How Music Was Made On Super Nintendo

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A closer look at the sound system of the SNES!
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The Nerdwriter is a series of video essays about art, culture, politics, philosophy and more.




15 Aug 2018

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Ore Goth
Ore Goth Vor 3 Stunden
Your material is refreshing. Subscribed
Justin Lloyd
Justin Lloyd Vor 17 Stunden
Wow. Fantastic and detailed video. Great animations and editing. Wonderful graphics. I've been fascinated by the SNES audio since I got one in 1993. Super Turrican 3 was probably the best music I've ever heard on SNES. Donkey Kong is amazing but Turrican I left game running until the level timed out, while recording the background music to a metallic cassette tape, so I could listen at a later time in my sony walkman. LOL! LISTEN!: de-vid.com/video/video-D4VCZ89tqYw.html
Benoit Adam
Benoit Adam Vor Tag
Short answer = Midi.
USSR Mushroom
0:16 That isnt Super Mario World, thats the SMB/SMB2🇯🇵 music for SMAS(+SMW)
Decent basic introduction to how music was made on the snes, but a fair amount of information was wrong (just look further down in the comments)
Shark Dude 7
Shark Dude 7 Vor Tag
Without this I wouldn’t had the great Street Fighter 2 soundtrack
Awesome video, m8. Thank you!
IsKor06 Vor 3 Tage
Thanks for this awesome vid! For culture, the Amiga worked the same way :)
jr lepage
jr lepage Vor 3 Tage
The amount of misinformation in this video is mind-boggling. Most of it has been called out by other people already, but damn, I'm disappointed given the quality of the rest of the videos on this channel.
Josh Putnam
Josh Putnam Vor 3 Tage
Will you please consider taking this video down? A lot of the claims you make are just outright wrong, and it does a disservice to those looking to learn more about how the system worked.
slimpyman Vor 3 Tage
dude. keep these coming. im stunned at how brief, interesting, and informative this was.
acidnaught Vor 4 Tage
Super boring
yukeitor Vor 4 Tage
Take your like!!
Sonicgott Vor 4 Tage
David Wise was a genius.
Philippe Vor 4 Tage
Ok, obvious question; being a sega fanboy that can't let the 90s rest in peace, can you do such a video about the Genesis, of you didn't do it already? Awesome video by the way!!
Elijah Ford
Elijah Ford Vor 4 Tage
This nerdwriter guy is really really smart
Kimmeh Boo Boo
Kimmeh Boo Boo Vor 4 Tage
David Wise changed my life
Orlando Feanor
Orlando Feanor Vor 4 Tage
Muy buen video. aunque desearía haber entendido un poco mas. XD
Glowing Kirby
Glowing Kirby Vor 4 Tage
0:16 That's Mario All Stars, but ok.
David Roy
David Roy Vor 4 Tage
David Chan
David Chan Vor 4 Tage
Wise it's a genius
Benjamin Mullin
Benjamin Mullin Vor 4 Tage
0:56 That's a clarinet, not a saxophone.
BossBulldog Vor 4 Tage
WOW HOLY SHIT, the video "editing" and montage is really, but REALLY fucking great damn!!!
Marko Bass
Marko Bass Vor 5 Tage
Where is Nobuo Uematsu??
MsmX Music
MsmX Music Vor 5 Tage
0:16 that’s not SMW music that’s from the SNES version of SMB1/SMBTLL
fajita Vor 5 Tage
Excellent video, well explained and put together.
Zeyo Vor 5 Tage
This is probably pretty dumb, but anybody else miss the kinds of sounds you got from the SNES and GBA?
BradsGonnaPlay Vor 5 Tage
All this video tells me is that I’m a lazy hack-kneed composer because if I was in David Wise’s position, I would have made low rez SHITE.
Scotty Rich: The Musical
Sampling vs Synthesizing, Two methods of making music electronically probably even BEFORE Sega (FM Synth) vs Nintendo(Samples). It's fascinating. I can see what both companies were thinking. They were going in different directions from the way NES did music. Neither 16-bit method of music holds up well imo without cutting them lots of slack. I have a soft spot for Genesis music though. There's just something special about it to me. I find it much easier to listen to than most SNES soundtracks.
common rider
common rider Vor 5 Tage
Great presentation overall, overshadowed by a slew of misinformation.
