Atari 2600 Soundfonts

The sound chip of the Atari 2600(& 7800) is a strange little beast. Soundtracks/music weren't really common in arcade games or the few other home consoles of the time so the TIA audio/visual chip of the 2600 was mainly intended to produce the simple bleep and bloop sound fx typical of the era.  As such very few 2600 games attempted to utilize background music even though it was possible.  A few notable games that I can think of offhand that utilize background music are Gyruss, Pitfall 2, and the impressive homebrew rendition of Super Mario Brothers called Princess Rescue (get it here).

In one of many confusing decisions Atari has made, their 7800 console also uses the same sound chip as the 2600.  It was originally intended just to preserve backwards compatibility with the still popular 2600 cartridges while they worked on developing a cheap version of their revered 5200/PC POKEY chip to be included in the cartridges.  The infamous video game crash happened right before the roll-out of the 7800 and the POKEY chip only appeared on 2 7800 games Ballblazer and Commando.  As it was directly competing with the NES and Sega Master System instead of the primitive consoles of the 2600 era the sound was a huge drawback even though the graphics are comparable (although the pixels are rectangular).

Despite being the most primitive of the chips I've covered thus far the reading and research I did for this soundpack actually took far longer than the entire process of making any of my other packs.  The main difference between this and my other soundpacks is the unorthodox tuning of the 2600's 32 available pitches isn't similar to any musical tuning or scale.  The best way to describe it would be a broken synthesizer which plays by its own rules that it hasn't even defined in a sensible way.  I almost didn't even download the set of samples from little-scale that I used because my memories of the sound of the 2600 wasn't very positive, but after listening to the sounds I was extremely surprised and found that sounds of the 2600 could be really useful in modern EDM style music.

I found a number of different sites that appeared to translate the pitches of the sounds to musical notes that inspired hope of an easy solution, but after trying various mappings none yielded usable results.  After much trial and error I realized that going about it my own way would be much more efficient.  I analyzed the pitches of all the samples and found that almost none closely matched notes and the same pitch numbers of the different sound types even had different pitches.  So I had to do a bit of math, their are 100 cents between notes so if a sample is off by 50 cents it's basically right between notes.  Given the unusual tuning I knew I had to make some compromises but still wanted the sounds to be in tune enough that they're usable with other sound-sources without having to manually detune everything else.  I roughly determined the mean and settled on a cutoff point of 30 cents above or below a note and removed any sample beyond that.  I also removed certain samples in the highest and lowest ranges where it was hard to determine the pitch. 

After all the subtractions I went through and tried to figure out a scale that would give me the most possible notes to use and ended up with F Melodic Minor scale (F, G, G#, A#, C, D, E).  I also removed sounds that were extremely similar and those which had too much noise to get an accurate pitch leaving 7 different sounds out of the 14 with around roughly a quarter to a third of the original samples per sound(The 05 and 12 sounds are really similar but offer different notes so I included both).  I also included soundfonts with all of the available notes within 30 cents (with the suffix all) in case anybody wants to try to use a different scale and another set of soundfonts with all of notes tuning tweaked to their respective notes and then spread across the entire keyboard (with the suffix full) to offer a better tuned but unauthentic set of sounds to use.  For "authentic" 2600 music with these you can use either the F Melodic Minor or All Available Notes sets with only 2 sounds playing at once at any given time.  If you intend to use drums I recommend downloading this sample pack from little-scale and perhaps sidechaining them to the bassline or even the melody.

Unsurprisingly given the nature of the chip their really aren't many 2600 vst emulations.  Their's a freeware emulation called hues2600 which can produce some pretty cool sounds but it doesn't seem very accurate to the hardware.  Theirs also Plogue Chipsounds which sounds much more authentic but I don't believe it's faithful to the tuning or limitations of the original hardware as I believe it's intended to give users a multitude of mostly accurate chipsounds rather than emulating the limitations of the different chips.

Download Links.

