Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)

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Karl_
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PostUncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Karl_ » Sat Feb 06, 2021 4:15 pm

The soundtrack to Super Mario World apparently had to be compressed quite a lot to fit on the SNES cartridge. The original, uncompressed MIDI samples* were recovered from that big Nintendo leak a while back. From that, people have been able to restore how those tracks sounded when they were composed, as opposed to how they eventually sounded on the cartridge.

(* Or something like that. I'm not a musician.)

Here's the compressed, on-cartridge underwater theme, to give an example:



And now here's the restored uncompressed version:



You can browse the playlist here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD-vbw8Jmuyg3JYDxm1QPPj1mP3soOVEx

The team has plans to do ALTTP next, and has released this teaser:



Felt this was worth sharing as I thought it was pretty cool! And seems to be one of the first tangible fan projects to come out of those leaks after the initial buzz died down.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Green Gecko » Sat Feb 06, 2021 5:40 pm

Yup you're pretty much on the money there in terms how this works.

MIDI works as a language for sequencing music, but the samples that get triggered are either something like result of FM synthesis stored in a microchip or a "proper" sample e.g. A recording of a very short moment of sound from a real instrument that then gets stretched or repeated infinitely while a note is held or triggered by a MIDI instruction for that note.

THis is pretty transformative and transplantative because it is like putting you there in Koji Kondo's studio putting these compositions together! It's so lovely because it's severely underrated stuff that would be just at home in an orchestra, or at least a Japanese one...

I went to VG Live back in the day and it was great. Still have an orchestral score from Melee that came with NOM. :wub:

It also highlights that while if someone were to say that the quality of music from an old console like that, if you sample directly from that console via a direct output mod or something like that or swap the DAC for something like a 24bit one, is the ultimate representation, that isn't always true. If compressed or alternative, "bitcrushed" versions of samples have to be used to fit on a tiny space of memory, then it was compressed and merely arranged and triggered via MIDI in realtime by the console (instead of a waveform playback I.e uncompressed audio or MP3 etc). "MIDI" doesn't equals a 1:1 version of somethings, it's just a list of instructions, in fact the MIDI Sequence can easily be altered to use all kinds of higher fidelity samples that might sound "better". A lot of the music in the 16-bit era was probably refactored into that kind of format, although I'm certain they "played" the soundschips on the console in a development board as well and knew exactly how it would sound before committing it (it wasn't just an accident it sounds that way).

My brother who's a sound dev over in Kyoto now has some custom hardware to trigger the GameBoy and MegaDrive MD-1 original soundchips a via MIDI and capture them as 24-bit audio. And technically owing that hardware he can probably use those sounds in new games as well as it's the same thing as playing a musical instrument.

To reverse engineer something like this is pretty special and unique to the medium. You can probably here something like this in soundtracks from future Nintendo games where they might use the same MIDI sequences, for example, but that's a bit different.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Lime » Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:05 pm

It really makes you appreciate the compositions and the knowledge Koji Kondo had when putting these together.

Firstly, (and of course this has always been the case, even before this remastering) the looping is so damn clever - often using an unusual number of bars or beats when looping round to keep the ear interested.
Secondly, he would have to have been so aware of how the compressed sounds would be once it was all crunched down, to get the balance of instruments not just in volume, but timbre etc.

It's great to hear these as they were originally, hearing things that you were aware of but not always sure how he achieved them - it's like having glasses for your ears!

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by HaruKazuhira » Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:41 pm

I listented to Forest of Illusion and almost teared up. Incredible. Link to the past next?? Good lorrrrd

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Jezo » Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:45 pm

Woah that's nutty. Didn't expect it to sound that different.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Green Gecko » Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:42 am

I've been going through some stuff myself.

Today I learnt that Nintendo test 3DS console's gyro sensors... by placing it on a record turntable.

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And literally DJing with it:

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Basically the testing & assembly process stuff. Custom tooling/machinery for this is actually magnificent. I mean just look at that machining.

Bonus: here's a machine possibly for testing the circle pad:

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And here is something I can't explain at all:

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by VlaSoul » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:10 am

Wow they sound so close to N64/gamecube soundtracks. I wasn't expecting that level of difference.

Green Gecko, I don't quite understand what I'm looking at there but it's pretty cool

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Robbo-92 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:49 am

Looking forward to hearing the rest of the ALTTP soundtrack.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by McCoughlan » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:25 am

Thanks Karl, this will be my listening playlist today

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by OrangeRKN » Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:23 am

This is very cool, it is more like N64 music than SNES

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Jenuall » Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:23 am

Yeah I spotted this doing the rounds the other day, really cool to hear the "restorations" of these tracks!

The sound capabilities of the consoles were still pretty limited then so half of the skill in composition was down to understanding how best to work within those limitations, Kondo would no doubt have picked these samples because of how well they still worked when compressed.

It would be fascinating to know how different his original ideas would have been before tweaking anything to work better on the actual hardware. Kind of like hearing the original demo versions of Sonic 1 and 2 tracks that Masato Nakamura created before they were converted down to the Mega Drive:


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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Victor Mildew » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:44 pm

I love this sort of thing. It's like a nostalgia time machine.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Pedz » Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:00 pm

Fortress theme is ace. It's great, but when the bahhhwaoooom noidlse kicks in it gets greater.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Chocolate-Milk » Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:58 pm

Jenuall wrote:It would be fascinating to know how different his original ideas would have been before tweaking anything to work better on the actual hardware. Kind of like hearing the original demo versions of Sonic 1 and 2 tracks that Masato Nakamura created before they were converted down to the Mega Drive:


The Marble Zone demo sounds incredible!


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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Karl_ » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:55 pm

They've started to do a few tracks from Mario All Stars now. (Looks like they're making quick work of it!)



The percussion in particular sounds way different to the compressed version!

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Green Gecko » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:43 pm

Karl_ wrote:They've started to do a few tracks from Mario All Stars now. (Looks like they're making quick work of it!)



The percussion in particular sounds way different to the compressed version!

I'm interested Karl, as one of the many who got caught in the SNES/Megadrive war (my family had a mega drive which was technically my brother's), if you didn't have access to a SNES in the mid 90s, do you feel you generated a nostalgia for these sequences through emulation and are then experiencing that in the "remastered" versions?

Just interesting to consider that like me its possible to experience nostalgia or memory triggers in music even if they were experienced in another format or long after the original release of that music (the other format thing being especially interesting for games).

It gets more interesting when one considers that alternative means (legal or otherwise) of regenerating or replacing obsolete or lost artforms allows nostalgia to arise in cases where that otherwise wouldn't have been possible, either for that individual or categorically speaking, due to the original license holder failing to preserve or deliver it in alternative formats for subsequent generations to establish an experience-memory relationship with that thing.

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Jenuall » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:53 pm

Chocolate-Milk wrote:
Jenuall wrote:It would be fascinating to know how different his original ideas would have been before tweaking anything to work better on the actual hardware. Kind of like hearing the original demo versions of Sonic 1 and 2 tracks that Masato Nakamura created before they were converted down to the Mega Drive:


The Marble Zone demo sounds incredible!


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Yeah they sound great, I think it's impressive how close the Mega Drive sound chip came to delivering on the demos as well.

It's interesting listening to the tracks in the context of the development of the games as well. For example the Oil Ocean demo sounds quite different in ways that make people suspect it was originally intended of the scrapped desert level to Sonic 2:


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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Victor Mildew » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:59 pm

Those sonic ones :wub:

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Karl_ » Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:08 pm

Green Gecko wrote:I'm interested Karl, as one of the many who got caught in the SNES/Megadrive war (my family had a mega drive which was technically my brother's), if you didn't have access to a SNES in the mid 90s, do you feel you generated a nostalgia for these sequences through emulation and are then experiencing that in the "remastered" versions?

Just interesting to consider that like me its possible to experience nostalgia or memory triggers in music even if they were experienced in another format or long after the original release of that music (the other format thing being especially interesting for games).

That is definitely interesting, but I'm afraid I have historical nostalgia for it - Super Mario All Stars on the SNES was (more or less) my first game! I do understand what you're referring to though - I think I feel a generated nostalgia for Super Metroid as I think of it similarly even though I never had it on my SNES and only played it much much later!

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PostRe: Uncompressed soundtrack to Super Mario World restored (ALTTP planned next)
by Johnny Ryall » Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:25 pm

Was listening to these last night, crazy! Especially reading about the work behind it.


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