Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 30, 2016

Email: Sega Genesis music

Hey Master Malstrom,

Glad to hear you picked up a Genesis, hope you get some good use out of it. I think it’s interesting how you mentioned a lot of people are focusing on the wrong thing trying to get better sound out of their old games, and I think I might have some insight as to why SEGA people tend to focus on hardware more. The SNES and other sample-based game console sound chips were all moving towards eventually having streamed audio and real recorded sound, but the Genesis is interesting in that it’s sound chip is actually an FM synthesizer on a chip. Because of that, a lot of people see the Genesis music “as is” as being the truest and the realest it can be and just want that to sound as clear as possible, often going to absurd lengths to gets there like cracking it open and installing the “Mega Amp. “It’s also why when the Genesis fangame Sonic Megamix moved from being a regular Genesis game to a CD Drive Genesis-add-on game, they stuck with playing the FM soundtrack on the hardware instead of adding redbook audio that would stream from the game disc. For as many times as these songs get rerecorded, it’s very rare for a recorded and arranged version of a SEGA song to sound better than the original, while usually Nintendo songs only get better and better as the hardware gets better until you’ve reached your peak with things like the Zelda Symphony Orchestra. There are, of course, notable contrary examples to both. It’s also why knockoff aftermarket clone versions of Nintendo consoles are usually “good enough,” whereas the Genesis clone consoles are never a pretty sight. They all use the same console-on-a-chip that doesn’t get the music right!

P.S. For anyone reading and considering getting a Genesis/Mega Drive, getting a Model 2 isn’t the end of the world. Mine’s a Model 2 and I absolutely love it. Snatch up those games while you can!


Yeah, Genesis games are rocketing off like the SNES games were. Can you imagine that soon we will live in a world where the original NES, SNES, and Genesis will be seen as ‘hard to obtain’ like the Turbografx 16 is today? It is inevitable. Get them while you can.



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