Amiga Retro Music Fun


The Amiga was the best computer of the 80s and early 90s. Period. If you pretend otherwise, it’s probably that you were a bitter Atari ST user or a vengeful PC owner. Until major titles like Wing Commander II or Ultima 7 came out, the Amiga was certainly without competition. And even when the same games were available on all platforms, the Amiga one was often the best, because of its awesome sound capabilities. Now we’ll talk about reliving these memories, once again, with the playback of .mod files.

The Amiga music capabilities made a huge difference at the time. The “best” stuff available before was basically the chip tunes-like music on 8 bits, with the occasional digitized voices in-game (Ghostbusters!) but when the Amiga arrived it changed everything, forever. It offered 4 different channels to play sound, and the possibility to use digitized samples in order to compose music. So, most of the music was made with samples played at different frequencies, on 4 different channels, using software called “trackers”. Protracker was one of the most well known ones.

There was virtually no competition that could match the Amiga in 1986 when it came out. The Atari ST was already out but clearly sounded objectively worse in all areas, and in the console world there was nothing to brag about as kids were still playing with the NES and Master System. Even when the Megadrive came out in 1989 it was clearly inferior to the Amiga, despite being a newer system. The SNES was probably the only 16 bit system with something on par with the Amiga, but the sound output was muffled and not as clear. In the end it was when the PC started to have powerful sound cards that the Amiga lost its advantage in that field.


But what if, today, on the Pandora, you want to relive the original sound of the Amiga? Well, most Amiga music files are stored in small files called MODs, and you can actually play them in both audacious and deadbeef. Let the best sound of the 80s shake your apartment walls once again on your big hifi system.

Don’t talk to me about “choice”! You got Deadbeef…
… and Audacious supporting MOD files!

Unfortunately there are many formats still not supported. Many games used exotic/custom formats that lack support in modern music players. Sadly, the game music from Turrican falls into this category.

There’s not much you can do there apart from whining. Or is there?

Either you ask someone like PtitSeb or Sebt3 to compile the audacious extension to support most of these strange formats, or you can download mp3 versions of these old songs on, let’s say, AmigaParadise, one of the best websites to download and listen to Amiga music. One other option would be to run UAE4ALL and insert a tracker program to read it “natively” under emulation. There are always tricks to run things on the Pandora, you see!

If you don’t know what music to listen to because you were born 10 or 15 years late and part of Β the noob-friendly Playstation era, let me suggest you check music from Turrican 1 and 2, Lemmings, Lotus Turbo Esprit Challenge, Lotus 2, Gods, Magic Pockets, Shadow of the Beast, Speedball 2 … and the rest you will discover by yourself.

If you have fond memories of Amiga Music… you know what the comments are for, right?

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The only reason to prefer the ST’s audio capabilities over the Amiga was its built-in pair of MIDI ports. Indeed the ST was quite popular in professional studios for a while, where you could offset actual audio generation to professional keyboards and other MIDI synthesisers. I never realised the Amiga could only do 4 channels. I guess that explains why almost all MOD files are 4 channel stereo. The same year the Amiga 500 was released, the Acorn Archimedes was released which could handle 8 channels stereo – although it was many years until a tracker got released for the… Read more »


I also liked the intro music of Xenon2 on the Amiga.
But AtariST had some good musics sometimes, like IK+ for example (ok, the Amiga one was good too).
And what about C64 with Commando?
On the PC Side with the Adlib (which sound way porrer than Amiga by the time), Dune was one of the exeption (in my opinion) where PC sounds better than Amiga.

Memories … πŸ™‚


Oh yeah, and probably my favourite tracker from back in the day was Klisje pΓ₯ klisje by Walkman which came from the Hunt for 7th October demo by Cryptoburners. Full-on 80s awesomeness!


My next game is going to have some good old Amiga tracks from the very early 1990’s demoscene as background music. The format still makes a lot of sense to use: the files are small, the music can loop naturally, and those old 4 track mods barely need any cpu power for playback. And they just sound so damn good.

I like to think of mods as basically MIDI with custom and baked-in samples/patches, but what really makes the difference in the good ones are the effects: the arpeggios, portamento slides, tremolos and vibratos, crazy panning and volume switching.


Yeah, good idea – can save some space and/or have more music πŸ™‚
It’s weird when people ship “chiptunes” in mp3 or ogg format.
Mod files are like “source code” too, can view the notes / edit them or whatever.


Amiga was the best for me too, but didn’t have money for it so i was still using C64, even when i had a 8086 with disk.

It’s incredible what can be achieved with SID chips today.


also you can play Amiga GAMES and enjoy their mod music while u play πŸ™‚


john farnham’s “your the voice” in sonix on my amiga 500+ was killer, back in the day!
it probably still is!