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The Finest

Here is another little something that we didn't get to a while back:

Final Fantasy Finest Box

This six-disc boxset features the music from "Final Fantasy IV Advance", "Final Fantasy V Advance" and "Final Fantasy VI Advance". These, of course, are the GBA versions of the games. This was a promotional item which was given to fans who sent away proof of purchase coupons from the games. Time to relive some old memories (GBA-synth style)!

posted by Godai on 04 August

comments

comment #1

Ooooh Nice, thanks :)

comment posted by leingod on 04 August

comment #2

...

I'm speechless. You're digging out some nice rarities. Thank you!

comment posted by EGO on 04 August

comment #3

My wiener scintillates with ecstasy.

comment posted by Narf! on 04 August

comment #4

This is tremendously cool. Never thought I would have the chance to hear these outside my Nintendo DS.

comment posted by Jeriaska on 04 August

comment #5

Wow, I wasn't expecting this! Many many thanks

comment posted by Argentis on 04 August

comment #6

You said FFIV twice. I think you meant to say FFVI.

comment posted by Shpank on 04 August

comment #7

Indeed I did.

comment posted by Godai on 04 August

comment #8

OMG! I can't believe my eyes! Thank you very much for releasing this! :D

comment posted by Win on 04 August

comment #9

Yeah, I agree with Argentis, I wasn't expecting this either, but nevertheless, I love you guys. More Final Fantasy to the people :)

comment posted by Gameguardian on 04 August

comment #10

Whoa. I never thought this would get released. Great job, guys!

Now to find cover art...

comment posted by Desides on 04 August

comment #11

Thanks for this, but the sound quality is rather bad. I guess gba sound is not fit for mp3. really, the sound quality sucks, more so considering the encoding settings... There's A LOT of "ringing" and smearing in the sound :S, not proper of LAME 3.97 at V0 vbr

This might be taboo, but, for once, maybe you could give a shot at a vorbis encoding, as an exception for stuff that just doesn't sound good in mp3, like this. Am I the only one that noticed this?
Maybe it would work too if you try --vbr instead of --vbr-new (as far as I know, the "new" vbr mode is just a speed optimization, and it MAY affect encoding quality)

comment posted by radorn on 04 August

comment #12

radorn:

What you are likely hearing is the GBA's poor reconstruction filter. I like the GBA's synth, but the DAC is utter crap. The music will sound ringy and hashy no matter what encoding is used.

comment posted by deviant. on 04 August

comment #13

radorn, you're confusing the quality of the rip with the quality of the source material. The GBA doesn't exactly have the most advanced sound processor around, and it had to cope with tracks composed for the SNES' legendary SPC700 sound chip.

Your disappointment is best directed at Nintendo's hardware engineers, not Square-Enix's outsourced sound programmer(s).

comment posted by Desides on 04 August

comment #14

I just encoded a couple of wav's generated from tracks of the GSF set for FF5 GBA (wich sound the same as the CD, except for sound cleaning as it must have been done by Square, of course), to vorbis aotuvr1 -q6 and lame 3.97 with your same settings except that I tried both --vbr-new and --vbr (the old, slower, higher quality version), and I could not reproduce results even similar to yours. It sounds as it should.

I don't understand at all how this release can sound so bad, it is not normal for a #gamemp3s' release, you guys have always made quality releases, so I'm wondering if it isn't the very source CD wich is wrong to begin with, cause it really sound quite bad, and I think it's not LAME's fault now I did some (not thorough) testing.

comment posted by radorn on 04 August

comment #15

So you're blaming the ripper, who seems to be named dancey?

comment posted by Ammerel on 04 August

comment #16

Desides, I apreciate your intention, but I think you are wrong. The GBA has not a premium sound system, I know that:
6 channels of wich 4 are replicas of the original GB sound system (2 square waves, a triangle wave and a noise channel, or maybe one of the squares was a lowbit pcm channel), and then 2 low resolution PCM channels... That can't sound crystal clear no matter how you program it, but I'm not talking about low tech sound, nor am I blaming Square-Enix sound team.
I am talking about introduced sound artifacts, like "ringing", wich is common in lossy compression formats like mp3, vorbis, etc, wich normally appear on low-bitrate encodes... and also when the codec is not well tuned to some types of sounds, and GBA sound system's low quality sound, wich introduces a lot of noise, could be one of those.
Furthermore, I already know how the GBA, and also those games, sound, and ringing is not part of the original sound, so it should have been added at some point during the transfer from the GBA to the #gamemp3s release.
Maybe it's already on the CD, or maybe it was LAME wich introduced it. I don't know for sure.
I also mentioned that I just made some testing on my own (although that was before I saw your response to my first comment) to try to see where was the problem, but to no avail.

