SPC Player Comparison & Usage
I'm sure that you've heard of an SPC file, which comes with all custom music downloads. SPC files are not "PKCS #7 Certificates", they simply share the same extension. SPC files are memory dumps from the SPC700 chip, sort of like a savestate. As you may already know, you can listen to it with an SPC Player, so that you do not have to insert it and play it in-game to hear it. However, there are a good number of SPC players, which can be intimidating. This guide will assist you in choosing the SPC player that is right for you. (Note that this guide ignores some rather low-quality/obscure/buggy SPC Players, including those 16-bit ones that do not work on a 64-bit Operating System.)
ID666 tags allow one to include file information in the SPC, such as song name, game, publisher, emulator used to dump it, etc. Some of these SPC Players displays this information.
Click on the image to download.
A nice SPC Player that comes in both 32bit and 64bit as well as other operating systems, Audio Overload is a popular choice capable of playing 33 different formats of video game music files. With a relatively simple interface, the ability to disable specific channels, save clips as .wav, display ID666 info, and open compressed files, Audio Overload is one of the most popular players. However, some songs appear to be incompatible with it.
Usage: Select "Open music..." to browse for your spc. Use the buttons to control, and deselect boxes on the right to disable channels. "Delete item" removes the spc from the display list of loaded songs, and "Save clip..." saves it as a .wav file.
G-SPC is a relatively unknown SPC Player, which is understandable considering it is Japanese. G-SPC seems to be based off of the SNESGT emulator, as they are both made by the same person. It has the ability to save clips as .wav, disable specific channels, and some other functions that are obscured by foreign language. G-SPC seems to have a high compatibility rate, playing what Audio Overload can't. It plays .spc's in high-quality that in other SPC players would be static-filled.
(File Bin download)
Usage: Select what would be 'File', and 'Load' to load an spc, and 'File', 'Save' to save it to a .wav file. Go to what may be 'Edit' and choose that option to pause the song. Click 'Options', and the "C" option to see a list of channels that can be disabled, and some other options that affect playback in some manner. Select the "W" under 'Options' to see a list of inputs, which I am unknowing of their purpose.
HBSPC is another popular SPC player. It has a smooth and shiny look to it, and icons for controlling playback. It's skin can also be customized. HBSPC has tray support, and also features a playlist accessible from it's tray menu, though I personally haven't gotten it to work. It is highly compatible with a variety of songs.
Usage: Click the > to play, clock to pause, red octagon (sotp sign) to stop, magnifying glass to load an .spc, and the envelope to select a skin file. Esc will close the player. Right click it's tray icon to have access to Play Controls, minimize to tray, and show and hide playlist and skin info. To make a new skin, create a text document with the extension of hbs, and edit it with paths to your text and bitmap files. Refer to the skin that comes with HBSPC for specific information. It should be easy enough to figure it out.
JCOM-SPC is an SPC Player that is surprisingly high quality. It requires the installation of certain Runtime files/programs, which is available for download here. It has support for playlists, showing some ID666 info, disabling channels, recording to a .wav file, and associating .spc files with it. It's good, has what you may need plus more.
Usage: The main window has your generic playback buttons, as well as a (somewhat ugly) timer. It also displays the file info. File contains Open, and the Playlist Editor, which should be easy to manage. Controls contains settings for preamp level, stereo separation, channel disabling, and .wav recording. Favourites can be used to keep a list of .spc files you wish to have quick access to. Options and Settings contains items such as saving window locations, associating files, Sample Rate, Interpolation, BPS, etc. Generally easy to use.
KuroNeko is an SPC player of Japanese origin, but has been translated to English. It has a lot of features, such as slowing and speeding the music, setting as the top window, displaying *and* editing the ID666 tag, making a playlist, setting Amp and Pitch, and more. One can make good use of this SPC Player once they get used to the somewhat complicated and confusing interface.
