NES Songs That Sound Great in Stereo

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

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Z.E.N
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NES Songs That Sound Great in Stereo

Post by Z.E.N » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:45 am

Hails! Being a fan of NES music for decades, I was ecstatic when I first started messing around with NSF players to listen to my favorite tracks. I was also amazed that these NSF players could separate the individual channels for panning and achieving a stereo sound effect.

I got in the process of converting lots of NSFs to MP3 format to my music archive (6.5.0.Tunes) for better compatibility, but I kept the stereo effect in them because it made them sound fuller and cooler.

Realizing that NES music was specifically made for mono, I was suprised to find a few games with songs that sound like they were created with stereo in mind. Here's a few MP3s I made NES music that sounds great in stereo..

Silver Surfer - Level Theme 1
From :57 to 1:21 is good stuff in stereo.

Shadowgate - Subterranean Caverns
The squarewaves create an echoing effect. Perfect for cavern music.

Friday the 13th - Cabin Theme
Another off-timed echoing effect. Nice gloomy sound.

Ghosts 'N Goblins - Sanctum II
This song plays during the second quest. It's chimey. Notes ring out nicely.


You can really hear the difference through headphones. A lot of these songs seem to use the dueling squarewave method. I would like to find some NES songs they maybe try something different (maybe a triangle+square combination).

Know of any other NES musics that would be good to experiment with?
Last edited by Z.E.N on Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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blargg
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Post by blargg » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:59 am

Have you tried foo_gep's stereo effect? That separates the channels and adds adjustable echo, which sounds great with headphones (IMO). I'm not sure whether kode54 has allowed complete control of channel panning and echo, but the underlying NSF engine allows it.

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Ortega
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Re: NES Songs That Sound Great in Stereo

Post by Ortega » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:31 pm

Z.E.N wrote: Know of any other NES musics that would be good to experiment with?
Take a look at the Ys series, Ninja Gaiden Series, and Battle Toads.

P.S. Maybe choose a different format for "archiving" than MP3 i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flac
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Z.E.N
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Post by Z.E.N » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:29 am

blargg wrote:Have you tried foo_gep's stereo effect? That separates the channels and adds adjustable echo, which sounds great with headphones (IMO).
I have to look into this, though adding an echo effect kind of defeats the purpose of finding games that originally tried to simulate echoing with multiple channels (so that all it takes is simple panning to achieve a good stereo sound).
Ortega wrote:Battle Toads.
I tried to make the BattleToads main theme from NSF files, but it was missing the digitized drum sound. I had to record the drums separately and try to paste it together with what I got from the NSF. I think it turned out alright.

BattleToads Main Theme
NOTE: The sampled drums do not play all the way through this track, but it doesn't do that in the game either. The channel for the drums is also used for the cinema scenes' sound effects, so they cut out when there's other sounds being used.
Ortega wrote:Maybe choose a different format for "archiving" than MP3 i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flac
I have done FLAC before. The quality is much better but it's not quite as user friendly as MP3 yet. Plus little things like ID3 tagging (which I use constantly) isn't nearly as advanced as what MP3 offers. File size is another issue, but that's starting to become less of a problem over time.
RushJet1 wrote:darkwing duck - boss
This one is good. Lots of bouncing back-and-forth between the notes on the squarewaves. Exactly what I was looking for.

...

My ultimate goal right now is to get a stereo version of Skate or Die 2's opening song. I haven't found any NSF of it that sounds correct.

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Dwedit
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Post by Dwedit » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:43 am

Z.E.N wrote: NOTE: The sampled drums do not play all the way through this track, but it doesn't do that in the game either. The channel for the drums is also used for the cinema scenes' sound effects, so they cut out when there's other sounds being used.
Actually the drums stop because it's at a screen where it needs to draw graphics to the screen or scroll, and you can't do that and play 100%-CPU-usage PCM drums at the same time.
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Post by tepples » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:45 am

Dwedit wrote:Actually the drums stop because it's at a screen where it needs to draw graphics to the screen or scroll, and you can't do that and play 100%-CPU-usage PCM drums at the same time.
Oh really? Get this demo to work in PocketNES and I'll believe you.

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Post by thefox » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:01 am

Z.E.N wrote:BattleToads Main Theme
NOTE: The sampled drums do not play all the way through this track, but it doesn't do that in the game either. The channel for the drums is also used for the cinema scenes' sound effects, so they cut out when there's other sounds being used.
The drums are way out of sync in this.

And yeah, the reason the samples cut out at times is that it's hard to do other (complex) stuff while playing PCM samples without using external IRQs (mapper like VRC6 would make that pretty easy). It can be done without IRQ by counting cycles but it can be tedious.

EDIT: BTW, if you want to hear the drums all the way through, you could record through an emulator and somehow (with a GameGenie code maybe?) force it to never exit the title screen.

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Post by Bregalad » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:40 am

Also note that the drums don't cut at the same place in PAL and NTSC versions.

I also wonder if there's a way to force drums into another music of Battletoads... it would be AWESOME.

EDIT : One way to get the title screen music with drums all the time is to highack the music that is played when you beat a level... I tried highacing all other musics, but too bad only title screen and level beaten has drums :(
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blargg
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Post by blargg » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:08 am

Z.E.N wrote:
blargg wrote:Have you tried foo_gep's stereo effect? That separates the channels and adds adjustable echo, which sounds great with headphones (IMO).
I have to look into this, though adding an echo effect kind of defeats the
The echo is adjustable, and can be made very subtle so that it merely adds slight ambience when listening with headphones. I don't have a PC so I've never used foo_gep, but assuming it supports the same options as I've added to the NSF player library it uses, I think you'll be pleased with it. I was able to get the Silver Surfer example sound almost exactly the same as yours by setting the stereo depth to about 35%.

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RushJet1
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Post by RushJet1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:22 am

Dwedit wrote:
Z.E.N wrote: NOTE: The sampled drums do not play all the way through this track, but it doesn't do that in the game either. The channel for the drums is also used for the cinema scenes' sound effects, so they cut out when there's other sounds being used.
Actually the drums stop because it's at a screen where it needs to draw graphics to the screen or scroll, and you can't do that and play 100%-CPU-usage PCM drums at the same time.
Boot up battletoads and hold a direction on the d-pad. It'll interrupt the drums every few seconds for about a half second each time but it's better than having it cut out entirely for long sections.

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