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A sound chip is an integrated circuit (i.e. "chip") designed to produce sound (see chiptune). It might be doing this through digital, analog or mixed-mode electronics. Sound chips normally contain things like oscillators, envelope controllers, samplers, filters and amplifiers.

Overview

In the early 1970's, there were no sound chips, so the sound usually consisted of either simple digital bleeps generated from the discrete circuitry or explosion sounds generated through electro-mechanical methods.

In the late 1970's, sound boards and sound chips began to be used, leading to the introduction of chiptune music.

In the 1980's, sound chips capable of FM synthesis and PCM sampling were introduced, along with audio playback from the Laserdisc and CD formats.

During the late 1980's to 1990's, sound chips became more sophisticated, with more advanced FM synthesis, dozens of PCM channels, MIDI support, and playback of compressed audio files.

List of sound chips by audio capabilities

This is a list of sound chips, as well as sound cards/boards (for arcade systems and home computers), which often used multiple sound chips.

List of hardware by 2D graphical capabilities
Year Sound chip / card / board System(s) Output PSG channels PSG waveforms FM channels Sampling Max sample channels Max sample bit depth Max sample rate (kHz)
1975 Taito 597-907 Logic Board [1] Arcade (Taito Discrete Logic, Midway 8080) Mono 2 Noise, Pulse 0 No 0 0 0
1977 Atari TIA Atari 2600Atari 7800 Mono 2 Noise, Square 0 No 0 0 0
Sega Tone Generator Arcade (Sega Vic Dual)[2][3] Mono 2 Noise, Pulse 0 No
1978 Intel 8244 Magnavox Odyssey² Mono 2 Noise, Pulse 0 No 0 0 0
TI (Texas Instruments) SN76477 Arcade (Taito 8080, Midway 8080) Mono 2 Envelope, Noise, Pulse 0 No
1979 Atari POKEY ArcadeAtari 8-BitAtari 5200, Atari 7800 Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Square, Sawtooth 0 No 0 0 0
GI (General Instrument) AY-3-8914 Arcade, IntellivisionIntellivision II Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 No
Namco Galaxian Sound Section [4] Arcade (Namco Galaxian) Mono 5 Noise, Pulse, Square 0 No
Sega Oscillator IC Sound Board Arcade (Sega Discrete Logic)[5] Mono 6 Noise, Pulse 0 No
Oki MSM5205 [6][7] Arcade (Irem M52, Data East Z80, Taito Unique, Capcom 68000),[8] NEC PC Engine CD-ROM² Mono 0 N/A 0 ADPCM 1 12 32
1980 Digitalker MM54104 Arcade (Namco Galaxian, Zaccaria Scorpion) Mono 1 Filter 0 DM (DPCM) 1 4 11
Namco King & Balloon Sound Section [9] Arcade (Namco Galaxian) Mono 6 Filter, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 DM (DPCM)
GI AY-3-8910 ArcadeDECO Cassette System, Colour Genie, Oric 1, Elektor TV Games Computer Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 Virtual PCM 1 4 11
Taito Z80 Board [10] Arcade (Taito Z80) Mono 6 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 Virtual PCM
Konami The End Board Arcade (Konami Scramble)[11] Mono 8 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 Virtual PCM 2
MOS Technology VIC Commodore VIC-1001 / VIC-20 Mono 4 Noise, Square 0 No 0 0 0
Namco WSG Arcade (Namco Pac-Man, Namco Galaga, Namco Pole Position) Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle 0 No
1981 GI SP0250 Arcade (Sega G80)[12] Mono 0 N/A 0 LPC 1 8 10
Sega USB (Universal Sound Board) [13] Arcade (Sega G80) Mono 3 Noise, Pulse, Square 0 LPC
Harris HC-55516 CVSD Arcade (Irem M27, Williams Midway Y Unit) Mono 0 N/A 0 CVSD (ADM) 1 4 24
Irem M27 Board Arcade (Irem M27)[14] Mono 8 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 CVSD (ADM), Virtual PCM 3
Konami Scramble Logic Board Arcade (Konami Scramble)[15] Mono 8 Envelope, Filter, Noise, Square 0 Virtual PCM 2 4 11
