SuperSoniqs announces Darky, a new stereo PSG sound card. Currently, the aimed functionality is as follows:

  • Two Microchip Technology AY8930 ePSG processors with separate envelopes for the three channels (the AY-3-8910 PSG used in MSX has just one shared envelope), variable duty-cycles, more bits for note and envelope frequency, volume, and a better noise generator
  • MSX compatibility mode during default (boot) operation mode. In this mode the second ePSG will run on a slightly different clock speed to create a pseudo stereo effect for all existing software with normal MSX PSG support
  • Two 3-channel stereo mixers that are combined to be able to place any of the six ePSG channels in the stereo spectrum
  • Treble, bass, equalizer and 3D spatializer functions in the mixer
  • Programmable Spin FV-1 Effect DSP processor with default and programmable effects such as echo, flanger, reverb, chorus, etcetera
  • Dual mini-jack output, line-out and headphone (amplified)

As of now, the first prototypes have been produced. SuperSoniqs will post more information when it comes available during development.

Relevant link: SuperSoniqs - Darky

Comments (73)

By syn

Paragon (1818)

syn's picture

11-02-2016, 17:44

hurray! Big smile

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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11-02-2016, 18:15

Every Darky needs a Darky... Put me on the list please Smile

By tvalenca

Paladin (683)

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11-02-2016, 18:52

Wow, cool! Chiptune pushed through another level!

By ericb59

Paladin (736)

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11-02-2016, 19:24

There are some .PT3 files which make use of two PSG (thus, 6 voices), is this cart will be compatible ?

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5259)

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11-02-2016, 19:26

TriloTracker for two PSGs is in the making! Smile

By alexworp3

Expert (126)

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11-02-2016, 19:48

wow this is reallly awesome. Stereopsgsound!!!!!

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

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11-02-2016, 21:44

interesting, how this wasn't used as an "update" for the msx norm, like when doing msx2+.

http://www.datasheets360.com/pdf/7756348957606408083?query=A...

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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11-02-2016, 22:15

Looking forward…

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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11-02-2016, 22:48

My feeling says this defice may be put in a slotexpander (correct me if I'm wrong)... That would be a massive pro Smile

By Ramones

Champion (264)

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12-02-2016, 09:21

Good job, Supersónicos! Smile

By marcoo

Expert (90)

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12-02-2016, 11:01

Is there Any idea how much this gonna cost

By edoz

Paragon (2013)

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12-02-2016, 14:22

Wow! Cool device! Indeed it would be cool to support PT3 files! Like the Play City on CPC

By Prodatron

Paragon (1787)

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12-02-2016, 14:29

There is indeed a SymAmp version for SymbOS with 6channel PT3 support (see the video posted by EdoZ above).
It should be easy to adapt it for Darky as well.

By ivke2006

Resident (53)

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12-02-2016, 17:51

How does a AY-3-8930 sound like? I can't find audio examples except some crappy covox samples...someone?

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5259)

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12-02-2016, 18:35

It's just the standard internal soundchip found in every MSX machine (among others).

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5254)

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12-02-2016, 18:49

I guess ivke2006 wants to hear the stereo, equalizer and other effects ...

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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12-02-2016, 19:28

Also pulse width modulation (variable duty cycle). Used a lot on the SID, and synthesizers.

By hit9918

Prophet (2725)

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12-02-2016, 21:10

the #1 sound spec is missing.
interrupt.
the CPC video does list it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8-MoO1VJx4&t=1m25s

By djh1697

Paragon (1340)

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12-02-2016, 22:01

Nice Wink
In the UK you would not be able to market a product called "DARKY", it would be deemed as racist would you believe?

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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12-02-2016, 22:10

Everything is racist Wink

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5259)

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12-02-2016, 22:11

And sexist. Wink

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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12-02-2016, 22:12

That especially Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By Sander

Ambassador (1827)

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12-02-2016, 22:23

We have brand of chocolate in the Netherlands that's called Dark. We have a brand of clothing that's called Black. Actually we have a dessert that's called "White custard". Darky is the alter ego of a Asian woman (my girlfriend). I wouldn't call her racist. Or me for that matter. The name came out of love. Not out of hate.

