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adlib (soundchip)


  1. Specifications
  2. Development
  3. Competition
  4. Tools
  5. See also
The AdLib sound card was a PC sound card released in 1987. It featured the Yamaha YM3812 sound chip—also known as the OPL2—which supported nine channels of two-operator FM synthesis. By 1992, the new Sound Blaster card had wiped the AdLib off the market by copying its features and adding additional ones such as digital sound and a gameport. The AdLib is known as the godfather of PC game music.


The sound card features the Yamaha YM3812 sound chip (also known as the OPL2). This chip supported nine channels of two-operator FM synthesis.

See Yamaha YM3812
on Wikipedia for more detailed information.

The Yamaha OPL series of sound chips (FM Operator tyPe-L) utilized FM synthesis and were used in a variety of home computers and other devices.

YM3526 OPL
The first OPL chip had nine channels of two-operator sine-wave FM synthesis. It saw limited use in home computer expansions and a few arcade games.

YM3812 OPL2
The OPL2 saw a very wide distribution on the Adlib and Sound Blaster PC sound cards of the mid 1980s through early 90s. It had nine channels of two-operator FM synthesis like the first OPL, but also included three additional waveforms (all variations of the sine wave). For PCs, the Sound Blaster cards were generally preferred to the Adlib cards because Sound Blaster cards had digital audio support while Adlib cards did not. Later on, Sound Blaster cards would use the improved OPL3.

Popularly used on later Sound Blaster cards, the OPL3 had several improvements over the OPL2. These improvements include: 18 channels of two-operator FM synthesis, eight waveforms (including square and logarithmic saw), stereo support, and the ability to combine channels to create four-operator FM synthesis.

Though not as widely distributed as the OPL2 or OPL3, the OPL4 had all the capabilities of the OPL3 as well as sample-based synthesis abilities.


OPL programing information


The Adlib sound card can be utilized in the following formats:
-adlib (format)
-allgear (format)
-wildchip (format)


Adlib Tracker II (Windows, DOS) (*.a2m) link

AMusic v1.12 (*.amd)
Reality Adlib Tracker (DOS) (*.rad) link

Faust Music Creator (DOS) (*.fmc) link

Scream Tracker 3 (DOS) (*.s3m) link

Schism Tracker (Windows, Linux, OS X, BSD) (*.s3m) link

Scream Tracker 3 modules are ordinarily sample-based, but the format also supports the AdLib soundcard.

Huge list of OPL trackers

See also

adlib (format)

Sound Chips