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Musyng Kite 990MB GM/GS soundfont. Former Evanessence overhaul! 2011-2014 June 21st 2014

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

Sarcyan
KVRist
 
79 posts since 11 Jun, 2012

Postby Sarcyan; Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:32 pm Musyng Kite 990MB GM/GS soundfont. Former Evanessence overhaul! 2011-2014 June 21st 2014

Image

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New Musyng Kite soundfont -former Evanessence, which also started as musical box, and Musica 7 was the first official name of the soundfont, back in 2011, so it's been three years in the works-.
______________________________________________________________

You can get an idea of how it sounds in this video -although the sound changed deeply, quite a lot, ever since, it's been two years when the video was published and the soundfont was just a beta then-. The description -which I copied and pasted here- has the download links.

This is the original and former soundfont when it was presented first, two years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyKX1-ephO0&hd=1

The file is 339 MB compressed in SFPACK format, 990MB uncompressed.

It has been uploaded today, June 21st 2014, so it's really recent.

Links to download Musyng Kite, updated and completed June 21st 2014:

http://1drv.ms/VeywIN (link to download it from my Onedrive account. Onedrive is free now, you don't need to use a Hotmail or Live account to download files from there as of currently)

(Synthfont's homepage download link pending)

Link to the old version (not recommended, the only advantage is that it just has some extra samples, but it's less polished!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6caGN_QlJVEUzVtX0tKOWVoWXc/edit?usp=sharing (google drive DL link))

Introduction

First of all, I would like express my deepest thanks to Kenneth ( Synthfont www.synthfont.com and Viena creator and developer ) for his feedback and help with the last version of the soundfont. His help was really valuable and also indirectly spurred my interest to continue with the project. Without him the current version of the soundfont wouldn't be where it is now as I certainly had grown tired of the soundfont back in November, and further fixing and tweaking wasn't being considered until he shared some feedback with me to improve a couple of instruments, which I certainly did, again, with his help.

When that happened I began to regain interest in the project until it reached its maturity, as it is now. Further development of the soundfont won't happen, but you can edit and modify it freely to suit to your own tastes, add instruments and presets, etc.

Also thanks for downloading and trying this sounfont. Musyng Kite - former Evanessence, whose name comes from that famous band and my *love* for Amy Lee-, is a General MIDI / General Standard compatible SoundFont meant to bring great realism to your MIDI sequences.

Technical Info, Release notes

Musyng Kite is the final, definitive revision of the former Evanessence soundfont, which was released March 14th 2013. After more than a year, plus 3 years total of editing it (counting the day I began to collect samples), Musyng is the final version of the original Musica 7 soundfont, which then was called Musical Box a year afterwards, then Evanessence, and now Musyng Kite.

Well, I have been fiddling with the soundfont format in the olden times but never got to distribute or being able to finally give expression to my idea of a soundfont back then, mainly because I forever lost all the work I had done on my previous soundfont. It would be a long story.

It has been a few years now since I started with this project to create a soundfont, like 10 years or so -around 2002-. It was meant to be a GM soundbank. The actual work with the current version took like almost 3 years total, which is at least less than the time it would require to be completed 10 years ago, the means are much better now, there are a lot of free samples out there....

Any feedback is fine with me, either good or bad, I don't mind, but I created it around feedback and right now I am not going to continue with the soundfont, nor in the future. I insist that if you want to give it further development I am certainly supportive of it, although it is coherent, homogeneous and balanced in general now, there are always things one can add -General MIDI 2 would be certainly great-.

Technical Info

Musyng contains 7700 samples (5739 samples in the version I'd recommend, Musyng Kite), which are organized into 248 melodic presets, mapping all the General MIDI and GS presets and 26 (12 drum kits in the version I wholeheartedly recommend, Musyng Kite) in the bank number 128 -drum kits which I also freed for use freely on every MIDI track, something that allows for greater flexibility-, weighing 1,62GB. --990MB for the best version, Musyng Kite-

Please be aware that this soundfont in particular is very heavy on the number of voices it can use at the same time. It can easily reach 200-300 voices on an almost permanent basis, depending on the instruments used and the notes being played.

If the sound starts clipping and your processor can't handle the polyphony, try to change the output rate to 44 or 48KHz. The sound quality would be great in both cases and it certainly gives some leeway to the processor when you are using certain DAWs and software.

Hence 44 or 48KHz let you use more effects without degrading performance much. Please ignore these words if you have a very capable CPU because it will work at any output rate, no matter how many simultaneous voices you throw at it. Anyways I wouldn't recommend a higher output rate than 48KHz, since this is more than enough!

It is well known that audio will eat as many CPU cycles as you allocate to it, so having some flexibility is a good thing.

Release notes

These are the improvements and tweaks I have made slowly and progressively since the last official release of the soundfont, from a former version of Evanessence called Musical Box I uploaded in November 2012, then Evanessence in March 2013 and now Musyng after more than a year.

I had been working on a Lite version of the soundfont, and from those improvements and many other samples I had ready for it, this idea became a factor that helped the final development of Musyng. I was stuck with a lot of instrument generators in the early days -65536 instrument generators is the maximum amount a sounfont can handle before becoming corrupt and unusable, and I was always close to that number of generators-. So I got rid of instruments taking up a lot of space, samples, etc, which weren't necessarily beneficial for the sound quality or the soundfont itself and managed to save 20000 instrument generators, which allowed me for further development.

Additionally, I saved about 200MB of space even if I added more than a thousand new samples.... talk about optimization.

The README below features a comprehensive list of the changes.

The fixes and changes are quite significant since Evanessence was published, and Musyng is an extensive overhaul of it.

