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37% brightentayle

I Am New To AYM


  1. Chip capabilities overview
  2. Can you play samples in aym?
  3. So how do I make sure an entry with samples is legal?
  4. Tools
  5. See also
You might have heard of the AY 3-8910 chip, AY 3-8912 or maybe of their Yamaha clone l the YM2149, and of that the former practically resides in the NEC PC98's chip, the YM2608 ... Well, bad news - even though you see the name of a respected music tech manufacturer here, you're not gonna use FM synths or anything close to it in this format! D:

Chip capabilities overview

Just three channels, basically designed to output a square wave. There is a noise generator, that can be used on any channel along with the tone, and a hardware envelope (A.K.A. buzzer), designed to control volume but actually used as an alternate audio oscillator offering sawtooth and triangle waveforms (with approximate tuning). The noise and envelope can be used on any channel but cannot be used with different settings at once on different channels. For instance if you have a noise swell on channel A, and hi-hat on channel B, one will override the other.

Can you play samples in aym?

As you might know, the SNDH format can play samples. There are two ways a SNDH can handle sample replay. One is using the YM to replay samples (called digidrums), at a 4-bits resolution, generally used for percussion sounds. The other way is to use the DMA channels (Atari ST only feature). This method is considered illegal by most, for it would be similar to submitting a nsf+ entry to a nsf competition.

So how do I make sure an entry with samples is legal?

Only the SNDH format can venture into controversial territory. So all .ym/.ay files are legal.

During creation:

Only Blipp Blopper and maxYMiser can play DMA samples. If using the latter, only use the leftmost 3 channels. You can as well go to the Config menu and click the STe DMA box until it says "off". This way the DMA channels won't even show up. If using Blipp Blopper, what is your problem?

During replay:

With AY_emul: Before you start plqying the track, go to the ABC menu and at the bottom right of the window, under Atari ST emulation select ST, instead of STe. This will prevent DMA playback. If you still hear the samples, it means they're played by the YM. If you've changed the settings while the track was already playing, you need to stop playing and start the track again.

With JAM: The 4 speaker buttons are the track mutes. The rightmost mutes the DMA channels. If you still hear the samples, it means they're played by the YM.


There are two major ways of producing music for the AY/YM chip family:

- On Windows: Vortex Tracker II. Focused on ZX spectrum, it has the limitations of these computers, but the advantage of not requiring an emulator.
> I am new to Vortex Tracker!

- On Atari ST (hardware or emulated): maxYMiser, MusicMon 2.5e. These trackers use the powerful 68K processor to allow 4-bits sample replay and software-generated waveforms.
> I am new to ST YM trackers

See also

- aym (format)
- AY YM (soundchip)
- .snd (file)
- .ym (file)