@Jag85: That's really cool! I think the reason games didn't use the PCM channel as much was bad drivers/tools music composition, and lack of storage space, and maybe the complexity of sound mixing when wanting to play more than one sample at a time on the PCM channel. That demo is amazing though!
Sony did a great job in making such a capable low cost chip, and you're right it evolved into the work they were doing with Nintendo to make the PlayStation.
I wonder if the N64 didn't have dedicated sound hardware because of the rift between Nintendo and Sony at the time?
There's a lot of things which most developers didn't know the Mega Drive was capable of until years after the end of its lifespan. The homebrew scene has pushed the console well beyond what most thought possible on the system back in the '90s.
Sony did a good job going head-to-head with Yamaha, the king of digital synthesizers. There was a lack of digital synthesis in Sony's chip, but they instead went all-out on the PCM sampling.
It's not like Nintendo couldn't get a different sound chip manufacturer. Sega went with Yamaha again for the Saturn (while Sony made their own sound chip for the PS1). Nintendo could've went with a Yamaha sound chip, unless Sega had an exclusive license with Yamaha.
@eoten: Yeah I'm torn. I know I just won't have the time and patience to keep up with maintenance. I might just keep my favorite systems. Then again selling everything is a PITA too.
Older consoles really aren't much maintenance. You have to replace the capacitors sure, but that's because we're talking about consoles that are 30 years old. A Mister probably wouldn't live as long only needing new capacitors. The big maintenance tasks come when you get into consoles that used discs because then you're talking about a lot more than just capacitors. The disc drives themselves have capacitors that can and will go bad, lasers, belts, pullies, lubricant. It's almost impossible to find a Sega CD for example that reads any discs at all without repairs.
This is why none of the retro consoles I own that use discs, still use disc drives. They all read off solid state media now. My PS2, Gamecube, Dreamcast, OG Xbox. Once you are no longer dependent on optical drives, original hardware becomes a whole heck of a lot more reliable.