Virtual Synth question

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Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:24 pm

I asked this in another thread, and got no bites (My phrasing it poorly didn't help). So, here's a hopefully better explained version of what I'm after, what I've found available, and what I need it to work with.

Way back in the day (DOS6.22), I had a rather crappy sound card (SoundMan Wave, unfortunately) that I tried to listen to GM music with. The tiny 2MB Patch ROM resulted in over-compressed samples, which sounded terrible. Not to mention the dreaded "Hanging Note", like in Tie Fighter.

It was like listening along to the intro music, when suddenly one note hung, and became the MIDI version of this:

Image

Now that computer components have moved on, and we have 2 VM programs to let me play my old games of yesteryear - ScummVM and DosBOX. The built in GM/MT-32 for ScummVM is respectable enough that I'm not worried about changing anything, but DosBOX give me the change to use a windows Virtual GM/GS/XG synth as a driver. I just have to supply the patches. And since some of the freely available soundfonts/patch sets range form 300MB to 1.6GB, I'd like to go back some of my older games, and see what the GM music sounds like with the larger soundfonts.

Roland and Yamaha both put out virtual synths of their own, but they support only up to XP. I use Win7 Ultimate 64bit. The only thing I can find is VirtualMIDISynth from Coolsoft, and I'm not sure it'll work like I need it to.

Any audio people out here know what I should be looking for, and OpenSource projects to look into? Any recommendations?


*EDIT*

Speaking of trying to get better audio, what are the good 2.1 PC speaker sets to look for these days? Last good set I had was from Cambridge Soundworks, back in late 90's/early 2000's.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:54 pm

I use FluidSynth on Linux. It supposedly supports Windows, but I have no idea how stable the Windows version is as I have not tried it.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:I use FluidSynth on Linux. It supposedly supports Windows, but I have no idea how stable the Windows version is as I have not tried it.



I just downloaded it. I'm poking thru the documentation, to see what it'll let me do. I'll keep looking around, and report back on what would, and wouldn't work. Really wish Roland would update that synth software for 64bit machines.


*EDIT*

I tried both, and neither wanted to work with DosBox or ScummVM. I've got questions in with the support people on both teams. Just gotta play the waiting game.

I'm going to try bassmidi.drv, among oher things. Worst case, I'll get a USB to MPU-401 convertor, and try to scare up a MT-32, CM64, or external Sound Canvas module on ebay
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:46 pm

Hz so good wrote:I asked this in another thread, and got no bites (My phrasing it poorly didn't help). So, here's a hopefully better explained version of what I'm after, what I've found available, and what I need it to work with.

Way back in the day (DOS6.22), I had a rather crappy sound card (SoundMan Wave, unfortunately) that I tried to listen to GM music with. The tiny 2MB Patch ROM resulted in over-compressed samples, which sounded terrible. Not to mention the dreaded "Hanging Note", like in Tie Fighter.

It was like listening along to the intro music, when suddenly one note hung, and became the MIDI version of this:

Image

Now that computer components have moved on, and we have 2 VM programs to let me play my old games of yesteryear - ScummVM and DosBOX. The built in GM/MT-32 for ScummVM is respectable enough that I'm not worried about changing anything, but DosBOX give me the change to use a windows Virtual GM/GS/XG synth as a driver. I just have to supply the patches. And since some of the freely available soundfonts/patch sets range form 300MB to 1.6GB, I'd like to go back some of my older games, and see what the GM music sounds like with the larger soundfonts.

Roland and Yamaha both put out virtual synths of their own, but they support only up to XP. I use Win7 Ultimate 64bit. The only thing I can find is VirtualMIDISynth from Coolsoft, and I'm not sure it'll work like I need it to.

Any audio people out here know what I should be looking for, and OpenSource projects to look into? Any recommendations?

I'm using BassMIDI driver, with the following sound fonts (stacked):
SGM V2.01
Bellatrix Orchestra
Drums! by Slavo

The Bellatrix Orchestra needs to be edited to assign the correct GM patch, though, then put it on top of SGM. The Bellatrix Orchestra handles anything orchestra while the SGM does the rest.

