Silence Is Golden - Vanilla Music Enhancement by Nolan Alighieri
Oblivion » Audio, Sound and Music
Added: 17/06/2017 - 11:36AM
Updated: 17/06/2017 - 11:24AM

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Uploaded by iColour


Last updated at 11:24, 17 Jun 2017 Uploaded at 11:36, 17 Jun 2017

  • 1   - I tell you stuff you don't care about
  • 2   - I tell you what this thing does
  • 3.1 - I go into too much detail about /Battle music
  • 3.2 - I go into too much detail about /Dungeon music
  • 3.3 - I go into too much detail about /Explore music
  • 3.4 - I stroke my ego as I explain the /Public music
  • 4   - I tell you how to put this thing in your game
  • 5   - I tell you what does and does not work with this thing
  • 6   - I cross my fingers you will come stroke my ego



After putting on some rose tinted glasses and wanting to come back to Oblivon, I began modding it with the numerous graphical updates provided by the community. The music side of things hasn't changed much since my old GT9800 days. However, part of the nostalgia trip is audio too.

Have you ever wanted some of that wonderful ambience that is in the game (either added by mods or vanilla)? But at the same time, you sometimes want the music there too to maybe make the squish-squash of your footsteps a little less apparent? Well, that's what I wanted. Rather than spending a lot of time playing with the audio sliders to find the perfect mix, I instead decided maybe a 50-50 binary solution was better.

Sometimes the music is on. Sometimes it's off.

Since this was for my personal Oblivion installation, I opted for an easy and simple solution for this 50/50 mix - and I believe better compatibility. I think.

I took the original, vanilla tracks of Oblivion and just added some silence, either at the end, the beginning, or both. All this added silence was also randomly selected to help reduce the "clockwork feel" of: song comes in. 60 seconds silence. song comes in. All of the tracks in the /Battle, /Dungeon, /Explore, and /Public music folders have had this treatment. And each folder I gave a slightly different treatment that I felt was more appropriate for the setting. Below I will describe those.

The battle songs have the shortest set of silence after the song ends. Bethesda seemed to be aware that you probably aren't going to be in battle very long and so all the tracks were short to begin with.

Here, I made some very minor adjustments to the tracks: I added some light limiting to a couple songs that had some minor clipping. I also EQ'd some of the bass by a few decibels to help reduce muddiness (and make the clipping less prominent). Finally, I set the the bass - starting around 120hz - to be center-panned, mono to help reduce the bass from (again) muddying up the track.

Not every track had this treatment applied. It was only applied to the worse offenders. The goal was to largely preserve the integrity of the vanilla music. So none of my adjustments make any extreme difference to the tonality of the music.

Lastly, Battle_05 has a minor -6 to 0 db fade in for the first 10 seconds. This is because sometimes when there was nothing but silence and peaceful ambience, and then suddenly "BOM...BOM...BOM-BOM" comes in, it would make me jump (I guess I scare easily). -6 reduces the initial attack to help reduce the sudden switch that made me jump, but otherwise the fade in is practically invisible in the mix.

The order goes:
  • Music plays normally
  • silence for ~1-3 minutes

Personally I have never liked the dungeon music in Oblivion. It seems to lack character. Like some guy came up to the composer of the music and tried his best to explain ambient music, and the composer - without actually listening to ambient music - then tried to create that. With lots of reverbery washes that wash over each other creating a mess of the spectrum, and "OoOooOooO" haunting tones that just mostly detracts from the music.

ON THE OTHER HAND, There really isn't a lot of ambience in the dungeons to begin with. They can sometimes feel awkwardly quiet.

My solution was again to apply this binary 50-or-50 solution. However, I wanted the music to sort of creep in and just be almost more of a sound-effect than "music".


"Well you can just adjust the in game sliders"

Yeah, well, then once I go back to exploring the world, suddenly all of my music is really quiet. So rather than faffing with sliders, I just lowered the volume of the individual tracks. This makes them less present in the mix. When they come they just add a touch of mild forlorn dread to the atmosphere and then you won't even realize they have already disappeared.

