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Lorfarius

Famicom Appreciation Thread

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Just stumbled across this:

I had no idea some Japanese carts had extra sound chips in them. The Famicom Akumajou Densetsu music is WAAAAAY better than Castlevania III.

Mind blown.

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Western consoles are missing something from the inside which allows them to interface with the additional chips inside certain carts.

I've recently been trying to figure out what the actual differences is between the Famicom disk system and the NES when it comes to sound. As many of you may know, the hardware in the Famicom and NES is more or less identical, but there are some notable differences.

One of the differences is that the pin connector of the famicom has two lines for audio (one for input, the other for output), and this allows cartridges to have their own sound hardware in addition to the sound hardware already present in the CPU. After some searching, I found that some cartridges that used those lines added extra squarewave channels, but some had more advanced soundchips that did FM synthesis (Konami VRC7), Wavetable (Namco N106 and Nintendo FDS), and sawthooth waves (Konami VCR6).

The NES does actually have the audio I/O lines, but they are only present on the expansion-connector hidden by a panel on the underside of the NES. Sadly, no expansions were comercially sold in the western world. Therefore, all western games will only take use off the 5 sound channels present within the CPU (two square-wave channels, one triangle wave channel, one DPCM channel and one noise channel).

Then I decided to take a spectrum analysis of a tune that did sound different on a FDS and a NES. The intro theme of Kid Icarus, to be precice. The reason I chosed this pice is that the FDS version sounds different, but it doesn't sound any differences in what notes are played.

Now to the results (see pictures). A lot is quite similar, like the bass line. I believe it's generated using both the triangle-wave chanel and the DPCM. In addition, the entire composition is almost identical. Then you have the differences. What I noticed first is the long tones in the beginning. On the FDS, those are generated by a squarewave with a duty cycle of 25% (you can see that because it adds an octave of the actual tones). The cartridge version does however use the DPCM instead, something that is quite noticable. Then the rest of the tune is quite simple. From the bass-tone through the rest of the melody, the disk version uses the wavetable channel that is special for the FDS to play the main melody. Since the cartridge version lacks this sound channel, it has to use a normal squarewave channel instead, and only one squarewave channel remains for the submelody. On the FDS the submelody is played by both of the squarevave channels, seperated by a fifth to make it sound more like chords.

As a result, the squarewaves sounds much sharper in the cartridge versions since they aren't mixed together as one "instrument". In addition, the wavetable channel of the FDS has more flexibility than the 4 tone generators in the NES/Famicom, therefor it can generate more complex sounds. My final note is that both versions are great tunes, even the cartridge one may sound a bit cheesy when comparing.

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/161940-fds-vs-nes-sound-hardware/

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I picked up a boxed FDS with all the manuals etc for 2500 yen in a recycle shop a few weeks ago. Haven't got any games yet though...

Does anyone have any FDS games with manuals? What are the contents of the booklets like? They seem fairly thick but I can't get a look at one without buying it.

I was thinking of getting Castlevania the other day. The shop had it without booklet for 1800yen or so and with booklet for 3000, which I assume are just the normal prices. If the booklets are decent I'd go for one with the booklet.

If the booklets are just a load of generic safety warnings/other non game specific stuff and a few pages about the game, I won't bother.

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The thick book type ones. What is the content of the books like? Is it a proper big manual with artwork/guides etc or is it a load of writing about boring stuff not related the game in question/how to use a disk correctly/how to maintain your disks/ads for other games etc?

In particular Zelda and Castlevania, but if you don't have them a general idea of what type of stuff is in any of the books would be helpful :)

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Just stumbled across this:

I had no idea some Japanese carts had extra sound chips in them. The Famicom Akumajou Densetsu music is WAAAAAY better than Castlevania III.

Mind blown.

Does this mean I can add another £10 onto the value of my JPN Castlevania 3 cart :)

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:angry:

I've bought the worlds most tempramental NES it would seem. Very tricky to get carts to load and lots of graphical glitching when they do. I mostly get a solid grey screen, so I've requested a part refund from the seller for the cost of a new 72 pin connector and the bits and bobs I'll need to clean it all up. Not impressed as it was advertised as tested, clean and working.

On the plus side, Double Dragon 2 is amazing!

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I take it you cleaned the carts properly? Use isopropryl. Another thing you can do is strip the NES down and give the cart slot inside a good clean, use iso for this as well.

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I've just ordered a screwdriver for getting into the carts, but I think it's actually more of a problem with the connector in the NES as quite a lot of them work to an extent with a wiggle or a prod once they're in the machine. It all just needs a damn good clean up I think, but it's not as advertised. I thought Brasso was meant to the the boy for the job.

Edit - also, Bayou Billy is equally amazing.

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Yes it will be the NES connector but a good clean can help a lot even on the old duffers. One other thing you can try is where the cart connects to the motherboard it slides together as I recall and you can clean this which can help. Something to try whilst you wait for the new one plus you will need to open it all up to fit that anyway so might as well give it a go :)

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Coolio. I'm going to head to the hardware store later and stock up on Brasso, iso and cotton buds!

Also, The Karate Kid is utter shit.

I would only use Brasso as a last resort. It will most likely work (I've never been unable to retrieve a lost NES cause with it) but it will strip the contacts of the gold used to protect them from corrosion. So a short term fix might screw them up long term. Start with alcohol and a pencil eraser.

Dave

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Cheers for the advice. I got my requested partial refund, so I'll get it sorted this week hopefully and get stuck in! I managed to get Hogans Alley going earlier after a bit of wiggling - that's good fun! I might try and go for a full collection of Zapper games.

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