Solar Studios' Hexen Soundtrack

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Solar Studios' Hexen Soundtrack

Postby S-Priest » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:52 pm

Current version is 1.1.

1.1 Changes

Added Chap_2r.flac/.ogg/.mp3.
There is now an info file for Doomsday. This adds game filtering and a bit of information for the Snowberry launcher.
Download from the link below:

Hexen Soundtrack


Doomsday can also load either the MP3 or Ogg version of the soundtrack. Just drop the Music-*.pk3 file into the \Doomsday\snowberry\addons directory, and choose the file in Hexen startup options. Version 1.1 features a Doomsday info snippet, but as it is the files in 1.0 work right away (they just lack a UI description).

The full resolution soundtrack is up (which sadly ZDoom can't play correctly, as it's 96/24 FLAC). That is the version recommended for direct playback. It will work with any player supporting FLAC, such as Foobar2000, Winamp, XMPlay, VLC (cross-platform), Audirvana (Mac), Cog (Mac), etc. Make sure Winamp has "24-bit output" enabled in settings if it's a newer version, and/or the FLAC plugin has 24-bit output on. A good ASIO or KS output plugin is also recommended for Winamp. Linux soundsystems may also have to be reconfigured to support 96/24 output. Mac owners need not worry, MacOS supports bit-accurate output out-of-the-box, and x86 Macs all come with 192/24 audio.

What's special about it: the original mixes are 96 KHz/32-bit, made with dedicated software synths and a new percussion/drumkit sampler. This means the mixes' quality is on par with Hexen II/Heretic II CD soundtrack quality, if not better (not a joke - small percussion at least is a lot crisper).

See here for differences between formats. Basically you get what you pay for with size, Q6 Ogg is the worst (on some pieces - like Wobabyr.ogg - it even reminds of a wavetable MIDI synth), 320-kbps MP3 is slightly better, 48/24 FLAC sounds more like the real thing, and the real thing (96/24) doesn't have any problems.

Try out the MP3 demos at the project page to get an idea.

This was made with some feedback from Kevin Schilder himself, and he's listened to the mixes and he approves 8-)

This is rather different to the other soundtrack versions out there in that the whole soundtrack was actually mixed. It's not just fancy Soundfont or sampler playback, each score took at least 2-3 days of work. Frankly, there still are places where it could be better, but after comparing it with both the original CD and the other soundtrack that's out there, Sycraft's Hexen Soundtrack 5.0, it's rather obvious which one is more appealing.

This is, more or less, how the soundtrack was meant to play - as a full symphonic score with rock elements (basslines and drumming and guitars are obviously rocker). As Kevin Schilder himself once said, MIDI gives an orchestra at the fingertips. You could imagine an orchestra like that onstage - complete with tubular bells, string section, brass, grand piano, timpani, synthesisers, acoustic and electric bass guitar players, an electric guitar player, and a fairly complex drumkit (all six GM toms are used, and all the GM cymbals) plus percussionists, etc. Quite a fresh/modern take on symphonic sound.
Download the Hexen Soundtrack.

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Instruments

Postby S-Priest » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:38 am

Funny Stuff

The distorted guitars that play through most of the soundtrack are not really guitars; the common instrument is synthesised by Zynaddsub-FX.

The distorted guitar in Wutzitr.flac is really a distorted kantele.

There're three different muted guitars, all real/physical. One of them was sampled in-house.

The "Celtic harp" in Levelr.flac is really a sampled clean electric guitar with strings retuned on each note, to sound more like a harp.

Most strings are a combination of sampled strings with synthesised string backing - which is what gives that "Hexen glow" colour.

A lot of instruments you'd expect to be real aren't, such as bass guitars and the shamisen in Chartr.flac - they're modelled. Also the harp is not real - it's something modelled by AAS String Studio. The piano's modelled too. As much as possible was synthesised to avoid a dead sound typical of low-res samplers.

There's a lot of layering - most warm pads are really a combination of two different synths.

Mixes were edited to fit into each level, e. g. Blechr.flac has a fancy bass guitar that's "caving in" as if it were playing in a stone-walled garden (which Desolate Garden is). Borkr.flac has a spaced-out organ that sounds as if it were playing (and fading) in a large hall, same about strings and drumkit.

Percussion is all very varied, there're three different types of maracas, two guiros, artificial and real hi-hats, different bass kick drums and snares, two different vibraslaps, etc. Timpani and taiko drums are also different (the taiko in Fortr.flac sounds nothing like the one in Rithmr.flac, say).

Chippyr.flac is fully synthesised, there's not a real instrument sample in there. It's also the only place where a fully synthesised (rather than sampled) vox plays.

The vox in most pieces was sampled off the Ensoniq TS-10, the same synthesiser Kevin Schilder owns and had used for the Hexen II/Heretic II soundtracks. The real TS-10 vox plays in CD track 7 of the Portal of Praevus soundtrack.

Sixater.flac and Voidr.flac feature long cabasa scrapes, which are really rare in samplers. Cabasa is a cylinder with metal beads on it, which are scraped rhythmically. Strangely, most samplers (including Roland's own GS/GM drumkits) treat it as a shaker of sorts.

Most mixes stick closely to original instrument definitions, except Grover.flac, which has a fingered bass instead of acoustic - by mistake. It fits though. Also Fubasr.flac has a fancy "windup piano" instead of a regular honky-tonk. It wobbles just like a real honky-tonk, but sounds more like a windup toy. It fits.
Download the Hexen Soundtrack.


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