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Old school Video Game sound and feel Libraries

Hat_Tricky

Active Member
Was wondering if anyone here had some good recommendations for libraries or programs for the following "genres" of game music

8BIT - I see Plogue Chipsounds as a recommended option for 8bit and earlier.


16BIT - Something to recreate the 16bit sound like in the following in particular would be great! Eiher an authentic recreation, or something to sound much like it but with some modern "edge" to it (much like how pixel games these days are more colorful, have lots of depth, but still retain that pixelated charm)

Final Fantasy II

On to the general MIDI? or Red5 (not sure of that name) that was used in Playstation 1 and N64 days. No idea here what formats were used.
Final Fantasy VII

..and whatever else was used in between then and now! Most games NOW seem to be anything under sun from old school techniques, to modern techniques with old school sounds, to full blown Libraries like the ones we're all using here, to live recordings of orchestras.
 

Neifion

Senior Member
For the 8-bit retro sound, have a look at miniBit: https://www.audiothing.net/instruments/minibit/

I used it a lot on the following track:

http://kekomusic.net/track/1023010/24-board-of-directors-tom-vs-the-armies-of-hell?feature_id=172027

As well as the free Cinematic Synthetic Drums (mostly electronic and cinematic stuff, but there are some retro sounds as well):

https://impactsoundworks.com/product/cinematic-synthetic-drums/

You might also have a look at the recently-released Super Audio Cart: https://impactsoundworks.com/product/super-audio-cart/

I haven't used it myself, but it seems pretty comprehensive, albeit more expensive.
 

Farkle

Senior Member
Roland had a software division called Edirol, that had some solid old-style synth emulators. Sonar (PC and MAC) has one of them built in, the Edirol TTS. It feels a lot like the SNES sounds.

If you don't want to get Sonar, you can check Ebay, sometimes the Edirol stuff comes up.

However, Impact Soundworks recently released a Kontakt instrument, which consists of detailed samples from multiple retro game consoles, including, SNES, Genesis, and NES. It's called Super Audio Kart, and it's spot on awesome. Link below:

https://impactsoundworks.com/product/super-audio-cart/

For what you're looking for, I recommend checking out Impact Soundworks' offering. It's tight.

Mike
 

galactic orange

Sensor Number
Roland had a software division called Edirol, that had some solid old-style synth emulators. Sonar (PC and MAC) has one of them built in, the Edirol TTS. It feels a lot like the SNES sounds.
I think I read somewhere that Uematsu composed Final Fantasy 7 using a Roland SC-88 Sound Canvas module, if you're looking for those sounds. I'm not sure if that's what was actually used in the tracks, but I don't think it would be far off. That was a departure from the previous games in the series which were on the NES (Famicom) and SNES (Super Famicom).

I have Super Audio Cart from Impact Soundworks and it should offer you a large enough selection of sounds to cover the older style sounds. The waveforms from the game systems were sampled, *except* for the SNES sounds because those are proprietary samples that can't be copied legally. But the Impact Soundworks people know what they're doing and re-created nearly approximate sounds of the SNES, and by golly just playing some of them takes me back. It's great and offers a lot of options for sound design. Not as deep as Plogue Chipsounds, but probably more breadth of sounds.

Edit: spelling
 
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kavinsky

misty orchard in the middle of Czechoslovakia
you guys need libraries for everything haha(deep sampled/20 rr's/true legato)

for 8bit - all you need is any basic synth and a degrader/but crusher such as d16 decimort.
for sega stuff any old sf2 banks will do just fine. just google those sounds, they're all available for free.
don't forget the standard GM bank
 

galactic orange

Sensor Number
you guys need libraries for everything haha(deep sampled/20 rr's/true legato)

for 8bit - all you need is any basic synth and a degrader/but crusher such as d16 decimort.
for sega stuff any old sf2 banks will do just fine. just google those sounds, they're all available for free.
don't forget the standard GM bank
That's true to a point. It depends whether you're going for "that sound" or if an approximation is good enough. I can use Massive and FM8 to get close to a lot of these sounds, but it's not going to sound quite the same as recording the output of a Sega Genesis, which is what Impact Soundworks did. Similar waveforms of an NES, GameBoy, and C64 sound different to me.

The same goes for a GM template vs. SNES sounds. The SNES sample loop points are extremely short which give it a sound different from a GM synth, a Korg M1, a Roland box, etc. Add to this the layering, modulation, and FX routing you can within one Kontakt instance and you have a flexible, creativity inspiring instrument all its own. But your point still stands. And if I could reproduce all these sounds on my own, I would. But I can't so I'm glad someone did.
 

Farkle

Senior Member
Also, don't forget about the GM sounds that come with your computer. Apple's Quicktime has a General Midi synth, and Windows 10 does as well. I can't remember the Win 10 one, because I use Cakewalk's TTS, but it has lots of those "simpler" sounds, in the retro style. :)

Mike
 

sin(x)

Active Member
If you're so inclined, it can be really fun to dig deep into what made sound chips like the C64 SID or the NES APU special and try to replicate it as closely as possible with a synth. A lot of software synths are well-suited for that, especially if they support custom waveforms (Zebra comes to mind). There's also a lot to learn from listening to original tunes and working out how the composers got around the limitations of the hardware, which spawned a lot of very idiomatic writing devices that go a long way in evoking that feel.

If you want to go all the way, there are DIY hardware hacking projects for building MIDI-capable controllers around the original chips floating around the web. A hidden gem is InSIDious, a free SID emulator for Reaktor that blew me away in how accurate it is.

Just please don't reach for some generic General MIDI sounds from the 90s, play some happy sounding arpeggios and call it chip style. The Wreck-It Ralph score is full of that and it broke my heart. It's like having a non-English speaker recite Whitman poems phonetically.
 

benatural

Active Member
If you're really going for authentic feel, you might consider using tracker software like famitracker. Limited voices are a big part of the 8bit sound. Three to four voices were common for those games. This forces you to make compromises and to be clever about how you distribute your material, and that alone will go a long way toward making your music sound authentic.

I used Famitracker on a recent project. It was time consuming as heck to program, but the results speak for themselves:


 

Zookes

Active Member
Limited voices are a big part of the 8bit sound. Three to four voices were common for those games.
Very much this, yes. C64 music plays often many instrument sounds by only one channel together !



So many resources and so huge libraries available to us today, it is difficult for me deciding to write using such specific limitations by voice channels. Seems like giving up so much! hehe
 

Michael_Picher

Freelance Composer & Sample Library Developer
I made a very simple to use SoundFont that recreates that 8-Bit sound. If you are interested, you can get it for free from my website.

 

LML88

Active Member
A lot of the stuff from the 32 and 64 bit era will have been the popular romplers of the time.

The korg M1 and E-MU proteus will have been popular ones, both of which have virtual instrument iterations.
The Roland JV line was also used heavily, but there aren't any VI's of it.
 
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