DPCM Volume

General discussion about tracking, help and support.
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Mega Bruh X
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DPCM Volume

Postby Mega Bruh X » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:53 pm

When I see other people's works in FT in which use the DPCM channel, the volume of the channel compliments the rest of the song perfectly. However, the DPCM channel always seems to be drowned out by the other channels when I try to use it, unless the volume of all the other channels is too low for my liking. Does anyone have any tips?
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Threxx » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:54 pm

Mega Bruh X wrote:When I see other people's works in FT in which use the DPCM channel, the volume of the channel compliments the rest of the song perfectly. However, the DPCM channel always seems to be drowned out by the other channels when I try to use it, unless the volume of all the other channels is too low for my liking. Does anyone have any tips?


Get louder samples.

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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Mega Bruh X » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:04 pm

Threxx wrote:
Mega Bruh X wrote:When I see other people's works in FT in which use the DPCM channel, the volume of the channel compliments the rest of the song perfectly. However, the DPCM channel always seems to be drowned out by the other channels when I try to use it, unless the volume of all the other channels is too low for my liking. Does anyone have any tips?


Get louder samples.


Oh yeah, duh. I feel derpy for not thinking of that. Thanks though.
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Dr. Merio
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Dr. Merio » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:24 pm

Most of the time you really need to lower every other channel's volume in order to get a perfect mixing, because a lot of DPCM samples tend to be quiet (at least in my experience). It can be a hassle, but you can achieve better results that way, instead of just trying to get louder samples.
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Pencildragon
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Pencildragon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:26 pm

For DPCM I "prepare" my samples knowing sort of how they'll sound inside Famitracker. My process is typically this:
1. Load sample into Audacity
2. If its longer than a second, make it less than a second- fading out reverb tails usually sounds the best.
3. If its stereo, bounce it to mono.
(Optional) 4. Compression, sometimes this helps, sometimes it doesn't, depends on the sample.
5. Normalize/Amplify to -.3, the louder the sample usually the better and this is a pretty good volume to peak at. If its too loud I can use the import dialogue in Famitracker to balance it a little bit, its not a lot but it the volume slider does give you some leeway.
6. Change sample rate of the audio track to 22050, I know Famitracker can import any sample, but this helps me get a more "what you hear it what you get" which is really, really useful.
7. Changing the sample rate will make the sample twice as long and about twice as low in pitch, so I use the change speed effect to make it twice as fast and twice as high in pitch, putting it back where it was before.
(Optional) 8. Use the Equalizer effect to shave a little bit of the high end off the sample, when you import a sample into Famitracker it kills some high end already and if there's excess high end before import in my experience it just turns into noise. Some samples sound great without it, others need it.
9. Set the project rate as 22050 to match the audio track's sample rate. That way Audacity knows that's the bitrate I want to export it as, otherwise it will try to export a 44.1kHz file containing my 22.05kHz audio track which is terrible as that will double the file size- making all the work I just did preparing the sample meaningless.
10. Export as .wav file.

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Highway Man
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Highway Man » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:32 pm

I find that louder samples tend to screw with the triangle wave, and can be a bit headache-inducing. One of my gripes with the D-counter, although I still set it to 0 when I need to make samples stick out more. One of the things I do is to mix the noise and DPCM channels together. Like this - you have a sample, then cover it with noise to not only increase the clarity, but to make the sample sound louder than it actually is. Or sometimes you can just have a small sample for a kick, while the noise acts as the decay. De Block and Dezaemon are two prime examples that I can think up. Panic Restaurant and Sunman are good examples of this as well. Neil Baldwin's Magician is another great example of this, although he starts doing it later in the soundtrack (I believe in the Forest theme.) Airball (which happens to have probably my favorite VGM piece of all time) by Gosztola Peter does it too.
I personally like to lower the other channels, though, because I find that loud channels can hurt my ears a bit and sometimes drown out lower pitched triangle waves. I find that louder channels only work with higher pitched triangle waves, such as in Barry Leitch's Golf Power, but that's just my personal taste.
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby RushJet1 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:03 pm

Save .dmc files to some location, get RJDMC, load them into that, increase volume, if necessary tilt the end of the wave up to the top so it won't mess too much with triangle wave stuff, then save and re-import. This assumes your samples are just quiet but otherwise are a good match to be louder as 1-bit samples. If they're particularly high pitched it won't change the volume much.

