First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

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First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Tue May 14, 2013 3:12 pm

I admit this is NOT a good song, but... rather a first demonstration using a Gameboy Advance with a MIDI cable. A developer in the Netherlands made this and I just received it yesterday (played with it for about 20 minutes, so this is what was produced).

Quite fun actually!

Developer page: http://spritesmods.com/?art=gbamidi&page=3

Watch on youtube.com
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby Infinity Curve » Tue May 14, 2013 5:26 pm

How does the software you are using on the GBA work?

You should get nanoloop

You can also get a usb midi adapter there so you can sync the internal sequences to external clocks.
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Tue May 14, 2013 5:35 pm

It's basically a cable that hooks up to your midi device. it loads into its own software that allows you to scroll through 6 different midi channels worth of data (and sequence each of those). It works well if you only use a midi controller, but if you use a sequencer, it suddenly doesn't function well. I'm guessing its due to overloading the device with MIDI clock data.

Funny that I've heard of nanoloop, but never found the website that you refered me to. It looks like they're all just chip boards that get inserted, instead of cartridges. Seems interesting. I'll have to investigate further! Thanks!
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Tue May 14, 2013 7:06 pm

Infinity Curve wrote:How does the software you are using on the GBA work?

You should get nanoloop

You can also get a usb midi adapter there so you can sync the internal sequences to external clocks.


Looking at nanoloop, I'm not sure I could really sequence it well using external gear. I would like to be able to sequence each part on a different channel. It has 4 channels, but are labeled as "R" "L" "S" and "N", not based on their channels. Perhaps you can sequence it this way, but it doesn't appear so, currently.

It may have better MIDI implementation I suppose, but I do like that I have access to 6 different parts with this cable (from spritesmod) currently. I just have no means of making very complicated beats, but as I said, the developer is trying to help me figure out what's going on.
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby Infinity Curve » Tue May 14, 2013 8:02 pm

Ya, the guy who created nanoloop distributes them himself. The PCB style carts are a new revision and super stable.

The idea with nanoloop is you sequence it with the internal sequencer and the midi connection is just for syncing to external clocks, you cannot sequence it via midi. Otherwise you just set the BPM in nanoloop and off you go.

It has a 16step sequencer for each channel and you can set the parameters for each note individually all on the 16 step grid, so it has huge flexibility for sounds. It also has low pass/bandpass filters(selectable) on each channel. You can also change the speed of each channel individually(relative to the BPM) so 1/2 speed, 1/4 speed, 1/8 speed etc...you can even do it while its playing. You can also sync 2 GBA's via link cables( you would obviously need 2 carts too) and make even more complex things with it.

Something else to be aware of with the GBA version of nanoloop, the S channel is actually polyphonic so you can sequence chords on it; that is probably why your thing can do 6 mono channels. But with the FM capabilities you can get some really nice pads out of the S channel.

If you want to try it out, you can get the demo rom from the same site I linked to and try it out in an emulator; I'd recommend using no$GBA, as I had issues using with visualboy advance. Same functionality as the legit cart, but you can't save.

It's fairly straight forward to use once you have read the simple manual. You have slots to save your 'loops' to(each channel individually), and it also has a song sequencer for laying out your loops to play back sequentially, or you can just fire them off on the fly manually, either all 4 channels in a row, or individual channels by themselves.

But where it really shines is live manipulation. You can change parameters on the fly, shift pattterns, load new patterns, transpose, etc.

Check this guy out:

http://www.youtube.com/user/H3nryHomesweet

It's pretty amazing. The original GB version is pretty badass as well, but you don't have the polyphony on the S channel(actually the WAVE channel) but you can draw your own waveforms in it and it has some interesting modulation functions. Same deal, you can get the demo rom and run it in an emulator, i'd recommend BGB.

Something else you may want to check out is mGB(scroll down or the DL link is on the side at the top) for the original GB. You can use that usb-midi adaptor on the nanoloop site(cheapest option) or buy/build an arduinoboy. It is basically a 4 channel(2x pulse, variable wave, and noise) and gives you midi control of all, with a simple user interface on screen that you can change with the GB controls or via midi CC. You can control envelopes, sweep, etc.

It's free and you just need aflash cart or you can actually load it into a spare rom slot on the nanoloop 1.6 carts(but no preset saving function).

Check em out.

Sorry for the wall of text. :lol:
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Tue May 14, 2013 9:27 pm

Thanks for the information! (It's okay that it was long, but I don't think I can respond to all of it).

For now, I think I'll just see how to improve the thing I have because nanoloop is a bit spendy for now, especially since I can't sequence it from external gear (which is what I really want!!!).

The spritesmod cable that I have has 5 different channels:
Channel 1: Duophonic synth
Channel 2: Maybe the same thing, I forgot
Channel 3: A sweeping synth (basically allows portamento)
Channel 4: Polyphonic synth part (I don't remember what the polyphony was)
Channe 10: Noise generator.

So it does have quite a few cool features to it. You can make arpegiators to the first two channels and change a lot of the other parameters like waveform, etc.

