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Sega's Saturn Music Sample Compression

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by bookman the stinky, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. bookman the stinky

    bookman the stinky

    literal trash Member
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    So I've had this idea in the back of my head to try to create my own custom "sequenced" demakes of the Sonic Mania OST. Gathering the samples needed (Korg and some easily found drum samples + sampled OPM patches) and remaking the music by ear isn't a difficult task, but to really sell how this should be a Saturn-era soundtrack, I wanna try to make the samples sound crusty and low-bitrate like a handful of games on that hardware did (for example, the sequenced soundtrack in Sonic Jam, the less hi-fidelity tracks of NiGHTS into Dreams..., the entirety of Puyo Puyo Sun's arcade soundtrack running on ST-V) but I wouldn't know the first thing about getting the samples to sound that way. It seems way more than just a low bitrate, and might have something to do with how the samples were compressed. Google has given me diddly on the topic, I can't exactly find sample dumps from any Saturn game easily, and I wouldn't know the first thing about extracting the samples myself from the banks to try to study how they all come together.

    This might seem like a completely pointless endeavor but I'm the kind of person that likes to go as far as I can when it comes to "what would X sound like on Y hardware"; it's what drove me to start making chiptune covers in the first place. Would any of you be able to shed some light or point me in the right direction to figure this out?
     
  2. If you want your samples to sound highly accurate to what they would on the Saturn, you're probably going to have to enter the realm of digital signal processing. The first things to check would be that the waveform's bit depth and sampling rate match the parameters you would find on the Saturn, but that may not be enough. Beyond that, you would need to get into the idiosyncrasies of how the Saturn performs its mixing. I'm not familiar enough with those details to be helpful there. I will say that the easiest route may be to research Saturn homebrew development and program your audio to play directly on an actual Saturn. You can't get any more accurate than the real thing.
     
  3. Flygon

    Flygon

    Member
    I concur with Hendricks 266. The real thing is about as good as you can get with understanding what it can and can't do.

    I was actually going to post in this topic earlier, but, frankly? Outside of the RAM limitations - Which're almost totally irrelevant for future homebrew, thanks to it simply being easier to run things from the cartridge and VCD slots, there's simply not much the Saturn's SCSP can't do.
    In fact, it's a lot harder to explain what it actually can do. Things such as the 'Channel-as-an-Operator' FM Synthesis functions, or the DSP - the latter, I'm not sure anybody's fully understood.

    Unless you're somehow blowing through all 32 channels, or are in a situation where you absolutely must fit everything into the RAM without streaming data - say, running something from the CD? There really isn't much the SCSP couldn't to.

    It's a hell of a beast. Manages to make the Dreamcast's derivative of the same thing look like a downgrade. Probably because, in several ways, it is :v:.