Licensing information

Please note that Evanessence soundfont is a compilation of samples from different people and my own collections/work. Many of the samples were edited from different free sources and hence it is a free soundfont, thus not meant to redistribute as a commercial soundfont or use it for any commercial purpose. Other than that, you can sell any music and so on you have made with it, it's up to you.

You are welcome to edit it as you like, too.

The soundfont itself is royalty-free, so you can use it in your personal tracks.

Thanks to all the people who helped with this and the creators of many sounds and samples around the world. It wouldn't have been possible without you! Many thanks to Kenneth too, the author of two wonderful, fabulous pieces of software; Synthfont and Viena.

Finally, for those interested in the Creative Commons License, here is a note. (many thanks Nils for your help on this) :)


License
=======
CC-BY-SA with the following exception:

The "share alike" condition is imperative if you modify the samples themselves or create new sample libraries with this licensed product.

However, produced music and other non-sample-library works can be licensed at will.


Attribution means keeping all authors information and this readme-file or its content in the release

If you want to create a fork, a modified version, of this sample library you have to release and distribute it under a different name. This clause itself is optional for derived works, so you can omit it in your own version.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Finally.... Thanks and I hope you enjoy Musyng Kite!

-Cose

http://www.myspace.com/cosevidal


Links to download Musyng and Musyng Kite:

Musyng Kite, the version I wholeheartedly recommend, can be downloaded here:

http://1drv.ms/VeywIN

The Soundfont weighs 573MB (339 for Musyng Kite, above, I insist I'd recommend that over Musyng) -compressed SFPACK format- and it's about 1,62GB (990MB for Musyng Kite) uncompressed. Download links:

http://1drv.ms/1ijfGeh (link to download it from my Onedrive account. Onedrive is free now, you don't need to use a Hotmail or Live account to download files from there as of currently)

Click on download anyway and the file will download.

I also included MIDI Test files for Musyng --or any other soundfont. Whether you use them for testing or not, there aren't many files there, and some of them are among the best MIDI files I have!!

You can get the 20 something MIDI files I zipped here:

http://1drv.ms/1hNrkrR

The soundfont has been compressed with the Soundfont compression utility SFPACK, which you can download in the original webpage here:

http://www.personalcopy.com/sfpack.htm

I hope you enjoy Musyng. Feel free to use and edit the soundfont.

-Cose

-------------------------------------

BEGINNER'S TUTORIAL TO SET UP MIDI AT ITS BEST QUALITY

To start with, you'll most likely need the following:

Synthfont (thanks Kenneth!) http://www.synthfont.com/

A must have utility to change the default Windows midi handling setup for MIDI playback -Windows uses the very average "GS Wavetable Synth- and switch to the top quality Soundfont you like, is this fantastic one:

http://www.mudlord.info/bassmididrv/#bassmididriverdownloads

It took me some sleepless nights to get it done, comparing instruments and so on, and the little tweaks here and there, listening to many many MIDI files to find any oddities and flaws despite the fact instruments seemed to sound fine in the editor.

Balancing the sound to make it sound even, without certain instruments intended to be playing the melody being quiet and hidden behind the harmony, which can be irritating. That was a must have feature for me, and one of the things sometimes editing it deprived me of hours of sleep.

I would wholeheartedly recommend to listen to this soundfont using Synthfont 1 or Synthfont 2 (still in development) -especially at 48kHz on-.

I had a beta version circulating but I deleted the download links to focus on this one final version. I revamped most of the instruments since then, and after quite a long while, it shows. The improvements are really noticeable and ostensible.

Musyng full README

Background info: With the perspective of time and after Evanessence 2 was published I had decided that I wouldn’t be modifying the soundfont ever since. Because of the fact that I had set my personal priorities, and kinda had to meet a deadline back then, I wanted to share it and leave it aside.

In that sense it was liberating getting it done, and not feeling like you had to worry about it anymore, save for the questions people could ask and stuff like that.

Then in that situation, it’s when I started to edit the soundfont at my own pace, when using DAWs or just having plain fun sequencing MIDI files in Noteworthy Composer 2 and Anvil Studio, and playing them with different soundfonts and synths.

Taking into account the fact that I didn’t have a deadline in mind, I just kept slowly brainstorming and changing it offline, not even thinking about publishing it, which is a relieving sensation, ‘cos unconsciously it makes you feel there isn’t pressure for releasing anything, and you don’t even care about that, which immensely helps to take it one day at a time.

Priorities changed, in personal life too, and when it came to music my focus was also different, mainly on learning to use the DAWs I had purchased so I could create some decent music –using editors like Noteworthy Composer 2 (MIDI editors are easier for me to use than DAWs) and then a DAW to complete the mix- some day and save it on the PC.

Oddly enough, even days ago I wasn’t thinking about publishing this soundfont. Just recently I got interested in publishing it again. My MIDI files now sound fantastic with the several favourite soundfonts I have /will list them bellow/ and Musyng, when I play them with any program.

In other words, I edited the soundfont from time to time without any pressure and initially for personal use, just to make it as much as usable as possible in most situations.

Evanessence 2 is an average, somewhat decent soundfont, and I was happy with it at the time, because it seemed balanced to me for the most part –it sounded nice to me taking into account the deadline I had imposed myself-, but now with these changes and an extensive overhaul Musyng has become a potentially good, fine soundfont.

There were unique samples within Evanessence, it was kinda balanced (save the last presets in the GM specifications, that were a mish-mash in that regard) which was one of my goals, for it to be uniform and solid, but in the end some instruments needed either a full overhaul or replacing some samples. Some instruments can be duds, which can’t be helped at times when you work on a GM compatible soundfont. And I tried to fix those too, also little panning problems, velocity issues, and so on and so forth. The list always goes on.

Plus, my intention with Evanessence was to make a subtle, kind to your ears soundfont, with a cool spatial stereo sound to it.

