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Final Fantasy VII AWE Ripping

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First post, by gigatek

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Hi,

I want to rip the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack in AWE32 version with the soundfonts and I would like to know the easiest ways to do it since I don't have an old gaming PC or an AWE32 card, as a newbie I don't know a lot of old hardware and midis, but from what I've found the easiest way seems to be to rip in-game music by emulating the AWE32 card with Timidity++ or DOSBOX or PCEM, so if there are good tutorials or even simpler methods it would help me, or if someone has ripped them it would be great (even a few tracks especially Still More Fighting and Judgment Day).

I'm aiming for AWE32 rather than AWE64 because on the few AWE64 tracks I've listened to there is way too much echo / reverb for my taste whereas on an AWE32 track recorded with Timidity++ there was much less echo /reverb, I also wonder if there are audible differences between the emulation and the real AWE32 card.

Thanks.

Reply 1 of 27, by Pickle

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I think the general opinion is that FF7 was meant to be played with the yamaha XG midi. I know my copy would detect the yamaha XG software in win9X.
There are some instruments that are changed for some tracks like the final boss song (from what i recall reading).
But this might be a good option as this would work in any win9x virtual environment and then you could record the sound output in way you want.

you might use pcem which has awe32 emulation. No idea on how close it matches the real midi rom.
Timidity uses patches or soundfonts. so unless that file emulates awe32 in some way its likely just a GM implementation.
falco midi player has quite a few features, ive used it to record midi commands. If you had the midi file then you could play it anywhere with any soundfont.
if you have a PC with at least PCI then with Sound blaster Live / Audigy you could play back midi with any soundfont that fits in memory.

Check out https://github.com/julianxhokaxhiu/FFNx Ive used this to run FF7 in wine. Might help you if you only have a modern PC.

Reply 2 of 27, by S95Sedan

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Here are some of the tracks you listed on original hardware (both the AWE and XG version) incase you want to compare them to a VST/emulated hardware.

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Reply 3 of 27, by gigatek

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Pickle wrote on 2022-09-22, 18:43:
I think the general opinion is that FF7 was meant to be played with the yamaha XG midi. I know my copy would detect the yamaha X […]
Show full quote

I think the general opinion is that FF7 was meant to be played with the yamaha XG midi. I know my copy would detect the yamaha XG software in win9X.
There are some instruments that are changed for some tracks like the final boss song (from what i recall reading).
But this might be a good option as this would work in any win9x virtual environment and then you could record the sound output in way you want.

you might use pcem which has awe32 emulation. No idea on how close it matches the real midi rom.
Timidity uses patches or soundfonts. so unless that file emulates awe32 in some way its likely just a GM implementation.
falco midi player has quite a few features, ive used it to record midi commands. If you had the midi file then you could play it anywhere with any soundfont.
if you have a PC with at least PCI then with Sound blaster Live / Audigy you could play back midi with any soundfont that fits in memory.

Check out https://github.com/julianxhokaxhiu/FFNx Ive used this to run FF7 in wine. Might help you if you only have a modern PC.

Thank you, PCEM seems to be the most user friendly to me, but currently I can't launch FFVII with it and load the custom soundfonts (unless it loads them automatically when we choose AWE but I don't think so), for PCI Sound blaster Live / Audigy cards I'm pretty sure I read a topic here that said it sounds different from the AWE32/64 cards, but maybe there are clones of the AWE32 card in PCI?

Reply 4 of 27, by gigatek

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S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-23, 09:20:

Here are some of the tracks you listed on original hardware (both the AWE and XG version) incase you want to compare them to a VST/emulated hardware.

Thank you, for the XG versions it's ok (I have a rip with a Yamaha MU90 and one with a DB50XG card and another that I made with foobar2000 and the yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth), I really like the most tracks but for some I prefer AWE with soundfonts. Thanks a lot for the AWE tracks, unfortunately they are recorded without the custom soundfonts, the ones that are included with the game (especially the 4MB one "FF7.sf2"), I was talking about those versions (I should have been more specific).

