I hate to bump an old topic, but has anyone found a good long term solution to this? I definitely have to agree that Yamaha XG sounds a lot better for a generic MIDI driver (with soundfonts you can do better, but you typically have to choose different ones and mix things around a bit for each individual song to make them really sound good. XG seems to have a good balance of just being at least ok for virtually everything "out of the box" so to speak.) I actually had the VSTi MIDI driver working at first on my Windows 10 x64 system, but then it just suddenly disappeared from the CoolSoft MIDI mapper menu entirely the next time I tried to use it (which was quite a while later, so I honestly don't know if it was just simply failing after a reboot or if an update broke it.) I can't really even guess at what could make it just suddenly disappear like that. EDIT: It seems uninstalling and reinstalling at least temporarily brings it back. But reinstalling over and over is not exactly a long term solution...
Honestly, I wish DOSBox itself could somehow implement XG synthesis directly (presumably requiring the user to provide the actual ROM I suppose,) but I know that is a whole complicated mess of a project in itself. (Still, then it would work on other architectures and platforms such as ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi so actually would be really great.)
There is actually a soundfont that's supposed to have taken samples from the XG synthesizer and reproduced them, but unless I'm just not finding a properly up to date one it just sounds positively awful. In fact, even though it's specifically supposed to be remapped for GM it sounds like it uses the wrong instruments... (I'm not sure what that means since the first part of XG is supposed to include GM so should be mapped the same shouldn't it? Unless I've misunderstand, GS and then XG extend beyond it rather than replace it.) This probably never could sound quite as good as a real XG synthesizer, but it seems like at least a decent stopgap solution and a lot easier (especially for people who don't know how to setup MIDI since I can just send them a preconfigured DOSBox setup.) But it doesn't just not sound right -- it sounds downright bad. Does anyone know if anything more has ever been done with this?
kode54 wrote on 2019-12-12, 23:22:
You're probably better off using a loopback driver with a dedicated VST host application, as it will allow sharing a single instance of the VST plugin with multiple applications.
In the most technical sense that is absolutely 100% true, but most of us aren't MIDI developers and it actually isn't such a great solution for us. Doing this is a lot more complicated (in fact, as much as I've dealt with MIDI, since I never really did any actual MIDI development I have no real experience with anything like this and don't even know how to do it personally) and increases complexity of what should be a relatively simple thing significantly (multiple processes and dependencies with parts that can go wrong.) That's in addition to the already increased complexity thanks to dealing with the lack of a proper MIDI mapper now. And while I could probably suss it out with a bit of time and effort, there's no way I could tell friends I've tried to setup with DOSBox to do all that. (In fact, it's already far more complex than it should be thanks to 8.1 and 10 removing the MIDI mapper entirely and having to use yet another piece of software.) I would like to add here that most of us DOSBox users are quite possibly never going to need to share a MIDI device across multiple programs. I'm sure developers may run across this from time to time, but I can't even remember ever needing two things to use a MIDI device at once even back with physical hardware as an end user.