Atari 2600 Soundfonts 13 mb

Download Here

Atari 2600 Soundfont Bank 18 mb

Download Here


Although little-scale offered 3 different envelope settings for all 14 audible soundtypes of the 2600 sounds I only used the "No-Env" set as it was the best for sustained sounds.  The two I didn't use are "Punchy Release" used for drum/fx type sounds and "Slow Attack" which can easily be simulated by adjusting the attack on your SF2 player of choice.  I opted not to provide a drum soundfont since little scale already put together a nice wav pack and the 2600 isn't really suited to emulate a full drumkit, but if their's demand for one I can give it a shot but I don't see it being of much use.  Thanks again to little-scale for providing the samples.  I highly recommend you check out both little-scale's blog and Atari Age for more info on the 2600 and much more.


Sega Master System PSG Soundfonts

I've already briefly went over the sound capabilities of the Sega Master System in my previous post with the FM soundfonts so I'll try to be fairly brief here.  The PSG chip of the Master System was fairly outdated at the time of it's release being mainly used in old PC's and the Coleco Vision.  It had the same 5 channel limitation as the NES but lacks a triangle wave which may not seem limiting but the difference in capability is clear when listening to music from both systems.  I only mention the comparison as a reference for those not familiar with the Master System's sound.

Despite the relative limitations of the audio chip some pretty nice tunes can be made.  "Master of Darkness", "Robocop vs Terminator", & "Wonderboy III Dragon's Trap" all have pretty excellent soundtracks using only the PSG chip, they're pretty excellent games as well which never hurts. Little-scale has done a pretty excellent job of showing the capabilities of the system with the samples he provided that I used to make these soundfonts.  Their are "11 archetypes" of pulse sounds with 3 different types of amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, pitch bends & 2 basic pulse sounds with a release envelope.

To add flexibility to these sounds I offered both unlooped and looped versions of the modulated sounds.  Given the nature of the modulations & the relatively short sample lengths it wasn't really possible to get a standard sustained loop sound with them, but I was able to get loop sounds that are definitely useable with a basic LFO type sound.  I can't be sure you could get the sounds of the looped soundfonts off the hardware but I imagine so.  I also added two soundfonts to this pack created from a different sample pack little-scale provided that are really superb they're the Pulse HQ & Noise Bass HQ soundfonts.  Little-scale also provided various noise samples from the chip but besides the "Noise Bass HQ" I didn't include them because they weren't pitched chromatically and I dunno how useful random noise sounds would be.  Altogether the pack contains 14 different sounds with an additional 9 looped variations for 23 total soundfonts.

Surprisingly the PSG chip of the Master System/Genesis hasn't really received a whole lot of attention in the VST world.  Aly James is the only one that really made a proper full scale emulation of the chip(which I really need to pick up) and Plogue has it in their Chipsounds multi-emulation plug-in.  Their are a few freeware sort-of emulations & Genny has basic envelope editing of the PSG but from what I've seen their isn't really a free VST that mimics the capabilities of the original.  Aly James Lab's Super PSG synth is probably your best bet at making authentic Master System music with a computer as I believe it supports logging music to a format that the Master System can read.  I'll do another article in the future that goes over VST PSG emulations once I pick up Aly's synth and have time to play with it.

Download Links.

Sega Master System PSG Soundfonts 125 mb

Download Here

Sega Master System PSG Soundfont Bank 149 mb

Download Here


C64 Waveform Soundfonts

The SID chip of the Commodore 64 computers is an iconic piece of hardware that has stood the test of time and is still used in music today.  While chipmusic as a whole has increased in popularity no other chip really rivals the popularity of the SID chip in chipmusic and even more mainstream productions.  Plenty of emulations exist of about every chip imaginable in software but the SID is the only one I know of that is still being utilized in modern hardware synths.

Given the proliferation of C64 software these soundfonts may have limited use but sometimes just loading up a basic wave that sounds good and modifying it is a lot easier than fiddling around with a synth.  Also their are numerous sampler/synth/romplers that support loading soundfonts as oscillators or sound sources so having these will easily allow you to blend or add C64 sounds with other sound sources.  I also recently made a soundfont of the SAA-1099 Pulse wave which little-scale also provided.   From what I gather the SAA1099 was a fairly basic PSG synth that was in a number of lesser known 1980's computers.  Since it's just a basic wave soundfonts it has similar uses as the C64 soundfonts.

