Soundfonts that mimic old hardware (SC-55, DX50XG, AWE64 Gold)

Emulation of old PCs, PC hardware, or PC peripherals.

Soundfonts that mimic old hardware (SC-55, DX50XG, AWE64 Gold)

Postby deemster » 2015-11-13 @ 16:58

My main gripe with all sorts of soundfonts was their absurd size, as well as using a lot of instruments from other synths to mimic certain instruments. What you have here is four soundfonts for the purist who wants to get the classic sound out of their Sound Blaster card or softsynth.

Roland SC-55 Presets: http://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=25 ... file%2csf2
Yamaha DX50XG Presets: http://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=25 ... file%2csf2
AWE64 Gold Presets: http://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=25 ... file%2csf2
AWE64 Gold FM Presets: http://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=25 ... e%2csfpack (Shoutout to Zandro Reveille for recording the OPL3 GM samples)

The presets in above soundfonts are carefully programmed to sound like their hardware counterparts. Therefore the soundfonts will play your music in an organic way.
The first three soundfonts are under 4 mb, so they will fit on a stock AWE64 Gold.
But there is no need to use the Gold soundfonts on your AWE64 Gold anyways lol , they are meant for people without an AWE card.

Keep in mind these things:

- The DB50XG soundfont is meant for General Midi playback
- You need SFPack to unpack the AWE64 Gold FM Presets soundfont
- The AWE64 Gold actually uses an OPL clone called CQM, but it's close enough

All these soundfonts are tested on the Bassmidi driver, but should work fine on any other soundfont-compatible synthesizer, software or hardware.
Last edited by deemster on 2015-11-16 @ 23:16, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets soundfont

Postby dr_st » 2015-11-13 @ 19:20

Quite interesting. :)
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets soundfont

Postby jesolo » 2015-11-13 @ 19:57

Sounds very promising.
How difficult would it be to also save this soundfont in the version 1 format (*.sbk)?
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets soundfont

Postby deemster » 2015-11-13 @ 20:20

I really hope it sounds as i intented, please tell me after you have tried it :p Here is the sbk version: http://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=25 ... file%2csbk
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets soundfont

Postby jesolo » 2015-11-13 @ 21:50

Ok, I've loaded the *.SF2 soundfont under Windows 98SE onto my AWE64,
Launched a DOS window (command prompt) and started up Doom 1 and just played E1M1.
Music sounds very good and I can't hear (off hand) any difference between this soundfont and the SC-55's samples.

I have, however, picked up a slight chorus and reverb effect (almost like a "hallway echo" effect) when playing back the MIDI music (in other words, it sounds like the instruments are "further away" from me, compared to when playing it on my SC-55). Did you apply some reverb/chorus effects in your samples?
Also, the bass on the drums are a bit too high.

I also tried loading the *.sbk soundfont as well by just renaming the soundfont to synthgm.sbk and copying it into the SB16\SFBANK folder. Under Real Mode DOS, it just hangs (doesn't load).
Under Windows, it does load but, the instruments sound very weird (like the instrument mapping is not correct as per the GM specifications).
As a matter of interest, how did you convert and/or save your file in the *.sbk format?
Last edited by jesolo on 2015-11-13 @ 22:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets soundfont

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-11-13 @ 21:54

That's great work, thank you!
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-13 @ 23:49

Thanks for the kind replies!
To jesolo: I tried a quick 'n dirty conversion using Awave Studio, but that is probably not the right way to convert to sbk :D
About reverb and chorus; You have heard it correctly. I have edited the parameters of every preset such as reverb, chorus, volume envelopes etc, slowely tuning them one by one to recreate the sound of the SC-55.
It sounds very close to my SC-55. Yet of course, it's not perfect. Your advice about lowering the bass is useful, thank you!

About Doom: It is one of the rare games without reverb/chorus parameters, so on the hardware SC-55 it is indeed dry. However 99% of the games do have these parameters, and the soundfont sounds as it should with them.

By the way, i have added my DB50XG GM soundfont to the topic too!
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-11-14 @ 02:28

A quick question.

Would it be easy for you to create a larger (more MB) version of this?

Quite a few have pimped out AWE cards with 28 MB :lol:
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby x86++ » 2015-11-14 @ 03:02

The software synthesizer should control the reverb and chorus instead of inserting a base level of them in the sound samples.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-14 @ 08:38

To Phil: Hehe, i get it you want to use the extra RAM lol But the SC-55 ROM samples are just that small.

To x86++: I disagree with this statement. Every preset is different, and needs it's own parameters. For example, an accoustic preset just needs a bit of reverb while a synthy preset has much use for a bit of chorus and/or envelope tweaking. It's this tweaking that makes it sound like a SC-55, since in the hardware each instrument has it's own behaviour too. You can compare by downloading Scc1t2.sf2 and adjusting reverb and chorus on your softsynth. It will 'wet' everything in reverb, but will not sound as organic as a SC-55. Also, some instruments will not sound like a SC-55 at all (For example: bells). The magic is in the presets :)
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby jesolo » 2015-11-14 @ 09:07

I was meaning to ask what the difference was between your soundfont and the Scc1t2.sf2 soundfont but, didn't want to make you feel that your effort was inferior (it isn't).

