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Super Audio Cart: The definitive chiptune instrument, available now from ISW & OCR!

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OC ReMix & Impact Soundworks are pleased to officially announce the release of SUPER AUDIO CART, the definitive retro game instrument and a project eight years in the making!

Instrument Page: Read More & Purchase

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Super Audio Cart features eight legendary video game systems recorded in exhaustive detail using a slew of specialized cartridges and hardware:

  • Atari 2600
  • Commodore 64
  • Sega Master System
  • Game Boy
  • Sega Genesis (Mega Drive - Model 1, naturally)
  • NES
  • Famicom (w/ VRC6, VRC7, FDS)
  • SNES (Super Famicom)

These samples combine to form more than 630 multisampled sound sources: everything from pulse oscillators and noise generators, to essential FM patch layouts, true lo-fi PCM drums and hacked/circuit-bent setups. When you play a Commodore 64 PWM patch or an NES drum kit, you aren't hearing an emulation: these are the real sounds coming straight from each console.

But Super Audio Cart goes far beyond authentic game sounds. We created an incredible KONTAKT PLAYER engine (with full NKS compatibility) pushing Kontakt to its limits to provide a huge range of sound design features and 1200 factory presets in total. This engine lets you transform simple pulses, saws, and 10kb samples into monumental pads, dirty EDM basses, hip hop leads and anything else you can think of.

SAMPLE CONTENT

  • Over 5,800 meticulously edited samples in total
  • All-new bank of custom SNES samples (400+ instruments)
  • 120+ classic FM instruments from the best Genesis soundtracks
  • Hundreds of sound effects, both sound sources + presets
  • Synthesized and DPCM sampled drumkits
  • Tons of waveforms and circuit bent oscillators

ENGINE FEATURES

  • Up to 4 simultaneous and independent sound source layers
  • Five total FX racks (one per layer and global) with a custom "SNESVERB" module
  • Independent arpeggiator/sequencer & gate, including wave sequencer
  • Full control over envelopes, mapping range, keytracking and tuning
  • Customizable portamento (including poly portamento)
  • Over a dozen filter models (LP, HP, BP, notch)
  • MIDI learn / CC links to any parameter or control
  • XY controller for layer blending or modulation (also MIDI learnable)

And the crown jewel, a 64-slot custom mod matrix built from scratch. We'll be making a video just for this since it can do so much - create and assign custom LFOs to virtually any parameter, use MIDI CC, random numbers, velocity, key position, and aftertouch (to name a few), modulate FX and controls globally or per-layer... etc. And you can bet the factory library makes great use of it!

AUDIO DEMOS

https://soundcloud.com/isworks/sets/super-audio-cart-demos

Super Audio Cart was produced as a collaboration between Impact Soundworks and the OverClocked ReMix video game music community, and is available now for the MSRP of $149 with FULL Kontakt Player and NKS compatibility!

Get the library here!
Let us know what you think! :D

VIDEO TUTORIALS (Playlist)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_kB2z4rCmo

QUOTES

"Super Audio Cart is so much fun, and absolutely spot-on for simulating retro game sounds. This is absolutely a fantastic sample library for all game music fans."

-Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears)

"It's extremely convenient to be able to create arrangements with such diverse sounds so quickly, just using MIDI. Of course, Super Audio Cart isn't just for 'retro' sounds - it's also very useful for modern music as well."
    
-Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, ActRaiser, Revenge of Shinobi, Etrian Odyssey)

"Super Audio Cart is without doubt the best plugin for all your chiptune needs, it's got the lot and they're all glorious!! Having all these authentic sounds in one place is the best idea since someone said, 'Let's put a rap in Donkey Kong' ... oh wait."
    
-Grant Kirkhope (Donkey Kong 64, GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, Civilization: Beyond Earth)

"Super Audio Cart fills a niche in my chiptune arsenal that has been sorely lacking. The SNES-style patches sound so authentic, and the multi-chip patches bring usability and versatility I haven't seen in a chiptune instrument before."
    
