Technically impressive FM synth music

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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2012-4-03 @ 10:50

I see. So the reason why many FM game music sounds alike (American games) is actually because of programming habit.

As such, we need to modify the game in order to change how the game music sounds. Hmmm... I thought it's as easy as soundfont, turned out FM chips is much different than GM.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby MusicallyInspired » 2012-4-03 @ 19:07

FM synth's sounds are generated by multiple custom waveform parameters. It's kind of like programming custom timbres for the MT-32. It's not simply uploading your own sounds as instruments (like a MODule for instance), but rather manipulating the properties of a waveform to resemble the sound you're looking for as closely as possible. Later FM cards had more customizable parameters and possibilities which made the sounds resemble live instruments even more.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-5-01 @ 04:19

Here is another example of stellar Asian OPL2 FM work. A number of the pieces are fairly simplistic, but the blending of synth and traditional Japanese instruments was pulled-off to rather exceptional effect, especially given the medium to work with.

Genpei War (源平合戦)
Title Theme
Overland 3 Theme
Battle Theme
Main Menu Theme
Duel Theme
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby F2bnp » 2012-5-01 @ 05:16

Fantastic work. This puts a lot of compositions to shame. OPL2 at its best :D
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Teppic » 2012-5-02 @ 00:22

That Genpei War title theme is great!
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby kool kitty89 » 2012-5-03 @ 05:58

The best OPL2/OPL3 music I've heard in an actual PC game is Wacky Wheels (OPL2 at that), but the best OPL3 music period has to be Madbrain's stuff:
https://ns2.opencollective.cc/members/mad/

Another note is that very, very few PC games used PCM samples to complement FM synth (ie limited use of sampled drums or such -things FM is relatively weak at, and something that would be very significant even with very few PCM channels software mixed, so relatively little CPU overhead for the time too). This is something that made a huge difference in many of the better tracks on various arcade boards and the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive. (and the MD was certainly worse off for handling PCM than any SB-equipped PC -or similar cards . . . or even Adlib+Covox style DAC -since the latter is basically what the MD has to work with, but with significantly less CPU resource and no help from timer interrupts)

That said, Wacky Wheels and Mad's tracks manage exceptionally good percussion sounds without resorting to samples. (especially Mad's stuff, but WW sounds great for plain ol' 2-op OPL2 FM synth)

Some of the most impressive WW tracks IMO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibrAagaj_Dw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfzg2vuqia0

And the entire soundtrack:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... ature=plcp
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby sliderider » 2012-5-03 @ 09:43

I'm getting a warning message about that first link saying it's not the server that it is claiming to be.

This is probably not the site you are looking for.

You attempted to reach ns2.opencollective.cc but instead you actually reached a server identifying itself as 8bc.org. This may be casued by a misconfiguration of the server or by something more serious.An attacker on your network could be trying to get you to visit a fake (and potentially harmful) version of ns2.opencollective.cc.

You should NOT proceed, especially if you have never seen this warning before for this site.

It also strikes me as kind of odd that someone would store audio clips on a secure server in the first place. Unless you're self hosting, the cost of using a secure server to host a personal website would not be justified.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Joey_sw » 2012-5-04 @ 17:01

PC98 also use FM music coupled with PSG, some of PC98 games were using quite good musics.
If only i could read japanese...

as for PC Games, i like the "Empire of the Angel 2" FM Music.
Its too bad that it doesn't have music test, that i must load various saved games just to listen a certain music.
That game already listed as being compatible with dosbox.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby kool kitty89 » 2012-5-04 @ 19:10

sliderider wrote:I'm getting a warning message about that first link saying it's not the server that it is claiming to be.

This is probably not the site you are looking for.

You attempted to reach ns2.opencollective.cc but instead you actually reached a server identifying itself as 8bc.org. This may be casued by a misconfiguration of the server or by something more serious.An attacker on your network could be trying to get you to visit a fake (and potentially harmful) version of ns2.opencollective.cc.

You should NOT proceed, especially if you have never seen this warning before for this site.

It also strikes me as kind of odd that someone would store audio clips on a secure server in the first place. Unless you're self hosting, the cost of using a secure server to host a personal website would not be justified.

The normal site IS 8bc.org . . . it seems that that site is down and this is a temporary server. In any case, it also seems the audio files are inaccessible on this temp server (both as streaming or download), so that's a bit moot anyway.

Some of mad's stuff can be found on battleofthebits though:
http://battleofthebits.org/barracks/Profile/madbrain/ (only 2 of the OPL tunes though)

Oh, and some other nice OPL2/OPL3 chiptunes:
http://battleofthebits.org/arena/Tag/adlib/ (Warlord and Kulor are among the better composers on the site)



Joey_sw wrote:PC98 also use FM music coupled with PSG, some of PC98 games were using quite good musics.
If only i could read japanese...

as for PC Games, i like the "Empire of the Angel 2" FM Music.
Its too bad that it doesn't have music test, that i must load various saved games just to listen a certain music.
That game already listed as being compatible with dosbox.

