Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Fri 24 Feb 2017 - 8:07

Well, despite how much extra work it was, I really have to say that getting all of the track volumes correct on Super Metroid really made a HUGE difference in the atmospheric quality of the soundtrack.  It just sounded really... "off" when I tried normalizing the whole thing to a single level.  I'm really glad that I did.  After running through the whole game to test the OST levels, I started over with the full thing and just did a straight through, single-segment 100% run, and I beat my old PB by almost 15 minutes!

I'm no Zoast, but I'm pretty happy with it nonetheless.



Now I just need to redo my Any% that I lost when my cart battery died, then flash the save file to my cart now that I've replaced the battery.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Fri 24 Feb 2017 - 8:32

Also, the Super Metroid Symphonic pack just finished uploading, updated the OP.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Conn on Fri 24 Feb 2017 - 9:56

Great Very Happy

If you have some time, could you look into each of the files at
https://www.zeldix.net/f46-msu-1-hacks-database

and tell me whether something needs to be updated (links, files)? E.g., in metroid, I only have the link to romhacking, and there is a readme file in the zip leading to
http://www.mediafire.com/download/euj8ewjv59d2022/SuperMetroidMSU1_Music.7z

I hope DS will update his files, but in case I link to outdated sources, please tell me.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by TheShadowRunner on Sun 26 Feb 2017 - 3:17

Thanks qwerty, it's a real pleasure to use your new Super Metroid pack. The one i had was atrociously saturated (clipping) which made it almost unusable.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Thu 2 Mar 2017 - 1:12

I just uploaded Covarr's Balance and Ruin pack for FF3(6).  I'm not a fan of the loops he chose, as he opted to try and include as much of each song as possible, which in many cases doesn't fit the proper feel of the game, such as the battle theme having a really long intro instead of just jumping directly into the main theme like the original SPC... kinda kills the dramatic mood IMO.  So, I'm redoing the entire pack myself with different loops.  This should also dramatically decrease the download size.  I may also look into the other track packs available for FF3 once I finish with B&R, but we'll see how much motivation I have at that point, it's a really large pack...
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Conn on Thu 2 Mar 2017 - 9:17

Seems I am not up to date with the latest msu1 hacks... qwerty (or anyone) can you update
https://www.zeldix.net/f46-msu-1-hacks-database
with these games?
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Thu 2 Mar 2017 - 9:31

I added FFIII, but I can't seem to get it formatted correctly to show the video in the thread list... not sure what's up there.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Conn on Thu 2 Mar 2017 - 19:34

Thanks Very Happy

I tried to repost it but failed as well, no idea either with the video. But it works for me as it is.

Anybody who knows about a msu1 patch not listed there, feel free to post it. E.g., I got known of super turricane only by chance watching one of retrorgb's videos, where it was mentioned.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by SePH on Fri 3 Mar 2017 - 2:22

Have no idea why some of them don't show the videos (will investigate).

The msu-1 database topics are now in alphabetical order. The topics will be sorted automatically each time a new project is added.

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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by SePH on Fri 3 Mar 2017 - 2:39

qwertymodo wrote:I added FFIII, but I can't seem to get it formatted correctly to show the video in the thread list... not sure what's up there.
I swapped the text descriptions and youtube video link in both DKC2/FF3 and now the videos are showing properly in the posts. Really strange!

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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Fri 3 Mar 2017 - 3:01

Looks like it just didn't like the really long url for the patch. I ran the link through bit.ly and now it previews just fine.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by smokemonster on Sat 4 Mar 2017 - 20:30

I finally got my Zeldix account registered. Thank you for taking on this huge task qwertymodo, it's much appreciated.

I've analyzed the PCMs of all of my large collection of MSU1 hacks, and found the following hacks have boosted/clipping audio (except the SMW hacks, which don't have boosted audio, but their patches must be mixing the sound effects very low or something).

