Grandia II HQ Music Mod
What is this?
This is a mod that replaces up to around 130 files in the "Grandia II Anniversary Edition\data\sound" directory with much higher quality 44.1khz 500Kbs .OGG versions taken from Lossless Rips of the OST.
With a few special exceptions.
I'm currently looking into using higher quality files from the OG PC port(high bitrate .wav but mono, no looping) or PS2 port(Stereo, mid bitrate ADPCM) for the remaining songs. They are still 22khz though. (2017 Edit. I gave up on sourcing the rest of the files. I simply lost the drive to go on due to health issues.)
Grandia II was originally released in the year 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast on a single disc.
And used a 22.05Khz Sample Rate for all Audio and Mono sound for the majority of music in the game because of space limitations of the GD-ROM (~1GB).
The Sample Rate carried over into all other ports including the PS2, OG PC port and now Anniversary edition. (While the OG PC port kept the Mono, and the PS2 version used Stereo)
Based on the sound files of the OG PC Port being of much higher quality in 22.05Khz PCM with high constant bit rates. But only in Mono for the music. And the PS2 port having a similar boost over the DC version with 22k Stereo ADPCM with a higher bitrate.
I'm assuming GungHo received lossless files and compressed them, themselves.
Because they sound generally pretty thin and weak. The average bitrate is astonichingly low, most tracks are less than 100kbs avg. Where as in the OG PC Port, they range from Constant PCM Bit Rates of 353-750 or so, despite being mono.
Sound Compression is very destructive the lower you get in bit rate. Being 22.05Khz doesn't help either, but it does help with file size. (And is why despite being PCM, the OG Port's audio is still less than 600MB)
Most tracks in this release are less than 2MB. Only 43 are 2MB or bigger. With most being in the 2MB range.(While all still having around an avg of 80Kbs bitrate).
Regardless, the original Audio was obviously not recorded originally in 22.05Khz.
What this mod doesn't do.
What does this not do?
This does not change the looping.
This game does not use .OGG Loop Tags. They are contained somewhere else. Probably in the one of the .DLLs.
It is also why when the game was first released, tracks just faded out instead of looping. Looping was controlled elsewhere and the fade outs are just part of the loop of the original files from the DC game.
You just never heard them generally.
The loops here are constructed to match the loops of the original as closely as 1:1 as possible down to the sample point.
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/272842274213003988/923D0E0B0DB8D8750325C98921B39E55BDFE12C3/There were some major problems with this though.
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/272842274213004261/F7740218A266349A621E571AE8D8791C76AD7252/(Shows an in progress edit) I'll explain this later.
This does not fix any remaining loop errors.
If there is an error in the software with a loop point. I cannot fix it. Though there were several tracks here with a loop that was essentially impossible to reproduce without the original Stems.
And only ONE track with a bad loop built right into the original audio. (I maintained this)
Be aware, if it's not included in this download. That track was IMPOSSIBLE to repoduce using the music included with the OST.
(Some were not available, some required Stems that may not exist anymore,etc.)
This does not fix sound timing errors.
I would've LOVED to have been able to re time events and animations to fix everything with the audio timing. But it's impossible.
For this reason I did not bother with replacing the tracks used for the intro animation of the game. (With the Lizards, Sky and Ryudo flying,etc. Which are actually contained as several different files. But line up 100% perfect in the OG game)
Felt like a waste of effort and time. FWIW, there are even some sound bugs in the PS2 version. And many in the OG PC port.
It's not quite Lossless.
.OGG is a VBR(Variable Bit Rate) Codec. So it's not going to be quite 500KBS constant, and even if it was. There would still be differences sonically.
Whether they are easy to hear for even those of the most astute hearing is another matter.
Though using technology I can take a lossless file and an encoded lossy one and subtract the differences by Phase Inversion and you can hear what is lost in transition.
Included is "Lossless v 500kbs variable ogg differences.WAV" showing you one of the more extreme differences.
