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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:49 pm 
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I've already said that I think the Genesis for the most part sounds better (I'll take the tinnier noise over the ultra muffled fare of the SNES) but there are a few games that actually manage to sound very clear and have me wondering how they could have fit all the sound data into the puny 64KB of audio ram. The Donkey Kong Country games all sound very good for the most part, but a few songs like Gangplank Galleon, Bayou Boogie, and Rockface Rumble sound nearly CD quality. It's really dependent on what instruments are being used for each song, as while I love both Nuts and Bolts and Big Boss Blues, the guitar sound samples are of noticeably less quality than the rest for whatever reason. Ironically, if you listen to Rendering Ranger R2, the guitar sounds sound almost exactly like the ones from the Roland SC55 while some of the others are shit-tier (Stage 2's music will make your ears bleed). I'm assuming the disparity in instrument quality in songs has more to do with space than how the instruments themselves sound, unless there are some instruments that aren't as impacted by lower sample rates or Gaussian filtering. Also, although it sounds like shit, the SFC port of Undercover Cops blows my mind for having so many sound samples that need to be played at the same time even if they are terrible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG-DIhaK5BQ#t=10m58s


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:25 pm 
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I suspect that the best sounding SNES games don't just sound so good because of high-quality samples - although I'm sure that's a part of it.

Listen to something like the flutes on Seiken Densetsu 3's soundtrack. That's a good sample for sure, but I also bet that the sound engine gave the composer a ton of flexibility to manipulate that sample in real-time, to make it warble and decay and vary the intensity in a really natural way.

The worst sounding SNES games are the ones that sound like they're just blaring a sequence of WAV files at me. Even if they're "realistic" WAV files, it sounds rinky-dink.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:55 pm 
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I do wonder what is the average length of a good sounding sample, what pitch they were recorded at and how many samples do good sounding games actually use at once. Plus how many instruments use tricks like vibrato, or layering and stuff.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:10 pm 
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This would be really cool for someone to look into, I haven't seen a lot of writing on this subject, and as Espozo already pointed out, David Wise really knew how to make the SNES soundchip purr, like almost no other. So it's definitely possible to go beyond what people usually expect from this machine.
Tim Follin is another really fine example - although I much prefer his NES soundtracks, the music in Plok sounds remarkably clear compared to almost every other SNES game.

One thing I always suspected is that the constant attempt to make something that sounds like real instruments tended to backfire a lot on developers. No matter the sample rate, there are just some sounds that will never come out well on a SNES, especially for the purpose of playing music. Certain instruments will work better than others, and electronic/synthetic music is always easier to get the right sound out of.
And of course, just like when you are mixing your tracks in "actual" music production, I'm sure you want to prevent the frequencies of multiple instruments to clash with eachother. I woudn't be surprised if a lot of SNES musicians weren't too familiar with this concept. It's definitely another thing David Wise did really well.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:08 pm 
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Sumez wrote:
David Wise really knew how to make the SNES soundchip purr, like almost no other.

Eveline Novakovic did some of the songs for DKC. According to this, she composed and arranged:

    Simian Segue
    Candy's Love Song
    Voices of the Temple
    Forest Frenzy
    Treetop Rock
    Northern Hemispheres
    Ice Cave Chant

According to this, she also single-handedly made all of DKC3's soundtrack. David Wise is listed in the credits, but from my understanding, he didn't really do much of anything for this game. I actually really like the music in DKC3, even if most people don't. It really goes well with the atmosphere of the levels, like how the music for the water levels is earie and the music for the mill levels is lighthearted. Most people gush over Stickerbrush Symphony and Forest Interlude, but I never liked how "bubbly" they are considering the setting, although the haunted forest levels are a bit comical (of course, the whole game is with its concept and art style). Flight of the Zinger and Bayou Boogie are awesome though.

Sumez wrote:
No matter the sample rate, there are just some sounds that will never come out well on a SNES, especially for the purpose of playing music.

That would be the sample rate. :lol: I sincerely doubt any instruments in any of the songs I listed run at the full 32KHz.

Sumez wrote:
And of course, just like when you are mixing your tracks in "actual" music production, I'm sure you want to prevent the frequencies of multiple instruments to clash with eachother. I woudn't be surprised if a lot of SNES musicians weren't too familiar with this concept. It's definitely another thing David Wise did really well.

