That C64 sound

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Drag
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Drag » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:38 pm

Music on the SID largely comes from European composers, meanwhile NES music largely comes from Japanese composers. Each region has their own stylistic influences, and just like it'll come through on the radio, it also comes through in video game soundtracks. If you're saying that SID music sounds more upbeat and energetic, that's probably what you're noticing.

I dunno what America was doing at this time... were we seriously more focused on IBM-compatible gaming? A.k.a., the platform with almost no musical capabilities?

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Drew Sebastino
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Drew Sebastino » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:24 pm

Drag wrote:If you're saying that SID music sounds more upbeat and energetic, that's probably what you're noticing.
I guess it's a bit ironic that I prefer Japanese video game artwork then. :lol: A game with a soundtrack I do really like that is from a Japanese developer is Super C. I like a lot of things about that game (and run and guns in general).

This is latter, but just thinking, I love all the songs from the DKC games, even the ones that aren't that upbeat. I love the song "Misty Menace" from DKC, and it's probably the least upbeat song in the game.

I guess I just feel that something with as "noisy" sound hardware as the NES or the C64 should have more energetic music, because I think it's better suited for it. You certainly couldn't reasonably pull of something like "Misty Menace" on either machines.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by ccovell » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:48 pm

Espozo wrote:I guess I just feel that something with as "noisy" sound hardware as the NES or the C64 should have more energetic music, because I think it's better suited for it. You certainly couldn't reasonably pull of something like "Misty Menace" on either machines.
I think what Dave Wise composed on the GameBoy (DKC, etc) has reasonable renditions of the SNES tunes.
Drag wrote:I dunno what America was doing at this time... were we seriously more focused on IBM-compatible gaming? A.k.a., the platform with almost no musical capabilities?
Yeah, beepers, buzzing calliope SID tunes, and cramming Sierra games onto 6 floppy disks :-/

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tokumaru
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by tokumaru » Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:14 pm

I'm not a big fan of European chip music (too raspy, I think), I much prefer the Japanese style.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Dwedit » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:09 pm

The l33t hax0rs on IBM PC were doing this with the PC speaker: https://youtu.be/AiURTmwpX2U (Thanks Rainwarrior)

Obviously, Pinball Fantasies had it beat. (MOD player using the PC speaker!)
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DRW
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by DRW » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:44 am

I've found an NES game that has this distinct C64 sound that I was describing:
I'm talking about the sound that you hear in the first seven seconds of "Lethal Weapon":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ6OHxglS10

Although, the rest of the soundtrack does not sound very C64-like to me. (The map music reminds me of "The Smurfs".)
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by tepples » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:46 am

For those who can't hear YouTube, it's arpeggio + duty changes.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by tomaitheous » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:43 am

Espozo wrote:Say what you want, but I prefer sound on the C64 over the NES. I just like how much more upbeat a lot of C64 music is.
I dislike the Euro sound of most C64 stuffs, but it's more than just that. SID sounds dirty/gritty. More than just noisy. A lot of tunes are too busy as well - they're trying to fit too much into a limited 3 channel setup (for whatever tricks they use). I'm guessing the busier style of most c64/euro style music helps hide the limitations as well. I also dislike strong use of arpeggios, which euro musicians seemed to be in love with. Mild and moderate use is fine, but euro musicians at the time take it to the extreme (too noisy).

NES doesn't have timbre changing effects like SID can do, but the sound is so much cleaner. I find it more appropriate for different styles of music too.

Edit: thefox's cover of Rude Boy on the NES is a good example of moderate use of arpeggios IMO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD2TIzut4Ps . And his other cover as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rumD3-0j9n4
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mikejmoffitt
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by mikejmoffitt » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:50 am

I agree with more or less all of that. I like some SID music that is less packed - the Thing on a Spring music works pretty well for what it is, and even though it's a bit muddy and crowded I like some of the way the Short Circuit theme sounds.

American developers weren't totally musically inactive. During the NES days I don't think a lot comes to mind, but as the Genesis really took off a lot of developers used GEMS, for better or worse, and did produce a lot more content. ToeJam and Earl and Sonic Spinball are examples of American developers doing a decent job with GEMS.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Bregalad » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:18 am

tomaitheous wrote: I also dislike strong use of arpeggios, which euro musicians seemed to be in love with. Mild and moderate use is fine, but euro musicians at the time take it to the extreme (too noisy).
[...]
Edit: thefox's cover of Rude Boy on the NES is a good example of moderate use of arpeggios IMO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD2TIzut4Ps . And his other cover as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rumD3-0j9n4
I just want to say I fully 100% agree with you (despite I'm from Europe). Arpeggios are awesome when they are slow enough so you hear all notes and they simulate things like synth pads - and on only one channel simultaneously of couse. However when they are too busy and that the arpeggio is so fast you don't hear the note it's not nice to the ear - it's great for ingame sound effects but that's a completely different thing.

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Drew Sebastino
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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Drew Sebastino » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:06 am

Here's a good example I found of music by a European composer being to busy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCR85qPmgTY

...Okay, sorry... :lol:

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by Sik » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:54 am

mikejmoffitt wrote:During the NES days I don't think a lot comes to mind, but as the Genesis really took off a lot of developers used GEMS, for better or worse, and did produce a lot more content.
GEMS is actually pretty good under the right hands (see Jelly Boy)... the problem is that what happened was giving a full blown VM to composers who didn't have more technical background than the average computer user (yes, GEMS is pretty much a bytecode interpreter running on the Z80, variables and all). Whoops.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by TmEE » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:25 am

Arps are fine when they don't sound like ringing phones... and not sounding like ringing phones is kind of a rarity lol.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by OneCrudeDude » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:14 pm

Sik wrote: GEMS is actually pretty good under the right hands (see Jelly Boy)...
I don't suppose you're talking about the GameFreak game of the same name. That might explain why it was given a different title outside Japan, to avoid confusion with the other Nintendo exclusive Jelly Boy game.

That said, even though the NES is quite a popular console, and today marks it's 30th birthday in the United States, I feel like it's sound is grossly underused. All too often am I disappointed to see "NES remixes" of certain songs done with audio expansion, ironic considering only a handful of Famicom games bothered to use it at all. I really like the NES' triangle wave.

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Re: That C64 sound

Post by tepples » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:26 pm

OneCrudeDude wrote:All too often am I disappointed to see "NES remixes" of certain songs done with audio expansion, ironic considering only a handful of Famicom games bothered to use it at all.
Would you be disappointed to hear "Chill" from Dr. Mario on an NES and a Game Boy at the same time?

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