Mockingboard (AY-3-8910) Apple II Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 Virtual PCM 1
Namco Galaga Board Arcade (Namco Galaga)[16] Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle 0 No 0 0 0
Sega 834-0123 Sound Board Arcade (Sega VCO Object) Stereo 5 Noise, Pulse, Square 0 No
TI SN76489 DCSG Arcade, TI-99/4A, BBC MicroColecoVisionSega SG-1000 Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 Virtual PCM 1 4 8
1982 GI AY-3-8912 ArcadeVectrex, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 No 0 0 0
Namco Audio II Board Arcade (Namco Pole Position)[17] Quad 8 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle 0 DAC 1
Sega SN76496 Arcade (Sega Z80, Sega System E), Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 PWM, Virtual PCM 1 4 8
Sega Z80 Board Arcade (Sega Z80)[18] Mono 8 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 PWM, Virtual PCM 2
MOS Technology SID Commodore MAX, CBM-II, Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Mono 3 Envelope, Filter, Noise, Pulse, Sawtooth, Triangle 0 Virtual PCM 1 4 4
Irem M52-SOUND-C Board Arcade (Irem M52)[19] Mono 6 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 0 ADPCM & Virtual PCM 4 12 32
Sega CN2 Audio Board Arcade (Sega Laserdisc)[20][21] Stereo 0 N/A 0 Laserdisc 2 16 44.1
1983 Konami KT-2304-2 Sound Board Arcade (Konami 6809)[22] Stereo 20 Envelope, Filter, Noise, Square 0 Virtual PCM 5 4 11
Ricoh APU [23][24][25] Nintendo Entertainment System Mono 4 Noise, Pulse, Triangle 0 DM (DPCM) 1 7 16
Yamaha YM2149 ArcadeMSX, Atari ST Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Sine, Square 0 Virtual PCM 1 4 21
Yamaha YM2151 [26][27] ArcadeSharp X1 TurboMSX, Sharp X68000, CPS Stereo 0 N/A 8 Virtual PCM 1 4 21
1984 Yamaha YM2203 [28] ArcadeNEC PC-60,[29] NEC PC-66,[30] NEC PC-88,[31] NEC PC-98,[32] FM-7,[33] Sharp MZ [34] Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 3 Virtual PCM 1 4 21
1985 SegaPCM[35] Arcade (Sega Super Scaler)[36] Stereo 0 N/A 0 PCM 16 12 31.25
Sega 834‑5670 Sound BD[37] Arcade (Sega Hang-On)[38] Stereo 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 3 PCM 16 12 31.25
Sega Super Scaler Sound Board[39] Arcade (Sega Super Scaler)[38][36] Stereo 0 N/A 8 PCM 16 12 31.25
Yamaha YM3812 [40] ArcadePC (Sound Blaster) Stereo 0 N/A 9 ADPCM 1 9 23
1987 Oki MSM6258 [41] Sharp X68000 Stereo 0 N/A 0 ADPCM 1 12 22
Sharp X68000 board[42] Sharp X68000 Stereo 0 N/A 8 ADPCM 1 12 22
Yamaha YM2413 [43][44] ArcadeMSX,[45] Sega Master System Stereo 0 N/A 9 ADPCM 1 9 16
Sega FM Sound Unit[46][47][48] Sega Master System Mono 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 9 PWM, Virtual PCM 1 4 8
Yamaha YM2610 Neo Geo, Arcade (Taito Ninja Warriors, Taito B System) Stereo 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 4 ADPCM 7 16 55.5
Yamaha YM2610B Arcade (Taito Z System) Stereo 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 6 ADPCM 7 16 55.5
1988 Yamaha YM2612 [49][50][51] ArcadeSega Mega Drive, FM Towns Stereo 0 N/A 6 PCM, ADPCM 1 8 44.1
Sega Mega Drive board[52][51] Sega Mega Drive Stereo 4 Envelope, Noise, Pulse, Square 6 PCM, ADPCM, PWM, Virtual PCM 2 8 32
Yamaha YMF262 PC (Sound Blaster 16) Quad 0 N/A 18 ADPCM 1 9 23
1989 Sega Super Monaco GP Sound Board[53] Arcade (Sega Super Monaco GP)[54] Quad 0 N/A 8 PCM 32 12 31.25
Sharp X68000 Mercury Unit Sharp X68000 Stereo 0 N/A 8 ADPCM 8 16 44
1990 Sony S-SMP Super Nintendo Entertainment System Quad 0 N/A 0 ADPCM 8 16 32
1992 Yamaha YMF278 Arcade (Sega), MSX (Moonsound), PC (Yamaha SoundEdge) Quad 0 N/A 18 PCM 24 16 44.1
Sega MultiPCM[35] Arcade (Sega) Quad 0 N/A 0 PCM 28 16 44.1

