ALF Music synthesizer

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Joined: May 7 2006
Posts: 10

I'm looking for details on the ALF Music system card, for an Apple ][,
from about 1978.

If anyone has one they no longer want/need, I can provide a home for it.

If I recall correctly, this was a 3-voice card using an early AY-8910
sound chip.

- Ralph

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- Ralph

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Joined: May 7 2006
Posts: 10
Re: ALF Music synthesizer

Some more details:

ALF made two different cards, one was a 3-voice card, which produced only square waves, and used VCO (voltage controlled oscillator), the 74LS624 - which you can still get
from places like Mouser Electronics and Digikey. It apparently could generate tones over 8 octaves, but the AY-based cards could not.

The other ALF card was a 9-voice version, using the AY-3-8910 or AY-3-8913 chip (which was also used in the Mockingboard and AE Phasor cards).

I don't have schematics or a physical copy of either card, but the company NuScope Associates produced a "cloning guide" for what seems to be a replica of that card.

Some music made with the card can be found in these places:

above the garage

Henry Spragens (h3nry)

Here is a list of chips on the "clone card" page, which I assume are in the 3-voice ALF card.

1 - 74LS624 - voltage controlled oscillator
1 - 8253 (programmable timer - Intel support chip common in old IBM PCs)
1 - 74LS32 - Quad 2 Input OR Gate
1 - 74LS04 - Hex Inverter
2 - 74LS75 - 4 Bit Bi-Stable Latch
4 - CD4723B - Dual 4 Bit Addressable Latch
3 - 8227DP - Audio Amp? (can't get an exact match for this part #)
1 - LM307 - op-amp

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- Ralph

amauget's picture
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Joined: Jan 3 2011
Posts: 242
Re: ALF Music synthesizer

Hi Ralph,

I have an Apple Music ][ card from ALF. See pictures of the card & schematic.
Unfortunately, I don't have the disks...

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Antony
Apple II forever

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Joined: May 7 2006
Posts: 10
Re: ALF Music synthesizer

Antony,

Thanks for the photo and documentation!

That appears to be the second generation "AM II" card, as it has three 4 76489 PSG (programmable sound generator) chips on the board. I've never seen that card in person, though.

I have seen disk images at http://eightbitsoundandfury.ld8.org/hardware.html#alf, but don't know what version of the card they are four.

The 76489 PSG (programmable sound generator) is similar to the AY-3-8910 chip used in the Mockingboard. It has 3 voices per chip, so 9 voices per card. The Original ALF card has

Here's what I understand about the differences (from an ALF ad announcing the AM II card)

ALF Products AMS (Apple Music Synthesizer - 1978)

  • 3 voices per card
  • 78db dynamic range
  • 8 octave pitch accuracy (> 88 piano keys)

ALF Products AM II (1980)

  • 9 voices per card
  • 28db dynamic range, 16 volume levels
  • 6 octave pitch accuracy

I assume that the first-generation "AMS" card actually used 74LS624 VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) chips to generate square waves, but it doesn't seem to use complex/programmable sound chips at all. Still trying to confirm that.

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amauget's picture
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Re: ALF Music synthesizer

Ralph,

Thanks for these detailed informations.
The disks you point me to (as David does on CSA2) are for the Apple Music Synthesizer (AMS), which is another card.

BTW, there appears to be a change in the names of the ALF products. Here is what I can read in the manual :
PRODUCT NAME CHANGES
Order no.  Old name                       New name
10-5-1     Apple Music ][ (AM][)          Music Card MC1
10-5-16    Apple Music Synthesizer (AMS)  Music Card MC16

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Antony
Apple II forever

PlamenVaysilov's picture
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Re: ALF Music synthesizer
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