SNES vs Genesis Sound

Oct 23, 2012
1,433
18
400
Now we're going into the subjective. I personally loved that theme song in Knights of the Round, loved the game as well. There's nothing technically wrong with that composition. I'm speaking about square sound waves sounding bad in the lower frequency range as something technical, not a personal preference.
The ti psg chip couldn't go below 109hz (just checked the exact frequency). It doesn't sound especially bad to me, and I know some people who would have preferred it to have the fuller range that the ym2149 variant had.

Check this genesis cover of actraiser. It's pretty good imo



another green lantern to compare to vapor trail (it's not the same style, but it's good shit either way)


Oh yeah, I just remembered this snes vapor trail cover

(So, for some reason soundcloud embedding isn't working and it automatically tries to embed the link, so I'll just link the search)
https://www.google.com/search?q=vap...rome..69i57.4863j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

It's not supposed to be just a cover of the genesis version though, he incorporated elements from the arcade version too.
 
Last edited:
Likes: cireza
Aug 18, 2014
1,447
96
305
Someday we will all agree that this is an endless battle.

Actually, what needs to happen is, like in any other technical discussion, is to discuss the technical, the problem is, like back in the day when we didn't have standard hardware or a technical base for comparing, we had to resort to using examples on hand, and just like this thread it looked like this: "God of War 2 looks better than any Xbox game, therefore the PS2 is more powerful, or Grand Turismo looks better than Forza, etc., and just like now, one piece of hardware was made of standard components and the other with custom in-house components similar to YM2612 vs S-SMP.

Since YM2612 is well documented and easy to program, it has generated a large scene and fan base, unlike S-SMP where there are no tools that exist for us to make creations like people do with YM2612... or is there?

So where am I going with all of this? If S-SMP remains so elusive, then how can we compare? Well I leave you with this little article that was a very interesting read for me, for anyone interested in understand how S-SMP worked and what it's capable of:

http://skirmishfrogs.com/2016/08/22/the-mysterious-legacy-of-the-snes-soundchip/


I just learned about the SNES GSS in this article. I didn't think reproducing Sonic the Hedgehog Green Hill Zone was possible on SNES because they used both the YM2612 and PSG to create it, but it seems like SNES can reproduce it faithfully on its own.
 
Last edited:
Aug 18, 2014
1,447
96
305
This c700 cover of ghz is much better.


I heard that one as well, but since he sampled the music from the genesis version of GHZ, then generated it via the C700, similar to what SNES games would do with orchestrated music, you're technically just cloning the Genesis sounds instead of natively creating your own. This has a negative effect on Timbre, but that's not the case with the native one. Of course it doesn't sound 100% identical because the creator did their best to replicate it, but tonal clarity/timbre better matches the Genesis version.

That being said, in a way this shows just how much more powerful (As a tool for sound designers) the S-SMP is. A relatively inexperienced guy comes along and faithfully recreates GHZ, whereas with the Genesis you would need extremely talented guys to achieve some of its greatest soundtracks.
 
Last edited:
Mar 30, 2015
1,512
86
300
I heard that one as well, but since he sampled the music from the genesis version of GHZ, then generated it via the C700, similar to what SNES games would do with orchestrated music, you're technically just cloning the Genesis sounds instead of natively creating your own. This has a negative effect on Timbre, but that's not the case with the native one. Of course it doesn't sound 100% identical because the creator did their best to replicate it, but tonal clarity/timbre better matches the Genesis version.

That being said, in a way this shows just how much more powerful (As a tool for sound designers) the S-SMP is. A relatively inexperienced guy comes along and faithfully recreates GHZ, whereas with the Genesis you would need extremely talented guys to achieve some of its greatest soundtracks.
Timbre is greatly affected across the board on SNES due sample size limit, especially on sustained notes(loop points).You could sample the worlds greatest piano and it will still lose a lot of character running the chip.
 