*EDIT*


Hz so good wrote:Speaking of trying to get better audio, what are the good 2.1 PC speaker sets to look for these days? Last good set I had was from Cambridge Soundworks, back in late 90's/early 2000's.


I dunno, I'm using 2.0 speakers...
Image

...and stereo amplifier.
Image

:D
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:39 pm

I approve!
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:27 am

The speakers were bought second-hand, but the amplifier was inherited. What can I say, my dad was an audiophile. :)
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:24 am

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:I'm using BassMIDI driver, with the following sound fonts (stacked):
SGM V2.01
Bellatrix Orchestra
Drums! by Slavo

The Bellatrix Orchestra needs to be edited to assign the correct GM patch, though, then put it on top of SGM. The Bellatrix Orchestra handles anything orchestra while the SGM does the rest.


Any idea why I can't add more than one soundfont to BassMidi? I added SGM, but now I can't add a second, even trying port A or B.



Hz so good wrote:Speaking of trying to get better audio, what are the good 2.1 PC speaker sets to look for these days? Last good set I had was from Cambridge Soundworks, back in late 90's/early 2000's.


I dunno, I'm using 2.0 speakers...
Image

...and stereo amplifier.
Image

:D[/quote]


:o Holy Schnikies! That's an awesome setup!
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:32 am

Oh my, the 1970s are calling. That rig would have been top-end in my freshman dorm in the fall of 1981. That Sansui is from the era of the WPC wars, usually fought in the ad pages of Playboy.

Also like the copy of Falcon 4.0 in the background.

You can modify the bass response of those JBLs by stuffing socks in the ports. Get it right and the one-note boom goes away. Woofer surrounds look OK, but the cones need some attention.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:27 am

Captain Ned wrote:Oh my, the 1970s are calling. That rig would have been top-end in my freshman dorm in the fall of 1981.


I was 6, then, and was enamored of my dad's Atari VCS and my BFFs NES.

*ducks and runs off your lawn* :P
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:53 am

The hardware I use to do vinyl rips is from the same era -- an H.H. Scott receiver and a Sony turntable. The only thing I upgraded when I embarked on my vinyl digitizing project several years back was the phono cartridge.

Don't you dare cut through my lawn getting off of Ned's! :lol:
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:13 am

just brew it! wrote:Don't you dare cut through my lawn getting off of Ned's! :lol:

I fear we are the last of the vinyl. The current hipster blip will not last. Music just isn't right if you can't see the pickup head bobbing up and down in response to the warps in the record.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:40 am

Captain Ned wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Don't you dare cut through my lawn getting off of Ned's! :lol:

I fear we are the last of the vinyl. The current hipster blip will not last. Music just isn't right if you can't see the pickup head bobbing up and down in response to the warps in the record.



If it makes you feel any better, my Brother-in-law (soon to be ex, if he cheats on my sister again), rips all his music off vinyl, but them upsamples it to something ridiculous like RAW (or whatever the audio equivalent is).

I can't tell the difference, but he swears he can. He even bought two stupidly expensive AMPs (one per speaker) that are so heavy, they've buckled the hardwood floor beneath them.

And he's only 40, so it seems vinyl is sticking around for a bit. Plus, in jamaica/bahamas, it's cheaper for aspiring artists to press vinyl, than it is to get CDs produced, so there's still a thriving market there.

/I dodged your lawn just brew it during my escape. That dog scared me to death (and I treat rottweilers, chow chows, pit bulls, and wolf-huskies like puppies. Never been bit once) :P
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Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:29 am

Hz so good wrote:Any idea why I can't add more than one soundfont to BassMidi? I added SGM, but now I can't add a second, even trying port A or B.

What? It's as easy as clicking on the Add button.

Image



Hz so good wrote: :o Holy Schnikies! That's an awesome setup!

Thanks! :)

Anyway, if anyone just happen to spot a pair of JBL 044Ti tweeters in fully functional condition, please let me know. I'm willing to pay upfront. No, my tweeters are fine, but it feels better when you have spares.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:32 am

Captain Ned wrote:Oh my, the 1970s are calling. That rig would have been top-end in my freshman dorm in the fall of 1981. That Sansui is from the era of the WPC wars, usually fought in the ad pages of Playboy.

