If there's one hardware extension for MSX that really made an impact, it is without a doubt the Panasonic FM-PAC. A sound extension that delivers 9 FM channels, known as MSX-MUSIC. Before the FM-PAC there was another extension called MSX-AUDIO, the most popular version was the Philips Music Module. While the FM-PAC was used widely in Japanese MSX games, the Music Module was the thing to use in the MSX demo Scene. This device is still a collector's item. Now the Brazilian company Tecnobytes presents a MSX-AUDIO device, comparable to the Music Module.

If you know the MSX demo scene, you sure are familiar with the MSX-AUDIO sound. Pioneers like the FAC gave us a peek of what was possible with the the Music Module. The ADPCM Sample Ram was a thing, back then. Later on the 9 FM channels, just like the FM-PAC, were explored deeper and dedicated music editors came to the scene. Those editors made it possible to combine the sample ram with the FM channels and give us some really cool tunes to dance to. Remember Moonblaster, perhaps the most popular tracker of all. The sample RAM was limited, so clever minds adapted the Music Module to have 256K or RAM. Demos like NOP's Unknown Reality took heavy advantage of that.

Since it is hard to get your hands on a Music Module, the Brazilian hardware developers at Tecnobytes decided it was time for a worthy clone. A tribute to the original piece of hardware. And it's called Audiowave. A cartridge fully compatible with the MSX AUDIO standard. The size is a lot smaller than that of its older brothers so it'll fit nicely with your other extensions.

We are talking:

  • Y8950 sound chip with 9 channels of FM synthesis
  • 4 bit ADPCM channel, with max16 Khz resolution.
  • 256 KB Sample RAM
  • 512 KB FLASHROM, allowing BIOS upgrade.
  • 32 KB WorkRAM
  • The MSX-BASIC extension and musical keyboard software in ROM.
  • Line Out Jack P2.
  • Line In Jack P2, used for audio capture.
  • Connector to use compatible musical keyboards, such as YAMAHA YK-01, YK-10 and YK-20, Panasonic FS-MKB1, TOSHIBA HX-MU901
  • Compatible with all MSX standard machines

The price of apparatus is USD 82,00, ex shipping. If you want to get your copy, you can now pre-order Audiowaves.

The MSX-AUDIO is not just a rarely used piece of sound extension, no. There is a lot of MSX software out there that benefits from this unique sound chip. This is your change to get back to the nineties and swing your head on them MSX-Audio tunes like never before. Hit it!

relevant link: http://www.tecnobytes.com.br/
relevant link: Audiowave product page
relevant link: Video of the Audiowave in action.

Media browser (3)

  • New MSX-AUDIO hardware called AudioWave
  • New MSX-AUDIO hardware called AudioWave
  • New MSX-AUDIO hardware called AudioWave

Comments (51)

By lintweaker

Champion (363)

lintweaker's picture

30-11-2020, 09:18

I saw this on the tecnobytes site a couple of days ago, was really tempted to order one. But then I thought, when was the last time I used my Philips module...still tempting though. Really nice small format.

By Sander

Ambassador (1863)

Sander's picture

30-11-2020, 14:13

I think it's a good choice for People who don't have a music module, want the genuine sound, play with keyboard and need the smaller format. Plus; not having to solder in the Music module for extra ram or MSX-Audio bios is also a plus.

By syn

Paragon (2040)

syn's picture

30-11-2020, 16:18

I already have 2x philips music module with 256KB, this one might be interesting though because of its smaller form factor

It would seem its compatible with *any* keyboard? iirc normally the keyboards are not interchangable
This one is lacking midi though unfortunately, but then again its not part of the MSX audio standard.

By ToriHino

Hero (653)

ToriHino's picture

30-11-2020, 17:18

Although quite a lot of the MSX Audio songs can already be replayed on OPL4, it's nice to see this new hardware release. Especially with the ability to update the BIOS and connect a real keyboard. Although not often used, the 256K sample ram is a nice bonus :-)

By Grauw

Ascended (9683)

Grauw's picture

30-11-2020, 20:05

I think that’s very cool! Philips and Toshiba modules can still be found but are getting more expensive, and usually don’t have the memory upgrade or MSX-AUDIO BIOS. Plus it’s a nice compact form factor. And the ROM is flashable. Having the Yamaha type keyboard connector’s also nice.

By msd

Paragon (1429)

msd's picture

30-11-2020, 20:10

Should also mention that especially compile games support the msx-audio Wink It is not just demo's

By Giangiacomo Zaffini 2

Master (248)

Giangiacomo Zaffini 2's picture

30-11-2020, 21:29

I'm a lot interested in the 256kBytes od ADPCM. I think Yamaha OPNA can use same amount of ADPCM RAM of MSX-AUDIO, possibly also the capability of OKI MSM6258 ADPCM chip of Sharp X68000. Uhm...