It should be noted that the PC88 and PC98 used a different type of FM chip than IBM compatibles. The PC88 typically used the YM2203 or 2608 on high-end models, while I believe the PC98 sometimes used the YM2151 (the arcade standard chip, also in the X68000).
Likewise, the YM2612 used in the Sega Genesis/MD is also significantly different from what PCs used.

Those chips all use 4-op FM synth, considerably more powerful than the 2-op FM used by the YM3812 (OPL2) or the very limited 4-op modes supported by YMF262 (OPL3), albeit the large number of channels and added waveforms boost the OPL2's (and especially OPL3) capabilities somewhat, but the OPL2 is still generally weaker than even the 6-channel YM2612 of the Genesis (arguably the 3 channel FM+3 PSG YM2203 as well). The larger number of channels do give advantages in some other areas though, and do allow for additive synth by pairing channels (harmoizing) as well as a bit more flexibility for echo/reverb effects. (obviously more so for the OPL3 -and additive/harmonized channels are usually more useful than the limited 4-op algorithms supported by the OPL3, albeit all of those advantages were sorely underutilized by average DOS games -the use of reverb in Wacky Wheels is one of the more noticeable aspects for that reason)
-Had the OPL3 supported YM2151/YM2612 style 4-op algos, it would have been very powerful indeed (especially with the added waveforms on top of that), quite possibly the most powerful single-chip FM synthesizer Yamaha had to offer, but that's not the case.

OTOH, there's also the super low-end YM2413 (OPLL) used in the Japanese Sega Master System and late MSX models (and available as an expansion module). That's basically a cut-down OPL2 where all 9 channels are still present, but only 1 user-defined patch can be used at any given time (in addition to a selection of preset patches in ROM). In spite of that, you still see Japanese YM2413 game music often outperforming most OPL music in DOS games.


There's been some rather long-winded discussions on this topic over at the Sega-16 forums (including PC hardware), and one other thing that was mentioned is that the many bland/samey sounding Genesis soundtracks are usually the result of the same problems seen on contemporary DOS games: a combination of limited midi drivers or synth tracker software combined with composers not adept at more advanced synth techniques with that sort of hardware. (particularly problematic in North American developers, and in the case of Sega stuff, the mediocre GEMS sound engine was also used -though there's a handful of quite good sounding games that used that engine too, like Earthworm Jim and Comix Zone)
Likewise, the relatively weak sounding YM2151 soundtracks in US developed arcade games relative to Japanese arcade stuff is due to similar issues. (use of generic midi drivers and lack of advanced arrangement techniques)

I can dig up some of the other threads if you want, but here's one if anyone's interested:
http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread ... 12-vs-OPL2



Edit:
One somewhat direct example of the difference of the OPL2 and YM2612's capabilities would be in Zero Wing's Arcade vs MegaDrive soundtracks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9GfzfjAFNo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_TFrpU7GI
(both developed by Toaplan in Japan, albeit the MD version shows off the use of PCM percussion as well -and, of course, there's some artistic differences in the remix as well)
These recordings aren't the best either . . . there used to be better examples on youtube, but I can't seem to find them anymore.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-5-15 @ 18:39

I imagine the term "beautiful music" doesn't often come to mind when referring to 2-Op (Ad Lib) FM music, so while continuing the trend of indomitable East Asian work, here are a just a few such pieces that can be said to fit that description, from a preeminent DOS/Windows RPG out of Taiwan...


The Legend of Sword and Fairy (仙劍奇俠傳)
PALADIN_1.mp3
PALADIN_2.mp3
PALADIN_3.mp3
PALADIN_4.mp3
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-5-16 @ 11:06

kool kitty89 wrote:Edit:
One somewhat direct example of the difference of the OPL2 and YM2612's capabilities would be in Zero Wing's Arcade vs MegaDrive soundtracks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9GfzfjAFNo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_TFrpU7GI


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BASE

BASE

ALL YOUR BASE......ARE BELONG TO US!!
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby jwt27 » 2012-5-18 @ 15:14

Would this count as technically impressive?

http://soundcloud.com/oplawaai3/its-a-dream


Here's the original track for comparison:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6tiki7cyn8
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby dirkmirk » 2012-5-18 @ 21:13

Airpower sounds very good with fm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGgbAUj3crU
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Joey_sw » 2012-5-21 @ 02:17

anyone here know good .XMI player under dos?

i've extracted the music from Flame Dragon Knight 2 (Taiwanese games), its in .xmi format.
Just ripp it from FDMUS.DAT file using ripper that recognized .xmi format

I could play that .xmi files under windows,
but since its originally designed to be played on OPL sound card,
its doesn't sound good in windows's SW-Synth which mostly geared toward General Midi.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby elianda » 2012-7-27 @ 15:35

There exists a official package of the miles drivers from rad game tools with a bunch of card drivers and midi/digi player. It's obsolete nowadays, but does it's job in DOS very well for playing XMI files. You can even choose subsongs.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby mills26 » 2012-8-07 @ 21:49

I have been reading this forums for a while, and now I decided to come in

I owned a Sound Blaster 16, (well, it was a "vibra 16"). Some of the best OPL2 sounds I heared on it, were the "loudness sound system" ones.

