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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, featuring Yamaha YMF262 chip on its board, which is an enhanced, backwards-compatible version of YM3812. The AdLib is known as the godfather of PC game music.


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

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. Below you can find a more detailed summary of the OPLx lineup:

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 and Adlib Gold cards would use the improved OPL3.

YMF262 (OPL3)

For in-depth information on YMF262 see this documentation

Popularly used on later Sound Blaster cards (also AdLib Gold), the OPL3 was the first one in the lineup to introduce 4-operator algorithms and had several improvements over the OPL2. These improvements include: 36 operators which can be coupled into groups consisting of either 2 or 4, forming individual 2- and 4-OP voices/channels, eight waveforms (including square and logarithmic saw), hardpanned stereo support. Aside of FM, the operators can be switched to additive mode.

YMF262 supports the following groupings of its 36 operators:
- 18 2OP FM channels
OR - 15 2OP FM channels (30 ops) and 5 percussion instruments (6 ops), giving us 20 channels altogether
OR - Up to 6 4OP FM channels (max 24 ops), the rest again being divided into two-operator FM channels and drums.


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. Note that sample-based synthesis is not legal in BotB's adlib format!


See the detailed YMF262 documentation above


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


OpenMPT - as of 22.01.2018 the OPL3 support is partial since using 4OP mode is not possible (yet)
Adlib Tracker II (Windows, DOS) (*.a2m) link

Reality Adlib Tracker 2
Windows/DOS/MacOS (*.RAD)

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

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

AMusic v1.12 (*.amd)
Faust Music Creator (DOS) (*.fmc) link

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

Huge list of OPLx trackers

See also

- adlib (soundcard)
- adlib (format)
- Adlib Tracker II

Sound Chips
2a03 · adlib · amy · AY YM · GameBoy Advance · Huby · MDX · MIDI · Octode · Phaser1 · Savage · SID · spc · Special FX · Tritone · YMZ280B · Z80 · zxbeep