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Viewing topic "8-bit sound"

     
Posted on: August 06, 2017 @ 10:25 AM
dquan81
Total Posts:  3
Joined  08-06-2017
status: Newcomer

Hello, anybody out there have any advice on how to create the old-school Nintendo 8-bit sound?

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Posted on: August 06, 2017 @ 11:20 AM
philwoodmusic
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Total Posts:  963
Joined  07-01-2013
status: Guru

Welcome to Motifator,

The easiest way would be to process your audio using a DAW and a bit crusher plug in:

Since you don’t list a DAW or platform on your profile page, I can’t really advise you of much, but look for the following:

TAL Bitcrusher
D16 Decimort
Lo Fi (Pro Tools only)

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Posted on: August 06, 2017 @ 01:06 PM
5pinDIN
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Total Posts:  10410
Joined  09-16-2010
status: Legend
dquan81 - 06 August 2017 10:25 AM

Hello, anybody out there have any advice on how to create the old-school Nintendo 8-bit sound?

Your member profile indicates you have a Motif XF and S90 ES. Both models have a Lo-Fi effect, with several Parameters adjustable. I’d suggest experimenting with that and see if it meets your needs.

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Posted on: April 03, 2018 @ 06:54 PM
dquan81
Total Posts:  3
Joined  08-06-2017
status: Newcomer

Ok, thanks!

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Posted on: April 04, 2018 @ 04:26 AM
- Henry -
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Total Posts:  27
Joined  10-30-2011
status: Regular

Hi,

I take it that you’re able to modify the sounds/patches on your instruments? It shouldn’t be too hard to sketch up something that sounds a lot like a vintage game console, since they were relatively simple devices.

To better understand what to aim for, it might be worthwhile to study the built-in synthesizer chip of the original Nintendo game system (NES). Like other similar devices of its age (like the SID chip found inside the Commodore 64), the NES had its unique set of limitations. For all but the simplest melodies, some creative programming was therefore required, in order to simulate larger orchestrations.

Note: Some NES game cartridges contained their own sound processing chips, though, adding to the capabilities of the NES itself, so there’s no need to get too dogmatic about it! ;-)

First of all, the NES has a limited palette of basic waveforms: Channels 1 and 2 has a pulse waveform, channel 3 plays a triangle waveform, and channel 4 is a white noise generator. Most digital or analog synthesizers should be able to emulate these fairly closely, with some filtering applied to approximate the wanted tone colour. Bit-reduction effects, like those described by 5pinDIN and philwoodmusic, can add that final roughness created by the anti-aliasing and self-noise of those old 8-bit devices.

The 5th channel of the NES can play back virtually any digitized audio, be it sampled vocals, percussion or other sound effects. Although different encoding techniques were used, it’s still fundamentally an 8-bit device, so generous amounts of bit-reduction/bit-squashing would fit nicely here.

To create rhytmic patterns, a little can go a long way. A simple repeated 8th or 16th note - or even a sustained note - can start to come alive by simply varying the pulse width/duty cycle (ch 1-2) in a rhythmical fashion. Also, short note durations with swept pitch would often work nicely as percussive elements. Change the pitch or its envelope, and you get a different rhythm instrument.

Finally, because the NES chip had limited polyphony (all five channels were monophonic, and could only produce a single note each at any given time), the programmers would use e.g. fast arpeggios to simulate chords, or even echo effects. Your “NES patches” should probably be monophonic too, in order to push you in the right direction. :-)

Have a look at these videos to get an idea:
NES Audio: Brief Explanation of Sound Channels
NES Audio: Duty Cycle Modulation
NES Audio: The Arpeggio Effect

- H -

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