Shermán Mora
Shermán Mora Vor 5 Tage
Very awesome video and very interesting
Krazy Productions
Mario Paint
Kniffel101 Vor 5 Tage
Just a quick note: It's "Stickerbush Symphony" not "Stickerbrush Symphony" 😉
Middle Bus
Middle Bus Vor 5 Tage
0/10 No Plok! mentioned. That game had an amazing title screen theme.
That Jeff
That Jeff Vor 5 Tage
I like Earthbound's music a lot too
cellophanezebra Vor 6 Tage
Earthbound has the best soundtrack on the SNES
Ty Sylicus
Ty Sylicus Vor 6 Tage
Brilliant! DKC series will always be one of my favorite gaming experiences.
Djaco Vor 6 Tage
What a cool video. I always thought the writing would be like writing on Guitar Pro, but is way more complicated than that. David Wise inspired me so much on my musical composition when I was a teen, so much that in 2013 I made a cover of "Enchanted Wood" (better known as "Forest Interlude"). You can listen it here: de-vid.com/video/video-yKnSATOb4GU.html (I know it isn't the best mix, but I made it without any musical production knowledge, but lots of love and passion) Thanks for the great video lml
Rocket Chris
Rocket Chris Vor 6 Tage
its actually Castlevania Dracula X: Stage 7 Den
Umm... with E.T. Extra Terrestrial on Atari!
Doge of Coin
Doge of Coin Vor 6 Tage
SID chip is still better than the SNES sound system by a longshot. For example: de-vid.com/video/video-uSk9qE6_2Oc.html&index=52&list=PLXhLeiiveJmNhFf5ShVwwXspGfgt-ww8c
Grim Spore
Grim Spore Vor 6 Tage
NES am I a joke to you
stephanie rando
stephanie rando Vor 6 Tage
Aquatic Ambiance is one of my all-time favorite pieces of video game music
mineland Vor 6 Tage
0:16 shows smw It's actually smas
Nintendo gamer 222
0:15 Title says "Super Mario World" All-Stars version of Overworld SMB theme plays *TRIGGERED*
Gabriel Freitas
Gabriel Freitas Vor 6 Tage
David was wise
David wise is a legend
Arkadiusz Rękas
Arkadiusz Rękas Vor 6 Tage
SUPER MARIO WORLD *shows music and sounds from super mario allstars* Great job sir
whirlipede _
whirlipede _ Vor 6 Tage
This is pure gold, great channel.
Mann-Nova Vor 6 Tage
Videos like this let me appreciate music from these games that I already loved so much even more.
Spiraling Downward
I was gonna subscribe but all the things you got wrong in this video makes me a little worried about the quality of your other videos
omgwtfbbq Vor 3 Tage
i was just about to say the same thing about your comment, so many things wrong with it
Omar Fonseca Ruiz
Videos in this channel have good production values but they need to put more effort on the accuracy of the information they provide. I like this channel, but if you are looking for better information and facts then try "my life in gaming" channel.
Spiraling Downward
jjledzep I’m gonna watch his other videos now
jjledzep Vor 4 Tage
A: Then elaborate on that, instead of just saying he's wrong. It's the difference between criticism and constructive criticism... B: All of his sources are in the description. C: If you worry about the quality of his other video's, just watch a couple more, and you know for sure. D: I don't think he's going to loose any sleep over you not subbing.
Jamie Greig
Jamie Greig Vor 5 Tage
So you'd rather subscribe to a channel that gets things wrong and never admits it? If anything having that video only speaks to their credibility.
BoxheadRoss Vor 6 Tage
I just realized he used a song and footage from Super Mario All-Stars when he put up the Super Mario World title
omgwtfbbq Vor 3 Tage
kinda late to realize that lmao
Xarthos Vor 6 Tage
the dkc series holds some of the best music on the super nintendo hands down. The music is one of the many reasons why the super nintendo holds such a special place in my heart.
epic gamer man 123 gmaer boy 2009
Canal Gamer
Canal Gamer Vor 6 Tage
When I saw the "stickerbRush", I cried...
Justin Watson
Justin Watson Vor 7 Tage
You should really take this video down considering how much you got wrong in just a short video, very disappointing production
+Zane Oneiros just because you enjoyed it doesn't mean it didn't fail as an educational video. There is a comment here by a user called "Sleeping Cocoon" with 600+ likes that accurately breaks down the misinformation in this video. Video essays are a double edged sword because the entertainment value of slick video production often overshadows actual fact.
musicknight Vor 4 Tage
+Zane Oneiros 64 KB of RAM != 64 KB of music total per cartridge. only 64KB could be loaded to the random access memory at a time, but much more could actually be on the game. Also I don't believe Wise used a tracker.
