Format Output

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Audio formats often support multiple output types grouped in the following categories: digital audio, MIDI, FM synthesis, and PSG. Few formats support multiple types of output natively, but audio drivers make it possible for a format to be played on various types of output. For example, the M format by Origin Systems supports MIDI devices, FM synthesis, and PSGs.

These output categories are not meant to be especially technical and some issues have been overlooked to get every format into one of only four categories. For more details on the output of each format, view the Technical section in each format page.

Digital Audio

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Formats in this category are outputted directly to a speaker rather than having waveforms generated by an algorithm. All PCM formats like WAV, OGG, and MP3 fall into this category, but also most MOD formats which get converted to digital audio before being sent to a speaker like S3M and XM.

MIDI

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Formats that can send instructions to a MIDI compatible device are in this category. The MIDI device accepts the instructions and then converts those instructions into sound with the specified instruments. Naturally, MIDI uses this output, but also, many non-MIDI formats can output to MIDI like XMI, MUS, and M

FM Synthesis

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FM synthesis is a way to generate sound waves using frequency modulation. By doing this, you can create a vast array of different sounds, many of which sound similar to real instruments. Any format which can send data to one of Yamaha's Operator Type or OP? family of chips can output to FM synthesis such as ROL, CMF, and IMF.

PSG

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PSGs (programmable sound generators) are special audio chips that can be given instructions to make primitive sound waves, generally squares and triangles. PSG are found in most early arcade, home video game consoles, and early 8-bit computers. Naturally, formats that house sound for those platforms output to PSGs; for example, NSF, SID, and SAP. Formats that output to PC Speaker are also included in this category, as a PC Speaker is merely a square wave.