What made old 'sound' so good - and why is it hard to get?

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

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whatever
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Post by whatever » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:08 pm

Red_Breast wrote:Also even though flac is compressed [...]
flac uses lossless compression and therefore sounds 100% like the original. If flac sounds worse than uncompressed audio for you, you are doing something very wrong.
Red_Breast wrote:I can hear the difference between flac and mp3 when I rip a ScummVM game with CD Audio.
This is possible, of course. However I suggest you take an experiment:
Give someone else an uncompressed audio sample and let him compress it with "lame --preset extreme" or even "lame --preset insane" and then save the result as uncompressed audio again. Then let him return original and result to you with random filenames.
Without graphicaly viewing the audio-spectrum it will be damn hard to find out which file was crippled by lame.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:29 pm

whatever wrote:Every digital audioformat removes high frequencies, this is a result of finite samplingrate and the nyquist theorem.
For CD-Audio the cutoff is somewhere around 19-20kHz, for high quality MP3 it's often at 17-18kHz. Most adults are unable to hear higher frequencies anyway.
I'm aware of this, but regardless a sound file that was engineered to be heard in 16-bit 44.1 kHz is not going to sound the way it's supposed to on an MP3 of any bitrate encoding. You lose all the little nuances. Listen to any MP3 in mono with a phase canceled left or right channel and you'll hear what I mean. All that warble sound is inside the MP3 and generated because of lower fidelity reproduction in the sound, phase canceled or not.
It's easy to rant about MP3 being inferior (because it clearly is in theory), but 99,9% of people cannot distinguish high-quality LAME MP3s from uncompressed CD-Audio.
That's because they're not using proper speaker monitors, which was my other gripe. The whole system is flawed right now.
Last edited by MusicallyInspired on Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bobdevis
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Post by bobdevis » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:56 pm

I am kind of wondering now if it there is a way to compress non-destructively but a lot tighter then flac.

Maybe an extremely high-load method exists that would become practical once even phones have more then a couple of proc cores and OpenCL-like mass parallel processing arrangements.

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Red_Breast
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Post by Red_Breast » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:59 pm

@ whatever - hmm - maybe another case of what I'm saying getting totally misunderstood online. Quoting you-
"flac uses lossless compression and therefore sounds 100% like the original. If flac sounds worse than uncompressed audio for you, you are doing something very wrong."

I will now quote myself. I can't imagine how you got from what I typed to replying with what you said.
"Guess I must be in the 0.01 % then.
Also even though flac is compressed I can hear the difference between flac and mp3 when I rip a ScummVM game with CD Audio."

Maybe if I try to word it differently would help? If I rip a ScummVM game that has CD Audio and I make both a flac version and a mp3 version then I can hear the difference between the flac and mp3 versions. Does that explain it?

Whatever words I used I never meant for them to imply that "flac sounds worse than uncompressed audio". I just can't work out how you interpreted that from what I typed.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:22 am

He probably interpreted MP3 as WAV or something.

whatever
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Post by whatever » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:35 am

No, I thought the phrase "even though flac is compressed" implied that you place flac quality somewhere between mp3 and uncompressed audio. Apparently this interpretation was wrong, so just ignore what I said in this regard :)

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Post by Red_Breast » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:09 pm

@ whatever - no problem - the fault was no doubt as much mine and maybe I could of worded it better.

ryz
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Post by ryz » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:25 am

Okay, i haven't really attached value to this sound-emulation thingy until I've read this wonderful article, also posted in this thread:

http://simlife.blogspot.com/2010/11/mus ... ology.html

To me, this whole sound emulation jazz was nothing more than a black box i didn't really understand, until this article - thanks for the clarification, Razvan!

After reading this today, i've spent all my free time experimenting with different sound emulation options in Monkey Island 1 and Beneath a Steel Sky.

... And i have a few questions now:

Roland MT-32 (emulation):

If i understand everything correctly, for this i would need a) an actual Roland MT-32 module or b) the ROM-files for the sound emulation, right?

Also, the emulation would not really sound like the real device, correct?

I've found a link to this website http://www.artworxinn.com/alex/downloads.htm in another thread.. there is a comparison for the MI1 Main Theme and i guess the MT-32 emulation in ScummVM would sound something like the sample on the website? Also, is this particular MT-32 Emulator actually incorporated into ScummVM?


FluidSynth/SoundFont:

Right now i'm using Shan's SoundFont; and my god, the track in BaSS when you start the game sounds absolutely amazing!

Do you guys know/recommend other great SoundFonts?

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Post by Flo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:52 pm

ryz wrote:Do you guys know/recommend other great SoundFonts?
The FluidSynth site has links to some other free soundfonts.

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surdules
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Post by surdules » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:38 am

If i understand everything correctly, for this i would need a) an actual Roland MT-32 module or b) the ROM-files for the sound emulation, right?
Right, either of those would do. The latter (the ROM files) are used with an MT-32 emulator, and you'd need a fast PC for that, but it should work reasonably well.
Also, the emulation would not really sound like the real device, correct?
I have never used the MT-32 emulator (since I don't have the ROMs). However, from what I heard, many games actually tweak the programming of the MT-32 in various ways (e.g. upload additional instruments, or tweak existing instruments), and the emulator cannot handle that (the emulator can basically only play music with the "standard" MT-32 soundbank). So some games might sound different, although the difference might not be noticeable.
Also, is this particular MT-32 Emulator actually incorporated into ScummVM?
Yes, ScummVM comes with MT-32 emulation built-in (but you need the ROMs).

Have fun! :)

Razvan.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:52 am

surdules wrote:I have never used the MT-32 emulator (since I don't have the ROMs). However, from what I heard, many games actually tweak the programming of the MT-32 in various ways (e.g. upload additional instruments, or tweak existing instruments), and the emulator cannot handle that (the emulator can basically only play music with the "standard" MT-32 soundbank). So some games might sound different, although the difference might not be noticeable.
Not entirely true. Currently, the most recent publicly released version of the MT-32 emulator has some differing issues audibly, but technically it processes the same custom timbre settings as a real MT-32 would. It's just that the emulator doesn't portray the sound in the same way that the real thing does. So it's definitely capable of handling the extra instruments just as much as a real MT-32.

It's soundfonts that can't replicate the custom instruments. You could have a soundfont that sounds exactly like the MT-32's standard instrument set but it won't sound good at all with a game that has its own instrument set because soundfonts can't process the custom timbre sysex data like the MT-32 can.

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Post by BobbinT » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:10 am

I hear you man. For example: on SQ3, right after the opening sequence, where Roger was about to exit the shuttle, the sound of the pod opening and closing can be heard on MT-32 emulation, while there are no sound played using FluidSynth.

I have made comparisons on my own preference, and while most of the games has been defaulted to FluidSynth, I mapped several of them to MT-32 because the loss of sounds those games had.

@envisaged0ne, I envy you man. You're so lucky, even though that device costed really expensive. Wish I could still grab that device. But even though if by any chance I could get one, there's no way to plug it to my laptop to use it. :(

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:33 pm

You can can a USB MIDI adapter that seems to work just fine with most people.

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Raziel
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Post by Raziel » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:48 pm

Just to add

I have a MT-32 device plugged in through a USB MIDI adapter (EDIROL UM-1) and it works a treat.

BobbinT
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Post by BobbinT » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:52 pm

That's great. Now I just need to find any place that still sells MT32. :?

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