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Forum for Tune Smithy, Bounce Metronome and other software from Robert Inventor
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Author Topic: Tips for better sound quality - Playing sound fonts on any Windows computer  (Read 6020 times)
Robert Walker
Full Member
Posts: 165

« on: December 01, 2009, 07:09:37 AM »

Hi there,

Just found a new way to play sound fonts.

I'm using SyFonOne which you can get here:

The web page explains how to do it - basically you just install it and then hook it up to a virtual cable such as Midi Yoke or LoopBe1 etc, and choose the same virtual midi cable for output in Tune Smithy or Bounce Metronome Pro.

It's working fine, with a bit of latency - nothing serious, about 10 ms on my Windows 7 machine. In Bounce Metronome Pro then you can delay the visuals in the Bounce Preferences window to make them in sync. with the sound.

Definitely worth having in your repertoire for playing good quality sounds in real time.

You can also use the same author's SynthFont to render to wav as well - in fact that's how I found the web site originally.

There's a wide variety of free sound fonts available, some excellent quality. Originally designed for SoundBlaster soundcards. But you can also use them for rendering to Wav in e.g. Timidity and SynthFont.

Some of you have commented that you like the sounds in my example audio files on the Tune Smithy web site - well many of them were made with sound fonts on the SB Live! soundcard many years ago.

Most sound fonts are for audio samples of real instruments. Not just orchestral instruments and instruments in the GM midi instruments list. You can get soundfonts for many types of instruments, e.g. Indian instruments or whatever, just depends on whether anyone has made one for the instrument you are interested in.

Since anyone can make a soundfont, the free soundfonts vary in quality. Many composers use the Merlin sound fonts,  originally designed for the midi contest web site

- you can listen to example files made with them on that website.

But if your aim is to listen to just intonation music, then the things that make some of the merlin sound fonts sound realistic such as all the vibrato on the string instruments may not be what you want particularly.

Right now I'm using the TimGM6mb which gets installed with Timidity and it seems it works well for j.i. instruments.

If what you want to do is to make a virtual orchestra for a soundtrack for a movie to sound as close as you can get it to a "real orchestra" you'd probably use a virtual orchestra like GPO or a sample player like Giga. That's the way to most realism for instrument sounds, as each individual instrument may run into gigabytes of samples streamed directly from disk, with each individual note in the instrument's range sampled for many seconds.

After all even the larger soundfonts are normally in the hundreds of MBs and that's for all 128 midi instruments - so only 1 MB for each one - and normally the entire font gets loaded into memory when you use it. You do get some specialised soundfonts that are larger and for a single instrument such as piano so there is some overlap into the Giga instruments area of things.

But anyway, if you just want something that sounds nice, and also sounds "like" the original instrument, and don't want the expense and extra work involved in using a virtual orchestra, then soundfonts may well be your thing.

I remember that there were some instruments on my SB Live! that I really liked a lot. If you like the instrument sound then it doesn't matter if someone tells you another one is "better quality" but if you like the one you have better then it's the one for you or for that particular piece :-).

For more sound fonts - there are links at the SynthFont web site.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 07:54:26 AM by Robert Walker » Logged
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 08:41:53 PM »

thnx for the tips.

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