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Author Topic: Japanese computer music scene?  (Read 5967 times)

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ModTomIT

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Japanese computer music scene?
« on: September 20, 2015, 19:54:14 »

Hey, I was wondering...there were some computers with interesting sound chips that were produced and used almost exclusively in Japan in the 80s and 90s...surely a computer music scene must have existed for these...anyone have any info? What I could find was sparse.
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zzo38

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Re: Japanese computer music scene?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 03:45:23 »

Do you know what sound chips it is? I know a few things about some sound chips
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ModTomIT

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Re: Japanese computer music scene?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 06:44:41 »

Do you know what sound chips it is? I know a few things about some sound chips

Well, lets start with the PC-9801.

The PC-9801, a popular Japanese computer used a Yamaha YM2608, which sounds like it might be interesting to compose for. From wikipedia:

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YM2608, aka OPNA, is a sixteen-channel sound chip developed by Yamaha. It's a member of Yamaha's OPN family of FM synthesis chips, and the successor to the YM2203. It was notably used in NEC's PC-8801/PC-9801 series computers.

The YM2608 comprises four internal modules:

FM Sound Source, a six-channel FM synthesis sound system, based on the YM2203
SSG Sound Source, a complete internal implementation of the Yamaha YM2149/SSG, a variant of the popular AY-3-8910/PSG for producing three channels of square wave synthesis.
ADPCM Sound Source, a single channel for samples in 8-bit ADPCM format at a sampling rate between 2-16kHz
Rhythm Sound Source, a six-channel ADPCM system, enabling playback of six percussion "rhythm tones" from a built-in ROM
The FM Sound Source module includes six concurrent FM channels (voices, twice as many as the Yamaha YM2203), four operators per channel, with dual interrupt timers and an LFO. It also includes eight possible operator interconnections, or algorithms, for producing different types of instrument sounds.

The SSG, or Software-controlled Sound Generator, is Yamaha's YM2149 programmable sound generator. The YM2608 includes the SSG's 3 sound channels and dual 8-bit GPIO port.

Sounds cool. Anyone know of any trackers or music scene based on this hardware?
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zzo38

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Re: Japanese computer music scene?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 01:18:31 »

Unfortunately, I don't know any program to make music for YM2608. I do know AY-3-8910 though, and there is a lot of program to write music for AY-3-8910 (including ppMCK, VGMCK, XPMCK, Vortex Tracker, and others; eventually FamiTracker will support it too).

It could be added to VGMCK perhaps (the intention is for VGMCK to eventually support all sound chips of VGM format). The program for VGM creators list includes only the emulator "Neko Project 21" as the program that can output VGM using YM2608.

I do know of other Yamaha FM chips and have worked with emulations of them; the VRC7 sound on Famicom is a variation of OPLL (VRC7 has different built-in instruments and has only six channels with no rhythm channels). I have written music for it using ppMCK.
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ModTomIT

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Re: Japanese computer music scene?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 18:23:46 »

Unfortunately, I don't know any program to make music for YM2608. I do know AY-3-8910 though, and there is a lot of program to write music for AY-3-8910 (including ppMCK, VGMCK, XPMCK, Vortex Tracker, and others; eventually FamiTracker will support it too).

It could be added to VGMCK perhaps (the intention is for VGMCK to eventually support all sound chips of VGM format). The program for VGM creators list includes only the emulator "Neko Project 21" as the program that can output VGM using YM2608.

I do know of other Yamaha FM chips and have worked with emulations of them; the VRC7 sound on Famicom is a variation of OPLL (VRC7 has different built-in instruments and has only six channels with no rhythm channels). I have written music for it using ppMCK.


Thanks for the info. I've been on a weird kick trying to find obscure sound chips (at least, obscure for where I live). Speaking of the AY-3-8910, it would be perfect for another thing I'm thinking of doing...I make a lot of modules that only use a square wave sample, to recreate the limitations of making music for an old sound chip. What I was thinking of doing was making recordings of some of my music being played back on an old sound chip. Most of my music would need 4 channels of square wave, but I've got a batch of songs I've been making lately that only use 3 channels, which could be reproduced on an SN76489 (or the clone Sega made for Master System/Game Gear) or AY-3-8910. I was leaning toward just retracking the music on DefleMask and getting a flash cart for my Master System to playback the music, then recording it, but the AY-3-8910 sounds superior in some ways, or so I've read (I don't have anything that uses an AY-3-8910 but I was thinking of getting an MSX..). Anything that uses the AY-3-8910 that could be as easily used as the Master System? Alternatively, if I were to make something that converts impulse tracker modules (ignoring the sample(s)) for playback on Master System, what do you think would be a good starting point (in terms of availability of source code  as a starting point for that kind of thing?) I'm thinking converting impulse tracker patterns to a MML wouldn't be too bad would it? Just take s playback engine and make it output text instead of sound...Then we can make stuff in Impulse Tracker supporting programs that plays on video game systems!

I've thought of some more common systems like the Gameboy (not enough square channels), NES (not enough square channels, again) and Sega Genesis (using FM synthesis to make square waves is cheating, but there's a built in SN76489 clone...but it'll sound the same as the Master System).
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zzo38

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Re: Japanese computer music scene?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2015, 04:19:26 »

I was leaning toward just retracking the music on DefleMask and getting a flash cart for my Master System to playback the music, then recording it, but the AY-3-8910 sounds superior in some ways, or so I've read ... Anything that uses the AY-3-8910 that could be as easily used as the Master System?
You could use an emulator too is one way.

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Alternatively, if I were to make something that converts impulse tracker modules (ignoring the sample(s)) for playback on Master System, what do you think would be a good starting point (in terms of availability of source code  as a starting point for that kind of thing?)
I don't know much about Master System, unfortunately.

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I'm thinking converting impulse tracker patterns to a MML wouldn't be too bad would it? Just take s playback engine and make it output text instead of sound...Then we can make stuff in Impulse Tracker supporting programs that plays on video game systems!
That could be one way, although it may be better (if you can do it) to just directly output the binary format rather than going through MML as an intermediate step.

Quote
I've thought of some more common systems like the Gameboy (not enough square channels), NES (not enough square channels, again) and Sega Genesis (using FM synthesis to make square waves is cheating, but there's a built in SN76489 clone...but it'll sound the same as the Master System).
Famicom with expansion audio should have enough square channels; a .NSF file can even use multiple expansions if wanted (if you use 2A03+VRC6+MMC5 then you have six square channels, as well as one triangle channel, one saw channel, one noise channel, and one DPCM channel). Famitracker and ppMCK can create .NSF files (although I have been told that Famitracker does not support the AY-3-8910 (a future version may add it though) and cannot use more than one expansion at once; ppMCK does not have these limitations).
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