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Soundfonts without special soundcards


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#1 Izlude

Izlude

    Oddy Tentacles

  • Joined: 02-March 05
  • Location: Atlantis

Posted 20 October 2012 - 16:16

Using Windows 7 64bit here.
My current soundcard is my video card Asus 5870v2 through the HDMI to my TV/Speakers.

I'm trying to make it so that any program I use that plays midis, will be routed to use my soundfont instead of the default windows gm.dls (MS General Synth). Normally a Creative sound card is required with the soundbank manager, but I discovered that this is not necessary at all.

I found two engines, but have no idea how to make them work. The first was fluidsynth, popular on Linux, but also available on Windows. There are no instructions... anywhere! If anyone is knowledgably about it, please help :)

The second one is called Timidity. I believe this might be my best bet, but it's not working correctly. I installed it to the default directory, changed the cfg files (in windows folder and the program folder both) setting the location of my soundfont. When I use the midi mapper (chooser), I select timidity instead of Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. When I play midis, no sound...

I noticed the midi chooser goes back to Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth as If it didn't let me choose Timidity, although when I "DO" click apply to go "back" to Microsoft GS, midis that played before will not and I get some error about a corrupt plugin or something.

I had to do a system restore to get back to square one... so... any suggestions? :) Alternative engines?


#2 +Xinok

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    Resident Reresident

  • Joined: 28-May 04
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  • OS: Windows 7 x64
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Posted 21 October 2012 - 04:31

I've seen this program mentioned before, it might be worth a try.

http://www.softpedia...MIDISynth.shtml

#3 Denis W.

Denis W.

    The True North!

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 04:47

I've seen this program mentioned before, it might be worth a try.

http://www.softpedia...MIDISynth.shtml


Used this before on Windows 7. Worked great.

#4 PGHammer

PGHammer

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 31-August 03
  • Location: Accokeek, MD
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro with Media Center x64

Posted 21 October 2012 - 05:22

Used this before on Windows 7. Worked great.


Works in Windows 8 as well (running it as I type this in 8 Pro x64, in fact).
I've tag-teamed with the also-freeware vanBasco Midi Karaoke Player (which includes several MIDI files itself; therefore it makes a nice test bed for SoundFonts - the one I'm using is, in fact, FluidGM_R3, a re-do of Old Friend Fluid R2 - which was the first non-Creative SoundFont I used with the old SoundBlaster 32 PnP; thanks to VMS, I can play MIDI without a sound card at all).

No - My X-Fi XtremeGamer still works; however, because I'm using HDMI for video, it pretty much forces me to also use HDMI for *audio* (thanks for nothing, HDCP), and normally, HDMI doesn't support MIDI. VMS corrects this lack rather neatly.

#5 PGHammer

PGHammer

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
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  • Location: Accokeek, MD
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro with Media Center x64

Posted 21 October 2012 - 05:51

Using Windows 7 64bit here.
My current soundcard is my video card Asus 5870v2 through the HDMI to my TV/Speakers.

I'm trying to make it so that any program I use that plays midis, will be routed to use my soundfont instead of the default windows gm.dls (MS General Synth). Normally a Creative sound card is required with the soundbank manager, but I discovered that this is not necessary at all.

I found two engines, but have no idea how to make them work. The first was fluidsynth, popular on Linux, but also available on Windows. There are no instructions... anywhere! If anyone is knowledgably about it, please help :)

The second one is called Timidity. I believe this might be my best bet, but it's not working correctly. I installed it to the default directory, changed the cfg files (in windows folder and the program folder both) setting the location of my soundfont. When I use the midi mapper (chooser), I select timidity instead of Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. When I play midis, no sound...

I noticed the midi chooser goes back to Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth as If it didn't let me choose Timidity, although when I "DO" click apply to go "back" to Microsoft GS, midis that played before will not and I get some error about a corrupt plugin or something.

I had to do a system restore to get back to square one... so... any suggestions? :) Alternative engines?


I would recommend Virtual MIDI Synth, as it doesn't require a sound card at all (right now, I'm using it to play MIDI over HDMI, which is supposed to be a technical no-no).
Works in any version of Windows from XP forward (including Windows 8 - I'm running it in 8 Pro x64 as I type this), and is fully compatible with the compressed SoundFont (*.sfArk) and uncompressed SoundFont V2 (*.sf2) supported by all Creative audio cards with SoundFont capability (which is every sound card that doesn't rely entirely on CPU cycles back to the ISA-bus AWE series). The particular SoundFont I am running is, in fact, an update of one from my days taking the ISA bus for MIDI - back then I had replaced my then long-in-the-tooth Sound Blaster 16 with the AWE32's "poor cousin" Sound Blaster 32 PnP - while looking over SoundFont alternatives to the ones the SB32 included, I was introduced to HammerSound and their then-large and growing collection of SoundFonts - some were commercial and intended for such use; however, they also had a large number of free SoundFonts that were of commercial quality. One of my personal favorites was the Fluid GM R2 SoundFont - I called it nothing less than THE preferred GM SoundFont for everyday usage. (Not many GM SoundFonts qualified as "everyday usage" as too many had their quirks that roadblocked such use - Fluid had few in R2 form, which is why it became my preferred SoundFont. In R3 form, if anything, the quirkage got reduced again; even better, with VirtualMusic Synthesizer, MIDI is now available for audio output that normally doesn't support it, such as HDMI.

Okay - why is MIDI over HDMI even wanted?

That's easy enough to explain - consider a desktop or even portable PC; unless you're a purist, more likely than not, you're going to have as few wires connecting your display to your case as possible (desktops). The issue for portable PCs is even worse - they are basically trapped with the computer as-is, as third-party speaker options aren't all that great for laptops and notebooks, let alone tablets or slates. The easiest solution (in all cases) is HDMI - which is, after all, designed to carry both audio AND video, and at the same time, in an entirely digital manner.

The fly in the HDMI potion is HDCP - the stream-protection scheme for audio (and video) over HDMI

Thanks to HDCP, HDMI doesn't play nice with other audio options - not even when those other options include features that HDMI lacks, such as MIDI support. Therefore, HDMI's biggest hole - MIDI support - needs to be addressed.

#6 OP Izlude

Izlude

    Oddy Tentacles

  • Joined: 02-March 05
  • Location: Atlantis

Posted 22 October 2012 - 00:15

Thanks guys :D You just saved me a headache and a half. Midisynth worked perfectly. I've gone and deleted all previous programs that weren't cooperating. They were telling me that my midi mapper was locked or something, but this one was able to "force it" to change and I was able to play just fine.

Thanks PGHammer too for the in depth on HDMI and HDCP. Lucky me, the midis play at all :) I'm using a Samsung DLP from 2004, works wonders.

Should I be concerned when hooking up a newer surround receiver via HDMI? Possibly consider Coaxial instead? I know some folks might be "why still with MIDIs?" I'm obsessed with them, that's all :p Old games, tinkering with the keyboard, rpg's that people made with RPG Maker etc... I love you guy thanks!