Robert Yannes (born 1957) is an American engineer who graduated from Villanova University 1978. He started out as an electronic music hobbyist before being hired as a chip designer at MOS Technology which had become a part of Commodore. Al Charpentier recruited Yannes partly for his music synthesis knowledge. He has been infatuated by electronic music since the early 1970s. He claims the song Lucky Man by Emerson, Lake & Palmer influenced him more than any other single song, and also lists Kraftwerk and Mike Oldfield among his influences.
He designed the single-chip sound synthesizer voice chip SID (6581) with enough resolution to produce high-quality music. However, he was unable to refine the signal-to-noise ratio which he desired. He hoped the chip would find its way into polyphonic/polytimbral synthesizers. The SID chip was his first attempt at a phase-accumulating oscillator, the heart of all wavetable synthesis. Time constraints hindered the design of the multiplexed oscillators in the SID, which used a lot of chip area, and as a result only a few voices could be fitted on the chip.
After he left MOS Technology he went on and co-founded Ensoniq in 1982. The Ensoniq sound chips had multiplexed oscillators designed in such a way that it was possible to produce more voices per chip, typically 32 for Ensoniq's DOC, OTIS, and OTTO sound chips. Given less time constraints than for the SID chip design, a proper MOS op-amp could be implemented to eliminate signal leakage and an improved filter to achieve high resonance. Current designs include waveform interpolation, digital filters, and digital effects.
- Chuck Peddle - main designer of 6502
- stud1.tuwien.ac.at - Interview with Bob Yannes, 1996-08-30