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NES Samples
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I really hope this is appropriate for this forum. I tried to choose carefully as not to go "off topic" anywhere.

I am interested in providing NES replica samples for use in retro-themed hacks. What sparked my interest, mostly, was this.

Making NES-styled music (including the limitations of the original hardware) is something that I have experience with. I have the capability to recreate these sounds for use in SMW.
This is intended to provide some technical info on NES sounds, as to how they would translate into the 16-bit SMW world (redundant? LOL), and also to ask for some assistance in using the sample tool etc.

But first, the info.

The NES 2A03 CPU had *technically* 5 channels to work with:

2 Square/Pulse Wave oscillators
1 Triangle Wave oscillator
1 White Noise
1 DMC (Delta Modulation Channel)

All the sound sources (except for the DMC - I'll cover that in a minute) were 4-bit cycling waveforms. The White Noise was 4-bit as well.

The two Square/Pulse Waves were slightly different from one another, in that the 2nd one had a sweep function (this is the sound of Mario's jump from all the NES games). The duty cycle (pulse width) was variable, so a lot of different tonal variations are possible.

The Triangle wave was often used as the bass notes in NES music. I believe this was due to a frequency range limitation of the hardware.

The White Noise generator was often used for SFX, but also for percussion sounds.

The DMC, or Delta Modulation Channel, could be used used to play back custom 7-bit PCM samples at a sampling rate of 15.7458 KHz. The best example of this that I can think of that relates to us is in SMB3 - the reason the music sounded so much better compared to earlier SMB games is that there were actual sampled drum sounds/SFX.

The reason that the drum sounds are so muffled-sounding is that 7-bit, 15.7458 kHz is a VERY low sampling rate. For comparison, audio CD's (remember those, kids?) use a sample rate of 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. The highest possible frequency that can be reproduced on a CD is half of that, 22.05 kHz. Our ears can only hear sounds up to 20kHz, so it's not much of a problem. But - if we're using the original NES sample rate, the highest frequency possible is only 7.8729 kHz.

To put it in plain english, there ain't no treble.

Since, in SMW, we're working with 16-bit samples, we can avoid all of these limitations very easily, not to mention the fact that we have 8 channels to work with, so there's no more having to share SFX with music channels (no more Mario jumps taking over one of the square wave channels!).

There are a lot of possibilities here, such as using a single-cycle looping wave sample that doesn't have a beginning or end, and using the ADSR commands (for those of you who know how) to create all manner of different sounds just from that simple waveform.

My goal, though, is to make a sample set that is easy to use, and provides the most tonal options (but mimicking the limitations of NES sound hardware).

I am definitely willing to help the cause here, and if providing NES sounds is something I can do, I certainly will. I just...need a little help making it happen. Who would like to help me create a sample bank?


My life has not involved SMW hacking for the past several months...I still love you guys though!
Enter the musical world of Moot Booxlé.
My last name is pronounced Boox-LEE, Lee. Check this out.
Funkatized layout courtesy of Awesome (aka Counterfeit)
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