Cambridge, MA

//I had a beautiful post written before until the site decided to log me out automatically and now I'm pissed. >.< Hitting preview shouldn't do that... On the bright side, this post is much shorter. (So imagine how long the original was...)//


So I'm trying to get into chiptunes and have some questions on gear, setups, software. Btw, kudos to the people who answered some stuff on IRC the other day. I do not remember your names. =3

Okay, so here's my potential music making gear.


1x Gameboy Color (Heard these were crap for sound.)
1x Gameboy Advance
1x NES
1x Nintendo DS Lite
1x 4-5 yr old Laptop (No midi in/out. I'm buying a new one sometime this summer.)
1x Reverb/Delay Effects Head + Pedal Switch (Can do one or other at a time and non-adjustible while playing besides on/off.)
1x Spider Line 6 15-watt Amp
1x Mixer from the 80s (Discovered last week in a closet. Has four 1/4" inputs. All I know right now.)

Extra music stuff:

1x Electric Guitar
1x CRAPPY Keyboard. I think it's only got sound output.

I've also got a nicer keyboard/electric piano at home (Yamaha DX-500?), but I'm only counting on stuff I can take with me to college this fall. (Yes, I'm ridiculously young and immature. You can laugh now.) Also I'm looking for a setup that can fit in a Backpack. An Amp in one hand + Guitar case in other + Backpack on back is my travel setup. I'll have no car while at college. =P

Music Background

I know music theory, and I improvise by ear on guitar all the time. I also did some tracking a while back but only with ripped samples. =/

Oh and my price range for gear is no more than $150 MAX and $100 if possible. Less would be golden. big_smile And I technically can't use ebay due to some stupid law that says I can work under the age of 18, but not use ebay. >.> However, I do have a paypal for buying crap.


Sooo, what should I get to get started with chiptunes? ^_^ Pros and Cons please!

Specifically though:

I've been looking at getting gameboys. I've seen the NL and LSDJ pro cons, and was wondering if anyone exclusively does stuff with NL and if I could get linked to the music so I can hear the sound. Also, should I just learn MML (I have some limited prior experiance) and put it on a flashcart? What's the pros/cons for that. I have very limited info on it although I just downloaded XPMCK and will give it a go and run on an emulator.
Also just got my LSDJ e-mail today, and I've messed with NL for an hour. (LIsten NL)

Also, I was looking at getting a Midines, but apparently there's a bit of controversy with actually recieving one. Assuming I do get my hands on one: Do I need software like Ableton or FL Studio to run midi with? Freeware options? Do I need a nice Midi controller, or can I just hack something together?

Finally, any other cheap ideas? I only have nintendo systems at the moment, but if it's cheap to get something like say, C64, Atari, or Sega system, I'm up for it. I also heard mentioned something about a reidiculously crappy synth (Means good for lo-fi music) that can be bought for $30-$50 and programmed with MML. Any info?

Anyhoo, sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any suggestions. =3


oh hi, i do a lot of nanoloop only stuff
black dahlia is all nanoloop 2.3

vodka & taxes is all nanoloop 1.3

New York City

Em, you can use any shit to make chiptunes. Just fucking make it instead of gathering gear. You already have tools to make it.

Nashville, Tennessee

yeah, chipmusic is one of the few kinds of music where gear is not important. just do it! smile

Cambridge, MA

Hmmm... in that case Ima just say screw it and buy Nanoloop 2.3, a flashcart for lsdj, two pockets, and a sync cable...

A question about LSDJ and the flashcart. Can I flash it myself to the cart after trying to experiment with MML?

New York City

You havea computer.
Why would you spend money in gear? After all you are after the aesthetics of chipmusic, not its processes.


for the record, nanoloop 2.3 only works in gba, gba sp, gb micro and nintendo ds/ds  lite

Cambridge UK

"I have a dictionary, can I be a writer?"
"I have brushes, can I be a painter?"
"I have a camera, can I be a filmmaker?"

It's not about the tools, it's about what you do with them darling.

smiletron wrote:

yeah, chipmusic is one of the few kinds of music where gear is not important. just do it! smile

Yeah, along with rock, punk, pop, house, trance, drum 'n' bass, hip hop, reggae, a cappella, ambient, jazz, metal, blues, techno, funk, breakbeat, soul, country, rap, disco, and a few other genres (these ones), chipmusic is indeed one of those styles where the music is more important than what it's made with.

If you have Nanoloop, LSDJ, and XPMCK already, you don't need to get anything else. Quit looking for an excuse to spend more money and start writing some music already.

Melbourne, Australia

Your gameboy colour and advance are both good for making chiptunes, but would probably be better with a prosound modification.
You can nanoloop carts and carts for putting lsdj on here and here.
Your ds lite could also make music using something like nitrotracker or korg ds-10.

Last edited by TmTgr (Feb 10, 2010 9:31 pm)


There's always tracker chipmusic as well, cheaper than all that hardware.  All you need is a PC/Mac/Linux and download this.  You can make the obvious 'gameboy' sounds with it but you have a lot more scope for expanding into other chipmusic forms.


Stay away from Gameboy Pockets.

̛̛̩̥̩̥̩̥̅ ̥⎬̛̛̛̛̛̥̥̩̥̩̩
4mat wrote:

There's always tracker chipmusic as well, cheaper than all that hardware.  All you need is a PC/Mac/Linux and download this.  You can make the obvious 'gameboy' sounds with it but you have a lot more scope for expanding into other chipmusic forms.

Sadly everyone is initially attracted to haircuts and babycakes
If they stick with it though they eventually lean to what is best

Cambridge, MA

Haha, and here I was thinking using VSTs and Computer Trackers was almost "cheating". And ironically, I just deleted an ancient version of Milkytracker last week without even looking at it, 4mat.

So I think I'll be messing around with trackers and the lsdj ROM, but I'll buy one flashcart and DMG in a couple weeks just because I like running around with physical hardware, even if it's more expensive. =P.


Are you talking about how nowadays you can digitally simulate any instrument for any genre? Call me a purist, but hardware always sounds cooler than the digital version. *coughrockguitarscough* big_smile


Yea, but I want to make sure I've got the right tools. I mean, heck, I could HUM songs through a crappy mic and call it lo-fi music. wink




Care to elaborate? I can't tell if you condone or dismiss using a tracker like this...

Last edited by BetaSynapse (Feb 11, 2010 12:00 am)


I think there's a schism with tracking not being 'real chip', which is kinda weird when you check out how long the chipscene has been going on there.

QLD, Australia

Personaly, I love a good FastTracker Module and I think it comes down to what sounds you like hearing most.