Author Topic: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality  (Read 758 times)

Dyke

  • Posts: 4
FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« on: 24 Jul '19 - 05:59 »
Hi, I'm wondering why some chiptunes modules sound better, when they are played through a crack/keygen executable? I mean, provided I have a detemined "xm" file,
it's quality will be kind of "degraded" when reproduced with "XMPlay v3.8.3.3"or foobar2000 with the bass component; contrarily, when I hear them through an executable file which
has it embedded, like a keygen, the fidelity's jump will be easily perceivable.  ???
 
I'd been trying to learn about the possible cause/s of this behavior, but the only I came to know was that both players use the "bass" audio library, while the keygen I tried
seems to be using another unknown library/method to play it back; although I already played it back with another sound libraries (OpenMPT/libXMP), and they still sound
different (less fidelity) as when using the keygen. Somehow, the keygen is playing the same module with a higher fidelity than the standalone players do. And since this same
issue happened a few times already, I would like to know what could be the reason, since as far as I knew, the XMPlay is "THE" defacto modules' player for most people on Windows environment.

I had uploaded an example file to your FTP:

EMBRACE's keygen (sounds better)>"*.v9.3.Keymaker.Only-EMBRACE.exe"

The original "XM" module, as ripped from the keygen>"papillons_Keygen_s_Rip.xm"

 The same "XM" module converted to "FLAC" by XMPlay v3.8.3.3>"XM_Module__Converted_.flac"

Audio capture of the keygen's (sounds better):>"Keygen_Version__Captured_.flac"

I included the audio files in case you don't want to run the keygen, although I know for a fact it is clean.  :) Otherwise, just running it and the playing
the "XM" file would be enough to note the quality differences.

Thanks.

saga

  • Posts: 2315
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #1 on: 24 Jul '19 - 10:19 »
This FAQ entry I wrote for OpenMPT also applies to XMPlay: Why do old modules and chiptunes sound muffled?

In short, both OpenMPT and XMPlay by default use high-quality anti-aliasing filters, but old chiptunes are written in a way where aliasing is provoked intentionally. Removing this aliasing will thus make them sound less bright. In XMPlay. you can change the "Interpolation" setting to "off" in the MOD settings, and chiptunes will sound more crisp. At the same time, modules with higher-quality samples will have unintentional high frequencies, so it's best to apply this setting on a per-module basis (e.g. using XMPlay's Saved Settings mechanism) and only turn interpolation off if it improves the sound.

Dyke

  • Posts: 4
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jul '19 - 01:40 »
I see, thanks for actually taking the time to answer me.  :)

What you mentioned and the FAQ's entry were a good explanation, but despite trying what you talked about, I just noted
a slightly change in the sound quality, but not there were are the most notorious differences. I will just leave the files on
here, so anyone willing to, could listen and compare the sound quality:

Code: [Select]
https://www.upload.ee/files/10247989/PgcEdit.v9.3.Keymaker.Only-EMBRACE.exe.html

https://www.upload.ee/files/10247992/papillons_Keygen_s_Rip.xm.htm
 
https://www.upload.ee/files/10247998/XM_Module__Converted_.flac.html

https://www.upload.ee/files/10247999/Keygen_Version__Captured_.flac.html

The keygen seems to be using some unknown customized player or kind of, since it is able to playback the module
with more accuracy and fidelity, as far as I can hear. I would like to use that kind of player for cases like these, but I don't
even know which one is that.  ???

yoba

  • Posts: 7
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #3 on: 26 Jul '19 - 01:47 »

saga

  • Posts: 2315
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jul '19 - 18:56 »
uFMOD is indeed used in many tiny cracktros and keygens. It is a very basic XM player (it is tuned for size rather than accuracy), so it will play many files incorrectly. Maybe you interpret it as "higher fidelity", but the sad truth is that the file, as recorded from that keygen, is played incorrectly. XMPlay plays it the way it's intended to be heard. There is no way to make XMPlay play it as incorrectly as the keygen does, apart from putting that FLAC file in your playlist. :)

Dyke

  • Posts: 4
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #5 on: 1 Aug '19 - 04:06 »
uFMOD

Thanks. I already downloaded the uFMOD pack, and tried with the included player and it still sounded like when using bass based players; although I read there are three different
playing methods to choose from when compiling an executable, so maybe EMBRACE's keygen used one of the remnant two.

uFMOD...

