NES music sounds horrible with headphones on

Discuss NSF files, FamiTracker, MML tools, or anything else related to NES music.

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Post by ccovell » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:52 pm

I've never had a problem with NSFs through headphones. In fact, the NSF player for Moonshell on the DS separates each sound channel for a stereo effect and adds a small echo, making NSFs sound fantastic.

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Post by Dwedit » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:07 pm

I have Sennhenser foldable headphones, and those have rather pronounced bass. I hear a pop every time a square wave turns on or off. But Sunsoft-style DMC bass seems to muffle it a lot.
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Post by Memblers » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:20 pm

Celius wrote:The problem with using the triangle wave as bass is that it's almost inaudible when you start playing low pitches. But I will agree, this is what you'd want to use for bass (I always have square melodies and triangular bass lines). I guess using the DCM for bass is also an option. I've heard some pretty good bass come out of that on Nerd Tracker...
Yeah, the DPCM can work pretty good for bass. I had a lot of songs that had the triangle+DPCM both playing the same thing (except drums would interrupt the triangle, or in a couple songs, the DPCM).

For me it worked out pretty well to use headphones when writing music, I could hear it a lot better. I'd assume there's always going to be someone who has speakers 100X better than what I'm using, heheh, and that's where you want it to sound good. Seems like I recall being pretty happy with the triangle channel alone for bass, with headphones at least, but it's been a while since I've done any sound stuff really..

Recca is one example, where they muted the triangle channel by setting it to the lowest frequency rather than silence it. Haha, I think kevtris had fixed that "bug" when the NSF was ripped. That's a pretty extreme example, but shows how bad the problem can be if you can't hear properly.

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Post by ionustron » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:31 pm

I guess lots of commercial Nintendo games were written with TV speakers in mind. I don't listen to much of that anymore because, yeah, it's ear-piercing. And yeah, I notice slight tics or pops on any heavy volume changes or long fades if there's only one channel playing.

The stuff I wrote/covered on nsf was all done on headphones, with a nice pair of headphones in mind.

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Post by AWal » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:09 pm

tepples wrote:Does music with a Sunsoft-style DPCM bass sound any better through headphones?
For me, their DPCM samples tend to sound a lot better with headphones...I've always been a sucker for clarity and usually, even on tracked songs, tend to kill any filters...mabye it's just somthing about noise from the compression that I like...Then again I've personally found that using stereoizer and bandpass effects on the square-waves tend to help quite a bit to prevent that harmonic ringing that goes straight to your head...that and listening at lower levels on better headphones(of course).

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Post by Zepper » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:25 pm

- All my NES playtime was using a famiclone. That means switched duty cycles - when I hear the "correct" sound, it was all "wrong". :) Anyway, I believe the 50% duty cycle is responsible for some uncomfortable tunes with headphones.

- General approach: I love NES music. :) and mm10 music too.

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Post by CKY-2K/Clay Man » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:23 pm

blargg wrote:Pulse wave music has lots of high frequency harmonics, which I suppose could cause hearing damage if listened to at high volume for long periods of time. I definitely notice a weird warbling effect if I listen to such music for a while, then stop and hear normal sounds.
Well I'd imagine square waves being able to harm your ears since it pushes your eardrums really fast back in forth.

On topic: It sounds fine to me when I listen to it with my nice stereo bass headphones.
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Post by beigemore » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:16 pm

I think nsf's sound pretty awesome with the Notso Fatso plugin for Winamp.

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Post by Noobiscus » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:25 am

Celius wrote:I remember wearing headphones experimenting with the square waves, not really sure of what I was doing or how certain things would effect the sound... Yeah, not a good idea! I ended up with some obnoxious tones in my ear that actually made me feel weird to listen to. After a while, I concluded there were health risks involved if I didn't take off my headphones :).

But besides that, I have listened to NSFs with headphones, and I agree they sound pretty bad. One reason NES music might sound horrible on headphones is the complete lack of bass. It seems like all songs just have no power or meaning behind them, like there's a bunch of sound missing from what's heard. And I don't know, I just feel so awkwardly embraced by mathematics when I hear NES music on headphones; it just sounds so calculated and unnatural. If that makes any sense...
I agree, very 'tin-ney' sound and no bass

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Post by bucky o'hare » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:32 am

I've listened to nsfs with headphones in many different players, as well as the NES directly through a mixer, and I've never really noticed it sounding bad. I mean I think I understand some of the complaints mentioned here (not bassy 'enough', etc), but perhaps I've just been used to the sound and it hasn't really bothered me.

I do have a set of earbuds that it sounds really muffled through, but that's all music and not just NES music. Everything sounds fine to me through these-

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Post by Z.E.N » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:51 am

I use headphones for virtually all of my NSF to MP3 converting. I think it's the best way to check for clarity.

I don't listen to it blaringly loud though.

Except for Follin Bros. tracks.

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