The Mega Drive/Genesis had two chips that it had access to in order to create it’s music. The main chip was the Yamaha YM2612 FM Synthesiser which had 6 synth channels and 1 digital audio channel (DAC). This was backed up by the Texas Instruments SN76489 which had been the power behind the Sega Master System’s music, this had 1 noise channel and 3 tone channels.
For this video I’ve played out all the individual channels used to make up the iconic Green Hill Zone theme, giving a little look at how the layering works and the chips were utilized. It’s fascinating that some channels actually sound kind of ugly on their own, but great when layered up.
I particularly enjoy the bassline in the second channel and the DAC’s drums, they really emphasis some of the best qualities of Mega Drive synthesis.