I wouldn't be surprised if most from the period weren't too familiar with the concept. I can't comment on games now, because they don't have music. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:25 pm 
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Is there another SPC player with a view like this? This player kevtris made displays all the CPU reads/writes, samples, and echo buffer. It's pretty interesting to see exactly how the RAM is used.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2WJCgOW4qM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maQffWS2_jQ


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:32 pm 
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Star Ocean has some nice stuff. They had a streaming engine, where they'd switch out instruments while the track was playing. As far as I know it's the only commercial game that did that, unless you count the intro to Tales of Phantasia. The result is that several tracks are undumpable in SPC format.

Lord of the Rings has a non-encapsulated audio engine and is therefore undumpable; not sure of the details. There are a couple of really nice tracks on there.

NBA Live '96 seems to have stuffed the ARAM so full of samples there wasn't room for an engine, though that's just a guess. It's undumpable too.

My amazing ports of [redacted], Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Thunder Force IV use a high-speed HDMA streaming engine, similar to the one in Espozo's port of Metal Slug. It allows up to two 32 kHz channels or three 22 kHz channels of streamed audio, or a larger number of lower-bitrate channels, and it can be used either to play samples live or to switch out static samples, code, or song data. All with only a few percent load on the S-CPU. If this ever actually happens it will be cool... Heck, if I ever got a sound playing on the SPC700 it would be cool...

But I don't think anybody's going to beat blargg's record - one minute of uncompressed 32 kHz 15-bit stereo sound with just a few bytes of ARAM used...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:23 pm 
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Memblers wrote:
Is there another SPC player with a view like this? This player kevtris made displays all the CPU reads/writes, samples, and echo buffer. It's pretty interesting to see exactly how the RAM is used.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2WJCgOW4qM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maQffWS2_jQ


It's interesting that the electric guitar in Plok is so tiny. Must use a ton of vibrato.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:26 am 
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That's actually the first time I've heard music from Plok. That's probably the weirdest, most distinct soundtrack I've heard (nothing like anything else I've heard on the SNES) but damn is it clear.

93143 wrote:
My amazing ports of [redacted], Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Thunder Force IV use a high-speed HDMA streaming engine, similar to the one in Espozo's port of Metal Slug

:lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:09 am 
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As long as you have some of the more prominent instruments sounding clear (such as the guitar in Plok), I'm sure you can get away with a lot more muddled sounds for all the subtle stuf. The biggest issue of a lot of SNES soundtracks is how the "foreground" of the music tends to blend into the "background". I really hate the Castlevania IV soundtrack for this, but people love that, so I shouldn't comment on it. YMMV I guess.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:53 am 
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Not so long ago I went through all the SNES soundtracks and sorted out things that were "good" and "OK" and these are the results :

Code:
Good :

Aero The AcroBat 2
Air Strike Patrol
Battletoads & Double Dragon
Biker Mice From Mars
BioMetal.rsn
Blazeon.rsn
Brainlord
Brandish 2
Der Langrisser
Dino Dini's Soccer
Dragon Knight 4
F1 Grand Prix partIII
Famigom Tantei Club 2
Fighting To Bassing
Final Stretch
First Queen
Ghost Chaser Densei.RSN
Gundam Wing Endless Duel
Hourai Gakuen Bouken.RSN
Jaki Crush
Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei
Lagoon
Last Bible 3
Little Master
Masoukishin
Mega Man 7
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fighting Edition.RSN
Monstania
Ohmono Black Bass Fishing
Pac-In-Time.RSN
Parlor! Mini.RSN
Phalanx.RSN
Popful Mail
Pop'n'Twinbee
Power Rangers The Movie
Power Rangers Zeo
Pro Sport Hockey
Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling
Side Pocket
Solid Runner
Super Bonk
Super Mad Champ
Syutoko Battle Racing 2.RSN
The Ninja Warior
Zennihon Pro Wrestling 2
Zero The Kamikaze Squirrel

OK :

