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Sound remastering


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Hi,

 

Now that I have proper headphones worth a damn, I figured I would start working on making the sounds and music sound better.

Would someone with some experience (such as @@Circa or @@Flynn) give me some opinion as to how I am handling the music?

 

Here is a sample, with Bespin Streets: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/46626270/bespina_action__soundcheck.mp3

 

My version comes first, the original unaltered version comes second.

 

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Remastering? Or re-editing? Can't view the link from my phone at the moment. Remastering would only be achieved properly with the original tracks or at least the stems.

I edited it, yeah. I normalized the audio, increased the bass/treble in key spots, and messed with the volume to make it louder/fuller sounding.

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Hmm, I think it's a bit scary to try to equalize the game's (already mastered) music to sound better. The quality of the music is one of the things that weren't lessened by the time of the release or the engine, after all.

 

Personally, I wouldn't touch it, or at least not use any plugins (such as normalization). Without the single tracks it's also quite limited what you can change with precision, considering every instrument will be affected equally. If you'd like a more bassy sound, you could try to play around with the equalizer, but I think that's very risky, and making a change there that will be noticed might do more to clutter up the sound image rather than just strengthen the bass or the treble.

 

I seem to remember the in-game music (at its loudest) was quite balanced. It's already as loud as it gets, in my opinion, and you'd risk clipping by pushing it. Making a fuller sound shouldn't involve turning up the volume anyway though, at this point.

 

Anyway, it sounds as if the track you posted went unharmed through the changes, and there's indeed stronger low frequencies which can be nice. Always check every track closely for clipping though.

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Okay I had a listen. Honestly it probably isn't going to be different enough to be worth your time. Normalizing the music isn't really necessary, because the dynamic range is there for a reason. It's already been mastered twice anyway, so it's pretty balanced as well. Like I said, you will only achieve what you're wanting properly if you had the original tracks or stems.

 

For something that is meant to be fairly background in the overall mix of audio, the time and effort is better spent on other things.

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Okay I had a listen. Honestly it probably isn't going to be different enough to be worth your time. Normalizing the music isn't really necessary, because the dynamic range is there for a reason. It's already been mastered twice anyway, so it's pretty balanced as well. Like I said, you will only achieve what you're wanting properly if you had the original tracks or stems.

 

For something that is meant to be fairly background in the overall mix of audio, the time and effort is better spent on other things.

Yeah I agree, the music quality is already pretty good. If you want to mess with it then by all means do so (your version definitely sounded good as well) but I'd put more work into other aspects first, then the music can be part of finishing touches. Also, I'm honored that you think I have experience in this area :P

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Ok first to dispell a few things, normalization is just increasing gain until peaks are at 0.0dbfs which is not the same as limiting/compression which would actually effect the dynamics. @@Circa

The music was probably put at the volume it is to balance with other game sounds without the need to globally turn the music down in the code, at it's default settings. Obviously the player then has further control over this but it was likely designed towards defaults.

 

Secondly the music is mastered this way for a reason, the voice range and the range of many of the sound effects in the game lie in the region of 100hz-6khz such as voice, blasters, explosions etc. Having such low-end material naturally fights with the music and so unlike modern games which may use side-chain compression on the low end of the music to duck it a bit when there are voices and effects present they opt instead to just keep the low end free from extraneous low end that would conflict.

 

 

 

Huge low-end is also not a typical trait of orchestral music and personally I found it quite jarring to hear it hyped so much. It's not supposed to be so 'present' by design.

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Ok first to dispell a few things, normalization is just increasing gain until peaks are at 0.0dbfs which is not the same as limiting/compression which would actually effect the dynamics. @@Circa

 

Ah, you're right. I actually didn't mean normalizing with a plugin, but manually normalizing by making it relatively all the same volume, getting rid of the dynamics.

 

 

Secondly the music is mastered this way for a reason, the voice range and the range of many of the sound effects in the game lie in the region of 100hz-6khz such as voice, blasters, explosions etc. Having such low-end material naturally fights with the music and so unlike modern games which may use side-chain compression on the low end of the music to duck it a bit when there are voices and effects present they opt instead to just keep the low end free from extraneous low end that would conflict.

 

Huge low-end is also not a typical trait of orchestral music and personally I found it quite jarring to hear it hyped so much. It's not supposed to be so 'present' by design.

Exactly. Each audio element needs to blend well, without canceling each other out. Otherwise it will be muddy, and many sounds will get buried.

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No, definitely not. I made absolute certain that nothing peaks. I could display a waveform comparison if you'd like.

 

Just to clarify: I didn't apply a simple Amplify or Normalize filter to it. For this particular track, I edited the loudness of specific sections via the pen tool. The highest peak in the original track consisted of about ~15 samples at 100%. There was very little bass in the track, resulting in a very '90s garage band sound, or like the entire track was run under a high pass filter. In fact, most of the game sounds that way to me. Maybe I'm crazy?

 

The other day I made a new version of Artus Topside explore simply out of sheer boredom. This time around, I ran a low-pass filter and panned it slightly left, since the original track was louder on the right channel. I took this version and mixed it underneath the original, making sure to keep the levels lower so it's not too bassy. As per last time, I fine-tuned the bass, treble and loudness as well.

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Well let's hear it. :P though I still think it's unnecessary. Like Pande said, music for movies and games are mixed different than a top 40 album would be. It's missing some "oomph" because it shouldn't overtake the rest of the audio mix of the game. We should work on the other sounds primarily. Also, what kind of speakers do you have? I think the audio is decently balanced in the game, for being as old as it is, but I use some decent studio monitors.

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I bought some new JVC earbuds, the kind that lasts forever, but this particular variant has a "bass booster" so you can actually hear the lows worth a shit.

I realized that I've got three fans operating in my room, so I turned them off and compared my version to the original. Good news is that the levels sound better to some extent, but the biggest problem is actually the sound quality. So, I've decided that I'm going to redo several of the tracks entirely using the original source material. I have a copy of the "remastered" CDs of both Empire and Return, and those sound really good compared to JK2..for the most part. I'm going to have to edit certain parts because the JK2 material is actually better quality in louder bits. It sounds to me like they ripped from the CD with like 128kbps. My rips are currently 320kbps, so yeah, there's definitely a huge difference in terms of quality.

 

Plus I wanted to make Cairn Reactor and Artus Topside use different versions anyway. The original track that they're from (Shuttle Tyridium Approaches Endor) had a small chunk removed for the game which sounds like it fits the environment of Reactor perfectly.

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I was planning on doing exactly that actually. I have all the soundtracks on CD, so I have uncompressed WAVs of them as well. But yeah, 320kbps will be tons better, but will also be almost twice as big in file size.

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I'd rather have bigger files than worse sound quality. ;) My Empire CD skips some, so yeah, it might be better if you did that.

Oh I totally agree. I kept my Prequel Music Replacement files at 320kbps, and the size refects that. :P I'd be glad too. I may work on that soon then.

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  • 11 months later...

I'm all for HQ sounds, but having them any higher than they already are on JKA would be overkill in most cases. If we do anything with sound, it'll be creating new ones, but even then there isn't much point. Almost all the sounds in the game are official Star Wars sounds.

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