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Retroarch Genesis GX Sound Improvements


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Over the last week or so there have been a couple of things added to the Core Options for the Genesis GX core that significantly improves the sound quality of it. These changes bring it more in line with a Model 1 Genesis which is known to be better sounding than the later revisions.

Edit: There is a catch to this though, the "nuked opn2" setting will increase your CPU requirements for this core. If you have your frame delay set higher than the default of 0 try bringing that back down to 0 or try a number lower than what you had to see if it fixes your sound and frame rate using this option. I had my frame delay set to 10 before but I had to drop it all the way down to 2 to fix the audio glitching and frame rate. The mame option is still very good with the low pass audio filter on and set to 40%.

These are the settings you will want to have to get the best sound quality right now (until the next round of improvements lol)59c9d6c603c92_2017-09-2600_21_30-RetroArchGenesisPlusGXv1.7.4ba28a28__Frames_1280.thumb.png.20e12f609666e0dd93011ab328067c0b.pngHere is a couple of comparison videos of how the various models of the Genesis actually sounded.


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The latest downloadable core now as overclocking and sprite limit removal options. Though it is recommended for now to leave the clock set to 100% and the sprite removal to off and to only adjust those settings on a per-game basis and per game override for games that benefit it. Certain games may run into issues, one such issue is the title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog, notice his body showing over top of the Sonic banner. Master System games will certainly benefit more from these features than the Genesis.59d70b64781a4_SonictheHedgehog(USAEurope)-171006-004848.thumb.png.a0269a699294848f22d7a602110262d2.png

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Copy / Pasting from the Retroarch forums: https://forums.libretro.com/t/genesis-plus-gx-where-is-the-audio-lowpass-filter/12169/111

Discrete YM2612 appeared on all Model 1 except the badly distorted VA7.

ASIC YM3438 was integrated into the main chip on the majority of Model 2 except VA2 and VA2.3 which had Discrete YM2612 like Model 1.

YM3438 has better DACs and sounds cleaner with less ‘ladder effect’ (google it) distortion and noise than YM2612.
BUT, some games actually use the YM2612 ‘ladder effect’ noise to their advantage therefor sound more correct on the 2612 than on the 3438.

Discrete YM3438 never appeared in any Genesis console but it sounds similar to the ASIC YM3438 and can be installed in a Model1.

Mame core is the most pristine sounding with no emulation of the ladder effect distortion, and no DAC Quantization (if Off), it is a pure FM synthesizer.
This option is actually what Sega engineers would have preferred but had to live with the distorted and noisy real hardware.


Pick your choice on how you want it to sound.

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I had a chance to mess around today with the sound drivers and here is my opinion. 

The default MAME driver with no DAC Quantanization and no low pass filter definitely sounds the cleanest, as in has the least amount of audio distortion. Unfortunately this makes everything sound extremely tinny and flat. 

The YM2612 sounds the best to my ear with no DAC and the low pass filter enabled. Compared to the default MAME driver, the sound is a lot fuller and the bass is much more pronounced. There is also a subtle buzzing background on some frequencies and everything sounds just a bit like it is being played out of a blown out speaker. 

I thought about it more today, and I am pretty sure I grew up with the model 1 genesis. The YM2612 feels more authentic too me, and I think it genuinely sound better. 

The MAME driver with the low pass filter and the DAC turned on sounds pretty close to the YM2612, and it is a lot less resource intensive. Compared to the YM2612 though, MAME with DAC sounds a just a bit muddier to my ear and retains a touch more of the tiny quality on the high end. 

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Unfortunately you cannot easily separate the Genesis and Sega CD cores from each other in Retroarch. You have 2 options, either have 2 installs of RA or setup game over rides which would be easiest to do for the Sega CD stuff since that presumably would be the platform with the least games.

Personally I just don't care that much about it affecting my Sega CD music so I won't be bothering with it.

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