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Thread: Sega CD Chip Music

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Default Sega CD Chip Music

    I haven't played a lot of sega cd games (since most are fmv garbage) but I noticed 2 games that use the sega cd soundchip AND the genesis soundchips together to produce some awesome tunes:


    From Silpheed

    NOTE: Some people think the game is using redbook audio, this is not true, the game simply includes redbook audio versions of the songs. They're not even used in the soundtest.


    From Popful Mail

    Anyone know of other games that do this?

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    Master of Shinobi Curryman123's Avatar
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    I agree, Sega cd chip music is just off the hook. These are my favorites-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7gYU7LL-c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2SBw...eature=related

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    One thing I'm not sure about Sonic CD is if it uses Lunar style streaming PCM or if it's really chip tunes. If it's chip tunes, they're some of the best of the 16bit generation, they sound like something 2 amigas would do together.

    This is one of my favorites from sonic cd also, very soothing:


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    Master of Shinobi Curryman123's Avatar
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    I am not sure man, all i know is that they are not red-book audio tracks.

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    Let's Go Away Master of Shinobi kokujin's Avatar
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    I wish they did use both, it could have been like the x68000.

    Less talk more action!

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    Shining Hero Joe Redifer's Avatar
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    For Popful Mail and I believe Silpheed, the Sega CD PCM chip is responsible only for the drums (and voices). For Sonic CD, it does everything in the PAST stages (except the sound effects). I think Sonic CD is true chip tunes because if I recall, the CD disc stops spinning in the past stages, so it isn't streaming anything, just playing the music from RAM like a normal cartridge tune, only using the PCM instead.

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    Do you have TP??? Raging in the Streets Cornholio857's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    For Popful Mail and I believe Silpheed, the Sega CD PCM chip is responsible only for the drums (and voices). For Sonic CD, it does everything in the PAST stages (except the sound effects). I think Sonic CD is true chip tunes because if I recall, the CD disc stops spinning in the past stages, so it isn't streaming anything, just playing the music from RAM like a normal cartridge tune, only using the PCM instead.
    That's right. When you go to the Sound Test Menu you see this:



    IIRC, all the Past Stages BGM's are playable under the PCM menu.

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Silpheed does other instruments with the RF5C164 besides drums, they're not very noticeable however.

    It's cool to know that the CD stops when in the past stages, that's more than enough evidence that it's chip tunes. Now I want to know even more if other games did it.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by kokujin View Post
    I wish they did use both, it could have been like the x68000.
    More like the Neo Geo:
    6 FM, 8 PCM and 4 PSG (Genny+SCD)
    4 FM, 7 PCM, and 4 PSG (Neo Geo)

    The X68000 has 8 FM and 1 PCM

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    Shining Hero Joe Redifer's Avatar
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    The best way to find out what sounds Silpheed (and other games) make is to reduce the volume slider on your Genesis model 1 to 0%. That way you only hear the Sega CD sound. Or if you have a model 2, just plug a set of headphones into the 1/8th inch input jack on the back of the Sega CD and all of the Genesis sounds should go away leaving just the Sega CD audio (you won't hear anything through the headphones, obviously).

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Or shutdown the YM2612 and the SN76489 on an emulator like I did

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    Isolated Warrior Master of Shinobi Dirt Ball Gamer's Avatar
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    Wow I thought silpheed used redbook. I love that soundtrack.

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    Road Rasher Jasper061992's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Ball Gamer View Post
    Wow I thought silpheed used redbook. I love that soundtrack.
    Considering the CD Drive in the Mega CD is critically slow (1x!!), playing back redbook audio would rule out the streamed pre-rendered 3D backgrounds completely. Can't do both at the same time separately unless the music was actually embedded into the video itself, but the sample rate for FMV audio is lower than CD quality.

    I could tell from the second time playing the game that the music was sampled in real time. I heard the FM channels being played, and if you listen carefully, the tempo isn't 100 perfect, like it hiccups at times like how other realtime sampled music behaves sometimes when theres a performance hitch.

    I also know the European/JAP version of the Mega CD BIOS screen also uses both the Ricoh and YM2612 for the music.

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    Let's Go Away Master of Shinobi kokujin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post

    More like the Neo Geo:
    6 FM, 8 PCM and 4 PSG (Genny+SCD)
    4 FM, 7 PCM, and 4 PSG (Neo Geo)

    The X68000 has 8 FM and 1 PCM
    I meant it in the sense where there's a greater number chip channels than PCM, but I didn't know the X68000 is only one PCM.That's the reason I hate Neo Geo music, not enough FM, you hear the bass and that's about it.

    Less talk more action!

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    Shining Hero Joe Redifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper061992
    I also know the European/JAP version of the Mega CD BIOS screen also uses both the Ricoh and YM2612 for the music.
    All versions of all CD BIOS's use PCM + FM. Actually I think the first JP BIOS might be PCM only. But they all definitely use PCM.

