Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby nebular » 2017-12-31 @ 06:09

So I have a CT4780 in win98 and I'm using the WDM drivers to be able to use soundfonts in DOS windows. I've collected a bunch of different sf2 files to try out especially with Tie Fighter and when loading them, especially the larger ones, they aren't loading completely. Specifically I've been trying to use Studio Works 2007 Light as I've heard that it's awesome for orchestral music. The sf2 file is 377mb, but the card only loads 87mb worth of it leaving many of the instruments out so I get some great drums, but not much else.

I don't know much about soundfont files so I'm hoping someone might be able to help me out with this.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby Zup » 2017-12-31 @ 08:17

In SB Live and later cards, Soundfonts run from the main system RAM (opposed to AWE 32/64 that had RAM on the sound card), so the drivers put a limit on Soundfont size. I wouldn't recommned to use soundfonts bigger than 32 mb on this card.

There are alternative drivers for SB Live and Audigy (the kX Project), but they are more music oriented than gaming oriented and I don't know if it allows bigger soundfonts. If you have enough CPU power, you could use BASSMIDI as a soft synthetizer to use that soundfonts.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby slivercr » 2017-12-31 @ 08:54

Zup wrote:In SB Live and later cards, Soundfonts run from the main system RAM (opposed to AWE 32/64 that had RAM on the sound card), so the drivers put a limit on Soundfont size. I wouldn't recommned to use soundfonts bigger than 32 mb on this card.


There is a slider in Soundfont Bank Manager to increase the amount of RAM you want to make available for soundfonts: with enough RAM there should be no problem using the bigger ones.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby leileilol » 2018-1-02 @ 06:30

I don't know about that. Even on 512mb i've had trouble hearing Fluid.......on a Live 5.1
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby slivercr » 2018-1-02 @ 10:26

leileilol wrote:I don't know about that. Even on 512mb i've had trouble hearing Fluid.......on a Live 5.1


Admittedly I may not be a reliable source of info for this. I can tell you it works fine in Win2000 with 2 GB of RAM and an Audigy2 ZS, though.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby nebular » 2018-1-03 @ 04:57

I have the soundfont cache slider at the max, 380mb. The soundfont I'm loading is 377mb, and after it's done loading the manager says that It's only using 87mb worth of memory.

I'm suspecting it's an instrument limit. I only can see 128 instruments so I'm thinking the manager is picking and choosing and leaving quite a bit out.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby Falcosoft » 2018-1-03 @ 20:46

nebular wrote:I have the soundfont cache slider at the max, 380mb. The soundfont I'm loading is 377mb, and after it's done loading the manager says that It's only using 87mb worth of memory.
I'm suspecting it's an instrument limit. I only can see 128 instruments so I'm thinking the manager is picking and choosing and leaving quite a bit out.


It's not an instrument limit. 1 bank can only hold 128 instruments that's why you see what you see. The soundfont manager organizes instruments into 128 banks. If you change the bank you can see the other instruments if they exist in the soundfont. The soundfont I use has 340 instruments overall in different banks and all of them can be played by my Live 5.1 under both Win98 and XP.
The problem is definitely the size of the soundfont. The 5.1 can handle soundfonts reliably only up to 32-64 MB.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby nebular » 2018-1-04 @ 08:12

Well I've never seen any of the soundfonts load anything other than one bank so there might be a limitation there. I tried manually loading a 2nd bank with the same soundfont but it just loaded that same instruments as the first bank.
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Re: Soundblaster Live Value and soundfont loading

Postby Falcosoft » 2018-1-04 @ 10:57

Well, and are you sure your soundfont is not a GM only one that only contains capital tones at bank 0? You need GM/GS compatible soundfonts that contain variation banks.
Here's one that you can try ( it contains 340 instruments overall and all can be used by SB Live 5.1 since it is only ~34 MB):
http://falcosoft.hu/reality_gmgs_falcomod.zip

Also I uploaded a video that shows how you can check loaded banks in soundfont manager.
https://youtu.be/OhzansCWymA
(unfortunately my VNC viewer does not support sound...)

You can also try my midi player that supports hardware soundfont capable midi devices like the SB Live natively so you can check if the banks are loaded properly and the instruments sound right:
http://falcosoft.hu/softwares.html#midiplayer
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