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Remastered ambient music


ascottk
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I started this a few months ago to practice my mastering skills. There's a lot of distorted music like alien01_loop, alien04_loop, and then some just to name a few. Some of these would be bitchin' with some clean up and some enhanced stereo fields. church01b is awesome (my favorite) but it could sound so much better.

 

I'm A/Bing them with the work I did a few months ago & I think it's a dramatic improvement.

 

What they need:

  • Lowered distortion
  • enhanced stereo field
  • spectral balance
  • "punch and sparkle" - add harmonic coloring, enhanced & clear bass
    Maybe not too much since this is a stealth game & not the top 40
  • sonic consistency between each piece
  • appropriate fades so there are no pops when a sound file is activated

I'm sure there's a lot of music not being used because of distortion and other deficiencies so I'd like to have all music to have an equal opportunity to be used :)

 

mp3 demos here (now with spatial experiments):

http://208.49.149.118/TheDarkMod/Sounds/am.../mp3player.html

 

Will be updated!

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Here's a taste of my progress (wait while files are loaded):

http://208.49.149.118/TheDarkMod/Sounds/am.../mp3player.html

 

All files are mp3 160 kbs stereo.

 

I might have overdone these (too bright for a stealth game). Let me know if that's the case. Also the process brings out some artifacts like some high frequency ringing.

 

I had to pull out a few tricks from the bag for some of the files with a lot of distortion.

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I'll admit a few bad things about my tracks:

- I'm a bass addict

- I master and mix with headphones

- I sometimes skip polishing a track, because I lost interest in it

- I despise übercompressed, pink noise templated tracks and may be biased to counter-mix to that

 

So, I quite welcome a second look at my ambients.

 

However -this is strictly subjective POV- I think you overdid the high band. The sound is crispier, but it's too offensive now. And the hiss is really bad on some tracks. That said, some of the examples really improved in "body", and I see where you are going.

 

I generally like the subdued sound of our ambients, because it doesn't bother the frequency range of SFX and VO too much, and sits more in the background of the player's perception (which is what I think an ambient track is supposed to do).

 

Btw, I can imagine how horribly hard it is to remaster a mixed down track, so if need be, I can provide the individual instrument tracks of my ambients.

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I'll admit a few bad things about my tracks:

- I'm a bass addict

- I master and mix with headphones

- I sometimes skip polishing a track, because I lost interest in it

- I despise übercompressed, pink noise templated tracks and may be biased to counter-mix to that

Sorry, Schatten, but you're the worst offender of distorted bass :laugh: I do use reference material, not pink noise, specifically an edited version of church01a.

However -this is strictly subjective POV- I think you overdid the high band. The sound is crispier, but it's too offensive now. And the hiss is really bad on some tracks. That said, some of the examples really improved in "body", and I see where you are going.

 

I generally like the subdued sound of our ambients, because it doesn't bother the frequency range of SFX and VO too much, and sits more in the background of the player's perception (which is what I think an ambient track is supposed to do).

 

Btw, I can imagine how horribly hard it is to remaster a mixed down track, so if need be, I can provide the individual instrument tracks of my ambients.

Unless you can get the source files from everyone else, I doubt individual tracks would help. The source mix (before the ogg file) would be helpful.

 

& I agree with the overuse of the highs. That's easy to remedy. That'll lessen the hiss as well.

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Sorry, Schatten, but you're the worst offender of distorted bass :laugh:

 

Hmm, I quite tried to keep it from overdriving by hitting the amplitude maximum, but I did distort it intentionally on occasion. Questionable taste? Maybe.

 

I can't.. help it. I need bass. MORE BASS. I want to boil the listener's innards with infrasonic heat. I want it to creep up from the stomach and smother the brain. I want Brian Lustmord to roll up and cry.

 

Stuff like underground_darkness_loop or hum_subtle_06 just wouldn't be the same without the body quaking bass. :(

 

And I did keep it timid, too! This is how I sound like when I don't hold back with bass:

http://208.49.149.118/TheDarkMod/audio/amb...epth_charge.mp3

(you'll need big speakers, obviously)

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Hmm, I quite tried to keep it from overdriving by hitting the amplitude maximum, but I did distort it intentionally on occasion. Questionable taste? Maybe.

 

I can't.. help it. I need bass. MORE BASS. I want to boil the listener's innards with infrasonic heat. I want it to creep up from the stomach and smother the brain. I want Brian Lustmord to roll up and cry.

 

Stuff like underground_darkness_loop or hum_subtle_06 just wouldn't be the same without the body quaking bass. :(

 

And I did keep it timid, too! This is how I sound like when I don't hold back with bass:

http://208.49.149.118/TheDarkMod/audio/amb...epth_charge.mp3

(you'll need big speakers, obviously)

I know it's a matter of taste, but big-time distorted bass is bad for speakers. Besides, turn up your subs, or turn up the eq! I think it's up to the listener if they want bad ass bass. If they don't want bad-ass bass, it's nearly impossible for them to get around it if the source file has it.

 

The current trend in the record industry is the Loudness Wars. There's little chance for the listener to enjoy high quality music when the CD they're listening to is distorted & overly compressed all to hell.