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    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    I haven't played a lot of sega cd games (since most are fmv garbage) but I noticed 2 games that use the sega cd soundchip AND the genesis soundchips together to produce some awesome tunes:
    MOST are not FMV garbage, something like 20% of the US library is, if that, and even that depends on personal preference. (lots og FMV games that are good by some standards, like Silpheed, Novastorm, and a mix of others that are arguably FMV or not -since there's no hard definition unless you go purly by dragon's lair type linear games: but that would exclude Night Trap and -more so- Sewer Shark among others from being "FMV" at all)

    Actually, it's the FMV games (or games that use heavy on-the fly loading for other stuff), that push the onboard synth hardware more (since they can't use CD-DA, and only purely linear FMV games can even consider using a lower quality PCM soundtrack tacked onto the video stream -unless you made the soundtrack dynamic with the nonlinearity of the game). Unfortunately, some games only use FM and rather weak FM at that (like Sewer Shark), while others seem to use only PCM (like novastorm) for an 8-channel MOD player of sorts. (albeit a good bit more capable than just 2 Amigas and closer to the SNES -which was far weaker in practical use than the SPC's capabilities allowed for, limited by the configuration in the SNES and tools used for development, and also due to being overkill for what most developers wanted)

    Novastom is interesting since it came out first on the FM Towns with almost the exact same sound system (same but with no PSG), and the music is identical, same 8-channel sample synth with no apparent use of FM.

    NOTE: Some people think the game is using redbook audio, this is not true, the game simply includes redbook audio versions of the songs. They're not even used in the soundtest.
    Yeah, I thought it was rebook at first because of that, and then that it was streaming PCM (like in the cutscenes -which also are in CD-DA bonus tracks), but I got corrected and learned more about the system. (plus I noticed a lot of the tracks aren't even in CD-DA)

    And you can also tell the sound test uses realtime synth as it has to load the samples (you have to wait and the access light comes on) and then the access light goes off and the music plays. (plus there's tracks not in CD-DA)

    Silpheed seems to use the sound system to its fullest: FM+PCM and even some PSG at times (or at least TmEE commented that it does). A nice mix up too, sometimes with FM lead, sometimes with PCM, no PSG lead AFIK (maybe some harmony/additive synth of FM and PSG), but always a ton of stuff going on sound-wise. (you can separate the FM+PSG from the Ricoh PCM stuff by booting the system with a jack plugged into the mixing port on the CD unit -you could have the mixing cable plugged into the genesi heaphone jack too, but you just really need something to ground the CD mixing port, it might only work for model 1s though, maybe model 2 Geneses too- and then play a game and you get genesis sounds out of the RF/AV/headphone jack and CD-DA/PCM out of the CD RCA jacks )

    Anyone know of other games that do this?
    Yes, a lot, as well as many others that use CD-DA along with FM/PCM/PSG sound effects. (and other games -liek Sewer Shark- that only uses the FM -and maybe PSG- for music)

    The games I know of for sure are:
    Novastorm
    Microcosm (similar to novastorm with no FM iirc the Amiga version seems to be 4 channel MOD with no SFX)
    Sonic CD Past levels (PCM for drums and some instruments in addition to heavy use of FM)
    Popful Mail (mostly just for drums, FM for the lead)

    and a bunch of others I can't remember at the moment. (I think some FMV cutscenes used it too, to cut down on the streaming bitrate -the music in Batman and Robin's cutscenes sounds like it might be realtime PCM synth -which would also explain the strong differences from the TV show's soundtrack in spite of being produced by the same animation/production company)






    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    One thing I'm not sure about Sonic CD is if it uses Lunar style streaming PCM or if it's really chip tunes. If it's chip tunes, they're some of the best of the 16bit generation, they sound like something 2 amigas would do together.
    AFIK there's no streaming 8-bit PCM in Sonic CD outside of Cutscenes, just like Silpheed. (except Sonic CD also uses a lot of CD-DA and Silpheed never does )
    The PC version has the past tracks recorded and played back as streaming audio (possibly compressed; ADPCM?).

    And it's not THAT good, it's weaker than the SNES's sound (technically speaking at least -in terms of potential performance the Ricoh chip is older, much simpler, and much cheaper than the Sony SPC700 module), but definitely more powerful than 2 Amigas other than RAM limitations. (Paula is really basic compared to the Ricoh chip, no panning -hardwired stereo- no looping, no scaling, lower max sample rate, limited analog filtering, etc: the Ricoh chip has 8 channels with per-channel 4-bit stereo panning -16 volume level for L/R panning-, hardware scaling of samples for pitch control for 32 kHz output, 8x oversampling and digital filtering, and DMA loading of PCM -the amiga is just 4 DMA channels with variable sample rate -usually used to control pitch for non software mixed music- with hardwired stereo 2L and 2R, analog filtering -one forced and the heavier "LED" filter that could be disabled in software, and CPU used to set samples and loop them)
    The Ricoh chip lacks things compared to the SNES's more advanced (and expensive) SPC unit like hardware decompression, 12-bit sample resolution per channel (mixed to 16 bit output) vs 8-bit linear PCM used on the Amiga and Ricoh, interpolation vs scaling (sometimes muffling the sound somewhat, but also decreasing aliasing -especially for low quality samples-, it's also forced and can't be disabled on a global or per-channel basis), echo/reverb effects (also forced unfortunately, and cuts what would otherwise be 32 hardware channels to 8, though with more comprehensive tools, it should have been possible to use more channels by writing to the echo buffer -every channel you disabled echo on would get replaced by 4 channels with no echo/reverb), and also heavy analog lowpass filtering (varying on different models it seems) that's also forced and tends to make the sound rather muffled unfortunately. (less of a double edged sword than interpolation, and more just plain detriment to all by the lowest quality samples -like the sort that shouldn't even be compressed and may have sounded better as plain 4-bit PCM, let alone some 2-bit ADPCM formats at similar bitrates, or CVSD -that's another thing: only one sample format, no uncompressed 4/8/12/16-bit samples supported, and no other compression formats: just Sony BRR ADPCM using 9 bytes for 16 samples for a 3.556:1 rate over 16-bit PCM -1.778:1 if compated to uncompressed 8-bit, or 2.667:1 compared to the 12-bit decompressed output)

