Our Sierra Soundtrack digital files have all been converted from either original WAV files (as obtained from Sierra On-Line), extracted from the original CD-ROM disks; or recorded directly from Roland MT-32 and Sound Canvas arrangements. Whenever possible, files are presented in 44.1 kHz stereo and converted to MP3 or Ogg at variable high quality bitrates.
Please be aware that many older games contain digital music that was created using lower frequency ranges and bitrates, and therefore produce a lesser quality of fidelity than others.
MP3 – Layer 3
MPEG Layer-3 (MP3) is a method of compressing audio samples with minimal loss of quality. Compression ratios of up to 12:1 are possible with little loss of quality. What this means is that a 3-minute song which might take up to 30 or 40 Mb of hard disk space in uncompressed ‘WAV’ format can be squashed down to create a 3 or 4 MB MP3, in full 44.1 kHz stereo. There are many MPEG Layer-3 encoding and player utilities and programs available. To learn more about this audio format and to download MP3 utilities, visit MP3.COM or WinAmp.com. The majority of MP3 files on this site have been encoded at the standard “128 kbps” bitrate, which produces a fair blend of quality and compression. High Quality MP3 – A selection of MP3 files have been encoded at higher bitrates, thus producing even better audio performance. However, the trade off for the improved quality comes in the form of larger file sizes resulting from less compression. These “HQ” versions are very near CD-quality.
A newer format that has made its way into the digital world is Ogg’s “Vorbis” digital audio codec. It has three advantages over the older MP3 format: smaller file size, overall better output quality, and no licensing requirements. Later versions of WinAmp support this format, as do many other players now available. We’re impressed with the quality achieved with the Ogg Vorbis digital codec and most newer digital files have been compressed using this format. For more information about the Ogg project, and the Ogg Vorbis digital format, visit Vorbis.com. Unlike MP3 audio, the Ogg Vorbis format is not measured in kilobits per second (kbps), but on an arbitrary scale of 0 to 10, called “quality.” This change in terminology was brought about by a tuning of the variable-bitrate algorithm that produces better sound quality for a given average bitrate, but which does not adhere as strictly to that average as a target.
This new scale of measurement is not tied to a quantifiable characteristic of the stream, like bitrate, so it’s a fairly subjective metric that provides a more stable basis of comparison to other codecs and is relatively future-proof. For now, quality 0 is roughly equivalent to 64kbps average, 5 is roughly 160kbps, and 10 gives about 400kbps. Most people seeking very-near-CD-quality audio encode at a quality of 5. The default setting is quality 3, which at approximately 110 kbps gives a smaller filesize and significantly better fidelity than .mp3 compression at 128kbps.
You may see Ogg Vorbis quality settings on our pages listed as “vbr”, and the appropriate value (i.e. 4.0 vbr.)
Digital Audio File Format Download Icons
A note on “SRX” labeled recordings. I use this label to identify recordings that primarily use Roland XV-5080 and Fantom XR in combination with each other. Both synths may have various Roland SRX Expansion cards installed in them in varying combinations. In the case of my own recordings, often other synths will be used as well, such as Roland D-550 or the SC-8850.