Aug 2, 2013
1,499
78
385
The Stage 3 theme posted here earlier from Super Adventure Island sounds like it's an extension from that great early 90's track - by PM Dawn - set adrift on memory bliss....
 
Oct 23, 2012
1,433
18
400
I heard that one as well, but since he sampled the music from the genesis version of GHZ, then generated it via the C700, similar to what SNES games would do with orchestrated music, you're technically just cloning the Genesis sounds instead of natively creating your own. This has a negative effect on Timbre, but that's not the case with the native one. Of course it doesn't sound 100% identical because the creator did their best to replicate it, but tonal clarity/timbre better matches the Genesis version.

That being said, in a way this shows just how much more powerful (As a tool for sound designers) the S-SMP is. A relatively inexperienced guy comes along and faithfully recreates GHZ, whereas with the Genesis you would need extremely talented guys to achieve some of its greatest soundtracks.
Using either chip well takes skill. I don't think it's honest to say that green hill zone took a high level of fm mastery to make. More complex tracks that fully use both chips would be more difficult to replicate. Some, I think might be impossible in the context of a game with 90s cartridge sizes.
 
Last edited:
Aug 18, 2014
1,447
96
305
Haha yes. I wanna hear the Mega Drive or SNES rendition of Through Patient Eyes.

I wouldn't be surprised if they sampled it, wouldn't be the first time.

Listen to this masterpiece with headphones and tell me if you can tell which artist sampled it recently



 
Last edited:
Jan 23, 2018
804
662
230
I wouldn't be surprised if they sampled it, wouldn't be the first time.

Listen to this masterpiece with headphones and tell me if you can tell which artist sampled it recently

Couldn't guess, had to google it. Yeah, that's cool. Lil B sampled FFX and I think Robocop for GB, unless I'm misremembering.
 
Nov 2, 2015
127
9
190
[QUOTE = "Journey, post: 253173960, member: 473954"] But the tonal clarity / timbre best matches the Genesis version. [/TO QUOTE]

First, you complain of square waves in a OST that has no square waves and now this! I have the impression that you have never laid yours hands on a Genesis before.

[QUOTE = "Journey, post: 253173960, member: 473954"]That said, in a way, it shows how much more powerful (as a tool for sound designers) the S-SMP is. A relatively inexperienced guy comes and faithfully recreates GHZ, whereas with Genesis you would need extremely talented guys to get some of your biggest soundtracks. [/ QUOTE]

Yes, 27 years later, a guy with a lot more advanced tools get very near, do not think be a inexperienced guy ... but this game two can play, I don't doubt that the 16 bits of Nintendo emulates very well FM sound. but Mega Drive but the Mega Drive went beyond, with this custom PCM driver, which works in-game without any additional hardware.

 
Last edited:
Likes: Toadofsky_

Toadofsky_

Neo Member
Jan 15, 2018
25
14
100
[QUOTE = "Journey, post: 253173960, member: 473954"] But the tonal clarity / timbre best matches the Genesis version. [/TO QUOTE]

First, you complain of square waves in a strip that has no square waves and now this! I have the impression that you have never laid hands on a Genesis before.

[QUOTE = "Journey, post: 253173960, member: 473954"]That said, in a way, it shows how much more powerful (as a tool for sound designers) the S-SMP is. A relatively inexperienced guy comes and faithfully recreates GHZ, whereas with Genesis you would need extremely talented guys to get some of your biggest soundtracks. [/ QUOTE]

Yes, 27 years later, a guy with a lot more advanced tools is approaching a lot, I do not think I'm an inexperienced guy ... but I think that this two game can play, I do not doubt that the 16 bits of Nintendo emum very well. Mega Drive was much more advanced with this custom PCM driver, which does not work without any additional hardware.

