The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

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Tiger Jackson
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The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by Tiger Jackson » Thu May 23, 2019 12:15 am

I've been interested in doing a couple sega genesis-esque tracks, and was thinking of using my dx100. I've been using Reason with Super Audio Cart and want to lay some dx100 over it. But I'm wondering how accurate the dx100 is for this, if anyone knows? I did a little bit of research on what the genesis used, all I know it was another 4op yamaha FM, dunno if it's the same kinda sound engine or not.

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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by Virgule » Thu May 23, 2019 11:43 pm

Hi Tiger Jackson,

The DX100 can work but you would be better served with a multitimbral and multi waveforms engine like the Yamaha TX81z and family (DX11, V50, YS100/200, TQ5). Which is what the Genesis FM part is most closely related to.

edit: If you want the earlier arcade FM sound, the Yamaha FB-01 does it farily accurately. It can be very confusing since many diferent engines were used in in alot of games and computers during the same period.

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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by commodorejohn » Fri May 24, 2019 3:53 am

The YM2162 in the Genesis is closer in feature set to the FB-01 (it doesn't have the multiple waveforms or fine-grained operator tuning of the TX81Z.) That said, the TX81Z can do pretty much everything the YM2162 can and more, and they're still shockingly cheap for what they offer. The V50 is even nicer, if you don't mind a full keyboard - double the polyphony, a much more flexible multitimbral MIDI implementation, and some basic effects and an amusing cheapo drum machine thrown into the bargain.
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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by Virgule » Fri May 24, 2019 9:42 pm

It becomes even more confusing when certain FM engines overlap or are compatible with others.

I used to edit a TX81z using a Yamaha DX21. Every function was alike other than the few differences between them (Pitch envelope Generator on the DX, waveform variants on the TX, etc)

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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by Jabberwalky » Tue May 28, 2019 2:26 pm

Deflemask is great if you want to use PC software and is what I've used to directly port music to the console. The YM2612 was actually even more limited than most Yamaha Dx 4-ops. A lot of what gives the Sega Genesis music that particular sound is the journey and limitations you have to go through while writing. For instance, need to stay within 5-6 channels only (sfx share and choke music channels), you can change up to 4 FM parameters per step, many games used sampled kicks and snares (but it's completely possible and better imo to make FM drums).

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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by Tiger Jackson » Wed May 29, 2019 5:34 pm

Thanks for the replies so far, but I'm not in the market to buy any new hardware, so I may just end up using my dx100 and see if I like it. The thing never gets any use so I'm looking for an excuse to use it.
Jabberwalky wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:26 pm
Deflemask is great if you want to use PC software and is what I've used to directly port music to the console. The YM2612 was actually even more limited than most Yamaha Dx 4-ops. A lot of what gives the Sega Genesis music that particular sound is the journey and limitations you have to go through while writing. For instance, need to stay within 5-6 channels only (sfx share and choke music channels), you can change up to 4 FM parameters per step, many games used sampled kicks and snares (but it's completely possible and better imo to make FM drums).
Oh great I was just about to ask how many tracks a genesis song could have. So maximum 6 including drums?
I'm honestly not trying to get 100% hardware accurate, just in the style with 16-bit sounds.

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Re: The 4-op Yamaha DX synths

Post by commodorejohn » Thu May 30, 2019 2:27 pm

Yes, the YM2612 has six channels, one of which can be switched out for a raw DAC for sample output. Mind you, the Genesis also has the equivalent of an SN76489 PSG included, so that's an additional three channels of square wave or LFSR pitched noise, which games could also use for music or sound effects.
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