Normally, if you take two files that are the same and Phase Invert one of them. The Audio should completely disappear and cancel out.
Using an uncompressed and a compressed file, this allows you to hear what doesn't exist in the lossless copy. (By cancelling out all the information still present in the compressed one from the lossless one) Artifacts,lost information.
General Information about the mod and the process.
I've been working on this for about 4-5 Months off and on.
Why did it take so long? (Besides, motivation, work and whatnot).
This was NOT a simple drag and drop from OST to game files.
The exact loop had to be recreated using the files from the OST. (And sometimes OG files from the shipped game. These are noted)
Down to the Sample Point.
Often requiring a LOT of destructive editing and creative work. (As well as a ton of work to make sure these are invisible to the listener as much as possible)
This was at times very difficult work given by default that the OST tracks do not loop the same way.
Are not structurally the same.
Sometimes, only a portion is actually used, or it might be split across many smaller tracks.
Or even combined with dissimilar ones put together seamlessly.
A few tracks have Reverb in the shipped game, but the corresponding track on the OST is mostly dry.
Where it gets worse is the files included with the game were made originally in some cases using only certain Stems (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_(audio))
Requiring a work around (Destructive editing) or making some songs impossible to reproduce using the OST alone or simply impossible.
I tested recreating several of these entirely from scratch myself(Transposing by ear, rearranging/performing,programming MIDI, Mixing,Mastering,etc), though I only ended up finishing 2.
And a 3rd was able to be made by using a clip from the OST.
Additionally, for whatever reason. There are a fairly decent number of tracks here from Grandia 1, I am aware of some that are used in the game. But the rest are a mystery.
I recreated these loops as well using the GI OST. Luckily most were a great deal easier to do than GII's.
The biggest problem by far that I encountered was a bizarre one.
For whatever reason it may be, even though two songs are 100% the same, the only difference is that one is 22.05Khz and Encoded highly compressed. And the other 44.1Khz Lossless.
When lined up exactly 100% to the Sample Point level, they would be in sync, but then would start coming out of sync after a few seconds because either the 22.05Khz file would be playing slightly faster than the lossless one, or slightly slower.
This was a nightmare! If the loop was at all particularly long. They'd come so out of sync that it would start causing a delay effect... *Face palm*. I had a few friends in my field make some suggestions as to why this was happening and I tried a lot of different solutions to see if somehow Bit Depth or Sample Rate upsampling was the problem. To no avail.
Obviously this isn't good, and could potentially cause looping problems when it loops in game. It would expect the music at point X to be at point Y in the song so there is no glitch in looping.
My solution was destructive editing to re align the songs every so many seconds. This was incredibly tedious work.
In the end, songs are not 100% 1:1 aligned. But that's OK, it shouldn't cause any playback problems (Beond what the game already has)and it's impossible to hear where things have been cut up, because they were cut up and edited down to the Sample Point.
A bit of info on this, the Sample Rate is the # of Samples per second of audio. Per the Nyquist Theorem, you need twice the number of samples of the highest frequency you need to reproduce.
22.05Khz =11.025Khz audible , 44.1Khz = 22.05Khz audible .
So we are talking for every second of audio, there are fourty four thousand and one hundred samples.
When i'm re aligning things, we are talking displacement of between 5-20 samples. These are then re blended back toghether, using as small of cross fades as possible. to ensure there is no popping. (You'd be surprised that even only a small number of samples missing can result in an audible pop from time to time.)
I digress! I forgot to mention all songs are volume matched to the originals to maintain consistency.
However upon listening to direct rips i've done myself of the previous 3 versions of the game. The volume for some songs seems to have been modified in this version.
Installation instructions and noted track information * MUST READ* Part 1
Installation Instructions and noted tracks
Backup the entire "/Sound" directory somewhere. You don't have to, if you need to revert the entire thing, you can just re-verify the files.
Drag and drop the contents of the OGG folder to the "/Sound" directory. EXCEPT, for the following tracks. (These have notes or circumstances surrounding them that require some explanation.)
