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YM2203C - Bare.jpg
Developer: Yamaha
Released: c. 1984
Type: Chip

1.) Square Wave/Noise
2.) Square Wave/Noise
3.) Square Wave/Noise
4.) FM Synthesis
5.) FM Synthesis
6.) FM Synthesis

The YM2203, known more colloquially as the OPN, is an integrated circuit created by Yamaha. Specifically, it is a programmable sound generator which, in addition to implementing a YM2149F (SSG), has three FM-synthesis channels. The YM2203 was primary used by NEC in their various home computer lines, and, to a lesser extent, Fujitsu and Sharp. It was also used in scores of arcade games. The YM2203 was usually paired with a YM3014 DAC to convert the output.

The YM2203 generates sound via frequency-modulated digital sine waves. It included 12 operator "cells", each generating a 13-bit sine wave at a programmable frequency, the volume of which is controlled by a programmable ADSR envelope. The output of these cells could be either summed together by the mixer, or fed into the input of another cell, in 4-cell batches creating the final sound values or "channels". 4 operator cells per channel allowed a total of 8 different permutations of cell connections, known as "algorithms" or instrument patches. This resulted in 3 FM synthesis channels.

The OPN was the first of a line of chips which included the YM2608 (OPNA), YM2610 (OPNB), YM2612 (OPN2), YM3438 (OPN2C), and YMF288 (OPN3).


The YM2203 was used on the following devices:

Release Company Device
1984-11-15 NEC PC-6001 mkII SR
1984-11-20 NEC PC-6601 SR
1984-??-?? Fujitsu FM-7 MB22459
1985-01-?? NEC PC-8001 mkII SR
1985-01-?? NEC PC-8801 SR
1985-05-?? Fujitsu FM-77 L2
1985-07-?? NEC PC-9801-26
1985-11-?? NEC PC-8801 FR
1985-??-?? Fujitsu FM-77 AV
1986-06-?? NEC PC-9801 UV2
1986-11-?? NEC PC-8801 MH
1986-11-?? NEC PC-8801 FH
1986-11-?? NEC PC-9801-26K
1987-03-?? NEC PC-8801 VA
1987-??-?? Sharp MZ-2861
1987-??-?? Seiko-Epson PC-286
1988-10-?? NEC PC-8801 FE
1987-??-?? Seiko-Epson PC-386
1989-10-?? NEC PC-8801 FE2
198?-??-?? SNE Little Orchestra
198?-??-?? SNE Sound Orchestra
1991-09-?? NEC PC-9801 DA, DA2


Scores of arcade games utilized the YM2203.

List of Games
Release Game Chip Sample
1986-??-?? Argus (ARC) YM2203 x2
1987-07-?? 1943: The Battle of Midway (ARC) YM2203C x2
1987-??-?? Arkanoid: Revenge of DOH (ARC) YM2203
1987-??-?? Avengers (ARC) YM2203 x2
1988-??-?? Angel Kids (ARC) YM2203 x2
1988-??-?? Ark Area (ARC) YM2203 x2
1988-??-?? Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja (ARC) YM2203 Sound Effects Only
1989-??-?? Act-Fancer Cybernetick Hyper Weapon (ARC) YM2203
1989-??-?? Albatross (ARC) YM2203
1990-??-?? Air Buster: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit (ARC) YM2203
1990-??-?? Ashita no Joe (ARC) YM2203
1991-??-?? Acrobat Mission (ARC) YM2203
1994-??-?? Arcadia (ARC) YM2203
  • This list is incomplete.

Picture Gallery


Document Download
Manual Download - (info)

Emulation Status

The YM2203 has been emulated by MAME and most of the home computer emulators that support sound.