Wow, that’s pretty good, gettin some Super Adventure Island vibes from that
 
Likes: EPSYLON EAGLE
Jul 5, 2010
4,075
119
670
Cancun, Mexico.
Sounds like the game is streaming the music from the cart, which is incredible considering the quality of the audio and the limited space. The music originally came from this:


And put mexican mariachis in arcade renditions can sound very bad.



Serious, much of Super Nes soundtrack do this atrocious mexican like sound.
If you refer to the trumpet samples they do sound a bit mis-used in that game. The closest I've heard on Genesis might be from Golden Axe 2 and I think it sounds a lot better.
 
Last edited:

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
254
189
290
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
Golden Axe III. This game is not well known, but it has an awesome soundtrack. There really isn't anything to throw in the tracks of this game, pretty much all of them are awesome.








I remember reading EGM previews on Golden Axe 3, which was never released in the States, and they just tore it to pieces. It wasn't until many years later that I got to play the game (the Virtual Console reissue) and absolutely loved it. There was a tactical strength that reminded me of the tournament fighters like Virtua Fighter, which added some badly-needed energy into a very tired genre. The fights actually felt like fights and not just repetitive button-mashing. Not that there's anything wrong with mashing buttons. Streets of Rage 2 is always nearby when I need to unwind and relax, and has kept me sane on many bumpy flights.

The music, likewise, is terrific. Both Genesis and Super Nintendo have excellent audio, and I enjoy their differences for what they are. Why bother fighting the 16-bit war 25 years after the fact? What's the use? Sega and Nintendo are like old friends at the VFW post, trading old war stories and chugging beers while drowning in a metric ton of cigarette smoke. Sure, you can't see anything above your ankles, but it's all good. The music is playing and life is good.
 
Jun 1, 2014
3,758
385
330
I agree, gameplay in Golden Axe III is very good and has good variety. There are a lot of different moves available.

The game also has a lot of different paths, and that's great for replayability.
 
Likes: DT MEDIA
Oct 29, 2006
5,059
26
1,005
San Antonio, TX
I'm both surprised and not that this thread keeps going.

I mean, this is the kind of thing that's cool:

But it's also not necessarily... honest, I guess I could say, for an argument to be made for the Genesis since it's done way, way after the fact. I don't feel like these are necessarily good for an argument for or against the system's strengths since composition is so important and that's largely been done already. Plus it's, ya know, over 2 decades since normal production. We also have a lot more tools and knowledge about using these chips than we used to.
 
Oct 23, 2012
1,433
18
400
Love me some snes music, it is the better sounding. But Genesis had a chiptune board that if used right. Made it unique to the system.
It was unique to consoles, bu not really that unique overall. Lots of 80s and early 90s arcade games used FM sound. And japanese PCs like the PC-88/PC-98, X6800, and FM Towns had very similar sound setups.

For example, on the PC-98


Other than somewhat better sample capabilities and a slightly more capable PSG, the YM2608 sound chip is basically the same as in the genesis. (I picked that song because it has probably the most "genesis-like" sound design. The rest of the soundtrack is a lot better imo)

But it's also not necessarily... honest, I guess I could say, for an argument to be made for the Genesis since it's done way, way after the fact. I don't feel like these are necessarily good for an argument for or against the system's strengths since composition is so important and that's largely been done already. Plus it's, ya know, over 2 decades since normal production. We also have a lot more tools and knowledge about using these chips than we used to.
There were games back then that used most, possibly all of the tricks that savaged uses in his videos.

For example, streets of rage uses the channel 3 special mode for sound effects (if you pay attention you'll notice that they're synthesized, not sampled like in the later games).

And I don't think you can really argue that that cover is really more technically accomplished than something like gauntlet IV where everything is expertly simulated with psg and fm synthesis , including percussion and sound effects.




I think the biggest advantage modern chip composers have is the ability to more easily learn from the best examples used in games back then, and more time for experimentation and polish.
 