Actually, the JBL 120Tis haven't had existed yet in 1981. ;)


Captain Ned wrote:Also like the copy of Falcon 4.0 in the background.

It's actually Falcon Gold 3.0.

Captain Ned wrote:You can modify the bass response of those JBLs by stuffing socks in the ports. Get it right and the one-note boom goes away. Woofer surrounds look OK, but the cones need some attention.

Thanks, but it's not boomy at all. In fact, it's articulate, although it also depends on the amp. With Sansui amps (AU-7900, A-40), the bass sounds thinner, but more accurate. With cheaper amps (like NAD C375BEE), the bass starts become boomy.

Also, the Sansui outputs cleaner, more accuate HF, while the NAD's HF sounds harsh.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:48 am

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:Thanks, but it's not boomy at all. In fact, it's articulate, although it also depends on the amp. With Sansui amps (AU-7900, A-40), the bass sounds thinner, but more accurate. With cheaper amps (like NAD C375BEE), the bass starts become boomy.

Also, the Sansui outputs cleaner, more accuate HF, while the NAD's HF sounds harsh.

So, you have outed yourself an an audiophile. 8)

Nice to know I'm not the only one here.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:57 am

Hz so good wrote:I can't tell the difference, but he swears he can. He even bought two stupidly expensive AMPs (one per speaker) that are so heavy, they've buckled the hardwood floor beneath them.

And he's only 40, so it seems vinyl is sticking around for a bit. Plus, in jamaica/bahamas, it's cheaper for aspiring artists to press vinyl, than it is to get CDs produced, so there's still a thriving market there.

/I dodged your lawn just brew it during my escape. That dog scared me to death (and I treat rottweilers, chow chows, pit bulls, and wolf-huskies like puppies. Never been bit once) :P

I can tell the difference and I always fall on the side of vinyl. A pair of monobloc amps that heavy usually means Krell or Mark Levinson (famously used as arc-welders in an early 1980's Audio magazine article). As for the dog, the only thing you need worry about is the flappy tongue. He may bark, but he's got not one bit of agression in him.

Image
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Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:01 pm

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
Hz so good wrote:Any idea why I can't add more than one soundfont to BassMidi? I added SGM, but now I can't add a second, even trying port A or B.

What? It's as easy as clicking on the Add button.

Image



Hz so good wrote: :o Holy Schnikies! That's an awesome setup!

Thanks! :)

Anyway, if anyone just happen to spot a pair of JBL 044Ti tweeters in fully functional condition, please let me know. I'm willing to pay upfront. No, my tweeters are fine, but it feels better when you have spares.



I think it was the soundfonts I was trying to use. I got the ones you recommended (Bellatrix Orchestra and Drums!) to add. It's odd, because SGM added right off the bat. Maybe the SFARK program I was using didn't properly convert them to sf2, maybe? I was trying CrysisGM3.0.1 Muystik, and FluidR3, and neither of those would add to the list.


*EDIT*

"The Bellatrix Orchestra needs to be edited to assign the correct GM patch, though, then put it on top of SGM. The Bellatrix Orchestra handles anything orchestra while the SGM does the rest."

Can you explain to me how to do that? The assignment, I mean.
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:45 pm

Hz so good wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
Hz so good wrote:Any idea why I can't add more than one soundfont to BassMidi? I added SGM, but now I can't add a second, even trying port A or B.

What? It's as easy as clicking on the Add button.

Image



Hz so good wrote: :o Holy Schnikies! That's an awesome setup!

Thanks! :)

Anyway, if anyone just happen to spot a pair of JBL 044Ti tweeters in fully functional condition, please let me know. I'm willing to pay upfront. No, my tweeters are fine, but it feels better when you have spares.



I think it was the soundfonts I was trying to use. I got the ones you recommended (Bellatrix Orchestra and Drums!) to add. It's odd, because SGM added right off the bat. Maybe the SFARK program I was using didn't properly convert them to sf2, maybe? I was trying CrysisGM3.0.1 Muystik, and FluidR3, and neither of those would add to the list.

