Turning a Single Channel into 5.1 Channels
Look at your NES. Now look at your speakers. Now back at your NES. Now back to your SPEAKERS. Now look at your headphones. Don’t turn to ME, turn to them. Again. Now look BACK at your NES.
Sadly, now matter how you look at it, the NES could not do stereo sound. But people have tried. Look down on your NES. Look back up. What was that? Work-arounds have been made; people spliced the NES CPU so the two square-waves went into the left channel and the triangle/noise/PCM went into the right. Some emulators (such as NEStopia) even offer to “phantom stereo” the left channel by 64 frames.
Since games were not designed to have waveform-separation, some audio will sound unbalanced. Short of having the composers re-write their music (such as when later Castlevania on other platformers continued to use “Vampire Killer” or “Bloody Tears”), hearing true stereo NES Music would be an impossibility. Impossible? Did you say impossible? Nothing is impossible when you’re Bostich the Metal Man. He has stereophonic NES music. 5.1 surround-sound NES music.
Officially launching his own webpage in July 2011, Bostich has been upconverting NES music into 5.1 audio since 2010, starting with “Mega Man 3″, moving on to “Swords & Serpents”, the original “Dragon Warrior”, “Battletoads” and as of September 2011, “Life Force”. He uses a complicated series of scripts to break down the NSF audio (phase inversion) and re-stitches everything into 5 audio channels. By ear.
Try the albums at NES 5.1 in four flavors: hi-res 24-bit/96KHz PCM DVD-Audio, DVD-Video standard using Dolby Digital encoded audio from a 24-bit/48KHz PCM source, FLAC verseion of the DVD-Audio, and a compact OGG Vorbis edition that is roughly comparable to Dolby Digital.
To mod your NES to hear phantom stereo, RaphNet has a detailed guide.