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I love nanoloop 2. It's very close to being the perfect tool for the kind of music I want to make. The wave designer (and cool stuff you can do in general with the wave channel—like hard sync!) in 1.7.x is cool but imo the sound design capabilities between the L/R and S channels are amazing. I've been really getting into crazy modulated FM using detuned tones on the S channel lately; I don't have anything uploaded yet but I have an EP coming out soon that has a really crazy LP5-ish track on it.
One thing I don't like about nanoloop 2 since 2.7.7 or so is the noise channel. It seems a little bit less diverse/warm than the noise channel in 2.7.2; I think oliver changed it to be more like the original gameboy's noise channel. The new one is kinda cool for pseudo-melodic stuff, but the old one is great for EBM-ish snares.. luckily I have one 2.7.2 cart and one 2.7.8 cart; I can sync both and get the best of both worlds :D
Some general tips for 2.7.x:
The arpeggiator on the L/R channels is a lot less limited than you might initially think—in its default mode it's a standard 4-note chippy arpeggio, but in the secondary mode (press L after pressing START) it becomes a one-shot micro-sequence. This is really useful if you're using the LFO but still want an envelope on pitch.. and also, if you put the pattern into half/quarter/eighth speed mode the arp speed slows down as well. This way it's possible to get up to 64 steps per pattern, though it's a bit more limited since step parameters affect groups of 4. Still, it's a cool feature.
Chords on the S channel are another thing I use all the time. Once you start playing around with weird note combinations and even the secondary "detune" mode, the FM mode starts to get really wacky. For great LP5-ish percussion sounds, try a short amp decay, discordant chords in various octaves, varying LFO speeds/depths, and varying locations in the filter screen for FM mode. Coupled with the note delay/doubler settings, and using A+dpad to change all note lengths/filter settings at once, this can get suuuuper wacky.
I discovered some very menacing bass sounds recently, when using high speed LFOs on the L/R channels, even in the non-FM modes. It's a little hard to control, and the notes are very limited, but once you find the sweet spot it's prime material for bangerz.
Speaking of bangerz, it takes a bit of work to develop a good kick sound, especially if the rest of your patterns are pretty busy. It helps to bring the volume of everything else down, and use the sine wave sound (FM mode in filter screen with the dot in the bottom left corner). With the right pitch envelope settings, it's possible to get something really deep. Of course, square wave kick sounds are great as well, especially with the lowpass filter. Try also using an arpeggio on your kick/snare sounds to give them a bit of "wibble".
Also, in regards to volume, I love the way nl2 subtly distorts when everything is going at full blast. Especially the noise channel, it kinda tends to get a bit obliterated sometimes. It almost sounds like analog distortion imo.
I should probably put together an "advanced nanoloop sound design" series of videos or something. I've learned a LOT in the past few months that I haven't heard in anyone else's nanoloop stuff, even the guys in the chip scene who initially inspired me to get into nanoloop..
edit: oh and one more thing, regarding the micro's noisy output. I've noticed that too, and my micros seem to be getting worse. I have three and they all have their own specific pitched whine. I've started using the multi-point EQ in Reaper to carefully subtract those frequencies.. it may help to develop an EQ preset that can be applied for your micro. I wish the DS/DS lite had a link cable port, since I agree, it really is the best sound for nanoloop 2.
I might look into getting a second original GBA at some point for recording use, as I've heard it's better after the prosound mod. For live use though, and composing on the go, you really can't beat the micros imo.
Edited by modey, 28 June 2016 - 06:57 PM.