Reply 5 of 27, by Joseph_Joestar

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If anyone wants to record the FF7 OST using an AWE card, I've posted some instructions here. Basically, you need to set the game up like this:

file.php?id=98613&mode=view

That way, the custom soundfont which comes with the game will be used. Note that you need at least 4MB RAM on your AWE card for this to work correctly.

P.S.

I'm referring to real hardware as I have no experience with emulation of these cards.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 6 of 27, by Pickle

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thanks for mentioning that i didnt realize they were using the sound font feature for awe hardware.

another option that might be interesting is using the roland serial midi driver. A device like mt32pi supports serial input and could play the tunes with any soundfont.

Reply 8 of 27, by chuky

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By default the Awe 64 driver puts a ton of reverb on midi but you can turn it off in the Creative Wavesynth/WG options, in the control tab. btw the Playstation version also has a ton of reverb on the cursor sound when you're in menus. You can also turn the reverb off in the Creative Mixer, there's a small icon for reverb.

The Yamaha softsynth also has choirs for Sephiroth's song. There's even 2 version of the softsynth in the softsynthetizer's options, the XGlite and XG soft with different instruments sounds. I think the XGlite has the better instruments but the XG soft has more effects and better numbers for quality.

I recently bought a Yamaha YMF744, the chip says Yamaha XG on it. Is there a way to make use of it in Final Fantasy 7 instead of the softsynth ?

Reply 9 of 27, by RiverBoa

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chuky wrote on 2022-09-24, 01:21:

By default the Awe 64 driver puts a ton of reverb on midi but you can turn it off in the Creative Wavesynth/WG options, in the control tab. btw the Playstation version also has a ton of reverb on the cursor sound when you're in menus. You can also turn the reverb off in the Creative Mixer, there's a small icon for reverb.

The Yamaha softsynth also has choirs for Sephiroth's song. There's even 2 version of the softsynth in the softsynthetizer's options, the XGlite and XG soft with different instruments sounds. I think the XGlite has the better instruments but the XG soft has more effects and better numbers for quality.

I recently bought a Yamaha YMF744, the chip says Yamaha XG on it. Is there a way to make use of it in Final Fantasy 7 instead of the softsynth ?

I believe you can set it in the setupmenu. I have a PCI card with an XG in it and I believe that's how I set it up.

Reply 10 of 27, by Joseph_Joestar

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chuky wrote on 2022-09-24, 01:21:

I recently bought a Yamaha YMF744, the chip says Yamaha XG on it. Is there a way to make use of it in Final Fantasy 7 instead of the softsynth ?

If you want to use your YMF744 then don't install the XG softsynth which comes with FF7. The game should automatically recognize your sound card and offer an XG music option from the MIDI setup menu.

Note that you may need to use VxD drivers (not WDM) for this to work. I recommend version 4.07.1040 which is available from Phil's website. You may also need to ensure that the various XG settings are enabled in the Yamaha driver options under Control Panel:

file.php?id=106643&mode=view

I have to say, the FF7 XG soundtrack is very unique. It's a bit different from the PlayStation original, but not in a bad way. If you want a sample, here's my recording of the FF7 fighting theme on a YMF744 card.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 11 of 27, by S95Sedan

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gigatek wrote on 2022-09-23, 18:23:
S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-23, 09:20:

Here are some of the tracks you listed on original hardware (both the AWE and XG version) incase you want to compare them to a VST/emulated hardware.

Thank you, for the XG versions it's ok (I have a rip with a Yamaha MU90 and one with a DB50XG card and another that I made with foobar2000 and the yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth), I really like the most tracks but for some I prefer AWE with soundfonts. Thanks a lot for the AWE tracks, unfortunately they are recorded without the custom soundfonts, the ones that are included with the game (especially the 4MB one "FF7.sf2"), I was talking about those versions (I should have been more specific).

Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes)

But yeah as stated above, one winged angel requires some mixing to add in the choirs if you were to run them outside of the game, think i did it a while back but need to look into it for the proper setup.
Should be in the LB2.SF2 - Bank 115 - C5 to F5.

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Reply 12 of 27, by gigatek

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S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-24, 11:48:
Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes) […]
Show full quote
gigatek wrote on 2022-09-23, 18:23:
S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-23, 09:20:

Here are some of the tracks you listed on original hardware (both the AWE and XG version) incase you want to compare them to a VST/emulated hardware.

Thank you, for the XG versions it's ok (I have a rip with a Yamaha MU90 and one with a DB50XG card and another that I made with foobar2000 and the yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth), I really like the most tracks but for some I prefer AWE with soundfonts. Thanks a lot for the AWE tracks, unfortunately they are recorded without the custom soundfonts, the ones that are included with the game (especially the 4MB one "FF7.sf2"), I was talking about those versions (I should have been more specific).

Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes)

But yeah as stated above, one winged angel requires some mixing to add in the choirs if you were to run them outside of the game, think i did it a while back but need to look into it for the proper setup.
Should be in the LB2.SF2 - Bank 115 - C5 to F5.

Thank you, it's recorded with an actual AWE32 card right?, if so then it confirms that there is too much reverb with the AWE64, here is "Still more Fighting" with an AWE64 Gold to compare: https://youtu.be/sndTUKlQkpU

Reply 13 of 27, by gigatek

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Thank you all, it's very interesting, I would say I tend to prefer a more "authentic" experience (as it sounded at the time) so leave the reverb and other effects as they are. For the other cards / hardware everything interests me especially if it was available at the time, for example for the XG version of Still more Fighting I think that the part around 40s is lacking of "punch" and that the "square-wave" in the part around 1min01 sounds less "epic" to me, so if these two parts can sound different with other XG cards / hardware It would be very nice too, for the moment I have listened to them in DB50XG, DB60XG, SW1000XG, MU80, MU90, and S-YXG70.

Reply 14 of 27, by S95Sedan

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gigatek wrote on 2022-09-24, 20:01:
S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-24, 11:48:
Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes) […]
Show full quote
gigatek wrote on 2022-09-23, 18:23:

Thank you, for the XG versions it's ok (I have a rip with a Yamaha MU90 and one with a DB50XG card and another that I made with foobar2000 and the yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth), I really like the most tracks but for some I prefer AWE with soundfonts. Thanks a lot for the AWE tracks, unfortunately they are recorded without the custom soundfonts, the ones that are included with the game (especially the 4MB one "FF7.sf2"), I was talking about those versions (I should have been more specific).

Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes)

But yeah as stated above, one winged angel requires some mixing to add in the choirs if you were to run them outside of the game, think i did it a while back but need to look into it for the proper setup.
Should be in the LB2.SF2 - Bank 115 - C5 to F5.

Thank you, it's recorded with an actual AWE32 card right?, if so then it confirms that there is too much reverb with the AWE64, here is "Still more Fighting" with an AWE64 Gold to compare: https://youtu.be/sndTUKlQkpU

Yes, its recorded on a CT3900 with Dsp 4.04, same card as posted here; Re: Sound Blaster: From best to worst

It still be wary without verifying, by default on the AWE32 theres chorus and reverb enabled aswell (its off in the recording), could be the case for the AWE64 aswell.
Though i dont own that card so cant check.

Reply 15 of 27, by Zup

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I used Final Fantasy VII with a Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, so three things I remember:
- Although FF7 had a built-in soundfont utility, it didn't work with AWE64. You had to load the soundfont using the card utility before running FF7.
- Some tracks had "sound effects" embedded. Besides that vocals/choirs mentioned, the "Chocobo Race" song had a instrument that was the chocobo sound. As GM can't load user sounds, that effects are missing from GM music.
- I tried to convert some songs to wav files. My setup was using timidity++ (that lets you load soundfonts and save as WAV) using the biggest FF7 AWE soundfont and the original MID files (they could be ripped from a data file). I'm not sure if that's the best way, because maybe timidity lacked some of the options of AWE64 (or treated it differently) but it worked.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 16 of 27, by Joseph_Joestar

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Zup wrote on 2022-09-25, 17:55:

I used Final Fantasy VII with a Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, so three things I remember:
- Although FF7 had a built-in soundfont utility, it didn't work with AWE64. You had to load the soundfont using the card utility before running FF7.

