(Topic ID: 120978)

How important is pinball sound?

By cody_chunn

5 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 35 posts
  • 29 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by PsychoPsonic
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    #1 5 years ago

    The thread about attract modes got me thinking about sound, and how good stereo sounds and the progression from bells and buzzers to chimes to chimes that played melodies, to bleep-bloop electronic sounds, to digital sounds, background, speech, integrated music, dual-speaker jobs like Flash Gordon, stereo...

    And then we regressed.

    I believe I have heard the newer manufacturers' games are in stereo and some have headphone jacks.

    How important is STEREO sound to your playing experience? Can you even tell a game is in stereo? Are you able to detect stereo sound at a show? Is it much more important now that games are selling straight to collectors in larger numbers (where the games don't have to compete to be heard over each other?

    It just got me thinking because I really like the sound on my Crypt and miss that special effect that isn't there on other modern games without stereo sound.

    #2 5 years ago

    Stereo is awesome, so is thick bass in some games but more important in my opinion is the sound palette itself. A good game is greatly enhanced by good music and great audio payoff (who doesn't love to hear AFM "super jackpot!")

    Most good games' audio holds its own whether stereo or not is what I guess I'm trying to say.

    #3 5 years ago

    To my knowledge only data East games had stereo sound. All wpc and wpc95 games are mono. Same goes for stern.

    The problem is the distance between the speakers and between you and the speakers. Still nice than mono though.

    #4 5 years ago

    Stereo isn't important to me at all. Sound itself is, but if it isn't in stereo, I just don't think it is a big deal.

    My favorite thing in sound on Pinball is subwoofers. Not on every single game, but on some. The newer Stern games really need them. The difference on Iron Man is stunning. And other games benefit greatly from them.

    I love all pinball sound, except bells. I love chimes, but bells annoy me. Anything after that is just a bonus.

    #5 5 years ago

    I read the title and I wanted to come bitch about Metallica and TWD callouts. Can I still do this?

    On topic, the stereo sound doesn't mean much to me, being an apartment dweller. However, when I check out REAL collections, I do appreciate higher quality stereo sound.

    #6 5 years ago

    I don't personally care whether it's stereo sound or not but I do like a loud, thumping bass. I hate playing pinball with no sound (if the soundboad isn't working or something).

    Back when Flash first came out we wouldn't hardly play any other game 'cause we loved the increasing tempo background sound so I guess this has been an important factor to me for a long time.

    #7 5 years ago

    Doesn't have to be stereo (although there is ZERO reason it shouldn't be) but sound quality overall is very important. It can make a mediocre game good and a good game great.

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from Isjack:

    I read the title and I wanted to come bitch about Metallica and TWD callouts. Can I still do this?

    Sure. That falls under Sound/Speech. Fire away.

    #9 5 years ago

    I grew up playing in arcades with background music playing ... no way to tell stereo from mono over the EM bells and chimes but it didn't matter.
    I became a fan of AC/DC playing it in fairly noisy environment and didn't appreciate the how great it can sound until I bought one. I really enjoy the music at first but found I couldn't play my stereo system because they compete. Now I've turn down the sound to a minimum so I can listen to whatever I am in the mood for ... in stereo on a stereo.
    For me pin music being stereo really doesn't matter.

    #10 5 years ago

    The importance of sound is second only to gameplay for me. It's my biggest gripe with most pinball machines. The bad sound on LOTR annoys me, and the sound is my one complaint about my grail pin, IJ...so much so that I'm installing a PinSound card in my machine with the stereo connection and the new reorchestration. It'll be like playing IJ on steroids...I wish they could do it for every machine.

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from Endprodukt:

    To my knowledge only data East games had stereo sound.

    RFM is stereo.

    #12 5 years ago

    And contrary to what some people say, you notice. The stereo separation works just fine.

    #13 5 years ago

    Gameplay is more important. Good call outs and music are important as well. A bad game with lame audio is not going to be any better with better sound quality. For the most part, most pins sound fine to me. I'm not exactly looking for a ground shaking, 7.1 surround sound experience when playing a pin.

    #14 5 years ago

    Good sound can't save a game with poor gameplay, but great sound really enhances the experience on a good game. Doesn't have to be stereo, but it helps. So does a nice sub. Adds to the emotional involvement.

    #15 5 years ago

    Being able to hear the game has always been something I valued. I love going to arcades and shows, but I really prefer to be able to make out how the sound works on the game I am playing. Gameplay is always foremost, but well considered sound design can really boost the feeling of being immersed in the game. Good sound is tied in to what is happening in the game. PinBot is the first pin I owned and I will never part with it, in no small part because the sound is so well integrated to the game. The background music is weird and multi-layered, so it doesn't grate on your nerves (I'm looking at *you*, WOZ...). I like that newer games have the headphone jack option, and hope that current companies will explore stereophonic effects. I don't think stereo in and of itself is all that important, but there is an opportunity there to bring some new dimension to pinball, so, why not? I'd love to be able to add stereo and headphones to Pinbot!

    #16 5 years ago

    First time I played Tron when I couldn't hear the sound I realized how much the audio makes me love that game. It just wasn't the same without hearing it.

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    First time I played Tron when I couldn't hear the sound I realized how much the audio makes me love that game. It just wasn't the same without hearing it.