-Danny Baranowsky (Crypt of the NecroDancer, Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy)

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Oof... I've never yet bought a VST--the ones that are substantially better than the free options are insanely pricey--but this could be the one that changes my policy.

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I do not approve of the OCR name being used to sell products for a profit -- a commercial album featuring multiple compensated artists, and legally licensed music, is one thing that is fine as an infrequent endeavor. This is something completely different, which brands a product with a name that was bolstered by a dedicated community of hobbyists who have gotten no financial compensation. It's not about the artists sharing in the patreon, or the VST, or the childrens book, or whatever other product gets promoted and funded using the OCR name. Using the name to promote products and services goes against the spirit of the website and shows a lack of respect to the community that built the brand's strength to begin with, and worst case borders on exploitation. 

Of course my thoughts aren't going to change anyone's mind, or the current / future condition of the site or community. But they're said out of a respect for what OCR stood for. 

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Cost: Yep, as mentioned in a YouTube comment reply it's going to be in the $100-150 range. I think it's going to be a pretty fantastic value for the money purely for the MODERN sounds alone. That's the big difference between this and other retro/chiptune type plugins; this has hundreds upon hundreds of presets made by layering the systems, adding effects, modulators, envelopes, and filters. A pad made from SNES strings mixed with Genesis sweeps and NES arpeggios? Sure! The factory library features contributions from OCR's own community: bLiNd, Timaeus222, Flexstyle, Sir_NutS, and Big Giant Circles, along with myself and djpretzel to name a few!

Kontakt: ... Is not the most elegantly designed plugin in the world, but that's OK because we created our own interface and engine from scratch. So you're not really using Kontakt's UI, but our own thing that just uses Kontakt as the backend. All the graphics, wallpapers, knobs and other stuff are totally original. I'll be making a multi-part tutorial series on how to use Super Audio Cart, too. Starting with the basics of navigating the factory library, then moving on to basic sound layering and mixing, envelopes/filters and portamento, arpeggiator & sequencer, FX, and the mod matrix.

SNES: For the SNES, for copyright reasons we couldn't sample the actual games themselves. Instead, we created our own custom bank of 400+ sounds to the same specification used by actual SNES games, right down to the same bit rate reduction (BRR) encoding. These samples could be dropped into a ROM file and loaded on a real SNES - and in fact we did that just to make sure they sounded correct! You'll find a huge range of sounds including strings, pianos, guitars, basses, ethnic instruments, FX, ensembles, and drums, with lots of variations for each. There's also an FX module with the classic "SNESVERB" sound that you can tweak and toggle at will.

MegaDrive: Another tricky one, since FM synthesis has infinite possible patch combinations. However, most of them suck! So we ripped the TFI (FM synth patch) data from actual soundtracks and, using a Model 1 Genesis and GenMDM hardware, multisampled about 120 of the best patches from my favorite games. Classic instruments from titles like Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Shinobi, Toejam & Earl, etc. Oh yeah, and several hundred FX taken from sound tests too (non-PCM fx, so again, no copyright issue!) On the PCM end, we did use the Genesis' lo-fi DAC to record some custom drums + percussion for lovely Genesis-style 707, 808, 909, rock, metal, and hybrid kits, plus about a dozen others.

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38 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

Of course my thoughts aren't going to change anyone's mind, or the current / future condition of the site or community. But they're said out of a respect for what OCR stood for. 

But OC ReMIx never stood for "Don't endorse super-cool commercial projects that are completely relevant to the site mission of promoting VGM"... that was never a restriction, at any level. We are, first and foremost, a community of fans creatively expressing our appreciation for some amazing music. But the site's mission & principles have always included promoting VGM, and that includes commercial offerings if they are relevant. This is relevant.

A portion of each sale will go towards supporting OCR, by the way.

If anyone else agrees with Brandon's concerns, please chime in; to me, it seems like most people get the connectivity & understand why this is something we have been part of & will be a part of. Some amazing music will be made with this library, guaranteed! Some of that music will end up on the site, some of it will end up in games... sure feels like a win-win, to me.

Heck, when you see who's putting together some of the demos for SAC... if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting.