This works very well for me, because for now I still have a very sensitive hearing, which I am proud of –something that can’t be said about my eyesight, since I was born myopic-. I gotta say that there are soundfonts which are more lively than Musyng. But Musyng has been improved in that sense (compared to Evanessence), while keeping balance.

Giving full volume to it though would require re-engineering the entire thing which means increasing the volume of many samples (and this soundfont has a lot of them). There are many ways to do that, within the Soundfont editor, or using an external wav editor, the possibilities are many.

The issue with that is not getting it done, it can be done with some patience, but the problem is that you’d have to listen to lots and lots MIDI files to find where an instrument is too loud or where it gets hidden behind the harmony.

This is made more complicated by the fact that doing this requires a lot of re-testing and time, and as I said, it can be a nightmare. One of the goals behind this complete overhaul was to get every sound right and that instruments needed to be visible and distinguishable in every MIDI. I think that this is one of the reasons this overhaul makes this soundfont going from decent to good, compared to Evanessence. Say…. like going from a 128 kbps MP3 to a 320 kbps MP3.

In regards to the overall volume of the soundfont I gotta add that I like standards, and I decided those as a clear goal very early in the project, which –whether it is more or less correct- is a good thing in my opinion. I improved the liveliness of the soundfont while still being true to myself.

On a different note, trying to give all the melodic presets a more spatial sound by adding more copied layers might not work at all, and in fact it can be counter-productive sometimes.

If you have a layered instrument and a non layered one, they can combine very well in the mix. If all are layered (and by that I mean copied layers to *enhance* the sound) in my experience the sound can get muddy and while it sounds spatial and okay, compressors might have more work to do to keep the sound under control, and the sound sort of gets faltering in some cases if you just layer copies of the same samples.

These kind of things are a mixed bag. Some instruments NEED that layering, others are very complex and layering them without getting them sound muddy or their presence being too much in a song, mudding others, can be a challenge.

In addition, as I said before, it wasn’t my intention initially to publish this soundfont, but as shallow as it might sound, I am a big fan of Gareth Bale (I consider him a hero) and Real Madrid won the Champions league, and that night I saved the file and decided to upload it in order to share it. [face_grin] Yeah, that was one of the main reasons I thought it would be a good idea to share an updated version with people.

Anyways, it’s not my intention to write a thesis here, so I will try to sum up what’s new in Musyng.

In the end, with Musyng I ended up making a complete overhaul. I can’t remember all the changes I’ve made since it has been more than a year ever since I published Evanessence.

But here are the changes I can remember of from the top of my head. (a year and a month is a lot of time, so some aren't listed)

- Name change. As you can see, it’s called Musyng Kite now. Evanessence began as Musica 7 back in 2011.

Then I published a WIP beta called Musical Box in May 2012. Then I made a few tweaks to it afterwards and finally published a decent soundfont called Evanessence in 2013. By decent I mean being happy with the result –although more testing was needed, since the foundation was good in the end, but everything can improve.

Musyng as a name is a pun, and comes from the original name when the project started in 2011, called Musica 7 - which was a 1.84GB soundfont that needed a lot of tweaking, then it became Musical Box, and Evanessence afterwards – plus a little tribute to Synthfont and synths in general –hence the “syn”, and it tries to resemble the word “muse”.

- Additionally, I fixed various key range and velocity issues. There were quite a few instruments affected by that.

- Extensive overhaul of many instruments, and other changes in the list of melodic presets.

- Power drums improved, basically a snare which was wrongly panned to the left and sounded too powerful in any mix, not to mention out of place.

- Enhanced (more noticeable, haven’t touched the level of vibrato much) vibrato for the harmonica.

- Several balance fixes that I found over time and hadn’t notice before. That’s one of the perks of taking things one step at a time, in the tranquillity of knowing that you don’t put expectations into something.

- New Distortion Guitar. This is the instrument I am most proud of in the new version. It certainly took me a while to mod it.

It’s based on a single layer from the Arachno Soundfont (by Maxime Abbey), [face_grin] one of the best soundfonts ever made), more concretely a layer from the Distortion Guitar melodic preset, and what I consider the best distortion guitar sound in a soundfont yet made!

But it is a sound that was used in conjunction with others and somewhat toned down because of that, perhaps. Plus the samples are so good that they can take some “abuse” and can be pushed hard without them clipping.

Initially, the idea was that I didn’t want to have a distortion guitar with so many layers in Musyng, unlike the previous Distortion Guitar in Evanessence which had a lot of layers (which it probably needed), and I preferred to keep it simple but fully functional. So I borrowed Maxime Abbey’s samples and started with that single layer.

You might be wondering why I favour this guitar so much… Well, I it has superb high quality samples to begin with, and most important of all, it sounds catchy and MIDI, hence memorable, while still sounding realistic and professional.

To sum it all up I modded it, some of the loop points for sustain where not to my liking, especially the low notes, so after some fine tuning I added a few extra samples which offered seamless integration with the Distortion Guitar from Arachno Soundfont and the result is almost perfect, at least for me.

Super clear, raw sound, great sound for the low notes, and a good guitar for almost everything. It gives me… feelings… [face_grin]

The version included in Musyng is adapted to the general tone of the soundfont. Anyone who wants a more raw, wild version, I can gladly share it with you.

- Fixed the Honky Tonk piano, the previous one was utterly broken.

- Improved Mute Guitar melodic preset (same samples, more realistic)

- Removed samples and layers for the Overdriven Guitar, they weren’t improving the sound, on the contrary, the Overdriven Guitar sounds much much better now.

- New Tenor Sax.

- Improved Flute. Better samples, nicer sound, less layers.

- Improved the Bagpipe. I borrowed the sound from the now discontinued SoniVOX GS250, which imho has the best Bagpipe of any soundfont.

