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Soundfont recommendation thread

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First post, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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MIDI lovers, this is the place to discuss and recommend your favorite soundfonts.

As for my, here's mine:

Drums:

To me, the best drum soundfont remains Drums by Slavo v1.0, and I haven't found better drum set by far. There is a problem though: the snare is way too loud, and this causes problems with songs like Wing Commander opening theme, where the snare dwarfs everything else that the music become imbalanced.

Otherwise, Drums is a very fine drumset. It makes your MIDI track sounds almost like tracker music percussion-wise, and I frankly haven't found better-sounding drumset so far.

GM:

For a complete GM soundfont, I'm actually split between Bellatrix Orchestra (420 megs) and SGM V2.01 (240 megs). The Bellatrix Orchestra sounds better in wind instrument-heavy music like TIE Fighter theme song and Warcraft II songs. However, it seems to be problematic in certain songs, replacing guitar/piano with strings/wind instruments. For example, you can try playing Cammy soundtrack from Super Street Fighter II (from here) using Bellatrix, and you know what i mean.

SGM V2.01 is a better-rounded GM soundfonts, and everything plays as it should. However, the wind instruments are not as full as Bellatrix Orchestra.

I got both soundfonts from here. The Bellatrix can be found inside Collection part 1, while the SGM V2.01 can be found in Collection part 2.

So, what are you recommendations?

Reply 2 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Crisis General MIDI 3.01. The most impressive soundfont I've ever heard. Of course, it's also HUGE.

The rar file is password-protected, and you need to join the forum in order to get the password.

Last edited by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on 2012-03-31, 19:05. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 3 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Well, despite its size, the drum is very weak though. I think I'll stick with Drums by Slavo for percussion.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 4 of 74, by MusicallyInspired

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RealFont isn't bad. There was another one called the Atomic soundfont. I believe they're both all-encompassing GM compatible fonts. I've long gotten away from soundfonts, though.

Roland SC-55 Music Packs - Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Hocus Pocus, Descent, and more.
Latest release: Heretic Music Pack (12/12/18)

Reply 5 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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MusicallyInspired wrote:

RealFont isn't bad. There was another one called the Atomic soundfont. I believe they're both all-encompassing GM compatible fonts.

Ah, it is about 150 megabytes, isn't it?

Anyway, any suggestion to improve Drums by Slavo? I mean, to how many percent should one reduce its volume? It's a great drum, but way too loud that makes the song unbalanced.

MusicallyInspired wrote:

I've long gotten away from soundfonts, though.

Why?

Reply 7 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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I see, thanks. I'll try either values. For the Crisis GM, I think I have to reduce it further, because the soundfont is particularly quiet compared to many others.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 8 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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The search for the Holy Grail continues...

The Crisis GM soundfont has very impressive orchestral banks. It is really great when playing GM music from games like Warcraft II and TIE Fighter. However, as I have suspected, it is very weak in pop music, most notably in drums and distortion guitar. Also, it is not very balanced in X-Com and Strike Commander MIDI files - there are instruments that are "sunk" by louder instruments.

But gulikoza has sent me his custom-made soundfont (thanks buddy! 😀 ), which is only about 90 megabytes or so. The drumset is taken from Drums by Slavo, with reduced volume to balance the remaining instruments. While it is not as full as Crisis GM in orchestra, it works really great in pop and rock music.

I found many orchestral-oriented soundfonts like Crisis GM and Bellatrix Orchestra are weak in pop music, which is unfortunate.

Reply 9 of 74, by gulikoza

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What do you use for orchestra testing? For instance one of better sounding orchestral midis IMHO is the startrek6 theme. It's simply amazing and it does bring my audigy2 to it's knees as at the peak it runs out of voices.

http://www.si-gamer.net/gulikoza

Reply 10 of 74, by MusicallyInspired

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
MusicallyInspired wrote:

RealFont isn't bad. There was another one called the Atomic soundfont. I believe they're both all-encompassing GM compatible fonts.

Ah, it is about 150 megabytes, isn't it?

That's the one.

MusicallyInspired wrote:

I've long gotten away from soundfonts, though.

Why?

As a musician, I've drifted more towards higher quality and more professional music software/plugins. The East West libraries for instance. Garritan Personal Orchestra. When composing SoundFonts are extremely insufficient for me.

Roland SC-55 Music Packs - Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Hocus Pocus, Descent, and more.
Latest release: Heretic Music Pack (12/12/18)

Reply 11 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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gulikoza wrote:

What do you use for orchestra testing? For instance one of better sounding orchestral midis IMHO is the startrek6 theme. It's simply amazing and it does bring my audigy2 to it's knees as at the peak it runs out of voices.

