Image: id Software/Bethesda Softworks

Bethesda and id Software are probably planning a sequel to the incredibly successful DOOM Eternal as we speak, but they’ll have to find someone other than Mick Gordon to compose the soundtrack.

Gordon, who was responsible for the previous scores, suggested that he would never work with Bethesda or id again following a fan’s inquiry into why the official DOOM Eternal soundtrack was mixed so terribly. Apparently, Gordon was barely involved and only produced a few tracks, such as “Meathook” and “Command and Control.”

In a lengthy tweet storm, @thatACDCguy explains why DOOM Eternal’s audio mix sounds so bad. It essentially resolves around dynamic range, or the lack thereof – all of the instruments have been compressed to the same level, which results in a dull and unlively sound that’s synonymous to low bit-rate MP3.

“In the case of music, dynamic range gives instruments more ‘breathing room’ so-to-speak,” he adds. “While there are exceptions, in most cases you don’t want instruments to compete with each other for dominance. You want them to harmonize together to create new & interesting sounds.”

“So what’s happening is that in the left image from Doom 2016, the instruments have greater dynamic range which is shown from the wavelengths not being as compressed together, giving the instruments that ‘breathing room’ I was talking about.”

“HOWEVER, the image on the right from Doom Eternal is not this case. The wavelengths on each instrument have been compressed to the point where they are all playing back at the same volume, with exception to an occasional peak.”

“These heavily compressed mixes were then thrown together and had their combined master volume lowered, which is what creates those seemingly perfectly parallel edges throughout. The instruments are all fighting each other, & thus the mix sounds very poor as a result.”

“Mick Gordon is a far more talented audio engineer than me, it’s not even close & that’s what makes this especially frustrating. I expect much better from him. Again, the music itself is phenomenal, but this mix on the official soundtrack is frankly terrible.”

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3 Comments

  1. That’s such a shame that there was a fallout during the development of this game soundtrack. The DOOM 2016 soundtrack was amazing, and Mick was widely lauded for it. It’s quite shocking that the relationship seems to have soured, especially after the positive work experience he had with them creating the DOOM 16′ soundtrack.

  2. I loved the 2016 soundtrack, I still play a few track from time to time.
    I noticed that the music wasn’t as good as in Doom 2016, but I didn’t realized it was that bad! (I didn’t listen to it outside of the game)
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