Recommend a MIDI soft synth

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Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2008-8-22 @ 10:13

Well, I'm currently using munt when playing games in DOSBOX, but not all DOS games support MT-32. Wing Commander Armada, for instance, only supports GM and it sounds pretty weird in munt. On the other hand, Microsoft's built-in MIDI soft synth (Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth) sounds pretty lame.

So what software synth would you suggest? I think it's a toss up between Roland Virtual Sound Canvas and Yamaha S-YXG50. Unfortunately, it seems Roland website does not sell their products on-line, while Yamaha S-YXG50 is only available as trial version. Searching on ebay provides futile.

I've also tried WinGroove but it doesn't sound really good for games (tried X-Com).

Is there any soft synth that you would recommend? Thanks.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby leileilol » 2008-8-22 @ 11:31

timidity++?
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby dh4rm4 » 2008-8-22 @ 13:02

Yeah timidity++ can even use sf2s, sbks and GUS sound banks. Go for it.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Zup » 2008-8-22 @ 13:38

If you are using Windows 95/98, you may try Roland Virtual Sound Canvas, or the Yamaha sound synths. Remember that you can find the synth in the install disk of Final Fantasy VII.

If you have plenty of power, try timidity++ or fluidsynth. Timidity will run happily with the GUS sound banks, but don't forget to get some soundfonts like AnotherGS or Titanic (Titanic is impressive, but it's very, very BIG).
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby dvwjr » 2008-8-23 @ 08:18

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:"So what software synth would you suggest? I think it's a toss up between Roland Virtual Sound Canvas and Yamaha S-YXG50."


When it comes to system stability on WinXP, I would have to say that the Roland Virtual Sound Canvas v3.23 will lead to the occasional BSOD when running under WinXP due to some deficiency in the device driver coding. It might be stable under Win9x, however. The Roland Virtual Sound Canvas v3.23 sound is somewhat close to the real Roland synth hardware, better that the Microsoft GM/GS soft-synth which licensed Roland Sound Set digital samples.

I believe that the VSTi or DXi plug-in versions included in the VSC-MP1 package do not use a device driver and appear stable for now - however they default to the SC-88pro waveRom sound set. You would have to rename one of the other SC-55 or SC-88 tone sets to the RVI01.DAT file-name to try the older sound maps. The Roland VSC v3.23 is very good for previewing or quickly converting MIDI files to Roland-flavored WAV files, uses MMX instructions in the driver and SSE instructions in the VSTi and DXi versions - but BSODs because of the VSC.SYS WinXP device driver faults, that just does not cut it in 2008 with a product that was last updated for Win2K/XP in 2003. Plus, Roland of course cripples their VSC softsynth (just like Yamaha) by making the compressed waveRom samples much smaller that those waveROMs included with their respective hardware synths.


To gain system stability under WinXP, it is possible to use the Roland VSC v3.23 included VSTi plug-in version of the Roland VSC sound set with the following tools:

1.) The SAVIHost single VSTi by Herman Seib
2.) The Maple Virtual Midi Cable by Jeff Hurchalla

Basically you have to install the complete Roland VSC v3.23 package, just to install the v1.00 VSTi VSC.DLL file. There is a Roland update to VSC.DLL version 1.01 available. Use the Maple Virtual Midi cables to redirect the WinXP MIDI stream to the SAVIHost instance of the Roland VSTi and you are in business without the WinXP BSODs. This does mean manually starting (or a batch/script file) the SAVIHost Roland VSTi instance and redirecting the Windows MIDI output before starting said Dosbox hosted game. Remember that the VSTi implementation does default to the SC-88pro waveRom sound set.

The Roland Virtual Sound Canvas Multi-pack (VSC-MP1) CD-ROM is still sold by music instrument/device re-sellers such as Sweetwater. The VSC-MP1 does not appear to be available as a pay download.




As to the Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 2MB WaveRom version, it seems to be available sometimes on eBay, or as VOGONS member Zup indicated in the game Final Fantasy VII. The typical version has Yamaha 2MB compressed WaveROM files. Unless an update is performed to bring the Yamaha SXGXGWDM.SYS driver to version 5.13.2600.3 you will have BSODs under WinXP.

At some point I found the updated Yamaha 4MB waveRom files as part of a demo version of SOL2 on the Yamaha website. Still had WinXP BSOD crashes with the Yamaha SXGXGWDM.SYS driver version 5.13.2600.2 (Oct 5, 2001), then a few years ago, by a file drill-down search accident I found two buried Microsoft CAB file updates which fix the BSOD problem in the Yamaha SXGXGWDM.SYS driver file AND includes as a plus the Yamaha 4MB waveRom files! The new driver is version 5.13.2600.3 (Nov 27, 2001) and the WinXP BSODs seem to go away. The Yamaha S-YXG50 version found on the Internet or shipped with FF VII will BSOD, the Microsoft CAB file updates corrects the BSOD problems under WinXP.