IIRC you should unzip them first. Do they came in .7z format? I didn't remember.


Hz so good wrote:*EDIT*

"The Bellatrix Orchestra needs to be edited to assign the correct GM patch, though, then put it on top of SGM. The Bellatrix Orchestra handles anything orchestra while the SGM does the rest."

Can you explain to me how to do that? The assignment, I mean.

You should use a sound font editor, which is an entirely different application than software synthesizer (I use Vienna). For example, the GM instrument number for Trombone is 57, but Bellatrix Orchestra doesn't adhere to GM standard, so its Trombone instrument number is 5 or 6 or something (don't quite remember, it was 2012 when I did a complete revamp of Bellatrix Orchestra), so you should use a sound font editor to change each instrument number to the proper GM standard.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:59 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:Thanks, but it's not boomy at all. In fact, it's articulate, although it also depends on the amp. With Sansui amps (AU-7900, A-40), the bass sounds thinner, but more accurate. With cheaper amps (like NAD C375BEE), the bass starts become boomy.

Also, the Sansui outputs cleaner, more accuate HF, while the NAD's HF sounds harsh.

So, you have outed yourself an an audiophile. 8)

Nice to know I'm not the only one here.

Thanks. Believe it or not, it's been a very long time since I left the hobby. I was "educated" to be an audiophile by my dad when I was 12 years-old, but then PC 286 compatibles and CGA monitor became popular in Indonesia, and I changed my interest. Since then, I was never an audiophile; I am easily satisfied by the warm sound of Wharfedale Diamonds or low-end B&Ws and the likes. Even my Edifier M3400 review is by no means an audiophile review - merely an opinion from someone who felt Logitech Z-5500 was not musical enough (too much bass, weak mids).

But everything changed in 2013. I was merely looking for a pair of JBL 4311s to replace my late dad's (which were stolen in a burglary). I failed to find a good pair of 4311, but the showroom owner offered the 120Tis instead. He was testing it with NAD C375BEE, and I was quite impressed with the bass. The bass is not as thumpy as I've heard from typical HT sub, but indeed strong and deep. Yet, I was very disappointed by the harsh HF, that I didn't buy the speakers. I (mistakenly) thought JBL 120Tis were bad speakers, since the HF is so harsh; ugly "tss tss tss" like that of cheap car audio speakers.

After a week of futile JBL 4311 hunting, I just couldn't stop thinking about the 120Tis. Yes, the treble sounded ugly when I auditioned them, but I just couldn't get the deep, strong bass out of my mind. So I eventually returned to the showroom and promptly purchased the 120Tis - while bracing myself for ugly HF.

But at home, when I tested the 120Tis with my late dad's Sansui AU-7900, I was shocked! :o Gone the ugly, "tss tss tss" HF. Instead, the HF sounded very clean - especially in cymbals. I also noticed the weaker bass, but it was more musical and articulate. Then I came into realization: it was not the fault of the speaker, it was the fault of the amplifier! Yes, it was the NAD that gave the 120Tis such ugly HF (albeit thumpier bass).

So you see, I came completely uninitiated, yet I was instantly able to tell the difference between two amps - without realizing that it was the amps that made the difference.

But then I read an article that says "every amps sound the same", "there is no discernible audio quality between different amps", etc, etc.

So, huh?
Last edited by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:15 pm

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:IIRC you should unzip them first. Do they came in .7z format? I didn't remember.


I did, but some were in SFARK format, not sf2. That may have been the problem. The sf2 format ones worked like a champ.

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:You should use a sound font editor, which is an entirely different application than software synthesizer (I use Vienna). For example, the GM instrument number for Trombone is 57, but Bellatrix Orchestra doesn't adhere to GM standard, so its Trombone instrument number is 5 or 6 or something (don't quite remember, it was 2012 when I did a complete revamp of Bellatrix Orchestra), so you should use a sound font editor to change each instrument number to the proper GM standard.