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36 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

I do not approve of the OCR name being used to sell products for a profit -- a commercial album featuring multiple compensated artists, and legally licensed music, is one thing that is fine as an infrequent endeavor. This is something completely different, which brands a product with a name that was bolstered by a dedicated community of hobbyists who have gotten no financial compensation. It's not about the artists sharing in the patreon, or the VST, or the childrens book, or whatever other product gets promoted and funded using the OCR name. Using the name to promote products and services goes against the spirit of the website and shows a lack of respect to the community that built the brand's strength to begin with, and worst case borders on exploitation. 

Of course my thoughts aren't going to change anyone's mind, or the current / future condition of the site or community. But they're said out of a respect for what OCR stood for. 

Stop being a dummy.

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Nope, not buying it at that price.  But that's just me, I'm really not willing to pay anything like a reasonable price for music stuff, since for me it's just an occasional hobby that I'm not very good at anyway.  But I'm looking forward to seeing what others come up with using it!

I think the association makes sense.  This is a product centered directly around OCR's core focus, competency, and mission.  I wouldn't be thrilled about OCR endorsing a general purpose tool like a microphone, a multipurpose synth, or a DAW, but, like OverClocked Records, this is right in the zone IMO.

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I like the idea of having an all in one retro game sample library.  Something like this, a well made vst that includes all of the major 8 and 16 bit systems, is long overdue imo.

I'll admit that it's going to take a lot to pry me away from FMDrive but i am very interested in getting it for the Commodore 64 and Master System samples. The price does seem on the steep side when you consider what other similar vst's have released for over the past few years. I'd most likely pick it up for $100 but going full $150 + would cause me to back off until I can justify it as a necessary purchase.

Are there any plans to expand the collection at some point and include Sega's Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color and others?

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Quote

I do not approve of the OCR name being used to sell products for a profit -- a commercial album featuring multiple compensated artists, and legally licensed music, is one thing that is fine as an infrequent endeavor. This is something completely different, which brands a product with a name that was bolstered by a dedicated community of hobbyists who have gotten no financial compensation. It's not about the artists sharing in the patreon, or the VST, or the childrens book, or whatever other product gets promoted and funded using the OCR name. Using the name to promote products and services goes against the spirit of the website and shows a lack of respect to the community that built the brand's strength to begin with, and worst case borders on exploitation. 

Of course my thoughts aren't going to change anyone's mind, or the current / future condition of the site or community. But they're said out of a respect for what OCR stood for.

Almost every person who worked on Super Audio Cart has been a member of this community for over 10 years.

OCR is not and was never about preserving the romanticism of slaving over art without any compensation. That's stupid (attributing it to OCR, that is). Something you apply for yourself; that's fine, there's nothing wrong with having that as an ideal, but keep it to yourself and don't say nonsense like this "disrespects the community". This was made by our community.

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21 minutes ago, Garpocalypse said:

The price does seem on the steep side when you consider what other similar vst's have released for over the past few years. I'd most likely pick it up for $100 but going full $150 + would cause me to back off until I can justify it as a necessary purchase.

 

The sound design possibilities of this library are way beyond what a standard "emulation" VSTi can accomplish, especially when you start combining systems, filters, effects, the mod matrix...super fun stuff! Plus, the 1000+ presets (a few of which I had the privilege of designing) means that this is an incredibly valuable resource straight out of the box. 

 

I can't recommend it highly enough, myself, now that I've used it.

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1 hour ago, Garpocalypse said:

I'll admit that it's going to take a lot to pry me away from FMDrive but i am very interested in getting it for the Commodore 64 and Master System samples. The price does seem on the steep side when you consider what other similar vst's have released for over the past few years. I'd most likely pick it up for $100 but going full $150 + would cause me to back off until I can justify it as a necessary purchase.

Personally, I feel it's very reasonable if you consider that a modulation matrix has never been done in Kontakt before (it's been tried but never fully delivered on like a real synthesizer). Let's not forget the host of other big features like deep poly arp sequencer (seriously, this alone you get lost in for hours; drumbeats, riffs, melodies, etc.), the 4 part independent layering system, range-splitting, the quick dice-roll randomizer (whole patch AND per layer), the endless sound design and modulation parameters... you won't find this in any emulation VST.

