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Philadelphia

I definitely prefer the sound quality of the DMG but I'm half-tempted to try out a GBA or later to avoid the clicking sound at either end of notes, panning, etc. I find that I sometimes change the way I compose in order to hide it or avoid it, or otherwise I edit the recordings (inserting silences being the most common) because in headphones, it hurts my brain.

Anyone have any creative solutions of their own to circumvent, mitigate, avoid, or cope with this phenomenon? Are there any mods that improve this or is the root problem the sound generation of the chip itself?

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I don't know where all the problems come from, but the signal that comes out of a DMG is quite noisey. What I notice is that many notes start off quite asymmetrical. Or so I remember. Maybe you can correct it I don't know. A highpass filter at around 50hz is not a bad idea.

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Philadelphia
LotZo wrote:

I don't know where all the problems come from, but the signal that comes out of a DMG is quite noisey. What I notice is that many notes start off quite asymmetrical. Or so I remember. Maybe you can correct it I don't know. A highpass filter at around 50hz is not a bad idea.

Are you referring to the background noise? That's not an issue since it's not noticeable when notes are playing and a pro-sound mod will take care of it.

I was talking about the distinct clicking sound that can be heard at note on and off signals (as well as certain other functions like panning). It's a super short 'burst' that registers as an uptick on the waveform and is very noticeable if there aren't any other loud sounds occurring at the same time.

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Dallas, Texas

While a whole track is playing, this clicking is usually imperceivable. it is a part of the hardware.

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Covering up excessive clicking can be tough.

The basic strategy is to try to reduce the usage and/or frequency of any commands and tables, as these can increase ticking noises and instead rely on instrument settings as much as possible. This doesn't reduce the clicking at the beginning/end of notes unless if you're using commands at that time, but reducing clicking overall makes it less noticable.

Another thing you can do is to try to decrease the resolution of waveforms, because even with silky wave you still get a little bit of clicking when the waveform changes. Again, this won't reduce clicking at the beginning/end of a sound but it helps overall.

Another thing is, as said above, when a whole track is playing it blends in, so if you try to make your track a little more layered that can help. Every little bit helps.

I know those options are not great, but that is part of the challenge. Do not feel bad about removing noise in post production, and when you play live no one will notice. The dirty secret is that a lot of people do it. Recording in the BGB emulator can help because it separates channels, so you can remove noise in each channel appropriately.

There's one more strategy which I don't see people talk about, which is a little counter intuitive. If you use the noise channel a tiny bit in such a way that blends with the clicking and the sound itself, you can actually make it sound less noisy overall. This is what I did with the chord sound at the very beginning of ULTRAACID XX: https://soundcloud.com/dotexechiptune/ultraacid-xx - The chord notes make tons of clicking on their own since it's two pulse sounds with envelopes on top of a full resolution wave channel sound with nothing else playing. I added a small noise channel tone on top of each chord note that ends just after the chord notes, and just tweaked it until you could barely hear the noise tone in isolation but it dramatically decreased the percieved clicking. There is still some noise but the sound was incredibly bad before. There is no post-processing beyond amplification. I think you could even get it to sound better than this because there is some additional noise I didn't hear on my headphones when I first made the track and I didn't explore this strategy much. This strategy is situational and difficult but I hope it helps.

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Doctor Octoroc wrote:
LotZo wrote:

I don't know where all the problems come from, but the signal that comes out of a DMG is quite noisey. What I notice is that many notes start off quite asymmetrical. Or so I remember. Maybe you can correct it I don't know. A highpass filter at around 50hz is not a bad idea.

Are you referring to the background noise? That's not an issue since it's not noticeable when notes are playing and a pro-sound mod will take care of it.

I was talking about the distinct clicking sound that can be heard at note on and off signals (as well as certain other functions like panning). It's a super short 'burst' that registers as an uptick on the waveform and is very noticeable if there aren't any other loud sounds occurring at the same time.

Yeah I’m talking about the notes. In general cutting out the very lowest frequencies can de-pop things, by removing DC bias.

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Philadelphia
.exe wrote:

Covering up excessive clicking can be tough.

There's one more strategy which I don't see people talk about, which is a little counter intuitive. If you use the noise channel a tiny bit in such a way that blends with the clicking and the sound itself, you can actually make it sound less noisy overall. This is what I did with the chord sound at the very beginning of ULTRAACID XX: https://soundcloud.com/dotexechiptune/ultraacid-xx - The chord notes make tons of clicking on their own since it's two pulse sounds with envelopes on top of a full resolution wave channel sound with nothing else playing. I added a small noise channel tone on top of each chord note that ends just after the chord notes, and just tweaked it until you could barely hear the noise tone in isolation but it dramatically decreased the percieved clicking. There is still some noise but the sound was incredibly bad before. There is no post-processing beyond amplification. I think you could even get it to sound better than this because there is some additional noise I didn't hear on my headphones when I first made the track and I didn't explore this strategy much. This strategy is situational and difficult but I hope it helps.

First off, thanks a million for your input. Great to see someone who expands on their answer as much as I do!

Second, I should have mentioned before that I'm using a Teensyboy Pro with MGB cart and controlling everything from my DAW (FL Studio). I don't believe this is especially contributory to the problem but it's important as far as considering fixes- primarily because what I mention below can't be done on LSDJ (as far as I know - I haven't use it much).

So adding noise channel elements is a really interesting take that I was sort of implementing in a different way already as far as 'why it works' - and likewise, this is one of those things that is more hit-or-miss depending on all of the other parameter settings - but I found in some instances that overlapping the tail end of a note with the beginning of the next one can do a lot to minimize or eliminate the clicking noise. Silencing the click at the beginning or end of a note in post is easy but the problem usually is more prevalent between back to back notes (at least in my compositions) and inserting a silence of just the right length so it eliminates the click but doesn't take out enough to be a noticeable drop-out is a razor-thin line that I can hit only about 25% of the time without numerous attempts looking at both the waveform and spectrogram.

