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Higher quality for FLAC and MP3 releases
#1
Hi everyone,



after all the upgrades the recording chain had the last months, I figured out it was time to sit down and spend some time on the Megascript, which is an automated software that produces the downsampled versions of our releases, FLAC and MP3.



So I started listening to some FLACs and decided that the quality wasn't up to our standards and something had to be done about it. Yesterday I took the Megascript and made some substantial mods along with updated tools (SoX and ffmpeg) and the results were really encouraging.

To an untrained ear, now the differences between the 96/24 FLACs and standard resolution FLACs are really hard to catch, meanwhile those with higher end setups and good ears will still manage to pick some small differences here and there.

All in all it's been a nice improvement in quality and I'm really happy about it.

Some of you may think that I only care for the higher resolution material and don't give a damn about everything else but that's not really the case.

Our goal is to set a new, higher standards to videogame rips quality and we do want to keep this high standard among all our formats.

So, yeah, we do care about you guys downloading the FLACs and MP3s, you're not B Tier.



As a personal note, MP3s still sound bad to my ears, but that might be just me: I hate the MP3 format with a passion as it uses a very destructive algorithm.

I'd love to ditch the MP3 format and switch to AAC which, on the other end, is pretty legit but most of you have softwares and portable players that doesn't support AAC, so I guess we'll be stuck with MP3.



That's pretty much it.

Expect to hear better quality FLACs and MP3s from the next release on (that include Remasters!).



On a side note on Remasters: I decided to put the Sonic games as maximum priority. Those were ripped from the games' sound test mode and the Mega Drive's VDP injected a lot of white noise in them and quality has suffered greatly from this.

I'm sorry for those who already requested some Remasters but this time I decided to make an exception and push other releases first.

The affected games are:



Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic 3D (this one in particular is terrible)



Sonic Spinball was among the first ones to be ripped with the new method thanks to DeadFish Shitware's native VGM Player. As such, it will be queued after all the requests.



Thanks for sticking with us and stay tuned for a new release (hopefully) next week!
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#2
I look forward to the re releases. Is there any chance of releasing sonic 3 and sonic and knuckles together, since they are literally 2 halves of one game? It's not a big deal though, I can fix it when I download them. I do have have better cover for sonic 3D blast if you want to use it. I personally can't stand the pal art. http://i.imgur.com/AKKQuQK.png

And If you are interested here is what I use for sonic 3 complete http://i.imgur.com/MBuK9AS.png
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#3
we can definitely re-release Sonic 3 & Knuckles as one game.



It would be a bit challenging since the soundtrack would end up being HUGE (which means it will take a lot of time to go through all of it) but we can definitely do it if there are enough people requesting it as a single release.



Truepack is the responsible for the covers and he checks the forum from time to time.

Art is really a matter of personal taste, so it's nigh impossible to satisfy everyone.

Luckily changing an album's cover is quite easy so if anyone wants to use a custom cover he can definitely do it, no problem on our side.



Again, if people will express their favor for your covers we'll definitely put them in!



Also, thanks for your time spent on doing these!

Regardless if they'll make their way into our releases or not, I always appreciate people trying to contribute to our cause!



Maybe we can even start a thread somewhere where people can share their custom cover arts so anyone can pick the one they like best!



Yeah, that would definitely be cool and a great way to let our community be more involved in our project. I'll see how we can carry this out.
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#4
That sounds like it could be fun to do, maybe have some polls for deciding some things as well.
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#5
About the mp3's: I consider unnecesary (for me) including these in the releases, and CD quality FLACs too. But I see the convenience of including them for people not experienced enough with computers. But, continuing with the standard of highest quality possible, MP3 files should be encoded at VBR 0 or CBR 320k at 48khz.



About the alternate covers: Users can upload their picures in the game's post, i think is more convenient.
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#6
MP3 is a destructive format, trust me, everything over 192kbps is absolutely useless.



I've tried several settings over and over again and failed to hear any significant differences: the main difference in quality is made by the encoder.

An encoder that needs a high bitrate in MP3 is simply not a good encoder.



If it depended solely on me I'd just get rid of the MP3s since they are in complete antithesis with this project but I understand that people still want MP3s as they are really convenient (supported on every platform and with small footprint): I can't argue on that point.



So I decided to use 192kbps constant bitrate MP3s for maximum compatibility with every device in existence and keep the footprint as small as possible.



Standard res FLAC are a no brainer: those are still lossless quality and have a MUCH SMALLER footprint which makes them really convenient opposed to the huge high res FLACs.



Great idea on the alternate covers, I'll make sure to tell people about it in the next release.



Thanks for sharing your opinion, highly appreciated!
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#7

<div class="bbcode_quote">
<div class="bbcode_quote_head">Quote:</div>
<div class="bbcode_quote_body"><b>Quote from donluca on December 4, 2014, 16:05</b>

we can definitely re-release Sonic 3 & Knuckles as one game.</div>
</div>
While Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles may have once been the same project, its soundtracks are separate beasts that should arguably be kept separate. I can totally understand the appeal of a Sonic 3 & Knuckles soundtrack, and it might be a cool optional release for the future, but I would hope the remasters of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles would take priority.



As there's some cool, historically-relevant music in Sonic 3 that gets overwritten when locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles, it would break my heart to see these releases combined into a Sonic 3 & Knuckles release. I kinda get the feeling you had no intention of doing that in the first place, but just my two cents, keep up the excellent work!
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#8
Thanks for the input!



I've kept them as separate releases for the same reasons: I always felt them as separate games since they were independent cartridges which can work on their own.



But there have been reports of several people asking for a single big release with both of them and I really want to try and make everyone happy.



Maybe I can release them both as separate packages and in one big package (Haggar's gonna kill me) to please all our followers.



The Sonic games are all high on the remaster list but I really want to proceed following their chronological order.



I hope to get them out asap, although I'm in the middle of getting a new awesome job and I'm afraid my free time will get really scarce Sad



I'll have to work on my weekly schedule to manage find time for recording releases.
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#9
Thanks for the quick reply, and as usual thanks for being so cool with my input! Hey, you know what remaster REALLY needs priority?





"One thing this game does very well is abuse your speakers."
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