Another thread got me thinking about Frequency Modulation Synthesis (or FM Synth) and how much I appreciate that specific sound. If you've ever played an old DOS game or a Sega Genesis game (and I bet many of you here have) then you know exactly what kind of sound I'm talking about: that specific type of synthetic sound that comes from the most primitive of waveforms, tweaked and modulated to make interesting sounds, then put all together to make something that sounds deep and interesting and yet completely detached from what we consider to be "real."
Yamaha, the world's largest manufacturer of musical equipment, is particularly tied deeply into this sound, as their family of sound chips were used very widely across personal computers, arcade game cabinets, video game consoles, and even real "big boy" synths. I'd like to share some of my favorite sounds to come from the family of Yamaha FM Synths with you all.
"Spinner" by Jesper Kyd, from Red Zone, on the Yamaha YM2612 "OPN2" (This song actually got reimagined a couple of times by Kyd over the years; you might recognize this as "Apocalypse" from Hitman: Blood Money.)
Red Zone-Spinner – 05:12
"Asteroid Dance 2" by Alexander Brandon, from Tyrian, on the Yamaha YM3812 "OPL2" (The legendary Alex Brandon's first professional gig, and imo it holds up against his most popular work to this day.)
DOS Tyrian: Asteroid Dance 2 - Oscilloscope View – 03:27
— Ostra Diemgi
"Wondering About My Loved Ones" by Bobby Prince, from Wolfenstein 3D, on the Yamaha YM3812 "OPL2" (I love how melancholy and wistful this is, and imo it really does sound best in FM Synth form. I haven't heard a single good cover or "glow-up" of this.)
Wolfenstein 3D - Wondering About My Loved Ones – 01:12
"Hacking" by Ryu Takami, from EVE: Burst Error, on the Yamaha YM2608 "OPNA" (What a meaty bass riff! Love the Morse code-esque beeping rhythm, and that melody definitely sounds like Ace Attorney's progenitor.)
EVE Burst Error (PC-98) - Hacking – 03:31
— ARCH .5
"Opening" by Ryu Umemoto, from Yu-No: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World, on the Yamaha YM2608 "OPNA" (Umemoto is imo the most criminally slept-on video game composer of all time; all of his work is incredible and nearly all of it remains unheard of in Western ears.)
YU-NO - Opening (YM2608) Oscilloscope View – 02:46
— PC-98 Love
"Intro" by either Tim Ries or Greg LoPiccolo, from System Shock, on the ESS Technology ESS1688 "OPL3 clone" (This particular version isn't rendered on a Yamaha chip but a workalike clone of one. It has its pecularities which up making this song sound even more brutally sharp and electronic.)
System Shock Intro Theme - Floppy Version (HD) – 01:52
Anyone else in love with this sound? I'd love to hear what you guys have to share!