To help aid with this, the first (depending on the track) minute or so fades in from -6db. But before it even starts fading in, there is roughly 30 seconds of silence.

So the order goes:

  • 30 seconds of silence
  • music fades in
  • silence for ~1-3 minutes.

As far as enhancements to the original mix of these songs; I only adjusted the bass's stereo field. Again, setting the bass to be center panned, mono.

The one that inspired me to do this in the first place. Explore has the longest lengths of silence after the song ends so you have plenty of time to appreciate the ambience before another track comes in.

I did not make many adjustments to the vanilla mix on these tracks. Mostly centering and monoing the bass and then a couple songs had an EQ treatment to reduce some muddy frequencies.

The order goes:
  • Music plays normally
  • Silence ~4-6 minutes

Public is probably one of the more complex sections I did...and by more complex, I mean I spent about an extra 10 more seconds of adjustments.

Public featured the typical adjustment of a center panned, mono bass, but a lot of these tracks had an overly-reverby harp shit all over the frequency spectrum, so I took a light hand and wiped up some of that shit. (Don't worry, I'm a pre-school and Kindergarten teacher, so I have all my certifications in wiping up shit.) Again; all in the name to preserve the integrity of the vanilla music. Only in one song did I ever cut 4db from any 1 band in the EQ. Most only had 2 to 2.5db cut in one or two bands.

Here, I felt it appropriate to grasp the atmosphere of the town before the music starts playing, so there is a very brief moment of silence before the music starts. Once the music starts, it spends the first minute fading in in a non-linear curve.

Due to a lot of the music just starting quite abruptly, I introduced this curve to reduce the abruptness of the start.

The initial 10-20 seconds (depending on the song) will fade from -9db up to -6db. From -6db for the next 40-50 seconds, it fades to full volume. Overall the process is somewhat transparent. Thanks to the very slow fade in, it's practically unnoticeable.

So, you will find the order goes like this:
  • ~10-15 seconds of silence
  • The music begins fading in from -9db up to -6db for ~10-20 seconds
  • The music begins fading in from -6dbs up to full volume for another ~40-50 seconds
  • The music plays normally
  • Silence for about 2-3 minutes.

It's as simple as drag and drop and replace your existing folder and contents with the contents in this mod. Done and done. Install with Wrye Bash for ease of use.

However, I have some personal suggestions.

I have included some optional files. These files are silent tracks that range from 12 seconds, up to 5 minutes (the values are added to the end of the file name in whole-second values).
You can do a number of things with these, but what I personally recommend is to replace 1 or 2 songs in both the Battle and Explore folder with a silent file. Since there is no scripting involved with this mod, the music operation is still the same. Explore music plays until combat starts. Combat music plays. When combat ends, play a new Explore track.

Due to this, going in and out of combat means you might not come across the "silence" that frequently.

By actually replacing a song with just silence, the game's random diceroll of picking a track will greater increase the chance of just having silence follow entering or exiting combat.

(to replace a track, simply rename the silent file you wish to use to the name of the track you want to replace, then copy-and-replace the original track with the new silent track.)

Alternatively, you can use your audio editor of choice (Audacity has remained an excellent and free choice) and use the silent files to add additional length to the existing songs' silence; either at the beginning or the end.

The choice is yours. You're free to do what you want with them.

Since it is only a pack of MP3's with no ESP's, there are no compatibility issues that may result in game crashes. However, any mod that replaces the same music files will either be overwritten (if you already have the mod installed) or will overwrite (if you plan to install that mod after this one).

Alternatively, I believe (it's been awhile) there are a few music-altering mods available that change the behavior of the game music through scripting. Mods such as Side's Better Music System may actually enhance this mod. However, I have not used that mod in a long time, nor did I see how well it can benefit this mod since I was opting to create a simple, scriptless, ESP-less solution to the game's music.

Mixcraft 6

My own music can be heard here:
Everything Always (すべて:ずっと) Single
Hikikomori Full Album