Yes, I'm marketing it to you, but I love this thing, and you should too!

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Pricewise, there really aren't any products that have this much sample content AND a really powerful synth engine to boot.

As far as pure synths go: Sylenth1 is about $155. Zebra 2 is $199, and Diva is $179. Serum is $189. Massive is $199, FM8 is $199. Strobe 2 is $179. Just to name a few... and believe me this is a lot closer to a synth like those, than to a bunch of WAVs in a folder or a basic soundfont. The 5x FX racks, the independently programmable arps, mod matrix (can't say enough about that) definitely make it competitive with those in terms of features.

Chipsounds is an obvious comparison at $95, granted. And to their credit, it's a great product. But it's also not sample-based, so it doesn't match the true output of any of the included systems. It doesn't have any SNES content at all, nor does it emulate the Genesis (as far as I'm aware). Nor does its engine have a flexible modulation matrix, or 8 FX (it has only 3 FX total).

Another thing is that Chipsounds' preset library is very small. It's a synthesizer for people who really want to get into the nitty-gritty of each chip. A huge advantage of Super Audio Cart is that there are 1,000 snapshots ready to go. These range from pure, authentic mono waveforms and fully constructed drumkits, to crazy tricked-out layers that are fully performable. Chipsounds just does not have all that.

In fact as far as I'm aware, nobody has ever released a true, original (not ripped) SNES sample set... and definitely not one this comprehensive.

You COULD put together an array of different plugins and sample sets that might approximate the amount of content in this library. Maybe it would be cheaper; I doubt it,  I'm not sure. BUT it wouldn't have a single, cohesive interface built for both easy tweaking & deep sound design, and it wouldn't have a universal collection of this many high-quality presets. That I DO know for sure.

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I didn't realize so many OCR folks had not only contributed to this, but have been working with preview copies for a while now. @djpretzel, any chance for a mixflood that shows it off, on its release day? (Or at least within the first week of release?)

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2 hours ago, Neblix said:

This was made by our community.

No it wasn't. It was made by probably a handful of people who had an idea of how to profit while using the name, and claiming to be the community. It's not me. I don't want this associated with me. There's hundreds of other people you need clearance from before saying this is the community. But calling people stupid and scaring them away from sharing their opinion has to date allowed certain people to get away with a lot of undesirable stuff. 

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Well, that's not true, dude. I'm obviously part of the community, and I contributed to the preset creation. Hence, someone from the community has contributed to Super Audio Cart. It doesn't automatically discharge me from the community, nor does it make my association with the community a mere claim.

---

And well, let's say this too: I'm very familiar with Zebra2 and that has been my primary, mainstay synth for 4 years. I will always recommend that to anyone who can afford it. After having the privilege of being a part of the beta testing for Super Audio Cart, I can say that it will be a second mainstay synth, and I will similarly recommend this to anyone [with the money to spare].

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Here's a little bit about how this instrument came to be. Way back in ~2007-2008, Dave had the idea to do a sample library based on arcade sounds. "Samplecade" was the original title. I expressed some interest in helping, since at the time I had just worked on my first sample library project w/ Impact Soundworks. He recorded some source material but we didn't get much further at that point. We talked about it from time to time.

A few years ago, after spending some time composing for a game that called for an SNES-style score, I had the idea of creating some ORIGINAL sounds and then making these into a virtual instrument for ISW. We started doing some early tests in 2014. Dave & I began talking again and he shared with me his grander vision; what this instrument COULD be... a definitive collection of not just SNES sounds, but other essential 8 & 16-bit systems as well. I thought it was a great idea and set to work slowly but surely assembling elements of the library. 

PROTODOME recorded the C64, NES & Gameboy sounds and designed some early artwork. Seeing some gaps, Shaggy (theshaggygreak) contributed more C64 material. Neblix has been the lead engineer on the project doing a monumental amount of engine programming. 