I had similar issues on my AWE64 Gold but I managed to make it work after applying the latest driver update from Creative's website. With that, and the utility from the FF7 CD, the custom soundfont does load automatically, and everything works correctly including the vocals in Sephiroth's theme.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 17 of 27, by gigatek

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S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-25, 14:19:
Yes, its recorded on a CT3900 with Dsp 4.04, same card as posted here; Re: Sound Blaster: From best to worst […]
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gigatek wrote on 2022-09-24, 20:01:
S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-24, 11:48:

Yeah, these are without that SF2, below are those with the soundfont loaded. (3,660,750 bytes)

But yeah as stated above, one winged angel requires some mixing to add in the choirs if you were to run them outside of the game, think i did it a while back but need to look into it for the proper setup.
Should be in the LB2.SF2 - Bank 115 - C5 to F5.

Thank you, it's recorded with an actual AWE32 card right?, if so then it confirms that there is too much reverb with the AWE64, here is "Still more Fighting" with an AWE64 Gold to compare: https://youtu.be/sndTUKlQkpU

Yes, its recorded on a CT3900 with Dsp 4.04, same card as posted here; Re: Sound Blaster: From best to worst

It still be wary without verifying, by default on the AWE32 theres chorus and reverb enabled aswell (its off in the recording), could be the case for the AWE64 aswell.
Though i dont own that card so cant check.

so the reverb and chorus are disabled in these tracks, the reverb doesn't bother me as long as it is less strong than that of AWE64 from the link I posted, if you could record them with reverb & chorus that would be great too (and better to compare of course, since it seemed less strong from what I heard with Timidity++)

Reply 18 of 27, by gigatek

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Zup wrote on 2022-09-25, 17:55:

I'm not sure if that's the best way, because maybe timidity lacked some of the options of AWE64 (or treated it differently) but it worked.

That's what I think too, this is why emulation interests me more, there are also the ROM samples but I'm not sure that Timidity++ handles them, although there are soundfonts for that like these: https://github.com/tcaudilllg/FF7Sound

Edit: I just realized that you were talking about using Timidity++ especially to record in wav with an actual AWE64 card, so it's different.

Reply 19 of 27, by S95Sedan

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gigatek wrote on 2022-09-25, 18:44:
S95Sedan wrote on 2022-09-25, 14:19:
Yes, its recorded on a CT3900 with Dsp 4.04, same card as posted here; Re: Sound Blaster: From best to worst […]
Show full quote
gigatek wrote on 2022-09-24, 20:01:

Thank you, it's recorded with an actual AWE32 card right?, if so then it confirms that there is too much reverb with the AWE64, here is "Still more Fighting" with an AWE64 Gold to compare: https://youtu.be/sndTUKlQkpU

Yes, its recorded on a CT3900 with Dsp 4.04, same card as posted here; Re: Sound Blaster: From best to worst

It still be wary without verifying, by default on the AWE32 theres chorus and reverb enabled aswell (its off in the recording), could be the case for the AWE64 aswell.
Though i dont own that card so cant check.

so the reverb and chorus are disabled in these tracks, the reverb doesn't bother me as long as it is less strong than that of AWE64 from the link I posted, if you could record them with reverb & chorus that would be great too (and better to compare of course, since it seemed less strong from what I heard with Timidity++)

It doesnt work like that, you cant compare tracks with those enabled as there are about 15 settings of each.
Like i said you need a clean awe64 track aswell if you truely want a proper comparison.