 

Sometimes it's great if it's done tastefully. When I was doing sound design for theater, the script called for a helicopter flying overhead. I compressed & distorted a sample all to hell & it was everyone's favorite effect & it was extremely effective.

 

Distorted bass in FX is better than distorted bass in music. If any audiophiles listen to the music, they're going to flame us and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Honestly I don't care about that, but it's a better idea to tone it down.

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I know it's a matter of taste, but big-time distorted bass is bad for speakers. Besides, turn up your subs, or turn up the eq! I think it's up to the listener if they want bad ass bass. If they don't want bad-ass bass, it's nearly impossible for them to get around it if the source file has it.

Ha-hum, you can not amplify non-existant bass, but you can always cut it back. Anyways, all of my tracks are property of the Mod, so if people like bass-timid versions more, I'm fine with that. It's a mod for the people, not for me.

 

The current trend in the record industry is the Loudness Wars. There's little chance for the listener to enjoy high quality music when the CD they're listening to is distorted & overly compressed all to hell.

 

Sometimes it's great if it's done tastefully. When I was doing sound design for theater, the script called for a helicopter flying overhead. I compressed & distorted a sample all to hell & it was everyone's favorite effect & it was extremely effective.

Yeah, the Prodigy or Fear Factory or the ROTTERDAM TERROR CORPS are fine to use those, but just imagine Chopin or Bach would have had a modern producer... brrr.

 

Distorted bass in FX is better than distorted bass in music. If any audiophiles listen to the music, they're going to flame us and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Honestly I don't care about that, but it's a better idea to tone it down.

Audiophiles? Bah! Philistines, then! But go ahead, tone it down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

and break my little heart *teardrop*

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I like bass as a general rule. Don't know anything about these files in particular though.

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and break my little heart *teardrop*
Hehe . . .

 

On a side note, remember QSound (spatial audio)? I found a simliar freeware plug called Omnisone:

http://www.jeroenbreebaart.com/audio_vst.htm

 

Basically tweaking phase info in a file that gives the illusion that sound is "outside" the speakers. I think I'll apply it to some of these as a test then post it here. The result is kind of weird, it's like applying pressure on your eardrums :huh: That way we an definitely give the ambient music some separation from the FX.

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I do agree with ascottk on toning down the bass in some of those files. The difference is astounding. I don't even have the bass turned up on my PC, the slider is set to 0 and some of the files were rattling my poor speakers. The remastered versions are perfect, and I hear details that I couldn't hear before. :) The bass is still there, but I would have to adjust the slider to get anywhere near the effect I was getting before.

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Buy better speakers! ;)

 

But seriously, maybe I should check my hearing. Scott's remasters still sound too tinny for me. Don't get me wrong, I like the stereo work and I can see improvements, only the upper frequencies seem very loud for me.

 

I just resolved I shall not comment henceforth on his work, until I've checked with an aural doc. God, having a frequency gap in my perception range would seriously piss me off, it's like missing a limb. :panic:

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I resized the player

 

:huh: Is that an audio term or are you talking about the player model??

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Basically tweaking phase info in a file that gives the illusion that sound is "outside" the speakers. I think I'll apply it to some of these as a test then post it here. The result is kind of weird, it's like applying pressure on your eardrums :huh: That way we an definitely give the ambient music some separation from the FX.

 

Just a personal preference, but I hate out-of-phase "fake 3D" effects. It feels like somebody is punching me in the side of the head.

 

I haven't listened to the remastered tracks yet, but my overall comment on the ambient sounds (at least in the past, it may have changed now) relates to content rather than mastering: although the quality is very high, I felt that a single ambient sound has too much variation in its audio content, when really it should be up to the mapper to combine fairly small, homogeneous sounds into a more complex soundscape.

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Just a personal preference, but I hate out-of-phase "fake 3D" effects. It feels like somebody is punching me in the side of the head.
I agree. You lose a lot of detail & it feels like pressure on your ears.

 

I haven't listened to the remastered tracks yet, but my overall comment on the ambient sounds (at least in the past, it may have changed now) relates to content rather than mastering: although the quality is very high, I felt that a single ambient sound has too much variation in its audio content, when really it should be up to the mapper to combine fairly small, homogeneous sounds into a more complex soundscape.
:huh: I don't quite understand what you're saying. Are you talking about sound or music?
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I don't quite understand what you're saying. Are you talking about sound or music?

 

I should have been more clear -- I was referring to the musical content. If you listen to the ambients in Thief they only really do one thing, perhaps a simple chord progression or just a few repeated notes. Some of our sounds do one thing, then another thing, then a bit of something else (sometimes at different volumes, or using different parts of the spectrum), making it more difficult to control the ambient effect.

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I should have been more clear -- I was referring to the musical content. If you listen to the ambients in Thief they only really do one thing, perhaps a simple chord progression or just a few repeated notes. Some of our sounds do one thing, then another thing, then a bit of something else (sometimes at different volumes, or using different parts of the spectrum), making it more difficult to control the ambient effect.

Okay, yeah I do agree. There's some music that moves around too much. Still, there are sonic problems I'd like to address that bug me. I'm a bit anal retentive when it comes to audio :laugh:

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