9801, YM2203 using special Ch3 mode)

YM2608 (OPNA, FM Operator Type N-A)

  • Year of release: 1985
  • FM: 6 channels (4-op)
  • SSG: 3 channels (YM2149 PSG(?), register-compatible with AY-3-8910)
  • ADPCM: 1 channel (8-bit ADPCM format at a sampling rate between 2–16 kHz)
  • RHY: 6 channel (enabling playback of six percussion ADPCM samples/"rhythm tones" from a built-in ROM)
  • Used in: Certain models of PC-8801 (1985)/PC-9801 (1986)
  • Related to: YMF288/OPN3 (stripped down version of OPNA), YM2203/OPN (predecessor), YM2612/OPN2 (very similar, no SSG etc.)

Notes

Datasheet. 4 operators per channel, using same algorithms in DX21 and OPM. The chip is possibly stereo.

Channel 3 has two special modes:

  1. Sound effect mode: Allows for individual freq control of each operator, and can mute operators for additional polyphony.
  2. CSM (Composite Sine Mode): for speech synthesis (?)

Example music

  1. Kono yo no hate de koi o utau Shōjo YU-NO (1996) (PC-9801, YM2608)
  2. Only You - Seikimatsu no Juliet to tachi (1995) (PC-9801, YM2608)
  3. Level 7 - Revival Xanadu II: Remix (1995) (PC-9801, YM2608)
  4. Shout Down - The Scheme (1988) (PC-8801, YM2608)

YM2612 (OPN2, FM Operator type N-2)

  • Year of release: 1988
  • FM: 6 channels (4-op)
  • Used in: Arcade, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (1988), Fujitsu FM Towns (1989)
  • Related to: YM2608 (enhanced version), YM2203/OPN (predecessor)

Notes

SMSPower documentation. Stripped down/low-cost version of YM2608. 4 operators per channel, using same algorithms in DX21 and OPM. Paired with a 4-channel SN76489 on the Mega Drive/Genesis. One FM channel can be converted to 8-bit ADPCM channel. The chip is possibly stereo.

Channel 3 has two special modes:

  1. Sound effect mode: Allows for individual freq control of each operator, and can mute operators for additional polyphony.
  2. CSM (Composite Sine Mode): for speech synthesis (?)

Example music

  1. BGM - Vapor Trail (1991) (Mega Drive, YM2612, No PSG usage)
  2. Because You're the Number One - Thunder Force IV (1992) (Mega Drive, YM2612 + PSG)
  3. Dreamer - Streets of Rage 2 (1992) (Mega Drive, YM2612 + PSG)
  4. Sortie - Gauntlet IV (1993) (Mega Drive, YM2612 + PSG)
  5. Reincarnated Soul, Part 2 - Castlevania Bloodlines (1994) (Mega Drive, YM2612, No PSG usage)

OPL

YM3526 (OPL, FM Operator Type-L)

  • Year of release: 1984
  • FM: 9 channels (2-op, 1 waveform)
  • Used in: C64 Sound Expander and Arcade games (Bubble Bobble)
  • Related to: Y8950 (additional ADPCM channels, used in MSX expansion cart)

Notes

Datasheet.

Example music

  1. Theme of Terracresta - Terra Cresta (1985) (Arcade, YM3526)
  2. Wonder Flight - Wonder Planet (1987) (Arcade, YM3526)
  3. Vibrants FM - Edlib OPL2 converted tunes (C64/SFX Sound Expander, YM3526)

YM3812 (OPL2, FM Operator Type-L-2)

  • Year of release: 1985
  • FM: 9 channels (2-op, 4 waveforms)
  • Used in: Arcade, DOS sound cards (Adlib, Sound Blaster etc.), Yamaha keyboards
  • Related to: N/A

Notes

Datasheet. OPL-series of chips are 2-op and use different algorithms.

Example music

  1. Staff Roll - Street Smart (1989) (Arcade, YM3812)
  2. Title - Harald Hårdtand i 'Kampen om de rene tænder' (1992) (DOS, YM3812)
  3. Title - Fury of the Furries (1993) (DOS, YM3812)
  4. Title Tune - Lollypop (1994) (DOS, YM3812, Edlib)
  5. Field 1 - Knights of Xentar (1994) (DOS, YM3812)
  6. Battle - Princess Maker 2 (1996) (DOS, YM3812)
  7. Vibrants - Fis3 (Edlib)
  8. DRAX - Street Wise (Edlib)
  9. DRAX - Flash (Edlib)
  10. DRAX - Human Nature 1 (Edlib)
  11. DRAX - Beyond Minds (Edlib)
  12. METAL - Soul Shock (Edlib)
  13. METAL - Plastic Session (Edlib)
  14. METAL - Introism (Edlib)
  15. METAL - Inside the Organ (Edlib)
  16. METAL&DRAX - Breaking Wind (Edlib)
  17. JO - Drums Are Hard To Do (Edlib)

YM2413 (OPLL, FM Operator Type-L-L)

  • Year of release: 1986
  • FM: 9 channels or 6 channels/5 drums (2-op, 2 waveforms)
  • Used in: Arcade, Yamaha PSS-140/PSS-270
  • Related to: JP Master System, MSX/MSX2, VRC7 (6 channel variant used in one NES game: Lagrange Point) (1986-1988)

Notes

Datasheet. Only one channel can be fully programmed. Other must be chose from 15 hard-coded instruments. There are chip variants with different instrument sets, such as YMF281 and YM2423. In general, these are inferior, stripped-down versions of OPL2. TODO: Is there anything programmable? Vibrato and volume? stuff like that.

