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  #1  
Old Dec 4, 2013, 01:13 PM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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Default Sega CD audio quality vs PC Engine CD audio quality

I have recently gone on something of a redbook audio binge on soundtracks for these two systems recently and I have noticed one thing: Every Sega CD redbook soundtrack I've come across has a really wide, open, well defined soundstage, while every PC Engine CD soundtrack...doesn't.

The soundtracks for Keio Flying Squadron, Android Assault and Lords of Thunder on the Sega CD are all crystal clear and sound amazing. I am far more familiar with the PC Engine soundtracks and they sound compressed and undefined in comparison. I've never been entirely happy with the audio on stuff like Ys III, because everything sounds compressed and the layers are right on top of each other. Head to head, there is no comparison between both versions of Lords of Thunder, the Sega CD game wins by a mile.

Has anyone else noticed the audio quality difference on these kinds of CD's?
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  #2  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 06:56 AM
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if they both are truly Redbook audio (technically they would be Mixed Mode CD) then how compressed the music is in the final release has everything to do with the composer/company that made the game, and not the system it was on. I might have to look into it though, since you compared the same game and the Sega CD one prevailed.

did you rip them both yourself? the gamerips online can differ in quality (but I'm sure you know that :P)
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Old Dec 5, 2013, 07:16 AM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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I have been ripping the ISO's for various games (download, burn to CD with Nero, then rip/convert the .wav files as with a normal CD using EAC). Originally I had planned on doing it for some Turbo Duo games that were far outside my price range and I only wanted the redbook audio (*cough* Sapphire, Cotton), but I ended up doing some Sega CD games as well and really noticed they sounded excellent. I have listened to and ripped PC Engine CD's for the longest time (I own a Duo at home, never owned a Sega CD and never wanted to, heh) and was always on the fence about the sound quality, so the results from the above Sega CD redbooks being really high quality shocked me.

To be fair, the Lords of Thunder for Sega CD sounds re-recorded in some spots, but considering it's still around 50 minutes of 80's shred guitar, it's easy to just sit through. The PC Engine version is still good and kickass, but can be quite shrill at times (not unlike early Malmsteen CD's) and I usually have tended to just pop it on for a track here and there over the years. And while I love the arrangements of Duo Ys III, the melodies and snares were always at the forefront, not really giving the harmonies much room to breathe.

Edit: Since there is no official release for Lords of Thunder, is there any issue with me uploading a few comparison tracks?

Last edited by GoldfishX; Dec 5, 2013 at 07:20 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2013, 08:56 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldfishX View Post
download, burn to CD with Nero, then rip/convert the .wav files as with a normal CD using EAC
Uhm, not really, eh?
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  #5  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 08:59 AM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
Uhm, not really, eh?
Uhm, elaborate please?
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  #6  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:01 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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That's like printing your mails to scan them afterwards. I doesn't make any sense to burn the image to a physical disc, just to extract them again.
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Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:07 AM
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Phonograph Phonograph is offline
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you can't mount the iso?
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  #8  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:12 AM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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The 3-4 programs I tried didn't work (seemed like they couldn't handle CD's with data and audio on them) and half of them had spyware in them. Finally got fed up and bought Nero (which I had used in the past).
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Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:21 AM
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bought nero? there is no better ripping freeware?
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  #10  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:22 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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IsoBuster works wonderfully.
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  #11  
Old Dec 5, 2013, 09:22 AM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phonograph View Post
bought nero? there is no better ripping freeware?
The 3-4 programs I tried didn't work (seemed like they couldn't handle CD's with data and audio on them) and half of them had spyware in them.

Edit: Maybe you should try Isobuster. It comes highly recommended.

Last edited by GoldfishX; Dec 5, 2013 at 09:25 AM.
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  #12  
Old Dec 16, 2013, 10:47 AM
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Sega CD has a little something called "Q SOUND" as well.
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  #13  
Old Dec 20, 2013, 11:07 PM
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dissident93 dissident93 is offline
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the 8 channel PCM chip that the past songs from Sonic CD used?
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  #14  
Old Dec 29, 2013, 06:39 PM
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Was that directed at me? If so, no, Q Sound was some fancy stereo mastering technique that gave pseudo surround sound, like some modern TV's have built in. It was a neat effect back in the day that made the music "surround" you as you played. I think just about every Sega CD game ever uses it. :P Sonic CD being one of the pioneers.
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Old Dec 29, 2013, 09:42 PM
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yes it was :P

and ahh ok. the soundchip the CPSII system board used was also called simply "Q-Sound". (although its a PCM chip not that much different from the Sega CD's)
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  #16  
Old Dec 29, 2013, 11:53 PM
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I first learned of QSound from Roger Waters' top-notch album Amused to Death. It essentially turns a mono input into a stereo output that sounds like it's coming from outside the range of your speakers by changing the phase between the stereo channels, creating cancellations in such a way as to produce the illusion. But you have to have your ears in the right place between the speakers for it to work. This QSound processed sound can then be added into a regular stereo mix. Amused to Death uses it on sound effects that are interspersed throughout the songs. I can't say I have any experience with it in games though. I believe other things like the Nintendo DS and WiiU gamepad use a similar method when you set them to surround mode to create their effects. With respect to the topic of this thread though, it shouldn't really have any effect on actual sound quality.
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  #17  
Old Jan 10, 2014, 10:28 PM
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Yeah, every Sega CD game that had it had instructions in the manual for how to set up your speakers. Like, a full page of how to do it properly.

But it does make a difference and I enjoy the effect very much.
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  #18  
Old Jan 11, 2014, 10:10 AM
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I thought I'd look that up and found this scan of the Sonic CD manual which shows the page. Pretty nifty! Wrong speaker hookup or placement, volume imbalance, and having your head in the wrong place all can make the effect useless. You might think, "That's too complicated, I'll just wear headphones!" Unfortunately then for you, it cannot work with headphones because the sound waves are separated from each other and so the phase cancellations necessary to create the illusion are impossible.

As a disclaimer, I haven't actually seen any official explanation from QSound as to how their process works so I may be wrong about something, but with my background audio knowledge, some reading of secondary sources, and from some study of some music with QSound, I'm fairly confident I'm not lying to anybody here.
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  #19  
Old Jan 11, 2014, 10:48 AM
GoldfishX GoldfishX is offline
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I know a couple mainstream CD's used Qsound, most notably Madonna's Immaculate Collection. I prefer the originals than what is on that collection, it feels kind of like a forced stereo effect. Only a small handful of albums were released with it. I don't really notice that type of effect with stuff like Capcom's arcade soundtracks or the Sega CD redbooks.

Given the price of the Sega CD, not surprising Sega would try to push it as sort of a high end component. I guess back in those days, the fact you were getting a unit that played music CD's was kind of a big deal.
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  #20  
Old Feb 2, 2014, 01:09 AM
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I you wanna rip some more soundtracks, I'd suggest cueripper (part of cuetools). It's pretty easy to use and besides accurate rip and freedb support it also works with CTDB where small sector errors actually can get repaired.
Uhm, yeah.. it also works with virtual drives:
http://www.cuetools.net/wiki/Main_Page
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