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I am trying to figure out retro game sound effect creation. So I looked around and came across websites such as and These sites allow you to create retro style sound effects. While I can perform various experiment to get random sounds, there is a problem. Adjusting various sliders here and there without proper knowledge of sound wave manipulation, to me, is no different than cavemen brute-forcing figuring out which plants are edible and which are not. I think I am doing this wrong.

While experimenting on your own and teaching yourself is a good thing it will take a very long time without a mentor or assistance. So I am looking for some sort of good read or tutorial that gives insight on how audio behaves with different settings, recommended setting for certain sound type (ex. imagine Megaman shooting his bullet and death sound of your character in Contra. Because of the hardware limitation of the old days, creativity is applied on sound design to "move" us in some ways.), etc. I want to try to imitate some of the sounds from NES games, but I do not know the correct settings required for this.

I want to know how to deal with each setting correctly so that I can produce the sound that I have in my head.

If I am to be able to understand the concept of sound manipulation better and if I am to be able to generate retro sound more efficiently, where must I look and what must I do?

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migrated from Jan 24 '14 at 12:01

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Have a search on 8-bit sounds/music or chiptune music - you may find what you need there. The sounds were constrained by the hardware/software of the time, so using emulators of that setup will lead to the effects you describe. – Rory Alsop May 10 '13 at 17:17
Related question:… – Friend Of George May 10 '13 at 18:20
@DrMayhem Also 8-bit synth. I've searched for it and found interesting results. – Pristine Kavalostka May 10 '13 at 23:24

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Actually, you're mostly doing it right, that's how many of us chiptune artists learn to do it: by messing around. Another thing you may want to try is using a tracker like Famitracker (or even a sample-based tracker like Milkytracker), and just creating sound effects with notes. Then add tracker effects to the notes.

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this guy knows what he is talking about. – ObscureRobot May 11 '13 at 1:26
I see. If that's the case, may I ask where do chip tunes artist and sound engineers usually hang out online? It will be better if I got such community for some feedback and discussion. – Karl May 11 '13 at 8:44

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