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Highway Man
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Highway Man » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:07 pm

That's...actually pretty cool. Thanks for posting that, it's gonna help alot.
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Pencildragon
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Pencildragon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:45 pm

Highway Man wrote:I find that louder samples tend to screw with the triangle wave, and can be a bit headache-inducing. One of my gripes with the D-counter, although I still set it to 0 when I need to make samples stick out more. One of the things I do is to mix the noise and DPCM channels together. Like this - you have a sample, then cover it with noise to not only increase the clarity, but to make the sample sound louder than it actually is. Or sometimes you can just have a small sample for a kick, while the noise acts as the decay. De Block and Dezaemon are two prime examples that I can think up. Panic Restaurant and Sunman are good examples of this as well. Neil Baldwin's Magician is another great example of this, although he starts doing it later in the soundtrack (I believe in the Forest theme.) Airball (which happens to have probably my favorite VGM piece of all time) by Gosztola Peter does it too.
I personally like to lower the other channels, though, because I find that loud channels can hurt my ears a bit and sometimes drown out lower pitched triangle waves. I find that louder channels only work with higher pitched triangle waves, such as in Barry Leitch's Golf Power, but that's just my personal taste.

I usually layer at least my snares with noise, one of the side effects of my method is the samples have considerably less high end. They sound quite pleasing with some noise hits thrown on top :D And I'm usually not very concerned about drowning out the triangle channel, if I'm working in 2A03 the triangle channel tends to be the one drowning everything out(then again, if I made my peak volumes on the other channels something besides a/b/c then maybe that wouldn't be the case haha). And if I'm working with an expansion chip, I usually have room to layer another channel to increase the bass presence if need be(saw + triangle in VRC6 for example). Generally, I don't mess with the delta counter mid song. I'd rather have a triangle channel that is slightly quieter the entire time than a triangle channel that is arbitrarily changing volume because I decided to use samples one place and not another. But at the same time, I've heard some really cool stuff come from messing with the delta counter. Heard a couple ftm's where the delta counter was purposefully being used to make a clicking sound which turned into a bass drum when combined with the triangle channel, which in turn gave them a nice loud kick as well as a loud triangle channel.

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Highway Man
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Re: DPCM Volume

Postby Highway Man » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:56 pm

Pencildragon wrote:
Highway Man wrote:I find that louder samples tend to screw with the triangle wave, and can be a bit headache-inducing. One of my gripes with the D-counter, although I still set it to 0 when I need to make samples stick out more. One of the things I do is to mix the noise and DPCM channels together. Like this - you have a sample, then cover it with noise to not only increase the clarity, but to make the sample sound louder than it actually is. Or sometimes you can just have a small sample for a kick, while the noise acts as the decay. De Block and Dezaemon are two prime examples that I can think up. Panic Restaurant and Sunman are good examples of this as well. Neil Baldwin's Magician is another great example of this, although he starts doing it later in the soundtrack (I believe in the Forest theme.) Airball (which happens to have probably my favorite VGM piece of all time) by Gosztola Peter does it too.
I personally like to lower the other channels, though, because I find that loud channels can hurt my ears a bit and sometimes drown out lower pitched triangle waves. I find that louder channels only work with higher pitched triangle waves, such as in Barry Leitch's Golf Power, but that's just my personal taste.

I usually layer at least my snares with noise, one of the side effects of my method is the samples have considerably less high end. They sound quite pleasing with some noise hits thrown on top :D And I'm usually not very concerned about drowning out the triangle channel, if I'm working in 2A03 the triangle channel tends to be the one drowning everything out(then again, if I made my peak volumes on the other channels something besides a/b/c then maybe that wouldn't be the case haha). And if I'm working with an expansion chip, I usually have room to layer another channel to increase the bass presence if need be(saw + triangle in VRC6 for example). Generally, I don't mess with the delta counter mid song. I'd rather have a triangle channel that is slightly quieter the entire time than a triangle channel that is arbitrarily changing volume because I decided to use samples one place and not another. But at the same time, I've heard some really cool stuff come from messing with the delta counter. Heard a couple ftm's where the delta counter was purposefully being used to make a clicking sound which turned into a bass drum when combined with the triangle channel, which in turn gave them a nice loud kick as well as a loud triangle channel.

The thing is, if you listen to say, Batman on NES, you can hear in certain songs the triangle wave shifting up and down in volume, because the beat and the snare are very different, and it sounds rather bad IMO (also, the samples themselves make the D-offset far too noticable) so that's what i mean when I say that it makes the triangle wave go wonky. It's basically unintentional manual triangle volume control. Maybe that's just because of the D-offset and not the volume, but it still grates my nerves.
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