SNES vs Genesis Sound

So my 13yr old has been playing through Chrono Trigger and I'm getting major nostalgia from it. It reminded me of how much a sound chip mattered in the 16bit days. I have been listening to You Tube videos of SNES and Genesis music and to me the SNES is far superior, but I am willing to be proven wrong. So in this thread post links to 16bit music samples from SNES and Genesis that represent the best of what 16bit sound has to offer.


He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
Over/under on # of posts before someone brings up Rock 'n Roll Racing in the only capacity it's ever mentioned on this forum?
SNES had a better sound chip and way more legendary soundtracks but the Sega Genesis soundchip had this incredibly awesome synthy sound that was unique to the system. It was always easy to identify a genesis game by music because it was so unique.
SNES has technically better sound, but I personally love the way the Genesis sounds. It has a very distinct sound, that really appeals to me, and takes me back to my childhood.

So for me, it's all about the Genesis
Nothing within the constraints of the 16-bit Era can even come close to the aural-gasm that was hearing the Sega Genesis Ghouls 'n Ghosts's theme for the first time.


He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
Snes sounds like bad early midi music.

Genesis has a very distinct sound that, when used correctly, puts snes to shame.
While the SNES was technically superior in number of sound channels, sample quality, etc. the Genesis sound chip was a synth chip (YM2612) and was better suited to drums and bass. Which is why games that had techno'ish music sometimes sounded better on Genesis where as if the music was orchestral the SNES blew the socks off of the Genesis.


or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
They are apples and oranges, really.

SNES had some beautiful sound samples, of course. But the Genesis' FM synth was like an electric guitar in the right hands.


thanks for the laugh
snes OSTs (with some exceptions) generally just sound like unremarkable early MIDI these days. mega drive OSTs are like an industrial chip tune sub-genre all of their own.
This might be one of the worst examples you could post in this thread because it's a perfect example of two major shortcomings I thought the SNES had compared to the Genesis: really weak guitars and percussion.

Thunder Force IV, for comparison.
I thought it sounds pretty good. Maybe this is a better example of guitars?

Sure is leagues better than the Genesis one.

That's not to say the Genny didn't have great guitar tracks mind you, just that that's sometimes what happened with multiplats.
Seems obvious to me it depends on the style of music. The SNES is nicer but also wimpier.

Speaking of Thunder Force, I just learned how good the Elemental Master soundtrack is.
In short:

The Genesis has a PSG (the thing that makes music like "bleeps" and "bloops" like 8-bit systems) and it also has FM Synthesis (the "twang-y" music). FM Synthesis is very versatile, but hard to get right. Unfortunately, because of its difficulty, it was hard to make good music with it, but if you were good with it, you could make some amazing music with it.

My favorite of the Genesis:

The Super Nintendo uses normal sound samples to make music, allowing for natural sounding music. However, it had a very heavy low-pass filter, so it wasn't as great for some of the loud, pumpin', super-rockin' soundtracks like on the Genesis and even 8-bit systems. That said, it was great for making more orchestral or ambient music, perfect for RPGs.

My favorite of the SNES:

I also sorta like this one (Dancing Mad from Final Fantasy III/VI):

Bonus: Turbografx
It has a PSG, IMO it has worse music than the NES. But it didn't stop this utter awesomeness from being made:
I also love this a lot:
I grew up a Genesis fan. And there are some amazing songs on it. No doubt.

But SNES overall is the better system soundtrack, no question, almost exclusively because of how hard the Genesis was to work with.
The Genesis just sounded dirty as hell. I remember thinking there was a huge difference even back when they were the current consoles on the market.
the genesis's synthesized instruments were more flexible, able to morph from one timbre to another, and had more punch in the bass and more ability to reproduce metallic, high-pitched sounds

the snes's sampled instruments had much greater variety of possible timbres, and you could have more of them playing at once
It depends on whether you care more about having instruments that actually sort of sound like instruments, vs. music with a unique, rich sound and not just low quality MIDI.