How Oldschool Sound/Music worked

How Oldschool Sound/Music worked


David: Hello, this is David from The 8-Bit Guy, and today I’ve got a special guest star with me, Rob from The Obsolete Geek. Rob: Today, we’re going to talk about how “old school” music works. Part 1: Beeper Speaker David: In the early days of home computers, most of them just had a simple “beeper speaker”. Examples would be the IBM PC and the Apple II. These speakers were controlled directly by the computer’s CPU. The speaker could make clicking noises and the CPU would have to time the clicking noises exactly right in order to produce certain tones. If a programmer wanted to spend the time, some very advanced sound of music could be produced this way, But, the trouble was it would require all of the CPU’s run time to accomplish that, leaving nothing leftover for the computer to do anything else. (Noid Laugh) Part 2: FM Synthesizer David: So, by the early 1980s, most computers and game consoles had dedicated sound chips to take this load away from the CPU. Each system at that time had a very characteristic sound along with its unique style of graphics, which helped to give each system its own personality. OK. So, the first thing you need to understand is that different systems had different numbers of voices or “Channels”. To better explain how that works, let me show you this old musical keyboard. It only has a single voice, and as you can see, it cannot play more than one note at a time. In order to do that, you will need to have at least two voices. Now, this keyboard here, is considerably more advanced than the other one. And it has a total of 4 voices, that means you can play up to 4 notes at the same time. So, having multiple voices is great, but those voices also need to be flexible as in able to create different types of waveforms. For example, this keyboard can change the waveform of it’s voice to produce different types of sound. OK, so let’s have a look at two of the more popular systems from the 1980s in order to see two different approaches to creating music. The Nintendo Entertainment System had five voices, And the Commodore 64 had 3 voices. Now, you might immediately assume that Nintendo was better, but actually it wasn’t. Here’s why. The voices used in the NES, was in the most part stuck making one type of sound. The first two voices can only produce
square waves that sound like this. The third voice can only produce a
triangle and is typically used for the low bass notes The fourth voice can only
produce noise. And the fifth voice is for PCM sampled sounds, which was rarely used. But a good example would be Super Mario Brothers 3. You can clearly hear the steel drum
sounds being used. Because the way Nintendo music worked, all
game music sounded pretty much exactly the same. The tune might be different, but it was
like they used the same instrument so to speak. The Commodore 64 had three voices, it
could produce four different types of waveforms Square, Triangle, Sawtooth, and Noise. Or
any combination of those. In the early days most programmers would just assign
a certain sound to a particular voice and just leave it that way throughout the
entire song. That was the simplest thing to do. Here’s an example from the game M.U.L.E. But not long after some clever
programmers realized that it was possible to dynamically reassign the voices to
other wave forms on the fly. This gave the illusion of having more
than three voices. Take this example from Commando. In order to better understand what’s
going on here, try listening to one voice at a time. A few years later the IBM PC finally got
a decent sound upgrade in the form of the AdLib card which used the Yamaha YM 3812
sound chip. Shortly after the market share was lost,
in favor of the SoundBlaster card which also used the same YM 3812 sound chip. So this chip was basically the
foundation of computer music in the IBM PC world for the next 10 years. The YM
3812 had nine voices and much like the Commodore 64 the voices were
independently programmable. Incidentally this chip was also used in several
Yamaha keyboard such as this one. Take a look inside and you’ll see the YM
3812 sound chip. It’s almost as if you could take a SoundBlaster card and attach keys and speakers to it and you could play it
like an instrument. So take a listen to this little sample
of music from the game Ultima 6. And now listen as I recreate that same
sound on this keyboard. Alright so let’s talk about sampling for
a moment. Now one of the neat things about this keyboard that I haven’t shown you
yet, this this came out on 1985 and has four voices, but one of the things that
makes it interesting is it’s a sampling keyboard, and let me show you exactly
what that means. “8-Bit Guy!” So this was not the only
device to come out in 1985 that featured a four voice sampling system. The
other was the Commodore Amiga. The Commodore Amiga was the first affordable
home computer that featured a four voice stereo sampling sound system. And with it came a new type of computer
music known as the Modtracker. These were music files that contains samples of
different sounds and then the associated music information. The original mod tracker used a four
track system designed around the Amiga sound chip, but later versions
eventually added many more tracks for more sophisticated sound cards. This type of format is still in use
today as a method for composing new music. The Mod Tracker format is not used
quite so often anymore with the abundance of storage and memory on
modern machines, they pretty much just forego all of that type of music
synthesis in favor of just using one gigantic sample usually in the form of
like an mp3 file or something like that. All right, well that about wraps that up
I hope you found that interesting, maybe learn something you maybe didn’t already
know It also may have come to your attention
that I have changed the name of my channel The reason is, it’s been pointed out to
me on several occasions that I haven’t made real videos about Apple iBooks in
quite some time so I changed the name from the iBook Guy to the 8-Bit Guy
because it’s a little bit more representative of what I actually do
here. Also I want to take a moment to thank
Rob for being on my show, and why don’t you tell us a little bit about your
channel for a moment. Thank you for having me on your show, I’m
a big fan of your channel and one of the things I like to talk about on my
channel are a little bit more obscure, a little more unusual hardware as it
relates to video games. Like this Sharp x68000 computer from Japan, One of my
all-time favorite systems. And if you want to see a little bit more about this
piece of obscure equipment, there’s a link down in the description
field that you can click to take you over to his channel, and he’s got a lot of other
really obscure stuff in his collection that you can have a look at. Alright,
well also don’t forget to visit me on Facebook and I’ll see you a next time!