Clipping PCMs
BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 MSU Rock Extended v1 Kurrono, Conn, Ice Man
BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 MSU v1 Conn, Ice Man
Donkey Kong Country 2 MSU RemixPack v2 Matrizzle, Daniel Reimer
F-Zero MSU Rock Edition Tony Thai v1.1
Mega Man X MSU PSX-Saturn v1 DarkShock
Mega Man X2 Rock Guitars v2 Krzysztof, Darkshock, Exort, vacantplanets
Mega Man X3 Rock Guitars - Krzysztof, Darkshock, Exort, vacantplanets, v1.1 Audio
Rock N' Roll Racing MSU Instrumental v1 DarkShock
Rock N' Roll Racing MSU Vocals v1 DarkShock
Secret of Mana MSU Alt v1 DarkShock, Daniel Reimer
Super Mario World MSU v1.5 Conn et al
Super Mario World MSU-1(+) v1.1 Conn et al, NTI
Super Road Blaster MSU v1.2 Matthias 'd4s' Nagler
Top Gear MSU - Kurrono Kei
Top Gear MSU Alternative - Kurrono Kei
Top Gear MSU Chase Horizon - Kurrono Kei
Top Gear 2 MSU v1.1 Kurrono Kei


Last edited by smokemonster on Tue 7 Mar 2017 - 3:58; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : updated list)
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Sat 4 Mar 2017 - 22:06

Hey smokemonster, glad to see you over here.  Thanks for all of your work.  I realized after our conversation that the topic of the boosted audio has kind of been discussed at length over several different threads on several different sites, but now that we have a final solution in place, I never really consolidated that info into one place, so it might be helpful for me to do that.

Basically, the current situation is that we have 4 different ways of handling the volume right now, as a result of the SD2SNES issues:

1) properly normalized audio files, code sets volume register to $FF
2) properly normalized audio files, code sets volume register to something less than $FF, usually $60
3) boosted audio files, code sets volume register to $FF
4) boosted audio files, code sets volume register to something less than $FF, usually $60

Scenario 1 is "correct".  It was the way the spec was always designed to work, and it is what I am implementing here.  Scenario 2 doesn't work anywhere, it's the result of mixing and matching the others, the pcm soundtrack will be too quiet.  Scenario 3 is the old SD2SNES workaround trying to play this in an emulator or new SD2SNES will result in blown-out pcm audio that is too loud and suffers from clipping.  Scenario 4 is the second workaround, aka "emulator version" patches to address the issues with scenario 3.

Now, technically, I could settle for either scenario 1 or 4, as the results would be the same.  However, scenario 1 is the better option for a few reasons.  For one, it allows a greater dynamic range on the audio tracks.  This is a really big deal for some games.  Super Metroid is probably the biggest example.  With scenario 4, you're already so close to the volume ceiling that there really isn't anywhere for you to go if you want to go any louder (you'd have to do it in code, which I don't want to do, better to leave the code untouched and fix the audio files).  Second, in some cases (though thankfully so far not many), packs with boosted audio actually boosted PAST the 0dB mark, resulting in permanent clipping damage to the audio files.  Converting those packs to scenario 1 won't fix that damage, but it also won't make them any worse.  The damage is done, the result is the same either way.  HOWEVER, by converting them to scenario 1, it gives the option of later going back and reconverting from the original source files and fixing that damage.  You wouldn't be able to do that with the boosted version, because you wouldn't be able to get them loud enough.

So, with all of that said, we need 2 things, non-boosted audio files and proper full-volume code.  In the case of hacks with "emulator" and "sd2snes" versions, that means that the "sd2snes" version is correct, because those hacks used scenario 3/4, and we want the full $FF volume.  In the case where you're not sure which is used, there's a fairly simple way to determine that.  Open the game in bsnes-plus (you'll need a proper .xml manifest, the higan .bml manifests won't work, and the files utilize the SD2SNES/Snes9x naming format gamename.sfc/gamename.msu/gamename-#.pcm).  Once you've confirmed that the game is loading with MSU-1 audio, open Tools>Debugger>Tools (in the Debugger window)>Breakpoint Editor

In this window, under Address Range, type 2006 into one of the boxes and check the "W" box for than row.  Now play the game and it should break the next time the game tries to set the MSU-1 audio.  You should get a message like this in the debugger:

Code:
Breakpoint 0 hit (1).
a1f9d7 sta $2006     [802006] A:31ff X:0001 Y:0000 S:01f2 D:0000 DB:80 NvMXdIzC V:225 H:253 F:43

