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Author Topic: Triangle waves  (Read 424 times)

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ModTomIT

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Triangle waves
« on: December 05, 2016, 14:00:51 »

Lately I've been using triangle waves, and my thoughts are:

They have a nice timbre to them, but you have to be careful or something like a square wave at full blast in the same mix will bury it easily. Due to the fact that many sound chips featured tri waves with square and other oscillator choices that are louder than tri waves, tri waves aren't used to their full potential because of the hassle involved with volume levels.

Infamously, the NES/Famicom had tri waves available, but no volume setting. Thus they were underutilized on that system. On C64 its a challenge as well, but at least you can use an ADSR envelope for volume.

Now with modern trackers we can draw triangle waves and use them in more advanced ways, but the characteristics of the wave still require care in the the mix. If I have a triangle wave at v64, a square will drown it out unless its about 28 or under, but making it work can have interesting results.

Try a tri wave for a flute solo with quieter square waves providing a harmonic framework for the solo.

What do you think about triangle waves?
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Saga Musix

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Re: Triangle waves
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 18:39:34 »

Quote
Infamously, the NES/Famicom had tri waves available, but no volume setting. Thus they were underutilized on that system.
I feel quite the contrary, the 4-bit triangle being an extremely typical "NES sound".
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ModTomIT

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Re: Triangle waves
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 20:47:04 »

I see your point...but as an instrument it was either on or off, which meant no volume envelopes could be programmed. But I suppose it was quite often used as a simple bass.
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ModTomIT

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Re: Triangle waves
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 21:02:21 »

Actually it might be fun to hijack my own thread and make it also about examples of the tri wave being used on the NES (or commodore 64, or chiptune mods) nicely :) I'll go scour my music collection...
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zzo38

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Re: Triangle waves
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 04:41:59 »

Is true for NES/Famicom triangle wave having no volume controls, but due to the nonlinear mixing you can fake it by setting the DPCM channel to a fixed level (you can reduce the volume to half by setting the DPCM channel to maximum), but the noise channel will then also be affected, and clearly is not as good if you want to use the DPCM channel to play DPCM samples. (I know Famicom programming, so I would know these kind of things.)

Some programs to make module music might also have triangle waves built-in; specifically AmigaMML does (enter "#V" as the filename of the instrument to get a triangle wave; you can also use "#L" for square waves and "#N" for saw waves), and there may be others too but that I don't know about. I know OpenMPT allow you to draw a waveform by mouse but the drawing will then not be perfectly, so writing it using an external program probably would be working better anyways.

You can try to feel about triangle wave if you have many music that is using it (you can look for some NSF musics that might use it perhaps, although module musics using triangle waves also exist, but I don't know how you would search for such thing easily).
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 04:43:35 by zzo38 »
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