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I made some recordings with my Mbox Pro of Streets of Rage 1, out of curiosity of how it will sound. I have a model 1 that is NOT a VA2 or VA1 or VA0, so it's basically the days of the "pre-remasters". It sounds pretty close to the old recordings to me, doing a quick comparison. I didn't do anything to prepare; just a straight recording at 24bit 96khz with Blue Jeans Cable.

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I notice yours has the gain not quite so high (a peak of 0.7 versus 0.9 of mine). I can't hear any distortion on the recordings I did, but it's possible that it's there and I'm just not hearing it; I don't have top of the line monitoring speakers or headphones. I would love to hear your input on this in this regard. Is there anything extra you did to ensure the quality?

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One weird thing is that the 16bit Audiophile Project version's pitch is slightly lower compared to both the recording I did & Iron Goat's on FFShrine. I wonder why that is.

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Here's the Opening and Stage 1 of Streets of Rage: https://mega.co.nz/#!AQFU2YKA!xFeW7TghjdmoATJSa9y4v8l26yMWhWTwIT2TwHmwWoE

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Btw,

if I do this for real, it would be with a modded VA2 like what you're using now and not this revision; I might go for a Mega Amp (http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?27348-F-S-Mega-AMP-for-Sega-Genesis & http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?26568-Introducing-the-Mega-Amp-The-universal-Genesis-audio-circuit), as apparently it replicates the sound of the VA0 to VA2 ("The filtered circuit uses a 3.68KHz low-pass filter to give that sound the Genesis Model 1 is known for"). Unless the sound is really different somehow with that; I have no idea how it sounds.
Depends on what you're aiming at.



If you're looking for the best sound possible from the Genesis then yeah, Mega Amp is definitely the way to go.

I was thinking also about a tube output stage to make things more esoteric but gave up on that a long ago Tongue



Our project aims at accuracy so we're not touching the original hardware (other than correcting circuit errors).



There's another guy in the forum who's doing an awesome project by making a custom YM2612 board with custom output stage to get the best audio quality out of the Yamaha chip. You might want to give it a look Wink
btw, your Stage 1 clipped on some points, but that's not too much of a problem, although you really don't want a track to clip more than two or three times in the entire track.



Also, before setting the recording volume you should do a test recording of the entire soundtrack to establish what's the peak of the entire game and adjust the recording levels accordingly. The recording level has to stay the same throughout the recording.



Listening to the silent part of the opening at the beginning I can hear a high pitched noise which is generally produced by AC. There's also a small bit of interference from something I can't really tell. I think your recording equipment is not properly decoupled from your PC/Mac.

You could solve this problem also by using a higher quality power supply for your Genesis and by plugging the entire recording chain (Genesis, audio interface, PC/Mac) in the same power outlet. This will help you killing all the possible ground loops.



I can also hear a tiny quantity of jitter which is generally caused by USB audio interfaces due to USB being quite jittery itself. People tend to partially solve this issue by unpluggin all USB devices and dedicating the USB bus exclusively to the recording interface.

I see you're using an MBox Pro which is Firewire: is it the only firewire device plugged into your machine? Check the latency, something might be wrong with it.



All in all, it's a very good recording, I'm pleased with it. Still, there's a lot of margin to improve it.



Last thing: the Genesis' volume slider has to stay at max, always. If the level is too high, lower the recording volume on the interface, never on the source Wink
I'm using the official Genesis power supply. Would that really make that much more noise than a more expensive one? I'm going to try plugging everything directly into the wall and see how that goes (or do you mean everything plugged in on the same power strip?).



I'm using a Macbook so I don't have to move all my consoles next to my PC. The laptop has a Firewire port, but I have to use a specific adapter for the Mbox Pro for it to hook up to the Macbook properly. That's the only thing connected to it (no USB devices).



I can't hear jitter at all; no idea what I'm listening for. I set the latency high to avoid hiccups; is that bad? What are the best ways to combat jitter?



Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it.



Also, about the Genesis: I would go for the Mega Amp if it's EXACTLY how the VA0-2 sounds without the distortion... otherwise I don't want anything "enhancing" it.



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edit: turns out the noise at the beginning of the track is from the Genesis headphone jack (even plugged directly into the wall). The input monitor shows that it's completely silent until I turn on the console. I'm using some pretty high quality cables (BJC MSA-1 Audio Cable from Blue Jeans Cable http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/audio/index.htm ) so I guess it COULD be the power supply? The thing is though I don't want to get something uber expensive and find out that's not the problem.



