With a shadowy photo and a video where chips are being shaved off a Sound Blaster card Twisted Electrons has something old school up its sleeve.
The video and photo are titled “121221” which we should probably assume is the launch date. In the video we see an old ISA format soundcard that some bright spark on the Elektronauts forum (user: trackerjack) has identified as the Sound Blaster 16 MCD CT1750. It was produced in the early 1990s and even featured IDE ports for CD-ROM drives because most motherboards didn’t have spare ports for this game-changing multimedia upgrade.
However, if you’re looking to make a synth based on such a card then the chip you are most likely to be harvesting is the Yamaha YMF262-M. The YMF262 was an OPL chip designed by Yamaha to provide low-cost FM based synthesis for soundcards and computer applications. This chip was OPL3 and featured 4 operators, 6 voices and a stereo output. It could be configured in a number of ways to offer 18 2-operator channels, 15 2-operator channels plus 5 drum channels, 6 2-operator channels plus 6 4-operator channels, and 3 2-operator channels plus 6 4-operator channels plus 5 drum channels.
In the rest of the video we can see that whatever they are basing it on they’ve pulled out an impressive bunch of parameters onto sliders. In the shadowy photo you can clearly see a row of FM style algorithms and 8 waveforms. There are definitely 4 Operator sections, carrier and modulator sections. At the bottom there appear to be 10 channels of percussion and synth with some kind of sequencing.
So, I think we can be pretty confident that this is an FM groove box with sounds based on the old Yamaha OPL3 chip with lots of hands-on controls, drum machine and sequencer. Nice! I guess we’ll have to wait until the 12th of December to get the full details.