I want to talk about something today. That something is FM synthesis.
But what is it, you ask? Ever had a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive? Or perhaps an old Soundblaster sound card? Then you probably already know.
It's a way of synthesizing audio that was discovered by John Chowning in 1973. I won't get into the nitty-gritty, but I will say that you can make some really amazing sounds with it. Example? Thunder Force IV's soundtrack. Probably the best you can find on the Mega Drive. The quality is pure gold. Go look up the song Metal Squad (stage 8) in particular.
But FM synthesis does pose a bit of a problem: it's pretty difficult to engineer good sounds using it. If you can, then you're bound to create some awesome music. If you can't, well, there are quite a few Megadrive games that exemplify this. If you want to try your hand at it, though, there are a few VSTi's that utilize FM synthesis. One of the more popular ones is VOPM, which emulates the Yamaha YM2151, a sound chip that was very much similar to the Mega Drive's YM2612.
And now I'm regretting ever getting rid of my old Packard Bell with Windows 3.1 on it. Forgive me, I was young, and unknowing!