    I think that logic can apply to almost any game. Which is why I don't play much pinball at people's game parties where all the volumes are turned way down while all the games are being played at the same time. Don't we all prefer playing one of our own games at home with the volume at a satisfying level and no other machines blaring?

    #18 5 years ago

    the more bells and chimes going at the same time, the better....

    #19 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    The more bells and chimes going at the same time, the better.

    That logic doesn't really apply to DMD games with different soundtracks all blaring at the same time.

    #20 5 years ago

    I have a sub woofer hooked up to my TWD - have to turn it off sometimes when the kids are studying and it really makes a difference.

    When you play in an arcade and the sound is low, the game is less enjoyable.

    #21 5 years ago

    There is no question enhanced sound improves the overall experience. Most don't realize that the absolute best sounds are the DE games from 1987 to 1989. 4x10 inch speakers with a bottom speaker. 12 watts out on the sound board. an excellent system and when enhanced blow away any other system out there. WPC is not stereo and for the most part in the early 90's was junk. I think JD had a DCS upgrade but don't know what that was. There is a limit to how bad sound can get like the little speaker in the 1980 bally games. That is at the limit if so bad it impacts experience. So sound matters....I think a lot.

    #22 5 years ago

    Sound is one of the top reasons playing @ home is 10x better than the arcade. Back in the arcade days, it was really hard to hear what the pin was saying/playing...either the pin was too low and/or there were too many other sounds drowning your pin out.

    For me, pinball sound is ideally: high quality samples, reasonable amplification and stereo (in precedence order).


    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from snaroff:

    Sound is one of the top reasons playing @ home is 10x better than the arcade.

    10x my ass...it's 100x better!

    When people come over and play at my house, they hit the start button and hear the rumble of the bass with the jacked up sound and feel the machine shaking when the shaker motor triggers and say, "I don't remember pinball like THIS!" Then they don't think I'm such a jackass for collecting machines.

    My wife still does, though.

    #24 5 years ago

    This begs a question...Why are modern games not Stereo? I mean how much would it really cost the manufacturer to add?

    I think sound is a huge key component to my pinball experience. I have external powered subs on my ACDC and Tron and love it. PinSound option also looks very tempting for titles like TZ i have as well.

    #25 5 years ago

    Stereo sound absolutely makes a tremendous difference. BoP 2.0 is by far the best sounding pinball experience I have encountered.

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from Tkaye:

    PinSound option also looks very tempting for titles like TZ i have as well

    Hello, what is PinSound ? Thank you .

    #27 5 years ago


    You can completely control every aspect of your music, callouts, etc. It's kind of like LED OCD...but for sound. Listen to the reorchestration of IJ that they have on their forum. It's incredible.

    #28 5 years ago

    Ummm, important! Lots of time and effort was put in by the coders to make the pin an experience. And when they get it right it rocks, so yeah, it's important.

    #29 5 years ago

    I just played a CV that had no sound and the game was basically unplayable because of it. I didn't realize how much sound is a part of the experience.

    #30 5 years ago

    Sound is the most important element to me.

    I prefer solid state games (1979-1985) without soundtracks, with just sound effects and callouts.

    I'm not a fan of 1978-1979 solid state "bleeps and bloops" before the Williams Gorgar/Firepower and Bally Fathom/Embryon era sound packages take over.

    If I had my way, I'd learn how to turn off soundtracks in my system 11's when desired.

    #31 5 years ago

    Adding the low frequencies really made a huge difference in my enjoyment of newer games. I replaced the speakers in both F-14 and T2 and also added an external subwoofer. So much better. Sound is very key to the enjoyment of a game.

    #32 5 years ago
    Quoted from lmsybiatb:

    I just played a CV that had no sound and the game was basically unplayable because of it. I didn't realize how much sound is a part of the experience.

    I walk away if I cant hear the machine.

    #33 5 years ago

    I would love to hear Black Knight 2000 in stereo. I want to buy that pin just for the audio.

    #34 5 years ago

    Sound is extremely important...but there's more to good sound than just "Stereo". I'd rather hear the high quality music in AC/DC and Metallica in mono than the poor quality of Tommy or GnR in Stereo. I'd rather hear great voice actors with poor sample quality (Addams, for example) than a terrible voice actor crystal clear (X-Men).

    All games can have great sound packages, despite their system's hardware limitations.

    #35 5 years ago

    Sound is a bigger deal to me than most pinheads, to the point it wards me off buying some games because the sample quality is low or what's there is distracting (Tommy is a good example). Stereo is less important than sample quality because the backbox speakers are so close together, but a headphone jack changes the equation dramatically.

    Happily some are showing what can be done when (much) time, consideration, and skill is applied to pinball audio:

    I'm super-excited about the PinSound board, which I think is the most significant advancement in pinball since ColorDMD, addressing a gaping technical deficit that has been left to fester too long. The IJ re-orchestration is fantastic, and is only a hint of what's to come.

    Despite the woeful physics, the best part of Future Pinball to me is seeing what talented and creative guys like Russell Speak (SLAMT1LT) do to extend and enhance the audio for classic pins. Playing those improved recreations on the PC in stereo with quality speakers and a beefy subwoofer is a real treat. I highly recommend Russell's version of STTNG--as great as the original sound package is, Russell's version is a galaxy-class achievement!

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