By Sander

Ambassador (1827)

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12-02-2016, 22:31

A AY-3-8930 sounds much richer in native mode than a AY-3-8910. Sadly, one one pc game has support for the pc SoundMaster card (which has the same chip). The game is called "Where in the world is carmen sandiego". We tried to dump the AY-8930 data from the game but didn't succeed yet. Maybe we got the wrong archive.

For demo sounds you have to wait a little. Currently we are programming the CLPD etc. Fun fact: we didn't know that there was a stereo PSG card for Amstrad. Wow! Would be nice indeed to get support for the pt3 files later.

We try to let it work in a slotexpander too. Price we don't know yet. Depends on final features. Remember this is just a prototype. We are not busy with calculation production costs at this moment. First need to get the thing working.
I'm not sure what Hit9918 is suggesting but this thing is not the same as in the video link.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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12-02-2016, 22:53

Sorry ivke2006, I misread AY-3-8930 for 8910 the whole time. Don't know how I managed that, but I did. Wink

By ivke2006

Resident (53)

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12-02-2016, 22:58

no problem John. Smile

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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13-02-2016, 09:25

Cooooooooool!!! Would it be possible to replace the internal PSG of a MSX (in case the PSG is a real chip) with an AY8930? It seems both chips have compatible pinouts....

By ren

Paragon (1116)

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13-02-2016, 10:29

That's some HW/PCB pr0n right there! Wink

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

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13-02-2016, 12:12

There are cards that add a 2nd PSG for the ZX-Spectrum too. One of them is called Turbo Sound. I have many PT3 files here that support this and will gladly hand you them if they'll be of help.

One question: does this card feature it's own clock generator? It would then be an a very elegant fix for the PSG pitch for turbo mode of Panasonic MSX2+ machines and homebrew turbo kits.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

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13-02-2016, 12:36

BTW, since the card is still in prototype stage: why not a YM2203 (or even a YM2608) instead of the AY-3-8910? This way you would have two enhanced PSGs in one card, and both with good compatibility with the original 8910. And it would be of great help for Grauw's VGM player.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

Grauw's picture

13-02-2016, 12:55

sd_snatcher: It’s the Microchip Technologies AY8930 (EPSG), not the GI AY-3-8910.

Also Panasonic MSX2+ machines have a standard 3.58 MHz bus clock so there’s no need for a separate clock crystal. (Nonstandard 7 MHz buses are nonstandard so I don’t think they need to be supported, but that’s imo.)

The newspost should be adjusted by the way, “AY-3-8930” does not exist, should be “AY8930”. Also it may be worth more explicitly mentioning that it is a chip by MT with enhanced features, since several people seem to confuse it for the original (no real surprise with those similar product numbers).

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

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13-02-2016, 13:14

You're right. I missed the info that both PSGs would be the AY8930. In the picture I saw from Nijmegen, I had the impression that it had one AY8930 and one Y-3-8910.

Quote:

Nonstandard 7 MHz buses are nonstandard so I don’t think they need to be supported, but that’s imo

The additional cost is just one €1.15 DIP crystal, so why not? Smile

By snout

Ascended (15188)

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13-02-2016, 13:20

How about this rephrasing then? Smile

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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13-02-2016, 13:42

Thumbs up Smile

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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13-02-2016, 14:31

Grauw wrote:

Also Panasonic MSX2+ machines have a standard 3.58 MHz bus clock so there’s no need for a separate clock crystal. (Nonstandard 7 MHz buses are nonstandard so I don’t think they need to be supported, but that’s imo.)

Can't follow you on this one. When I put my Panasonic 2+es on turbo mode, the PSG pitch goes up. Not the distorted type you get when putting a modded MSX2 to 7MHz, but it flies up. And since the turbo mode is not exactly twice as fast as the normal mode, the PSG will be very dissonant if mixed with PSG or SCC.

I do hope Darky has its own clock for the sake of both Panasonic 2+ machines and the 7MHz modded MSX2 machines. The latter not because it's not an MSX standard, but because it exists.

