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Thinking about putting together a collection of free instruments for the community - simple stuff with one or two nodes and one or two envelopes, like this:

...so as to leave a lot of room for modification by users.

What instruments would y'all want in a free patch collection? Right now we have crude versions of:

  • violin
  • piano
  • pipe
  • organ
  • kick
  • snare
  • hat
  • crash

but a single .sfx file can hold up to 24 instruments, so it feels like we should offer more than eight.

edit: instrument collection cart!

P#146047 2024-04-08 13:18 ( Edited 2024-04-10 18:54)


Guitar, synth bass, trumpet, some kind of flute.

Those would be my suggestions.
Something that sounds like a shamisen could also be cool.

P#146084 2024-04-08 16:14

An acid bass synth. The squelchy kind that comes from a Roland TB-303. I have no idea how simple of a request that is. I've heard acid bass in pico-8 demo carts but I don't think the music is created with the standard music tracker.

P#146090 2024-04-08 17:30 ( Edited 2024-04-08 17:31)

@8bit_gnosis: Watched a YouTube video about bass lines - does this sound acid-bass-y? https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/files/40166/acid-or-no.mp3

(Have also added a guitar, a couple other synth basses, and trumpet patch - gonna look at flute and shamisen later, see if we can make those too.)

P#146123 2024-04-09 02:55

A set to simulate the C64 SID chip would be awesome. Had a go myself but really didn't know what I was doing!

P#146125 2024-04-09 03:23

Any particular SID sounds? From what I understand, the chip has a lot of sound design capacity.

P#146126 2024-04-09 03:30

@packbat Absolutely acid-bassy! For further reference, @luchak created the RP-8 composer cart to replicate the acid bass sound.

P#146130 2024-04-09 04:26 ( Edited 2024-04-09 04:28)

Thanks to everyone that made suggestions! We're up to seventeen instruments now, with ideas for a few more.

@profpatonildo: do you have any advice on shamisen music? I found a YouTube video of a couple players, and tried to imitate the sound:


...but we don't know how to judge our success, or how to make an instrument preview SFX for it.

P#146215 2024-04-10 01:27

@packbat, not really sure TBH but there are some pretty classic "warbly" ones used by Rob Hubbard and some of the other great SID composers.

Not sure how authentic the sounds are in this video but, to me at least, they capture the SID spirit:

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

P#146231 2024-04-10 03:46

No problem - will check that out in a bit! Worst case, we just can't reproduce any within our arbitrary self-imposed constraints.

Edit: Took a listen to the video you linked and read a blog post we found from someone making a C64 sample pack - and came up with two sounds that feel pretty classic chiptune. Thanks for the suggestion!

P#146275 2024-04-10 13:30 ( Edited 2024-04-10 15:38)

@packbat how to do I put into my picotron to take a listen to the shamisen sound/pod?

P#146305 2024-04-10 18:21

Awesome idea! I didn't see any epiano-type patches mentioned, I always like those. Also plinky xylophone/marimba/glockenspiel type stuff is pretty useful in my book. Thanks for sharing :)

P#146306 2024-04-10 18:33 ( Edited 2024-04-10 18:35)

Oh no, we missed some posts!

@profpatonildo: copy the instrument pod data, select an instrument in the instrument editor, paste!

@SaltySalticid: the current piano patch is deeply unrealistic, but if there's a specific piano you want imitated, let us know! And yeah, xylophone/marimba/glockenspiel is top of the to-do list - gotta have one!

P#146310 2024-04-10 18:53

thank you so much!

P#146325 2024-04-10 23:56

@packbat I meant patches that aim to emulate physical electric pianos, like Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer. Given the constraints of picotron's synth system, I know that's potentially tough, but I feel something like Yamaha DX7 epiano patches (eg see 7:15 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN4La6qmSnk) should be accessible? I am getting up to speed on it and will post an instrument snippet if I get something decently close.

P#146457 2024-04-12 14:49 ( Edited 2024-04-12 14:49)

...full confession? We actually just filled the last two slots with a tom and a steel drum, kind of impulsively.

That said, @SaltySalticid, I just loaded up Dexed with a DX7 E PIANO 1 preset in it, and it turns out you can pretty much just copy all the numbers? Not exactly, there's some features the DX7 has and Picotron doesn't, but the DX7 patches leave all the FM ratios visible, and Dexed offers nice visualizers for it all.

So ... how's this?

P#146465 2024-04-12 16:15

@SaltySalticid I was thinking about how we should update the collection when the new retrigger-every-step option is added, and then I was thinking about how there's room for 32 instruments now, and then I was thinking about your request for an electric piano ... how does this sound? I don't really know how to program a proper Wurlitzer part to be able to test it, but that's the sound I was trying to imitate.


(Edit: in case it's not obvious, this patch is designed to change timbre as you change volume - my test range was based on the volume slider in the editor, from 08 hex to 38 hex.)

P#148962 2024-05-25 23:33 ( Edited 2024-05-25 23:38)

Made a piano sound - bit of a honky tonk piano to my untrained non musical ears lol.

P#149008 2024-05-26 23:06

@EDcreative Is this right? I tried to copy-paste what you gave and it says it's pitched up 13 semitones and has two echoes on it.

P#149015 2024-05-27 01:13

@packbat I've since edited it a little and removed the extra echo but still very similar to what I have.

P#149019 2024-05-27 09:03

Ah! I'll assume I was confused, then - thank you!

P#149027 2024-05-27 13:16

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