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16 Bit Caveat?
#1
Something of curiosity I've had with this project is the 16-Bit specific title. Obviously the main focus is therefore the 16-Bit era, as it includes many classic soundtracks from Sega (Mega Drive/Genesis), Nintendo (SNES) and other companies (Commodore Amiga, NEC PC Engine/Turbografx-16, Phillips CD-i, SNK Neo Geo, Pioneer LaserActive), however there are difficulties on several of these. Mostly related to whether or not we own the consoles (I have a Mega Drive, but it's a Multi-Mega/CDX which has an inferior sound chip, and I have an Amiga 500+, but none of the others).



I am curious if any benefit could be gained from CD based consoles (Especially Saturn/Playstation and onward) as I'd assume their audio quality is simply CD sound files rather than chips producing sound. However cartridge based titles normally required chips to make audio happen, though my knowledge on the subject is, I'll admit, very vague. I'm sure someone here is more knowledgeable on audio than I.



Either way, with the Mega Drive and Amiga under works I was wondering if there was any interest in special soundtrack releases for other consoles?



<b>8-BIT AUDIOPHILE</b>

<b>Sonic the Hedgehog 1</b> (Game Gear/Master System) - music was made by the legendary audio designer Yuzo Koshiro (Of Streets of Rage fame), and Bridge Zone's theme was used by Janet Jackson years later for the chorus of her song Together Again.

Obviously other Sonic soundtracks would see a great potential audience too.



<b>Lazy Jones</b> (ZX Spectrum/Commodore 64/MSX) - While David Whittaker is legendary in VG music (Lemmings comes to mind), and Lazy Jones is far from his best work, there is one connection that makes this soundtrack worthy of note. A decade and a half after the game was released, a late 90s Dance/Trance band called Kernkraft 400 sampled the title track "Stardust" in their chart-topping dance anthem "Zombie Nation".

http://www.whosampled.com/sample/1032/Zombie-Nation-Kernkraft-400-David-Whittaker-Stardust/



<b>Streets of Rage 1 and 2</b> (Master System/Game Gear) - Again Yuzo Koshiro took the reigns and beat tracks out of the MS/GG that I certainly didn't think were possible. You'll be blown away by how accurate to the original games the music manages to be despite the reduced sound properties of the chip. That said, the MS/GG and Mega Drive used similar sound chips, but it never reduces the impressive qualities of the soundtracks.









<b>NES Soundtracks</b> - I never had one of these growing up, but I did play them. And suffice to say any soundtracks of Mario titles and other classics (Such as TMNT II) would always be welcome. I own one now, but my model only does mono sound via composite (There's no slot for a right audio channel). I'm not sure if this is true of the chip itself or just a cost-saving procedure for the external case, or if there was ever a stereo NES/Famicom. Either way just throwing it out there.





<b>32-BIT AUDIOPHILE</b>

While there wasn't much past the 16 Bit era that relied on the sound chip to actually do much other than bypass CD audio, there are a few examples of classic chiptune available. Forgetting portables for a moment (Though they still count);



<b>Commodore Amiga CD-32</b> - This console has some CD based audio, but because of the nature of the system it also included chip-based audio too.



<b>Sega 32X</b> - No CD based audio means the 32X has an audio kick that is, unsurprisingly, similar to the Mega Drive (Because it's an attachment to that console). Knuckles Chaotix is, at least, a classic game well worth the transition.



<b>Sega Saturn</b> - I have a question on this actually. If the files don't show up when inserted into a Hi-Fi or PC disc drive, does that mean the audio has to be created by the chip the same way the Mega Drive does? There are several games with CD Audio (Sonic R for example) which can be ripped in a PC or played on a Hi-Fi, but some games (Such as Mortal Kombat 2, Shining Force III, Burning Rangers etc) have no CD Audio whatsoever. Does that mean there IS CD Audio but in some form of hidden format, or does it mean classic chiptune audio?

<i>EDIT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YMF292

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_68000

The Saturn's main sound processor was custom made by Yamaha for the machine, with a Motorola 68000 as a secondary chip (similar to how the Mega Drive had the Master System's Zilog Z80 sound processor as a secondary). The Yamaha chip handles FM and PCM sampling at a maximum of 44.1kHz. Considering PCM sampling tends to be used for Audio CD formats (Among other things) I'm surprised not all discs are rippable. I've heard of the SSF sound files for the Saturn, but the players online aren't compatible with either ROMS or the original discs - and of course it would be a form of emulation not the work of the original chips.

I still don't know if this project would have any affect on the Saturn. I guess I could try a soundtrack and see what happens?</i>



<b>64-BIT AUDIOPHILE</b>

N64 soundtracks - Unlike Sony and SEGA, Nintendo committed themselves to cartridge gaming. While the N64 was capable of audio sampling, there are a few games that play "the old way" with sound. I've made a test example to test the waters with;

http://www.mediafire.com/download/9ttnlzagrri3ze9/TGR_N64_FLAC_9624.zip

Barry Leitch built the soundtrack to Top Gear Rally for the N64's launch and used all 6 channels to produce an amazing soundtrack. While one of his tracks for Top Gear on the SNES became the opening intro to Muse's "Bliss" (Possibly why they won't/can't play the original intro live), Top Gear Rally is one of the most under-appreciated game scores of it's time.