As with the Sega Master System FM set the samples for this soundset were generously recorded from the original hardware and provided by little-scale. I looped all the samples for the regular soundfonts and made a single soundfont file containing all the soundfonts.   Looping the Noise sample didn't go very well as it has a stutter-like effect but it sounds fairly useable so I kept it and added a noise soundfont without looping as the samples are long enough for most uses.  On the "release" soundfonts the envelope doesn't sound quite the same on each sample but rather than trying to "fix" them I left them as-is because I dunno if that's how the hardware is suppose to behave or an error, either way the release soundfonts are probably of limited use anyway.

Download Links.

C64 Waveform Soundfonts 8 mb

Download Here

C64 Waveform Soundfont Bank 11 mb

Download Here

SAA-1099 Pulse Soundfont 2 mb

Download Here


Thanks again to little-scale for providing the quality samples.  As I mentioned in the post theirs a number of C64 emulations in VST format so I plan on doing a post on them in the future I just need to gather more information.


8 Synthesizer Soundfonts

After working on the previous post with the SMS soundfonts I realized that awhile ago I also made a couple soundfonts when I first started learning the basics of sound design and experimenting with synthesizers.  These by far aren't amazingly complex synthesizer sounds but in playing with them a bit before posting this I found they're perfectly usable sounds.  The one downside of these is that when I made them I also didn't know much about sampling either so theirs no loop points and the the sound levels vary from patch to patch(but obviously not within a patch).

I'll try to briefly describe each sound Alien Pad - detuned sci-fi pad type sound, Electroacoustic Bass - a moogy sound with fuzzy harmonics works as a g funk lead in higher octaves, Electronic Bass - a bass sound with a fuzzy electrical buzz sound, Electronic Violin - really crude attempt at emulating the violin with a saw lead type sound, Fuzzy Funk Lead - basic lead with a heavy flanger effect,  Ghostride Bass - basic saw bass sound kinda lacking in the low end though works as a g funk lead in higher octaves, Pure Sub Bass - pure sub bass tone works well layered with higher frequency basses, West Coast Sub - a saw/sub bass with a beefy low end.


Contains the Pure Sub Bass, Electronic Bass, Fuzzy Funk Lead, & Electronic Violin mix is kind of bad.


Various Old Soundfonts 55 mb (96 mb unrar-ed)
Various Old Soundfonts (folder with invidual files)


I've learned a good bit since making these but I still like these sounds.  For future synthesizer sounds on this blog I'll likely be posting them as bank files for individual synths(About 75% done with my first synth bank created from scratch) but if I happen to have a bunch of patches on various synths that I can't do a whole bank for I may do another release like this.

Sega Master System FM Soundfonts

The Sega Master System is an often forgotten(outside of Brazil & parts of Europe) 8-bit game console despite having arguably better graphics than the NES and a pretty decent game library.  In contrast to the impressive graphics the standard audio chip of the Sega Master System is more limited than the NES as it uses the same chip as the Colecovision.  Sensing this flaw the Japanese added a FM synth into their version of the Master System which unfortunately never made it outside of Japan.   Consoles from other regions can be modded to add the FM synth as a number of games have FM audio soundtracks.

Unlike the Genesis FM chip which has a few VST emulations I haven't found any of the Master Systems FM chip.  Fortunately little-scale has sampled the sounds of the YM2413 and generously provided them for free so more people have the opportunity to make music using these sounds.  They're direct recordings of the YM2413 chip of the 15 unmodifiable preset "instruments" of the chip and the 5 "rhythm" sounds.  From what I gather the chip has 15 embedded preset "instruments" and 1 user programmable "instrument" slot available and is capable of having 9 "instruments" per track or 6 "instruments" when the "rhythm mode" is activated which gives you access to the 5 drum sounds.  If you want to make "authentic" Master System tracks with these samples I recommend going to SMS Power for more detailed information on the chip.