By MarMSX

Resident (40)

MarMSX's picture

30-11-2020, 22:17

Congratulations to Tecnobytes!

Another great hardware for our MSX.

By Takamichi

Champion (446)

Takamichi's picture

01-12-2020, 04:39

FS-CA1 seldom appears on the market so this one is very welcome. It can also boot the FS-CA1 software that the upgraded NMS-1205 cannot. Only thing it lacks is NMS-1205's MIDI interface.

By The_Engineer

Master (171)

The_Engineer's picture

02-12-2020, 16:54

Excellent product! Ordered!

By Pac

Guardian (6158)

Pac's picture

03-12-2020, 19:15

Good to see there are still Y8950 chips out there... Smile

By tooloud

Rookie (25)

tooloud's picture

04-12-2020, 09:55

ordered!

By Rataplan

Master (243)

Rataplan's picture

05-12-2020, 00:37

In terms of the memory; Kb or KB?

By syn

Paragon (2040)

syn's picture

05-12-2020, 01:32

Anyone from holland wants to buy together to share shipping? up to 3 items for the same costs

By Randam

Paragon (1188)

Randam's picture

05-12-2020, 07:32

@syn; yeah I am interested.

By Meits

Scribe (6328)

Meits's picture

05-12-2020, 12:23

Rataplan wrote:

In terms of the memory; Kb or KB?

Fixed that for you Smile I guess it's a classic mistake Wink

By syn

Paragon (2040)

syn's picture

06-12-2020, 18:36

randam ive send you an e-mail.

By KdL

Paragon (1378)

KdL's picture

08-12-2020, 19:24

Very nice MSX-AUDIO cartridge, congratulations! LOL!

By Alexey

Guardian (3046)

Alexey's picture

20-12-2020, 22:07

Glad to see yet another good hardware for our beloved platform! Smile

By gdx

Enlighted (4176)

gdx's picture

21-12-2020, 09:09

Sorry for Tecnobytes but I cannot agree with you because it's really a shame to make a cartridge of such a level and to put tinned contacts coarse.

By lintweaker

Champion (363)

lintweaker's picture

19-01-2021, 09:05

Did anyone receive any update on this? I mailed tecnobytes but I have not received any reply yet.

By lintweaker

Champion (363)

lintweaker's picture

01-02-2021, 18:27

lintweaker wrote:

Did anyone receive any update on this? I mailed tecnobytes but I have not received any reply yet.

Heard back from Tecnobytes. They are finalizing production and hope to start shipping in a week or two.

By Manuel

Ascended (17684)

Manuel's picture

01-02-2021, 19:52

lintweaker wrote:

Really nice small format.

Especially compared to the Panasonic FS-CA1... :S

By Pencioner

Scribe (1352)

Pencioner's picture

01-02-2021, 23:55

lintweaker wrote:
lintweaker wrote:

Did anyone receive any update on this? I mailed tecnobytes but I have not received any reply yet.

Heard back from Tecnobytes. They are finalizing production and hope to start shipping in a week or two.

I hope to hear about audio quality. I have requested the recording sample (not from microphone like on their youtube video but from line in) to check if i'll be interested or not but had no response since. Now the batch is over so i will stick with my old good Philips module, but i'm still curious about the audio quality (noise level at least, because other things like crosstalk between channels need more effort and sometimes patching the vgmplay)

By lintweaker

Champion (363)

lintweaker's picture

13-03-2021, 09:55

I received my track and trace number today. Woohoo! The also sent along some documentation.

By The_Engineer

Master (171)

The_Engineer's picture

15-03-2021, 14:29

Did anyone receive the Audiowave and tested it already?

By bsittler

Expert (111)

bsittler's picture

22-03-2021, 21:00

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

24-03-2021, 17:34

I got it today. so I'll be testing my AUDIOWAVE in the next days. I'll be posting some Youtube Videos also.

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

24-03-2021, 19:09

Real MSX TurboR in action:

Youtube Video

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

25-03-2021, 00:02

Real MSX Sony HB-F1XDJ in action:

Youtube Video

By Pencioner

Scribe (1352)

Pencioner's picture

25-03-2021, 18:29

Anyone to record audio output via line input/soundcard, not with microphone?

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

25-03-2021, 22:58

Real MSX Sony HB-F1XDJ + AudioWAVE (Slot2) + PADIAL SDMMC Ver8 4MB (Slot1) + Gotek FDD Used

Youtube Video

By Meits

Scribe (6328)

Meits's picture

25-03-2021, 23:27

I like it there's a real Y8950 on it, however I wonder where they're from. You did not kill other MSX audio cartridges for that now did you (would be naughty).
If it didn't have that keyboard connector sticking out and if it had gold plates it would be a nice addition.

alexito, could you record something straight from its audio jack, so not with your camera, but an audio cable to your pc's soundcard's line-in? And preferable playback some music demo from the 90s Dutch scene as that supports MSX-Audio way more than just a few samples.

