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.

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(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!

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(6 replies, posted in Nintendo Consoles)

And it started working again...only to crap out after 5 minutes. This leads me to believe it's a relatively easy fix - a loose wire or bad connection. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I'm going to open it up and examine more closely, I can solder joints if need be - but if any one familiar with a pro-sound modded NES with a Kitsch board can point me in the right direction as to where the audio connections are, it would help me a lot to locate the issue. Otherwise I'm flying blind...

12

(6 replies, posted in Nintendo Consoles)

DSC wrote:

I believe Kitsch sold these mod boards.  I remember picking one up.  Yes, it has the decoupling electrolytic caps.
To do an easy test you can take any audio source and put the wires on either side of the soldered cap wires.  You should have
audio signal coming through.  If not, then the cap has gone 'open'/BAD.  If you have audio, then check with a meter and
confirm the OP-Amp IC is getting power.  After that you might want to check in with Kitsch.  Hope that helps.

Not gonna lie, I have no idea what half of the things you said mean lol. I think I'll just look into pro-sound modding another NES since this one has put in the time and deserves to finally rest haha. Low-gain originally did mine so I'll probably reach out to him to see if he's still in the game.

13

(6 replies, posted in Nintendo Consoles)

Okay, not sure what I'm looking for - everything looks good to me but I might be missing something. I only snapped pics of the capacitors and resisters and the board with the audio connection. Oddly enough, once I put everything back together, it worked fine. then 2 minutes into a track I was playing on it, it started crackling like crazy - almost like bit crush. That is a new one!

Any ideas?

14

(6 replies, posted in Nintendo Consoles)

DSC wrote:

If lines 1 & 2 were decoupled properly using 1uF electrolytic capacitors, then the caps could have gone bad.  Pop the lid and take some pics, if you don't mind  big_smile

Thanks for the response! I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow to post here so you can take a look.

15

(6 replies, posted in Nintendo Consoles)

I've had a pro-sound modded NES for nearly a decade now, never any issues (aside from common 72-pin connector stuff all NES systems suffer from) but recently, the audio output went...well, it didn't go away completely, but it's not making the same 'hum' it usually does.

It first happened when I was working on a track with a lot going on and some notes got stuck. As per usual, I powered the system off and on again but when the sound came through the speakers after powering on, the hum was different and despite MIDI data being sent via MidiNES, no sound was generated.

It's hard to describe but where the regular hum has both high and low end, the new hum has just low end. I tried everything from unplugging the power and plugging it back in, taking the cart out and putting it back in, banging on the sides (pretty much all of the tricks we used back in the day to get games working) but the problem doesn't seem to be with the cart.

It also randomly started working again a few days ago, until some notes got stuck (again) and it went back to the new hum after powering it back up. What's also odd is that when it started working again, I had been powering it on every few hours to see if it would work and although the normal hum hadn't come back, I tried sending MIDI data to the cart and it started working again (and once I paused the track, I could hear the new hum).

I have no idea what could cause this problem as the stuck notes are still coming through until I power off (ie if it was a blown capacitor or something along those lines, the sound should have cut out all together then, and shouldn't have randomly started working again). Although, I do think it's a hardware issue with the NES itself. I can open it up to check it out but if anyone else has any clue as to what the problem could be, more specifically, I'll know what to look for.

I didn't mod it myself, hence I have no idea what the problem could be...

herr_prof wrote:

did you try and envelope command with a very short duration? I don't think MGB has a dedicated vol command like on midines

https://github.com/trash80/mGB/blob/mas … ementation

I tried a variety of inputs on the envelope parameter but it seems that whatever value is set at the beginning of the note stays with it until the end so the decay will always be linear and the longest decay time is set in stone at the highest value.