DAFM synth GENESIS - DIY kit original (blue PCB)

DAFM Synth is a FM multitimbral synthesizer serie based on mythical YAMAHA chips used for home consoles, arcades and 80s PCs sound.

Public Chat
Similar projects worth following
Starting from
Kasser has 197 orders / 18 reviews
Ships from Spain
Now the DAFM Synth Genesis YM2612/YM3438 has been redesigned as a DIY friendly kit. This is a nice project that comprises soldering of through-hole components.
This kit can be found on Tindie:
Assembled version with case and knobs can be found here:

What is it?

Sound synthesis through Frequency Modulation (FM) allows to obtain unique sounds that defined a whole musical generation during the 80's and 90's The model Genesis uses the YM2612 (or YM3438) yamaha chip that was used in the SEGA Genesis / Megadrive home console.

Why did you make it?

This synthesizer is the perfect mix for lovers of retro video games, and makers who want to introduce themselves in the musical experimentation.

What makes it special?

The YM2612 has six channels with four operators per channel. The operators can interact according to eight different algorithms. Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release (ADSR) envelopes, frequencies and low frequency oscillators (LFOs) can be modified to obtain the whole range of FM sounds.

The YM2612 chip has a peculiar form of crossover distortion in the output, which has become known as the "ladder effect" among fans. The YM3438 is a modified CMOS version of the YM2612 with a louder sound output and no "ladder effect". The DAFM Synth can be purchased with the YM2612 or the YM3438 chip. Nostalgic retrogamers would choose the YM2612 chip. The YM3438 would be the first choice for the FM-synthesis lovers.

The synthesizer is operated through 2 rotary encoders and has a complete menu that is shown in 4 blue OLED displays. Thanks to the beautiful tactile keyboard of 12 notes you can try the different patches as they are created. There is also the possibility of changing the octave and thus test the full sound spectrum of the Yamaha chip. Once created, the presets can be saved in the RAM memory or in a SD card as DMP files that can be opened with VGM trackers like Deflemask.

The stereo sound output is 3.5 mm audio jack, has a MIDI input to connect a keyboard, sequencer or any MIDI instrument and can be powered with a USB type B cable (5V).

DAFM Synth_user quick guide_v1-77.pdf

User quick guide including MIDI CC list

Adobe Portable Document Format - 165.33 kB - 07/10/2020 at 18:04


DAFM_Synth_Genesis YM2612_YM3438_design.svg

SVG file. It can be used to design a 3D case or plexiglass case for the DAFM synth DIY

svg+xml - 470.58 kB - 06/13/2019 at 08:55


  • 1 × PCB DAFM Synth Genesis YM2612 / YM3438 PCB
  • 2 × 220Ω Resistor Resistor for MIDI Input Circuit
  • 1 × 8 pin IC socket IC socket for 6N138
  • 1 × 5 PIN DIN Female connector Connector for MIDI Input
  • 1 × USB type B female connector Power supply

View all 23 components

  • 1
    PCB Top

    We’ll populate only the top of the board – it’s the side with the DAFM Synth and Genesis YM2612 / YM3438 logos. Here’s a shot of the completed board for reference.

  • 2
    MIDI In

    220Ω x 2 (red, red, black, black, brown)

    Resistors are not polarized, so it doesn’t matter which way around they go in. Bend the legs into a staple shape,and fold the legs over once you’ve inserted them into the board.

    You don’t need to fold them over too much, it’s just so they don’t fall out when you flip the board over. It’ll make it easier to solder and snip off the legs if you don’t.

    4.7kΩ x 1 (yellow, violet, black, brown, brown)

    Solder and snip.

    Diode 1N914

    The 1N914 has a see-through glass body.  It is part of the MIDI input circuit. Solder and snip. Watch out, the diodes are polarized, so pay close attention to which side the line marking on the diode body goes – it’s marked with a thicker white line on the PCB.

    5 Pin DIN Connector

    8 Pin Socket

    It’s for the 6N138 optocoupler. The side the notch goes is marked on the board by a broken line on the ICs outline.

  • 3
    SD Card

    It is used for saving and loading instrument presets in the DAFM synth.

View all 11 instructions

Enjoy this project?



colonelgeil wrote 03/04/2020 at 20:03 point

where can i Download the newest Firmware? bought a used dafm and want to Upgrade its Firmware. is it possible to swap between YM2612 and YM3438?

  Are you sure? yes | no

KaZper (KS) wrote 12/29/2019 at 23:31 point

Is the DAFM Genesis able t be edited via midi CC? Looking for a CC chart..  

  Are you sure? yes | no

KASSER SYNTHS wrote 06/03/2019 at 20:02 point

There is stock for the DIY kit but I am waiting for the product approval from Tindie. I hope tomorrow will be ready. For the assembled version I hope to restock next week.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Richard Hogben wrote 06/03/2019 at 16:07 point

Woah neat, when do you expect stock to pick back up?

  Are you sure? yes | no

KASSER SYNTHS wrote 06/03/2019 at 21:50 point

Just accepted by Tindie and with stock.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates