What's the best FM music you've heard?

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What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-4-07 @ 01:22

I'm really impressed with the FM music in the Ultima Underworld series and Wing Commanders 1 and 2. What DOS games have your favorite FM music implementation?
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby HighTreason » 2016-4-07 @ 01:29

Err... This; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYmdM39iuL0

Bloody AWFUL game on pretty much every platform and the SNES version has some of the worst music I've ever heard (laughably bad though) but for some reason, they guy who did the music in the DOS version was like,
"Nah, fuck it, I don't care if the rest of the game sucks. Ain't nobody gonna say my music wasn't up to scratch on this."

Heard the DOS version for the first time recently and literally sat with this dumb look on my face, I really did not expect the soundtrack to actually be good.


There used to be some pirate software discs distributed locally that had a menu with awesome FM music, I'll have to try and dig some of them out but I have a nasty feeling the disc rot will have caught up with them all by now. 6 of the 8 I had were already past it last time I saw them and that was years ago.


Edit: Anyone want me to record that myself from a real FM chip? I think I actually have the game somewhere.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-4-07 @ 01:39

I'll have to agree with you on that, HighTreason. Pretty awesome FM music.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby kaputnik » 2016-4-07 @ 01:58

Perhaps a bit mainstream and boring, but I really loved the Doom series soundtracks. If I have to pick favorites from them, it's gonna be the E1M8 tune from Doom 1, and that pretty blatant Them Bones ripoff from Doom 2.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby DX7_EP » 2016-4-07 @ 02:05

I would say Dune (notably the Adlib Gold rendition) and Princess Maker 2 (any OPL2 or OPL3) take the cake as far as IBM PC compatibles are concerned. Both Picq and Kajihara, respectively, were really able to challenge any preconceived notions of OPL FM with well-written and well-programmed tracks.

There is also that one game people mention here that does use 4-Op OPL3, but I keep forgetting what it was called. I mention it anyways as IMO the OPL was greatly underappreciated by most developers (and even now gets relatively little love and is cumbersome to some to use), leading to few instances where the OPL3 was really used to its full potential.
By contrast we have a royal ton of excellent FM work on Japanese computers (especially the X68000, PC-88, and PC-98 series), but that is a different conversation altogether. ;)
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby xjas » 2016-4-07 @ 02:41

Vectorman on the Genesis had a pretty damn awesome soundtrack. It holds up extremely well to the CD audio version. I can't even decide which set I like better, they are both excellent.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby leileilol » 2016-4-07 @ 02:42

Is "that one game" Cyber Sphere by any chance?
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby Sutekh94 » 2016-4-07 @ 02:52

obligatory Vinyl Goddess From Mars reference
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-4-07 @ 03:04

I got my first sound card, a Sound Blaster 1.5, after saving up for it during a summer holiday job.

At that time, Monkey Island 2 impressed me the most. Not that much later I got a General MIDI board, so I didn't experience FM much / at all any more.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2016-4-07 @ 03:07

I got some floppys off ebay a while back (1000 to be percise) and id say ive found around 2000 dos era audio files ranging from VOC to everything in between. Screamtracker, protracker, etc just in the small portion of disks ive bothered to go through. Ill upload some later since i dont think any of its copyrighted. I know ive found remakes of the Twilight Zone and Airwolf theme songs lol.

Also found some zip that was an official creative labs audio package. Cant find it agian though in that mess of disk. I remember the readme said:

''This is a package of over 800 audio files for your SoundBlaster card'' or something very similiar. Anyone remember that?
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby HighTreason » 2016-4-07 @ 04:40

I decided to go ahead and actually carry out my threat, includes the "Dragon" pirate music thing too. I may upload the file later if I can think of a way to get it off the machine, the workstation and the network configuration aren't playing ball right now... Actually nothing is, I blame the weather.

https://youtu.be/f_wAvV4zyZo

I should be arrogant and find some of my own AdLib music just to annoy everyone, given how early on it was the only synth I had. I don't remember most of how it these days.

Shouldn't have uploaded that, it intensifies my desire to make another YouTube video... Ugh, bollocks to it, if I have to stop work and move then, well, that happens. I'm going to set to work on scripts and stuff tomorrow I think, provided I can dedicate that much time to something in one go. As for dragging out my old FM music, I was actually going to just for the hell of it, but the last input on my Audigy just died (I lost MIDI 2 yesterday as well) so with that, my audio recording days are over. Guess I'll have to use an older machine to do that for now, though that kind of puts having sound in any videos into question as I'd have to re-sync it manually. You can probably also see that the video side of things isn't particularly happy either. After I move I think I'll have to start seriously looking at refreshing this hardware, I don't think it's got a lot of miles left, but it's sure clocked up a lot already so I'll forgive it. Also I am getting so mad with Windows 7's interface lately that it really kills and buzz I get when trying to do stuff because it just throws more retarded design decisions at me around every corner... Yeah, I know you failed to connect to the machine before, but it's online now, stop assuming it is still offline. Yes, I want to open that file, that's why I clicked on it, stop asking me. No, I don't want you to re-arrange my desktop, but you'll do it the next time you forcibly restart after an update I am sure... Computing is not what it used to be and that magic is gone, glad I've got all this old stuff around me to remind me how great it used to be.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby xjas » 2016-4-07 @ 04:52

^^ That Dragon track is *really* nice and it demonstrates something very few FM composers manage to get right (believe me I've tried) - a filter sweep! Or rather, an emulated filter sweep using the synth parameters, done very well. :D

Unfortunately youtube seems to have eaten your video quality, and it sounds like the audio is clipped too. Running the line out a little hot?
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby HighTreason » 2016-4-07 @ 05:05

I think it's more that my whole rig is eating itself. The audio was fed in way below the levels, but as I said, the input blew minutes later. The poor sound card has had coolant leaking on it (And making it grow blue fur) for a few years now. If I recorded it again now it would sound like white noise. Unfortunately everything sounds dodgy to me right now anyway as my headphones are busted and I can't use the stereo because it's early in the morning. Still, I like knowing it's coming from a real FM chip, so it will do for now and it isn't the PAS that's having problems, losing an Audigy 2 isn't as much of a big deal.

I'll try and get some better recordings when I can, I'd use the Pentium III but the virus it has likes to disable audio. I got it partially working to do a livestream yesterday only to find that one of its payloads is to play a buzzer at random intervals (very random, like hours apart) so that's out of the question. My Athlon is busted and has the same virus anyway. Laptop is a bit noisy. I think Hooker can probably stomach recording audio at high bit rates, but the SBPro doesn't... I'll come up with something.


Still, the Dragon track is certainly impressive. So was their piracy, they had a real knack for getting around copy protection in style - not least of which was hacking the installer for Windows 98SE to enter a serial automatically, think they did it to Office2K as well. In fact, most fields would fill themselves out in the majority of the included software's installers. This was without running an external application like a patch or injector, so there was certainly some low-level trickery going on and these were all just the original installers the software authors wrote (such as Microsoft) with modifications as opposed to ones they wrote from scratch. I also assume they never got caught as it is pretty much impossible to find any record of their existence. I'm definitely going to look for the discs again anyway, sure I still had a working Dragon 8 / Dragon 2K or a Dragon 4 disc somewhere.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby AnacreonZA » 2016-4-07 @ 08:42

I always liked the OPL soundtrack to Hocus Pocus. If I remember correctly it was one of those games that allowed you to set it as OPL3 to get slightly better music than standard Adlib OPL2. Even the Apogee logo theme at the start sounded awesome. I also preferred playing Descent with OLP3 instead of MIDI, although originally that was because I couldn't figure out how to get MIDI music to play while my CH Flightstick was plugged in at the same time. Even now I switch between using my Yamaha DB50XG and OPL3 music in that game.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby leileilol » 2016-4-07 @ 08:59

