Hey everyone, first post here.

I write using Famitracker & Deflemask with the intention of playing/recording off hardware. This requires flash carts to load my modules/exported roms but the options look steep.

The Powerpak has .nsf playback for Famitracker but costs $135.00 usd (a whopping $184.60 cad for me, not including shipping). The Everdrive is similarly priced, but can't load .nsf so I'd have to compile to .nes. The cheapest Genesis cart is the Mega Everdrive X3, which I bought for $75 cad, but both are meant for gaming with an entire console's library.

I'm just hoping/requesting someone make simple carts for .nsf and .vgm/.gen playback, because currently it's like I'm paying for a car just to use its seats. I don't need crazy SRAM, gigabytes of storage, compatibility for every mapper, instant loading; just a way to play some music files.

I'm hoping anyone in a similar boat to me finds this thread if there end up being any solutions.

Last edited by leavelucktohell (May 8, 2017 9:31 pm)

leavelucktohell wrote:

The same goes for LSDJ, the few reasonably priced carts I see can only load 1 song into SRAM, then anything with more space just goes into game library territory.

the 64MB EMS usb carts hold far more than 1 LSDJ track in SRAM

Thanks for the suggestion! I glanced at those last week, saw they were out of stock and forgot. Even sillier considering I just traded with a friend for one.

Last edited by leavelucktohell (May 9, 2017 9:55 pm)

i guess my questions for you are (just rhetorical, some things to consider), what's the advantage to playing/recording from hardware, and what cost would you be willing to pay for that?

there's going to be a bit of up-front cost if you want to make chiptunes on original hardware. honestly the price of an Everdrive is worth it IMHO (for NSF playback on Everdrive, you could use VegaPlay to compile multiple NSFs to one ROM)

that being said, i wouldn't expect the sound out of an (unmodded) NES to be any better than what you're already hearing out of the trackers, so if you really want to go the hardware route, you'll have to invest a little. but if you start saving a few dollars here and there for your Chiptune Fund it will add up soon enough

I'm tempted to get an everdrive for my NES, but I'm not sure the sound is that much different than from emulation. Well, probably a bit, but does this worth more than 100 $? A found a copy on aliexpress for less than this, but missed the opportunity to get one. I found an everdrive for megadrive for under 40$ and it works very well. And the sound is indeed different on the original hardware. I'm using this to play the vgm on the everdrive: http://www.mjsstuf.x10host.com/pages/vg … gmPlay.htm

i would hesitate to get any everdrives from anywhere other than krikzz as there are known fakes out there. the sound straight from the NES is apparently pretty noisy, although you can do a mod to reduce the noise. more info here: http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?t=7380

apparently there used to be a sound mod from low-gain but looks like it's no longer around

Might be a silly question (& I think you can check the mapper w/ an emulator) but does VegaPlay work on a mapper 0 board? If so, you could skip the Everdrive, get a soldering iron + cheap EPROM programmer & go the repro route. NROM boards, AVRCIC chips & etc are incredibly cheap on sites like Muramasa Entertainment. Aside from manual work, the main downsides are VegaPlay restricts you to the 2a03 chip and file sizes below 30kb (without modifying the rom). I use expansion audio and larger .nsf sizes so I'm still stuck looking at the PowerPak, but I hope this useful to someone else!

urbster1 wrote:

apparently there used to be a sound mod from low-gain but looks like it's no longer around

For anyone wondering about Low-Gain Audio's NESmod, it's got two ¼" Phono out plugs, the first of which outputs everything, but splits the triangle/noise/DPCM channels to the second when it's plugged in. There's still some feedback but It's great for DI recording! They're pretty expensive as they aren't made anymore, but people claim its "easy" to do yourself. I never see them online & got mine off the guy behind iamerror/monomate.

Last edited by leavelucktohell (May 9, 2017 1:54 am)

the source for VegaPlay is included and yes it is mapper 0.
that is good info about making repros, thanks! bummer about the low-gain mod

another alternative to VegaPlay for Everdrive is the eznsf tool from rainwarrior, it will compile NSF to NES rom using mapper 31 (expansion audio not supported): http://krikzz.com/forum/index.php?topic=5937

screenshots:

i assume there must be some limit on the number of songs per NSF but i am not sure what it is (cause im a Famitracker noob)

Last edited by urbster1 (May 9, 2017 1:06 am)

The only reason why I'd want to go with hardware sounds is when it comes to expansion audio, and, unless you have something like one of those TNS-HFwhateverthehells, you can only really emulate those chips.

Arc-Demon wrote:

The only reason why I'd want to go with hardware sounds is when it comes to expansion audio, and, unless you have something like one of those TNS-HFwhateverthehells, you can only really emulate those chips.

Or you wait for my hardware mod smile

Last edited by plgDavid (May 9, 2017 1:54 pm)

plgDavid wrote:

Or you wait for my hardware mod smile

Sounds interesting. Can't wait to hear more.

i'm happy enough waiting for the software smile ...but that is exciting!!

Need to make a real thread when my stuff is ready to show/explain in detail.
In short its a cpu upgrade/mod for the Famicom/NES with multi audio outputs and MIDI input.
(patch compatible with our in dev chipsynth FC VSTi)

plgDavid wrote:

Need to make a real thread when my stuff is ready to show/explain in detail.
In short its a cpu upgrade/mod for the Famicom/NES with multi audio outputs and MIDI input.
(patch compatible with our in dev chipsynth FC VSTi)

that sounds awesome. very curious to hear more about it, might make me have a reason to get into using an NES again

I considered buying a soldering iron, solder, PCB boards, EPROMS, EPROM programmer and UV light eraser to put my songs on individual carts (they're too big to compile together. Turns out Anamanaguchi did this early on too), but I would prefer to flash my songs multiple times to record the synths solo'd/separate for final mixing in my DAW. I then considered soldering a DIP socket into the PCB for use with reusable flash chips, until I saw Infinite NES Lives' Kazzo. It's a cheap ($20 USD) ROM dumper/programmer built specifically for their custom Flash Boards. No soldering required! This is almost perfect for me, but the only expansion audio they support is the Sunsoft-5 with their Mapper #69 boards, and I use VRC6 so I still have reason to buy a Powerpak later down the line.

Last edited by leavelucktohell (May 12, 2017 11:31 pm)

Buy a powerpak. Throw a resistor in your NES. Done. It's worth it.
I'm definitely interested in plgDavids mod board. I LIVE for seperate audio channel outs and midi in ports. That's my jam.