    The stock CD also has some low-pass filtering, but not nearly as strong as the SNES tends to. (more like what the Model 1 Genesis has I believe)

    Both have 64 kB of wave RAM, and both have to be updated to go beyond that (import more samples from main RAM -ROM tooin the SNES's case, and the CD can stream some added data as well off the CD if managed carefully -ie making sure the data is available at the right time), the SNES also can hold a bit more in the same 64k due to compression, with some trade-offs. (in some extreme cases, you may have BRR samples that sound worse than PCM samples at the same bitrate, but it depends on the circumstances and also depends rather strongly on the preprocessing/formatting used before compression was applied)

    Of course, the SNES has no hardware FM or PSG to back things up. (and only 8 sample channels due to the forced reverb/echo)


    Quote Originally Posted by kokujin View Post
    I wish they did use both, it could have been like the x68000.
    Huh? Used both of what? Many games DID use both PCM, FM, AND in some cases PSG as well on the CD. (most Japanese games that didn't use streaming audio took that route)

    And no, not like the X68000, significantly better than the X68000 and more like the FM Towns but with the added PSG channels. (FM Towns had the same Ricoh PCM chip plus a YM2612 like the MD, and also like Sega's system 18 and 32 except those had 2 YM2612s)




    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    For Popful Mail and I believe Silpheed, the Sega CD PCM chip is responsible only for the drums (and voices). For Sonic CD, it does everything in the PAST stages (except the sound effects). I think Sonic CD is true chip tunes because if I recall, the CD disc stops spinning in the past stages, so it isn't streaming anything, just playing the music from RAM like a normal cartridge tune, only using the PCM instead.
    There's rather heavy use of FM in Sonic CD's past tracks too (some of them at least), and Silpheed has many tracks that use PCM for lead instruments and none that limit PCM to drums. (from synthy violin-like stuff, to orchestral hits, to choral elements in some later tracks, to other things)

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    The best way to find out what sounds Silpheed (and other games) make is to reduce the volume slider on your Genesis model 1 to 0%. That way you only hear the Sega CD sound. Or if you have a model 2, just plug a set of headphones into the 1/8th inch input jack on the back of the Sega CD and all of the Genesis sounds should go away leaving just the Sega CD audio (you won't hear anything through the headphones, obviously).
    You don't have to use the volume slider like that: just boot the CD with the mixing cable plugged into the CD (or anything really, just something to make it think there's a mixing cable grounding it to boot in CD mixing input mode), and then you get totally separate Genesis and CD sound: Genesis only sound from any port on the Genesis (RF, AV, or headphone) and CD/PCM from the RCA jacks on the CD side. (not sure if that works with model 2 genesis consoles, but it does for model 1s)











    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper061992 View Post
    Considering the CD Drive in the Mega CD is critically slow (1x!!), playing back redbook audio would rule out the streamed pre-rendered 3D backgrounds completely. Can't do both at the same time separately unless the music was actually embedded into the video itself, but the sample rate for FMV audio is lower than CD quality.
    Actually, Sonic CD's FMV uses 32 kHz PCM (the max the Ricoh chip can do) similar to what the Lunar games do at times and Popful mail for the streaming PCM sections (and Pier Solar), but it's only mono for Sonic CD and it sounds a bit scratchy. (not preprocessed as well as it could have been for 8-bit audio)

    Uncompressed 32 kHz mono 8-bit PCM would take up ~21% of the bandwidth for 150 kB/s mode 1 CD-ROM data, but some FMV (and some FMV games in-game even) use the Mode 2 format with no software error correction and near CD-DA bitate of ~171.09 kB/s vs ~172.26 for CD-DA (176,400 bytes per second), so 32 kHz mono would only be ~18.7% of the bandwidth in that mode with some 139 kB/s of bandwidth left over. (I believe Silpheed runs the whole game in that data mode -hence the finicky disc reading and the need to enable perfect sync in emulation, however it seems to max out the bitrate for streaming graphics and would thus have to cut those back for streaming PCM -not sure how the video is formatted, could be lossless compressed frame by frame video, not sure)
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 01-30-2011 at 03:51 AM.
    6 days older than SEGA Genesis
    -------------
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

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