Two things to note here, first, it starts out with sta $2006.  If it's stz $2006, ignore it, hit Run in the Debugger window, and continue to the next one.  Second, the information we're after is the low byte of the accumulator, in this case that's where it says A:31ff, and the low byte is the rightmost 2 digits.  Here we see ff, which means we are setting the volume to 255, we have a full-volume patch, that's all you need to know, done.  If the line starts with stx $2006, check the X: value instead, same for sty and Y: (stz means store zero, so it doesn't matter what the values are which is why we skipped it).  Now, if the value is less than ff, that doesn't automatically prove that we have scenario 2/4, because it's possible that maybe the game is fading out, or setting half volume for some other reason, so you'll want to Run a few breakpoints to establish a pattern, but once you see ff even once, that's enough to confirm scenario 1/3.

Now for the audio files themselves, I already mentioned this in the email, but I'll repeat it here for anybody else who cares.  You can open a .pcm file in Audacity using Import>Raw Data>Signed 16-bit PCM/Little-endian/2-channel (Stereo)/8 bytes/100%/44100Hz.  Visually, it's quite easy to see a boosted audio track because it will fill the whole track window vertically, where a properly normalized track will only fill about half of the window.  You can also open the Effect>Amplify window, and the default value in the Amplification (dB) field will tell you how much "headroom" you have.  Properly normalized tracks should have somewhere in the range of 6-15dB headroom available, depending on the game and a few other factors.  Boosted tracks typically have <1dB headroom, sometimes almost 0.

Long story short, we want to ensure that we have scenario 1, both normalized files and full-volume code.  Hope that helps.


Last edited by qwertymodo on Sat 4 Mar 2017 - 22:58; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by smokemonster on Sat 4 Mar 2017 - 22:31

Thanks for the explanation. Now it all makes sense. I'll re-patch everything that you've normalized using the full-volume patches instead of the "emulator" versions that I used.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Colines on Sat 4 Mar 2017 - 23:08

Yeah, unfortunately most of the packs were designed primarily to work around SD2SNES' deficiency to output audio at its correct volume.

But thankfully, everything now follows the intended MSU-1 specifications, and little by little, each music pack is being normalized for proper balance in game. So far I did correct all my previous work, gonna take a look at these ones presented.

F-Zero & SMW normalized packs download
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by xadox on Mon 6 Mar 2017 - 10:33

In case of Super Metroid. Which IPS do I have to use?
The one for emu or the one for sd2snes?

I would expect the one for emu.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Mon 6 Mar 2017 - 10:46

Given the choice, always the SD2SNES version. The emulator version is scenario 4 in the long post above.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by xadox on Mon 6 Mar 2017 - 10:52

Thx.

I was unsure for my SD2SNES Rev. H.
Ok so I will use the sd2snes versions.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Colines on Mon 6 Mar 2017 - 11:25

At this point, just ignore every "emulator" patch, they have no purpose anymore.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by smokemonster on Tue 7 Mar 2017 - 1:43

I've updated my list above with what's left of the clipping PCM releases (added/removed some).
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Mon 20 Mar 2017 - 18:36

Ok, I just finished* my Final Fantasy III Balance & Ruin pack from scratch.  Covarr already did a pack of his own from that source, but his loops tried to keep as much of each song as possible, rather than trying to create tight "game style" loops.  Aside from the stylistic differences, that means my pack is about 60% smaller.

*I did not include the Overture, Opera Sequence, Aria, Dancing Mad, or the Ending Theme, as I'm not sure how those are handled.  Once I figure those out, I will add them to the pack and re-upload. Also, some songs may need minor volume adjustment.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by Conn on Mon 20 Mar 2017 - 23:33

Great that your project is still alive. If you want me to update the msu1 database, best is you pm me. I am a bit short on time and therefore I maybe miss a post or anything.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by TheShadowRunner on Wed 22 Mar 2017 - 4:38

@qwertymodo, any plan to add the PS1 FMVs to your FFVI B&R patch?
The other project by jbaiter seems definitely dead..
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by qwertymodo on Wed 22 Mar 2017 - 4:44

I'm not working on that patch, just converting audio. I still need to finish PW and Chrono Trigger before I can even think of picking up another project.
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Re: Fixing all of the too-loud audio packs for good

Post by TheShadowRunner on Wed 22 Mar 2017 - 5:14

Roger that, thanks for the quick reply.
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