By my count that is 10 people from this community that have contributed to Super Audio Cart in some form... Not counting people who have, and will, write demo songs too. 

Of course, the entire community of OCR did not contribute - but we don't have hundreds of ReMixers on any ONE album project either. They're still OCR albums, made by the community. And it really bears repeating that, as djp said, a portion of the sales will be going directly to support OCR. Just like the proceeds from Patreon, site funds support things like printing physical copies of albums, putting on awesome panels at conventions, hosting/bandwidth, working with freelance developers for various projects related to the site, etc. 

In the literal and direct sense, the entire community benefits from this!

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are there gonna be presets based directly on recognizable titles, and if not will it be relatively easy to recreate them with experimentation

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4 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

But calling people stupid and scaring them away from sharing their opinion has to date allowed certain people to get away with a lot of undesirable stuff. 

Sounds like you've got some sand up your ass because you weren't a part of it, honestly.

Anyway

Who wrote the demo/trailer song? It's rad.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Bleck said:

are there gonna be presets based directly on recognizable titles, and if not will it be relatively easy to recreate them with experimentation

Yes, and also... yes. We don't use direct game names, but for many of the Genesis sounds specifically, you can easily guess based on preset euphemisms/references. Recreating most types of SNES/Genesis sounds is entirely doable, and with the other systems, all the core waveforms are there. It's pretty darn flexible and has pretty wide coverage.

7 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

No it wasn't. It was made by probably a handful of people who had an idea of how to profit while using the name, and claiming to be the community. It's not me. I don't want this associated with me. There's hundreds of other people you need clearance from before saying this is the community. But calling people stupid and scaring them away from sharing their opinion has to date allowed certain people to get away with a lot of undesirable stuff. 

So let me get this straight... any time the staff & founder of OCR want to put OCR's name on something, we need "clearance" from "hundreds" of people?

Have you noticed that you're the only one expressing this perspective? That's why I asked others who might agree to chime in - it's so bizarre and out of left field that I'm genuinely curious if anyone else feels the same, or similarly. If as the founder/president of OverClocked ReMix, LLC I have to get "clearance" from "hundreds" of other people before doing something like this, I'd quit. So would you, if you were in my shoes. There ARE decisions that involve/require community feedback, namely when we do anything that affects the submissions process or content policy. We didn't get "clearance" from "hundreds" to run our FF6 kickstarter, or for that matter to release Random Encounter, which YOU directed. I'm not going to throw insults at *you* personally, but your *position* on this matter *appears* to be hypocritical & inconsistent... it's a VGM-related sample library, worked on by many OCR regulars/veterans, conceptualized by the founder of OCR & a former-judge and current ReMixer who's organized some amazing OCR albums. Again, the connectivity & relevance seem blatantly obvious to me, and appear intuitive enough to others.

FWIW, I do appreciate the role of "watchdog" and I don't mind decisions like this being questioned, but you're going beyond questioning and just making bad faith assumptions that don't seem to be grounded in reason. There's a cutoff point where it stops being "useful questioning of authority that prompts warranted reflection" and starts being paranoid accusation, incomplete appreciation of reality, or repetition of unreasonable & inconsistent claim...

If you cannot explain the above inconsistency more clearly, perhaps refrain from further contributing to the thread until your position is more fully-formed?

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6 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

No it wasn't. It was made by probably a handful of people who had an idea of how to profit while using the name, and claiming to be the community. It's not me. I don't want this associated with me. There's hundreds of other people you need clearance from before saying this is the community. But calling people stupid and scaring them away from sharing their opinion has to date allowed certain people to get away with a lot of undesirable stuff. 

I made over 50 presets and a demo song with probably more coming, bug testing etc, and I think I'm part of the community.  None of this money is going to me either.  If you don't want projects like these to be associated with you, then don't associate with OCR.  Newgrounds was, for a long time, a community driven website where it was all free content by a talented group of artists and programmers, that didn't stop them from embracing projects where money was involved or letting members of the community profit via the Newgrounds name.  This is ridiculous and you're being silly.

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