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Old soundfonts hard to find?

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First post, by tcaud

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Hi, I was searching for old sample banks a while ago and came upon a lot linked to in older threads here. However most of those links are now dead. There appears to be a giant soundfont torrent collection ("The Collection"), but no one seeds it anymore. I'm having a lot of difficulty finding these old fonts, particularly for the rarer sample sets. If I can find them, I'm thinking of uploading them to a public Facebook group for easy/reliable access (though it seems like Internet Archive would be another natural place). Might those who have these fonts archived upload them for my access?

Reply 2 of 21, by tcaud

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The older ones: Roland, Wave Blaster 1, the Sierra Aira, the Gravis. Also the Final Fantasy fonts. Got the SB AWE ones and the Live/Audigy ones from the original driver packs.

The AMD/Gravis InterWave (from Wikipedia):

The sound "patch set" was reworked from a collection of individual instrument .PAT files to a unified .FFF/.DAT sound bank format, resembling SoundFont, which could be either ROM or RAM based. There were 4 versions of the sound bank: a full 16-bit 4 MB with 8-bit downsampled 2 MB version, and 16-bit 2 MB (different sample looping) with 8-bit downsampled 1 MB version.

Optimally, there would be an accounting of all the fonts described here, here, and here. The ones that are being marketed should have links to web pages where they can be purchased, and ones that aren't (particularly the older sample sets that are difficult to dump and likely to die with the hardware) should be preserved on Facebook or Internet Archive (preferably both). In all things, we want to foster creativity through research and derivative work, and this means bringing order to the chaos of all the options available, so that the options may be rationally compared, contrasted and considered.

Ideally, there'd be enough information to determine where Super Famicom and PC Engine samples derived from, and how their creators conceived of them. It is evident from the FF7 AWE32 soundfonts that western produced synths played a major role, but we don't have enough information to understand the rationale for the sound choices. Given the small size of the 16-bit samples, I would think the sample roms from which they derived also very small in size.

Reply 3 of 21, by DracoNihil

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I'd really like to get my hands on the sounds of that "Creative SoundBlaster SW Synth" that the Live! Audigy 1/2 drivers came with.

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Reply 4 of 21, by tcaud

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DracoNihil wrote:

I'd really like to get my hands on the sounds of that "Creative SoundBlaster SW Synth" that the Live! Audigy 1/2 drivers came with.

They are on Creative's website in the driver package. Those cards had no ROM -- everything was loaded from RAM and to use the device you had to have soundfonts, so they gave them away.

Reply 6 of 21, by DracoNihil

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tcaud wrote:

They are on Creative's website in the driver package. Those cards had no ROM -- everything was loaded from RAM and to use the device you had to have soundfonts, so they gave them away.

No... It's not provided in the drivers in SF2 format. It shows up as a ".ROM" file. And only the "Creative SW Synth" device knows whatever it is that file contains.

I already have CT2MGM.SF2 and CT4MGM.SF2, I have no idea where to get a soundfont of the "Creative SW Synth".

I am not talking about "Synth A" or "Synth B". It's literally called "Creative SW Synth".

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Reply 7 of 21, by realnc

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There is an SF2 version of the AWE32 1MB ROM. Not sure where I got it from anymore. Viewing the file with a hex editor shows it's tagged by E-mu ("Copyright (c) E-mu Systems, Inc., 1993"), which should be the same as the ROM the AWE32 had.

Edit:
Found it. It was from here:

https://kode54.net/bassmididrv//BASSMIDI_Driv … nfiguration.htm

It's the "AWE32 ROM Dump SoundFont" link. How well a ROM dump works is another matter of course. Even if it's a 1:1 copy of the data, I guess only an actual AWE32 will sound like an AWE32. I don't remember how my AWE32 sounded anymore, it's been ages (I switched to a Terratec Maestro 32/96.) But BASSMIDI is supposed to be trying to sound like the E-mu chips did, so maybe give it a try.

Reply 8 of 21, by DracoNihil

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It doesn't sound like that either. Maybe the SW Synth uses a modified version of that set? Someone on another thread was talking about the WaveBlaster 2...

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Reply 10 of 21, by DracoNihil

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Oh well why the hell didn't I think of that earlier?

Anybody know where Ensoniq sampled their sounds from? Or if there's a soundfont that exists of Ensoniq's synths?

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Reply 11 of 21, by ripsaw8080

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DracoNihil wrote:

It shows up as a ".ROM" file. And only the "Creative SW Synth" device knows whatever it is that file contains.

I already have CT2MGM.SF2 and CT4MGM.SF2, I have no idea where to get a soundfont of the "Creative SW Synth".

I am not talking about "Synth A" or "Synth B". It's literally called "Creative SW Synth".

If you're referring to CT1MGM.ROM, that file contains *exactly* the same instrument data as 1MGM.SF2; the SF2 just has different header/footer sections needed for that format. So it seems any difference you hear is in the Creative SW Synth versus the SoundFont synth you're comparing, and not in the instrument samples, although I suppose the conversion to SF2 format could introduce differences beyond the raw sample data.

Reply 12 of 21, by Synthoridity

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DracoNihil wrote:

Anybody know where Ensoniq sampled their sounds from? Or if there's a soundfont that exists of Ensoniq's synths?

