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Not 100% sure if sourcing components is on-topic here, but if it is:

For a hobby project, I'm trying to find a readily available (that is, ideally sold on Mouser or Sparkfun) programmable sound generator, essentially like the sound chips in old computers or game consoles (e.g., the C64 SID, the TI SN76489 used in a lot of 90's consoles or the General Instrument AY-3-8910) and that comes in a DIP Package.

I have trouble finding any sound chips, so I wonder if I'm just looking for the wrong thing? I guess that the truly modern way is to use sampling and FM synthesis and I guess I can always go truly low level by building my own circuit with wave generators and oscillators, but an IC would be ideal :)

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@Michael Stum A cheap microcontroller using PWM plus a bit of filtering could be a solution to your problem. There are many microcontrollers in DIP package and many of them have good quality hardware PWM which could be used to generate simple sounds. The downside is that programming the micro will be needed. – AndrejaKo Feb 4 '14 at 9:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Other than repairing old arcade machines and a handful of hobbyists, what would be the market for such chip in 2014?

Open-source VHDL code emulating some such sound chips is available, so you could stuff that into a smallish FPGA (but you can forget about DIP packages unless you can find a PC board with DIP headers on it).

Learning enough VHDL and navigating (say) Xilinx Webpack is non-trivial though, even though the free software would be sufficient.

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If you have a PC with a sound card there are software packages such as Wavelab that can produce swept sinewaves, single sinewaves, noise etc.. You can also edit the wave file you generate and modify the shape of the signal to your heart's content. The wave files produced can be looped round without "gap" - you can get a continuous sinewave with no glitch.

Another useful side about using this sort of method is that you can return the signals back from whatever you are testing (into the line input) and perform pretty good spectral analysis on those signals.

It's good for audio and, if your PC is setup correctly you can "record" the output from your equipment under test for future reference.

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