Author Topic: Sound Synth chips manufacturers  (Read 565 times)

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Offline ZeroResistance

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Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« on: May 27, 2019, 12:55:21 pm »
Are there any manufactures around for Sound synth chips.
I found only one company, called Dream, https://www.dream.fr/

Any idea why wouldn't any one manufacture these chips any more or are they aren't sold in the open market?
There are a number of products based on the Dream chip like Fluxamasynth, Nanosynth etc.

TIA
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2019, 02:57:10 pm »
AFAIK the known synth makers like Yamaha, Roland, Ensoniq, Kurzweil to name a few, after the analog period ending late 70s begin 80s,  all made their own custom digital chips.
The synths I have seen from the inside, only few used standard components for waveform generation. It was their secret sauce recipe, not something you sold on the open market.

Nowadays it is all PCs with plugins, barely new hardware sees the light of day.
 
 

Offline ratatax

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2019, 03:15:17 pm »
There isn't much except Dream nowadays, most audio is done in software even in hardware synths.

You could make your own synth "soft-chip" with a microcontroller though
 

Offline ZeroResistance

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2019, 04:13:31 pm »
AFAIK the known synth makers like Yamaha, Roland, Ensoniq, Kurzweil to name a few, after the analog period ending late 70s begin 80s,  all made their own custom digital chips.
The synths I have seen from the inside, only few used standard components for waveform generation. It was their secret sauce recipe, not something you sold on the open market.

Nowadays it is all PCs with plugins, barely new hardware sees the light of day.
Will these companies sell their synth chips now? Don't find them on the market though..

There isn't much except Dream nowadays, most audio is done in software even in hardware synths.

You could make your own synth "soft-chip" with a microcontroller though
How hard would it be to do this, would we need a powerful MCU like the Cortex M4 to get this done?
What about any chinese synth chips?
 

Online oPossum

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2019, 04:45:51 pm »
 
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Offline David Hess

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2019, 06:58:31 pm »
Any idea why wouldn't any one manufacture these chips any more or are they aren't sold in the open market?

There is no demand for ASICs because it is now economical to use general purpose processors and programmable logic to do it.
 
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Offline Kjelt

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2019, 08:27:25 pm »
Will these companies sell their synth chips now? Don't find them on the market though..
AFAIK they never sold them. In the synth repairs it was donor board swap if the custom soundgenerators were damaged. Often with lack of donors it was totall loss.
 

Offline ratatax

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2019, 09:20:34 am »
AFAIK the known synth makers like Yamaha, Roland, Ensoniq, Kurzweil to name a few, after the analog period ending late 70s begin 80s,  all made their own custom digital chips.
The synths I have seen from the inside, only few used standard components for waveform generation. It was their secret sauce recipe, not something you sold on the open market.

Nowadays it is all PCs with plugins, barely new hardware sees the light of day.
Will these companies sell their synth chips now? Don't find them on the market though..

There isn't much except Dream nowadays, most audio is done in software even in hardware synths.

You could make your own synth "soft-chip" with a microcontroller though
How hard would it be to do this, would we need a powerful MCU like the Cortex M4 to get this done?
What about any chinese synth chips?

Depends on what type of sound you want, generating square waves or playing 1-period waveforms can be done even on an Arduino Uno. With a Cortex M4 you can do a lot of things !
Synth chips are too specific, low volume, small market to be worth made as ASICs. That's why you wont find more than a few general-purpose sample players (Dream chips) old square wave/fm chips, but not no real modern full-featured synths. It could be fun though to work with some old FM chip like the YM2612 used in the Sega Genesis, you can still buy them (clones or orignals i'm not sure...)
 

Offline ZeroResistance

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2019, 01:29:08 pm »
I don't know what a high end synth should sound like but Dream does sound bad.



Would this be possible on a Cortex M4?
 

Offline ratatax

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Re: Sound Synth chips manufacturers
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 05:46:10 pm »
I don't think it sounds bad but it's maybe more related to the style you want, in your video it's a GM bank with mostly classical instruments. Dream chips can be configured to play custom banks. But they are mostly sample players, not the type of synth with tons of filters and modulations.

I'm pretty sure you can get reasonable polyphony and interesting synth out of a 100Mhz chip, you just have to optimize things well since it's easy to eat a lot of resources in audio programming... any calculation you do in the sample generation loop has a large impact on the CPU load (it's done for each sample which means 44100 times per sec for 44100 Hz output frequency). Also, small ARMs and uCs are better suited for real synthesis than for sample playback since you'll run out of memory very fast -- not suited for classical, symphonic stuff where you need gigabytes of samples...
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 05:51:16 pm by ratatax »
 


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