I've had these samples for awhile for my own personal use so I decided to share them as they may be useful for others as well.  I took the samples from little-scale and made soundfonts out of them so they're easier to load up and use.  The soundfonts are just the .wavs stretched over the full range of the keyboard with nothing extra added.  Originally I didn't have a soundfont made of the drums since they're just 5 different samples but I when I decided to post this it didn't really make sense not to include them as well.  Creating the drum soundfont probably ended up taking longer than it took me to create all the instrument soundfonts.   Instead of just doing a basic mapping I decided to make the best soundfont I could with the 5 samples.  I followed the General Midi standard for drums from "C1-B1" and repeated that from the C2-C5 octaves (GM drums usually start at C3 but some midi files start at different octaves.)

The drum map goes like this, midi standard in parenthesis.

C---Bass drum (Bass Drum 1)
C#--Snare drum pitched up (Side Stick)
D---Snare drum pitched down (Acoustic Snare)
D#--Snare drum pitched one octave down (Hand Clap)
E---Snare drum (Electric Snare)
F---Tom-tom pitched down (Low Floor Tom)
F#--High hat pitched up (Closed Hi Hat)
G---Tom-tom (High Floor Tom)
G#--High hat (Pedal Hi Hat)
A---Tom-tom pitched up (Low Tom)
A#--Top cymbal (Open Hi Hat)
B---Tom-tom pitched up more (Low Mid Tom)

In addition to the pitching I did for the standard type mapping I pitched the Bass drum sample lower below C2 & pitched the Tom-tom sample up from the pitch at B from B5 to F7 and pitched the Top cymbal down from C8 to F#7 and up from C8 to B9.  I don't know if the drum sounds of the YM2413 are able to be pitched or modified in any way but the C, E, G, G#, & A# keys from C2 to B5 trigger the unaltered samples if you just wanna use them.


These aren't really intended to be "proper" demo tracks they're just tracks I did awhile ago that happen to use these sounds.

 Theirs a little bit of distortion added to the lead guitar sound and some filtering on the bass also the drums aren't from SMS and theirs some NES sounds included as well.

 From what I remember this track is pretty much just the SMS sounds without a lot of processing or FX.


Sega Master System FM Soundfonts 35 mb (50 mb unrar-ed)

Download Here

Sega Master System FM Soundfont Bank(All the soundfonts in a single soundfont file.) 50 mb

Download Here



Highly recommend you check out both little-scale's blog and SMS Power as both are excellent resources with plenty of interesting content.  I plan on releasing additional chip-music samples or patches in the future so stay tuned.


478 Patches for FMDrive

FMDrive is an accurate vst emulation of the Yamaha YM2612 FM synth inside the Sega Genesis by Aly James Lab .  It is available as a 32bit vsti for Windows from Aly James Lab's site for a "donation" of 10€ or more.  A non-SynthEdit version of this VST is reportedly in the works for this year which will have 64bit Windows and Mac versions.

Since the instrument only comes with 40 presets and is pretty difficult to program I went ahead and converted a bunch of TFI files I downloaded from Aly James' site into FXB banks and shared them for other users.  The "Xtra Bank"s are the "FB01 Preset Pack" tfi files converted into FXB's alphabetically 235 patches altogether. The "TFI Bank"s are from the Instrument's folder of the "Full TFI Pack" converted folder by folder so the patches are more grouped in these banks. 243 patches altogether in 4 banks.


478 Patches for FMDrive 74 kb

Download Here


While the internal preset browser appears to support a full 128 patches only the first 64 appear in the DAW menu so rather than risk the banks not working properly I just made the banks 64 patches(or less) so therefore theirs twice as many banks here than in the Genny set.  When I get some time I'll also go ahead and convert the Sonic 1 soundbank to FMDrive as well.


Unfortunately after reviewing my blog to make sure all the links work correctly I discovered that the "Metropeak" website is no longer on the internet.  After searching my computer I realized that I don't have the metropeak sonic 1 tfi set so I don't know if I'll be able to provide the sonic 1 bank as promised if I can somehow export the sounds from Genny to a format FMDrive can load I will definitely do it but manually importing all the Sonic 1 TFI's and recreating the set is a bit of a tedious task for a synth that may be updated and change significantly.  If anybody happens to have the Metropeak sonic pack please get it touch with me.