I see, thanks for your further explanations.

Although it's kind of "subjective" when it comes to comparing sound quality, I still believe the module as played by the keygen sounds slightly better, which doesn't imply that bass or other
libraries based players aren't being playing it correctly. When I listen to the "captured" version, I not only hear it plays instruments/samples in a way I like it more, but that version doesn't have
the "fadeouts" the "converted" version has, at these lengths: ~9″, ~16″, ~38″, ~45″.
« Last Edit: 1 Aug '19 - 04:16 by Dyke »

saga

  • Posts: 2315
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #6 on: 1 Aug '19 - 21:28 »
Quote
Thanks. I already downloaded the uFMOD pack, and tried with the included player and it still sounded like when using bass based players
It's also possible that this specific cracktro used a completely different XM player. uFMOD is a very popular choice but it's by far not the only one. Or it could use an older version which contains a bug that was fixed in a later version. There are many possibilities. If you want to listen to the exactly the way as heard in the keygen, I doubt you will find an easy way to do so apart from recording it while the program is running. Of course noone can force you on how to listen to your music but I would recommend to just move on and accept the way regular XM players will play the tune. You will get used to it in no time (talking from personal experience). ;)

piovrauz

  • Posts: 974
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #7 on: 2 Aug '19 - 09:59 »
One thing is accuracy of the reproduction of the sound, another is liking the sound itself.
I wrote sound and not music, because it's left up to the listener.
Btw, let's not talk about recording...

Now, chiptunes in craktros and keygen often do sounds different when played with a proper player (or the original tracker).
I second the suggestion to record the sound you like more to a lossless format and play that.

I had to do that for a tiny 16k game which... used a customized module format... no player avail...  :'(

Dyke

  • Posts: 4
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #8 on: 14 Aug '19 - 17:08 »
I was just wondering why that specific tune sounded better to me while playing it with the keygen, what player was involved. It's not the first time
I hear a keygen/crack playing a module in a different way (slightly better in most cases) than XMPlay does it, so I though about what could be the reason of that.

With that particular module I uploaded, differences although tiny ones, are clearly perceivable.

Andreasvb

  • Posts: 22
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #9 on: 19 Aug '19 - 12:40 »
I got a smaller xm from the keygen using ChipRip by TSRh.
It doesn't have the cut/clip issue around 7-10 seconds.

Try if this one sounds better: https://www.upload.ee/files/10373169/Chiptune_Nr.1.xm.html

zikey

  • Guest
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #10 on: 20 Aug '19 - 04:08 »
Geez... why does the keygen sound better? The answer is, it does not!

Most keygens use converted or compressed MOD files, stripped inner text and credits, and use pretty crappy replayers which have their own playback quirks.

Your "papillons_Keygen_s_Rip.xm" file is corrupt. And even the correct XM file Andreasvb mentions is still a conversion from .IT to .XM.  The original song is in ImpulseTracker format by Sergeeo: http://amp.dascene.net/downmod.php?index=114049. Furthermore, the original IT file uses 'panning' commands that aren't supported in XM format anyway.

And to make matters worse, it's just a conversion of a SID song from 1987 called "Coco Intro" by Markus Müller, widely used in crack intros: http://hvsc.csdb.dk/MUSICIANS/M/Mueller_Markus/Coco_Intro.sid

This SID was used in a Papillions intro, that the EMBRACE keygen is actually paying tribute to, so know your history.

So you tell me which has better sound quality.

PS. If you haven't understood the previous posts about interpolation, many chipmods made in ProTracker, MilkTracker, or FastTracker 2 were made with linear interpolation OFF. So it's not that xmplay/BASS is wrong, its that you must turn off interpolation so it sounds like it was intended.

piovrauz

  • Posts: 974
Re: FastTracker 2's XM Module Sound Quality
« Reply #11 on: 22 Aug '19 - 20:27 »
The thing is that for most ppl accuracy <> quality.

It is so very human to think what one likes is the better, even if it's not the case.

Side note: I really like the .it conversion, played with surround mode 1... XD
« Last Edit: 22 Aug '19 - 20:35 by piovrauz »