Notes

  1. Taito 597-907 Logic Board includes two sound chips:
    • Taito Sound Generator
    • Taito Amplifier
  2. Sega VIC Dual (Sega Retro)
  3. Sega Vic Dual Hardware (System 16)
  4. Namco Galaxian sound section includes seven sound chips:
    • Namco Tone Generator
    • Namco LFSR
    • Namco NE555 x5
  5. Sega Oscillator IC Sound Board (discrete logic) includes six custom Sega sound chips
  6. https://console5.com/techwiki/images/f/f8/MSM5205.pdf
  7. Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar, Volume 4 (1979)
  8. Capcom 68000
  9. King & Balloon sound section includes eight sound chips:
    • Namco Galaxian sound section
      • Namco Tone Generator
      • Namco LFSR
      • Namco NE555 x5
    • Digitalker MM54104
    • Namco DAC
  10. Taito Z80 Board includes three sound chips:
    • Taito DAC
    • General Instrument AY-3-8910
    • Texas Instruments SN76477
  11. Konami's The End board (Konami Scramble) includes:
    • 2x General Instrument AY-3-8910 @ 1.78975 MHz
  12. Sega G80 (Sega Retro)
  13. Sega USB (Universal Sound Board) includes:
    • Sega 8255
    • Sega Melody Generator
    • Sega DAC
    • General Instrument SP0250
  14. Irem M27 arcade system board includes two sound boards:
    • Irem M-27B Audio Board
      • 2x General Instrument AY-8910
    • Irem UE-17B Voice Board
      • Harris HC-55516 CVSD
      • Irem DAC
  15. Konami Scramble Logic Board includes:
    • 2x General Instrument AY-3-8910 @ 1.78975 MHz
    • 6x Konami RC @ 1.78975 MHz
  16. Namco Galaga board includes four sound chips:
    • Namco WSG @ 3.1 MHz
    • Namco 50xx Sound Sequencer @ 1.6 MHz
    • Namco 52xx Audio Processor @ 1.6 MHz
    • Namco 54xx Sounds @ 1.6 MHz
  17. Namco Audio II board includes four sound chips:
    • Namco WSG @ 48 kHz
    • Namco 52xx Audio Processor @ 1.6 MHz
    • Namco 54xx Sounds @ 1.6 MHz
    • Namco DAC
  18. Sega Z80 board includes two sound chips:
    • Sega SN76496 @ 4 MHz
    • Sega SN76496 @ 2 MHz
  19. Irem M52-SOUND-C board includes four sound chips:
    • 2x Oki MSM5205 @ 384 kHz each
    • 2x General Instrument AY-3-8910 @ 895 kHz each
  20. Sega LaserDisc hardware (Sega Retro)
  21. Sega Laser Disk Hardware (System 16)
  22. Konami KT-2304-2 Sound Board (Konami 6809) includes:
    • 5x General Instrument AY-3-8910 @ 1.789772 MHz
    • 6x Konami RC @ 1.789772 MHz
  23. APU, NES Dev
  24. Sound hardware, Famitracker
  25. NES samples
  26. Yamaha YM2151 (VGM Rips)
  27. YM2151
  28. YM2203
  29. PC-6000 series (NEC Retro)
  30. PC-6600 series (NEC Retro)
  31. PC-8800 series (NEC Retro)
  32. PC-9800 series (NEC Retro)
  33. FM-7, Giant Bomb
  34. Sharp MX, Giant Bomb
  35. 35.0 35.1 SegaPCM (Sega Retro)
  36. 36.0 36.1 Sega System series (Sega Retro)
  37. SEGA 834‑5670 Sound BD (SEGA Hang-On) includes two sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2203
    • SegaPCM (315‑5218)
  38. 38.0 38.1 Sega Hang-On hardware (Sega Retro)
  39. Sega Super Scaler Sound Board includes two sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2151
    • SegaPCM (315‑5218)
  40. YM3812
  41. ftp://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/components/oki/_dataBooks/1987_OKI_Voice_Synthesis_LSI_Data_Book.pdf
  42. Sharp X68000 includes two sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2151 (paired with YM3012 DAC)
    • Oki MSM6258
  43. YM2413
  44. Sound generators of the 1980s home computers
  45. MSX-MUSIC
  46. Sega FM Sound Unit (Master System) includes two sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2413
    • Sega SN76496
  47. http://www.smspower.org/Development/YM2413
  48. http://etim.net.au/smsfm/smsfm.html
  49. Yamaha YM2612 (Sega Retro)
  50. YM2612
  51. 51.0 51.1 ResComp, SGDK (Sega Genesis Dev Kit)
  52. Sega Mega Drive includes two sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2612
    • Sega SN76496
  53. Sega Super Monaco GP Sound Board includes three sound chips:
    • Yamaha YM2151
    • 2x SegaPCM (315‑5218)
  54. Sega X Board (Sega Retro)

See also