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What is this synth called, and how can I re-create it?

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This certain sound has haunted me with its awesomeness ever since I started playing video games on the NES.

(@ 0:57)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK-IK6U-Mbw

(Background Chords)

(Uses it in almost every tune)

(@0:35)

(It was even used in a remix here on OCRemix, @0:33!)

http://iterations.org/files/music/remixes/New_Super_Mario_Bros_Mushroom_Maddness_OC_ReMix.mp3

Codemasters really liked to use that sound. And while I'd love to be able to re-create these entire songs (you know, being able to get ALL those sounds into Logic pro 9, the software I'm using BTW), that ONE sound is the one I really want, but don't even know what to call it. I'm sure you smart people can help me out. Once I know the name of that sound, I can start looking into getting a plug-in for Logic.

Thanks!

P.S. These are all pretty rockin' songs :) Someone should remix them!

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Those are some pretty rockin' songs :-) If you mean the synth sound I think you do, then you can make it with pretty much any synth plugin. Basically, the NES and other old consoles couldn't do polyphony very much (the NES had only 2 pulse channels), so when they wanted to do chords they had to play very fast arpeggios, which give the illusion of the notes being played simulataneously. So, to recreate this, just have a basic square wave and use an arpeggiator playing either 1/64 notes or 1/128 notes (whichever you think sounds best) across the notes of the chord you want. If you don't have an arpeggiator, just draw the notes into your sequencer.

To modify the sound, to keep it sounding authentic, I'd stick to just using amp envelopes and PWM - if you're going to use PWM though, bear in mind that these old machines couldn't do smooth transitions. If you want to do sweeping PWM effects, you have to change the pulse width on each note by set, discrete amounts. Taking the NES/Game Boy as an example, it could only do 12.5%, 25%, 50% (square wave) and 75% pulse widths, so these are what you should probably limit yourself to.

Hope that helped :-D

EDIT:- Here's an example from something I'm working on atm that I made in Reason :-)

http://www.mediafire.com/?mcy6sb85lr6e085

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Lol, I'm not as smart as you, most of what you said went over my head, but I think I got the gist of what you mean. I just ended up making a chord of 4 notes aligned to 1/96-notes within 1/16-note, but it's pretty close to the sound I want. I had to add an echo, though, in order to get the sound you made, which, by the way, is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

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The icing on the cake for the arpeggios are the fast pitch bends to make the "transitions" much smoother. Make sure to play them with legato on and just a tiny bit of portamento.

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