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
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
- 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!