Questions tagged [sound]

Questions regarding the generation of sound in retrocomputers.

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20
votes
2answers
3k views

Did playing sounds on the PC speaker keep the CPU busy?

The IBM PC and early successors came with an internal speaker that could play simple sounds. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_speaker However, because the method used to reproduce PCM ...
23
votes
7answers
4k views

Was it possible programmatically to manipulate the volume as well as the pitch on computers with no sound chip?

On early versions of many 8-bit computers like the Apple II, Spectrum, and even the IBM PC, there was no sound hardware other than the simple "beeper". Programmers made sound by hitting a hardware ...
42
votes
6answers
7k views

How did old games from 8-bit era game consoles store music?

Some time ago I found that the audio of a game called Ninja Gaiden 1 (NES) is around 1 hour. This is excluding the sound effects like jump and hit e.t.c. Then I found that the entire game size is ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How did I fry my SID chip?

I recently got a SID chip (8580r5) for $35 and got it playing music. I was really happy about it. I hooked up a small amp chip to the 9V supply momentarily (it didn't work, I was building that part of ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

SID, sampled sound and bad lines

The SID could play sampled sound by poking a click into the chip at an appropriate frequency, and some Commodore 64 games like Ghostbusters and Impossible Mission did this (though only for a few ...
2
votes
4answers
988 views

What is the analog component of sound output in an early home computer? [closed]

For a concrete example, take the Vic-20. It is well documented that the 6560/6561 Video Interface Chip was also responsible for sound generation, having three voices and one noise generator. The ...
5
votes
2answers
596 views

What was the first PC/computer to have sound recording & playback support?

Sound playback and recording became mainstream on computers today, the most known introduction was around 1989-1991 with the release of windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions. However, what was the ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

SID to WAV converter that exports per channel separately

For a C64 SID project of mine (https://soundcloud.com/c64er) I was using an converter almost 10 years ago, but it is missing now with its name... I researched many sites, but no lucky. Is there any ...
3
votes
2answers
422 views

How did computers generate 'noise' sound files?

I figured out how to make square, triangle, and sawtooth waves in pygame. However, I have no clue what kinds of waves I need to make to produce a 'noise' sound effect like you see in older computer ...
3
votes
2answers
407 views

Was the Music System for the Exidy Sorcerer as exceptional as I remember?

I am trying to remember about a bare-board sound card which plugged into the parallel port of an Exidy Sorcerer (circa 1980). The card and software ("Music System") was made by Arrington ...
9
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6answers
3k views

Is there any music source code for sound chips? [closed]

I’ll clarify what I mean. The sound chip (c64's SID, spectrum's Yamaha, etc.) is connected either to the input / output port, which will be reserved for the sound chip, or directly to the CPU data bus....
10
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7answers
1k views

Low-cost sound chip

I want to make a homebrew 8-bit computer and I want to include a sound chip in it. It needs to be as cheap as possible (under 5$) and I also want it to be possibly controlled by an Arduino or ATmega-...
39
votes
3answers
5k views

How did C64 games handle music during gameplay?

On the C64 there was no threading, so how did games handle treating at the same time music and game code? Music requires exact timings, and the SID had to be instructed to change the note at the right ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Was the output of the C64 SID chip 8 bit sound?

Was the output of the C64 SID chip 8 bit sound? I know that SID is not sample based, but instead generate its sound using sine waves and white noise. So is it correct to say that the audio ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Which communication protocol is used in AdLib sound card?

By "AdLib sound card" I mean AdLib Music Synthesizer Card released in 1987. Wikipedia says that AdLib uses frequency modulation synthesis to produce sound, but does it use MIDI communication protocol ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did the ZX Spectrum use an internal speaker?

I was surprised to note recently that the Sinclair ZX Spectrum used an internal speaker. I knew the BBC Micro used one, presumably because it was designed to be optionally used with a monitor which ...
3
votes
1answer
381 views

Why didn't Famicom games use the Konami SCC for expansion audio?

There were a handful of Konami games on the Famicom that had additional sound chips (VRC6, VRC7, etc.) to enhance the audio of the games they were used in. Considering that the Famicom got many Konami ...
3
votes
1answer
357 views

Why did SAM on the Apple II use its own DAC?

From the comments on this question, the SAM on the Apple II seemed to use some proprietary hardware to produce the waveform. (I am not counting the option to produce a horrendous 1-bit PWM using the ...
14
votes
3answers
680 views

Is there a line printer sound simulator?

To improve "authenticity" of a mainframe simulator and for an additional nostalgic effect, I'd like to add sounds of a line printer to it. They should be similar enough to the original sounds for ...
4
votes
2answers
405 views

Did any retro computers ship with the SP0256-AL2 speech chip or its equivalent?

The SP0256-AL2 Speech IC was a popular solution for text to speech translation but is now out of production. There where several other chips that entered the market but as far as I know did not have ...
0
votes
0answers
335 views

Which machines, other than the PC-Engine, uses custom-waveform synthesis for sound?

The most common way retro machines made sounds were with programmable sound generators (PSG); there was a bunch of square waves, saw waves or noise channels at disposal. When technology evolved ...
3
votes
1answer
496 views

Can't get the AY-3-8913 sound chip to work with my z80 (added schematic)

I'm trying to get the ay-3-8913 sound chip to work with my z80 but so far I haven't gotten any sound output yet. I know the chip, my amp circuit and the clock circuit work because it works when I ...
23
votes
1answer
4k views

Why do all the Speech Synthesizers have that same Voice?

The first time I ever played with software speech synthesis on a microcomputer (not hardware synthesis, like in TI's Speak & Spell) was around 1983, using S.A.M for the Commodore 64. A year later,...
44
votes
9answers
12k views

Why did the IBM PC need a sound card?

The original IBM PC and later variants used an Intel 8253 or 8254 as a sound chip. Why did users add sound cards such as the Adlib or Sound Blaster. I remember voice output with programs like ...
4
votes
1answer
373 views

CPU speedup breaking sound compatibility

In the old days, it sometimes happened that a computer with a compatible but faster CPU, had problems running old games. For example, Sopwith was written for an 8088 PC; it was amusingly challenging ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Sound chips in 1977

By the early eighties, there were a variety of off-the-shelf sound chips suitable for use in home computers and arcade games. What about 1977? That seems to have been just a little early; I'm not ...