Nintendo music

I am trying to play NES music files (*.NSF) through Cubase in order to change how the NES channels sound, the goal being to experiment and hopefully learn from the surprisingly interesting methods that NES music uses (and also have fun listening to that great music with customized sounds). What would be the best way to do that?

I’ve been fooling around with Virtual Audio Cable with the intention of applying effects (chorus, reverb etc) to each NES channel individually, not just to the finished music. I am not really going anywhere with this.

The best would be a VST which simply plays NSF files but I haven’t found anything like that.



Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to have much luck getting .NSF files into Cubase. You’d probably be better off using a MIDI file instead. Are you looking to use the original NES sounds as well? If so, you’d need a sound engine that could replicate those old chips. I honestly don’t think there are VSTi’s out there that will faithfully reproduce those sounds though (I found a few old links, but the plug-ins looked poorly supported). If you wanted to keep the old ‘chip music’ sound, you could try opening the .NSFs in something like FamiTracker. It would operate completely separately from Cubase, so it depends on what exactly you want to achieve.

Yes, reproducing the NES “instruments” is not the problem, there are two square waves, a triangle wave and a pseudo-random noise generator that are well documented and reproduced accurately in emulators - but I am not sure it’s possible to accurately translate how games program these sound channels (register writes etc) into MIDI data, presumably MIDI channels 1-4 for the 4 NES instruments.

That would be nice, a real time NSF to MIDI converter: as it plays the NSF, instead of generating the square/triangle/noise waves, it would output the corresponding MIDI data to a specified MIDI port.

But I haven’t found anything like that… there are some NSF to MIDI file converters apparently, maybe I’ll try that.

Thanks for the answer!