Complete Marathon 1 Music Remaster

Show off all of your Marathon-related art and music here.

Complete Marathon 1 Music Remaster

Post Oct 18th '16, 05:25

It took me a couple weeks of on-and-off work.. But I eventually came up with this 16-track complete conversion project for Marathon 1's in-game music. It is designed to be as close to the original work as possible, while being a modern rendition of it. Possibly what Alex Seropian would have wanted the soundtrack to be like if computers could run it in 1994.
About 2/3 of the tracks I recreated note-by-note, and by ear. The other 1/3 I found MIDI files for on the internet, and made some adjustments as I saw fit. Some notes may be the slightest bit off! But overall, it's quite accurate.

https://soundcloud.com/will-christian-2/sets/marathon-1-soundtrack-modern

It (should be) completely downloadable, and will work flawlessly with M1A1, with some moderately basic audio conversion skills.

If audio isn't your thing, here's a guide for how to run these in your copy of M1A1:

1) Download each file (extension will be .m4a - Apple lossless format)

2) Use iTunes (or other program) that will read .m4a files, and convert them to .wav

2.5) If you have a program that will convert .m4a to .ogg, use that.

3) Use Audacity (free) to convert each of these .wav files to .ogg (the format Aleph One uses.)

4) Delete the song title from the filename, just leaving the two-digit track number, and the .ogg. Example:
09 Leela.ogg becomes 09.ogg. Replace the 16 existing files in the M1A1/Music folder with the new files.

If you need any specific help, shoot me a private message, and I'll be happy to help you when I'm available.

(I am also working on a visual enhancement mod for the Marathon trilogy as well, making glowmaps for lights, lava, goo, and fine tuning their brightness values to be realistic and playable!)
djkontraktor

Post Oct 19th '16, 18:31

Nice work, your take on "Splash" was especially interesting.
User avatar

General Tacticus

Post Oct 19th '16, 19:32

Thanks. My influence on this take of "Splash" was from 80's rock and metal, i.e. Van Halen, Metallica. But, I don't play guitar, so I used a sampler patch with a guitar sound, and played it through some amp crunch distortion. It got the job done fairly well.
djkontraktor

Post Oct 23rd '16, 03:50

General Feelings
So I heard pretty much all the ones I hated first so at first I was going to blast you. Thankfully it got so much better with tracks I didn't expect so I do have a few things to say. First off many of the songs had a problem of having too much high end (~4~6khz on up) and sounded painfully airy. To be fair, most of the songs in the M1 soundtrack were weighted pretty heavily up there but if this is a remaster, this should be balanced right.

Songs in order:

"Aliens Again" is good. But nothing incredible. Of course, it never was that and this is a as true to OG take of the piece. One of the few tracks that isn't too airy. Oddly enough just adding a tiny amount of noise would make this sound great IMO. It's too clean for a song that's meant to be clashing with you all the time. I do mean tiny though.

"Chomber" I like, but that bit of mechanical organ noise bothers me as it distracts from hearing the octaves which I felt was the defining part of the piece. Slightly airy but not in a bad way. About the top of what I'd consider acceptable. Otherwise pretty good.

"Fatman". Oh "Fatman. The instrument change is fine (although again, mechanical organ noise is quite distracting to me) but that's not my biggest gripe with this song. Despite its name, "Fatman" is supposed to be frenetic. I was curious as too what it would sound like if it were slower but I always in my mind built it back up to its fast roots. "Fatman" isn't about feeling slow, its about feeling that your "fast" isn't fast enough. Now that I've ranted enough, its actually mixed and mastered very well. No complaints there.

"Flippant" grew on me. Honestly the only change I'd make is make the solo at 0:35 start out with more of a wet reverb sound transitioning to dry. Better than my first impressions of it though which were wow this is in my face.

"Flowers in Heaven". With the noisy bass you took, its hard to capture the sadness of the original. Its too aggressive to make you feel like you are in some kind of funeral march. Embrace the sadness man.

"Freedom". Freaking incredible. This is sooo good. Probably my favorite piece you've done here. Top tier quality too.

"Guardians". You took a risk here with the violin sound. I can appreciate that. This is one where maybe a little larger of a reverb is in order for that one as the original sound is fairly "wet". (I'll admit that might be stretching the use of the term). Also maybe a touch more bass.

"Landing". Not a big fan of the noisy bass in general. Don't like it here don't like it where you used it elsewhere. It takes up too much attention IMO from the rest of the track. Otherwise you captured the sound of the original fairly well. You even removed the old mixing mistake in this track. This track might sound better with a little bit of noise but not sure about that.

