Ever wondered why sometimes in Sega Master System game footage, the sound and music seem different to perhaps you remember, or is notably better quality? This will likely be that the game is utilising or emulating the YM2413 FM Sound Chip.
Originally an add-on for the Sega Mark III (which is essentially the precursor to the Sega Master System), the FM Sound Unit contains a Yamaha YM2413 FM synthesis sound chip, which complements the existing SN76489 PSG chip in the Master System, creating a much softer, more Mega Drive / Genesis like sound (which later utilised a Yamaha YM2612 chip).
The FM Sound Chip actually found its way into the first Japanese release of the Sega Master System, but unfortunately was removed for other territories.
However, it is possible to add this to your Master System by either modifying your console or utilising a more modern solution such as an EverDrive cartridge that can provide FM sound.
EverDrive cartridges are more generally available for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis than specific Sega Master System versions, but if you just want to check out what some Master System games sound like with FM Sound, most emulators incorporate this feature – The SMS Plus GX core in Retroarch provides FM Sound emulation.
Sega Master System FM Mod
Currently, there are not many people offering Sega Master System FM Mod products. So, if you want to play an original Master System with FM sound, your best bet will be to pick up an original or modded Master System on eBay, check here to see the latest listings.
Full List of Sega master System Games With FM Sound
Alex Kidd BMX Trial
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
Aztec Adventure: The Golden Road to Paradise
Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa
Fantasy Zone: The Maze
Game de Check! Koutsuu Anzen
Hoshi wo Sagashite…
Lord of the Sword
Mahjong Sengoku Jidai
Maze Hunter 3D
Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord
Poseidon Wars 3D
SDI: Strategic Defense Initiative
Solomon no Kagi: Oujo Rihita no Namida
Space Harrier 3D
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap
Wonder Boy in Monster Land
Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen
Zillion II: The Tri Formation
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).