Bagpipes in my homeland are like what guitars are to Synyster Gates, [face_grin] so you get the idea. Still not an instrument where soundfonts shine though.

- Standard Drums kit, improved the snares, I never liked how they sound but I couldn’t get it fixed in time when I published Evanessence 2.

- Removed the Rock Kit, which was a beta, but it wasn’t worth it to fix it entirely.

- Many many other things and tweaks I don’t remember of, but it’s noticeable in the overall impact of the sound compared to the former Evanessence soundfont.

Final notes and thanks:

I’ve always been passionate about Soundfonts, ever since I tried my first one back in 2002, at a time where I didn’t have a regular internet connection, and used CDs to get samples from them to use in different instruments. I lost all the work I had made in a year ‘cos I was quite reckless and began playing with the partitions of my HD, eventually leading to losing all the info I had and my soundfont, so I kinda wanted to pay off an old score.

It took me a few sleepless nights and carefully choosing the patches, and I don’t have access to all the patches/instruments I’d want to! But even so, I am done with that, probably forever as priorities lead me to new priorities and it is a hobby that can take a lot of time.

I will watch from the sidelines, hoping that Jazman GM 32 bits (current Jazman GM successor) comes out someday, among other soundfonts like potential second iterations of the best free soundfonts these days –which I will list later.

Jazman GM is probably the best soundfont ever made and a second iteration -planned somewhere between the current date and the year 2020- has to be incredible overall.

Additionally, with Musyng I think I achieved not only a fine balance but also being able to rub shoulders with the stars of the stars in the Soundfont world, as it is quite usable with any other soundfont.

The focus is a bit of everything, but mainly orchestral sounds, although it doesn’t shine at classic gaming, the MIDIs from Age of Empires 2 sound CD like with it.

Dance music, while not the main focus, is also doable with it. For the gabbers, [face_grin] there is even a Gabba drum kit. Not very powerful, but that can be easily overcome, so there it is for you raving gabbers to use!!!

As for the Soundfont format itself, I certainly spent money on it purchasing most (if not all) commercial GM soundfonts, and I don't live in the lap of luxury but I like the variety and quality of certain commercial soundfonts.

The soundfont scene has been slowly evolving with some classic Soundfont collection sites falling into disrepair and the general shift in interest towards a different approach, now the largest modern soundfont activity seems to be in the professional music composition business.

Well, if you are thinking about creating a Soundfont in the future…or something similar I’d encourage you to try.

If you want to go professional there are ways to make it balanced, but if you just prefer to trust your ears instead, using plain MIDI players without any effects such as Noteworthy Composer 2, XMPlay (you can disable reverb and the like) or Synthfont (which is a DAW but you can completely disable the FX) and listening to MIDIs back and forth, is the way to go.

From personal experiencie, just make sure that the instruments intended to be playing the melody aren’t quiet and hidden behind the harmony compared to other instruments.

Use greatly balanced soundfonts such as the Roland SC-55 or Jazman GM as a reference, or also the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth, or the neat the Roland TTS1 to have an idea as to how the song should sound.

Besides that, there is a collection of MIDIs called “MIDI test”, which is perfect to check how the instruments sound ranging from the first melodic preset (Acoustic Grand Piano) to the 128th in the melodic presets list. I uploaded it here:

http://1drv.ms/1ocIkM5

My favourite instruments of the Musyng soundfont

- Musyng Kite Acoustic Grand Piano. Maybe the best piano soundfont (at least in this format) ever made, the Fazioli piano is incredible overall.

- Acoustic Grand Piano from the original Musyng (someone very knowledgeable asked me to change it time ago ‘cos he thinks there are better piano soundfonts out there, so I added their choice to the soundfont in some way, but I love this one, especially because how articulate and rich the low notes are. In that sense, it has a single sample for every single note, and while it takes up a lot of memory that pays off at times. This piano takes up like 8% of the soundfont. Not as good as Synthfont's Kite version though).

- Rhodes Piano. I like that organic sound. IT sounds even better on Musyng Kite.

- The Nylon guitar, sounds very realistic, with a nice, realistic screech sound.

- Electric Guitar --realistic.

- The Distortion Guitar. Sounds MIDI, hence memorable, yet raw and quite realistic.

- Strings Ensemble (already a favourite from Evanessence 2).

- Pizzicato Strings, nuff' said.

- The Doo Vox. Great definition, fun to listen to --thanks Kenneth. Modified and improved for Musyng Kite.

- Muted Trumpet. Very clean.

- The Bowed Pad (among a few other Synth pads).

- Warm Strings, sounds as if you were in a church. Beware the high notes though. [face_grin] Sounds really really beautiful with the song “Blue da da da” by Eiffel65 and any other featuring it.

- Electronic, TR-808, Room, Standard (with the new snares), Jazz and Orchestra Drum kits. Electronic has very peculiar sounds, it adapts well to almost any MIDI, so does TR-808, Room has some of my favourite snares in any soundfont I listened to, Jazz/Standard are high quality, and the Orchestal Drums have very realistic and great concert cymbal sounds! The drum kits got improvements in the lower area of the keyboard that are absent in the original Musyng but were added with Musyng Kite.

Finally, I’d like to thank people like Kenneth (he suggested me to change the Doo Vox and some other melodic presets and provided me with better samples, and of course for being so awesome creating Synthfont and Viena, etc), John (for his feedback and believing in me to make things even better), Charlie (also for his feedback and being a charming person overall) from the bottom of my heart because of their help and feedback which, whether good or bad, I am okay with.

Plus I’d like to deeply thank many many many other people I can’t thank personally here because I rushed things a bit when I began obsessing with soundfonts again and started making a collection with my own sounds and other sounds I got from the net but never ever could thank them ‘cos I downloaded so much stuff (some I discarded, other stuff I kept and used) and had so many links and files (sf2, wav samples, etc) that as time went on my memory went fuzzy as to where I got the samples. :/ Some were anonymous anyways, but still…. To those uncredited people, THANKS THANKS THANKS. I’d never be able to make it without you!!!