You may or may not want any of these.
*You will need to rename most of these below to remove the parenthesis and text. DungeonC44 (OST Ver).Ogg would become just DungeonC44.ogg* Make sure it is all one string and no spaces at the end before the file extension! Case sensitive. Don't change any of it
_2212(OST VER) - This uses parts of the OST for loops later in the song rather than a straight copy of the Game Loop (More variety)
Feel free to listen to this and the regular one to see if you like it better.
2212 (OST VER) - Same deal, since this is the same song.
Ailla00r (Alternate Version) - Ailla00r had to be recreated using a section of the OST song.
The original in game file uses some heavy reversed audio and Reverb, the OST does not contain any of this.
So I took the clip/section and recreated this reversion and Reverb in two Variations.
(Difficult to match 100%). So listen to both Ailla00r and the Alternative version to see which you prefer.
I personally like the Alternate take better.
blt01 (Game Ver)
blt01 (OST Ver)
These are variations of the Main Battle Theme for Grandia II, Game Ver is the exact same loop as the original game uses.
The OST Ver is using a section from the OST that is a variation for the 2nd half of the loop.
Take a listen to both and see which you like !
DungeonC44(OST_GAME Hybrid ver)
This one is a doozy!~ So here's how it goes, this is one song, but with different variations of said song.(<3 Iwadare!).
The OST provides 3 tracks here, the B variation, the C variation and a mixed version of the two.
*However* there is a big problem with representation here.
You see, in the actual game for the B and C variations, the song loops the Tonic once. And then does a 2nd loop by moving the entire key up a minor 3rd.
But the OST only has a singular loop for the 1st section, without the 2nd.
So this leaves a gap in the needed audio to match the game.
This only leaves me the general option of taking that entire first section and Pitch Shifting it by a minor 3rd.
The problem is that there is not a single Pitch Shifter on the face of the Earth that can do this perfectly as if it was native. Let alone an entire already mixed track.
This comes in the form of pitch instability, the mix slightly changes, some instruments just do not sound as natural as they should.
If you have headphones and a decent pair of ears that know what to look for. The differences are much easier to discern.
There was a 2nd option available for the Dungeon C variant since it already used Percussion, where as B does not.
You see, the OST track that combines B and C actually DOES include the Key Change properly.
The breakdown is as follows.
are all using PItch Shifting for the Key Change.
DungeonC (OST Ver)
DungeonC44 (OST Ver)
Are both using the OST Mixed version of B&C wholesale for the entire track.
DungeonC (OST_GAME Hybrid Ver)
DungeonC44OST_GAME Hybrid Ver)
Are both using the first loop matching the game from the corresponding OST track and the 2nd loop using the B&C Combined version Key Change.
You will have to decide for yourself what you want to use.
(And remember that the one you decide to use needs to be renamed to just "DungeonB.ogg" or "DungeonC44.ogg" Etc WITHOUT spaces!)
Personally I prefer the Hybrid for C and for B just the included one with the game.
Fuuin02 (MAKE NOTE)
The OST track for this has one section transitioning to the one presented in this file.
The problem is that at the exact same Measures, there are other instruments audible.
So I had to take the first few seconds from the included LQ "Fuuin02.ogg" with the game and blend it with the OST track.
This is just at the VERY begginning of the song and only lasts for about 3 seconds.
(If you can hear the difference, then kudos!. I'm willing to live with it personally).
Granus01 (OST loop-MAKE NOTE)
The track included with the game in the 2nd half of the song actually has music that isn't present on the OST.
So I had to recreate the 2nd half of the song loop using what was in the OST that is similar but not 100% the same.
The problem here is that at the loop point in the OST there is still decay from other instruments prior in the audio from the first section of the song.
Using Spectral Analysis&EQ and CrossFading I was able to lessen this to a degree, but was impossible to completely eleminate without harming the rest of the music.
You may not notice it, and it may not bother you. I can deal with it personally.
If it does though, you may not want to use this replacement.
