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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Thomas Henry designs
The AY-Voice
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Thomas_Henry



Joined: Jul 24, 2009
Posts: 129
Location: N. Mankato, MN

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: The AY-Voice
Subject description: (a new project is in the offing for semester break or summer)
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Hi all,

This is an important heads up. Quite by accident I noticed last week that BG Micro hit a mother load of the AY-3-8910 and is selling them at the insane price of $3.95. I just received three today. Here's the link:

http://www.bgmicro.com/index.asp?PageAction=PRODSEARCH&txtSearch=ay-3-8910&Page=1&btnSearch=GO

If you're not familiar with this 40 pin chip, here's a brief rundown. It has three each of: VCOs, EGs, VCAs (exponentially stepped, no less!), noise sources and mixers. You read right---there's three each of all of these. All are controlled via register logic.

Moreover, there are two uncommitted 8-bit bidirectional data ports, again accessible via registers! These could essentially give you a free CV and pitchbend output with some DACs, or give 16 triggers for drums, or LCD/keypad I/O, or...the mind boggles.

I built a unit with one of these back in 1983 or thereabouts to connect to the Commodore 64 and controlled it via the Forth language. I never thought I would see this chip again, but here it is ready to enter the MIDI world (among other things) using a PIC chip or something similar.

BG Micro does have a 60 page converted .pdf manual at

http://docs.bgmicro.com/pdf/ay3-8910.pdf

but I suggest getting a scan of the original. Do a Google of "AY-3-8910 datasheet" and you'll find tons of info.

Anyway, I expect to do a three voice MIDI controlled AY-Voice project during my next school break. If anyone wants to follow along, I'd recommend jumping on BG Micro's bargain while the going is good. I have no relationship with them, but do recognize a great price when I see it.

Thomas Henry
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

WOW! If anyone can tame this sucker- TH can!! Cool Cool

To be honest Thomas, I never really liked the sound of the AY, but I'd be very interested to hear/ see what you do with it. Very Happy

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toybox



Joined: Aug 03, 2005
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Location: chicago/peru,illinois usa

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

first time iv heard of this chip. for the price compared to other 8 bit chips like the SID. seems like a good idea to play around with it. I know your project will turn out nice and I'll definitely be looking out for it Very Happy
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nicolas3141



Joined: May 25, 2007
Posts: 138
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For those fishing through parts bins, dead computers, etc the AY-3-8910 is more or less equivalent to AY-3-8912, AY-3-8913 and yamaha YM2149.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If anyone is interesteed to hear some cool AY-89xx Programmable Sound Generator music ... just do a Google search for "AY RIDERS" to fill your ears with classic "chipper" music.

This is good news .. I got myself about 20 of these PSG chips in my parts bin. Couple this baby to a cheap MCU and all sorts of neat things will happen .... Cool That BG Micro Price is really good !!!

A handy links to get more background on this chip and variants:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Instrument_AY-3-8910

http://bulba.untergrund.net/main_e.htm

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey Thomas .. just wondering if your still considering this project ?? This sounds like a great counter part to the SN Voice .... I for one will follow along with this ... Wink

Thanks

Bill
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synthmonger



Joined: Nov 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'd be interested in build one too! Been itching to build another mini-synth
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bod



Joined: Apr 28, 2009
Posts: 148
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nice! i have a handful of these in the house, paid well more than $3.95 for them though!

like most of my aladins cave of ic's i've never got round to doing anything with them, so i'm looking forward to this!
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Tim Servo



Joined: Jul 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just a quick note: Thomas is still working away on the AY-Voice. My guess is that Christmas break will give him a little more extra time to devote to the project.

Tim (wants to build one too!) Servo
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Just a quick note: Thomas is still working away on the AY-Voice. My guess is that Christmas break will give him a little more extra time to devote to the project.

Tim (wants to build one too!) Servo


Nice Tim ! Thanks for that news !!! This will be most excellent I am sure .... I think lots of us will be working on projects this holiday Wink

Bill
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modius13



Joined: Dec 30, 2009
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Location: DeKalb, IL

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok, not fair (really I'm being kinda silly here, but still). I came to this forum originally for the purpose of getting an SN voice board. And now I find this thread. I've been poking and prodding at the 8910 off and on for a few months now. I've been using an Arduino board for the interface. Not a whole lot of progress yet and what I had coded was lost in computer land when my hard drive fried right before a scheduled back up. I have all manner of notes written down in my Calculus, Russian History and Physics notebooks though.
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BrettW



Joined: Mar 11, 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi All! This looks like a really cool forum. I come from a background with the Vectrex which uses the AY-3-8912, so I'm interested in this project as well. Unlike some who have expressed distaste in the AY sound, I love it! I can sit and listen to tracks on the StSound95 player for hours... and I have a few 8910's to play with as well.