Example music

  1. Out of Rap - F-1 Spirit 3D Special (1990) (MSX2+, MSX-Music/YM2413)
  2. Opening Theme - GD: Greatest Driver (1988) (MSX2, YM2413)
  3. Theme of Isis - Lagrange Point (1991) (Famicom, VRC7/NES APU)
  4. Ending - Fire Hawk (1989) (MSX2, YM2413 + AY-3-8910)

YMF262 (OPL3, FM Operator Type-L-3)

  • Year of release: 1988
  • FM: 18 channels or 15 channels/5 drums (2-op, 8 waveforms)
  • Used in: Arcade, NEC PC-9801, DOS sound cards (Sound Blaster 16 etc.)
  • Related to: Yamaha YMF7xx series

Notes

Documentation. Has additional capabilities over OPL2, such as 4 more waveforms, double the channels, and ability to use 4-op instruments. Up to six 4-op instruments can be created, and each take up 2 channels. So that gives you 6 4-op + 6 2-op = 12 at its most extreme. Also, there's a separate mode where you can add drums (similar to OPL2). 6 4-op + 3 2-op + 5 1-op = 14 channels. Many musicians program their own drums in trackers using the full FM mode.

Example music

  1. Madbrain - Oskari the Heimfanker (AdlibTracker2)
  2. Madbrain - Oskari goes to Soundblasterland (AdlibTracker2)
  3. Encore - The Abscence of Julia (AdlibTracker2)
  4. Benjamin Gerardin - High Tech Environment III (AdlibTracker2)
  5. naruto - MoonDriver for OPL3 DEMO
  6. Painful Sigh - Miwaku no Chousho (1995) (PC-9801, YMF262)
  7. Sky of the City - Doukyusei 2 (1995) (DOS, YMF262)

YMF278 (OPL4)

  • Year of release: 1994
  • FM: Exactly the same as OPL3
  • PCM: 24 channels of "wavetable synthesis", up to 512 samples, 4 MiB, 16-bit/44.1 kHz
  • Used in: Sunrise MoonSound soundcard for MSX (1995), Yamaha Sound Edge soundcard for IBM PC (1995)

Datasheet. In short, this adds high quality sample playback to OPL3. It has hardware envelope support for the samples, an onboard CPU, a 2 MiB ROM full of stock samples, hardware LFO for vibrato/tremolo, stereo panning, among other hardware features. The sample capabilities may be somewhat comparable to YMF292 as used in Sega Saturn. It could also be imagined as the .XM format mixed with OPL3 in one sound chip.

Example music

Others

YMU757 / YMU757B (MA-1 / MA-1C)

  • Year of release: 1999
  • FM: 4 channels (2-op, 2 waveforms)
  • Used in: Tons of mobile devices (cell phone, PDA)

Datasheet #1. Datasheet #2. Seems quite limited. 2-op only, but has OPLL's half-sine waveform. Contains a built-in sequencer.

MUL=7, TL=63, AR=15, DR=15, SL=15, RR=15, VIB=1, SUS=1, EGT=1, WAV=1, FB=7

YMU759 (MA-2)

  • Year of release: 2000
  • FM: 16 channels (2-op, 8 waveforms) or 8 channels (4-op, 8 waveforms)
  • ADPCM: 1 channel (4-bit, 4 kHz/8 kHz)
  • Used in: Tons of mobile devices (cell phone, PDA)

Datasheet. Boasts much improved FM over MA-1. Appears to have full OPL3 feature set. Contains one very low quality ADPCM channel. Also contains a sequencer. For drum sounds, a single key note can be specified.

MUL=15, TL=63, AR=15, DR=15, SL=15, RR=15, VIB=1, SUS=1, EGT=1, WAV=7, FB=7
+ LFO=3, KSR=1, AM=1, ALG=6, KSL=3, DVB=3, DAM=3

Note: DVB and DAM now have 4 depths instead of the 2 from OPL3.

YMU762 (MA-3)

  • Year of release: 2001
  • FM: 32 channels (2-op, 29 waveforms) or 16 channels (4-op, 29 waveforms + 3 external waveform)
  • PCM/ADPCM: 8 channels (8-bit PCM, 4-bit ADPCM, 48kHz)
  • Used in: Tons of mobile devices (cell phone, PDA)

Datasheet. Improved over MA-2. Much improved sample playback. More channels. More operator waveforms. Two extra 4-op algorithms. plus some tweaks to old ones.

