DAICON IV opening animation with remastered stereo audio

DAICON IV オープニングアニメ (リマスター音源)

Details on this project: I had planned for many years to try my hand at developing remastered renditions of the Daicon III and IV films. I knew that the easy part, if it could be called that, would be the audio, particularly in the case of Daicon IV. Daicon III represents a likely impossible challenge due to the fact that it utilizes many sound effects, the origins of which will probably never be known, never mind accessible. Most of the music cues in Daicon III are also proving somewhat difficult to secure in acceptable quality (non-LP, for a start).

Daicon IV uses no sound effects and only three tracks of music, from two albums. After securing a 160kbps MP3 of one, and lossless iterations of the others, I decided it was time to begin. The inexact nature of the utilization of the cues in the film posed unique challenges. For one thing, none of the tracks used in the film play at their proper speeds. For another, several subtle edits were made to each track, in order to force them to better fit the pacing of the visuals in Daicon IV, and these edits had to be identified and matched with precision. Some of the audio is even stereo reversed, or phase inverted. These anomalies were faithfully reproduced. Everything was done in 32 bit mode.

The result is pristine-sounding stereo audio whose timings are such a close match for the original that a person could almost use one to cancel out the other, barring some notable differences in timbre as dictated by the decidedly degraded nature of the film’s version of the audio (particularly after undergoing film to LD to VHS to FLV transfers). Feel free to find other postings of this animation and listen for the hiss, hum, crackling and dropouts. Naturally, the video component of this project is the same as always: one of several VHS-sourced versions which can be found all over Youtube and other video resources. I used the one viewable on Nicovideo, as it was the best I could find. Any proper attempt to restore the films would need to start with an idealized digital transfer straight from the LD (or better), either in DV or lossless, which would clock in at about 2GB and 6GB, respectively. These are considerations for a pipe-dream future.

I should note that the complications involved in getting interleaved video and audio to properly sync were the biggest hurdle in this process, and 100% satisfactory results were never truly achieved. Furthermore, Youtube’s bandwidth limitations (350 Kbps) literally forced me to recompress an already heavily compressed video, and the result is very nearly unwatchable. Once Youtube enables high quality videos, this video will be replaced with one that looks much better, and with better than 96Kbps audio. I will also make note of the curious fact that there seem to be two different versions of Daicon IV in circulation, with one playing the opening sequence (and music) slightly faster and with differences in phase and channel use. It’s a safe guess that both versions are from original sources, meaning the official VHS or LD releases.

What remains on my plate is a complete resequencing of the music cues from Daicon III. Naturally, the completed version of this project would have none of the sound effects, and so would serve essentially the same purpose as an isolated music track. I already know which tracks were used, and have acquired most of them, although only one is of acceptable quality. Two of them are from LP, and while LP artifacts can be toned down considerably, the fact is that a CD for the tracks was released, so that is my goal. If anyone wants to help, and has access to CDs or MP3s of the tracks in question, I’d be happy for the assistance. Here’s what I still need:

Yuji Ohno – Cosmos (大野雄二の’COSMOS’) Two tracks. Note that I have MP3s of this, made from LP, sadly with scratches and pops.

Cyborg 009 soundtrack (サイボーグ009 [’79]) One track, uncertain which.

In any event, enjoy this classic film, probably the best animation ever developed for at least ten years after it was created, and now sounding even better than when it was originally shown in Osaka.

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