Retro Game Audio
Hey! I think this site is a great idea. Really interesting stuff. I enjoy using Famitracker, but have been staying away from using the DPCM because I'm too scared of messing up my bass volume. I know it's unavoidable, but if you have any tips regarding the DPCM channel, anything from finding and loading sounds to minimizing the loss of bass, I'd love to hear about it in the future! Looking forward to more great stuff :)

Thanks a lot! I’m happy people are enjoying this blog.

The specifics of volume dropping from the triangle (caused by samples) are a bit beyond my current knowledge. However, I believe that using the Z command in famitracker at its lowest value (Z00) resets the delta counter in a way that affects the triangle the least. 

This is something I haven’t closely verified, but I tend to put Z00 after every single sample I use in famitracker and haven’t noticed any problems with the triangle. Hope that helps!

NES Audio: Review of the Sound Channels

Before jumping into more details, I wanted to take a step back and share a quick review of the Nintendo’s sound channels. 

In the future I’ll make similar videos for other systems, but since I started with the NES I’m going to stick with it for a bit. :)

NES Audio: Single-channel Echo by the Follin Bros.

This video demonstrates a couple single channel echo effects used by Tim and Geoff Follin in their NES soundtracks:

This is a neat trick that allowed the composers to cram an echo effect into a single channel. The freedom gained from fitting an echo into one channel grants the composer more room that would’ve otherwise been taken up by the effect (like the Ducktales example below that uses 2 channels). 

Though the two examples differ slightly. Here is what the volume envelope looks like from the instrument used in Wolverine—

Wolverine - Volume Envelope

You can see that the volume repeats and diminishes over time, helping to create an echo sound. Here’s how to recreate the instrument exactly in famitracker:

  • Volume: 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0
  • Arpeggio: | 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -12 -12 -12 -12
  • Pitch: | 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 2

Now, here’s the volume envelope for the second example from Indiana Jones atLC

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Volume Envelope

This, by itself, will not create something that sounds echoey or reverberant. Instead, it uses a pitch-bend that’s similar to the first example, but relies on it almost entirely for the effect to work. Here’s the instrument data for famitracker:

  • Volume: 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 
  • Arp: | 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -12 -12 -12 -12 
  • Pitch: | 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 
  • Duty: 2
For the advanced readers, please ignore that I’m using both arpeggio and pitch tables to recreate pitch bends. It is more information than needed to recreate the original instruments, but I have a couple reasons for not doing it solely with the pitch table. :)

There is another way to create echo in a single channel, but I’ll save that for a future post. If you have any questions or suggestions on stuff you’d like to see, use the question submission tab on this tumblr, or leave a comment on my youtube uploads.
NES Audio: Demonstrating Reverb/ Echo with Ducktales

Hello everyone! I decided to start a tumblr to talk about sound design in classic video game music. For my first post I figured I’d tackle a basic concept used in chipmusic: The 2-channel Echo.

A common method for creating a reverb or echo effect works by doubling up a melody with a delayed and quieter version of itself. Here I use the African Mines theme from Ducktales to demonstrate how this works.