> I completely understand your point.
> However, since we currently don't have a digital source as a reference, can't we at
> least exercise a bit of common sense and do the best with what we have?
> We don't have a machine handy, so nobody can attest to MAME's current accuracy, and
> there's two of us that noticed and cared enough to come here and report it.
> So let's say I could cite, say four or five OFFICIAL CD audio sources with MK1's
> music that sounded just like each other (which BTW, also matches the music in the
> recent MK Arcade Collection), and I could provide a combination of MAME volumes that
> made it match those sources, wouldn't it lend some credibility to my affirmation that
> that's the way it's supposed to sound and there's something not quite right with
> MAME's levels?
> I mean, we're not talking about some audiophile level "I think this minute detail is
> somewhat different" thing. It's more like "why are all these loud banging sounds all
> over the place?".
> Furthermore, changing those levels will affect other common sounds, like uppercuts,
> the fatality sound, and even the title screen fanfare, so those could also serve as
> reference to compare to other official sources (official videos, trailers, the Arcade
> Collection or whatever).
I understand where you're coming from, and it's definitely an argument that seems perfectly reasonable on its face: An OST is purported to be an "Original Sound Track", that's the whole origin of its acronym. But there's a lot more nuance than that.
While the other team members have been perhaps a bit forward in their shooting down of your suggestion, let me provide a concrete example: Taito's "Zuntata" sound group, who composed the vast majority of the music for the entire company's 90's lineup, have often released so-called "OSTs" that have been tweaked to have a more listenable mix, so to speak. It's only when guaranteed, verifiable physical recordings, taken off the actual hardware, came up that the team was able to get a realistic perspective on how the games actually sounded.
This has nothing to do with the team being obstinate, or not wanting MAME to become objectively better. It's just that it's been shown, time and time again, that the publishers and game studios themselves are not objective in their releases of soundtracks. To an extent, it makes perfect sense, since they would want to release something that sounds good when it's put into a CD player.
By contrast, the heavy emphasis on sampled sounds is a hallmark of arcades from that era. I don't at all mean to imply that you yourself weren't there back in the day, but at the time, it was the sound effects that drew people towards arcade cabinets - not the music - and so games would be released with that particular auditory skew well in mind.
Meanwhile, there have been several cases - though the specific examples escape me - where the sound levels have been modified in bootlegs. And it's worth keeping in mind that bootlegs were pretty insidious when it came to being put out on location, back in the day: There weren't a lot of arcade operators who were 100% on the up-and-up, and you were just as likely as not to encounter a bootleg machine masquerading as the real thing when it came to going to an arcade.
So, we circle back to the initial MAMEdev argument that memories are fallible, OSTs are not guaranteed to be representative of the audio output of an actual board, and bootlegs were far more common than people realize. When keeping all of this in mind, I hope you can understand the team's reticence to accept OST CDs - even multiple OST CDs - as an accurate representation of how the machines sounded, and that the team would strongly prefer to have a recording off an authentic machine, sampled directly off the audio-out: Anything else might be accurate, but it's just as likely not to be. And there's no point in faffing with the driver if there stands a decent chance that it will be no more accurate at the end of it all than it was before.
EDIT: Just to speak on the topic of the MK Arcade Collection, since I feel that you're owed a worthwhile answer on that topic: The vast majority of commercial emulation packages, of which MK Arcade Collection is most likely representative, are based largely on observations gleaned from existing emulators, not so much from actual hardware. There's no end of examples of "retro" packs which were objectively inaccurate compared to the source material, partly due to the compilation teams assuming emulators were already 100% correct, and that they wouldn't have to actually check anything on hardware. I've worked in the video game industry as a programmer for the better part of the past 12 years, and I can tell you in full candor that most companies have absolutely awful archival practices. When it comes time for a company to release a retro game pack, their data is only only still around in the first place for them to re-release it due to MAME ostensibly incentivising the massive redundant backing-up of these companies' games. I strongly suspect that this is, at least partly, why MAME has not been absolutely slammed with takedown requests, despite the team's open policy of removing support for any game which a licensed rights-holder asks us to.
Edited by MooglyGuy (05/16/17 09:52 PM)