There's a commercial set of separate soundfonts of instruments from the Ensoniq ZR-76 keyboard (including General MIDI), but they sound different from the Ensoniq instruments used in the sound cards. I don't think there's any other Ensoniq GM soundfont. Engelmann's ECW page has a bit of information on the ECW format: http://johnengelmann.net/technology/ecw/

Reply 14 of 21, by tcaud

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Bill90 wrote:

I believe that *.ROM file is for old soundfonts that reference rom samples of the AWE32/64 (because the SB live and cards after dosnt have sample rom)

Mmm hmm... it was very space efficient in that way.

I managed to get hold of all the Yamaha XG softsynths. Most only run on Win9x. This isn't a problem because one particular site hosts the whole Windows line prior to XP for download, and MS isn't bothering them so it's de facto abandonware. (and of course, there's also ReactOS). Win9x runs on VirtualBox under a peculiar set of settings (fixed disk, hardware virtualization off), but is a pain to interact with because guest additions features don't work with it.

The XG synths all sound roughly the same... the 4mb waveset is a little more acoustic than the 2mb set, but polyphony is the big factor when it comes to XG. The XG driver would increase the vocal depth by so many levels per instrument relative to the total polyphonic factor, so 512 polyphony sounds deeper than 32 regardless of the number of instruments/consecutive voices used. XG also allows for multiple variations/transformations of the same instrument.

I think there are rom dumpers/extractors available for the older synth cards. It does seem there are a LOT of synth cards (25 or so), but I'm not sure how many unique wavesets there are. I found sysex libraries and banks that are used by many of the older synths, although I'm not sure I completely understand the concept of a "sysex"... can someone explain it to me?

DracoNihl: these may be the samples you're looking for: ftp://ftp.icm.edu.pl/vol/rzm1/demos/resources/music/samples/

Reply 15 of 21, by autoexecdotbat

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hay syntheridity, are you able to use a rom dumper to get the rom samples from the orchid soundwave32 or teratec use64?

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Reply 16 of 21, by Synthoridity

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autoexecdotbat wrote:

hay syntheridity, are you able to use a rom dumper to get the rom samples from the orchid soundwave32 or teratec use64?

I currently do not own those cards, so I would not be able to get the ROMs from them.

What I do have are Dream GS 8 MB and 10 MB General MIDI banks in 94B format. "Synoptic SampleLink" could convert these to SF2 format, but that program unfortunately does not exist anymore. Other similar programs, such as Awave Studio, do not support the 94B format due to it being too complex. So it seems there is currently no possible way to make soundfonts out of those 94B banks.

Another thing of interest is the TerraTec "WAVE XTABLE VI" General MIDI set (which I do not own) for Kontakt. This instrument may contain the GM sounds from the TerraTec WAVE XTABLE sound card. The XTABLE VI was a commercial product, but seems to now be discontinued. I do not know of any way to obtain it.

Reply 17 of 21, by tcaud

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I found what appears to be a complete set of the OPL4 sounds: http://www.kameli.net/~yzi/moonsound_third_attempt/ (download "0000_all_instruments.zip" for the full set)

Here's what is probably a complete list of all the gaming soundcards: http://www.oldschooldaw.com/forums/index.php?topic=2498.0
Additionally, this person seems to have a complete collection: http://members.home.nl/c.kersten/

Demonstrations of how the synths differ: http://alag3.mfa.kfki.hu/dcsabas/hi-fi/waveopl4.htm
More demonstrations: http://www.wavetable.nl/?cat=5

Synth basics and how they relate to DOSBox: http://devtidbits.com/2008/04/26/dosbox-sound-emulation/
More on synths: http://sc55.duke4.net/history.php

Gigantic soundfont archive (where I found the AWE fonts): http://simant.ru/pub/multimedia/Samples/sf2/semple2/

Creative apparently produced a Netscape-compatible plug-in in 1996, called Netsynth. Trying to find it...

Synthoridity wrote:

What I do have are Dream GS 8 MB and 10 MB General MIDI banks in 94B format. "Synoptic SampleLink" could convert these to SF2 format, but that program unfortunately does not exist anymore. Other similar programs, such as Awave Studio, do not support the 94B format due to it being too complex. So it seems there is currently no possible way to make soundfonts out of those 94B banks.

There is apparently a group of aficionados at bannister.org who are able to handle "impossible" dumps.

Reply 19 of 21, by Stiletto

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tcaud wrote:

Creative apparently produced a Netscape-compatible plug-in in 1996, called Netsynth. Trying to find it...

Took a stab.
Developers: http://seersystems.com/1996/09/24/creatives-p … f-the-internet/
Websites:
http://www.ctlsg.creaf.com/members/connect/mu … c/netsynth.html
http://www.ctlsg.creaf.com/members/connect/mu … ynth_music.html
http://www.ctlsg.creaf.com/members/connect/mu … tsynthdemo.html

Best guess so far: contact Seer Systems for a real long shot.

tcaud wrote:

There is apparently a group of aficionados at bannister.org who are able to handle "impossible" dumps.

Indeed! Friends of mine. 😀

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