Accelebrid
Ace O Nerae!
Addams Family Values
Adventure Island.RSN
AokiDenetsuShoot!.rsn
Apocalypse2.rsn
ArcusSpirits.rsn
BahamutLagoon.rsn
BarbieSuperModel.rsn
BarbieVacationAdventure.rsn
Bastard!!!.rsn
Battle Cars
BattleGrandPrix.rsn
BattleMaster.rsn
BattleMobile.rsn
BattletoadsInBattlemania.rsn
BazookaBlitzkrieg.rsn
BlockKuzushi.rsn
CaptainTsubasa3.RSN
CekisouSentaiCarRangers.rsn
ChronoTrigger.RSN
CrystalBeans.rsn
Cyborg009.rsn
David Crane's Amazing Tennis.RSN
Dolucky's Kusa Yakyu.RSN
Donkey Kong Country.RSN
Donkey Kong Country 2.RSN
Donkey Kong Country 3.RSN
Doukyuusei 2.RSN
Dragon Ball Z Super Gokuden.RSN
Energy Breaker.RSN
F1 Grand Prix Part 2.RSN
Fight Da Pon!.rsn
Foreman For Real.RSN
Full Throttle Racing.RSN
Ghost Sweeper Mikami.RSN
GP-1.RSN
Gradius III.RSN
Great Battle Gaiden 2.RSN
Gundam F-91.RSN
Hagane.RSN
Hansei Zarujirou Kun No Daibouken.RSN
Hat Trick Hero 2.RSN
Hero Senki.RSN
Human Grand Prix 3.RSN
International Superstar Soccer Deluxe.RSN
International Superstar Soccer.RSN
Iron Commando.RSN
Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 3.RSN
Jim Lee's Wild CATS.RSN
Jim Power.rsn
Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour.RSN
J-League Super Soccer 95.RSN
Jumbo Ozaki No Hole In One.RSN
Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball.RSN
Kishin Douji Zenki.RSN
Kouryu No Mimi.RSN
Lethal Enforcers.RSN
Live A Live
Madara 2.RSN
MegaMan X
MegaMan X2.rsn
MegaMan X3
Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes
Parlor Parlor 2.RSN
Parlor Parlor 4.RSN
Parlor Parlor 5.RSN
Pieces.RSN
Plok!.RSN
Power Slide FX.RSN
Prince Of Persia.rsn
Raiden Densetsu.RSN
Rockman & Forte.RSN
Rushing Beat Syura.RSN
Saturday Night Slam Masters.RSN
SD Gundam 2.RSN
Seijuu Maden - Beasts & Blades.RSN
Shijou Saikyou League Serie A.RSN
Shin Ikkau Senkin.RSN
Shonen Ninja Sasuke.RSN
Shooting Macross.RSN
Sonic Blastman.RSN
Spark World.RSN
Sparkster.rsn
Spider Man & The X-Men.RSN
Star Ocean
Stargate.rsn
Stone Protectors.RSN
Sunset Riders.RSN
Super Back To The Future.RSN
Super Bomberman Panic Bomber W.rsn
Super EDF.RSN
Super Family Gerende.RSN
Super Hockey 94.RSN
Super Robot Taisen 3
Super Volley II.RSN
SuperxTekkyuxFight.RSN
SWAT Kats.RSN
Tarot Mystery
The Great Battle IV.RSN
The Great Battle V.RSN
The Lawnmower Man.RSN
TMNT Tournament Fighters.rsn
Tokimeki Memorial.RSN
Top Gear 2.RSN
Turtles In Time.RSN
TwinBee Rainbow Bell Adventure.rsn
Waterworld.RSN
Wild Guns.RSN
Winter Olympic Games.RSN
Wolf Child.rsn
Zennihon Pro Wrestling Dash
Zennihon Pro Wrestling.RSN


One thing to consider however is that "good" and "ok" are highly subjective, plus I also accounted for compositional quality first and foremost not just sound quality, though usually both go hand in hand with these games but not always. Good composition and not so good sound quality can get to the list but the opposite does not.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:26 am 
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Memblers wrote:
Is there another SPC player with a view like this? This player kevtris made displays all the CPU reads/writes, samples, and echo buffer. It's pretty interesting to see exactly how the RAM is used.
Raphnet's vspcplay has most of the same functionality. Less good APU emulation, tho.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:34 am 
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Yeah, I'm not going to respect a list that doesn't put DKC1-3 in the highest tier, but fucking Phalanx instead. :lol: This list would be impossible for me to make, because there are games where I like the compositional quality but the sound quality is bad. Stage 1 of R-Type III (of course :lol:) is an amazing remix of Stage 1 of the first game, but it sounds like you're listening to it from across the house.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:37 am 
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DKC games sound nice and have a few good tracks here and there but not enough of them for me to put them in the higher category. But that is the whole thing with subjectiveness, plus my lists aren't about "best sounding" though there is some overlap with what this thread is about so there's some usefulness.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:27 am 
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I have a hard time listening to anything with bad instruments, or clashing instruments.


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