Concluding: I know how GBA sounds, I know it is not precisely HIGH-END audio, but the distortion heard in this MP3 set doesn't belong to the GBA, it must come from somewhere else, maybe the MP3 encoding process or maybe the source CD, but it's absolutelly not on the GBA.

comment posted by radorn on 04 August

comment #17

These are how the CDs sound. Our encoding has nothing to do with it. It would not make a difference what format it was in.

comment posted by Godai on 04 August

comment #18

Wow, yeah, there IS a lot of pinging in the audio... but I doubt it's from the encoding, since most gamemp3 releases are just fine. Maybe it is in the original recording, and that's why they never really released it?
Unfortunately it's really too much for me to be able to enjoy it.

comment posted by Cheezeman3000 on 04 August

comment #19

Well, yeah, exactly what Godai said ;).

comment posted by Cheezeman3000 on 04 August

comment #20

I feared that since my test encodes showed no problems at all...
It's a shame Square made such a bad quality release :| I wonder what they did to "achieve" it. as I said, even the available GSF set sounds better, even with it not proffesionally filtered (a lot of noise, even with cubic resampling, but that's how the GBA sounds anyway) and mastered.

Thanks, and sorry for filling the comments... I have the habit of writting a lot to make sure I leave everything well tied.

comment posted by radorn on 04 August

comment #21

I agree with radorn. The sound quality is really bad.
And I am sure the gameboy advanced sound itself sound much better through my headphone than this CD since I have the games played on my gameboy advanced especially FF4. Are you sure the encoding from the CD is done right?
I think not!
But nevertheless I am glas you will post this CD! That must be said.
Please check this out because I now how the FF games sounds on a gameboy since I own the games myself!!!

comment posted by Worp3 on 04 August

comment #22

You can hear slush sounds on track 2 right in the beginning!!!!
You hear it very good through a headphone.
And there are more tracks which contains slush sounds!
The original on the GBA doesn't have slush sounds!
Please Godai give it a listen.
Maybe you agree.
And that is what radorn means.

(Off Topic!) I hope the Granado Espado CD is for sale somewhere....When that is I will buy this CD...very good OST and also great game...

comment posted by Worp3 on 04 August

comment #23

If there's a CD release that sounds better it was likely recorded from a better source. The simple fact of the matter is that the GBA has very noisy sound. If you can't hear it in headphones you might need better headphones. ;)

While it is true that lossy encoders can have trouble with noise (tape hiss etc.), I sincerely doubt that V0 LAME has any trouble with it.

comment posted by deviant. on 04 August

comment #24

Yeah, I'm listening to the tracks atm and its very noticable, however there's nothing we can do about and I really doubt its the encode work of #gamemp3s. I mean, according to the nfo file (yes I read nfos), dancey should have encoded it correctly with the command lines #gamemp3s usually uses.

Unless, the original source was not the actual CD, rather a bootleg or low to high bitrate encode. After all this CD is almost impossible to get.

I still like the Original Soundtrack/Version over the GBA, because I haven't played the GBA version yet. Regardless of all that, thanks for the rarity upload!

comment posted by leingod on 04 August

comment #25

Worp3, Maybe you didn't understand the first time. This is how the CD is, this has NOTHING to do with the encoding. Blame Square Enix.

comment posted by Godai on 05 August

comment #26

Raped GBA versions of the original game tunes from the 90s, which are from a time when Square was still good. Me ol' 'art aches ;_;

comment posted by Mazinger on 05 August

comment #27

Good thing we all have the original SNES OSTs to fall back on.

comment posted by Brant on 05 August

comment #28

Here's a FLAC of a recording of my personal GBA with FF IV. You'll notice it still sounds pooptacular. SOrry about the Megaupload; it's all I have. :\

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=0GVVKCUD

comment posted by deviant. on 05 August

comment #29

Upon further listening, it seems like Squeenix added reverb/delay that's really exacerbating any noise artifacts as well.

comment posted by deviant. on 05 August

comment #30

There is nothing wrong with the rip, but you're more than welcome to spend 250$ on the box set and rip it ogg for yourself. Here's a link:

http://search3.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/search/auc?p=FF+FINEST&auccat=2084006975&alocale=0jp&acc=jp

It's GBA synth quality, get over it.

comment posted by dancey on 05 August

comment #31

Nice one, thank you very much! :D Since rips from the games themselves (not exactly rips, but recordings using an RCA cable to connect the SNes to a cassette recorder) where all we had in my late teenage years (pretty long time ago), I really do not mind about the GameBoy Advance's quality of sound... and this compilation suits me perfectly.

comment posted by Aisling on 05 August

comment #32

Oke Godai I understand.
If you have give it to try to compare the original with the encoding then I believe you!
I understand perfectly.
I only agree with radorn that what he said is right there is indeed something not right with the recordings!
I only wanted to now if it is on the original too.
You give me the answer and i am satisfied....
Thanks for the upload Godai.

comment posted by Worp3 on 05 August

comment #33

>6 channels of wich 4 are replicas of the original GB sound system (2 >square waves, a triangle wave and a noise channel, or maybe one of >the squares was a lowbit pcm channel), and then 2 low resolution PCM channels...

I'm comletely derailing, but don't FFIV-VI advance, like many GBA games, employ software-based ADPCM channels? (I'm really sorry if you are aware of that)

comment posted by Cedille on 05 August

comment #34

Like it has already been said, it's SE fault for mastering the audio. It's like they literally hook up a GBA audio cable into a (PC input) recorder, use a horrible noise filter, press their CDs and release/give it away. I wish SE would had gone the same route when they release the FFTA, Mario 3on3 and FF3 soundtracks.

