Notice on Re-marked YM2612/YM3438 Chips

If you’ve landed on this page, you’ve probably noticed the labels on your YM2612/YM3438 equipped device.

This page will explain why your IC may appear to be counterfeit and/or “not the chip you’ve ordered.”

YM2612’s have come into vogue lately, therefore, their price has gone up significantly. Shady Chinese recyclers and sellers often re-mark ICs and pass them off as genuine in order to make a quick buck. Often, these chips are completely bogus and unusable, as seen on this page where I dissected one of the chips to find out that it was actually a RAM IC.

Occasionally, though, these re-marked chips will actually be genuine YM2612s. Why the seller decided to re-mark them even though they’re real? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps they had heavy cosmetic damage and the seller wanted to pass them off as “new.”

Recently, though, I’ve discovered a whole new batch of “fake” YM2612s that are actually other chips in the YM family that have been poorly resurfaced with bogus YM2612 details on them. After ordering a set of YM2612s, I actually ended up getting the pin-compatible, but not electrically equivalent, YM3438s with fake YM2612 markings on them. Super annoying. Better yet, the seller refused to give me a refund.

Rather than waste these otherwise good YM3438’s, I’ve decided to use them and include a label instructing users to check this page for an explanation as to why their YM3438 order came with a dodgy looking YM2612. Rest assured, these are genuine chips with annoying fake markings on them. I apologize for any confusion, but I’m simply not willing to waste good YM chips just because their surface markings have been replaced – they’re becoming too uncommon to waste.

To summarize:

You got the chip that you paid for.

It is real, but the markings are inaccurate.

No, China is not making “clones” of YM2612/YM3438s. Trust me, I’d love for new versions of these chips to hit the market, but China is not going to spin up a multimillion dollar fab on an ancient node just to rip-off a couple of hobbyists.

Each IC has been tested by me personally and is guaranteed to operate correctly.

I’m not attempting to rip anybody off, I just don’t want to waste these hard-to-obtain chips.


Thank you for understanding.

Here are some images of a Mega MIDI with a re-marked YM3438:

The “C” written on the chip was added by me. It stands for OPN2C – the production name for the YM3438

This chip has bogus labeling on it. It is a genuine YM3438, not a YM2612.

Notice the lack of R22 and R20. This is a requirement for YM3438’s on the Mega MIDI. If these resistors were populated, the YM3438 would sound distorted.

Here are the labels I added linking to this page. Hopefully, this clarifies what’s going on!

Thank you for understanding. Feel free to shoot me an email over at my Contact page if you have any further questions.