Usage: Go to File to load an .spc and see your recent items. The "Op" button opens an .spc, "St" starts it, "RE" slows the playback, "FF" speeds it up, "Ps" pauses, the second "St" stops, the second "Op" opens Options, and the "Pl" opens your playlist. Under Options, you may set KuroNeko to always be on top, open the ID666 editor, open your playlist, and view more options. These include setting frequency, amp, pitch, muting specific channels, and more.
SNESAmp is a plug-in for the media player known as Winamp. Winamp is a bit complex already in comparison to SPC Players, but once you manage to figure out what in the world everything is, and find out where the SNESAmp options are located (right click, Jump to file, Jump to file options, Plugins, Input, Configure), it'll be much easier to get it to do what you want. SNESAmp is capable of playing pretty much every spc, and in higher quality than the SNES itself. It also can play ZSNES savestates, strangely enough. Winamp supports customizing skins, playlists, beautiful customizable visualizations (yet another complicated division) and probably a whole myriad of other things... SNESAmp appears to be one of the most popular SPC Players.
Usage: (Classic Winamp skin info only) Click the small icon in the top left corner to access the File menu. Here, you can play a single .spc file, or an entire folder, which will appear in the playlist. You can also toggle windows viewable, access various options and preferences (which there are a ton), playback settings, visualization settings, and change your loaded skin. As for the window itself, the top section contains playback buttons, volume and panning slide, mono and stereo setting, window viewing toggles, time counter, and current song. The second window contains adjustable bars I have no idea how to work, but research shows that it is an "Equalizer" for adjusting volumes of certain frequencies... or something. The third window contains playback buttons, abbreviated options or something, and a list of the song(s) selected. By right clicking, you can play, send to various locations such as playlists, jump to file, queue it, remove, play similar files, rate it, and view file info, which consists of ID666 information, which is editable. There are much more options and menus I haven't covered, as Winamp is just simply brimming with complex menus.
SNES SPC700 Player
Usage: The main window contains buttons for opening, playback, and channel disabling. You can highlight multiple files in the Browsing Window to display them all on the playlist. Clicking on the playing progress bar next to the playtime allows one to jump within a song. It also has buttons for playlist saving and editing. The "Save" button saves the .lst file, "Append" adds the file to the list, "Remove" and "Clear" are obvious, and the right-most buttons move the file up and down the playlist. The "File" menu contains "Open", "Save", and some playback options. The "S" menu seems to contain a large number of menus and settings, which are obscured by the corrupted foreign text. The "P" menu simply contains Playlist actions, such as 'Next', 'Previous', 'Append'/'Insert', 'Remove', and 'Clear'.
(File Bin download)
WinSPC was coded from Snes9x's source code, and is exceedingly simple. This is the SPC Player for minimalists. It seems to be compatible with most .spc files, you'll likely have no troubles with it.
Usage: The main window contains playback buttons, and the File menu has Open and Options. Options simply allows you to register .spc and .dst files with WinSPC. Audio has some basic settings, which are Sample Rate a.k.a. frequency (if the song sounds like it's lacking in quality, try increasing this), bit depth (8-bit/16-bit), Channels (Mono/Stereo), and Volume Multiplier.
Xtended SPC seems to put more effort in appearance than functionality. It looks quite nice, with a customizable skin and waveform/spectrum analyzer, playlists, ID666 info bar, and support for tray minimizing as well as .rar files. It also has playback, emulator, and visualization settings.
Usage: The main window contains playback and loading buttons. Right click anywhere to access the File menu. Here, you'll find Playback, Options, Playlist Editor, and View Info (ID666 info). Options contains playback settings such as minimizing to system tray, showing underscores as spaces, prioity, and timer settings, emulation settings which includes frequency, interpolation, APR, Pre-amp and Threshold levels, and other settings, and visualization settings which contains the choice of waveform or spectrum analyzer, and effects for the spectrum analyzer. Refer to the default skin for info on creating a new one. Finally, if you get an error regarding failure to load the skin file (default.txt), then the directory must have changed, which can be corrected in the .ini file.