The NES’s noise channel doesn’t actually generate random noise. It plays back a 32767 bit long sequence at 16 different speeds. Which means we can recreate it semi-accurately in a sampler!
This Kontakt multi patch has two instruments – one on MIDI channel 1 for the long noise setting (which loops the entire sequence) and one on channel 2 for the short noise setting (which loops 93-bit sections of the sequence).
I also made this Reaktor ensemble, which provides more variety in the short noise setting but lacks Kontakt’s excellent anti-aliasing tech. I’m going to try to get into Max next to see if I can create a best-of-both-worlds version.
Both ZIPs have a MIDI file showing which notes correspond to the original 16 speeds, though you’re free to play notes the NES couldn’t.
Special thanks to FamiTracker, which I used to render out a hi-res version of the sequence!
To this day, Zelda games continue to take a highly musical approach to their sounds, each effect a little composition. It’s what makes the sounds so memorable and iconic! It also provides some excellent lessons in just how melodic you can be in your sound design.
Continue reading The Legend of Zelda
Metal Gear’s sound design is an interesting mix of imitating real world sound effects and recreating spy movie-style musical cues in 8-bit. It manages to find that great balance between serious and lighthearted that’s been a series hallmark ever since!
Continue reading Metal Gear
Ever since the NES days, Nintendo’s been king of melodic sound design, and they were already masters of it by the time they made Super Mario Bros. These sounds employ musical ideas in ways that perfectly describe their animations, and even though it’s been 30 years since they first spilled out of a CRT TV’s speakers, they still suit the series perfectly.
Continue reading Super Mario Bros.
On this page, I want to explore the magical place where sound design meets melody and rhythm. I’m going to start a repository of classic sound effects in musical notation and MIDI, along with analyses of the sound design techniques each one employs.
Continue reading Sound Effects Transcribed