Some games that used loudness are Tyrian, Dig it!, and my favourite: Fuzzy's world of miniature space golf, which sounds a bit different than tyrian.

Here is an example from fuzzy's world:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iprv0QWQ ... ure=relmfu
I added this loudness tune as attachment, you can play it using in_adlib plugin for winamp or xmplay. I remember it sounding just identical on the real hardware.

another one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CUX7nah3KA

You can find loudness tunes inside cta-adlib.zip in this web: http://chiptunes.back2roots.org/

As far as I know, the loudness sound systen was supposed to be an adlib tracker, which defined MIDI instruments in a way that they sounded very very well on the opl2.
I'm trying to rip the instruments from loudness tunes, but the only way to rip them, would be to get a dosbox raw opl dump, and look inside it. (a bit complicated).

Another good sounding adlib tunes are .d00 files, and twintracker files, just play the twintrack attachment and listen to that flute sound. (this file doesn't sound very good on emulators).
Attachments
Loudness.zip
(1.53 KiB) Downloaded 199 times
twintrack.zip
(1.91 KiB) Downloaded 205 times
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Jepael » 2012-8-10 @ 20:42

As far as I know, the loudness sound systen was supposed to be an adlib tracker, which defined MIDI instruments in a way that they sounded very very well on the opl2.
I'm trying to rip the instruments from loudness tunes, but the only way to rip them, would be to get a dosbox raw opl dump, and look inside it. (a bit complicated).


No, since there already exists a player with source code, you can just examine how to read instruments from the lds file.

But it seems it is not so simple. I am not 100% sure, but the instrument does not only consist of OPL register data which is just loaded to chip and the sound is turned on. The instrument contains also other parameters, like vibrato and tremolo, to alter volume and frequency data, which are continuously updated to the OPL chip.

Or then the data refers to running effects on a channel, but for some reason that data is defined in the instrument section among with OPL chip register data.
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby mills26 » 2012-8-11 @ 10:52

Jepael wrote:
No, since there already exists a player with source code, you can just examine how to read instruments from the lds file.

But it seems it is not so simple. I am not 100% sure, but the instrument does not only consist of OPL register data which is just loaded to chip and the sound is turned on. The instrument contains also other parameters, like vibrato and tremolo, to alter volume and frequency data, which are continuously updated to the OPL chip.

Or then the data refers to running effects on a channel, but for some reason that data is defined in the instrument section among with OPL chip register data.


Well I already looked into the source code of the player.. I didn't understand anything :).

I said it was like a midi, because some time ago, I asked a guy who had talked to the original loudness creator. He told me the systen defined 127 instruments like standard MIDI, but it had some different "modes". for example tyrian drums, sound different than fuzzy's drums.

I did some testing in reality adlib tracker, and i got some very similar instruments, but i think the lds has something else...
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby mills26 » 2012-9-07 @ 12:40

I just discovered the ym3812 is based on yamaha DX7, and I found this in another forum:

"Andras deserves a lot of credit for a number of pieces in Tyrian... ...he programmed the "Loudness" sound system, which in its day was the best AdLib system ever created, turning standard AdLib instruments into full blow DX7 synth sounding ones..."

So the loudness system, turned the ym3812 into a kind of little dx7, and sounded much better.

I am not an expert, and I may be wrong... but...
Would it be possible for a chip like ym3812 to use some kind of simple software synthesis along with the hardware itself to produce better sounds?

May be the loudness system was doing this...?

I made a video with some of the best ym3812 songs, including twintracker, loudness...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zl7lvQixIc
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Re: Technically impressive FM synth music

Postby Jepael » 2012-9-07 @ 19:59

No those are not comparable as per the raw chip.

Yamaha DX-7 has 16 channels (voices), 6 operators per channel, only sine wave operator waveform, and 32 algorithms how the operators are combined together.

Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2) chip has 9 channels (voices), 2 operators per channel, four operator waveforms (sine and three modified out of that sine), and only 2 algorithms (modulator->carrier arrangement for FM, or just sum of both operators).

So when you turn on a sound on DX-7 channel, it can be very complex sound produced in hardware by the chip.

Sounds produced by OPL2 hardware only are much simpler, but the Loudness system software might constantly update the sound parameters when it plays, so it sounds better than native OPL2 instruments. So yes, this is what you called "simple software synthesis". I think it can never reach the level of real DX-7 instruments in terms of waveform complexity, but it can still sound better as a whole. Just like cheap violin played by skilled person might sound better than expensive violin played by unskilled person.

Some MOD players were even capable of playing sampled sounds on a OPL2 chip, although quality was relatively poor.
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