Gameboy Color Internal Pro-Sound mod

Monday, January 4, 2010
The gameboy color is pretty sweet whether it be for gaming or for making music. I mean come on, it's got a color screen! I have done many external pro-sounds on the GBC but never an internal one. This little guide will help you do just that, an internal pro-sound. Now I am assuming you have basic soldering skills, a tri-wing screwdriver, and a small philips screwdriver. You are also going to need 2 lengths of thin wire about 4 or 5 inches long. I use wire that I robbed from an NES controller. :)

The first thing you are going to do is remove the back of the GBC. Take off the battery cover and remove the batteries (if they are still in there). Remove the six tri-wing screws. 4 in the main back and 2 in the battery compartment. I like to use a little magnetic tray like this....


Once the GBC is open you will be here...


You will first be soldering on the exposed side of the PCB(printed circuit board). This is the side with the cartridge slot. You are going to be soldering to the volume pot. There are 5 connections to the left of the volume wheel. If they are numbered from 1-5 from top to bottom you will be soldering to connections number 2 and 3. (left and right)



strip your wire and tin the tips. Don't leave too much wire exposed. You only need about 1/8 of an inch bare...



Now go ahead and solder the wires to the connections on the volume pot. The black goop on my solder points is liquid tape. I used a brown and an orange wire. The brown on mine is connected to number 2 for obvious reasons :P You will then need to route the wire down the side of the PCB. I had a little bit of trouble deciding where to run the wires and ended up running them through the side of the cartridge slot. and along the PCB edge.



Now we need to remove the PCB completely from the gameboy. This will help in routing your wires and you need to solder to the screen side of the PCB. Go ahead and remove the 3 screws that hold the PCB to the gameboy case.



You also need to disconnect the ribbon cable for the screen. Push the little tabs on the sides of the connector towards the top of the gameboy. This will allow you to remove the PCB. The screen and buttons will stay in the front piece of the GBC shell.



Now that you have the PCB removed you can solder to the points on the headphone jack. You are going to solder to the points labeled 2 and 3 in the P5 section.



2 being left and 3 being right. So again on mine the brown wire goes to number 2. lol... number 2. Once you solder these points you can flip the PCB back over and reinstall it to the front casing. Be sure that your buttons are all in the right spots and that your new wires are not in the way of anything. Once it is installed again with the 3 screws you want to go to this area where the little things labeled EM2 and EM3 are located. These are getting removed. Just heat them up with your soldering iron and they will pull of easily. I use tweezers to grab them.



Now you can finish routing your wire and close the gameboy. Don't forget anything like your IR cover or your power switch. It sucks to have to pull it apart again because you forgot to install your power switch. Trust me. I routed my wires like so....



If you choose my route be sure the wires are not in the way of the cartridge slot. I used a little bit of liquid tape to hold them in place. I also used liquid tape on my solder points on the volume pot to be sure I don't have any crosstalk. Now put your GBC back together and enjoy your new internal pro-sound mod.



***When doing this mod I noticed that there are more than one type of GBC PCB. Mine was the CGB-CPU-05....



I have another GBC PCB labeled CGB-CPU-03. This one is almost exactly the same but it has an extra EM unit labeled EM4 next to the two that I removed. I don't think this will affect anything in this tutorial, so if you have this type of PCB don't get discouraged.

32 comments:

twinblade_7 said...

i've damaged 2 pcb's doing this and also burnt my hands very fucking badly in the process, I don't suppose there's a chance I could send you the ones I failed to mod for you to finish (I'll pay of course)

Capcomposer said...

Yeah man of course. Go ahead and shoot me an email.

TmTgr said...

Capcomposer I think your left and right channels may be wrong.

Capcomposer said...

What makes you say that? I just double checked my GBC and it works correctly, panning and everything...

TmTgr said...

