The Sega Genesis, aka Mega Drive, was more than just a beloved game console. It was also a powerful FM synth – seriously. And now you get an accurate, powerful version as a plug-in, in chipsynth MD from Plogue.

If you’re a Sega fan, you know the sound of this instrument from the sunny, sparkling, high-energy game soundtracks of the era. So, for you, yes, there’s a bit-accurate emulation of the OPN2 YM2612 chip and SN76489-compatible square wave core (SPSG). There’s even a recreation of the crunchy lo-fi sample playback.

You get the authentic sounds of the Sega hardware, modeled with bit-for-bit accuracy – but a deep interface you’d expect from a modern plug-in. Or you know, just sit back and listen to some classic Sega game scores. (Also, you will have to account for some lost musical productivity when this makes you want to play Sega games again.)

If you want to hear those vintage soundtracks the way they were intended to be heard, there’s even a VGM player. For Sega game fans, this is your new iTunes.

Whoa – if none of that meant anything to you, think of it this way: this is a polyphonic, multi-layered recreation of a 4-voice FM synth with a stupid amount of sound controls and grungy retro sample playback as a separate feature.

Listen to the new sounds you can get out of it:

But it doesn’t sample the Sega. It’s a loving recreation from the folks at Plogue, who have gotten deep into this sort of hardware recreation.

And how many layers / parts are we talking here? A whole lot. You get 6 parts polyphonic * 6 layers * 4OPs + 4 layers of PSG. Or to put it another way, each voice is ten layers of a single Sega Genesis.

It’s just a whole lot of Sega, basically.

Standalone, VST2 (Mac, Windows), VST3 (Mac, Windows), Mac AU, AAX, all 64-bit. NKS support, which means it’s all playable directly from Maschine and Kontrol S- Series keyboards.

https://plogue.com/products/chipsynth-md.html

It’s oddly entertaining just watching them work with their test rigs to make this happen:

And for a full tour, Cockoo takes the software for a test drive:

More at the product page:

https://plogue.com/products/chipsynth-md.html

This is the second of the chipsynth line, following a recreation of the lo-fi Yamaha PortaSound line. Put the two together, and you have two unique takes on FM.

Top image:

“Happy 26th Birthday Sonic the Hedgehog!”by MK√∂pke is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0