Audio in Skyrim Special Edition Worse than Original

/ 3 years ago

Audio in Skyrim Special Edition Worse than Original

While the recently released Skyrim: Special Edition may be visually superior to its vanilla predecessor, released five years ago, reports suggest that its sound is of a noticeably worse quality to the original game.

“The vanilla game has sound assets (other than music and voiceover) in uncompressed .wav format,” redditor LasurArkinshade  writes. “The Special Edition has the sound assets all in (very aggressively compressed) .xwm format, which is a compressed sound format designed for games. This isn’t so bad, necessarily—it’s possible to compress audio to .xwm without significant quality degradation unless you crank the compression way up to insane levels.”

“What did Bethesda do?” LasurArkinshade asks, then answers: “They cranked the compression way up to insane levels.”

LasurArkinshade even includes a sound file comparison. Listen for yourself:

There’s good news for audiophiles, though: the issue can be fixed by importing the audio files from the original Skyrim into the Special Edition.

“I extracted my original Skyrim Sounds.bsa, packed it with 7zip and installed it with NMM in SSE,” says reddit user TI36X. “Seems to work fine.”

“There are two folders in the bsa,” TI36X explains. “Sound and Music. Just pack them into an archive and install by NMM [Nexus Mod Manager]. Someone just uploaded a bsa extractor on the SSE nexus that works for this.”

If you want to try this for yourself, the BSA extractor can be downloaded here.

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