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 FMDRIVE by Aly James Lab is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It functions as a VST Plugin.
Developer Aly James Lab
Price (MSRP) 10.00 €
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Operating System Availability
Download Released
 1.23  - Released
System Requirements
WIN XP/7/8.
Multi-core compatible VST host.
Supported Sample Formats (loads or saves) include
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionCustomized Per Customer

FMDRIVE is a VST synth that not only emulate the Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive FM sound chip YM2612 but also add a lot of extra features.


FMDRIVE is not another YM2612 emulator, it is a Windows VST instrument with live control in mind. Using a new modeled core with extended features, FMDRIVE adds the full FM power underneath the original concept...

You may think, the YM2612 chip is basically another 4 Operator Yamaha FM synth but there is more... DAC, SSG Envelopes and Special operating modes like CSM speech synthesis. On top of that the Sega had a distinctive distorted sound, more or less present, depending on revision models.

You can design a vast range of sounds on top of 33000 instruments presets already extracted from Games ROMs. Go further with extended controls, and even MIDI control the real hardware with a special add on interface: The GENMDM designed by Little Scale (not included).

FMDRIVE had been developed with the latest stable SynthEdit engine using custom C++ code and 3r party licensed code.

Runs on Windows 32/64-bit Systems and is multi-core compatible with 32-bit DAW/Host.

FMDRIVE is Donationware with a minimum of 10.00 €.

Global Features:

  1. User Friendly GUI: Big size, different panels for controls...
  2. Full MIDI Automation: With MIDI learn (right click to assign any MIDI message).
  3. Poly & Mono Mode with Glide Control.
  4. Direct Output or MD1: Headphone Out filtering.
  5. Two Audio Models: HQ and MD1 (Crystal clear and high resolution processing) and MD1 (emulate distortion and low resolution of MD1 model).

YM2612 Native Features:

  1. 4 Operators FM Synthesis
  2. Parametric EG: Envelope Generator.
  3. SSG EG
  4. CH3 Special Mode: (Different frequencies for each OP) also different key on/off possible by external MIDI channels.
  5. CSM Mode: Kind of early vocal synthesis.
  6. CH6 DAC Mode: 4 slots to load any PCM WAV files, auto converted to mono 8/4-bit 22/11/8kHz with selectable start/end points, pitch control and data loop.

YM2612 Extended Features:

  1. Overdrive Ladder effect Control: For MD1 MODE, adjust to taste.
  2. Rate Ratio Control: Change the global EG RATE/SPEED from *0.1 to *4 for rapid tweaking/adjustment of the envelopes.
  3. Graphic Software EG: Up to 8 stages /8 stage shapes/custom loop point (aka custom SSG) and sustain point.
  4. Custom LFO Rate for low rate modulation...
  5. Six Software LFO Shapes: Including noise.
  6. Attack & Release: Delay time for the LFO.
  7. DT2 (large detune) parameter imported from the YM2151 sound chip.
  8. Un-Sync PMS: Different PMS settings for each OP.
  9. OP Filter (aka Phase Modulation Filtering): Reduce the phase modulation at high frequencies according to the amount of filtering.
  10. Global FM Sample Rate Control (Skip audio samples) with Polyphonic Reducer (Kind of increasing the FM bit crushing audio effect according to the number of voice/keys played).
  11. DAC Custom Graphic Waveform (14 bytes): Draw Mode or LFSR (Random bytes generated, clock divider, sync with host tempo).
  12. CSM Enhanced Control: Timer A Controlled by MIDI notes (Shortest period limit is 1.13636ms note A5).


  • Loads & Save TFI Patches: Manual or auto load for fast selection.
  • Load & Save Full Patch & Banks in FXB/FXP.
  • Controls the real Mega Drive hardware via MIDI: Requires Little Scale GENMDM MIDI Device.
  • A new VGM to TFI preset converter is available for free.

Some features of the YM2612 chip were not very documented until reverse engineered, that is why some people may think that some features are not possible on a real YM2612.

Everything FMDrive does was and is possible on the hardware except for these optional features : bit-crushing effect, high resolution mode, Un-Sync PMS and Modulation index filtering.


  • Custom LFOs, were usually done directly in the code or via a custom music engine. FMDrive does it for you without the hassle.
  • Custom envelope generator, made also in the code by directly writing to TL register, however, not as smooth as the internal EG.
  • CSM Mode Speech Synthesis is perfectly working on the chip, however there was no driver provided for it... so programmers had to code their own, the hard way.

FMDrive gives you a much easier control over CSM including a way to sync the timer speed to the current FNumber (playing note frequency).

There are two octave range that are usable "musically" so this makes some pretty cool "talking" sounds or instrument.
Game arts studio were among the rare teams who developed in the past a great engine on MSX computer that permitted them to provide unique sounding CSM synthesized speech in their games at the fraction of the size of PCM data.

Learn more on the CSM mode

  • Ladder effect emulation (DAC distortion of Model 1). I have found a way to emulate accurately the characteristic DAC distortion from the Model 1 Genesis witch greatly affect the tone...as far as I know, there is currently not even a game emulator platform that provides this feature.
  • Direct DAC waveforms. If you can play PCM, you can write waveforms...
  • SSG is a very powerful way of looping the entire envelope generator. this can easily reach audio rate to provides ring modulated type of sounds.
Made with SynthEdit
User Rated

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Discussion: Active


14 August 2013 at 2:07amtwylla23

How is this compared to Plogue Chipsounds? I have not found anything better in chip emulation than Chipsounds, but I would be interested in this if the chip was a lot better.

19 August 2013 at 10:28pmneologix

Plogue chipsounds, while its sound is varied and among the best of its class, does not perform the Yamaha-style digital FM synthesis (which is actually closer to PM synthesis than pure FM synthesis) found in the Genesis, Neo-Geo, and arcade machines of the time. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if somewhere down the line Plogue released something that does indeed perform Yamaha-like digital FM synthesis, and in the meantime we have FMDRIVE :).

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Average user rating of 10.00 from 2 reviews

Aly James Lab
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