I didn't think the Shitfighter music was that great when I played the game in 1992 on a SB (having been snespoiled)... and seems to be the only redeeming factor to that ducttaped port of a game. There was no sound, and blocky choppy shakey digitized photo people were creepy to me at the time (and kinda still are!). The game wasn't great then and only the one song it ever plays happens to age relatively better. I also realize the song was originally created by a particular somebody who promises to break the legs of hacker fuckers hacking his games which would make this the appropriate song if that ever goes down

Stunts/4DSportsDriving's menu music outdoes it though :)

Going by the same OPL2 period, Zeliard, Lemmings and Overkill are worth listening into as well.

(also i like this thread's lack of Tyrian. I only liked the 1.0 soundtrack, 2.x's additions were horrible to the point those new scrappy songs are considered the definitive DOS music to newgen "tyrian 2000" fans)
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby bjt » 2016-4-07 @ 10:16

Great topic! Dune and KGB definitely make my list. The LucasArts adventure games are pretty excellent also.

The intro music for Eye of the Beholder II is just awesome:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0lteK-l7YQ
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-4-07 @ 11:12

I was watching DOS Nostalgia last night and came across this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI3J8dZFMIs
I have this game, and even fired it up recently, but somehow forgot to mention it. Even if you don't think it is the "best", they certainly got a pretty unique new age sound out of FM synth.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby Jr_ » 2016-4-07 @ 12:24

To me, the best one is the Tyrian soundtrack.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby F2bnp » 2016-4-07 @ 12:50

I'm only going to list PC stuff, otherwise this'll get out of hand real fast:

- Dune
- Monkey Island 2 (I can never get the tune from when you're fighting LeChuck out of my head)
- Doom & Doom 2
- Terra Nova (unfortunately I can't find the adlib renditions anywhere, so here's a GM sample)
- Warcraft II (most people just used the CD Audio for this one, but I dig the OPL soundtrack a lot)
- System Shock
- Fade To Black (If not purely for nostalgic reasons, unfortunately couldn't find it online)
- X-Com : Enemy Unknown (the original one, the main theme/intro music and interceptor music are classics, however the ambiance is absolutely perfect too)
- Lollypop (tough as tits game, but the soundtrack was done by Vibrants! I prefer the MT-32 OST overall, but this is great stuff nonetheless)
- Syndicate
- Frontier : Elite 2 (absolutely destroys the Amiga soundtrack IMO)

I'm honestly more of a sample based synthesis guy, but I do love me some great FM synthesis :). We had a similar thread a while ago, where Cloudschatze uploaded some amazing tracks from some obscure Japanese games that I still regularly listen to on my MP3 player, one of them was called Genpei War I reckon. Absolutely great stuff.
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Re: What's the best FM music you've heard?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-4-07 @ 12:55

kaputnik wrote:Perhaps a bit mainstream and boring, but I really loved the Doom series soundtracks. If I have to pick favorites from them, it's gonna be the E1M8 tune from Doom 1, and that pretty blatant Them Bones ripoff from Doom 2.


I am so used to the General MIDI versions of Doom's music that the FM music automatically sounds "bad" to me. But games I grew up listening to the FM versions seem to sound better. :) Other games this affects me on are System Shock and Wing Commander 3. I originally played them with General MIDI, so when I hear the FM versions, it sounds terrible to my (spoiled) ear.

BTW, I love the username, kaputnik. Makes me chuckle every time I say it out loud.

DX7_EP wrote:There is also that one game people mention here that does use 4-Op OPL3, but I keep forgetting what it was called. I mention it anyways as IMO the OPL was greatly underappreciated by most developers (and even now gets relatively little love and is cumbersome to some to use), leading to few instances where the OPL3 was really used to its full potential.

I'm pretty sure either Tie Fighter, X-Wing, or both have an OPL4 option in their music configuration settings.

edit: sorry, typing too fast. I meant 4-op, not OPL4.
Last edited by clueless1 on 2016-4-07 @ 13:16, edited 1 time in total.
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