100 thoughts on “How Oldschool Sound/Music worked

  • June 22, 2019 at 12:37 am
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    Great information

    Reply
  • June 26, 2019 at 2:49 am
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    6:08 I can't sleep.

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  • June 29, 2019 at 2:55 am
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    I love it when computers throw squares at my ears!

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  • June 29, 2019 at 2:59 am
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    Listening to this always gives me goosebumps. Don't ask me why. It just happens.

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  • July 3, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    Omg the other guy is so much bigger

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  • July 3, 2019 at 7:12 pm
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    why do you wear a baseball cap??

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  • July 4, 2019 at 3:08 pm
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    babi babi babi babi babi babi

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  • July 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm
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    0:42 – What is the title of this game ?

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  • July 6, 2019 at 1:38 pm
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    I thought that the 8-Bit Guy is tall. But the other guy is … gigantic 😂😂

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  • July 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm
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    What's the name of that game on 5:23?

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  • July 7, 2019 at 10:55 am
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    Keep coming back to this, always enjoyable.

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 3:49 am
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    Sound Blaster X-FI supplied all kinds of software for sound manipulation and sound editing. Good enough for amateurs and it was fun. It all died. Yamaha had their XG board with their own tools also and at the same time these companies all died. Now you have to have lots of $$$$ to do it. Amateur stuff is gone it's all professional studio stuff now.

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  • July 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm
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    Man, loved the video but really curious how you visually represented the voices in the video. Would love to get a hint or two.

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  • July 13, 2019 at 7:21 am
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    How about certain NES/FC games came with their own sound chips on the cartridges.

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  • July 14, 2019 at 11:20 pm
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    Midi big bois

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  • July 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    😀 Yamaha Dx-1! Always wanted one.

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  • July 18, 2019 at 1:29 am
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    Please more detailed videos about this topic, thank you!!

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  • July 18, 2019 at 2:29 am
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    Who else wants to watch 8-bit fight Rob…?

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  • July 18, 2019 at 11:53 pm
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    what are the variables for the wave sounds?? 2:49

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  • July 19, 2019 at 6:42 am
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    when he showed mule,it gave me such nostalgia feels.

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  • July 19, 2019 at 10:58 am
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    Very, very interesting
    Thanks from Brazil

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  • July 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm
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    Thank you so much. This has been, for me, one of those questions that has been taking up space in the back of my mind for years. But the material was always too daunting or too simplistic. You do a great job of explaining exactly what i wanted to know.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 10:10 pm
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    I love it how they call "noise" the percussion instruments. Of course they're the easiest instrument to learn but come on…

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm
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    Song at 7:00

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  • July 23, 2019 at 9:57 am
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    Appreciate the Dutch subtitles! 🇳🇱

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  • July 24, 2019 at 3:48 am
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    The most impressive thing I've ever heard on an old machine, was an actual low bit rate recording of Foghat's Slow ride on a Commodore 64. It sounded like a cheap, mono transistor radio, but it was clearly the actual song playing. The first MP3 in history. The only way I think they did it was to do a modified Fourier transform using the select waveforms to decompose and digitize it. And this was back in the early 80's, and it was on a 5.25" floppy disk.

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  • July 25, 2019 at 12:15 am
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    If you flip 6:42 you are pretty much using Ableton Live

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  • July 25, 2019 at 3:12 am
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    3:07 That isn't quite a fair statement. Some developers like Sunsoft, Konami and Capcom tried to get more creative with it. Like using different samples on channel 5 and playing melody on channels 4 and 3. But it was pretty tricky.

