MP3 - An Unwanted Intruder?

Written by Soohy

I've just read Makke's article "MP3s in demos" in Hugi #14 and I have to add some words from myself to this subject. I can't simply say if using this format in demonstrations is good or bad. As everything it has its advantages and disadvantages. Modules compressed to MP3 would sound much better in demos because they don't need to be resampled to 8bit. But playing an MP3 slows down the computer very much. A demo which runs fast and smooth on Pentium 120 with a classic module will require P166 when the music is in MP3. Also, as Makke wrote, it's usually larger than a normal low quality XM. On the other hand using MP3 is good solution when you want to put, for example heavy metal songs with tons of guitar riffs and full of lyrics. My friend Amol and I once made that kind of module and it took over 24 megabytes! Even when converted to 8bit 11khz it took about five or six megs. And guess how it sounded in comparison to 16bit version... The only way to use this type of modules in demos is compressing them into MP3s. It takes about 2-3 mbytes and the quality is incomparably better.

Here's one thing I can't tolerate. There's a demo, a very good demo with cool design, called State of mind by Bomb. It looks great, sounds also great, but... this cool soundtrack is not scene music. It's sampled and compressed to MP3. It's a song by Senser (a hardcore band). Damn, it's like using a scanned picture of Boris Vallejo. Is it so hard to make your own music for a demo? If you can't sing and play the guitar better do something else but DO NOT use ripped music.

And now about parties. I fully agree with Makke that MP3s shouldn't take part in the music compo but I think that special MP3-compo apart from classic music competition is a very good idea. I can't understand why "it's not scene to do that". If this music is made by scene-people, it's as scenish as for example a VHS compo. Then the size of music doesn't matter and only the idea is important. I'm sure that music taking part in this competition would sound much more professional (due to better quality and more samples) and there wouldn't be so many techno-like tunes. Usually people create electronic music because it takes much less place than for example heavy metal. When you do techno, you don't need as many samples as for metalsong. Few acid lines, drums and some FX are enough. When you make metal you use of course many riffs (using one guitar sample in different tones really suxx), vocals and drums. It is obvious that a metal module will need more space than techno, even if it is - for me - easier to create than for example good goa-trance.

So, for few last sentences. I'm not against using MP3s in demos - sometimes it really can save much valuable space and give better quality to the music. But I agree with using this format only when it's scene-produced music, not sampled and compressed commercial creations like in State of mind. An MP3-compo is for me good idea but it must not be mixed with the traditional music compo.

- Soohy/Interror^Loaf of brain