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

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13-02-2016, 16:15

yes, one of the big reasons why somebody will buy this is for avoid using the internal PSG which pitch up on 7mhz turbo mod.

But if it don't has its own crystal osc., that is a thumb down.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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13-02-2016, 18:07

Meits wrote:

Can't follow you on this one. When I put my Panasonic 2+es on turbo mode, the PSG pitch goes up. Not the distorted type you get when putting a modded MSX2 to 7MHz, but it flies up. And since the turbo mode is not exactly twice as fast as the normal mode, the PSG will be very dissonant if mixed with PSG or SCC.

Only the Panasonic 2+’s internal PSG is affected by the higher clock frequency, because it’s built-in to the MSX-Engine which has to run at CPU clock speed. However, the bus speed remains 3.58 MHz so any sound cartridge you plug in will have the correct pitch and do not need their own crystal.

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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13-02-2016, 18:59

That's where I do follow you Smile

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

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13-02-2016, 19:18

I'm a little bit confused.
In MSX sound scene we have:
PSG
SCC
OPL with 32K of sample but 256K expanded is better
OPLL
OPL4 with sample ram
COVOX or TURBOR for PCM

Now we have a double PSG solution.

I think that sound on MSX is too crowded, also if OPL4 could work as an OPLL and OPL.
For Video is different: the v9958 "include" the v9938 features whic "includes" the TMS features. This is perfect and, for the next-gen MSX it would be better to think about a retrocompatible V9978 for the same reason instead of tje v9998 thet is not retrocompatible.
For MSX sound the solution would be a chip (and a cart) that can works as all the chiptunes in the list.
If we think that
- all MSX has a PSG
- MEGAFLASHROM includes SCC+ and another PSG (that would be nice to use for ePSG stereo)

we really miss a definitive CART FOR PCM, OPL, OPLL, OPL4, with sample ram.

What do you think about?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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13-02-2016, 19:27

I love having all kinds of different sound chips available for MSX. It’s something that makes MSX unique compared to other retro systems. The more the merrier! There is no such thing as “too crowded”.

If you care just about playing games just buy an FM-PAC and you should be set for 99% of the games.

By WORP3

Paladin (787)

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14-02-2016, 00:14

It has two AY8930 on board and it has also it's own clk source for both psg's.

By Meits

Scribe (4962)

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14-02-2016, 00:35

101% sure of buying...

By hit9918

Prophet (2725)

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14-02-2016, 05:50

add interrupts
CPC video said interrupt
ST has interrupt

on the new AY the bitflip state is still unclear? how about a readout feature.
AY pin says 0 volts or volume register value, that tells the state.
for fx where phase plays a role.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (5948)

ARTRAG's picture

14-02-2016, 10:12

The best way to get an useful programmable interrupt in to apply a programmable divider to the vdp hblank clock (15KHz).
It should be independent by the 60/50Hz settings and by the turbo settings.

By raymond

Champion (315)

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14-02-2016, 16:03

Is it not possible to replace the current PSG in your MSX with this one?

By hit9918

Prophet (2725)

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14-02-2016, 21:52

the best interrupt rate is counter/comparator values the same way as an AY frequency register.
and an interrupt per AY channel.
that makes the top AY synthesizer.

and on the R800 it makes digi samples.
the atari ST folks talk about mixing, but no mixing and no aliasing with this one. and the cpu just does a straight copy of the sample.

AY frequency register has 12 bits, minimum 27hz or so.
add 2 bits on the top for more vibration and 2 bits on the bottom,
i.e. simply a 16bit counter running 4x the AY counter,
which is a divider of 3.57Mhz anyways.

By Huey

Prophet (2640)

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17-02-2016, 11:50

I'm really eager to work with this piece of HW! I really like the stereo, pulse with settings and the effects!

Great work guys!

By aorante

Resident (45)

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17-02-2016, 18:38

WOW!
I need one! Big smile
I would like to develop musical soft for this! ;P

By tvalenca

Paladin (683)

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18-02-2016, 18:03

sd_snatcher wrote:

There are cards that add a 2nd PSG for the ZX-Spectrum too. One of them is called Turbo Sound. I have many PT3 files here that support this and will gladly hand you them if they'll be of help.

