Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Super Simple SPC

The Genesis may have had the potential to sound amazing, but its complexity limited those unskilled in the art of FM synthesis. The Super Nintendo, however, sounded better on average (in my opinion) due to its simplicity. Instead of working with over forty knobs, trying to get the sound you want, the Super Nintendo's SPC700 accepted samples, which could be altered to achieve different pitches. In a sense, it functioned much like a tracker, which we'll undoubtedly get into some other time.

The SPC700 was, believe it or not, manufactured by Sony. Of course, this was before their advent in the console scene. The sound chip provides eight channels for composers to work with, allowing complex orchestral scores to be produced like those of Uematsu's.

There isn't too much to say about the SPC700, due to its sheer simplicity. Although you might find it interesting that people have created ways to rip the samples from SPC files, allowing for the creation of SNES music through the use of trackers and digital audio workstations. For information on .spc files, which can be used to play back SNES music, check out the post I made a couple of days ago.

12 comments:

  1. Wait are you talking about the devices used to create the music for those games?

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  2. @Jack Stanley Yes, the dedicated sound chips that are installed into consoles such as the SNES, Genesis, NES, etc. Obviously systems don't really have them any more as we now have the ability to use compressed audio, but they certainly are fascinating nonetheless.

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  3. I don't understand but it's cool :p

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  4. I don't think anyone takes throwback tracks as serious as you do!

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  5. I have such an admiring for the people back in the days creating awesome music with these tools.
    I like the fire emblem music and visuals a lot. Way more than the 3d games. And the music seemed to stick.

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  6. I always thought the megadrive sounded better than the SNES. But I can't remember which came first offhand.

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  7. @Ezz Games like Thunder Force IV trump basically any game on the SNES in terms of sound engineering in my opinion. Overall though, I feel that a lot of programmers didn't quite understand how to use FM synthesis. Which is understandable, as it's hard as hell. Of course, even though I made the comparison, it really is a case of apples and oranges.

    @Tomgh Hell yeah. Fire Emblem has had awesome music since the time it began on the NES. And the sprites on the GBA games, oh god, so smooth and fluid.

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  8. Sony was working closely with Nintendo on various projects, one of those were thhe abandoned CD-expansion for SNES that later evolved into the PSX!

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  9. Didn't know Sony made the SPC.

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