TIE Fighter soundtrack. I always use Star Wars MIDI files as benchmark for software synths and soundfonts, because they're brass-heavy.

Reply 12 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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MusicallyInspired wrote:

As a musician, I've drifted more towards higher quality and more professional music software/plugins. The East West libraries for instance. Garritan Personal Orchestra. When composing SoundFonts are extremely insufficient for me.

I see. I'm not quite familiar with Garriitan Personal Orchestra. IIRC, Garritan is not GM, but uses its own format, am I correct?

What is the format of Garritan virtual instruments? And is it possible to convert them into GM-compatible soundfont?

Reply 13 of 74, by MusicallyInspired

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That's correct. Converting anything to GM as a SoundFont is possible, but I can only imagine you'd sacrifice quality. VSTi plugins like Garritan and East West don't really have a standard and you can't use them with anything else but a program that utilizes VSTi plugins. Also, each instrument can have many variations like soft, short, pizzicatto, tremelo, trills, etc and then there could be different recordings of those samples for each and every note on the keyboard, and then there could be different samples for different ranges of note velocity for every keyboard note. Libraries like that (East West) are absolutely humongous and up in the hundreds of gigabytes. The instrument lists can be extremely vast and are ordered by category depending on what the plugin is for, there really isn't a standard they follow beyond what makes sense to its library. All instrument selection is done in the plugin window itself and the MIDI sequencer track doesn't really need to select an instrument patch, it just needs to select a MIDI channel and the VSTi plugin as its MIDI output. Being intended for composition rather than simple playback, it's a much more advanced process than just loading a soundfont. Can be fun to make covers with them, though.

Roland SC-55 Music Packs - Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Hocus Pocus, Descent, and more.
Latest release: Heretic Music Pack (12/12/18)

Reply 14 of 74, by hardyt

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I was searching for a long time to find a decent sound font for TIE Fighter that's better than the MT32 emulation. Finally found one: Studio Works 2007 Light. Wow! PM me if you want to know where to get it.

Has anyone else heard of this sound font?

Reply 15 of 74, by Jolaes76

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Hello,

I am interested in trying the soundfont you recommended.
Please tell me where I can find it.
Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
J.

"Ita in vita ut in lusu alae pessima iactura arte corrigenda est."

Reply 16 of 74, by HunterZ

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I tried several GM soundfonts and also found that SGM-V2.01 is really good (better on the whole than FluidR3 and WeedsGM3 I think).

I've got one or two SC-55 soundfonts that sound decently close to the real thing as well, but SGM sounds nicer.

I'd like to know if there are any gigantic GM soundfonts that sound better than SGM but are still balanced and well-rounded. It sounds like the ones mentioned in the thread so far are all quirky.

I have real MIDI synths that are connected to my desktop, but I like to use BASSMIDIDRV on my laptop.

Reply 17 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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I stand corrected.

Well, I should have posted in months ago, but I hadn't found the right MIDI song to best illustrate my point. Now I've found it.

You see, I said the 1.5 Gigabyte Crisis GM sounds best. I was wrong. It sounds great for orchestral-type songs, but it doesn't sound right elsewhere.

For example, take a listen at X-Com's 06-Intercept.MID (attached as 06-Intercept.zip). When using Crisis GM, the Slow String Ensemble instrument (track 4, Preset 50) uncomfortably stands out among other instrument, that it almost dominates the entire song. I don't know what the problem is; whether the particular instrument is too loud, or other instruments in the song just happen to be quieter than the Crisis' Slow String Ensemble. The point is: it seems the Crisis GM is not very well-balanced GM Soundfont.

The Crisis GM is also problematic when playing my most favorite Warlords II song. The song SINT5.MID (attached as SINT5.rar) simply doesn't sound at all! I don't know if the Crisis GM doesn't have the correct Preset, or it is actually a different problem altogether.

gulikoza wrote:

I've reduced the volume to around 75 or 80% IIRC in my collection.

When you reduce the volume, did you reduce the volume of all drum components, or just certain components like bass drum and snare drum?

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  • Filename
    06-Intercept.zip
    File size
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    File license
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  • Filename
    SINT5.rar
    File size
    7.47 KiB
    Downloads
    723 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 19 of 74, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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gulikoza wrote:

I think I didn't bother too much at the time and just reduced everything... 😀

I see. You reduce it using Attenuation value, don't you? How many db do you reduce the volume? Is 25 db of attenuation sufficient?