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Some personal recommendations on Soundfonts and synths


Since I usually play around with more than one single soundfont or synth, as they have their own unique sounds I think that making a list of fine soundfonts might be helpful for people:

Jazman PRO GM 24-bit Soundfont by Digital Pro-Audio Samples: I LOVE this one --as I pointed out before.

It sounds full and luxuriant, it has super clean and crisp sound overall, and the same can be said about the drums.

This is a commercial soundfont (my favourite commercial soundfont ever) and a very hard one to beat, quality wise. Probably the best commercial soundfont yet made!!! I think it’s worth every penny.

This soundfont is also balanced and great for composing, because it’s well done and it’s solid, consistent all-around.

Jazman GM can be found here:

http://www.gmsoundfont.com/

Arachno Soundfont by Maxime Abbey: A classic, outstanding soundfont. Some very exuberant sounds, the guitars .., along with some Synth FX and pianos, are so good, love ‘em to death. This soundfont has been studied very precisely, to the letter, as they say, and it shows. Plus, it excels at classic games. And for its size it has a very high quality sound overall.

Sybaritic and elegant, it’s a very popular soundfont and for a good reason.

You can find it the soundfont's website, which is here

http://www.arachnosoft.com/main/home.php

Timbres of Heaven by Don Allen: This one came out as a surprise and I found it by sheer chance. It is the most modern, up to date free soundfont out there, afaik. I think it is also evolving.

I am so glad I did find it, as it’s one of the best free soundfonts that I’ve listened to to date --and I’ve listened to quite a few. It is not only General MIDI (GM) compatible but it also features the GS melodic presets, plus the XG standard presets, and it packs all of that in a manageable amount of MB, which makes it the more impressive. It’s a keeper.

It also has a proper Ukulele sound, an instrument I could never get samples from.

Don Allen’s soundfont can be found here:

http://midkar.com/soundfonts/index.html

Roland SC-55 by Anonymous brilliant person: This is a little hidden marvel that I am so glad I found recently too. Probably my favourite soundfont in the way it has been engineered, as it was built to replicate the sound of a dedicated hardware sound module, which is no easy feat. At 25MB in size it features all the melodic presets of the legendary Roland SC-55, which was the first ever General MIDI sound module.

From the little I could grasp and some comparisons with the real thing I’ve seen on the net, I am impressed at how close to the original it can be!

This is a gem in every possible way, as it is a very balanced soundfont, with clearly defined sounds overall in almost every song you can discern every single instrument quite easily, something that’s easier said than done. If you add to that it’s MIDI’d sound.., I just wonder what’s not to love.

Plus it’s loaded with high quality sounds and perfectly balanced, so you can use it as your default soundfont like any other in this list. Don’t be fooled by how many megabytes it does use, this is top-notch, champions material. Congrats to the author, whoever he/she is. [face_grin]

This Roland SC-55 soundfont can be found here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kdi7nqkqpnsrey6/Roland%20SC-55.rar

Here is a comparison with the real Roland SC-55 made by Ultimate Doomer (a geek of the highest order that I appreciate a lot for some reason, whom I consider a little genius) and as you can see, the Roland SC-55 soundfont is surprisingly accurate in comparison to the original Roland SC-55:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxk8ewA1tAE

Roland TTS1 Soft Synth: I am paraphrasing myself here; “The Roland TTS1 is the best *bang for your buck* synth if you want to have a pretty much hassle free synth for your music! It is plenty fine. It is also an excellent start point to being to compose music and drafting sounds because having been made by Roland, it has a perfect balance and good sounds for a start!

I consider this wonderful Roland TTS1 a great, almost essential, tool for any beginner with DAWs or MIDI editors. My favourite, non Soundfont, synth.

It's not very expensive as it is bundled with Music Creator 6 by Cakewalk. You can find Music Creator here:

http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/Music-Creator

Roland TTS1 is a DXi instrument, which means that it can only be loaded with a DXi compatible program like Music Creator, Band in a Box, or by using a VST which is actually DXi wrapper called DXishell.

This essential DXi wrapper can be found here:

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=177538

And if you want to realise its true potential, watch youtube videos of Spaztique using it. Some pretty cool stuff there.

I created a video on it back in the day, showing how it sounds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKSK6vfbJ5s

GMR Basico 1.1; very nice Hi-Fi, soft and spatial sound (in fact it is neck and neck with Crisis 3.0 there, my preferred soudnfonts in that regard).

It was created by a music teacher (wonder if he would remind me of my music teacher IRL, mine was really serious, I have never seen the guy smile).

48KHz samples galore (you can push this soundfont like crazy), Fluid based, which is really nice. It has the best Trumpet and Accordion sound I’ve ever heard on a soundfont.

Also the Recorder is probably the best I remember of, so is the Electric Piano –48KHz samples, nicely designed, great spatial sound when moving from left to right. Great balls of fire sounds amazing with it 'cos of this piano.

Good sound, clean and great drums (in fact they are amongst my favourite drums in the free soundfonts category, plus sounds like the congas and bongos are awe inspiring), and more than 400MB in size… This one is another keeper. Needs a finer balance in some instruments though.

This excellent GMR can be found here (it has two versions, GMR Basico, which is free but the author accepts donations, and GMR Music Pro, which is the same as GMR Basico but a commercial soundfont, and features many extra presets from worldwide instruments). I have both, and they are very similar, save for the many extra presets in the commercial one.