OK, here are the direct links to the Microsoft CAB files which update the Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM soft-synth to be stable under Windows XP (SP2/SP3). One links to the CAB update for a 2MB WaveROM/driver/DLL update. The other links to the CAB update for a 4MB WaveROM/driver/DLL update. I would recommend downloading these fairly soon as Microsoft probably does not realize that these two Yamaha update CAB files are still available on their servers. :-)


Microsoft download CAB update files for Yamaha S-YXG50:

Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 2MB WaveROM update: MU50 2MB V2.0
Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 4MB WaveROM update: MU50 4MB V2.0


You might wish to use extraction software such as Universal Extractor to extract the update files from the CAB files. There is a SXGXGWDM.INF file for installation of the updated files.



Now for how the two soft-synths, Roland and Yamaha sound in game as compared to hardware synths, real and emulated SoundBlaster audio cards and real and emulated Gravis Ultrasound audio cards. For your listening pleasure here are seventeen audio/audio-video examples of the possible selections for 'music cards' in the audio configuration of the 1994 DOS game SYSTEM SHOCK, to include both soft-synths under discussion. The example XMIDI file is the Introduction theme to SYSTEM SHOCK. Many of these audio files were graciously provided by forum member 5u3 The audio/AVI samples are to be found in links contained in this post at the QuestStudios forum.



Best of luck,

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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2008-8-24 @ 07:22

Thanks for the suggestions, folks! :)

leileilol wrote:timidity++?

I just found the software on sourceforge and about to download it. Just wonder: does it sound good with its own default sound bank?

Regarding to sound bank, which one is the best for GM games? sf2s, sbks, or GUS?


dvwjr wrote:When it comes to system stability on WinXP, I would have to say that the Roland Virtual Sound Canvas v3.23 will lead to the occasional BSOD when running under WinXP due to some deficiency in the device driver coding. It might be stable under Win9x, however.

Another reason to built a Windows 98 legacy system.


dvwjr wrote:better that the Microsoft GM/GS soft-synth which licensed Roland Sound Set digital samples.

I think anything is better than Microsoft GM soft synth save FM sounds. ;)


dvwjr wrote:I believe that the VSTi or DXi plug-in versions included in the VSC-MP1 package do not use a device driver and appear stable for now

Pardon the newbie question but what is VSTi? Is it a "software package" that includes Roland VSC?


dvwjr wrote:To gain system stability under WinXP, it is possible to use the Roland VSC v3.23 included VSTi plug-in version of the Roland VSC sound set with the following tools:

1.) The SAVIHost single VSTi by Herman Seib
2.) The Maple Virtual Midi Cable by Jeff Hurchalla

Basically you have to install the complete Roland VSC v3.23 package, just to install the v1.00 VSTi VSC.DLL file. There is a Roland update to VSC.DLL version 1.01 available. Use the Maple Virtual Midi cables to redirect the WinXP MIDI stream to the SAVIHost instance of the Roland VSTi and you are in business without the WinXP BSODs. This does mean manually starting (or a batch/script file) the SAVIHost Roland VSTi instance and redirecting the Windows MIDI output before starting said Dosbox hosted game. Remember that the VSTi implementation does default to the SC-88pro waveRom sound set.





dvwjr wrote:The Roland Virtual Sound Canvas Multi-pack (VSC-MP1) CD-ROM is still sold by music instrument/device re-sellers such as Sweetwater. The VSC-MP1 does not appear to be available as a pay download.

I see. Will look for one.


dvwjr wrote:As to the Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 2MB WaveRom version, it seems to be available sometimes on eBay,

Haven't found any. I guess I should be patient.


dvwjr wrote: or as VOGONS member Zup indicated in the game Final Fantasy VII. The typical version has Yamaha 2MB compressed WaveROM files. Unless an update is performed to bring the Yamaha SXGXGWDM.SYS driver to version 5.13.2600.3 you will have BSODs under WinXP.

...or maybe buy FF VII just for the soft synth.

dvwjr wrote:OK, here are the direct links to the Microsoft CAB files which update the Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM soft-synth to be stable under Windows XP (SP2/SP3). One links to the CAB update for a 2MB WaveROM/driver/DLL update. The other links to the CAB update for a 4MB WaveROM/driver/DLL update. I would recommend downloading these fairly soon as Microsoft probably does not realize that these two Yamaha update CAB files are still available on their servers. :-)


Microsoft download CAB update files for Yamaha S-YXG50:

Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 2MB WaveROM update: MU50 2MB V2.0
Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM 4MB WaveROM update: MU50 4MB V2.0


You might wish to use extraction software such as Universal Extractor to extract the update files from the CAB files. There is a SXGXGWDM.INF file for installation of the updated files.