"Leela". You put in a very synth sounding guitar. Don't have much more to say. I honestly think there is room for heavy sounding guitars in Marathon. While I'm not a big fan of of this sound in this song I do like the sound. In the end, I'd personally would have made two versions of this track but this is your rodeo. Props have to be given for the experimentation.

"New Pacific" and "New Pacific (Reprise)" both suffer from the same problem. The high end is loud enough to cause a headache and I couldn't even sit through it before having to turn it off to keep my ears from screaming in pain. Cut down the high end in the mix a ton and mix this again. Sounds right but its hard to be objective with something that blatantly wrong. Reprise is slightly better in this regard but tone it down there too.

"Rapture". A little too wet of a reverb and a little too much high end but otherwise pretty good. Love the flute sound though. Marathon needs more winds.

"Rushing" has a similar sound to "Freedom". Unsurprisingly I adore this track. It also does the high end mix well, which is worth noting.

"Splash" sounds a lot better with the guitar sound. It would be better with a real guitarist and with some experimentation on the amp/pedals BUT this is good for guitar. Quite nice actually.

"Swirls" is the other super sad song in this soundtrack. This one doesn't sound sad cause its a little too detached, caused by too much reverb and too much airy top end. Make this darker and it will shine.

"What about Bob" I normally hate noisy bass but here its used beautifully. I didn't enjoy this track as much in the original but this version is easily top 3 if not a contender for favorite track you've done.

Hope this review helps you in future projects. I'll be around to discuss this if you want more details.
tawlney
A place

Post Oct 23rd '16, 21:08

Hmm what equipment are you using to listen to listen to these? I've listened to these in my monitor headphones and on my stereo system, and I don't find the high end searing. Maybe a bit on the alien tracks. Hey, to each their own. Maybe I'm going deaf. At least I know my time wasn't completely wasted on this project.
djkontraktor

Post Oct 24th '16, 00:56

Actually I do kind of see what you mean now. It's just a certain resonance in the synths that rings loudly on certain speakers. It shows more through my laptop's speakers. It can start ringing pretty loudly.
Unfortunately it would be very difficult and time consuming for me to go back and EQ out all of these resonant frequencies, as the program I used (Reason 4) only has 2 band equalizers (plus two shelves which I try to avoid). I end up stacking 8 equalizers together just for one instrument, and even then, their frequency scale is not linear and not very precise (I horizontal pixel of movement can significantly change the band frequency).
What I could do is ReWire every instrument from every song to its own channel in another DAW with better equalizers, but that's very time consuming and I just don't have that kind of time to dedicate to a weekend project like this. (Plus my neighbors hate when I turn on my sub so I try not to use it much, limiting my ability to get good bass).
djkontraktor

Post Oct 26th '16, 06:57

Aaaah I feel you there, 2 band Eq's would make that a hell of a lot harder.
To answer your question I'm listening to this on a Skullcandy Aviator. It has a slight boost around 9k~`0k due to its design and that sounds about right. Also for just a weekend project its pretty good. Given the time you spent, there were going to be hits and misses.
tawlney
A place

Post Oct 26th '16, 07:20

Very true. I'm a producer for a group actually, and have a good amount of my own tracks out on another Soundcloud. Sometime when I have the time and energy, I'll probably mix these remakes better. When playing these tracks in the actual game, the old sound effects mostly drown out the music and make it sound a hell of a lot better.
djkontraktor

Post Oct 29th '16, 02:04

Right and most of the weapons in the M1 universe fill the mid to low high range out anyways. So balancing it out such quieter there makes a lot of sense. I'll try it out in game next weekend and see how it sounds there.
tawlney
A place

Post Oct 29th '16, 03:18

Thanks. Unless I was working for Bungie on a Marathon remake (still waiting on that remake!), I don't think I'd even waste my time on perfection. Marathon is about as developed as possible in the 2.5D world. Also, sound mods, etc are practically impossible without a 90's Mac.
djkontraktor

Post Dec 17th '16, 23:56

djkontraktor, would you be able to add these to a zip file and upload it to google/mega/dropbox? I don't have a soundcloud account, and it would be more convenient for myself and others just to download a single file.
Zetren
Ireland

Post Dec 21st '16, 00:43

Sure.

***UPDATE****
For those looking for a simple drag-n-drop replacement for M1A1's music files with my own, as heard on SoundCloud, here is the download link. No coding necessary, just replace your existing .ogg files in Aleph One's music directory. If you want to keep the original music, be sure to make a backup before replacing!
http://www.filedropper.com/djkontraktorsm1musicremakes
djkontraktor


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