the Game Over sound

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by rorschah, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    I've been asking questions on this site for a while, chasing some sounds in my head, and I keep not having the words for it and using the same dumb metaphors, but I think I finally have it.

    There's a super-grainy quality in the my favorite Neil Young garagey, early Wolf, some middle-period Hendrix live stuff. There's a special magic noise that I like to think of as an amp losing it's soul to the void. I finally have the right term for it.

    It's the Game Over sound from really old arcade games.

    I mean like, Asteroid. And Defender. When your ship blows up. Pchkchkchkchkchgkc. Super grainy and broken up. More grainy than TV static.

    That's what I want from a pedal.

    Or more specifically: I'm looking for some kind of pedal (OD, distortion, fuzz) that is dynamic enough that, say, without fiddling with any dials, I can go from almost undistorted sounds with really soft picking, gritty with normal picking, very crunchy with hard picking, and then if I bump up the guitar's volume a bit and slam a chord, I can get the Game Over sound. (The ProCo Rat, fer example, has that level of responsiveness, but a much quicker graininess. More like a sandstorm than a rockslide.)

    Yeah. Game Over.

    -thi
     
  2. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    You might want to investigate the Urso Splinter....:cool:
     
  3. Thor

    Thor Member

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    Effector 13 makes some interesting lo-fi fuzz/distortion units that would seem to be just right for that "game over" sound.


    http://www.effector13.com/
     
  4. Damon

    Damon Member

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    I like the term!!!!!! Game Over.

    I think I know what you're talking about when you say grainy... it's some kind of distortion artifact that occurs less than 20 c/s so it's not perceived as a note, it's perceived as a texture. An oscillation that sounds kind of explosion-like, barely on the edge of control...

    Tall order for a stomper... 'cause I'm guessing Game Over might have something to do with power tube overdrive, output transformer saturation, and speaker breakup.

    I have a good bunch of both Neil and Jimi here on vinyl, give me a specific example if you can.
     
  5. TaronKeim

    TaronKeim Member

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    I'm thinking the Urso Splinter as well... check out some clips and the build on their site.

    www.ursomusic.com

    -TJK

    P.S. It might take a little bit for the site to load, be patient, I dig the sound clips a lot
     
  6. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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  7. Onswah

    Onswah Member

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    If you check the Glitch computer demo it has several of those game over sounds. MidFi Electronics
     
  8. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    I checked out those sound clips. The Urso Splinter is pretty awesome sounding, and in the neighborhood, though I didn't hear in the clips any full-on GO. The Effector 13 stuff is cool, but not what I'm looking for. Pretty specialized, very digital and synth-y. When I'm talking about the Game Over sound, I'm not talking about really computer-gamey or digital sounding effects, I'm just trying to describe the level of super grainy tube breakup. I think Damon has it exactly right, I think - tube breakup so bad it doesn't register as anything a note, just a texture.

    I can get it when I really slam a small Fender amp with a low chord on a hot p90 guitar, (which is pretty much how Neil Young does it, no?) but I wish I could do with with the other guitars too, with larger amps, with more control over some of its sonic features. (p90 low chord stab into a cranked tweed Deluxe is the classic GO sound. p90 chord into a cranked Hot Rod Deluxe gets, to my ears, a really nasty and boring version of the GO sound.) , (Strat's the main gigging guitar)

    Places I hear it distinctly:
    Neil Young "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown" - mild GO on chord stabs and low notes.
    -low-mid-level GO on "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)", Rust Never Sleeps version
    -mid-level GO on HH,MM on Weld

    can't find the specific moments in Jimi where he gets a really fat one.

    It's all over the new Sleater Kinney album, The Wood. "Rollercoaster", "Let's Call It Love." Some of it sounds very distinctly pedal-ly, some kind of fuzz I think. There are a few moments where GO-ing fuzz is fed into GO-ing amp. Chkchkchkchkckhkhkhkhckchkhcchk. Pretty nice. Somewhere between Neil Young GO and electrified velcro. They get a *lot* of control over it on that album.

    The Microphones dude likes to use it sometimes, especially on Mt. Eerie.