Give this one a try, it’s REALLY worth it. Webpage here:

http://gmrsf2.blogspot.com.es/

Some more…

SGM V2.01 Soundfont by Shan; this one is sooooooo good, everyone recommends it and there isn’t much to say about it other than most people have this one amongs their favourites. Well balanced, no major flaws, lots of nice sounds. This was the best soundfont when it came out. –I think it was released back in 2008

It can be downloaded at Shan’s page:

http://www.geocities.jp/shansoundfont/

Titanic GM/GS by Luke Sena: My favourite classic soundfont which I used as the basis for mine when I began with soundfonts again and the familiar Vienna from the Creative’s soundcards was not an option, and I felt more lost that Amelia Earhart, as they say. I discovered it in 2011 and it triggered my interest in soundfonts again.

Nice balance overall and the guy who made it certainly knew his stuff. I will be always grateful to the author, ‘cos I used this soundfont as the basis to learn using a new Soundfont editor and began tweaking its presets before re-building a new one from scratch.

FluidR3 GM; another classic Soundfont that never gets old, not important flaws that I know of, this one has aged really well, and its orchestral sounds are really good. I wasn’t into soundonfts when it came out but in the late 90s it was the most acclaimed soundfont iirc.

My parents couldn’t buy me a new PC and my PC didn’t have enough memory back then to run it anyways.

Aspirin soundfont; 16 MB of raw power and awesomeness, totally different and unique compared to anything else.

Crisis 3.0: a soundfont with great potential and whose subtleness I love, it’s my favourite thing about it by far. Some exceptional samples, kind to your ears…It drives me crazy, in a very good way, in that sense my dreamed kind of sound.. But, there is always a but, alas it’s kinda broken, the balance is where this soundfont shows its main weakness, and it’s a very important one, it breaks apart sometimes there, and subtleness doesn’t mean that an instrument has to be lifeless, which is the case with some of the instruments that don’t appear. Still, give this one a try, some sounds are really worth it. Listening to it is a pleasure to me though, I could listen to it for days and days! I am serious here. It has my dreamed sound but not perfectly implemented though.

Other commercial soundfonts

Edgesounds SoniqBear Pro120. Another favourite commercial soundfont of mine, perfect for dance music and it has very special sounds, like Aspirin, really cool –nothing quite like it. My 2nd favourite commercial soundfont yet made.

This is the official homepage:

http://www.edgesounds.com/Products/SoundLibraries/GeneralMIDI/SoniqBearGM120Pro.aspx

proVITAMIN by Reason Banks; another good commercial soundfont, not bad at all, very nice sounds, save the Distortion Guitar, which is very bad, alas, and that’s odd ‘cos the rest of the instruments are pretty decent, actually, and the Overdriven Guitar sounds plenty fine. Other than that little flaw, it’s totally recommendable!

proVITAMIN MKII, the Reason banks soundfont, can be found here:

http://www.reasonbanks.com/refill_proVitamin.html

Merlin Symphony; a neat soundfont overall, especially good at orchestral music, although the drums can be a bit weak overall, the rest is very solid. You can find it here:

http://soundfonts.gonet.biz/search.php?goto=1&name=Merlin Symphony v1.21

I got it two years ago for 10€ or so.

Best software to use with Soundfonts and Synths

I won't mention DAWs --two of my favourites are Synthfont and FL Studio, but that's not the point of this section.

Audio recording software. If you edit MIDI files with programs like the excellent Noteworthy Composer 2, they don't have an option to record their sound built-in, so you depend on an external DAW or a program that allows you to record the sound that comes out directly from your computer.

My soundcard doesn't feature a "What you hear" option to record sound, so it depends on external programs for that.

The best one I have so far is Audio Recording Wizard by NowSmart, which is my favourite of them all.

You can find Audio Recording Wizard in its official webpage:

http://www.nowsmart.com/

Wish I had found Audio Recording Wizard before, as it records every sound from your computer and it does it elegantly and with a very easy to understand interface. It can also save you LOTS of time with DAWs like FL Studio.

I mean, FL Studio needs some time to render a song, especially if you use high precision, 512 point sinc recording.

Audio Recording Wizard has many advantages because of that, since you can play the song as intended before recording in FL Studio, and start recording in Audio Recording Wizard while you play it in real time with FL Studio.

This also helps with other DAWs that can render any song internally, it is just more comfortable and easy, even with Synthfont -which renders files very quickly-, because the internal volume of your soundcard in the OS is also considered and this means that...

....what you get is what you are listening to exactly!

As I said, wish I had discovered this program before. And the best thing is that you don't need to set it up to record an amazing sound you got in a DAW (setting the DAW so it can just play certain parts of a song can be a chore).

This helps you with presentations or ideas you might have. Use your DAW to play some amazing stages in songs, and record just those parts you prefer... No need to set up a time, or markers, or whatever in your favourite DAW.

Another program that also records what you are hearing from your computer is this Aktiv MP3 Recorder, which can be found here;

http://www.goforsharing.com/home-mainmenu-1/aktiv-mp3-recorder-mainmenu-130.html

There is also another one called Free Sound Recorder

http://www.sound-recorder.biz/freesoundrecorder.html

Anyways, I just prefer Audio Recording Wizard over those two for several reasons.

For those who want to record MIDI directly from a Soundfont, for comparison purposes or whatever, Direct MIDI to MP3 is an excellent program.

http://www.pistonsoft.com/midi2mp3.html

For anyone wanting to compose their own music and tablatures, like me (I kinda suck at DAWs for now) Noteworthy Composer 2 is one of the best programs, in my opinion. I use it regularly and it's really good. Besides that, the program isn't expensive and the people behind it treat their customers really well.


If you want to edit MIDI files, my favourite is Anvil Studio. You can thoroughly edit a MIDI file with it, and it also lets you use VSTs and stuff like that.

