Tag Archive for gameboy

Chiptune for dummies (part 2) Nanoloop

Nanoloop is a good alternative to LSDJ as a tool for making 8bit music on gameboys, even if it’s a sort of alter ego of Lsdj.
The sw is intended as a synth/sequencer  with a really carachteristic layout.
It uses a grid of 16 step (4 x 4) and in every step there are two marks, as it shows various pages (pitch, envelope, modulations..), the position of the marks shows the value in a graphical way, no numbers.
The particular sequencer force the composition in a more electronic and particular way than LSDJ, that use a classic workflow, and the absence of sample player force the user to build rhythms using the synth parts as noise or wave.
I omitted to say that the sound engine is alway the same (2 x pulse, wave , noise like on every gameboy).
At first Nanoloop can seem a little tricky sw , but after a while I found it really “open on the sound creation” and useful to create loops but also experimental sounds.
The one I described is Nanoloop vers 1.x , the one for the old gameboys, but exist a a vers 2.x too that runs on GB Advance and DS/DS lite, that has a more complex structure and more synthesis potential as FM.

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Nanoloop Vers 1


Nanoloop Vers 2

chiptune for dummies (part1)


8 bit/chiptune music is really fascinating but making it is not always simple or easy.
There are many ways and many kind of “chipgear” , I’ll start making a list of the more common instruments used and then I ‘ll start to describe the process from the easier…

  • Nintendo Gameboy + LSDJ & Nanoloop
  • Casio/toy keyboards
  • Commodore 64 + various softwares on disk and cart
  • Commodore 64 as a standalone synth with Cynthcart
  • Gameboy emulators on PC + LSDJ
  • Nintendo DS + softwares
  • Famitracker (NES emulator for PC , midi controllable)

The FAMITRACKER is obviously the easiest way to get into chiptune music making.
It’s a Nintendo NES/FAMICOM emulator that runs on pc with a tracker style sequencer midi controllable.
The NES has 5 track:

  • 2 x SQUARE
  • TRIANGLE
  • NOISE
  • SAMPLE

every parameter is controllable from the sequencer step by step, the sample track can play one sample at step, but you can import wav and create a drumkit and use the sample track to play the rhythm with your own samples (bit & frequency reduced with the right aliasing!)
The funny thing is that you can play your melodiy with a moidi keyboard , so it’s easier to compose with it compared to gameboys applications.
Famitracker is free and you can download it here.

The second alternative, always using sw on your computer, is a Gameboy emulator.
Just download a GB emulator and then buy the tracker sw LSDJ (little sound dj) here .
LSDJ is a software that can be used on emulators or with the real thing!
Using it with an emulator is convenient for track saving, loading and recording with a “dry” sound.


LSDJ , like famitracker, is a tracker based on the sound engine of the nintendo, in this case of gameboys, and it has four sources with four tracks:

  • SQUARE x 2
  • NOISE
  • WAVE (sample/wave)

This simple sound generator can create amazing sounds with the implementation of LSDJ, like wavetabling, wavesequencing together with classic squarewave sounds and 4bit samples…

These are the two first sw platforms to check if you want to create micromusic/chiptune in an easy way but with the 8bit style.

It’s all for now..to be continued!

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