The Equipment

The equipment: (Updated 26/05/2015 – ugh I should really rewrite this thing from scratch)

So, what’s the project using to do all the work?
Let’s start from the source: the Mega Drive.

We’ve chosen the first model, a Japanese Mega Drive I, motherboard revision VA1 because it has the discrete Yamaha YM2612 chip and it sounds great.
A small mod has been done to correct the output stage, documented here

Mega Drive output circuit mod

I’ve also replaced the 3,5mm headphone jack with a higher quality 6,30mm one which gives better contact and is more stable.
Last thing is the transformer: I’m using a stabilized power supply working at 12V which has an incredibly high current output of 5A. It has excellent ripple values and it outputs lots of clean power.

Next on the chain we have the audio interface.
Let me introduce you to the TC Electronic Desktop Konnekt 6.
This is a professional recording audio interface which has an amazingly high quality digital mixer in it, coupled with separate gains which use among the best OPAs (OPerational Amplifiers) in the market.
It is connected to my iMac 27″ through a modded Firewire cable which had the power line removed to prevent interferences.
It is powered through another dedicated stabilized PSU.

t.c. electronic desktop konnekt 6

Finally we come at the recording machine which is a stunning iMac 27″ maxed out

Needless to say, it just handles whatever thing you throw at it.

The software of choice is Audacity, an open source software which is just great: simple, powerful, easy to learn and with all the tools you’ll ever want.
We record at the highest quality possible, 96 Khz 24 bit and then we downsample it for the other more common formats so everyone can enjoy our releases.
This is done through a proprietary bash script known as “The Megascript” which uses several softwares to accomplish the downsampling with the highest quality possible.
This script first puts the album art inside the original HD FLAC, then calls SoX to let him downsample the tracks to CD quality and puts again the album art into these files as we lose the album art information through the various conversions. Then it cals ffmpeg and its LAME libraries to convert to MP3 and finally eyeD3 to add the album art to the MP3s too.
The second big part of this script takes the MP3s and an image and makes the Youtube videos you can see in our channel, all automatized thanks again to ffmpeg.
All this is accomplished through a simple, single click.
Pretty cool, uh? :]

The monitoring process and quality check is done through an AKG K601 Reference headphone, one of the flattest headphones on the market in terms of frequency response. Again, this is a little gem at the price it comes.

Finally, we record “almost headless”, meaning that the Mega Drive is not connected to any TV/Monitor as these add interferences and noises due to the inverter they have in them. We check what’s going on in the VGM playback software through a USB Video Capture dongle.

And that’s all!
Now you know how we do our work!
Hope you enjoyed the article!

The Equipment

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