The worthy and exceptional Noteworthy Composer can be found here (official homepage):

http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/

Additionally, if you want to use a high quality Soundfont to play the songs of classic games, you might need (if you don't have a Creative card) either BassMIDI driver or Coolsoft VirtualMIDISynth (beware they don't remove Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth from your MIDI devices list, this happened to me with the 1.9.1 version of VirtualMIDISynth and I lost any possibility to compose MIDI music on Noteworthy or listening to MIDI regularly on a compatible multimedia player, and it certainly was a hassle to fix it).

If you want to use your VSTis and DXi instruments, soft synths which are GM compatible, for classic games or as regular MIDI players, you might need an utility called loopMIDI.

A youtuber called Ultimate Doomer explains it in full detail in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWIzlpUQe3Q

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Important note for FL Studio users.

How to use Soundfonts in FL Studio 11 -or any version of FL Studio for that matter-.

It is very easy, at least once you get the handle of it.

First of all, you have to copy the soundfonts you want to use or your favourite soundfonts to the folder below:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Image-Line\FL Studio 11\Data\Patches\Soundfonts

That's the usual folder where FL Studio gets installed, but if you chose another folder, the whole address of the directory might look different. No worries, whatever the directory is, the address should look be something along the lines (the directory of your choice)/FL Studio 11\Data\Patches\Soundfonts :D

Once you've copied and pasted your favourite soundfonts to the FL Studio folder, it is very easy. You will see a tab called Soundfonts in your FL Studio browser.

The soundfonts of your choice will appear there, then you just have to load a MIDI file and drag and drop the soundfont you want in a given track to that track, and there you go!

FL Studio has two utilities (the most advanced version, Signature Bundle, is the only one that loads Soundfonts, afaik) to load Soundfonts, Fruity Soundfont Player and DirectWave.

Fruity Soundfont Player appears by default when you drag and drop a Sooundfont to a track. DirectWave doesn't, but it has an important advantage over Fruity Soundfont Player, and it's that it will download Soundfonts of any size.

I don't know what's the exact limit for Fruity Soundfont Player to load Soundfonts, but it doesn't load Soundfonts which take up more than 1GB of RAM, I think. It doesn't accept Crisis 3.0 or Musyng, for instance. (there is a fix for that, more on it below)

In addition to this, Fruity Soundfont player preloads the entire soundfont of your choice into memory. Take this into account because your memory can go easily over budget because modern GM/GS soundfonts can take up to 200-300MB of RAM with ease.

That's why I think they limited it to only load Soundfonts of certain size.

DirectWave doesn't come with this limitation, and that's where the fix is. BUT it also preloads into memory the entire soundfont of your choice.

This means that you need plenty of memory if you are going to use large GM soundfonts, and you have to be very careful managing them, even if you have plenty of memory.

There is a nice fix within DirectWave, which is an utility that does wonders for soundfonts btw, and it is that you can convert any melodic preset from a large soundfont into a DirectWave compatible format saving that preset in particular with DirectWave.

Say you like the piano of Crisis 3.0 or Musyng. You load Crisis 3.0 or Musyng into DirectWave and select the piano, then with it selected go to the "Open" option and then "Save program As".

DirectWave will save that piano melodic preset with a .DWP extension and will always be there every time you launch DirectWave for ease of use.

So select your favourite presets, save them, and you might not need to load the entire soundfont anymore.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Links to download Musyng soundfont

The most recommended version, Musyng Kite can be downloaded here. It weighs 990MB uncompressed, and it's 339MB in size in the download link, as it is compressed in SFPACK format to ease the download:

http://1drv.ms/VeywIN

The original Musyng Soundfont weighs 573MB -compressed SFPACK format- and it's about 1,62GB uncompressed. It packs 2000 extra samples compared to Musyng Kite, but it is not as good as Musyng Kite as those extra samples come from presets that have been improved and polished rather than brute forced.

Download links:

http://1drv.ms/1ijfGeh (link to download it from my Onedrive account. Onedrive is free now, you don't need to use a Hotmail or Live account to download files from there as of currently)

The soundfont has been compressed with the Soundfont compression utility SFPACK, which you can download in the original webpage here:

http://www.personalcopy.com/sfpack.htm

For MAC users, in order to uncompress the file Wine Bottler works perfectly with sfpack.. You just have to put the Sfpack file in the extracted folder of sfpack app anywhere on your drive, if you have Winebottler installed it will automatically open with that, choose "Open within winebottler" not to leave any windows stuff lying around in memory, extract the soundfont in it's entirety (1.62GB), exit winbebottler, all traces gone, sf2 intact. (much obliged ttoz!!!!!!!!)

MIDI Test files for Musyng included. Whether you use them for testing or not, there aren't many files there, and some of them are among the best MIDI files I have!

You can get the 20 something MIDI files I zipped here:

http://1drv.ms/1hNrkrR

Many, many THANKS to kode54 for his/her input, the fine tuning of the last details from Musyng Kite soundfont wouldn't have been possible without him/her!

I hope you enjoy Musyng. :) Feel free to use and edit the soundfont.

-Cose

https://myspace.com/cosevidal
Last edited by Sarcyan on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:59 pm, edited 70 times in total.
brainburner
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4 posts since 16 Apr, 2011

Postby brainburner; Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:37 am

Can you upload it uncompressed. sFark side is down you can' t download the tool. Thanks.
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Numanoid
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8638 posts since 20 Jan, 2008, from Down on the farm

Postby Numanoid; Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:29 am

brainburner wrote:Can you upload it uncompressed. sFark side is down you can' t download the tool. Thanks.


SFArk is available to download from other sites
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Numanoid
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8638 posts since 20 Jan, 2008, from Down on the farm

Postby Numanoid; Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:22 am

Sarcyan wrote:Take into account that the file is 650MB compressed but it is in sfArk format, so it might take more than half an hour to uncompress it. It's really worth it though.


