If you followed the previous guide, you should be familiar with basic use of the Cheat Finder, the Memory Editor, proper use of the Memory Trigger, and starting/stopping a vgm log. If not, you can review it here.

So how would someone with a bit more experience log a vgm track? They would use better methods.

First off, all available information should be searched beforehand. It will help everything in the long run.

Normally, you would look up the game's page for all available info. The most important page is the Main Page. If a vgm pack already exists, you will find it on this page. You should also check the cheats page to see if the game has a known cheat, specifically a sound test. In this case, we will only be logging one track, using various different methods. Although not relevant to this exercise, check this page and review the Soundtrack, Credits, and Cheats sections. You should do this before working on any pack. You should also search the development section, and the Music Forum. Sometimes there will be information in older posts concerning the game you are working on. It may save you a lot of time to do a little sleuthing beforehand.

In fact, there was nothing "wrong" with the method mentioned in the previous section. However, there are a few "mistakes" that were made in the original instructions, all of which ultimately relate to information.

The Good points:

  1. The music trigger was used well
  2. A track was successfully logged

Among the "mistakes" made:

  1. MEKA's hotkeys were ignored.
  2. No Save states were used.
  3. The VGM was logged as if it were a real-time format.
  4. Other effective ways of accessing the music were not researched.

In a bit more detail, The Alt+V hotkey was not used to start/stop the vgm log(if you have the suggested version of MEKA). Nor was the emulator paused (F12) before starting the log. The speed of the emulator was not sped up to make logging the track less time consuming. We will go through what a more typical logging instance should look like.

Before continuing, we should address one possible issue that might negatively affect the track you logged. If you followed the instructions, your vgm should not have this issue, however if you neglected to set the trigger to $80 before you started logging, then your log has an issue that you should be aware of, even though it will not negatively affect your work. If interested, see Silence is not empty.

Let's log the same track again.

This time, we will go through the same process, but log the track a bit more skillfully.

  1. Load Cyborg Hunter/Chouon Senshi Borgman (Alt+L).
  2. Start the game and stay still in the passageway.
  3. Type DE03 in the Memory Editor (Tools>Memory Editor
  4. Select Memory Location DE03 and stop the music ($00, $80)
  5. Pause MEKA (F12)
  6. Select a save slot (F6/F8)
  7. Save (F5)
  8. Enter $85 at the Memory Trigger's Location (DE03)
  9. Start the vgm log (Alt+V or Sound>Capture).
  10. Press F2 to switch to frame skip to 1/1
  11. Press F4 until the value is 1/9
  12. Unpause MEKA (F12)
  13. The vgm is now logging quickly. After about ~15-30 seconds stop. It will log between 13 and 14 seconds of vgm data for every second that passes.
  14. Stop the vgm log (Alt+V)
  15. Pause MEKA (F12)
  16. Load Save (F7)
  17. If you would like to log another track ($81-$88) repeat the process from 8. When you are done, or if you would like to continue the game normally, Press F2 to switch back to automatic speed (60hz) and Unpause (F12).

You have now logged the vgm, in a fraction of the time. You may name the files for ID/Game Use if you know them.

This process featured the following improvements.

  1. Good use was made of all the relevant hotkeys.
  2. Save states were used to avoid repeating work. You should have a save state dedicated to logging. Save when the music engine has been set up correctly and is currently silent.
  3. Your new track does not have a variable amount of silence before the music starts. This will simplify matters when it comes to trim your track. You can set the start of the track at 0 instead of however many frames it starts in (44100/second). A track usually has a few frames where the sound engine is initialized (1-6).
  4. You took advantage of the fact the vgm is not a live format.
  5. You used the better logging option. In automatic, the max speed is 400hz. This translates to 400/60 = 6.66 seconds for every second logged. This amount may vary slightly for some games. 1/9 frameskip is the highest allowed by the emulator. It will vary by game. Sometimes it will be less and sometimes more than the ratio shown. For this game, the ratio is ~13.75. If a track is short and you know this, you may want to log at normal speed or speed up automatic slightly (120 is twice the speed) to avoid too much excess silence at the end.
  6. You made it easy to continue working. Assuming you made no mistakes, you will have one track logged per game music ID value. Normally you would confirm these beforehand, possibly using available sources of information and you would verify by using the trigger.
  7. This method also sidesteps the issue slightly of whether the sound engine was stopped properly or not. Since we used the memory trigger and the latency before the track starts is low, there may be no discernible effect. Still it would be ideal to have a track that is as close to the original as possible. That sometimes requires you use some advanced methods to avoid interfering with the music engine negatively.

If you would like to learn alternative ways of controlling the game, and slightly more sophisticated strategies, see Advanced Methods.

One last thing to address before we move on is the fact that the vgm format is not a live format. There is no advantage to treating it as if you were recording a live event. To understand a bit of why this process works, you might want to read this page.

We will continue to Trimming.

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