As a recent member of Beat Saber community I noticed one thing that in my opinion needs more attention: audio quality of .ogg files inside beat maps.
This article will only cover import/export part of audio editing. For more instructions, see Kolezan‘s Custom Mapping – Song/Audio Editing guide.
- Most of current custom maps have low quality audio (sourced from YouTube)
- I believe that as a mapper you should try to find the highest quality source available
- Don’t trust your ears or file bitrate, check spectrals with special tools (such as Spek)
- If your audio source is low quality, choose appropriate OGG quality level upon saving (3−5 most probably)
- If your audio source is high quality, choose level 9 or lower (but still compare spectrals)
- Lossy (.mp3, .aac, .ogg) to lossy conversion is bad, lossless (.wav, .flac) to lossy is good
I don’t want to go into details about what lossy and lossless formats are, so here are two articles on this topic written by members of a former audiophile community – highly recommended:
- Use Spek to easily check real audio quality
- Spectrals of your .ogg files should ideally be close or exceed the 20 kHz mark (equals to CD quality)
- You can’t increase audio quality by saving a lossy track with a higher bitrate (e.g. saving a YouTube-sourced track with level 10 quality), you will only bloat the filesize
- You should aim at preserving all the source audio data while still having the smallest file. To know what level is ideal, export your track with different qualities and compare the spectrals
OST vs Custom Song Quality
Let’s take a look at 12 offical tracks (exported directly from game assets):
As you can see, all spectrals reach and go above 20 kHz mark. They are equal to 320+ kbps MP3 files.
Now let’s analyse Top 12 most downloaded custom songs:
The following issues can be spotted above:
- Only 2 out of 12 songs can be considered high quality: “504-311, Toto – Africa” and “811-535, Beat It”
- Most of the songs are equal to 112-128 kbps MP3 files
- 3 songs have unnecessarily bloated file size: “27-9, Take on Me”, “476-292, Rasputin”, “1183-814, Daft Punk”. Their real quality is 128 kbps, but they have been saved as level 10 .ogg files. The appropriate quality for such tracks should’ve been level 4.
That’s it, hope I shed some light. If you have further questions or need help with finding high quality sources, find me on Discord: n3tman#6295