Sorry its just mine, I assumed the pins below would be left pre pot, right pre pot. But actually its right then left! Also thanks for the tutorial :)

Anonymous said...

out of Curiosity does this mod actually make it "pro-sound" loud or just normal

Anonymous said...

sorry wrong page! lol i meant your GBA SP mod

Capcomposer said...

haha. the GBA SP mod is not a "pro sound" it is just an internal headphone jack. I am working on an actual line level mod for it though.

Anonymous said...

I get a low volume humming sound when I hook it up to some speakers/headphones. Is that normal, or is it getting some noise?

Capcomposer said...

You might be getting a bit of cross talk from the solder points on the volume point. Or it could be that you are using the GBC with the volume knob all the way up. I usually use mine at about 1/2 to 3/4 volume.

Anonymous said...

i love you

-mepufw

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!! :D I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, but never knew how. This helps out so much!

Anonymous said...

thats a great tutorial! My PCB is a CGB-CPU-02 though, do you know if it is any different, or should it be the same?

erik said...

I just modded my gbc, and it sounds great, but im wondering if i'm actually noticing a difference, or if i just think i am. The music sounds more layered with a little more bass now. Is it really that noticable without lsdj or am i just hearing things?

Capcomposer said...

CGB-CPU-02 should be the same. If you want to you can always open it and check to compare.

The sound will be noticeable. Not necessarily through headphones but through some amplified speakers like a stereo or guitar amp.

Dylan said...

I tried this mod but the sound is only coming out of the right channel. I don't know if I didn't connect something right or ended up damaging the left connector while soldering, but there is no sound coming from the channel. Was there a step I missed?

Jordan said...

i am so thankful for this tutorial!!!! compared my modded gbc to my sister's unmodded gbc using zelda oracle or seasons, wow god dammit! when i fully mod my gameboy i am mentioning/recommending this guide big time in a blog post!

Vinod said...
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Vinod said...
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Viagra said...

That was very educational! I never knew how to take apart my Gameboy!

UNIVERSAL STUDIO HOLLYWOOD said...

Such a useful blog! excellent data regarding this issue.Nice job keep it up!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Capcomposer. Great mod. When I compare my newly modded GBC with one of my other GBC's, there is a big difference in sound quality; the internal pro sound being much better. But I am noticing that the pro sound GBC is also a bit quieter than a standard GBC. Is this normal?

Capcomposer said...

@anonymous: Yeah the "pro-sound mod will make it a bit quieter but it is making the output into a line level output for running through amps or mixers for a cleaner sound.

Elliott Broidy said...

You do fantastic work.

Anonymous said...

Lot of thanks! Great tutorial for a great mod, highly, highly recommended for those who use LSDJ on Game Boy Color. In my case, ironically, the difficult part was to route correctly the cable inside the GBC, if you do it wrong, the buttons will not work properly... BTW, I applied the mod on a CGB-CPU-03, and yes, it's exactly the same method. Have fun with the Bleeps!

Tidushi said...

after I removed the EM units the system woudn't power on

kraettz said...

Thanks for sharing! This mod gives you the cleanest audio output from all the Game Boy models (use "k" command in lsdj). The sample playback is very clean too. The bass boost is enormous but still less than from an Original one.

Luigi Tejeda said...

have you done anything else recently for GBC?? what about a 1/4 inch jack for external audio would you help???

Thomas Contey said...

2 questions, first, why do you need to remove the em units? And does that or this whole mod affect how a game plays?

Odnetnin46 said...

A. Thank you for this, so much.
B. Will this drive up the max volume output through the jack?
C. Can I still use headphones through the jack after doing this?

Anonymous said...

In conjunction with the "101" Kitsch-bent / loca, front-light mod, I did this mod out of curiosity and in the hopes that it would be an improvement. It's a great idea! I like the cleaner sound through the headphone jack and lack of the "hissing" sound but not digging the lowered sound volume. If there was a way to raise this volume or maintain the original volume levels, this would be perfect. However I have noticed that most general, retro-pocket gamers mainly use the one speaker for sound while playing, vice the headphones. I enjoy both. Thanks for this great tutorial! :-)

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