discoDSP OPL Emulates 80’s Yamaha Synth Chip

discoDSP has introduced OPL, a software synth that emulates a digital sound synthesis chip developed by Yamaha in the mid 1980s that was used in sound cards for PC, including the Ad Lib card and early Sound Blaster series.

OPL is available for macOS, Windows and Linux as AudioUnits, VST, VST3 and Standalone.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

The emulator has channels comprised of 2 oscillators each. Each pair of oscillators is usually combined via phase modulation (basically frequency modulation). Each oscillator can produce one of eight waveforms (sine, half sine, absolute sine, quarter sine, alternating sine, camel sine, square, logarithmic sawtooth), and has an ADSR envelope controlling its amplitude. The unusual waveforms give it a characteristic sound.

Audio demos are available at the discoDSP site.

Pricing and Availability

OPL is available now in VST/VST3 and AU plugin formats for $29 USD.

19 thoughts on “discoDSP OPL Emulates 80’s Yamaha Synth Chip

    1. Yeah, that is discoDSP’s thing. Steal the code from a freeware plugin, fix a few bugs and then selling it. They have done it before with OBXd and here they are doing it again. Lazy cashgrab.

      Better paid alternative is plogue chipsynth FM.

      1. The problem with chipsynth FM is that while it’s awesome in its own right, it’s an emulation of the OPLL, and it is CPU heavy (I can only run 6 instances on my i7 16GB ram Dell XPS 13)

      2. Since the original JuceOPLVSTi is GPL licensed, any published fork has to be well, i.e. discoDSP has to provide access to the sources (including their changes). And indeed so they do:


        It’s the same situation with OBXd.

        Personally, I find this OPL emulation plugin much nicer, and it’s free (as in Open Source, not only “Freeware”) and multi-platform:


        (look on the releases tabs for windows builds)

        1. ADLplug does not work with Cubase 10.5. Yes it shows up, but when you try to add any notes to the grid the whole program freezes up until you switch Windows tasks for a moment. This problem makes the vst version 100% useless. The standalone version worked well.

  1. AdLib was the hot shit back in the day because the GM sounds were way better than other cards

    I thought it was the same chip as the old sega master system tho, guess not

    1. No, Chipsynth FM is based on the OPLL, and JuceOPL/discoDSP OPL is based on the OPL2 but with OPL3 waveforms. Also, the former has macros and layering while the latter lacks both.

  2. Hi all. I’m the original author of JuceOPLVSTi and I can confirm that discoDSP are charging you for free software, and also violating the GPL. Please don’t buy from them. I would have provided OSX builds myself, but didn’t own a Mac. One of the older versions was built for OSX though and that can be downloaded for free.

    Although the plugin is unmaintained, if anyone can provide me with an OSX build of the current version of the plugin, I’ll be happy to upload it to the releases section of the GitHub repo.

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