Any updates on this project?
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Thomas_Henry



Joined: Jul 24, 2009
Posts: 129
Location: N. Mankato, MN

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hiya,

It's definitely happening...I'm still on schedule and summer vacation is the intended ETA.

But since my first announcement, as part of the project a new book was inspired. In fact, the book (and it's a big one) is about 2/3 done now. There are 39 circuits which I have drawn up, written up and even photoed up (having gotten a digital camera finally).

The book and the AY-Voice should be done by mid-summer, but then there's always the turnaround time of the publisher to get it out.

Anyway, this really is a cool project, and the book it engendered is turning out to be a real hoot to write.

Thomas Henry
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BrettW



Joined: Mar 11, 2010
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Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, that sounds amazing Thomas! Is it going to be Forrest M. Mims III style or something entirely different? That's a ton of circuits based on the AY-3-8910, which should be a ground-breaking publication. I wish you success in getting it published.

Can we get a sneak peek? Wink
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BrettW



Joined: Mar 11, 2010
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yo yo yo, it's SUMMER and my 8910's are burning a hole through my parts bin! Hope you are having success with finishing your book. Got any teaser circuits for us Thomas?
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theshaggyfreak



Joined: Oct 29, 2006
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Location: Centreville, VA

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Seeing that B.G. only had a handful of the AY-3-8910 left, I went ahead and got myself a few.
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Boogdish



Joined: Sep 21, 2009
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Location: Bloomington, IN

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It would be really disappointing if by the time Thomas finished the book the chips became rare/expensive.
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Rykhaard



Joined: Sep 02, 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

theshaggyfreak wrote:
Seeing that B.G. only had a handful of the AY-3-8910 left, I went ahead and got myself a few.


Oooo! Thank you for making mention of that! In anticipation of a new book from Thomas as WELL, I went to check stock at BG (whom I've purchased from in the past.) Only 9 chips left in stock. Surprised I ordered 2 of them. Looks like I'll be ordering Thomas's book as well, once it's released. Very Happy

7 chips left, for those interested. Surprised
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BrettW



Joined: Mar 11, 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Boogdish wrote:
It would be really disappointing if by the time Thomas finished the book the chips became rare/expensive.


I wouldn't worry about it, BG Micro isn't the only discount fish in the sea with these. I found other sources that will sell them dirt cheap as well, but you have to buy 500 at a time ^_^~ Basically that just means BG Micro will probably snack up another mother load of these when they run out, or someone else will.

Can't wait to see this book!
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Thomas_Henry



Joined: Jul 24, 2009
Posts: 129
Location: N. Mankato, MN

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi all,

Boogdish wrote:
It would be really disappointing if by the time Thomas finished the book the chips became rare/expensive.


Well, actually, the book has nothing to do with the AY chip. As I mentioned earlier, the book idea was engendered as a step in getting ready to implement the AY-Voice. In particular, it has to do with microprocessor control of musical and other circuits in general and came along as a necessary first step in breadboarding the AY circuit.

Anyway, I'm finally a free man for the summer and expect to get started on the AY circuit next week, along with finishing the book. Also, Scott Stites and I expect to have a surprise VCO soon.

Thomas Henry
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

MPU control? A new VCO? Boy am I (possibly) glad that I just got myself the PICkit 3 to learn. Very Happy (As well as the new VCO - being majorly happy with your dual tranny triangle VCO/VCLFO from the 3080 book. Woohoo! Very Happy )
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Boogdish



Joined: Sep 21, 2009
Posts: 122
Location: Bloomington, IN

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh, wow, now I'm definitely getting this book. Way to go Thomas.
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3vcos



Joined: Oct 26, 2006
Posts: 106
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So are the vcos in these chips analog? I guess it doesn't teLly matter as long as they sound interesting...

Looking forward to the new book Thomas!!!
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theshaggyfreak



Joined: Oct 29, 2006
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Location: Centreville, VA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, it looks like BG did restock their supply of ay-3-8910's. I did get the three I ordered in the mail today, though. Nothing more exciting than a tube of synth chips showing up in the mail box.
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krellmusician



Joined: Mar 28, 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Any progress/news on this front? Got my chips and I'm ready to go...
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