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Lightning Hunter

OBSOLETE High Quality in-game score for Red Alert & Expansions

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Edit:  This version if now obsolete.  At the time, there was no encoder able to get Stereo Audio files to work (only Mono).  A new version has been released with Stereo support, thanks to the program Audioset created by Blade.  The new version is here:

http://cnc-comm.com/community/index.php?topic=4395.0

 

I never was pleased with the quality of the .AUD files that came with Red Alert, so I took the liberty today of converting the original high-quality soundtrack to better quality AUD files for use in-game.  The original AUD files are 22kHz, 16-bit, Mono.  I have updated them to 48kHz, 16-bit, Mono (from the original soundtrack).  They sound significantly better in my opinion (especially the drums). 

 

Unfortunately, I could not get the files to work in stereo.  The C&C .AUD format does not seem to support stereo; only mono.  Of course, the original Red Alert soundtrack is also in Mono.  As such, the new files still sound much, much better.

 

I uploaded it to Mediafire.  Simply unzip all the files to your main Red Alert folder, and they will automatically update the in-game soundtrack.  I also included a music.ini file that adds the missing files (this file came from FunkyFr3sh reta-exp-music.zip).  There was a strange bug I noticed with FunkyFr3sh's music expansion, in which "Wasteland" would appear in the Red Alert playlist in place of the Crush Remix (I guess Wasteland was previously hidden).  Both of them now appear in the playlist.

 

This pack includes high-quality versions of the original Red Alert tracks, as well as all the expansions.

Download:

https://www.mediafire.com/?a2pkdolc19cdan4

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I forgot to include "Surf No Mercy" and "No Mercy '98" in the ZIP file.  I am currently updating the download link.  The original post will be updated in a few minutes with a new download link (I deleted the old download link for now).

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You can get all tracks in higher quality from Frank Klepacki's site... if you figure out how to get the streamed mp3s ;)

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You can get all tracks in higher quality from Frank Klepacki's site... if you figure out how to get the streamed mp3s ;)

 

This pack already includes all the tracks in higher quality (even the expansions music).  I got them from many sources (including Frank's web site).  For the record, I didn't just take the old tracks and boost the kHz or anything.  I converted the high-quality versions to the .aud format, which works in-game (so you don't have to use an external mp3 player or anything like that).  I did all the work for people here by seeking the best versions of each track on the internet. 

 

I'm surprised more people aren't taking an interest in this thread... I would have thought people wanted a better in-game soundtrack.

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Well, you just mentioned the soundtrack... and as we all know, the soundtrack CD is vastly incomplete.

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Well, you just mentioned the soundtrack... and as we all know, the soundtrack CD is vastly incomplete.

 

Well, I didn't feel like mentioning all the places I found these high quality tracks, because I've accumulated them over many years.  The soundtrack was just one source.  The only track that I could not find an original copy of was "Snake".  Instead, I used a remastered version that I found on youtube a long time ago.  It sounds a bit better than the original.  Oh, and I didn't bother finding a high quality version of "Surf No Mercy", because I don't even care about that track.  :dry:

 

In the end, I believe there are 46 tracks replaced with higher quality versions.  This should be all the tracks of Red Alert, Counterstrike, Aftermath, and Retaliation (Minus the menu and victory themes).  I made sure that all these tracks sound better than the original (I compared them side by side since I am an audiophile). 

 

Maybe I should have just kept this compilation to myself.  XD

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So, um... how did you convert them to 48kHz AUD? I thought there were no tools that could do that.

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Aren't the original high-quality tracks only 44100Hz though? CDs kinda don't do 48kHz.

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Aren't the original high-quality tracks only 44100Hz though? CDs kinda don't do 48kHz.

 

CD Quality is 44,100Hz, you are correct.  I chose 48kHz, because some of the tracks came from sources other than CD, and I wanted to ensure they were converted at the max possible quality.  Even if all the files were originally recorded at 44,100Hz (which is possible/likely), it would not impact the quality to convert them to 48kHz.  They would sound no different either way (just a slightly larger file sizes).  I just wanted to make sure there was no quality loss, no matter what the source was.

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I just realized I may have accidentally figured out something that nobody else knows about the .AUD format in C&C.  Until this point, it is possible that everyone thought it could only support up to 22kHz.  I can see why people would think that, because the .AUD format does NOT support 44kHz!  In fact, if I try to convert a 44kHz wave file using XCC Mixer, it downsamples it to 22kHz.  Heck, even the readme file of WAV2AUD.exe states the following:

 

Note that all the AUD files in C&C and Red Alert are sampled at 22kHz.

  I have tried different sample rates in C&C, and found out that 11kHz

  works but 44kHz doesn't.

  I'd suggest that you use the 22kHz frequency to avoid potential problems.

 

I am guessing that nobody has actually tried 48kHz, because it works flawlessly!  In reality, 44kHz isn't even an option for this high-quality soundtrack.  Upsampling a track to 48kHz is the only way to get the music to play in C&C in high-quality.

 

By the way, I went ahead and made a high-quality version of the menu music, based on the version found on Frank Klepacki's web site.  If anyone wants to test the quality of the entire soundtrack, just download this and place it in your Red Alert folder.  The Menu music will sound much clearer than the original:

https://www.mediafire.com/?hbxzaoiyssaxc45

 

 

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That's actually simply not true, and the fact XCC Mixer refuses to produce it is probably based on that wrong information. Tomsons informed me that you actually got around its resampling logic through a bug; it only resamples the sound to 22050hz if it's exactly 44100hz, but it doesn't actually check higher (or, any other) frequencies.

 

It's a limitation you can get around with a simple one-byte hack, though; I just produced a perfectly working 44100Hz version of the C&C1 main menu theme.