The major downside to overlapping is that it doesn't work on notes with any volume decay or in situations where consecutive notes are at the same key (A-B-C-D-E works fine but A-A-A-A-A in a series does not) and if you try that, the next note cuts at the same time as the note prior to it ends. A lot of the time, I use multiple notes with descending volume levels to make a faux-decay on the pulse channels (which I do a LOT since volume envelope doesn't last over longer notes, especially at lower note-on volumes, and there's no manual volume control over the course of single notes on the DMG like on the NES) so most of the clicking comes in during those segments. I just try to put the breaks between consecutive note segments at locations that have other note-on changes already or, as you hinted, where noise channel is currently playing something.

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Paris, France
.exe wrote:

Covering up excessive clicking can be tough.

The basic strategy is to try to reduce the usage and/or frequency of any commands and tables, as these can increase ticking noises and instead rely on instrument settings as much as possible. This doesn't reduce the clicking at the beginning/end of notes unless if you're using commands at that time, but reducing clicking overall makes it less noticable.

Another thing you can do is to try to decrease the resolution of waveforms, because even with silky wave you still get a little bit of clicking when the waveform changes. Again, this won't reduce clicking at the beginning/end of a sound but it helps overall.

Another thing is, as said above, when a whole track is playing it blends in, so if you try to make your track a little more layered that can help. Every little bit helps.

I know those options are not great, but that is part of the challenge. Do not feel bad about removing noise in post production, and when you play live no one will notice. The dirty secret is that a lot of people do it. Recording in the BGB emulator can help because it separates channels, so you can remove noise in each channel appropriately.

There's one more strategy which I don't see people talk about, which is a little counter intuitive. If you use the noise channel a tiny bit in such a way that blends with the clicking and the sound itself, you can actually make it sound less noisy overall. This is what I did with the chord sound at the very beginning of ULTRAACID XX: https://soundcloud.com/dotexechiptune/ultraacid-xx - The chord notes make tons of clicking on their own since it's two pulse sounds with envelopes on top of a full resolution wave channel sound with nothing else playing. I added a small noise channel tone on top of each chord note that ends just after the chord notes, and just tweaked it until you could barely hear the noise tone in isolation but it dramatically decreased the percieved clicking. There is still some noise but the sound was incredibly bad before. There is no post-processing beyond amplification. I think you could even get it to sound better than this because there is some additional noise I didn't hear on my headphones when I first made the track and I didn't explore this strategy much. This strategy is situational and difficult but I hope it helps.

Thanks for your post, I'm gonna take a look at your suggestions!

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Doc Ock -- I didn't really notice this stuff TOO too much in the past. Now I'm working with a recording engineer who gets driven up a wall by these clicks, and I'm a lot more sensitive to it.

I try to at least be careful of panning back and forth in the same channel when recording. But I'm using LSDJ and I don't know how I'd mess with that in mGB... Best of luck!

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Later versions of LSDJ are slowly mitigating the click fwiw.. the wav channel sounds really good now.

Also if you want to record with sameboy, i doubt people will notice the difference wink

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Philadelphia
sloopygoop wrote:

Doc Ock -- I didn't really notice this stuff TOO too much in the past. Now I'm working with a recording engineer who gets driven up a wall by these clicks, and I'm a lot more sensitive to it.

I try to at least be careful of panning back and forth in the same channel when recording. But I'm using LSDJ and I don't know how I'd mess with that in mGB... Best of luck!

I honestly never noticed until I bought some studio earphones and now I notice every single one, even some times when other channels are playing over!

I found another cool trick when going through all of my tracks - with lead parts or melody lines, I've been overlapping the tail end of some notes over others where I want them to blend a bit more (really, it's akin to having less attack on notes with the previous ones overlapping). Mixing that with some pitch bend in certain parts really smooths out the transition from note to note. It's especially convenient for lead melodies in covers where multiple 'syllables of the same word' in the original track are spread across different notes. It's very subtle but the difference between consistent note to note attack and variable attack with this trick makes it sound much better to my ear.

At this point, I've pretty much done some sort of overlap in every 'tone' channel on both the GB and my NES (which doesn't 'click' but does have a little bump associated with beginning of each note). Do this with a bunch of channels and the overall mix sounds cleaner as well. Just don't overdo it if you want punch in certain parts!

Last edited by Doctor Octoroc (Feb 12, 2020 9:29 pm)

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Philadelphia

Okay, quick update - I found a way to reduce the click (it's more of a bump like on the NES pulse channels) for consecutive notes in the same key. The trick is to extend the end of every note in the sequence to the end of the last note so all notes end at the same point. If you have a different note at a different key afterward, you can extend that entire series to overlap the next one in order to reduce the click between those as well. I went through and did this for all of my tracks and they sound so much better/cleaner!

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The Forest, WA

this isn't just a gameboy or NES / console thing but a synthesizer attribute as well , get with the ASDR club and give your leads a lil bit of attack...

Last edited by GLOOMS (Feb 16, 2020 5:11 am)

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herr_prof wrote:

Later versions of LSDJ are slowly mitigating the click fwiw.. the wav channel sounds really good now.

Also if you want to record with sameboy, i doubt people will notice the difference wink

I recently have been getting back into LSDJ and tried the newest available version (went from 4.0.5 to 7.9.9). Suffice to say that my mind was thoroughly blown by the changes especially in the wave channel's synthesis. That smooth wav update is pretty spectacular. It feels like an actual modern wavetable synth now and is organized and executed in a much more logical manner.