SNES Sound engine hell …

It’s been almost 2 weeks that I’m in a battle with sound engines on SNES. The sound CPU in the SNES is a SPC-700 chip designed by Sony. After my last post, I said to myself : “It would be nice to setup music now”. I tough it was a great idea since sound was almost the last thing that I hadn’t yet implemented on the SNES (except from some PPU feature).

I started looking after sound engine and tracker that suport the SPC-700 chip.

To my big surprise, there is no tracker available at all. No sound engine packaged and usable out of the box. After a small discussion with D4S, he told me a few facts about SPC-700 :

  • It’s not easy to understand
  • Transfer routine making it not easy to play other format
  • Definitively no dedicated tracker

While digging for sound engine I found out 3 engine that might be usefull to look at :


This engine is supposed to take .xm and transform it to another format to make it playable on the SNES. The problem is that the file that are being converted need to contains almost no effects and have many other limitation. Then the main problem is that it don’t really sound nice on the real SNES hardware. Since real hardware support is for my a pre-requisite, I left that engine out.

CDOTY / SME Engine by Nevitsky

Cdoty realeased a while ago the source code for his “frog feast” game on the SNES. In this game he used the SME Engine coded by Nevitsky. The problem is that there is absolutely no documentation at all and that the sounds need to be converted and I didnt found out the software to convert them. Once again I left out that one.

NSF Replayer

Sometimes google help you to find stuff on the internet. This timegoogle wasn’t my best friend while searching SNES sound engine. YouTube was a good buddy with me making me discovering the NSF Replayer for SNES. The NSF Replayer is NSF player for the SNES that playback music from NES game on the SNES. The engine is playing quite well on real hardware and after a few serach I found some forum posts that were talking about it. There is no real doc but the code is quite explicit.

I’m currently implementing the engine in the WDC sdk. I’m having isuue with code relocation but it should be fixed quite soon. So yes I’m loosing time for my 26th July deadline to implemnting the first level of kung fu master on the SNES, but at least I will have a sound engine.

One other great thing with this engine is that I have the NSF kung fu master soundtrack already ready to be played by the engine. The NES soundtrack sound really like the arcade version.

As soon as the engine is running I will make a new release, I promise. I hope to have it running by middle of next week.

See ya,


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