Seems like the perfect GBA synth would be one that was a combination of what I have and nanoloop!
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby tekkentool » Wed May 15, 2013 10:52 am

seems like you're going to a lot of effort for a result not adding up to it. If you really want to sequence externally why not swap to a software/sample based solution? Also promod should increase the output quality of the GBA.

Also go for LSDJ not nanoloop IMO.
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby madmarkmagee » Wed May 15, 2013 12:51 pm

tekkentool wrote: Also promod should increase the output quality of the GBA.


:lol: I think that the appeal is that it sounds rough and distorted. Can't beat shitty outputs for warm distortion
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby tekkentool » Wed May 15, 2013 1:07 pm

madmarkmagee wrote:
tekkentool wrote: Also promod should increase the output quality of the GBA.


:lol: I think that the appeal is that it sounds rough and distorted. Can't beat shitty outputs for warm distortion


The appeal of chiptunes is overcoming limitations to create a lot from very, very little. I think that modifying the internals to give a second sound output to improve your craft fits well under that dogma. I don't know if you know the difference in sound between pro mod and a normal output but I doubt any sane man on the planet would choose the non pro-modded version.

Also the choice to describe the original outputs as "warm" in comparison to pro mod is...hilarious.
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby madmarkmagee » Wed May 15, 2013 1:36 pm

tekkentool wrote:
madmarkmagee wrote:
tekkentool wrote: Also promod should increase the output quality of the GBA.


:lol: I think that the appeal is that it sounds rough and distorted. Can't beat shitty outputs for warm distortion


The appeal of chiptunes is overcoming limitations to create a lot from very, very little. I think that modifying the internals to give a second sound output to improve your craft fits well under that dogma. I don't know if you know the difference in sound between pro mod and a normal output but I doubt any sane man on the planet would choose the non pro-modded version.

Also the choice to describe the original outputs as "warm" in comparison to pro mod is...hilarious.


I was being slightly facetious...

But that's the jux of my point, though it may be for you, hard to believe, some people like the the sound of rough as guts squarewaves. One man's casiotone is another's Jupiter 8. :lol:
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby Infinity Curve » Wed May 15, 2013 6:43 pm

tekkentool wrote:
madmarkmagee wrote:
tekkentool wrote: Also promod should increase the output quality of the GBA.


:lol: I think that the appeal is that it sounds rough and distorted. Can't beat shitty outputs for warm distortion


The appeal of chiptunes is overcoming limitations to create a lot from very, very little. I think that modifying the internals to give a second sound output to improve your craft fits well under that dogma. I don't know if you know the difference in sound between pro mod and a normal output but I doubt any sane man on the planet would choose the non pro-modded version.

Also the choice to describe the original outputs as "warm" in comparison to pro mod is...hilarious.


There isn't really a 'pro-mod' for the GBA.

Also, LSDj and Nanoloop are 2 very different beasts. Both very good at what they do, both with their own particular things they are better at. Nanoloop is definitely more noob friendly, with a much smaller learning curve than LSDj; it also has a much more visual interface. For people not used to using trackers, LSDj can be a bit daunting.
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Wed May 15, 2013 7:07 pm

:oops:

I sorta feel like an asshole over here, understanding little of what you guys are talking about. I've heard of LSDj and nanoloop, but... for a noob like me in the realm of 8-bit synthesizers (well, GB, GBA, C64) it is a bit to take in. Nanoloop definitely seems easier, you buy a cartridge and then you figure out the software. LSDj just looks like a mess of stuff going on. You need to buy the license, a backup device or something, figure out how to get the software onto a cartridge and... life's too complicated as it is. Anyone who can utilize these devices get a big thumbs up by me. Understanding my more professional gear is difficult task in itself (radikal technologies Spectralis II).

The simplicity of the spritesmod device was attractive. A MIDI-to-GBA cable that plugs in, gives you 5 channels worth of sounds. Done. Of course, it turned out to not be that simple, with my external sequencers overloading the system. But the appeal was there. The developer said he'd try to figure out what was going on. I really only spent 20 minutes screwing around with the thing, so there hasn't been too much invested (with little return), yet.

I think I'll wait to do some sort of promod until after I get something I'm happy with. The lofi shitty sounds are perfectly fine by me at the moment. But it's cool learning about all these things and I appreciate the information from everyone!
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby acemonvw » Thu May 16, 2013 9:53 pm

I finally got around to trying the spritesmod device with maschine. Apparently it works much better with that, allowing me to have at least one sequencer by which to create music (I felt somewhat limited using the internal sequencer).

I'll hopefully be able to post something a little better soon. For now, this is actually quite a cool device. You plug it in, turn on the GBA, modify the sounds on different channels (Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10) to your liking, and then sequence. You have one 8-part polyphonic channel (4), arpeggiators on channels 1 and 2, and 3 and 10 (noise).

It's a pretty fun little device!
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Re: First attempt: Gameboy advance chiptune

Postby Tommy Kront » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:43 pm

I found an excellent selection of games GameBoy https://romsmania.com/roms/gameboy-advance. Really great because it's available for download for free. I have already installed Super Mario on Android and plan to install Asterix and Obelix. You know, I even think about buying a smartphone for my son. Cuz, he is already interested in various games on the device.
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