If do decide to make some adjustments to your soundfont (for example, the bass on the drums), then just post the updated soundfont and I'll listen to it again.

The reason why I requested for a version 1 soundfont is for my "real" mode DOS games (by loading it directly via Aweutil when booting up in DOS). Up to now, I've been struggling to find a version 1 SC-55 soundfont.

But, still a great effort.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-14 @ 09:11

Yes, i thought so :D I will do some research, maybe there is a way to convert an sf2 to sbk without making it sound like shit lol

Of course i will post it here when i made any changes to the soundfont!

Thank you for your input, it's really useful.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby x86++ » 2015-11-14 @ 09:49

If your soundfont sound samples already include the appropriate level of reverb and chorus effects, then should these soundfonts run in a software synthesizer with the reverb and chorus effects disabled? Otherwise, wouldn't these effects apply twice?

Also, did you apply these effects so that they match the default settings on the actual hardware?
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-14 @ 10:29

When you disable chorus and reverb in your synthesizer, all the presets will sound dry. Since those synth sliders are global. So it is really meant to play with, for example, bassmidis standard levels. And indeed all those effects, as well as sustain, decay envelopes etc are meant to give the presets the SC-55 sound. But it's an approximation, it is based on hearing, not Roland data sheets lol
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby x86++ » 2015-11-14 @ 10:47

The software synthesizers vary in their standard levels for reverb and chorus. Tuning to one soft synth by ear will not guarantee same result on other softsynths.

Also, were the settings at default on the actual hardware when listening to the effects?
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-14 @ 11:32

That's true, but since all good softsynths use the Bassmidi driver (Which in turn is very close to the EMU8000 on the AWE/Live!), there is no need to worry about authenticity. And yes, it is all based on the default settings of the hardware SC-55 :) I notice you are a purist too, so a bit more about effects: The standard reverb i see in the midi plugin in xmplay is 50%. Since that midi plugin uses Bassmidi, we now know the ideal setting for the reverb slider in any softsynth for the soundfont; 50% !

Edit: I have looked it up and i was correct. Bassmidi reverb defaults to 50%. So it's also the case with virtualmidisynth
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby jesolo » 2015-11-14 @ 12:17

deemster wrote:About Doom: It is one of the rare games without reverb/chorus parameters, so on the hardware SC-55 it is indeed dry. However 99% of the games do have these parameters, and the soundfont sounds as it should with them.

Pardon for the noop questions. I know very little of how MIDI devices function (hence, my questions).
I understand the concept of reverb, chorus, "wet" and "dry" and luckily have a fairly good ear to be able to distinguish differences in sounds, etc.

So, based on what you stated above, with a "true" SC-55, each game (with the exception of Doom 1) sends reverb and/or chorus "commands" to the hardware synthesizer module when playing back the General MIDI soundtrack? If that is the case, how does this differ when playing back these MIDI tracks on an AWE32/AWE64 or Live! soundcard? Don't these hardware based cards also "interpret" the commands in the same manner?

deemster wrote:When you disable chorus and reverb in your synthesizer, all the presets will sound dry. Since those synth sliders are global. So it is really meant to play with, for example, bassmidis standard levels. And indeed all those effects, as well as sustain, decay envelopes etc are meant to give the presets the SC-55 sound. But it's an approximation, it is based on hearing, not Roland data sheets lol
.
So, if you were to apply your settings to match the specifications of the Roland data sheets, would that then produce a near authentic sound?
Last edited by jesolo on 2015-11-14 @ 12:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Roland SC-55 Presets + Yamaha DX50XG Presets soundfonts

Postby deemster » 2015-11-14 @ 12:24

Haha, i do not mind answering questions at all. But what you state is correct, most games have their own parameters for specific instruments, or they are lazy and apply global levels.

About your second question: I am a strong believer in the capability of presets (Which to me are just as important as the samples themselves, that's why GM.dls sounds so tinny, because of lazy presets). So i am pretty sure it is possible to make it sound even closer to the hardware, not 100% but very close to that :D

Edit: I have added two AWE64 Gold soundfonts and rewritten the OP.
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Re: Soundfonts that mimic old hardware (SC-55, DX50XG, AWE64 Gold)

Postby leileilol » 2015-11-15 @ 00:00

IF it's the same soundfont i'm thinking of _and not something you made_, the SC-55 soundfont that's out there is based on secondhand experiences and internet sample buggery with heavy distortion, I wouldn't trust it.
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Re: Soundfonts that mimic old hardware (SC-55, DX50XG, AWE64 Gold)

Postby deemster » 2015-11-15 @ 00:04

What are you talking about?

Edit: I have read your post a whole lot of times over and over lol I hope i understand it right. You have experience with a SC-55 soundfont this size and sounded like shit, and you thought maybe that's the one i posted here? If that's what you meant: No, i have made all the soundfonts i posted here myself, so that's not possible :p
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