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About the remastering of Megadrive tracks
#1
Hello!

I discovered this website while I was searching through google. I'm really happy that there is people that is working for true quality and definitive music versions of the games that we loved.

I was really excited, but when I downloaded the Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1 there was some disappointment. I don't know what technique did you used to build the musics, but seems that they are capped to 22050Hz then upscaled. I did some tests and comparison that I'll show you here:



This is your version, downloaded from this website. There are 96K samples per second, which each sample is in 24bit. The volume seems not normalized at -0.1db and high frequencies are too quiet.

[Image: i4IsjO1.jpg]



This is the version from "Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2" album, published in 2011 (http://vgmdb.net/album/26814). The original sound was 44.1KHz, 16 bit. I upscaled the sample frequency without to use dilthering techniques in order to comapre equally with the other Spectral Frequency diagrams.

[Image: D0elqij.jpg]



In the end, I'll post my version with my ripping techniques. The sound is in 96KHz but each sample is 16-bit large. The highest fequencies are the noise from drums, they are clear and loud. Also the final sound is clearer and similar to the one found on official soundtrack (you can download it here http://bit.ly/1BnLHtK)

[Image: rpmqy3j.jpg]



The point is that releases, imho, can be better. It's also possible to rewrite parts of YM2612 used from emulators to get the highest quality possible, which I can give my help. I was reading also to make 5.1 version of the musics, which is totally possible without to rewrite the sound engine used from games, extracting and mixing each channel separately.

However I appreciate a lot the main idea, really, that's why I want to see more than this Smile
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#2
I wrote an extensive reply and right when I was sending it... my browser crashed >Sad



To put it shortly: the Mega Drive has a super aggressive low pass filter set at 3300Hz (actually the later ones have it even lower at 2800Hz) to mask the huge quantization noise the YM2612 makes.

Luckily the filter is quite docile and it doesn't completely kill everything above 3300Hz.



The Sonic games were the first releases and I had the old Mega Drive which was a newer model (thus 2800Hz low pass filter) and I may have screwed up somewhere up on the recording chain.

This may explain your feelings about the lack of high frequencies and the strange upsampled 22Khz thing.



Now I have an old Jap Model 1 which has the better low pass filter (3300Hz) and a way better recording chain. To my ears, the difference is striking.



Onto the spectrums: I'm not even going into the OST as it's compressed as shit and recorded way too loud.



Onto your release: this is what came up when I analyzed it in Audacity.



[Image: 20madg.jpg]



I have no idea what you did to this poor track.

At first it seems like you've recorded it through a compressor to push the volume to its limit but unfortunately you hit the ceiling volume and you clipped various times (red bars).

This is obviously bad as clipping leads to distortion and loss of information.

Not sure what you did there, but I can tell you it was something nasty and you should never consider doing again when recording stuff.



This is obviously confirmed by a dynamic range meter:



Yours scored 10, ours was at 12 (2 entire decibels of difference - consider that decibel works on an exponential scale: 6db means you've doubled the volume) and the remaster is about to get out tops both at 13.



[Image: 1gkg7o.png]





Your track surely will sound "fuller" and louder than ours but you've destroyed the dynamics, thus losing information.

This is something that should never, ever happen when recording something and, unfortunately, this is exactly what happens whenever a new modern pop/metal album gets out: they just compress the music harder and harder to make it sound loud as hell and so full you can hardly discern each instrument. (you can read more about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war )

Luckily it seems like Rock albums are getting a better treatment, but I'm going offtopic here Tongue



Thanks for your long and detailed post, I really appreciated.



I'm looking forward hearing from you when our Remaster gets out, your opinion matters!
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#3
Oh, also consider that our principle is absolute accuracy toward the original source.



We're not doing anything to the track recorded, it is a straight line in from the Mega Drive right into our ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter).



We don't boost the volume in any way, nor we normalize or make any kind of intervention on the recorded track: we just put a fade out effect at the end and that's it.



Our mission is a hard one: making something which obviously wasn't made with audio quality in mind sound at its best while maintaining absolute accuracy.

I can tell you it's an impossible task but we've come really far in this and the results are, imho, well worth every single effort.
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#4
Thank you for your detailed reply!

Yes, there is some ceiling, I realized that after this post xD. I modified the source-code of the dumper and now it hasn't this problem anymore. Well, an high amplitude of the waveform means less noise at pair volume; hit the ceil is bad, but also haven't it normalized is bad (unless you are doing an 1:1 recording).

A Megadrive connected to an ADC? So that's why your soundtracks is filtered by something. Well, my dumping techniques are completely different: I'm using a software chip (so, no real hardware), so I have no problems to cut frequencies, decide to have up to 192000 samples per second and 32-bit per sample as output; plus there's no Synthesizer>Filtering>Analog conversion>Digital conversion passage, but a direct Synthesizer>Digital.

Well, this site hits to have soundtracks that are the closest as possible to the real mega drive sound, mine is to unleash the hardware limitations of the console and have technically better sounds (but not equal to the console).
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#5
eheheh so you're basically cheating! Big Grin



It's nice to hear that someone is actually working towards breaking the limits of the original hardware without resorting to the usual emulation method.



It's clear we have different objectives with our works but I respect and appreciate your work.



Just remember: most MD soundtracks have been made with that aggressive low pass filter in mind, so without it some tracks will sound... "strange", at best "different".



Keep it up! Smile
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