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Author Topic: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.  (Read 1775 times)

WeebeeGeebee

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I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« on: May 10, 2019, 09:41:49 am »
So a lot of people like to make "music packs" for Secret of Mana for the MSU-1... but majority of the time, these music packs end up just being collections of orchestral renditions that are grabbed here and there. It is usually improperly normalized (the volume tends to vary from track to track).

Here's an idea - why doesn't someone get a hold of a software like Propellerhead's Reason, get some good quality virtual instruments (violins, horns, synths), and grab some Midi files of the songs from the game (here's a big collection of Midi renditions of the OST- https://www.khinsider.com/midi/snes/secret-of-mana) Drop those into Reason and just do a complete remade version of the score that isn't just a bunch of randomly grabbed orchestral tracks? Reason is a good software, you can import midi files, select the instruments you want to assign to each set of notes and that midi track will sound amazing. And since nobody wants to produce the music for an entire game by themselves (unless you are Toby Fox), maybe it could be like a big contest.

Like different variations of the same theme would be mixed by different people and voted on and the one that got the most votes would be the one that gets selected for the finished pack. The rules would be 1: You have to use Reason. 2: It has to match up with the original game - it has to be uniform with what it would sound like if Hiroki Kikuta was producing it, 3: tracks can't be longer than the original tunes (no crazy 10 minute long Prog Rock craziness like the remade Matango theme from that SoM 3D Remake), 3: The volume for the song has to be normalized to a specific volume so that track changes aren't completely jarring to the listener.

I just think that grabbing random mish-mash orchestral versions of songs we probably downloaded 17 years ago on Napster is pretty meh. I mean I've probably heard that one symphonic version of Fear of the Heavens a hundred times, and while it is a good tune, it just doesn't really fit.

Once the "Secret of Mana Reason Remix Contest" is completed and voted on, there could be another one that aims to remake all the songs in 8bit using something like Famitracker or Mod Tracker or something, just because why the hell not. Ever since I heard "Dueling Consoles" I've thought "Damn, it doesn't actually sound that bad."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN_mh2rx-o4
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 10:09:34 am by WeebeeGeebee »

Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 10:16:27 am »
Actually, that's a task I'd be very interested in taking, but I haven't got software or hardware who makes remakes not sound too much like MIDI. I had some decent synths and some good soundfonts as well but still it's hard to hide the fact you're basically playing a MIDI file on a synth, even good. It'll sound "real" at first but then you notice the same sounds play over again in various tracks. I didn't know about this Reason software, if it's affordable and easy to use, then why not ?

When it comes to the MIDIs, there's no need to find them - actually VGMTrans supports the music engine used by Secret of Mana so it's possible to get the original data converted into MIDI straightfoward ! (Works still needs to be done in order for it to be General-MIDI compatible though).

Gideon Zhi

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 02:01:08 pm »
For what it's worth, the Secret of Mana Genesis album that was released a few years ago consists of very light remasters of the original tracks, by the original composer:

https://www.destructoid.com/secret-of-mana-genesis-with-composer-hiroki-kikuta-236262.phtml

WeebeeGeebee

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2019, 05:14:46 am »
There _are_ other ways to acquire Reason and Ableton... >.>

Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 09:04:50 am »
There _are_ other ways to acquire Reason and Ableton... >.>
The problem is not so much acquiering the software than knowing how to use it properly. The demo songs are music which is not quite the same style as the trakcs of Secret of Mana, for instance.

WeebeeGeebee

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 09:49:53 am »
When I still had my computer, my keyboard and other equipment (lost all that to my Borderline ex bf) I had Reason and Ableton Live and was using it to make hip hop beats... Reason is really easy to use or learn how to use if you don't already know. All I did was study tutorials on Youtube. - https://ibb.co/jZGD6BT - I was using version 4.0 and never really bothered with the newer incarnations. The useful part about it is you can import midi and assign it to instruments. The only other software I can think of that does that is Native Instruments Bandstand, but that software has long since been discontinued. There's also Acid and Cakewalk, that I briefly messed around with, but didn't understand as easily as I understood Reason.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 09:57:43 am by WeebeeGeebee »

Jorpho

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 12:44:54 pm »
I don't think I've heard of Reason before.  I suppose it's expensive?

It seems the trendy thing nowadays is to consider whatever synthesizer was used by the original composer and obtain the appropriate samples from there.  There's a few tracks from Donkey Kong Country on Youtube "remastered" in that fashion, and I think people have been doing it with FF6 as well.
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Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 05:53:10 pm »
It seems the trendy thing nowadays is to consider whatever synthesizer was used by the original composer and obtain the appropriate samples from there.  There's a few tracks from Donkey Kong Country on Youtube "remastered" in that fashion, and I think people have been doing it with FF6 as well.
Indeed, that's the "new" trend and I find it fascinating. That's exactly why Kikuta himself did for Secret of Mana (but not the whole OST) in the post Gideoh Zhi mentionned.
For what it's worth, the Secret of Mana Genesis album that was released a few years ago consists of very light remasters of the original tracks, by the original composer:

https://www.destructoid.com/secret-of-mana-genesis-with-composer-hiroki-kikuta-236262.phtml
I bought this CD and basically it's exactly what SOM's soundtrack would have sounded in kikuta's studio without the SNES limitations. Pretty cool ! I had some contact with some guy who did this for FF4, and it's cool too ! This guy had to buy a super-rare synth to have the right sounds, so he definitely inversted a lot of money for this. I also listened to the videos of Donkey Kong Country on youtube and well... they really, really kick ass. This is recommended for all DKC music fans.

