ZX AY is another solution to give your ZX Spectrum stereo AY sound. This is external unit, so both: you donot need to mod anything inside your ZX Spectrum 128k, it will work also with your older rubber ZX Spectrum 48k – to be honest – I had no single problem to use it with ZX Spectrum 48k, ZX Spectrum 128k, ZX Spectrum 128+2 (grey) and ZX Spectrum 128k +3. Not sure if Spanish toastrack (128k) model will be working without timing problems but – it’s anothoer case and something that should be fixed within one particular model. Ben Versteeg declares that ZX AY works with any ZX Spectrum model from 16k to 128k +3 – however – I will try to run it with Spanish Investronica models soon.
Hooking up ZX AY is damn simple – also it’s connection thru so pretty much universal to be included in any chain of interfaces. I was hooking up to ZX AY Lotharek’s DivIDE2k14 and it was working without any problems. One thing you should see on the pics – there is not much place around EAR/MIC inputs as ZX AY goes cross way, but fortunately not pressing much on these connectors in rubber ZX Spectrum 48k. This problem doesnot exists in 128k +2 and so on +3 models.
The whole interface is made with GI made AY-3-8912, for the bats – there are differences to the other chip makers, but as I wrote – for the bats.
The unit disables internal AY in 128k +2 and +3 models, so when using it – there is no sound on sound output from internal AY.
Generally you have two options to configure ZX AY and it concerts channel stereo setup.
There are two jumpers that are used two ways – horizontal – they will set up ABC Stereo, or vertical – they will set up then ACB Stereo.
ABC Stereo means left channel will contain A+B+Beeper, the right – B+C+Beeper.
ACB Stereo means left channel will contain A+C+Beeper, the right – B+C+Beeper
When plugging ZX AY to anything thru it’s output please remember – the output is STEREO minijack so you cannot use mono minijack as it put ground with one channel.
Enough talking about sound unit, let’s listen to it. I have three tracks for you – all with the same song “General Instruments Mandess Inc” done by v0yager (speccy.pl member) for latest Riverwash 2017 compo.
All tracks are recorded on my Tascam DR60mk2 thru stereo input (as line signal) with gain set up in the middle.
First track is ABC setup, 2nd one is ACB one (so you can compare what it means to this one specific song) and 3rd track is directly from ZX Spectrum 128k +2 (grey one, issue 1 UK made, no mods, factory default) – so the third one is mono as you can hear as all 128k ZX Spectrum family has AY chip but in mono mode. To have it in stereo you have to add either Bytedelight stereo mod either mode advanced AmpY (which also plays as amplifier for ZX Spectrum).
Coming to final verdict – very nice unit, more expensive then Lotharek’s one, but with possibility to switch two ABC ACB modes. Very good sound level, connection thru, included manual.