KAMI_instr01 (NOTE -Splice LQ in small spots with HQ)
This is similar to Fuuin02 where I had to take a small portion of the Game Shipped audio to make the song work.
As this blends different parts of the same OST track. The problem being that in the Game Shipped track, the Synth Pad continues until the Flute Starts.
In the OST, the Flute Section is later and is preceeded by silence and starts wth just the Flute without the Synth Pad.
It's a very small slice. But I thought i'd tell you none the less. It's hard to tell to the untrained ear and it's a very small section of audio.
But it's been double recompressed , so for a second it might sound grainy.
Kami_title (NOTE COVER)
This is the Title Theme. This portion of audio does not exist on the OST without other instruments on top of it.
So I recreated this entire song from scratch. Though, since I have very different synths and hardware from what was used professionally to make this OST, I did not having a suitably matching Harp.
So it sounds a bit different than the original. The performance is nuanced differently, I didn't like this as much by default because of the Harp.
But I put it here anyway for anyone who may want to use it.
These 3 represent the theme of the Church of Granas. But only the Organ part, which again is not available on the OST AT ALL.
So, I spent a few dozen hours recreating this from scratch with what I have. It's not 100% the same, which would be essentially impossible anyway by ear.
Getting the Organ sound and mixing just right to match the original as much as possible was very difficult. (Because, like I said. I don't have even remotely the same equipment used as the original. Which was recorded and mastered professionally. Where as I made mine in my home studio.)
Each of these is a variation. Church is standard mix, and Daishinden has a lot more Reverb. And Daishinden03 is the Reverb *Only*.
This corresponds to the shipped files with the game. (Feel free to compare them in an A/B test).
Though with Daishinden03, I did add an additional instrument on top that I felt added to the atmosphere.
You dont' have to use these, I thought i'd include them anyway because I like how they turned out.
But if you do like them, please use them. That'd make me very happy :P
LoveLove01 (MAKE NOTE)
This song in the shipped game is solo Piano. However this is not present in the OST.
So the 2nd half of the song has the Flute Melody that is present in the OST.
LoveLove02b (Game OST hybrid MAKE NOTE)
This like the other one, uses stuff not present in the OST.
So the first section of music (The longest yet of this) is entirely from the shipped in game audio. With the OST spliced in where the flute starts.
LoveLove02b (OST Flute make note)
This is the same song, but entirely from the OST with the Flute where there was only Piano in the Game version.
Nanan01 (OST percussion intro)
The OST has a small percussion intro not used in the Game shipped song. This mixes this first few measure of percussion with the intro of the song.
Nanan01 is an exact copy of the game shipped audio.
povoA0_03 (Game 22khz piano end NOTE)
This is an example of a song with dissimilar songs spliced together in the shipped game.
At the end there is a solo Piano section that isn't present in the OST. So this has the game shipped Piano part spliced in with the OST HQ audio.
povoA0_03 (OST Voice NOTE)
This is the same song, but with the entire song taken from the OST, where there was Solo Piano before, there is a Vocal line accompaniment.
StHeim01 (NOTE-Different instrumentation and cut up)
This is another example of the game using only some Stems. Where as the OST has the entire thing.
So what I did here was cut up a part at the end of the song to match the intro and the rest is matched to the game loop. But with additional instrumentation not present in the shipped game Audio.
StHeim02 (OST VER)
This is the regular version of this song, but with the 2nd half loop replaced with a 2nd section from the OST rather than a straight game loop. It's slightly different than the regular StHeim02 track.
Use whatever you like! Listen to both!
In Closing, I know the Audio Timing problems are probably the biggest blemish on this release.
But I hope you all can find some use and enjoyment out of this mod.
I spent a lot of time and love trying to make it the best it can be.
And REMEMBER, that any and all looping bugs are probably from the game and not these replacements! If you encounter something, check it against the Vanilla Audio Files.
There shouldn't be any problems with this!
Thanks for your time and listening to my rambles here!