 

In the XCC Mixer.exe for v1.47, the byte change is:

0002C33F: 75 -> EB

(I cheated and looked at the XCC source code to find what to change, but a one-byte hack is still way easier than recompiling XCC  :P)

 

Now if only we could get stereo working. Tomsons got it working for VQAs, but for aud files it doesn't quite seem to work, even after manually correcting the aud file header to let the game know it's stereo. The VQA test proves that XCC can actually produce valid stereo AUD though, and that the game engine can handle playing it, too.

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Pretty cool of you to take the time to get high quality sound working. I'm the guy who wrote the patch to get music.ini (basically adding custom sound) working, based on the idea's from Nyerguds' patch for C&C95.

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Cool, how about Tiberian Dawn? Of course I can use a mp3 player to play those scores anyway...

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That's actually simply not true, and the fact XCC Mixer refuses to produce it is probably based on that wrong information. Tomsons informed me that you actually got around its resampling logic through a bug; it only resamples the sound to 22050hz if it's exactly 44100hz, but it doesn't actually check higher (or, any other) frequencies.

 

It's a limitation you can get around with a simple one-byte hack, though; I just produced a perfectly working 44100Hz version of the C&C1 main menu theme.

 

In the XCC Mixer.exe for v1.47, the byte change is:

0002C33F: 75 -> EB

(I cheated and looked at the XCC source code to find what to change, but a one-byte hack is still way easier than recompiling XCC  :P)

 

Now if only we could get stereo working. Tomsons got it working for VQAs, but for aud files it doesn't quite seem to work, even after manually correcting the aud file header to let the game know it's stereo. The VQA test proves that XCC can actually produce valid stereo AUD though, and that the game engine can handle playing it, too.

 

Interesting...  That makes sense.  Well, if you figure out a way to get Stereo working, I will compile a new version of the soundtrack.  I still have all the original files sitting around, and I'd be happy to do it.

 

Pretty cool of you to take the time to get high quality sound working. I'm the guy who wrote the patch to get music.ini (basically adding custom sound) working, based on the idea's from Nyerguds' patch for C&C95.

 

Well, thank you for adding it!  I've already used all 128 music entries in my own personal music.ini file for Red Alert.  I imported the music from Dune2000, Tiberium Sun, Red Alert 2, and a few tracks from Red Alert 3 (all in high quality).  It's a shame that we can't add more than 128 music files, or I would continue adding more!  I've got a completely different themes.ini for C&C95 with all of Frank Klepacki's albums.

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Cool, how about Tiberian Dawn? Of course I can use a mp3 player to play those scores anyway...

 

I actually already did create a high quality soundtrack for Tiberian Dawn and Covert Operations.  I just haven't released it yet, because I wanted to see if people cared about the Red Alert version first.  The only problem with the Tiberian Dawn version is that I couldn't find high quality versions of Act on Instinct, Stop Them, In Trouble, No Mercy, and Just Do It Up WITHOUT vocals.  In my opinion, the CD versions with talking and vocals do not fit in the game.  Thus, I feel the original tracks are better, even in lower quality.  If someone can find high quality versions of those tracks without vocals, I would include them.

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Oh, I guess the VQA thing must've been with UGordan's VQA Encoder, not with XCC... in other words, the VQA Encoder can definitely make correct stereo AUD (since the audio inside VQAs is the same format as the AUD files). The fact it's disabled in XCC despite the internals containing code for making stereo aud might mean that Olaf didn't get it working right.

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Oh, I guess the VQA thing must've been with UGordan's VQA Encoder, not with XCC... in other words, the VQA Encoder can definitely make correct stereo AUD (since the audio inside VQAs is the same format as the AUD files). The fact it's disabled in XCC despite the internals containing code for making stereo aud might mean that Olaf didn't get it working right.

 

Honestly, I have no clue what a VQA encoder is.  Are you saying I can currently create Stereo AUD files with it that work in Red Alert?  If so, where can I download it?

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Uh... VQA is the game's video format. :huh:

 

Well, I've never messed with Video files, so I wouldn't know.  Are you saying we can possibly convert the music to VQA format, and somehow convert that to an AUD file in stereo?  Wouldn't we have to extract the sound content from the video file somehow?

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Hey Iran, I noticed that with your patch, the music sometimes stops altogether when I load a saved game during gameplay.  This does not happen when I load a game from the menu, but If I'm already playing a game and load a previous saved game, the music will stop on occasion.  I have "random starting song" enabled, as well as "shuffle" in options.  with Nyergud's patch in Tiberian Dawn, the game will randomly pick a new track each time a game is loaded.  I think this should be the case in Red Alert also.

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Well, I've never messed with Video files, so I wouldn't know.  Are you saying we can possibly convert the music to VQA format, and somehow convert that to an AUD file in stereo?  Wouldn't we have to extract the sound content from the video file somehow?

Seems contrived, since VQA saves the data as alternating small blocks of audio and video.

 

I could see if I can reach ugordan by email, though...

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Bit off topic, but if you go manage to get in touch with ugordan, could you ask if he would consider open sourcing the VQA encoder? I'd like to have a go at making at making the command line version cross platform and if he used existing LCW code rather than writing his own I could probably improve the compression slightly too for a given quality. I've tried e-mailing him myself with no reply, but maybe he just doesn't trust the intentions of random people on the internet.

 

Programatically you probably could get all the audio blocks from a VQA and stitch them together into an AUD file, but if you were going to go to that trouble, just write a new encoder as the AUD format is quite well understood and doesn't seem particularly complicated.

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Because its so simple everyone assumes someone else must be doing it already ;) I'll get round to it eventually I guess.

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