Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Rosenkreutz Jul 17, 2020

Hey there, I'm new to this forum, but I was interested to hear what opinions people had when it came to choosing between original soundtracks and their remastered counterparts. Currently the ones I'm particularly interested in hearing about are Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Vagrant Story & Valkyrie Profile, but feel free to talk about others you're strongly opinionated about as well if you'd like.

When it comes to the Final Fantasy IV-VI remasters the majority of posts I've read say that they're almost identical to the Original Sound Versions, albeit slightly louder. The Final Fantasy IV Remaster seems to have a little more going for it than the other two since unlike the OSV it has loops as well as a few bonus jingles. However, I did read an old comment on this forum which claimed that "Battle 1" sounded less "bright" to them on this version and that they speculated that there had been a noise reduction reduction filter applied. Alternatively, a review on RPGFan claimed that "the sound is as crystal clear as my ears can hear and lacks any George Lucas-esque tampering with the mix or sounds."

I've seen quite a lot of discourse over Vagrant Story in regards to which version sounds better, but I believe I've seen more people favoring the original release, mainly due to the remastered version removing a lot of the reverb which results in it sounding a lot more dry despite making the individual instruments more clear. Apparently the remaster is louder due to dynamic compression which tends to be a bad move in most cases.

Valkyrie Profile is the one which I'm the most uncertain about as I've been unable to find much discussion regarding it. The "Lenneth" (PSP)  original and arrange soundtrack are apparently remasters of the originals, but I have no idea how they match up to said original releases. I recall reading that disc 2 of the original soundtrack had some problems with track distortion, but I have no idea if that true and if so then I have no idea if it was fixed on the Lenneth release or not.

Zane Jul 18, 2020 (edited Jul 18, 2020)

I'm not a fan of remasters in general, but the VGM one that stands out the most to me is Vagrant Story's "secret" remastering for the reasons you mentioned. Throw my name in the hat as someone who prefers the original mostly for listening reasons (the cavernous sound of the original just feels better to me) but also for sentimental and personal reasons (I met Sakimoto with a few other forum members at a concert a while back and he signed my SSCX copy). I couldn't tell much of a difference with the Valkyrie Profile v. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth releases when I owned them both, but that's likely because I would get fatigued halfway through disc 1 and didn't look at them closely or critically. By the time disc 2 rolled around I was ready to move on to something else, so not sure about track distortions. The FFIV re-release from 2008 was re-synthed by Nakano and Fukui, so it doesn't have the original SNES/SFC sound. Not sure about the FFV or FFVI releases, though.

I had a similar experience with The Contortionist's "Exoplanet" album. It originally released in 2010, and a few years later the band had it remixed/remastered and added some new synth and production under the direction of Jamie King (who is an excellent engineer, see: Between the Buried and Me), but the remaster lost some of its punch for me. The album is about a lonely and violent journey through space that ends with the failed human colonization of a planet outside of our galaxy. The remaster feels warm and they added more prominent synth that feels superimposed over the rhythm section. For me, that detracted from the original vision of the album. Many people feel that the remaster sounds "better", but I kept my original print and sold the remaster because of that exact reason.

(Edited to fix url tag)

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