Implementing a wavetable synthesizer on FPGA

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Szántó Péter
Department of Measurement and Information Systems

My task was to create an FPGA based hardware capable of wavetable based sound synthesis.

The inspiration for the hardware was the successor of the GF1 chip of the Gravis UltraSound sound card, the AMD InterWave chip. This chip has adequate documentation, its data sheet is available, so it was a good example to create a MIDI function compatible peripheral. The created hardware is function compatible with the chip, but not on the register level.

The sound synthesizer peripheral connects to the soft-core MicroBlaze CPU inside the FPGA with the help of a AXI bus. The processor processes the input file, controls the other peripherals needed for playback and the sound synthetizer, which calculates the correct sound amplitude for that time frame. This is being sent to the AC'97 chip on the board, where the digital-analog conversion happens, producing the sound output.

I recorded the output sound, presented them in my work. The hardware is capable of generating sounds of instuments recorded in a pat file, vibrato and tremolo effects.


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