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  • July 26, 2019 at 6:07 am
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    You have no idea how usefull would have been your video when I was 10 years, trying to make music with mu C<16 or later C<64…

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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    1:46 – Somehow I remembered "Gran Turismo 4 – Mission Impossible" song.

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  • July 28, 2019 at 8:28 am
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    At 6:29
    I can't tell you why, but I fully expected to hear "You spin me right round baby, right round like a record player".

    Reply
  • July 28, 2019 at 2:20 pm
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    Seriously, YT? We don't care about keeping comments respectful, we're here for anarchy.
    I am going to keep commenting this in every comment section I see on the YT app until this is fixed.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 3:45 pm
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    Prismatic Descent from Mega Man Unlimited did that illusion to

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  • July 29, 2019 at 7:11 pm
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    Dislike. Must notice subs-only translation in beginning of translated title. Subs are NOT real translation.

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  • July 30, 2019 at 3:07 am
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    8-Bit Guy meets 8-Foot Guy

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  • July 31, 2019 at 3:22 am
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    Is Rob just enormous or is 8-bit guy tiny

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  • July 31, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    Meh… I had a driver that could play pcm audio over the PC speaker! Did it sound like shit? Yes. But it worked… sort of.

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  • August 2, 2019 at 4:05 am
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    Noise? Hi-hat you mean…

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  • August 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm
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    Haha! at the beginning you were playing "The Cuckoo" by Louis Daquin. I played that song.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 9:04 pm
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    You still need to explain how they made cool sound effects in the absence of a dedicated chip.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 11:45 pm
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    Thanks really much for this vídeo!!

    Would you consider a video about FM music? Like Sega Genesis and Master System?

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  • August 9, 2019 at 9:33 am
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    Good vid, what was the game being shown on the Amiga, the space rocket thingy???

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  • August 9, 2019 at 12:12 pm
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    8bit guy + 8 feet guy!!

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  • August 9, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    Whats the song at 6:30

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  • August 12, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I remember that Casio SK-1 keyboard! I mostly used it to sample my burps and farting noises and play them back at different frequencies. Yes, easily amused, I was…

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  • August 12, 2019 at 1:37 am
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    Is it hot in your studio? You both are glistening…

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  • August 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm
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    :50 oh my goodness I actually tried to learn that song for piano!

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  • August 14, 2019 at 7:51 am
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    0:53 what game is that

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  • August 14, 2019 at 7:10 pm
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    @7:15…Amazingly enough, a new game coming out called Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) has an amazing Mod Tracker soundtrack. The game is built on a new version of the old Build Engine game engine (used for Duke3D, Shadow Warrior, etc…). It really fits well with the game's style.

    Reply
  • August 15, 2019 at 4:33 am
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    for all of y’all wondering what the music for 6:20 is it’s Blood Money link below |
    V
    https://youtu.be/Cimu6LpnwmQ

    Reply
  • August 16, 2019 at 3:44 am
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    Damn that guy is freakishly tall. He looks like he stumbled into a hobbit home.

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  • August 16, 2019 at 10:32 pm
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    Great explanation… thank you so much…

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 1:58 pm
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    The latter models of the Apple II did have the MOCKINGBOARD though

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  • August 19, 2019 at 1:20 am
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    O problema desse vídeo é que ele acaba

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  • August 19, 2019 at 5:59 pm
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    Put an Arabic translation

    Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 4:07 pm
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    Just "discovered" 8-bit Bach, Mozart, et al, on YouTube. As a classical Cellist, I love the sounds produced in 8-bit!! Great video to you both, and thank you for the education (I sorely lacked!).

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 1:49 am
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    I am a video game programmer and I use the NES voice setup. And GarageBand

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  • August 21, 2019 at 4:47 am
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    BS Computer Science ‘84. MS Software Engineering ‘89. I never knew, learned or thought about how computers actually produced music. Great explanations thank you!

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 8:10 am
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    Disappointed that you failed to avoid The Noid… 😜

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 9:24 pm
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    4:00

    wait why is there dynamite behind rob

    Reply
  • August 23, 2019 at 1:16 am
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    0:46 can someone please tell me what that game is

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  • August 23, 2019 at 2:28 pm
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    The Obsolete Geek and the 8-bit Guy together, amazing

    Reply
  • August 25, 2019 at 5:33 pm
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    The soundblaster pro was indeed popular for a long time, and didn't fall out of favor until the late 1990s, when motherboard providers began onboarding sound chips to do the job without an expansion card, albeit a little worse. With the profits and savings, the onboard mobo chips eventually grew to be competitive with the old soundblasters, and, eventually, outmatch them.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 7:17 am
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    Are you the brother of Sean Murray ?

    Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm
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    x68000は無名じゃないだろ
    って思ったけど海外じゃそれほどだったんかなぁ
    名機だったなー

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 6:55 pm
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    4:15 wasfor some reason my best yt-moment since the plattform started.

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 7:43 pm
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    When i hear 8 bit music im transported back to the 90's when i had a NES, Gameboy, Game Gear and a mk2 Mastersystem.

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 8:29 pm
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    I have mario bros 3 and when I move Mario on the map or take a coin et cetera, one channel stop playing and I think that happens because The NES can't produce all the 4 (or 5) voices at the same time so for do the "Moving Mario's sound" it have to stop a channel right? Is that true?

    Reply
  • August 30, 2019 at 5:44 am
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    Спасибо за русские субтитры!

    Reply
  • August 30, 2019 at 4:40 pm
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    Talk about jogging memories, my sister had that crappy 1 voice Casio keyboard. I totally forgot about it until I saw it in this video. Of course we took it over, she had a real piano anyway.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:16 am
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    song at 4:12?

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  • September 3, 2019 at 8:38 am
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    6:09 E🅱ic guy

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  • September 4, 2019 at 8:41 am
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    No.1 Share NES in Japan.
    シャープ製 X68000? It's for Computer Mania…

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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    Would loved to have heard how the original 48k ZX Spectrum simulated
    multi-channel sound. There's absolutely nothing about this on Youtube,
    or Google.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 11:10 am
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    Уебок! Убери рекламу, ЧЁРТ!

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 3:36 pm
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    And I watch u 8 bit guy every weekend and I play my games David I'm ty David u help me David and so does youtube.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    8 bit guy I live in north America poulsbo Washington I live in David have a goodday David and youtube.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 3:41 pm
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    YouTube. Gonna watch the 8 bit guy allday today and play games today 8 bit guy and youtubers.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 5:33 am
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    Yamaha PortaSound PSS-470, so 80's!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 12:08 am
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    1st "8-bit Guy" video.

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  • September 10, 2019 at 2:49 pm
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    ibn pc

    LETS GO HACK SERN

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 10:57 pm
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    pourquoi le titre est en français alors que la vidéo est en anglais??????

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  • September 11, 2019 at 11:35 pm
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    Deutscher Titel, Englisches Video wie ich es hasse ….

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  • September 12, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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    How reverb and delays happened?

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  • September 13, 2019 at 10:26 am
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    Interesting note about the Amiga:
    I put a 44.1 kHz 16 bit sample into Audacity. It sounds great
    I re sampled it to 8272 Hz 16 bit. It sounds terrible due to the high frequencies being chopped off.
    I export it as an 8 bit unsigned Wav at 8272 Hz (The same sample and bit rate of Amiga samples) and import it into OpenMPT .MOD format.
    HOW ON EARTH DOES IT SOUND ABOUT AS GOOD AS THE 44.1 kHz 16 BIT SAMPLE?

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 10:39 am
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    Guitar slinguer!!!! I loved that song. With only four channels sounds pretty professional

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  • September 15, 2019 at 11:15 am
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    日本語字幕ありがたい

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  • September 15, 2019 at 12:56 pm
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    x68k をゲテモノ扱いするなlol

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 9:47 am
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    He's clearly a big fan.🤔

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 7:57 am
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    なんと!
    裏ではこんなことが行われていたのですね!

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  • September 18, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    日本人はいないようだ

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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    Heard the M.U.L.E. song as a background submenu music in the EA/Maxis game Spore! Until now I didn't know it was from another game. Nice easter egg!

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  • September 19, 2019 at 2:14 am
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    6:00 is that Gene's keyboard on Bob's Burgers?

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  • September 20, 2019 at 11:02 am
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    こういう番組は俺好み。でもテレビじゃこういう企画番組全然やらない。

    Reply
  • September 20, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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    Czemu piszesz tytuł po polsku a muwisz po angielsku? Mów po polsku

    Reply
  • September 20, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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    Ima EEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIGHT bitguy
    DUH

    Reply
  • September 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm
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    thanks informatively and clearly

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 2:32 am
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    Sabosta ta em inglês .
    Porque o título ta em português?
    🙄

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 9:28 pm
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    thank you for the subs in spanish!!!

    Reply

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