Last edited:
Likes: EPSYLON EAGLE
Oct 29, 2006
5,059
26
1,005
San Antonio, TX
It was unique to consoles, bu not really that unique overall. Lots of 80s and early 90s arcade games used FM sound. And japanese PCs like the PC-88/PC-98, X6800, and FM Towns had very similar sound setups.

For example, on the PC-98


Other than somewhat better sample capabilities and a slightly more capable PSG, the YM2608 sound chip is basically the same as in the genesis. (I picked that song because it has probably the most "genesis-like" sound design. The rest of the soundtrack is a lot better imo)



There were games back then that used most, possibly all of the tricks that savaged uses in his videos.

For example, streets of rage uses the channel 3 special mode for sound effects (if you pay attention you'll notice that they're synthesized, not sampled like in the later games).

And I don't think you can really argue that that cover is really more technically accomplished than something like gauntlet IV where everything is expertly simulated with psg and fm synthesis , including percussion and sound effects.




I think the biggest advantage modern chip composers have is the ability to more easily learn from the best examples used in games back then, and more time for experimentation and polish.
This is actually more my, admittedly ill-worded, point. Posting music that's on a game taking all aspects of the hardware into consideration and having to learn and compose in a more limited time frame is different than covering an existing composition, going from snes to MD or vice versa, and then "this is so much better!" just because there's an inherent bias for it. Having a lot more tools and documentation and examples to lean on means doing said covers well is easier. It's not that they aren't usually good, but using them as an example is almost as bad as picking a terrible game from one system and comparing it to a great/well-regarded game on the other.
 
Dec 11, 2013
265
8
345
Illinois
Here's my thoughts on the matter. When I think of "16 bit music" my brain autocompletes it to the SNES and that's probably for a good reason. But I love the weird texture to the Genesis audio, and would never get rid of it.
 
Nov 2, 2015
127
9
190
Demolition Man has a great soundtrack on both consoles, i could not choose which is the better, the Genesis version retains some surprisingly good reverb effects, the Super Nes track sounds a bit more atmospherichal.

Genesis the 1:30 guitar sound is really great

Snes
 
Last edited:
Feb 28, 2008
4,166
2
805
GA,USA
Only tangentially related, but I anticipate a tremendous potential for great things in this new project happening upon such a time as the great modern composers and otherwise in this thread attacking it aggressively. Things like this just don't happen easily or often---let alone at this level of quality out of the gate and out of virtually nowhere at that.

http://fmcomposer.org/en/
 
Likes: EPSYLON EAGLE
Feb 17, 2005
346
0
0
45
www.VG-Forum.it
In my opinion MD was perfoming better when was around metallic/hi-beats soundtracks like, for instance, shoot em up or coinops.
SNES was perfoming better in soundratcks more melodic, where you needed different instruments, like most of the Rpgs o platforms.
 
Feb 10, 2010
715
17
560
www.rajdhatt.com
I'm not saying streets 2 isn't better. Just that the bass goes deeper in 3. If you don't have decent speakers you might not hear it fully.
Maaaate don't insult me you're talking to an audiophile here ;)

The embed starts at a certain part (stage 2), which imo has the most insane bass of any 16 bit game and is just unbelievable to me.

I do love the boss music of SoR3 as well :)
 
Aug 18, 2014
1,447
96
305
This video will give you a good idea how well the Genesis Sound chip was.

That cover pales in comparison to the superior Snes version. If anything, it shows what most people were achieving with the Genesis on a regular basis during the era. The one Dogen posted is much better, yet still missing some layers like the trumpet sounds. My question is, are these modern covers using the chip under the same constraints as the Genesis?
 
Oct 23, 2012
1,433
18
400
That cover pales in comparison to the superior Snes version. If anything, it shows what most people were achieving with the Genesis on a regular basis during the era. The one Dogen posted is much better, yet still missing some layers like the trumpet sounds. My question is, are these modern covers using the chip under the same constraints as the Genesis?
Everything by wazkatango and raijin is able to run on real hardware.
 
Last edited: