Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is out!

Click on the image to go to the download page

Welcome back everyone! After a (quite long) hiatus we’re back with another release!
Although not a strictly Sonic game, with Mean Bean Machine released we should have all the Sonic related games covered!

We also have a host of new stuff to talk about as we’ve been thinking hard and long about some things in the project which will be eventually unveiled in the following weeks.

Keep tuned because there are other *two* releases (which, for those of you who follow close enough our project, has already been released, although not announced) by one of our members here which I’ll talk about soon in another post.

Enjoy the soundtrack and stay tuned!

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Our masterpiece, Sonic 3 & Knuckles Remaster, is out!

Our masterpiece, Sonic 3 & Knuckles Remaster, is out! thumbnail
Sonic 3 & Knuckles Soundtrack
Click on the picture to get to the download page

 

After months and months of hard work, it’s finally here.

Now sit down, grab something to drink and bear with us as we’ll guide you through this adventure which has lead us to the release of one of our most impressive work. Ever.

You’ve probably noticed that the website is getting very few updates as of late, that’s because I’ve been interacting with you through our Facebook page as it’s more convenient for me, so if you haven’t done already, make sure to follow us there to get all the latest news.

For all of you who’ve been living under a rock for the last months, we announced that the Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles Remasters were due and, thanks to your invaluable input, we have decided to make just a single, huge release for the entire Sonic 3 & Knuckles odyssey.

The recording phase has been long and painful, as I decided to make this the most complete soundtrack of S3K ever and it shows: the complete soundtrack spans over 4 discs for a mind blowing total of 61 tracks.
As far as I know, there are no releases whatsoever who come close to this.

Despite the massive number of tracks, I didn’t forget about our main goal: highest quality standards, 100% authentic sound.

Thanks again to the help of the community, we’ve managed to make a tracklist which would pay respect to how the original game played while retaining an exceptional flow. Listening to this entire soundtrack is a true experience, a journey through incredible worlds were our lovely blue hedgehog speeds happily.

The final surprise came last week: as I’ve upgraded the recording interface to a professional grade one, I’ve decided to re-record EVERYTHING from scratch, split all the tracks, check every single one of them to see if they all looped correctly and if there were clicks or extraneous sounds and finally, the most tedious part of all, tagging each one with proper authors, track number, titles, etc…

About the author thing, let me get this out loud and clear: this release is MJ drama-free. As there’s no 100% certain evidence of his involvement, I’ve left him out. If you want, feel free to add him in the tracks you feel he’s had a hand on. I’m giving you a small tip which I’ve found out myself and haven’t read anywhere else on the internet so far:

While recording the soundtrack, I’ve been amazed to find out that there were some of the tracks which were mastered way more loudly than the others. An accurate listen has lead me to think that there were choices made during the making of those tracks which have really put them apart from the others. The dynamic range on those was much higher. As a result, I had to lower the recording volume otherwise those would end up clipping (even badly at some point) and distorting. Those tracks were both the Ice Cap Zones, and Mini Boss from Sonic 3.

Now you can go on and speculate about those, I’ve just thrown this out because it really jumped at me during the recording process. It might be completely unaffiliated to the MJ involvement, so YMMV.

Even without taking this into account, finding all the authors has proven to be quite a feat, but thanks to the support of some fans from our Facebook page and more extensive research on my part, I’ve managed to assign one or more authors to each track. Hopefully I didn’t screw up!

Finally, and here’s one big news, I’ve decided to leave the Mediafire file sharing service and move onto Mega. After trying it out I must say that it’s truly a wonderful service and, most importantly, it has the “Download folder as ZIP” feature which really makes my life easier.
From now on, you’ll just have to open the download link, right click the folder with the quality desired (9624 hi-res, FLAC or MP3) and choose “Download as ZIP” and you’re done. The days of downloading each track separately or fiddling with 7zip chunks are now behind us.
I really hope you’ll enjoy this change.

And that’s pretty much it.

One last note: I really feel burned out. To re-record and re-do everything I even had to take a day off work to make sure everything was ready for Christmas.
As a consequence, I’m taking a small break from the project and I’ll be back in hopefully not more than a month.
I’ll still stick around, I check our Forums daily and reply to every thread I see. Same for our Facebook page and Twitter (links in the upper-right corner).
If there’s anything wrong with this release (and please, this one only), let me know and I’ll try to sort it out ASAP.

Now go and enjoy the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Remaster. You all deserve it.
Click on the picture at the beginning of the post to be taken to the download page.

…and merry Christmas to all of you and your families and I wish you a fantastic, happy new year!

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About the next release, and things we’re doing wrong in the project so far

Hi everyone,

as you may already know, one of the focuses of our project (other than pumping out releases at a somewhat steady rate – something we failed miserably during the last year) is listening to your feedback in order to make this project better and better.

Now that we have completed the cycle of Most requested – Oldest request (x2), it’s time for the next Remaster.
Next one is going to be, of course, Sonic 3 as we’ve already done Sonic 1 and 2.
Needless to say, this is going to be a *huge* release as we’ll now be adding some of the most iconic jingles as well which will bump up the number of tracks from a lot to a truckload.

But here comes my first concern: lots of you have criticized releasing Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles separately as most of you see the two games just a single, big one.
I’m not completely against this, but I’ve always thought that, since the two of them have their own cartridges, which have been sold separately, they should have separate soundtracks.

The issue here is that in an ideal world I want everyone to be happy and satisfied about how we’ll manage this release, which means releasing Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles separately and releasing a huge Sonic 3 & Knuckles soundtrack.

This is something I’d love to do, but not too fond of for a reason: redundancy.
What we’re doing here is basically wasting space and bandwidth to upload the same tracks, two times, with the differences between the two soundtracks being only track numbering and the cover art.

One of the solutions to the problem would be releasing the two soundtracks separately and then give you an official tracklist for the Sonic 3 & Knuckles and new cover art, so you can meld the two releases together.
I personally like this solution, but I’m sure some of you would be pissed off as you want a “complete” and “ready to go” release without having to change tags and cover arts yourselves.

The other solution is providing a small software which would “convert” in one click the separate releases into one.
The problem on this one is that doing it in Windows is quite a pain while doing it in a Unix environment (Linux/Mac OS) is manageable. In addition, I’m sure there would be issues as people would complain about it not working in some kind of configuration, wiping their hard drives, burning down their home, etc., which is, of course, something I’m definitely not looking forward to.

Of course, the other solution is just releasing the Sonic 3 & Knuckles soundtrack and then let you guys split it using a tracklist and cover arts.

So, what I’m going to do now, is opening a poll in our forums and let you guys vote for several options. The one with the most votes win. Poll ends on the 21st of May.

With this out of the way, let’s talk about other things we’ve been doing wrong: requests.

Right now everyone can just freely sign up in the forums, go to the release section and open a new thread for their request.
Theare are some things in this method which have been heavily criticized in the past:
1 – You have to scroll through several pages of threads to make sure your request hasn’t been already done.
2 – You don’t have an easy way to see which request have been seconded the most and which one is the oldest
3 (by me) – Checking which request I should do next is a pain in the butt.

So I want to overhaul in the next days the request system and go for something simple and quick: I’ll make a sticky thread with a poll with all the games requested. The poll never ends, it just stays there. You can vote for the game you want out next, the requests are ordered from newest to oldest.
This is the only change you’ll see, you still have to make requests the old way (open a thread). Then I’ll add the request to the sticky thread and to the poll so you can vote for it.
Request threads will be locked for the sake of ease of organization, all the discussions will be moved to the sticky thread.
I’ll make a new thread-guide to introduce you all to the new system.

Next up: the way we share our releases.
We’re running out of space on Mediafire and, while it wouldn’t be an issue just to create a new account, I want to take a moment and ponder on this as many of you have criticized Mediafire for its speed and reliablity.
On my part, I’ve never had any issue with Mediafire (most of the times it was due to my terrible internet connection), but I hear you and want you to discuss what file sharing service you’d like to see.
Two things: I want something reliable which will not nuke my files out of nowhere and a service which won’t go out of business due to legal issues (for reference: Rapidshare, Megaupload).
If you want, we can just use torrents and be good with it.
Again, let me know in our forums, your opinion matters and is very important to me.

Last thing: I’ve received criticism on our logo and the side art of our releases (the one with the mega drive grid background and our name on it).
We’re using the Sonic & Knuckles logo because I like it a lot and don’t have any idea about what logo we could use.
Also, we had lots of discussions about the side art in our old forums and made several to see which would fit better and the resulting one seemed to please all of you.
We’re 100% ok to change it if you want, I have a couple of ideas in mind on how to do it, just let me know if you would like to see a new side art and I (and Truepack) will work on it.
Same applies to our logo: if you want to see it replaced with a new one, I’m absolutely down to it.

Again, I want to stress that your opinion matters and is critical to this project, so make sure to sign up to our forums (if you haven’t done already – tip: you really should) and let us hear your voice!

Threads:
Poll for voting on Sonic 3 + Sonic & Knuckles or Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Choosing which file sharing service we should use in the future
Should we change our logo and side art on covers?

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Rock’n’Roll Racing released!

Rock'n'Roll Racing

And we’re back rocking (pun intended) with a new release!

As always, click on the image to go to the download page and, since it’s been a while since I’ve last made a release, please make sure to report anything that looks off to our forums!

Happy listening and stay tuned for a post about our next release (it’s gonna be a big and important one, so make sure not to miss it).

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A (much needed) update on the project

Hi everyone,

it’s been a long, long time since the last update here. Sometimes I post updates in our Facebook page, but it’s just minor things and I feel that after more than a year of silence it’s time to look at where we are, what’s happened so far and where we are heading.

Good news first: I’ll probably start rolling out soundtracks again by the end of this month/start of the next. I’ve finally found a sweet balance between work/friends/projects, so expect new stuff coming!

Meanwhile, what’s happened in the world of videogame music?
Exciting stuff, I’m telling you.
A couple new companies have surfaced recording Mega Drive and other consoles following our strict and precise recording mantras and putting them out on vinyl.
You’ve read it right. Not only are they doing the recording process the right way, but they are releasing those soundtracks in one of the most iconic format in music (second only, maybe, to old cassettes).

First off, Data Discs.
Those guys kicked off with an awesome Streets of Rage release and followed up with many more products, all prepared with the utmost attention to details not only to the recording, but packaging as well.
In the beginning there were so many striking similarities with our project’s recording chain that I was thinking they were stealing our stuff, but after some mail exchange with them, I could definitely tell they were doing their own thing and, most importantly, they were doing it the right way.
Those are great guys and I can’t do much but strongly recommend them if you want to treat yourself with a nice collectible with awesome sound quality.

Next up, Brave Wave Productions.
My first contact with them and their Street Fighter II Soundtrack wasn’t all that exciting, as they used an unfair comparison between their remaster and the original tracks to prove the superiority of their product (for those wondering, they left the original track at its original volume level, which was very low, and put it side by side with their new track which was louder to get the “WOW” effect, a common practice today when showing off remasters). So I just went on to comment on this practice and, to my disbelief, I got a well thought out reply shortly after explaining that the comparison wasn’t with the PCB Board, but rather with a previously released soundtrack.
Even though the comparison was still kind of scummy-ish, I could definitely tell that they’ve done a great job on the recording and remastering process, bringing forth many small details which were lost in the original soundtrack.
All in all, a commendable job and, in the end, definitely worth my recommendation.

But why am I talking about this?
Am I just giving free advertising to Data Discs and Brave Wave?
Of course not.

This project was born because I was completely unsatisfied with the recordings you would normally find on Youtube as well as some OSTs which sounded terrible, but it looked looked like people were fine with that.

I wanted to show that those tracks could sound much, much better and teach people not to settle for emulated or badly recorded music but to look after and pretend better quality.
It looks like that in the long run we made an impact in the retrogaming scene and I like to think that thanks to our efforts, now we’re finally seeing proper soundtracks recorded with precise criteria, doing justice to those old videogame music gems.

Not only this, but now we have a true, high quality solution for properly listening Mega Drive VGM files thanks to Mathieu Demange who managed to do the impossible: perfect emulation of not only the YM2612 chip, but all the filters and output stage of the SEGA console.
RYMCast is one of the finest contributions we’ve ever had in the retrogaming music scene: you must try it, you’ll have a hard time trying to tell apart our recordings from RYMCast.

Well, this is shaping up to be quite a big wall of text, so I think I’ll just call it a day and stop it here.

Thanks to everyone involved not only in our project, but those who have given contributions in preserving the music of those past times and keeping the scene alive.

Stay tuned for future releases!

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Top Gear Rally – Traditional 8-Bit N64 Soundtrack

topgearrally

While the N64 often employed a mix to mono sound samples and MIDI instruments, Top Gear Rally’s musician Barry Leitch decided to keep the soundtrack distinctly old school. Rather than trying to emulate CD audio, he instead made a soundtrack exactly the same way you would for a 16-bit machine – he programmed in 8 bit samples that were produced live off of the hardware. This has meant emulation of Top Gear Rally’s music has never been accurate, it also makes it one of the most advanced cases of this traditional technique thanks to the number of samples available to Leitch from the hardware.

NOTE: This soundtrack will be added to, the US version’s Title Track will be added within the next month from 26/06/2016 as soon as I receive the cartridge.

Click the above image to be taken to the download page.

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Streets of Rage: Six batteries, one hour

 

Streets of Rage is reknowned as one of SEGA’s strongest franchises, with some of the best music to have come out of their hardware. What is not as well known is that the first two titles saw a port to the Game Gear and Master System.

The music was converted by Yuzo Koshiro himself, with many of the original songs kept surprisingly close to the originals considering the hardware limitations. Even more interesting to note is that Streets of Rage GG’s soundtrack includes a track from Streets of Rage II!

This is a one-off, that will likely be followed by the second title only. This project is specifically for 16bit audio, however as Streets of Rage is such an iconic series it seemed a shame not to release the full soundtracks eventually.

Click on the image above to be taken to the download page

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