It shows that it's 12.3 ms of latency, with a 1024 buffer size. Could adjusting any of this help the jitter?

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Quote from dogman91 on April 28, 2015, 17:30

I'm using the official Genesis power supply. Would that really make that much more noise than a more expensive one? I'm going to try plugging everything directly into the wall and see how that goes (or do you mean everything plugged in on the same power strip?).


Same power strip


Quote:
Also, about the Genesis: I would go for the Mega Amp if it's EXACTLY how the VA0-2 sounds without the distortion... otherwise I don't want anything "enhancing" it.


it is not, it gives a crystal clear sound.

The small 0,25W amp in the Genesis adds a little bit of distortion which is pleasant to the ear (think about tube distortion) and muffles the sound a bit.


Quote:
edit: turns out the noise at the beginning of the track is from the Genesis headphone jack (even plugged directly into the wall). The input monitor shows that it's completely silent until I turn on the console. I'm using some pretty high quality cables (BJC MSA-1 Audio Cable from Blue Jeans Cable http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/audio/index.htm ) so I guess it COULD be the power supply? The thing is though I don't want to get something uber expensive and find out that's not the problem.


I've been using a genuine Wii power supply (10€ used) which is a terrific power supply since it provides a lot of clean power.

Now I'm using one of those power supply used inside arcade cabs which is yielding even better results (again, bought like 5 used for 30€ and I'm using them for all kind of audio stuff).

There's no point going linear, really. If you want, get a strong battery (an UPS should be fine) and use that to power the Genesis, but it's really overkill.



One important thing: use your Macbook on battery power: the Macbook power supply inject a lot of unwanted noise.


Quote:
It shows that it's 12.3 ms of latency, with a 1024 buffer size. Could adjusting any of this help the jitter?


Go for the lowest latency possible until it starts dropping out. When it's stable, you've hit the sweet point.



By the way, I'm really nitpicking here, but... hey! We're called "Audiophile" for a reason ;-)



And Blue Jeans cable are awesome! They have my approval!
Alright, I got my VA2 modded with the preamp fix (and WIMA caps) and recorded two full Genesis games.

The thing is, comparing to VA3 recordings, I can barely tell the difference with most tracks... only some of them have an evident difference in the high end, while most others sound completely identical between both VA2 & VA3 versions.

HOWEVER, I noticed with recording Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1 that there is a HUGE difference between the VA3 and VA2, unlike the subtle or no difference with other games' tracks. If I were to guess, maybe only some games use 'instrument sets' that emphasize those higher frequencies that the VA2 reveals over the VA3?? I find that curious.

Here are the games I recorded (24bit 96khz); used the sound test for Streets of Rage and the Genesis VGM-ROM player for Warsong.

Streets of Rage: https://mega.nz/#!BENyBIAb!FN7HHtQqiEOXKaLQcdX9BtPKBSlEy9LtV4xm8V655R8
Warsong: https://mega.nz/#!tIkQyaLR!C_vwVNQoL69oDs_c01tWHPfw5sdPpybhHP0EYrG-9JE

Let me know if you want to know the process/chain and stuff; probably too much to type out.
edit: though I'm probably gonna have to redo these anyway as I forgot to optimize the latency. Also, turns out I can only record at line level with the Mbox Pro (though it is a decent volume, gets to about -2dB at max volume on the Genesis volume slider); can't use the gain controls with a non-microphone input with it :/
actually, the only option for latency adjustment is through the I/O buffer, and apparently it's not in use when recording, only for the *output* playback engine. So I take it that it doesn't matter what I set it at in regards to jitter IN the recording itself?

Looking through, I also just found a small skip in Beatnik on the Ship in the SoR recording at 0:50. -_- I really wonder how that happened.
Try to keep only the recording software opened when you record and close everything else.

Also, if you can, try giving it more priority using the command renice (I believe there's also an app with a nice UI for it) so that it takes priority over other apps and background services.

The volume slider on the Genesis should always stay maxed out.

Recording at line level is ok although you're going through the risk of clipping with some loud games. I guess you can always use the volume slider to get them down a bit.

-2dB is nice, gives you enough room to prevent clipping.

I'll download the tracks and hear them for myself and let you know.