@sd_snatcher are you sure about twin PSG configurations on ZX-Spectrum? I thought it was on ZX-81. IIRC, all sound expansions for ZX-Spectrum works on the same port as internal Spectum 128 internal PSG works.

Apart from the 8910-8930 misreading, we already have a dual-PSG solution for MSX: Some cartridges has an AY-3-8910 embedded on FPGA code together with SCC code. This "external PSG" works on an alternate port, so with very little effort we can write code for two PSGs without the need to develop another cartridge. So, if we found it to be a good thing, maybe people start writting music for two PSG's on MSX. And Maybe @Grauw could support it on VGMPlay, as some arcade machines has twin-PSG music.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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18-02-2016, 18:39

@tvalenva Dual PSG is already supported. But Darky offers much more features than dual PSG alone.

p.s. Some arcade machines have quintuple PSG music Wink.

By tvalenca

Paladin (683)

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18-02-2016, 19:52

Grauw wrote:

@tvalenva Dual PSG is already supported. But Darky offers much more features than dual PSG alone.

p.s. Some arcade machines have quintuple PSG music Wink.

If MRC had a "like" button, I'd just click it instead of writting this Wink

By syn

Paragon (1818)

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18-02-2016, 23:18

Its funny that even though I have known they were working on this project for a while now, but I always thought it was just a stereo PSG.. didn't know it was an enhanced version of it Big smile

Looking nice! Depending on software support I will probably get one!

I'd love to have this 2x epsg playing in stereo combined with OPLL in the center.. Would be sweeeeeeet!

@Huey: Any chance Trilotracker will support such a setup (2x epsg+opll)?

By Huey

Prophet (2640)

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19-02-2016, 12:34

syn wrote:

@Huey: Any chance Trilotracker will support such a setup (2x epsg+opll)?

Trilotracker is limited to 8 channels. But darky + opll (or any other chip combi) could be possible with a redesign and a lot of work. I really am tempted to go this way other then making different versions of the tracker but lack a lot of time at the moment.

But there will be for sure a DarkyTracker version of Trilotracker Wink

By [WYZ]

Champion (391)

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19-02-2016, 21:32

WYZTracker and WYZPlayer would do part of the work too.
Here you can hear a sample using 4 HW envelopes in more than 6 PSG tracks and some external help for flange FX.

Battle for Asciion (Boss stage)

Clearly is a semi-fake, used as OST for Battle for Asciion (Relevo videogames) but I wonder if the sound of AY8930 can be similar.

And here is 2XPSG demo, and imagine how it should be.

Demo

ROM

So, for a light use of Darky the first step is done.

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

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21-02-2016, 12:48

@WYZ
I've to say that also with PSG and MEGAFLASHROM your tune is very cool.

Are you going to release a your personal Music Disk for MSX?
The ROM above, for example, is very cool and the tunes on soundcloud are great!

Regards

By [WYZ]

Champion (391)

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21-02-2016, 17:19

Thanks @giuseve. almost all the music is available here..
But the point here is to help new MSX SW. I'll try to do it.

By Sander

Ambassador (1827)

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21-02-2016, 23:32

Thanks WYZ for pointing out your songs. I can not find the boss theme on your soundcloud page, what is the name of the track exactly? I think all the tracks are also listed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTgRv6BoCtY
I like track 1 t/m 4 the best. If we can get stuff like this out of Darky, we might consider ourselves lucky.

By Sander

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21-02-2016, 23:48

@aorante: would be great to get support from you too!

By [WYZ]

Champion (391)

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22-02-2016, 21:50

@Sander Evil Technoroid Empire.
Indeed Darky is more powerfull than this.

The Technical sheet

By syn

Paragon (1818)

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22-02-2016, 23:30

Huey wrote:

But there will be for sure a DarkyTracker version of Trilotracker Wink

Cool! I'll most definitely try make a song or 2 with it Big smile

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

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29-02-2016, 15:06

Maybe we even could combine it with MOS Technology 6581 or 8580 Sound Interface Device (SID) from Playsoniq Wink We don't have a tracker for it right now on MSX...

