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Z80 chip MUSIC SITE
"When music is playing, scroller must stop"
Click here for Z80 chip music
There are many cultic sound-chips, like SID on Commodore 64 or POKEY on Atari XL/XE. This site is dedicated to Z80 chip wich is - with help of ULA chip - sound-source of ZX SPECTRUM 48Kb.
This chip and its specific sound has loads of fans among ZX Spectrum users - and not only.
Many people think that attaching AY chip into ZX Spectrum was a regress. AY has only 3 channels of sound and pretty simple square-wave-based synthesis, whereas music generated by Spectrum's native sound-source - Z80 chip - was expandable to even 8 channels (software mixing) and it was able to generate really interesting envelopes (as described below). For instance music written by Tim Follin: it's in style of art-rock/proggressive rock - I strongly doubt it would sound good on 3 channels only and simple square-wave synthesis.
Z80 chip produces all sounds and sends them into BEEPER and AUDIO-OUT connector of ZX SPECTRUM (jack) through ULA chip.
Z80A chip, present in ZX SPECTRUM ULA chip (sending sound from Z80 to BEEPER and AUDIO-OUT)
Normally Z80 has only one channel of square-wave 1-bit sound. But Z80 is also ZX SPECTRUM's Central Processing Unit (CPU) so due to its 3,5Mhz activity (software mixing) Spectrum 48Kb has finally:
from 2 to 9 channels,
various modulations and envelopes,
drums & noises,
volume (it's impossible to make various volumes in 1-bit sound actually so even this is impressive)
etc... Still only 1 bit of course. We could say that everything mentioned above is theroretically impossible to make on this computer. But... it still works! Among several kind of synthesis probably one of the most popular here - is the "Pulse-Width modulation" (PWM). More info about it.
Z80A produced by NEC (present in some models of ZX SPECTRUM)
Authors of 1-bit music are:
Jason C. Brooke
Mark R. Jones
Frantisek Fuka (FUXOFT)
Z80A chip made by SHARP
It's worth to mention that the Z80 chip (12 Mhz version) is a heart of ZX Spectrum's General-Sound card, used for playing digital 4-channel MOD music-files from Amiga and PC (in 8-bit quality).
General Sound card for ZX Spectrum, based on Z80 chip (for plaing MOD format music)
We also recommend :-)
available on this site are properties of their authors and they're available for
years in emulator files.
Authors of this site have NO profits from it. The authors want just spread info about this music and the games over the world, which is benefit for the musicians
and publishing companies.