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Harlem ZX Spectrum

from Shakebit by Inverse Phase



Track written in: Beepola 1.06.01, "Special FX" engine
Chip found in: early ZX Spectrum models, Apple II (except GS)
Other names for chip: NOT ACTUALLY A CHIP

Channels: "1"
1-bit volume, "realtime" pitch control
Quirks: sound cannot be controlled in background

This is the last one, and it's not really a chip at all, but it's basically a speaker that you can set the position of by poking a register with a 0 or 1. So, yeah, only one bit, and you have to have control of the system because there's no interrupt timer like with the PC. What can you do with that? Surprisingly, more than you think. Don't get me wrong, it's still a horrible way to make sound with a computer, but several clever programmers figured out that you can generate multiple tones by simply spacing them out. If you kept them tinny enough, you could pack several notes into the space where one would normally go, and to "fade" notes you would just make the wave tinnier (shorter) until it vanished. Not perfect, but surprisingly good considering the (lack of) resources available. This kind of chiptune (specifically) is called beeper music.


from Shakebit, released April 1, 2013


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Inverse Phase Baltimore, Maryland

Chiptune/8-bit music and indie game composer. I also run an electronic entertainment museum called Bloop.

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