Thanks! :) I guess I'll go for Yamaha instead since they seem to be easier to get --and the updates too.


dvwjr wrote:Now for how the two soft-synths, Roland and Yamaha sound in game as compared to hardware synths, real and emulated SoundBlaster audio cards and real and emulated Gravis Ultrasound audio cards. For your listening pleasure here are seventeen audio/audio-video examples of the possible selections for 'music cards' in the audio configuration of the 1994 DOS game SYSTEM SHOCK, to include both soft-synths under discussion. The example XMIDI file is the Introduction theme to SYSTEM SHOCK. Many of these audio files were graciously provided by forum member 5u3 The audio/AVI samples are to be found in links contained in this post at the QuestStudios forum.

I see. Then I still have to look for VSC for playing Sierra games.


dvwjr wrote:Best of luck,

dvwjr

Thanks again,
-Kresh
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Qbix » 2008-8-24 @ 10:49

Hmm I have ff VII I thought that it was only a special mode to use a soft synth, not that it was included on the discs. I do believe you though, So I've had a nice soft synth on my shelves for all those years and never used it... :(
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby GL1zdA » 2008-8-25 @ 15:43

Qbix wrote:Hmm I have ff VII I thought that it was only a special mode to use a soft synth, not that it was included on the discs. I do believe you though, So I've had a nice soft synth on my shelves for all those years and never used it... :(

The one included with FF7 is S-YXG70 and it is not compatible with Windows XP. On the FF8 CD there is a DirectMusic upgrade for YAMAHA synthesizers, but it doesn't work on XP. I own a S-YXG50 v.3 from a ASUS motherboard (CUSL2) CD, but the CD-Key works well with version 4. (I use 4.23.14). It sound very well with FF7 (unfortunately doesn't work with FF8, as it is not DirectMusic compatible), I would even say it sound cleaner than a DB60XG attached to my Diamond MX300.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Zup » 2008-8-25 @ 18:25

Well, I recommended Yamaha synths for old computers (Win95, Win98). Any computer capable of running XP will be happy with timidity++.

Was S-YXG70 the synth in FF VII? I thought it was 50... I didn't install it, that time I had a Sound Blaster AWE64. FF VII had generic MIDI files, and two special sets of MIDI files: one for Yamaha synths, and one for Sound Blaster AWE (it included some soundfonts to enhace the music... at least it had chocobo sounds).
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby swaaye » 2008-8-25 @ 18:53

There's also the nifty S-YXG100 (Sondius) for Win9x. It's hard to find though.
http://www.sonicspot.com/sondiusxg/sondiusxg.html
S-YXG100 Sondius XG SoftwareSynthesizer combines the S-YXG50 software XG engine with the SVA physical modeling techniques used by Yamaha's VL1, VL7 and VL70m tone generators. Sondius XG takes the existing S-YXG50 engine and adds 256 preset VL voices conforming to the VL/XG spec of the VL70m. It also combines the Voice mode programmability and parameters of the VL70m.


I use S-YXG50 and Roland VSC in XP with DOSBOX. Unless I'm on a PC with a Audigy or Live, in which case I use a big 'ol soundfont like Chorium or SGM-180.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby GL1zdA » 2008-8-25 @ 19:07

Zup wrote:Well, I recommended Yamaha synths for old computers (Win95, Win98). Any computer capable of running XP will be happy with timidity++.

Just though I mention it for people, who would buy FF7 and would be disappointed it does not work in XP.
Zup wrote:Was S-YXG70 the synth in FF VII?

At least in my edition (the first edition which came out)

Zup wrote:I thought it was 50... I didn't install it, that time I had a Sound Blaster AWE64. FF VII had generic MIDI files, and two special sets of MIDI files: one for Yamaha synths, and one for Sound Blaster AWE (it included some soundfonts to enhace the music... at least it had chocobo sounds).

