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Samples from libraries in video games?
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HSLand
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26th October 2012
Old 26th October 2012
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Samples from libraries in video games?

I've wondered. For late 80s arcade games and early/mid-90s consoles like the Super Nintendo, Genesis, Neo Geo, did they use a crapload of sample libraries for the samples in games? Sure they could sample their own stuff but libraries were probably easier.

At the time you had the Emulator II & III, Emax & Proteus libraries, Roland S50/550/750 libraries, Alesis drum modules and so on. I wonder just where they got their source sounds from.

Have you spotted any of your favorite samples in video games?
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26th October 2012
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A Genesis uses a 4-op FM synthesizer (and the Master System's soundchip, which is more NES-like). The samples in there are mostly used for speech.

The SNES's sound is sample-based. The sounds in there have to fit into a very cramped space - far less than even older samplers would have. So, any samples in there from libraries (I'm sure some orchestral hits originate from romplers or sample libraries) are cut down and compressed until they fit in the SNES - but the process to make them fit would probably rob some of those signature sounds of their recognizability.

The Neo Geo has FM and ADPCM - see YM2610 - NeoGeo Development Wiki - and way more space for the samples. Even then, the first choice would probably be to use the FM as main generator and use the rest for FX and vocals (as they would occur incidentally, they wouldn't rob polyphony from the FM system, allowing the soundtrack to continue where on the SNES parts would be cut off).
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HSLand
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26th October 2012
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Yeah, I knew they used the FM synth when at all possible, but I'm talking strictly samples. I wish there were a documentary on all of this.
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Sidstation is a must-to-have if you're in to that kind of sounds

I am not, but if I was I should definitely check it out because it is built on the Commodore C64 Sound chip

If going software emulation check out Quadra SID from reFX

But when I hear the demos from SidStation and Quadra SID I'm getting nostalgia
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26th October 2012
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bleep/ is a free VSTi synthesizer plug-in for Windows which inspired by the sound of MOS Technology SID. At the same time Bleep' is not emulator of this chipset but only partially similar to its architecture. And it's free.
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Plogue's Chipsounds is probably the most comprehensive plugin on this front.

(But admittedly doesn't really answer to the original question about the samples...)
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26th October 2012
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The 8-bit Sidstation has no relation to the music of the 16-bit+ game systems. That's primitive low sample rate subtractive synthesis and this is ROMpler style waveforms.

Thinking in terms of popular sample libraries from the Emax, S-series, or whatever is probably going down the wrong path. I would just think of it in the terms of your standard wavetable PC soundcard from that time period.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
The 8-bit Sidstation has no relation to the music of the 16-bit+ game systems. That's primitive low sample rate subtractive synthesis and this is ROMpler style waveforms.

Thinking in terms of popular sample libraries from the Emax, S-series, or whatever is probably going down the wrong path. I would just think of it in the terms of your standard wavetable PC soundcard from that time period.
There were no 16+ or high def sound cards in the game computers during early 90s. Turtle Beach, Avid (such AudioVision - I worked with that system as composer at the national TV and it costed about $100 000) and some other companies had some but they were expensive and mainly used for music computers, not in gaming computers. And the drivers (except Avid) were not stable at all.

It was 8bit low res sound with a lot of phaze distortion. It is hard to authenic reproduce that with bit crusher etc from a modern sampler, but the 8-bit Sidstation does that with the chip that was widely used for game music 20 years ago - it's the real deal.

After that the games started to use 4 op FM synthesis (sounded awful), just like in Yamaha's 4op FM synths (but Creative's sound chip, found in many game computers sounded worse and with more digital distortion and noise) and then it sampled high res toke over. Today games sounds marvelous, like a full scored Hollywood movie with music of John Williams, and nothing compared to the SID chip 20 years ago.
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26th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
There were no 16+ or high def sound cards in the game computers during early 90s. Turtle Beach, Avid (such AudioVision - I worked with that system as composer at the national TV and it costed about $100 000) and some other companies had some but they were expensive and mainly used for music computers, not in gaming computers. And the drivers (except Avid) were not stable at all.

It was 8bit low res sound with a lot of phaze distortion. It is hard to authenic reproduce that with bit crusher etc from a modern sampler, but the 8-bit Sidstation does that with the chip that was widely used for game music 20 years ago - it's the real deal.

After that the games started to use 4 op FM synthesis (sounded awful), just like in Yamaha's 4op FM synths (but Creative's sound chip, found in many game computers sounded worse and with more digital distortion and noise) and then it sampled high res toke over. Today games sounds marvelous, like a full scored Hollywood movie with music of John Williams, and nothing compared to the SID chip 20 years ago.
The Commodore 64 and the NES (which came out in 1985) are 8-bit video game/computer systems with 8-bit soundchips that use subtractive synthesis in the style that we associate with "chiptune" music.

The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit video game console that came out in 1989 that used an FM chip for sound.

The Super Nintendo is a 16-bit video game console that came out in 1990 and its soundchip used an 8-bit CPU with 16-bit DSP. It runs tiny wave samples like a ROMPler.

Super Nintendo, Neo Geo and other 16-bit+ arcade formats of the time had music with ROMpler type sounds--upright bass, flute, distorted guitar. Things that cannot be generated on the SIDstation.
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C64 is even 1983 and the SID is hybrid.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
The Commodore 64 and the NES (which came out in 1985) are 8-bit video game/computer systems with 8-bit soundchips that use subtractive synthesis in the style that we associate with "chiptune" music.

The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit video game console that came out in 1989 that used an FM chip for sound.

The Super Nintendo is a 16-bit video game console that came out in 1990 and its soundchip used an 8-bit CPU with 16-bit DSP. It runs tiny wave samples like a ROMPler.