Zane Oneiros
Zane Oneiros Vor 5 Tage
Enlighten us. Most of us enjoyed the video.
이그니카 Vor 7 Tage
Isn't it obvious? It was made in mario paint!
almogz 9
almogz 9 Vor 7 Tage
0:20 thats from dracula x not super castlevania 4 the track is called "den" nitpick but still
Joshua Korynta
Joshua Korynta Vor 7 Tage
And why was it so damn good?
TudBoatTed Vor 7 Tage
Talk to Earthbound
123 456
123 456 Vor 6 Tage
Gemtem Vor 7 Tage
0:15 that's not super Mario world
ACR 3202
ACR 3202 Vor 8 Tage
Super Mario World *shows gameplay of SMB1 all stars*
mistersylveon Vor 8 Tage
Pokey means business be like: metal in 1994? crazy.
Jens Muggen
Jens Muggen Vor 8 Tage
Uhm with Mario paint of course (Edit: Omg thanks for all the likes!)
Flashlight Vor 6 Tage
obviously, this person knows the real facts. you should buy the channel.
Hunter Skowron
Hunter Skowron Vor 8 Tage
Who does your after effects? A++!!
Flairon85 Vor 6 Tage
Hunter Skowron Whaat? I thought, the effects were a distracting mess.
KuraIthys Vor 9 Tage
It's not strictly true that the 64kb of audio RAM has to hold the sound for the entire game. In fact, more often than not, I find it doubtful that this is the case. Especially when you consider that say, Street Fighter 2 has some 30 songs, and some of the RPG's push close to 100. There's also no fundamental reason why this would be the case; The Audio system cannot access ROM, so you have to pass data to and from the APU through the IO ports dedicated to this purpose. While you COULD set this up as a one-off transfer, there's no real reason to, since reloading the entire 64k could in principle be done in the time it takes to draw 2 frames. In fact, when you look at the most extreme example I can think of, Tales of Phantasia, the opening song depends on streaming new sample data to the audio chip in realtime. There's no other way for that soundtrack to be possible, nor the nearly 100 or so voice lines the game contains. No, the notion that 64k is a hard limit on an entire game's soundtrack is nonsense. It's a soft limit, in that you have to account for however long it takes you to load more data into the audio system - and since the transfer process also occupies the main CPU, finding time for this is harder than it sounds, but it means having 64k of audio data per level is just as viable as having 64k for the entire game. I mean, taking a fraction of a second to reload the contents of Audio RAM between levels is no big deal... In some games a screen transition alone can take nearly half a second, which is more than enough time for that to happen...
Stephan's Notes
Stephan's Notes Vor 11 Tage
I greatly appreciate this video, I learn a lot about one of my favorite unit of my childhood.
New Jackson Swing
New Jackson Swing Vor 12 Tage
can you do one for Nintendo 64
Amber Short
Amber Short Vor 12 Tage
Even though the SNES had alot of limitations, I adored it's unique sound. To the point where I fell in love with it as a child. I wanted to compose and make music for it and thankfully to this day, I still do and love every moment of it and make spc files.
Lalito Vor 12 Tage
i guess david wise really lived up to his name...
rawkinghorse Vor 13 Tage
So this was a shallow, phoned-in video filled with inaccuracies made solely to get people to click an affiliate link. Good job.
Alex Gonzales
Alex Gonzales Vor 16 Tage
This was really dope
Tyson Williams
Tyson Williams Vor 21 Tag
Surprisingly inaccurate video for you, I’m not mad I’m just disappointed lmao
torerik1234 Vor 22 Tage
Super Nintendo video game music as well as the console (the original one, not the mini one) is and will always be my all time favorite. Who is with me?
nolyn Vor 26 Tage
super mario world, mario allstars footage ok
Juan Pablo Telleria
Im a music producer.. I know how sampling and pitch-shifting a waveform works. Also I think (and it would be obvious, due to the memory limitations of the system) that only one sample was used and then played with a MIDI pattern while the SNES was doing the pitch resampling. It would be way more effective this way.. since instead of storing lots of samples for each single note, you would only store one sample of the root note and then strech the sample to fit the actual desired note. Or even a more efficient way was to get rid of samples alltogether and just use simple mathematical equations to create the soundwaves. That would be the most efficient possible way.