Yes, the SoundFonts work well also with the new cards, but some files have to be edited to get the 'One-Winged Angel' choir midis. (I played it on an Audigy 2 ZS, but also listened to the game music on DB60XG and S-YXG50 and I think it sounds better, unfortunately you can only get the regular 'One-Winged Angel' version.) The SoundFont version resembles the sound of songs on the FF7 OST CDs, but its quality isn't very good, the YAMAHA version sounds different, but at least for me nicer than the SF version. Unfortunately I don't have the PS version to compare it.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Leolo » 2008-11-26 @ 02:12

There's a nice guide in ScummVM's forums:
http://forums.scummvm.org/viewtopic.php?t=6303

Also, take a look at what a user called "Leolo" says there (who could he be??) ;)
http://forums.scummvm.org/viewtopic.php?p=41868#41868

Cheers.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby zaphod77 » 2010-2-25 @ 08:48

Okay.

The s-yxg70 that comes with final fantasy is literally the s-yxg20 and the s-yxg50 in te saem program.

And yes, it only works on 98. :(

But buried in windows update is an update that works on xp. an dguess what? it doesnt' need a serial. just extract the cab manually, then install the driver manually. sure, you won't have the control panel, but it's not really needed, and you can tweak settings inside the registry directly.

AS for VSC, roland is blocking direct downloads from ftp now. I WAS able to find a later upgrade though. it's a bit harder to extract the DLL from the file, but it works just as well with savihost.

Now S-YXG50 doesn't work on vista. at all. :(

but the VSti version DOES work. You have to buy it though.

So now i have both. :)
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby erpster-xg4 » 2010-5-28 @ 21:36

zaphod77 wrote:Okay.

The s-yxg70 that comes with final fantasy is literally the s-yxg20 and the s-yxg50 in te saem program.

And yes, it only works on 98. :(



not quite true, zaphod77. S-YXG70 actually works on ALL Win9x based OSes (Win95, 98 and Milllennium).

But buried in windows update is an update that works on xp. an dguess what? it doesnt' need a serial. just extract the cab manually, then install the driver manually. sure, you won't have the control panel, but it's not really needed, and you can tweak settings inside the registry directly.

AS for VSC, roland is blocking direct downloads from ftp now. I WAS able to find a later upgrade though. it's a bit harder to extract the DLL from the file, but it works just as well with savihost.


I can still download the Roland VSC updates from its HTTP site rather than from the FTP site.

Now S-YXG50 doesn't work on vista. at all. :(


and the SYXG50 drivers doesn't work on a "native" Win7 environment either.

and there's a mis-conception that the latest version of S-YXG50 WDM is v4.23.14. IT IS NOT. That specific version was released in late 2001 to address XP compatiblity issues and does not contain the latest driver! :shocked: the driver bundled in SYXG50 v4.23.14 was 5.13.2600.21 dated 10/24/2001! :shocked:

Version 4.21.03 demo (and the 4.21.07 full) were released in late 2002 and contain newer S-YXG50 WDM drivers. v4.21.03 had v5.13.2600.37 of the YAMAHA XG SoftSynthesizer driver dated 5/22/2002 while v4.21.07 had v5.13.2600.38 of the SYXG50 driver dated 5/28/2002.

Currently I use SYXG50 WDM v4.21.07 on my XP SP3 machines.
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby Leolo » 2010-5-28 @ 23:09

Damn! It's true, they have deleted the old link!

Here's the new one if anyone's interested:

http://ftp.roland.co.jp/support/en/downloads/res/15813994/VSC-VST106.zip

Unfortunately, the CAB files cannot be extracted with Universal Extractor anymore. Now you need an extractor called "ISCabVU14.rar" (search Google, there seems to be a working copy hosted in divshare.com servers).

With Install Shield Cabinet File Viewer you can open the "data1.hdr" file and then click on the button "Display Components" (third one starting from the left). Click on the plus sign in folder "DLL" and click on "Files". Select the VSC.dll file and click on the button "Extract File from Media" (second one starting from the right). That's all.

PS: Man, I truly HATE those installshield cabinet files. They are a pain in the ass!
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby zaphod77 » 2011-4-27 @ 05:49

Okay. here are the goods.

For starters, instead of maple, use "loopMidi". it's much more stable.

XP+XG: just use the ms cab with the 4 meg rom. You are good to go. There is a rumor that the platinum version of final fantasy 7 pc has a softsynth that DOES work under XP. This has NOT been confirmed.

VSC: the update from roland is available still, but extracting the DLL from the protected update is piracy. For shame. :)

Vista+XG: Wayback machine has the SOL2 trial. The sol3 trial contains the installer for the VSTi trial. good news is it works. bad news is it cuts out after 30 seconds, and is in need of cracking. Of course, that would be piracy, and Piracy is Bad (even though you cannot get it legit without buying a $400+ sequencer from japan).
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Re: Recommend a MIDI soft synth

Postby rfnagel » 2011-4-27 @ 13:59

Of course, a new alternative (that works under XP/Vista/7) is viewtopic.php?t=27975 :)
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