Anyway, thanks for the release.

comment posted by BigCN401 on 05 August

comment #35

A lot of you should type of your posts in Word before posting. You're terrible at spelling, the lot of you.

Great rip #gamemp3s keep up the good work.

comment posted by Spelling Bee on 06 August

comment #36

Quit complaining it's free. Not only that but this guy dancey took the time and effort (and Hella Cash) to hook this up for everybody, and you complain over the way it sounds, really man it is Game-boy what were you expecting the Philharmonic.

Great job dancey keep up the good work GMP3s

comment posted by Bromeus on 06 August

comment #37

Hi again:

First, Godai, to clear any doubt there may have been:
I'm grateful for your work, and for releasing this so we can enjoy it. THANK YOU!! GRACIAS, MI AMIGO!! (I'm from Spain ;)

Now, for anyone that was reading earlier, at first I just mentioned mp3 encoding flaws because the kind of distortion present in the recording was ringing, wich is proper of lossy encodings (but not in such high bitrates, wich disturbed me). Since I didn't know, I just presented all posibilities I could think would cause the low quality issues, including the possibility of the problem being already in the source CDs.
I just knew the kind of distortion I heard in this release was not in the GBA, so it should have appeared somewhere in between the GBA and the mp3 I had access to (thanks to you), wich is what prompted me to talk about it.

Now, it is been confirmed by you that the problem indeed is in the CDs, so it settles the thing.
I actually undestood it the first time you said "These are how the CDs sound", but since it seems my comments have spurred a bit of discussion, I felt a bit responsible and decided to say something in order to make my possition as clear as possible:
I was just trying to discover why it sounded so bad, because I knew the GBA was not the culprit.

Cedille:

Yes, many games implement software mixing, but they still have to output the resulting audio streams trough some hardware so they come out of the speakers, and these are the PCM channels or the sound subsystem.
Since the GBA can run GB games too (trough an embedded GB type CPU), it needs to have GB sound too, so the hardware it's there... and if it's there, why not use it in GBA mode too! with a couple of extra channels too.
Now, the use you make of those tho wave channels is up to the developer, and since the GBA has a (relatively) powerful CPU, you can use some of it's power to make software sound mixing and then feed the results to the hardware channels, instead of just using them directly, for music making.
You may wonder why doesn't the GBA have just one wave channel then.
Well, having two can allow to use one to be the sink for the results of the music synth/mixing routine within the game, and using the other for more direct uses, like sound effects. This has the advantage tha you don't have to program an extra channel in the software mixing program for sound effects, wich is costly, especially considering that it should be aware of events, wich a program that only plays scripted music doesn't need.
Just an example scheme, every game can have it's own, different, use of resources

And I'm getting way too off topic. Hope you (and anyone else) found that interesting.

comment posted by radorn on 06 August

comment #38

I think the sound quality is just fine, and that we should all be grateful instead of spiteful. And if you don't like the quality of this boxset, you can always go search out the SNES OSTs or the PS 1 OSTs of the games.

I, for one, am truly satisfied!

comment posted by Gameguardian on 06 August

comment #39

But it seems this quarrel was all sorted out above, so I'll just narrow it down; I, for one, am satisfied!

comment posted by Gameguardian on 06 August

comment #40

sweetness!

comment posted by egmcary on 07 August

comment #41

For the record, when I initially played FFV Advance via my DS, the music quality of the game was awful -- the thing was full of distortion! (In the sense of digital clipping; which produced a constant static-like sound.)

I was quite disappointed with the game in that respect, because for me it's the music that helps make those games so great. The distortion was immediately evident in the game's opening; and most maddeningly, every time the overland theme plays. I didn't think it was my DS, as other game audio sounded fine.

I will say that the sound quality on this set is fine to me, and is missing the annoying distortion that plagued the actual games. So no complaints from me!

comment posted by Jason on 12 August

comment #42

Just going by memory, this release sounds better than the GSF set converted to Lame to me. I don't notice the ringing too much, though I think it does exist in some songs more than others. Anyway, great release, especially since this is another rarity on top of other recent ones like Granado Espada!

comment posted by neothe0ne on 13 August

comment #43

Wow thanks :D

comment posted by KingCloud12 on 16 August

comment #44

Thanks for this rare treasure. Hopefully some art scans in the future..(hint, hint, nudge, nudge)

The sounds aren't exactly what the GBA ones sound like, but Squenix decided to "enhance" them making them worse.

comment posted by Bruniz on 21 August

comment #45

Behold my necromancy!

So, anyone with access to the FFFB (or anyone who knows someone that does) willing to scan the front of the actual OST part (labelled as, if I'm right about what part's the front, "FINAL FANTASY IV V VI Original Sound Track")?

*leaves humble request*

comment posted by TJF588 on 15 May

comment #46

can someone please reseed this? I and probably a lot of other people would really appreciate it!

comment posted by immelman on 12 August

comment #47

Somebody please seed!! I'm stuck at 33.0% =(

comment posted by Juan on 12 August

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