Apologies I don't have the US title screen theme in that pack. I live in the UK and only have the PAL version of the game. The US was the only continent to have the slower and equally amazing Title Theme shown here;





This could also include some classic soundtracks which have big fanbases but get little actual love from companies (Due to confusing issues with rights) such as Goldeneye 007. I made a sample for that too;

http://www.mediafire.com/download/cf626dw2754rsku/Goldeneye_Intro.zip

It's not the full intro, as it was a test. I also don't know how to get the full version of the theme to play, it always cuts to a play demo.



<b>CONCLUSION/TL;DR</b>

I'm not at all suggesting setting up sites for these, nor doing anything too radical. I was thinking more of special releases, as the main focus still needs to be the large library of 16 Bit Titles requiring some love. I currently have 20 Amiga soundtracks to line up (As well as attempting to get ahold of Shadow of the Beast as it was requested), donluca has a shed load of Mega Drive titles in his stride and the SNES still needs even a single soundtrack. But because I can't offer a SNES soundtrack I was looking at other possibilities, and this hit my mind.



Anyway, do enjoy the music even if nothing comes of this. I've been playing around with the new audio equipment donluca sent me and this is the earliest results. New Amiga soundtracks will be released periodically, so this hasn't affected any of that (Had time off work over Easter anyway).



What do you guys think? Do you like the N64 soundtrack? Please do reply with any thoughts you have, be great to have user feedback.
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#2
I'm pretty much destroyed (both physically and mentally, lol) right now, I'll give an extensive reply soon



I'll just say that if someone wants to start a "brother" project to this one (ie: 8-bit audiophile project) is absolutely welcome, as long as they abide by our principles:



100% accuracy (original hardware, no mods, etc...)

Highest recording quality possible.

Absolutely free.



He will "work" under our flag and get recognized as an affiliated project getting all the rep this project already has.



If what I wrote made little to no sense to you never mind, I'll make a better post when I recoup. Tongue
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#3
Many 32-bit CD based games have uncompressed sound (PCM or similar), but are sampled at lower frecuency (32 or 24 Khz). In those cases, the music isn't available as CD track. There's no need to make a line recording in those cases, only convert the files to a listenable format. There are many tools around to convert them to WAV files. In this case the work would go into creating a nice release pack. There's also "chiptune" music for those systems, but it think it isn't used a lot.



P.D.: Top Gear Rally soundtrack is really great!
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#4
I was thinking more as the odd special release through here, donluca, rather than a sister site to itself. Though I can understand if you said no.



Ah, that explains alot Karagh. Thanks for the info.

I'm glad you like the soundtrack. It's a fantastic soundtrack by Barry Leitch, and the best quality version of the soundtrack currently online (I did a lengthy comparison test, but the bass notes are lacking elsewhere).
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#5
Sorry for the extremely late reply to this important matter, I've been overwhelmed with work those days, didn't have time to do almost anything else.



First off... we are called the 16bit audiophile project for a reason: I want to focus mainly on 16 bit platform.



Why?



Consider that the Mega Drive library has over 600 games and we're putting out 30 releases per year. This means that we're gonna have the MD library entirely covered in *yuk* 20 years.



The SNES library has over 1500 games.



And then there are other "minor" platforms, including the incredibly cool arcade boards (Neo-Geo MVS, CPS, etc...).



If we had to include 8-bit, 32-bit and so on it would get way too much dispersive.



Anyway, an 8-bit audiophile project would be really cool but there are tons of consoles that are considered 8-bit and there are juggernauts like NES and the Master System/Mark III which have several hundreds of games.



32/64/128-bit audiophile is NEVER gonna happen (at least on my part) for several reasons.



First, and foremost: we're approaching "modern times" and, as such, copyrights and legal stuff become serious business.

I don't want any of it.

Really.

Going "underground" is not an option.



Second, with the advent of CD based consoles everyone migrated to PCM based soundtracks or used custom sequencers which are still using PCM samples: there's no point in recording these from the original source. The Playstation has an AKM DAC inside which was commonly found in several hi-fi CD Players with a common output stage made with opamps.



Even the Nintendo64 used highly compressed PCM samples for his soundtracks in order to get them inside the cartridge.



Exceptions applies obviously but imho it's simply not worth the time (and the risk).



Everything after is even at a higher risk of copyright infringement and doesn't make any sense because official soundtracks were often released along with the games.



Summing it up:





8-bit Audiophile: super cool, but not gonna do it. Find someone else to take care of it and I'll gladly welcomethe project into the "family".



32/64/128-bit Audiophile: You're free to do whatever you want with it but use a different name as I absolutely don't want any of it. I won't be taking part in it and I won't recognize it as a "side" project of this one.

You're on your own.
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#6
A little aggressive a response, but okay. I was only asking. :p

We'll stick with 16 bit, that's cool. Smile
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#7
Sorry if it sounded a bit harsh but I really don't want to find myself in legal problems with whatsoever, so I really wanted to make the point clear.



We're already working in a sort of grey area and since I'm putting a lot of effort into it I'd hate to see all this lost due to legal causes.



Other than that, as I said, I'd totally love to see an 8-bit audiophile project as well as people contributing to the project by doing other 16-bit platforms such as PC-Engine/TurboGrafx16, Neo-Geo and others as well!



But regarding 32-bit platforms and such... ok to me, but not here, and not using our name.



That's all. Wink
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#8
That's cool man. I won't do anything on your project that you don't want me to, and I do understand your want to avoid legal problems. Makes total sense. I'll wipe the name from the Top Gear Rally artwork Smile
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