MUL=15, TL=63, AR=15, DR=15, SL=15, RR=15, VIB=1, SUS=1, EGT=1, WAV=7, FB=7
+ LFO=3, KSR=1, AM=1, ALG=6, KSL=3, DVB=3, DAM=3
+ XOF=1, EAM=1, EVB=1, PANPOT=31, PE=1

New parameters do the following: EAM (Enable Amplitude Modulation/Tremolo), EVB (Enable Vibrato), XOF (Ignore key-off for Sustain)

YMU765 (MA-5)

  • Year of release: 2003
  • FM: 32 channels (2-op, 29 waveforms) or 16 channels (4-op, 29 waveforms + 3 external waveform)
  • PCM/ADPCM: 32 channels (8-bit PCM, 4-bit ADPCM, 48kHz)
  • Used in: Tons of mobile devices (cell phone, PDA)

Datasheet. This uses the same FM synthesis engine of MA-3, but adds a filter called Analog Lite (AL) and a speech synthesis (HV/Humanoid Voice) in Japanese or Korean. Also it bumps up the PCM channel count to 32.

YMU786 / YMU790 / YMU791 (MA-7/ MA-7D / MA-7I)

  • Year of release: 2005
  • FM: ?
  • PCM/ADPCM: ?
  • Used in: Tons of mobile devices (cell phone, PDA)

Based on the MA-5's FM synthesis engine. Supposedly has 128 polyphony combined FM and PCM. Has 3D positional sound (AudioEngine), as well as DSP effects (reverb, delay, overdrive etc). 16KB ram instead of 8KB. Can't find much info on it.

YMF825 (SD-1)

  • Year of release: 2011
  • FM: 16 channels (4-op, 29 waveforms + 3 external waveform)
  • Used in: Home appliances (Chinese market)

Datasheet. This appears to be a version of MA-3. It has no PCM or Analog Lite capabilities. Using 2-op instruments does not give extra channels, thus it's probably best to use 4-op instruments.

@bryc
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bryc commented Aug 10, 2022

@minunahein Unfortunately what's there is all I know. This document is really just for comparing and contrasting the most essential aspects of these FM chips. I've not seen any examples of CSM being used for speech, perhaps some yet-to-discover programmer's manual may describe how it should be used? Though for HV, I might be able to help. Those chips were mostly used in old cell phones, usually for ringtones. Yamaha had their own software for creating ringtones, and apparently you could incorporate speech synthesis.

Searching SMAF HV found these examples showing it used for singing:

https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm1653648
https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm1312498
https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm17689147
https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm10428991

Manual for MA-5 Authoring Tool might explain more: https://ia902302.us.archive.org/24/items/at-manual-e/AT_Manual_e.pdf
A guide in Japanese on how to use it (shows how to get the software via WayBack Archive I think)

@ElizabethHudnott
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I think all the speech mode (CSM/CSW) does is repeatedly reset the phase of many/all of the oscillators (and retrigger the envelopes?) at a very rapid rate using the built in timer. To recreate any actual speech you have to do your own fourier analysis and bring your own codec. People like Aly James (author of the FMDrive YM2612 emulation) have managed to get some interesting vowel sounds out of the chip using this mode.

@minunahein
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minunahein commented Aug 10, 2022

@ElizabethHudnott @bryc
Thank you! Your responses helped a lot. Reading more about the SMAF HV, it's definitely something very interesting and these nnd users have got lots to offer regarding that. I know there's the MA-7 tag on nnd that does have some videos showcasing the HV too. Also also, someone else helped me found a usage of the YM2612 chip to produce singing! It's so cool! This person's whole YouTube channel is a goldmine.
Cover song with chip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfgSOMY-SHY
Original song for comparison: https://youtu.be/oURQnsw9yLE

@ElizabethHudnott
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I don't know what chip it used but Yamaha's FS1R synthesizer was specifically designed for speech. In addition to its FM operators it had a bunch of filtered noise voices, which I suspect is necessary in order to reproduce convincing sibilants and fricatives (or you could use PCM samples, which is what the Amiga did for it's pretty convincing Stephen Hawking emulation). I don't know if they share any chips but Montage and MODX have inherited design features from the FS1R, for example the waveforms and the "skirt" parameter.

@minunahein
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@ElizabethHudnott Thanks again! The FS1R uses the YMP706 chip (found that on here and here, not very reliable but a start) and I can't find if Montage and MODOX share that but anyway I can't believe big names like the Aphex Twin and Enigma used the FS1R! This has opened a brand new horizon for me lol~

@now-its-dark
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On the topic of speech/vocal synthesis, the PLG100-SG plugin-in board uses an "OPL" branded chip— the YMF293. The HV-type voices of the MA- series chips sound noticeably similar to the voices produced by the SG board. It uses an onboard dictionary of phonemes. As with the MA-series chips, the functionality of this board was also replicated in software, this was via S-YXG100 Plus.

PLG100-SG official demos
PLG100-SG Owners Manual (archived version, in case it is removed from Yamaha's website in the future).
Info on the SG board @ JavelinArt

--

On a separate note, in addition to many mobile phones, the MA7 chip can also be found in the Yamaha BODiBEAT fitness tracker / music player, which uses an accelerometer and pulse sensor to play music at your current heartbeat / workout intensity level. It is a hybrid generative FM/PCM music player and mp3 player. Here are some examples of the music it produces using the MA7 chip.

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