Additive and subtractive techniques have long been in vogue as sound synthesis methods. FM synthesis has been amply demonstrated as a sophisticated sound synthesis technique capable of producing rich, brassy sounds. This paper presents microcontroller based systems as cost effective alternatives to the combination of general purpose microprocessor and custom VLSI sound chips for real time sound synthesis. The issues of chip architecture, execution speeds, and the role played by general purpose timers in implementing additive synthesis, are discussed. The HPC16083, a 16-bit CMOS microcontroller from National Semiconductor Corp., is used to illustrate the methods and benefits that accrue from microcontroller based systems.
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