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Beginner question: How to get started with OPL3?

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Hi, I've googled around a lot about this topic, but since my understanding of the subject matter is so low, I could use someone experienced to point me in the right direction.

I am a first year Electrical Engineering student. I also grew up in the 90's DOS gaming era, and I hold immense nostalgia for the OPL3 sound. I thought to put the two together, and come up with projects for myself to do.

This is what I would like to achieve:

1) Use a MIDI controller (keyboard) to play instruments using the OPL3 chip. Use some kind of software/hardware solution to modify/create instruments, and be able to use instruments from games like Legend of Kyrandia.

2) Create music, perhaps using something like www.adlibtracker.net

Recommend me how to get started, I'd be interested in building a DOS PC (something I wanted to do at some point anyway) to control the chip, or some DIY Arduino solution, or anything at all. I just don't want to emulate anything, I want to use the chip directly.

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Welcome to MIDIbox! :-)

A quick way surely would be to build or buy an oldschool PC and install some DOS software on it. Some musicians are pushing the OPL3 to its limits using that setup, e.g. "Diode Milliampere":

To simplify things, and have a portable music player, you could just buy e.g. an old Toshiba Libretto laptop :-).

But, as you are an electrical engineering student and on MIDIbox, this would be our preferred project:


It is well documented, but you need a bipolar power supply and some time. If you build one, you will have better MIDI connectivity and "playability" than from a DOS machine.

Good luck and have fun!
Many greets, Peter

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