While browsing through past HackaDay articles looking for projects to spark the imagination we noticed a trend. It seems that people are keen on connecting the audio chips from old computer and arcade games to their Arduino! Especially the YM2149 which is a popular audio chip that was used in the Atari ST, ZX Spectrum 128, and Intellivision!
Seeing all these cool projects led us to a moment of inspiration. We could use the features of the new ZPUino 1.0 soft processor to take this type of project to the next level on the Papilio FPGA! By using the Open Source VHDL files for popular audio chips from places like FPGAArcade.com and Opencores.com we could eliminate all the wires, soldering, and wasted GPIO pins. Integrating popular audio chips like the C64 SID, Atari POKEY, and YM2149 into the ZPUino would put them under control of Arduino sketches. Effectively opening up all the Arduino libraries to control the audio chips. It only took a couple hours to hack in the Arduino MIDI library, splice in Arduino code snippets from the Hackaday articles, and end end up with a sketch that turned the Papilio into a YM2149 MIDI Synthesizer!
Coupled with the new MIDI Audio Wing, available for $14.99, and a Papilio One 250K or 500K you too can play the YM2149 with your MIDI instrument!