Yamaha YM2203

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Yamaha YM2203

The YM2203, aka OPN (FM Operator Type-N), is a three-channel sound chip developed by Yamaha. It's the progenitor of Yamaha's OPN family of FM synthesis chips used in many videogame and computer systems throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The YM2203 itself was used in a variety of NEC computers, along with various arcade game machines.

The YM2203 and the rest of the OPN synthesizer family generate sound via frequency-modulated digital sine waves. It included 12 operator "cells", each generating a 13-bit floating point sine wave at a programmable frequency, the volume of which is controlled by a programmable ADSR envelope generator. The output of these cells could be either summed together by the mixer, or fed into the input of another cell, in 4 cell batches creating three final sound values or "channels". 4 operator cells per channel allowed a total of 8 different permutations of cell connections, known as "algorithms" or instrument patches. The resulting digital sound output of each channel through the mixer was then converted to analog sound through a DAC, either with an external companion chip or an internal DAC, depending on the model.

The YM2203 itself has the following features:

  • Three concurrent FM channels (voices)
  • Four operators per channel
  • Two interval timers
  • Mono sound internal implementation of Yamaha's YM2149F SSG chip

The SSG module implemented the YM2149F's three SSG channels and dual GPIO ports

The YM2203 is used with a YM3014 external DAC companion chip.

Other OPN family chips[edit]

See also[edit]


YM2203 Datasheet (Translated)