By rogermm

Master (130)

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05-03-2016, 20:32

FPGA + SID stereo with technical explanations:
FPGA + SID

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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05-03-2016, 20:34

I want to marry this girl Smile.

By rogermm

Master (130)

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05-03-2016, 21:46

Even being an asperger woman I'd marry too Smile
https://twitter.com/jeriellsworth/status/79788906983337984

By Pat

Expert (66)

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25-03-2016, 22:10

Very nice!

Be carefull with the CPLD sourcing: The Philips logo on the IC triggered me, the PZ5128 IC seems to be transferred to Xilinx 15+ years ago...

By RockRiver

Rookie (19)

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06-02-2017, 11:01

sd_snatcher wrote:

BTW, since the card is still in prototype stage: why not a YM2203 (or even a YM2608) instead of the AY-3-8910? This way you would have two enhanced PSGs in one card, and both with good compatibility with the original 8910. And it would be of great help for Grauw's VGM player.

I subscribe that

By Grauw

Enlighted (7133)

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06-02-2017, 13:12

Darky doesn’t have the AY-3-8910. It has the Microchip Technology AY8930, which has a bunch more features like pulse width and per-channel envelopes. It’s a pretty interesting sound chip. So you are already getting an upgraded PSG (but not the OPN).

By WORP3

Paladin (787)

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11-02-2018, 12:47

Pat wrote:

Very nice!

Be carefull with the CPLD sourcing: The Philips logo on the IC triggered me, the PZ5128 IC seems to be transferred to Xilinx 15+ years ago...

Thanks for the warning but luckily (also for the midi-pac v2) I've got a large stock :-)

By WORP3

Paladin (787)

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11-02-2018, 12:49

Grauw wrote:

Darky doesn’t have the AY-3-8910. It has the Microchip Technology AY8930, which has a bunch more features like pulse width and per-channel envelopes. It’s a pretty interesting sound chip. So you are already getting an upgraded PSG (but not the OPN).

It's also possible to address those two new chips independent of the msx psg, so in fact you will have three psg's at your disposal.

By alexito

Master (212)

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13-02-2018, 05:16

WAUUUU!!! Fantastic!!!! I'm ready take my money.

Evil

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5259)

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13-02-2018, 12:29

How can those three PSGs be addressed?
Apart from independent sound data, which would require a means to construct such a composition, could for instance the two 'spare' PSGs be instructed to play the data of the 'main' PSG with offsets on attributes like time, frequency, and relative volume?

By Huey

Prophet (2640)

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13-02-2018, 14:12

JohnHassink wrote:

How can those three PSGs be addressed?
Apart from independent sound data, which would require a means to construct such a composition, could for instance the two 'spare' PSGs be instructed to play the data of the 'main' PSG with offsets on attributes like time, frequency, and relative volume?

Not sure if I am still fully up to date but I have this on my feature list I collected:
- By default the first PSG AND the second PSG are on the same registers, with detuned clock, as the internal MSX PSG.
- But all PSGs can also be initialized to their own ports.
- IIRC the effects and volume can be set for the 2 extra PSG's while they are mirroring the internal PSG.

By WORP3

Paladin (787)

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13-02-2018, 17:41

Huey wrote:
JohnHassink wrote:

How can those three PSGs be addressed?
Apart from independent sound data, which would require a means to construct such a composition, could for instance the two 'spare' PSGs be instructed to play the data of the 'main' PSG with offsets on attributes like time, frequency, and relative volume?

Not sure if I am still fully up to date but I have this on my feature list I collected:
- By default the first PSG AND the second PSG are on the same registers, with detuned clock, as the internal MSX PSG.
- But all PSGs can also be initialized to their own ports.
- IIRC the effects and volume can be set for the 2 extra PSG's while they are mirroring the internal PSG.

For now the default is that the two new psg are mirroring the msx psg but in the near future it will be possible to save a config of your own likings.

My MSX profile