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Synthetic Origins: Final Fantasy IV

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I've been wanting to make a thread about this album for a while. It's a free FF4 arrangement album, faithful to the original SNES sound but with enhancements. Mathew Valente has been doing SPC-700 work and original compositions since the 90's and has worked as an example on the Chrono Trigger Resurrection Soundtrack before it got DCMA by Squaresoft in early 2000's. He often post arrangements on twitter of various PSX or SNES songs, using trackers and custom samples. Here's his twitter account: https://twitter.com/tssf

You can download the album on Google Drive or listen to it on Youtube. It has some surprise tracks from other FF games too! Here is the blog preamble:

This soundtrack was created for the curiosity of what the Final Fantasy IV soundtrack would have sounded like had it used arranged instrumentation similar to that of the bonus soundtrack that Nobuo Uematsu released called “Final Fantasy Mix”. It had two tracks that used instrumentation that sounded like the original synthesizers that Final Fantasy IV and even other sequels used for its samples. With that in mind, it could be said that I'd been “developing” this since I've heard this soundtrack back in 1999 as I've always wondered what the entire soundtrack would have sounded like arranged in a similar way.

In actuality, this soundtrack has been in development since summer of 2015 where I gave a preliminary version of it to a friend. It's changed a bit since then. The purpose was not to arrange the entire soundtrack with high quality instrumentation, nor was I trying to make anything radically different to the original. It is, for all intents and purposes, the original soundtrack playing back with the original synthesizers' sounds. Keep in mind that there are some instances where I did not use the original synthesizers of instruments from the game. An example of this is the harp, as the FFIV harp came from old Roland synths, and its originating sound was too muffled. While you could EQ that and make it work on a Super Nintendo/Famicom, it doesn't work for the entire instrument. I did re-record the harp sound for the 16-bit tracks I included, though, so it is featured. It largely sounds the same as the original FFIV version, though. I worked on the sound of this for a while, trying to get that original 90s feeling, so I used vintage sounding reverb, as well as added analogue style saturation and some hiss in all the tracks to make it sound like it was produced in the 90's. In other cases I left some imperfections in there so it didn't sound too clean (I struggled with this decision, as a sound engineer, you don't want the sound to be bad in most cases).

Finding the hardware was not easy. Imagine sitting in front of YouTube listening to hundreds of synthesizer examples to hear if you can find something familiar. I found the K1000 PX 1 and 2 on YouTube by accident one day and found the FFIV drum kit. I was ecstatic when I found it! Thus began my purchasing of old synthesizers.
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