It took 33 minutes :D A simple winrar of the SF2 gives a file of 850 MB, while the SFArk manage to reduce the file to 650 MB, so I guess it is worth the trouble.

Thanks a lot for sharing this, many people seem to think that soundfonts are dead, but I dig them still :)
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aMUSEd
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19870 posts since 14 Sep, 2002, from In teh net

Postby aMUSEd; Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:24 am

Numanoid wrote:
brainburner wrote:Can you upload it uncompressed. sFark side is down you can' t download the tool. Thanks.


SFArk is available to download from other sites


Don't go to Brothersoft - horrible site full of spyware - they make you download some downloader tool

Also isn't sfark Windows only?
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Numanoid
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8638 posts since 20 Jan, 2008, from Down on the farm

Postby Numanoid; Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:29 am

aMUSEd wrote:Don't go to Brothersoft - horrible site full of spyware - they make you download some downloader tool

Also isn't sfark Windows only?


True, one has to beware on the net 8)

Here's a quick google, can this be used for the Mac platform?
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Numanoid
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8638 posts since 20 Jan, 2008, from Down on the farm

Postby Numanoid; Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:31 am

Unfortunately didn't get this to work.

Tried to load it with SFZ+, but then being told that "the selected soundfont is too big to be loaded as 32 bit, so sfz will load it as 16-bit", followed by "Not enough memory to load the soundfont" :(

I'm using a Optiplex 760, 32 bits, 2,5 GhZ, 4GB RAM

Shouldn't 4GB RAM be enough :?:
audiojunkie
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2681 posts since 18 Apr, 2002, from Ogden, UT

Postby audiojunkie; Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:03 am

Cool! Thanks!

--Sean
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.
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Numanoid
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8638 posts since 20 Jan, 2008, from Down on the farm

Postby Numanoid; Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:40 am

audiojunkie wrote:Cool! Thanks!

--Sean


Did you manage to load it?
Sarcyan
KVRist
 
79 posts since 11 Jun, 2012

Postby Sarcyan; Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:32 am

Numanoid wrote:Unfortunately didn't get this to work.

Tried to load it with SFZ+, but then being told that "the selected soundfont is too big to be loaded as 32 bit, so sfz will load it as 16-bit", followed by "Not enough memory to load the soundfont" :(

I'm using a Optiplex 760, 32 bits, 2,5 GhZ, 4GB RAM

Shouldn't 4GB RAM be enough :?:
Yes 4GB is more than enough. Use the BassMIDI driver in the description of the file and also use Synthfont, it works fine with both.

The final version is in the works, I am going to upload it this weekend, with some improved features and tweaks. I had to manage memory very carefully because the format itself is at its limit, so I couldn't add some things before.

Also the current version has an empty layer in one of the instruments -the Timpani- so Synthfont doesn't play the songs with that instrument, every other program works well with it, it's 100% compatible.

Anyway, that's just the "beta" version, as I said, it things go well I will have the final version uploaded this weekend with many improvements and tweaks.

And I think there will be no updates anymore, the soundfont itself doesn't need more, it's just fine as it is now in my offline file.

Besides that, I almost reached the limit of the format, I don't know how more far you can go with a soundfont without breaking the limits of the SF2 format.
audiojunkie
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2681 posts since 18 Apr, 2002, from Ogden, UT

Postby audiojunkie; Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:50 am

Numanoid wrote:
audiojunkie wrote:Cool! Thanks!

--Sean


Did you manage to load it?


No, I haven't had a chance to download it yet, but I'm still appreciative that someone would be so kind as to share something that has obviously taken a lot of time to create. :-)

--Sean
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.
Sarcyan
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79 posts since 11 Jun, 2012

Postby Sarcyan; Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:27 pm

audiojunkie wrote:
Numanoid wrote:
audiojunkie wrote:Cool! Thanks!

--Sean


Did you manage to load it?


No, I haven't had a chance to download it yet, but I'm still appreciative that someone would be so kind as to share something that has obviously taken a lot of time to create. :-)

--Sean
Best wait until this weekend, I will have the final version up and working.

There are some HUGE improvements and some changes, to balance the sound even more in every possible way -so there is no instrument hidden behind others when the melody sounds-, I changed the Standard kit samples for even better ones -not easy, it was so good- a hugely improved Room Kit, a new Rock Kit, and lots of tweaks here and there, especially the flute was very difficult to get it right in the low notes.

It sounded amazing from the 6th octave on, and it seemed to sound incredible too below that, but when actually playing some songs there was a weird nose in the low notes, I had to change it, lots of work indeed.
audiojunkie
KVRAF
 
2681 posts since 18 Apr, 2002, from Ogden, UT

Postby audiojunkie; Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:36 pm

No problem! I'll keep an eye out for the release! :-)

--Sean
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.
brainburner
KVRer
 
4 posts since 16 Apr, 2011

Postby brainburner; Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:36 am

Ok Sarcyan, please upload the new version uncompressed or with the sFark-Tool please. The sFark-side is down and Brothesoft is a spyware-side.
Sarcyan
KVRist
 
79 posts since 11 Jun, 2012

Postby Sarcyan; Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:46 am

brainburner wrote:Ok Sarcyan, please upload the new version uncompressed or with the sFark-Tool please. The sFark-side is down and Brothesoft is a spyware-side.
The new and final version is meant to be uploaded in SFPACK format, so don't worry about that.

SFPACK can be downloaded here, a great site that features different soundfonts, too.

http://www.personalcopy.com/sfpack.htm

Also decompressing the soundfont with SFPACK is much faster than sfArk. In sfArk format it can take up to 50 minutes or 1 hour for the Soundfont to unpack while using SFPACK it takes like 60 seconds, and the compressed size of the file is basically the same, so it's all advantages.

I will share the links as soon as it is uploaded, tomorrow or sunday at the very very latest.
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