I used HHL's IPS mod a few months back, the sound is definitely better than it was on my old backlit model - one thing worth noting is that different color screens have a slightly different effect. There is a very subtle high-pitched noise (only can really hear it in headphones) but the darker color screens make it less noticeable. I always keep my screen on red since that seems to be the quietest but it's barely there listening through speakers or a decent mixer.

I've found a way to mitigate the click sound (almost entirely) when sending MIDI through a Teensyboy but I don't think there's any way to apply my fix in a tracker since it involves overlapping notes - it basically treats the note change as one continuous note with an instantaneous pitch bend (like the note is continuing but at a different key). I don't use trackers so I'm not entirely sure how they function but from what I understand, continuous notes on the same channel can't be overlapped, can they? They essentially must be written to come one after another, if I understand correctly.

Orgia Mode wrote:
Doctor Octoroc wrote:

So quick update, I tried turning it on today and turning the color/brightness wheel to see if there was any response and it was too tight (screws were a tad overturned) so I went to loosen them up and once I released some pressure from the two screws closest to the wheel, the display came on for a few seconds. I got all excited but then I lost it again and can't get it back no matter what I do.

It sounds like there may be a broken solder joint on the wheel, or near it. Can you look at the solder points very closely? Both on the wheel and the other component on the opposite side of the board?

I took it apart yesterday and looked all all the caps and joints and didn't spot anything out of the ordinary but that sounds like the most likely culprit since it managed to come back briefly. The easiest fix may honestly just be replacing the main board and redoing the pro sound mod, if I can't locate the precise point of failure. For all I know, it could be one of the pins connecting the cart connector to the main board which I don't think is an easy fix.

So quick update, I tried turning it on today and turning the color/brightness wheel to see if there was any response and it was too tight (screws were a tad overturned) so I went to loosen them up and once I released some pressure from the two screws closest to the wheel, the display came on for a few seconds. I got all excited but then I lost it again and can't get it back no matter what I do.

So I still stand by the IPS screen mod but I'm having an issue and maybe someone with a bit more experience can help.

Turned on my DMG with IPS and prosund mod earlier today and got the normal "Gameboy" splash screen and ding but then the screen went black (not off, just no graphics displayed). Turned it off and on again and the screen illuminates, sound appears to be working (that initial 'bump' sound can be heard but nothing after that) but no splash or display. Tried taking the MGB cart out and turning it on without any cart inside, nothing . Tried a few other game carts, no change.

From what I can tell, everything works except for perhaps the connection somewhere between the old board and the new one that came with the IPS mod. I don't think the IPS itself is the problem but I did notice that when it first goes on, it appears brighter then dims to the normal brightness (for an all black screen). It's an odd problem because both the screen and sound work but neither is being produced.

I checked the ribbon cable and the connection is solid. Removed the main cable (between front and back board) and turned on with no screen (as expected) or indication of sound - plugged it back in, same as before with the 'bump' and illuminated screen but no display. I'm baffled.

I HIGHLY recommend the IPS mod. Did it myself a few months ago and it's so crisp. And the upside is you can adjust the color and brightness of the screen to conserve battery power. Assuming you're using it for making music, I've found that the darker colors (red and blue, primarily) cause less background noise.

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!

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!

.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.

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.

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?

I would think any MIDI controller with ample programmable knobs would also have the capability to do what you want. Any controller which has a pitch and mod wheel should be able to give you both manual control with the pitch wheel and automated control with the mod wheel (where the higher up you set it, the stronger the vibrato would be, which is what I think you want). However, you may have to program the envelope shape for that effect and/or assign it to the mod wheel, possibly from presets that come with the keyboard if it comes with them at all. As long as you're sending MIDI data to one of the channels available (1-4 since these are the default channels assigned to the four GB channels in mGB), it should register on that channel.

I personally haven't done this so I'm only speculating but I do compose in FL Studio to control GB and NES and I know for a fact that pitch is determined by the channel level pitch control (not a specific MIDI CC) so unless your controller uses something other than standard MIDI (unlikely if it was made in the 90's or later), I don't see why it wouldn't function that way with mGB as well.

As far as specific hardware, I would check out some YT video reviews of light MIDI controllers and see which ones have the features that would allow you to do this. Andrew Huang has reviewed a bunch and I recall seeing one that looked perfect for this use but can't seem to locate the video at the moment.

Unless of course you want something that is a stand alone pitch/mod wheel that can 'intercept' output MIDI from a separate device (be it another external controller or a computer running a DAW), in which case that sounds to me like a homebrew job as I haven't seen anything like that before that also lets you designate specific channels. Having said that, and I could be wrong, but I believe you can use some external controllers as a slave wherein you can apply parameters not being applied by the master MIDI source (that is, if you're playing a composition from a DAW that doesn't have pitch parameters set already, there will be no interference from the slave controller). And that controller, theoretically, can be anything that has a programmable mod wheel (or pre-programmed with vibrato envelope), channel specific designation and can be set as a slave MIDI device (not MIDI through).

Also, I rarely use MIDI hardware in this way so forgive me if none of this is accurate lol. I just saw no one had chimed in yet and thought I'd offer that I do know if it could help at all.


(7 replies, posted in General Discussion)

I just did an arrangement of "This Is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas but I'll be releasing it alongside a video on the 31st. Might throw it up on Soundcloud a day or two early though...

Hey everyone,

This is my first complete track using the grey brick (DMG) Gameboy and a Teensyboy Pro (scored in FL Studio).

Black Sheep by Metric from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (DMG Arrangement)

I've been composing/arranging using MidiNES for the past decade and have recently started using the Gameboy instead since my NES crapped out on me. I've been working with this combo for a few months now, familiarizing myself with the functions in relation to those of the NES. It's apparent that I'm not quite as familiar with the DMG programming as with the NES but while this works against me in terms of workflow (I probably made things a lot harder on myself), I think it works nicely for the track.

All pitch bends are manual on the channel event editor (no sweep functions used) and I played around a lot with stereo separation since I never had it on the NES. I love the versatility of the WAV channel as well. Crunchy bass, ftw!

I'd love some feedback if anyone has any advice to offer.

Bumping to see if anyone can help! I need a new pro-sound modded NES to finish out some Kickstarter rewards :-/

I've had the same prosound modded NES by Low-Gain for about a decade now but it's kicked the bucket on me so I'm in the market for a new one. I only need the basic PU01/PU02 on one line out and the TRI/NOISE/DPCM on a second line out, preferably 1/4" jacks since I run them through a mixer with level controls but I could settle for RCA if the price is right. Anyone have one they aren't using or open for a commission to mod one for me? I reached out to Low-Gain but didn't hear back so I'm turning to the community!