Whats the best way to create that "16-bit" style music for a JRPG?

meraxes

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Hey,
I'm interested in composing original music for my RPG Maker game, and though I have plenty music samples and VST tools to compose with, my concern is that they all sound too "real" to fit in with a 2D-graphics JRPG game. Can soft-synths do this? I'm looking to dial-in a 16-bit retro sound, similar to the style of the music in games like Chrono Trigger for SNES and Golden Sun for the GBA. I've heard that many of the sounds in these games are actually just real instruments whose sounds were heavily downsampled in order to fit the specs of their platforms.
Do I use soft-synths to create that 16-bit sound, or I am I better off composing with my real instrument samples, and then downsampling/bitcrushing these in order to achieve that sound?

Any thoughts or opinions would be much appreciated, thanks.

-Meraxes
 
 

tearsofthenight

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I want to know to!
 

Ms Littlefish

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While I do intend to move to better VSTs I've used sf2s in my music for a very long time. They don't make an authentic 16-bit sound but if you get good ones you can easily create music that is around the GBA/DS/N64 level of realism. It's a lot more real sounding than the 16 bit sounds but they aren't so in-your face, epic, dramatic against all the simpler graphics in 2D RPGs. You just stick them on the midi in your DAW and go from there. I have an organized list of my recommended sf2s if you're interested, and all of them are free as well.
 
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meraxes

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@MsLittlefish, if you could share your list, that would be great!

and also, do you have any recommendations for a good SF2 player?
 

Ms Littlefish

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I'll send you some info in a little bit! Hang tight. :)
 

_Shadow_

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What you are looking for is chip music, also known as chip tunes.

You can use a commodore 64 emulator for such a thing.

You will need some old school programming skills for that though.

You can also use trackers (old sequencers that were using small samples)

Very primitive interface but really practical programs.

Finally if you use any Digital Audio Workstation, Sequencer or complete music solution, search for subtractive synthesizers, or low fi. Simple oscilators that oscilate a square signal can do great things though on any synth. Just avoid any reverb, delay and stuff, and keep the sound as flat as possible (maybe even mono).

 I hope this helped you.

P.S. For 16 bit sound you might also look for Commodore Amiga trackers.
 
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meraxes

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@MsLittlefish, thanks for the info you sent me, it was a big help.

@Dreadshadow, I think Massive or Sylenth1 are synths that would work well? The only thing is that it would take quite a bit of time to program every instrument that I would want to use in my compositions, and I'm willing to do it if needed but just want to make sure there arent any other better options I'm missing out on. The chiptune thing is interesting as well, but not sure I want to deal with learning the programming for that at the moment. I will take a look at trackers and see if there are any that could be suitable for the type of game I have in mind.

Thanks!
 

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