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by JFD62780 at 2:51 AM EST on February 1, 2010
The GBA Direct Sound DSP. GBA games merely use the ARM CPU to mix its game audio via software. That's why the games normally sound muddy and tinny; it mixes the audio at a lower rate that we're used to.

edited 2:52 AM EST February 1, 2010
by SmartOne at 2:20 PM EST on February 1, 2010
You're saying the stored samples are actually higher quality than what is heard. Hackity-hack?
by hcs at 2:51 PM EST on February 1, 2010
Wow, I'd never looked into GBA sound hardware before. I am shocked that it has only that simple DSP hardware, I had expected a few more PCM channels. To have to do mixing in software... no wonder they're so cheap about it, with what little CPU is available. And it doesn't have the N64's extra coprocessor to handle synthesis either (unless the Z80 can be pulled in but I'd think I would have heard about that by now).

@SmartOne: he's saying that no matter what the samples being used are, there's nowhere to plug in a proper resample (for higher quality or a higher final sample rate) at the synthesis level, since it's done in software. The DS has hardware synthesis so it's relatively easy to reasample better since the hardware itself is being simulated.
by arbingordon at 3:17 PM EST on February 1, 2010
why not have something like VBA
imo VBA sounds much better than hardware playback (no hiss, as JFD mentioned, I think the GBA plays at 22.05kHz or something, but playing audio at 44.1kHz sounds great [relative to hardware])
</babbling>
by JFD62780 at 7:16 PM EST on February 1, 2010
As far as I see, the GBA only has two digital hardware channels: Left and Right.

I'm amazed, and at the same time glad, that Nintendo actually decided to go with 16 separate pannable hardware channels for the DS. So again, like some other dude mighta mentioned:

"How about converting GSF to 2SF?"

That way, we'll have the best of both worlds: The clarity of 'hardware-channels' with the chippiness of GameBoy Legacy channels!

Wouldn't hoit! >;)

edited 7:17 PM EST February 1, 2010
by SmartOne at 8:37 PM EST on February 1, 2010
Wouldn't it be possible to enhance emulation to make the GBA APU act like the DS? Thus my above "hackity-hack?"

Or GSF to 2SF.
by hcs at 9:36 PM EST on February 1, 2010
This would involve rewriting the game's driver (say for instance the Sappy driver) to somehow know about the DS's extra hardware and use it instead of doing things in software. I have no idea how plausible that would be, but I'mma bet not very. Might have a better chance at converting the sequence and sample formats to run under a DS driver, but this will still be hella tough.
by Knurek at 5:08 AM EST on February 14, 2010
Okay, Valentine Day's gift fiesta part deux.

Amiga Music Archive went live today.

If you know what UnExotica is, you might disregard this, since this is basically just my reorganization of it (with some stuff added from additional sources of course).

If not, lend me your ear. Commodore Amiga is the home to some amazingly awesome music. But it requires some technical know-how to fully enjoy. Here's a small tutorial, feel free to ask any questions if anything's vaguely explained.

You can group the tunes into few cathegories. I'll describe the way to replay each of them in XMPlay, since that's the best bet Windows users have for Amiga (heck, VGM) related playback. Linux users can use UADE, but as I'm Win32 exclusive, you're on your own in setting it up.

1. Streamed music from CD32 games (OGG Vorbis or MP3). Should be playable just about anywhere. Few games might use Amiga's IFF-8SVX format. Playable with xmp-8svx plugin.

2. Standard ProTracker format (MOD files). This has it's own cathegory since an obscene amount of games uses that. Any good MOD player would do here, but I'll suggest XMPlay again, since it's the only player I know that supports Amiga Filter emulation (pretty sure some games use that, can't name any examples off my head), VBLank timing (Settlers) and subsongs in modules (Digital Illusion's Pinball games) at the same time.

3. Music in one of the many ProTracker packer formats (various). Many games use these instead of ProTracker files for whatever reason the developers were thinking. Have no fear, just install xmp-modpacker plugin, and they'll be automatically treated as standard ProTracker modules.

4. Old SoundTracker variants files. Now this is where it gets confusing. These have also MOD prefix/extension, but are completely incompatible with ProTracker (they have 15 instruments instead of ProTracker's 31, and only some music effect commands). To make matters worse, there are dozens of versions of the replay routine each incompatible with each other. You best bet would be the xmp-mod15 plugin, it's not perfect, but handles most songs properly.

5. Exotic formats. Basically while Amiga music has it's own xSF variant (CUST files, which have both the music data and replayer routine), the general idea was just to extract the music data and write a separate replayer for those (think VGMStream, but split into small parts for each supported formats) using a common plugin API. There are almost 150 formats like that, each supported by xmp-delix plugin. I'm linking my private version, which has about support for about 30 more formats than the one available on XMPlay's site.
Be forwarned though, some replayers and a few CUST files don't work yet (the ones using Amiga's audio.device, which sadly includes Dune II for instance). Only way to get them to play is using DeliTracker or EaglePlayer in WinUAE emulator, which is even more tedious than it sounds.
xmp-delix v2.0 is supposed to be able to handle them just fine, sadly, no ETA on it.
by marcusss at 7:33 AM EST on February 14, 2010
Nice read.

Yeah I love Amiga music and have a shedload of customs songs too :) Some formats were a bitch to get working properly or at all !. I could never get wings music working as it is a custom format and If I remember correctly had samples only in any downloadable music file.. :(

Always had problems getting a few composers music working such as .DZ and .DW ! Also .MXTX sometimes works other times doesn't .. Some of those are for the music in the AD&D games since I like some songs there :)

Nice Amiga archive ! At least a new place to look besides exotica.

Some cool games and their music are Super Cars / Super Cars II , Lethal Weapon, Fire & Ice e.g :D


edited 7:38 AM EST February 14, 2010
by Lunar at 8:17 AM EST on February 14, 2010
nice job knurek :) i've always thought the exotica lads were far too disconnected from the rest of vgm fandom, so it is good to see amiga represented on vgm.hcs64, joining the dots so to speak. there's a lot of great soundtracks. i'm a big fan of phill nixon's soundtracks with Flair (oscar trolls and morph particularly - the modules, not so much the redbooks.) gonna contact him soon hopefully :3 if only it were that easy for the japz.

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