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

26-03-2021, 00:50

@Meits: Here it is Unknown Reality Demo just the first disk MSX Computer used was Sony HB-F1XDJ 256KB Internal RAM.

WMA AUDIO

My Setup

By Meits

Scribe (6328)

Meits's picture

26-03-2021, 03:21

recording from an analog source is tricky, I know that all too well cuz I often fail Wink
this recording is a bit too loud, but the essence is clear. Sounds like a solid MSX-Audio Smile

By Tabow99

Supporter (5)

Tabow99's picture

29-03-2021, 11:43

Thank you for your help.
Is there anyone who ordered AUDIOWAVE and made a deposit but still haven't received the shipping email?

By syn

Paragon (2040)

syn's picture

29-03-2021, 12:26

I haven't received shipping info either. I mailed them, no reply yet. They are usually fast replying to mails so I assume they are a bit busy ATM.ill give it a few more days before I send another mail.

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

29-03-2021, 14:26

Testing AUDIOWAVE with Tetris2 Collector Edition still in Beta Stage. Thanks to Microtech (Marco Rossin) for provide the big ASC16K Mapper ROM (4096KB) so I can test my new MegaflaromSCC+SD recently upgraded from MSX Cartridge Shop (Manuel Pazos).

Youtube Video

By novice

Supporter (4)

novice's picture

30-03-2021, 17:23

Tabow99 wrote:

Thank you for your help.
Is there anyone who ordered AUDIOWAVE and made a deposit but still haven't received the shipping email?

Same. Haven't heard back from TechnoBytes since the confirmation e-mail on December 2nd.

By The_Engineer

Master (171)

The_Engineer's picture

30-03-2021, 18:07

Same here. I only received the confirmation e-mail from December 5th.

By bsittler

Expert (111)

bsittler's picture

31-03-2021, 00:25

I missed the initial order window but got confirmation email for my second-wave purchase one week ago

By Tabow99

Supporter (5)

Tabow99's picture

01-04-2021, 07:26

Thank you.
I received an email on November 20th and made an immediate deposit.
Then I emailed the address because I needed an English address.
Since then, I haven't received a reply when I contact you.
I'm honestly worried. I would like to be informed of the situation at least.

By Pac

Guardian (6158)

Pac's picture

01-04-2021, 12:10

If helps, there is a Japanese user who already received the Audiowave cartridge so there shouldn't be a problem and you should receive yours:

https://twitter.com/indy_vtg/status/1374945376956940289

Anyway you are right, communication should be better from developers. The buyer has always the right to know what's going on...

By bsittler

Expert (111)

bsittler's picture

01-04-2021, 19:17

I understand the frustrating situation (I'm in it too BTW) but I hope you can find patience and I'm personally confident patience will be rewarded in this instance

I think expectations for a hobbyist hardware project in Brazil right now need to be tempered somewhat by understanding of how external factors are impacting both Brazil specifically and international shipping generally. Tecnobytes is well-known for producing some great MSX hardware (and other hardware), but also understand it is not a large company with a salaried staff dedicated to these productions. Also they historically have done a much better job of building and designing hardware than of communicating status updates, so I hope you can appreciate them for their strengths. I realize it is very frustrating when the money was paid and no recent update (or shipment) arrived, but they do actually have a great record of completing and shipping the products, just timeline tends to be unpredictable

Anyhow, I am just a repeat customer of theirs (including a V9990 I use regularly) who is also hoping for delivery of this device too, but I advise less worrying and more patient reflection on the fact that this is an amazing hobbyist production and likely will be well worth the waiting just as the previous Tecnobytes productions were

By Tabow99

Supporter (5)

Tabow99's picture

02-04-2021, 14:41

Thank you.
You can rest assured.
However, I sent an email several times, but I'm a little worried if I don't contact you.
AUDIOWAVE is an item that you really want to get, so wait for the shipping email to arrive.

By lintweaker

Champion (363)

lintweaker's picture

03-04-2021, 12:13

Got my Audiowave today (NL)! Took about 2 weeks to get here, not bad. Now to enjoy some MSX-AUDIO sound in miniature format (compared to the Music Module).

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

05-04-2021, 07:01

Other Test for AUDIOWAVE featuring LABYRINTH English Tranlation by DJANGO.

Youtube Video

Enjoy!

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

06-04-2021, 05:06

Now featuring COMMANDO from ASCII 1987 and using MSX-AUDIO BIOS same as LABYRINTH.

Youtube Video

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

08-04-2021, 20:36

Now Featuring N.O.P 1994 DEMO (Unknown Reality)

Youtube Video

By msxtrd

Master (246)

msxtrd's picture

09-04-2021, 11:22

You linked to the video of Commando with PSG sound Tongue . Should probably be this one with msx-audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Fqj7Skdx94

By alexito

Paladin (695)

alexito's picture

09-04-2021, 13:29

Thank, msxtrd.