Super Nintendo, Neo Geo and other 16-bit+ arcade formats of the time had music with ROMpler type sounds--upright bass, flute, distorted guitar. Things that cannot be generated on the SIDstation.
I'm not an expert on computer DSPs, but I have been through it all and curious dived in to it during that time - not as a computer engineer but as a young electronic musician, hungry for all new technology that could make a joyful noise.

The 16 bit you tell us about, was that calculated as the internal or external processing of the sound (the manufacturers many times described the internal process in their technical facts and flyers of their products during that time)? And what was the bandwidth of that sound?

The main game console I remember almost every gamer had during these early computer days was the C64 that contained the SID chip. And yes, SID is very limited, just as that sound chip was. That's the whole point with that machine - to recreate that especial sound every gamer from that time instantly remember with a warm feeling inside.
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27th October 2012
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Super Mario Kart has a 909 snare
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
The 16 bit you tell us about, was that calculated as the internal or external processing of the sound (the manufacturers many times described the internal process in their technical fact of their products during that time)? And what was the bandwidth of the sound?
The consoles are called 16-bit, because their main CPU was 16-bit. This has no relation to the fidelity of the sound.

For the Neo-Geo, for instance:

Quote:
The system was marketed as 24-bit, though it was technically a 16 bit system accompanied by an 8-bit Zilog Z80 as coprocessor. The coprocessor was generally used for sound processing.
The sole reason that people call them "8-bit sounds" is because the console the soundchips were used on were 8-bit. Both the NES and the C64 are 8-bit computers, but their sounds couldn't be more different.
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27th October 2012
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Crikey - you guys are flip flopping tech terms that cover a 15 year period!! From the SID of the Vic 20 in the 70s to the SNES of the 90s! Thats a big tech evolution... can't really compare 1983 to 1989 - big differences!! The 80s were a fast developing and revolutionary time for audio.
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So what machine is most likely used to make those fast arp FX bass sounds in the super mario games in the super nintendo?
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Oops, double trigger.... Turning of MIDI local
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
So what machine is most likely used to make those fast arp FX bass sounds in the super mario games in the super nintendo?
The sound came from an 8bit Sony chip in 32khz. Use similar technology to get similar result sound wise.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
It was an 8bit Sony chip. An 8 bit machine is most likely to reproduce that best, as for instance SID station.
Are you sure? I hear a big difference between those punchy sounds from the super nintendo games and those lofi brittle kinda sounds from the original nintendo super mario games. Do you have an idea what made that sound difference?

Edit: I'm talking about the super nintendo, not the 8bit nintendo that came years before. Just want to make sure you got that. It's still an 8bit machine that made the super nintendo sounds? I always thought the super nintendo used 12bit samples. Not sure where I have that from though.
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Quote:
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Are you sure? I hear a big difference between those punchy sounds from the super nintendo games and those lofi brittle kinda sounds from the original nintendo super mario games. Do you have an idea what made that sound difference?
The NES didn't have anything anywhere near as powerful as the SNES in sound terms. Nor anywhere near as powerful or good sounding as the SID. The SNES had the 8bit sony chip, the NES didn't.
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I prefer the Game Boy's sound chip over the NES because it has wavetable synthesis. However the NES has a very lofi sample playback system which is fun.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
The NES didn't have anything anywhere near as powerful as the SNES in sound terms. Nor anywhere near as powerful or good sounding as the SID. The SNES had the 8bit sony chip, the NES didn't.
Ah.. I see. Thanks for clearifying that! Do you know if that 8bit sony chip was ever used as a sound engine in any gear that was ever sold anywhere?
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Quote:
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Ah.. I see. Thanks for clearifying that! Do you know if that 8bit sony chip was ever used as a sound engine in any gear that was ever sold anywhere?
Dunno. The SID did though - the SIDstation is a very cool bit of kit! Hard to find now though...
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Now I'm curious as to how to go about ripping the FM patches from Sega Genesis games and Arcade games too. Those are FM sound chips so exporting the patch data should be possible. As long as I can see the operator info, I can take that and make my own DX7 patches.
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Quote:
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Ah.. I see. Thanks for clearifying that! Do you know if that 8bit sony chip was ever used as a sound engine in any gear that was ever sold anywhere?
I don know, but the name of the Sony chip was SPC700.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLand View Post
Now I'm curious as to how to go about ripping the FM patches from Sega Genesis games and Arcade games too. Those are FM sound chips so exporting the patch data should be possible. As long as I can see the operator info, I can take that and make my own DX7 patches.
Works excellent. You need just 4 of the op in the DX7 - Creative's sound chip was 4op - at most.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
Super Mario Kart has a 909 snare
That's news to me indeed. I thought big snares were Simmons/LinnDrum/DMX. Oh right, it's the 808 snare that's "little". And on another listen, the Super Mario Kart snare does sound a lot like the 909 in the SynthMania Italo demo with the Juno-60. Maybe all you need is a cavern's worth of reverb.


I'm thinking they recorded the patches themselves. I really like that pitch envelope sawtooth lead and the heavy resonant bass from Super Mario Kart. What did they use there?
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Quote:
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Works excellent. You need just 4 of the op in the DX7 - Creative's sound chip was 4op - at most.
Can you point me to the tools?
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Well, while we're on the topic of chiptunes and the like, there was a great post last year about the available options for achieving the NES sound here, and for achieving the sounds of the Sega Genesis and Turbo GrafX 16 here. They're definitely worth checking out for anyone who is interested in such things, although I suppose other options may have surface since.
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At 4:36 of this Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour video



Waluigi somehow triggers a sound effect that I recognize as a Roland ROMpler hit.
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Quote:
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Can you point me to the tools?
My DX7 is in a case behind a lot of stuff so I can't walk you throu that process right now. But basically turn off/set amplitude to zero for two operators.
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