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#1
Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/10 9:52
Virtual Freak
Joined 2017/6/24
USA
71 Posts
Long Time User (2 Years)
I've watched a few videos and audio clips of people playing real Virtual Boys. The sound output from the speakers sounded like they were passing through some frequency equalizer or something, rather than the crispy-clear output of emulators.

I'd like to apply that effect to some audio files to see how they would sound, if someone removed the speakers from a VB unit and managed to hook them up to a PC for audio.

What frequency bands should I specify in audio editing programs, such as Audacity, to recreate this quality?
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#2
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/10 11:47
VB Gamer
Joined 2/16
35 Posts
A big part of that is that you're dealing with very tiny speakers that don't output much bass. Looking at the amplifier board there aren't any obvious induction coils for setting a bass roll off. I'm seeing capacitors and transistors mostly. It's possible that some high frequencies have been somewhat attenuated, but most of the sound again is going to be the cheap tiny speakers.

Honestly I don't see a whole lot of difference between the VB internal speakers and the ones used on the DMG-01 or GBC. It's just that it sounds louder because now it's stereo. I like using headphones because it sounds a lot better and I feel more immersed when playing red alarm, but to each his own.

To accurately come up with some sort of frequency filter that would do as you ask, you would need to somehow rig up an audio input into a virtual boy amp board, install the thing into a virtual boy shell (doesn't matter if the VB works as long as the amp does and gets power), then play a frequency sweep through the speakers in an anechoic chamber into a perfectly flat test calibration microphone. That's going to be $$$$$ to pull off.

It would be less expensive to just buy a VB amp with speakers ($15 on eBay), build a wooden box and stick the speakers and mic inside. Play your sound through the VB amp and speakers, record off the mic to get the effect. It won't be the same as listening to the speakers in open air, but it might be close enough.
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#3
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/10 18:17
Virtual Freak
Joined 2017/12/29
62 Posts
Long Time User (1 Year)
Is there a way to get line-level output from the VB? Am I correct in understanding that it would have the same problems as the Genesis and smartphones in that the output is amped for headphones?
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#4
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/10 19:53
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2012/12/4
418 Posts
CoderLong Time User (7 Years)
The audio output from the VSU is a DC signal that gets converted to analog and attenuated with the volume wheel. All of that processing takes place on a small board mounted next to one of the displays, so tapping into the digital line shouldn't be too problematic.

Having said that, the audio quality is the same on the analog side of things because the only processing is an RC circuit that applies an inaudible ~7.234 Hz high-pass filter, followed by the attenuation from the volume wheel. The audio signal in Virtual Boy isn't irreversibly transformed on output like it is on NES and some other systems.
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#5
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/11 5:36
VB Gamer
Joined 2/16
35 Posts
The sigal on those 4 wires to the VUE-AMP-01 board has to be analogue. There are no ICs on that board and nothing that looks even close to being a digital to analogue converter. One wire (probibly red) is battery power for the amplifier board, one is probibly signal ground, and the other two are the left and right channels respectivey. Its here that you would tap into. If these had a digital signal, all you could hope to hear would be noise that sounded like static.
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#6
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/12 17:42
Virtual Freak
Joined 2017/6/24
USA
71 Posts
Long Time User (2 Years)
I have this Foobar2000 Equalizer Preset file on my hard drive. Does this sound any good to the quality you get out of the "cheap tiny speakers"?

We just don't want to get original VB hardware, I just want to replicate the effect in software.

Attach file:


feq This is probably my favorite.feq Size: 0.06 KB; Hits: 49
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#7
Re: Virtual Boy speaker quality
Posted on: 3/12 18:56
VB Gamer
Joined 2/16
35 Posts
I don't have foobar, but the other challenge is that the sound system you intend to play the sound through will also affect the results. It's going to sound different on a smartphone than it will offer some good computer speakers, some good headphones, or a $4000 surround system with good subwoofers and a proper eq for the room.

Imho this is going to be a wild goose chase. It's not just the eq that will be part of the "VB sound" it's also going to be any distortion caused by the amp, the speakers etc, all if which may get worse ad time goes on and components age.

I'm of the opinion that the headphone jack is the best way to play these games. The sterio is a lot cleaner and more immersive.

If you still want to pursue this, you will need reference quality speakers, some way to measure the frequency response of original hardware and some way to compare your filter to original hardware. Otherwise it's all subjective and wether or not the results sound like a VB is anyone's guess.
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