Brozilla Vor 21 Tag
Think you got the concept mostly correct. Perhaps I misunderstand you but it's more like 1 Instrument = 1 sample. Because of how the hardware (particularly the DSP) works it'd be difficult to output waveforms using mathematics. On the SNES it'd be far more trouble than it's worth. The only method I see working is direct echo buffer writes and that means you'll incur a 2 Kilobyte memory penalty.
Andrew Manning
Andrew Manning Vor 27 Tage
Very interesting and, yes, creativity does come out of limitation 😊
lucas sosa
lucas sosa Vor 29 Tage
I was looking for copper and I found gold!!! Awesome video, well explained, you have a new subscriptor right now!!!
Гальванизированный Труп
that guy is what is known as AN ARTIST
Emrah Vor Monat
Dude made beats on a Super Nintendo.
mitrooper Vor Monat
How? Basically like on Commodore computers during the 80's, with the help of trackers.
kyle Vor Monat
big ups for crediting Eveline Fischer
Desmond Brown
Desmond Brown Vor Monat
All that work they had to do because of compression, and yet games from that era came out completely polished with practically no bugs. Simply amazing.
You're such an inspiration to me. Your videos are so well thought out and the content and editing is so on point. If you ever have time id love for you to check out my vlogs de-vid.com/show-UCcZ_zO_7KYmzpJWEtNeykLQ
YHO Vo Vor Monat
and Tim Follin!!!
gpturismo Vor Monat
The SNES and Genesis music are iconic to me. The PSOne and Saturn really changed the scene with recorded music but those 16-bit days.
Sven Leuschner
Sven Leuschner Vor Monat
Ohh wow... That sound design and these animations are interstellar!
Samuel Kristopher
Banjo Kazooie was the best music ever made for Nintendo. Prove me wrong.
Sam Vor 2 Monate
Israel Moreno
Israel Moreno Vor 2 Monate
You just earned a new subsciber!
Alfred Schlichtcock
Alfred Schlichtcock Vor 2 Monate
Misleading title, tho I love me some Mr Wise godly composition, this video didn't really give the information on how music was made in SNES. Disappointing video seriously.
Flashlight Vor 6 Tage
music tracker
Michael James
Michael James Vor 2 Monate
Learn something new every day 🤯
Phil Ferguson
Phil Ferguson Vor 2 Monate
Evan this is one of my favorite videos. Many hours spent in Kong Country. Thanks for bringing me back homie...
Alex Hauptmann
Alex Hauptmann Vor 2 Monate
Anyone know where to find the Korg Wavestation demo video at 2:42?
Cory Edwards
Cory Edwards Vor 2 Monate
You just blew my fucking mind.
DowJones Official
DowJones Official Vor 2 Monate
awesome! i love david wise
Johnson DMG
Johnson DMG Vor 2 Monate
the snes soundchip is NOT all that limited,for 1 thing it can refresh it's 64K ram with new instructions and/or new samples to tell the chip how to play those samples at wich order ,duration etc,,in order to play new music, it's even possible to stream audio samples while those other soundchannels are playing music, tales of phantasia proves this. heck you can even stream fully uncompressed 16bit audio at 32khz audio to the snes soundchip at 128kbps,but it eats up lots of cpu and workram to do that with no room left to run a game. the BRR/adpcm audio format is only 4bits in size,but the snes makes it up by using a lowpass filter and guassian filter to blur out that unwanted noise to simulate 16bit audio,but the results can be amezing such as in ,,spiderman and x men,unirally,plok and rock & roll racing etc,,,,they just sounding way better then most other snes games.
omgwtfbbq Vor 3 Tage
but the 128kb audio runnning at 64khz with the 32k ram (uncompressed) audio doesn't used as much cpu, that's why it's limited with the samples on the chip that was being used, including the one used for tales of phantasia
KuraIthys Vor 9 Tage
adpcm approximates a 16 bit waveform because each block of 16 samples has a header that specifies the volume scaling of those samples, and selects one of four filters. - the range value in each header means each block of samples can vary dramatically in volume range from adjacent blocks, and the filters mean that a single output sample can be the product of 1 to 3 samples. this is lossy compression of course, but it's still closer to actual 16 bit samples than the 4 bits per sample values suggest. The final output is indeed 16 bits, but it isn't an accurate reproduction of the 16 bit sample it started out as. Of course, if you set the scaling factor to it's largest range, and use the null filter, which has no influence from adjacent samples, you do end up with the equivalent of uncompressed 4 bit audio... But there's rarely any justification to do that...
Uremawife Nowdave
Uremawife Nowdave Vor 3 Monate
This video was brought to you by the documentary “Beep”.
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