    What I'm talking about isn't very special. It's just a really, really slammed amp, very standard. It's just that most of the high-gain pedals seemed aimed away at that kind of noise towards the smoother-textured metal and smooth-blues TS-style gain.

    Thanks guys!

    -thi
     
  9. TaronKeim

    TaronKeim Member

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    Hey... did you ever think of trying a Zvex Fuzz Factory... now that you described it more in depth, I DEFINATELY think it could get you that sound.

    -TJK
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    The Fuzz Factory definitely has some of those grainy distortion sounds, but I don't think it does the
    One thing worth investigating is a bit reduction effect. Basically, I think the "game over" sound is the result of 8-bit (or lower) digital distortion. Alesis made a pedal called the Bitrman that does all sort of digital distortion effects. It also doesn't satisfy your requirement that I quoted above, but it will give you all sorts of digital noise-making options. I bought mine for $50 on close-out, but they are going for a bit more than that on eBay.

    Hope this helps,
    Bryan
     
  11. Damon

    Damon Member

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    In HH,MM I think Neil uses a Mutron Octave Divider, which creates an octave down... needless to say his Deluxe's output section and speaker have a hard time dealing with that. I'll look out for that S-K album.

    I love slamming small amps with a P90 guitar too...

    http://www.artifactaudio.com/goodceramic.mp3

    http://www.artifactaudio.com/pentone-audiom70-fullout.mp3

    http://www.artifactaudio.com/sonalgenic-cranked.mp3

    Is G.O. in there anywhere? The first clip isn't fully cranked but it does have some output section texture which gives an extra dimension I think. In the other two the amp is getting totally pummelled... there's blocking distortion going on, along with power tube saturation, output transformer compression, and some speaker breakup. Not for everybody of course... and a challenge to employ musically. In these cases I was testing out the limits of the amps, had to see what happens when everything gets turned all the way up.

    I think in general, that oscillating (some say motorboating), churning thing is the result of the amp having a hard time with low frequencies, which take more energy to amplify. Speakers usually have a different impedance at lower frequencies too, so the way they push back at the power tube(s) through the transformer is going to change dynamically. What I'm getting at is, the magnetic interplay is such a complex, volatile thing that I don't really think transistors can do it convincingly.

    If you have a guitar with a lower output pickup, maybe some kind of clean, uncompressed boost with a solid low end response will help to probe straight through the preamp section into the power section and get a bit of this happening.

    Gordie Johnson of Grady (formerly Big Sugar) gets it at big-stage volumes using a Garnet Herzog (a champish amp with post-OT line out) into an Ampeg SVT, into multiple Marshall cabs. What a freakin' huge sound that is, especially when his bass player locks in with him.
     
  12. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    Yeah, Damon, it's definitely that low-octave thing. Interestingly, depending on interactions of the volume controls on the guit and amp, about half of the range of one of the low strings on the p90 guitar will always set off this sound. Not always the lowest. And which string it is changes - and weirdly, it's more often the A string than the low E.

    It's pretty nice when I'm doing dronier stuff - there's just a string that gives me that sound - but, like you say, it's pretty hard to control for all-around applications. That's part of the reason I want some pedal form of it.

    Neil Young I dig for getting the most control over the different forms of this kind of breakup. He seems to be able to get certain really gross, unmusical sounds at will. Very different from the even breakup that typifies a lot of the garage-punk followers. There's an interview somewhere with Neil Young where he says he has a pedal that can pop his Deluxe between a setting at around 8, and a setting that's somewhere around 11.5 - and that the latter setting it becomes really sensitive to pick attack and he gets a lot of control over the form of distortion. I think.

    I'll check those sound-samples when I get home. Thanks!

    -thi
     
  13. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    How hard are Fuzz Factories to master for gig-usage? I played with one for a while once - loved the sounds, but had a lot of trouble finding a sound again once I wiggled the settings even a little.
     
  14. Devi Ever

    Devi Ever Guest

    http://www.effector13.com/pedals/trulybeautifuldisaster/TBD_fuzz_oldvideogame.mp3

    :confused:
     

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