YM2612 music keyboard

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YM2612 music keyboard

Post by TulioAdriano »

Hi everyone, it's been a while.

I have been busy lately! While working to get my new company going, I started working on a project that was always something I dreamed of: A music keyboard with the Mega Drive chip.

After talking to the electronics guru Tiido (also known as TµEE or TmEE) he started pointing me in the directions of how digital electronics worked. I had ZERO experience with building anything. My most intense experiences with electronics until then were replacing capacitors and resistors here and there, but no knowledge whatsoever. But Tiido is a wonderful mentor, and he taught me the ways of the digital electrons, and the project building is a success!

I had the idea of recording videos of the progress and posting them as I went, but on my excitement to work on the product I turned out not spending the time to upload the videos which resulted on a massive 51GB of video accumulated.

A few days ago, I decided to upload them and I wanted to share with all of you. Game music has been something that always meant a lot to me, and really what fascinated me the most since I entered the 3rd generation with the Master System and then the Mega Drive.

But well I think I already told that story many times so I won't bother you.

Here's the link to the video and the playlist where they'll be popping up. If you find yourself wanting to follow it, do subscribe to my channel. :)


Link to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSBw6ku_dafkY4FKKUSZTkJbjDhuXYqzh

Main features of the project are:

- Full fledged FM Synthesizer, complete graphic patch editing with real time response to the edits.
- 2 x YM2612 for a 12 channel polyphony, and not running out of channels for your 10 fingers.
- MIDI in and MIDI out support.
- External controllers through MIDI, should you need real piano keys or more octaves, including Key velocity, Pitch Bend and sustain pedal.
- Supports MIDI playback, including multi-timbral MIDIs, individual patch change, pitch bend, channel volume, key velocity, etc...
- Support VGM Playback through USB streaming when connected to a computer and a VGM player that is prepared to communicate with the synthesizer.
- That same protocol can be implemented in any music tracker for a real hardware sound testing. It could also be implemented in emulators for real sound output.

Future plans include:
- Built in VGM Player
- Importing instruments and building a sound bank from a VGM file.
- Ability to mute FM channels during VGM playback and play along with your favorite song.
- Built in Music Tracker (this one is for a very far distant future).

Hardware revision plans include
- Addition of more sound chips (PSG, other FM Chips, special chips).
- Make this addition modular, through expansion boards.
- A full plastic shell and piano keys.
- Open to (realistic) suggestions of the community.

I hope you enjoy building this dream with me.

See you later! :)
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YM2612 music keyboard

Post by Monkeymook »

Hell, I'll give you a sub on this. Seems like a neat project. I have a friend that would be dying for something like this. A while back, there was a project to develop a music tracker that can run on a Mega Drive, but it was abandoned because the developer moved to a new place, got married, had internet that sucked ass, and just didn't have time. (nvm, posted an update here: http://chipmusic.org/forums/post/232601/#p232601)

Considering I work in the electronics industry, I feel woefully inadequate since I have barely a rudimentary grasp on the inner workings of all that madness. Tiido is a god in my eyes. I know a lot of people in the SMG scene have mad respect for the dude. Incredibly jealous you got mentored by him. Looking forward to a bunch of developments on this project.

I think something that is a good starting point for something like this is the software-based plugin Chipsounds". It doesn't seem to have a massive following, but it's a pretty impressive array of different console/computer sound processors that have been emulated to software, and have a very high accuracy rate. They also have support for hardware and midi sequencing software too. It's a good basis to start with. (SID emulation for the plugin proved to be quite the pain though.) Even nitro2k01 gave a solid review on this, and he's a master of knowledge in the Game Boy chipmusic scene.


Good luck with everything, and I personally look forward to developments on this neato project.
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YM2612 music keyboard

Post by TulioAdriano »

Hi Monkeymook.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Please make sure to check the video playist frequently since I'm posting videos every day.

This idea was something I always had since the beginning, but I was always familiar with chip plugins for game systems. I certainly drew a lot of inspiration from them. This finally, is in essence, a hardware plugin if you will, hehe, but fully independent since it doesn't require a computer to play, but also fully controllable by a computer.

All the best,
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YM2612 music keyboard

Post by TulioAdriano »

It's been a while I don't update this thread, so here is the last video.

The last update shows how it's possible to create a sound bank from a VGM file. This allow anyone to play music with the sounds from their favorite classic songs, as well as modifying them to make new cooler sounds. Endless possibilities!


You can also check here for the full playlist showing the construction of the YMK from scratch:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... bjDhuXYqzh

And here is a playlist with songs playing on the YMK, including some songs from SNES such as Zelda and Chrono Trigger:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... LBnO4i3yD3

Comments, questions, feedback is always welcome!

All the best!
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