I however didn't heard about this for FF6. I'd be interested.

Back when it comes to Reason...
Quote
When I still had my computer, my keyboard and other equipment (lost all that to my Borderline ex bf) I had Reason and Ableton Live and was using it to make hip hop beats... Reason is really easy to use or learn how to use if you don't already know.
Making hip hop beats is completely different than using MIDIs of Secret of Mana's soundtrack and make pseudo-orchestral rendering from them. Not the same still at all. If you want the result to sound as less as a MIDI as possible, it's a lot of work:
  • Very good instrument samples have to be used (and also randomized to avoid having always the same recognizable sounds)
  • Note times should be randomized
  • Instruments should be detuned
  • Some volume expression could have to be added, such as accented notes, etc...

Even though the result might still sound like a MIDI played on a good synth rather than a real orchestra.

That being said I'll still look into the video you linked and perhaps the trial version of the software to see if I can do anything about it.

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I suppose it's expensive?
According to their website the "intro" version is 79€ and the "full" version is 349€ so it's definitely affordable, especially if only the "intro" version is required.

Jorpho

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2019, 02:56:58 pm »
I however didn't heard about this for FF6. I'd be interested.
I might be mistaken. Maybe I'm getting it confused with Mana.

(I really should play FF6 sometime.)

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According to their website the "intro" version is 79€ and the "full" version is 349€ so it's definitely affordable, especially if only the "intro" version is required.
Yikes. Certainly a lot less expensive than some software, but not the sort of money I'd throw around on a whim.
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WeebeeGeebee

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 08:28:11 pm »
I was able to... "Acquire"... Reason and Ableton fairly easily. Back when I was still trying to produce. I also had a ton of extra instruments. It's not a hard software to learn and it can do a lot.

There are other programs that can convert a Midi file into something more realistic sounding. Cakewalk comes to mind. There was also a neat software called Bandstand made by Native Instruments a long long time ago. I think doing a full update of the soundtrack is a good idea.

Also I did like "Genesis" of Mana, but many tracks are missing.

Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2019, 04:47:30 pm »
I was able to... "Acquire"... Reason and Ableton fairly easily. Back when I was still trying to produce. I also had a ton of extra instruments. It's not a hard software to learn and it can do a lot.
If using Reason can turn a MIDI into realistic sounding music, why can't you at least show a demo of what is it capable ? In which ways is this different than playing the MIDI back with a really good soundfont ? It still sounds synthetic, due to how "perfect" the MIDI is. The only thing I found to improve the situation is use CAL programs to makes randomly off in time and pitch and velocity. But this still hardly sounds perfect. I made some tries with FF6 songs, if you're interested I can upload them somewhere.

You can find several midis of Secret of Mana I made on VGMusic.com and clicking "Newly Uploaded files" (this means files uploaded the last 10 years :) ). You could use them for examples of how great music rendered with Reason or the other software you mentionned can be, based on a simple MIDI file.

Quote
There are other programs that can convert a Midi file into something more realistic sounding. Cakewalk comes to mind. There was also a neat software called Bandstand made by Native Instruments a long long time ago.
Cakewalk is a company not a program. I use an old program named Cakewalk Express 3.0 and Cakwalk Professional 3.0 to make and edit MIDIs, it dates from 1992 but still works perfectly more recent versions of that program by year 2000 sucked. I don't know how their recent programs are.

Quote
Also I did like "Genesis" of Mana, but many tracks are missing.
Not only that but it's just playing back on the synth(s) that was/were used to make the game - it's not supposed to sound realistic. But at least it's faithful to the originals (even though there's a little bit of fantasy here and there).

WeebeeGeebee

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2019, 11:16:03 am »
*sighs* - All I have for "examples of Reason's capabilities" are my old hip hop beats that I was making, way back before I had a depressive melt down and my ex took my computer and everything else (don't date someone with borderline).

Kwizstrumental on Soundcloud if you want to hear what I was making...

And Reason _does_ have note velocity / aftertouch. You get that from either the keyboard you are using (I had an Axiom 249 keyboard with semi weighted keys and expressive after touch) or you set it on the notes themselves by setting their velocity manually.

I really wish that Native Instruments Bandstand was still around or that I could find a copy of it, because that software looked promising, at least for being able to just throw in a midi file and start setting the notes to instruments.

Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2019, 04:59:08 am »
*sighs* - All I have for "examples of Reason's capabilities" are my old hip hop beats that I was making, way back before I had a depressive melt down and my ex took my computer and everything else (don't date someone with borderline).
*Sigh* that's sad and all, but I don't see how this prevents you to take one of my MIDIs and try to make something out of it using Reason (or another software you aquired) for an experience.

I am *not* interested in the hip-hop beats you used to make or anyhting - I am interested in making music from Secret of Mana sound orchestral or realistic, using a MIDI file as a base. This is an interesting problem and you claimed you had a solution for this problem - but came with no proof. You claimed that it was easy to aquiere and making a MIDI sound orchestral with it was easy, so I'd expect you to come up with at least one good example. I'd certainly invest time in trying it with the trial version of Reason but for personal private live reasons I'm leaving in one week for 3 weeks so now is not the moment for trying the trial version - I could try in July when I'm back though. If in the meantime you could just use one of my MIDIs (or anyone else for that matter) to show your point, it would be meaningful.

Bregalad

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Re: I had a thought... about MSU-1 Secret of Mana.
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2019, 02:56:55 pm »
Is there any way to make run the softwares you were mentionning (Reason and Ableton) on a 32-bit Windows 7 system ?

Does MIDI imported with them sound any better than the same MIDIs replayed on a good synth ?