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I like music, and I like old games on the NES, SNES and other consoles from that age. And I love the game music.

On youtube and other site, you can easily find songs in an 8-bit version of the original counter part. Yet I can never find any piece of software that could do this for my amusement. Something I can't just hand the MP3 or WAV file to, click a button, twidle my thumbs a bit and voila, it's done.

So I'm asking: where can I find software that can do this for me? I'm on Windows 7, if anyone knows something but it's not cross-OS.

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If you really want to get into 8-bit chiptunes. I think the C64 scene is alive and well :) Making a good chip-tune is a task of great skill and persistence, that's why people post videos on YouTube, not because it was done by a filter. noname.c64.org/csdb –  tovare Aug 2 '10 at 1:09

5 Answers 5

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In fact you completely mistaken about what is console music. It's not about 8bit, to make it sound that way.. first of all in old consoles there were no sound cards or anything like this to process the sound. Console like c64/sega/nintendo had a microchip which had some kind of "instruments" like a midi chips has nowadays.. To create music like that you need software called "Tracker". There are lot's of tracker out there.. The most modern that's still actively being developed is Milky Tracker [it's free] Milky Tracker based on Fast Tracker which is DOS most famous mod tracker ever been created.

anyway that kind of music called Chiptunes, and that kind of method to make music that way is called MODS [Modulated music]

Here's info about tracker software: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracker_%28music_software%29

Here's info about Module files: [find in wiki "module file", I don't have enough reputation to post more links]

To learn this art, you need some skills in music. Everything that you saw in youtube people made from midi files, there are some midi2xm converters but it's not accurate and usually everybody just fixes errors by hand... For example Pink Floyd album was converted in chiptune that way.

but if you talking about music that somebody created, so be sure that artists really knows how to work with music trackers and even have a midi keyboard at home.

I created few tunes too, it was really hard, about one night per tune.

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.mod files originated on the Amiga with on a commercial program called Sound Tracker (Which saw many unofficial upgrades and branches). xm files was more advanced with support for 8 tracks (Fast Tracker). –  tovare Aug 2 '10 at 0:57
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C64 had a sound wave modulator, you could create sounds using square, triangle, sawthooth and noise sound waves of different frequencies and amplitude. Late in it's life 1337 demo gorups managed to make tunes deep clean drums for the C64 (You really need a real C64 connected to a stereo for the full effect). –  tovare Aug 2 '10 at 1:02
    
thnx for comments tovare=) it's very educational =) I know not so much about c64 and amiga sound hardware structure. –  holms Aug 11 '10 at 1:59

MP3s and WAV files store audio as sample points. When you play these files, these sample points control how far in or out the speaker cone should move thousands of times a second. This generates the vibrations that reproduce the recorded sound.

Video game music on the NES and similar systems is stored as note commands. These commands are sent to the NES's synthesizer which generates triangle-wave and square-wave notes. Think of it as a minimal MIDI player that only has a few voices and only a few instruments for each voice to choose from.

A WAV file can control the speaker vibration exactly with every sample point. But the synthesizer can only control the speaker vibration indirectly by using a small number of voices playing square-wave or triangle-wave notes.

It's not very possible to convert a sound recorded as sample points from one instrument sound to another. It's not very possible to convert a sound recorded as sample points into music stored as notes.

If you can find a piece of music you like in a MIDI format or other format that stores the music as notes, then it's possible to find converters to make the notes sound like a chiptune.

Otherwise, the chiptunes you find on the internet started out with someone manually transcribing the notes of the music. As Holms mentioned, chiptunes are commonly composed today using tracker software. There's no easy conversion program.

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The short answer to your quest for a one-click remake of a song via MP3/wav: No. It doesn't work that way.

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You can try this

It says it can do it, though I haven't used it myself.

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WebDevHobo asked for 8-bit sound, but from his description it sounds like he wants a chiptune, which is different from an 8-bit WAV file. –  Bavi_H Aug 2 '10 at 1:09

Get a 3DS, make a music folder, go to "3DS Sound" (or whatever), select the music folder, tap the right button, select "8-Bit"

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Buying a 3DS is a hardly a solution when a software (and FOSS at that) will work. –  Synetech Nov 24 '12 at 16:22

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