Thanks! I'll snag Vienna. Is there a list out there of what channel Bellatrix uses vs the GM standard? Is there a GS or XG soundfont pack out there that would let me check those out, as well? I was always jealous when I was a kid, that I couldn't afford an MT-32, SoundCanvas, nor a Yamaha XG board.
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:18 pm

Hz so good wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:IIRC you should unzip them first. Do they came in .7z format? I didn't remember.


I did, but some were in SFARK format, not sf2. That may have been the problem. The sf2 format ones worked like a champ.

IIRC SFARK is still a compressed format, so you should uncompress it to SF2 format. I don't quite remember, my complete list of sound font utils are on my former hard drive.

Hz so good wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:You should use a sound font editor, which is an entirely different application than software synthesizer (I use Vienna). For example, the GM instrument number for Trombone is 57, but Bellatrix Orchestra doesn't adhere to GM standard, so its Trombone instrument number is 5 or 6 or something (don't quite remember, it was 2012 when I did a complete revamp of Bellatrix Orchestra), so you should use a sound font editor to change each instrument number to the proper GM standard.


Thanks! I'll snag Vienna. Is there a list out there of what channel Bellatrix uses vs the GM standard? Is there a GS or XG soundfont pack out there that would let me check those out, as well? I was always jealous when I was a kid, that I couldn't afford an MT-32, SoundCanvas, nor a Yamaha XG board.

No, there is no such list, but you will discover it easily when editing the sound font, then simply change each instrument to the correct GM instrument number.
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:26 pm

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
Hz so good wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:IIRC you should unzip them first. Do they came in .7z format? I didn't remember.


I did, but some were in SFARK format, not sf2. That may have been the problem. The sf2 format ones worked like a champ.

IIRC SFARK is still a compressed format, so you should uncompress it to SF2 format. I don't quite remember, my complete list of sound font utils are on my former hard drive.

Hz so good wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:You should use a sound font editor, which is an entirely different application than software synthesizer (I use Vienna). For example, the GM instrument number for Trombone is 57, but Bellatrix Orchestra doesn't adhere to GM standard, so its Trombone instrument number is 5 or 6 or something (don't quite remember, it was 2012 when I did a complete revamp of Bellatrix Orchestra), so you should use a sound font editor to change each instrument number to the proper GM standard.


Thanks! I'll snag Vienna. Is there a list out there of what channel Bellatrix uses vs the GM standard? Is there a GS or XG soundfont pack out there that would let me check those out, as well? I was always jealous when I was a kid, that I couldn't afford an MT-32, SoundCanvas, nor a Yamaha XG board.

No, there is no such list, but you will discover it easily when editing the sound font, then simply change each instrument to the correct GM instrument number.


So SFARK is a compression program, not a convertor? Huh! Learn something new every day! :)

Thank you very much!
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:31 pm

Hz so good wrote:So SFARK is a compression program, not a convertor? Huh! Learn something new every day! :)

Thank you very much!

Indeed, SFARK is a compressed format. Try here. You should not compress an already-compressed SFARK file with an SFARK compression utility; you should use SFKAR decompression utility to decompress SFARK to SF2.

Anyway, you said you're posting in Vogons too. Well, I'm also in Vogons (note the longest thread in Miliways ;) ).
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Re: Re:

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:33 pm

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
Hz so good wrote:So SFARK is a compression program, not a convertor? Huh! Learn something new every day! :)

Thank you very much!

Indeed, SFARK is a compressed format. Try here. You should not compress an already-compressed SFARK file with an SFARK compression utility; you should use SFKAR decompression utility to decompress SFARK to SF2.

Anyway, you said you're posting in Vogons too. Well, I'm also in Vogons (note the longest thread in Miliways ;) ).



Mind if I PM you there, or here, if I run into more snags or have more questions? Cause I'm sure I'll run into something unfamiliar.

In exchange, if you have any networking or telecommunications questions, that's my bailiwick. If I don't know the answer offhand, I know exactly which CCIE to ask. :)

*EDIT*

I'm ElectricMonk there. Dirk Gently reference, and all.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:08 pm

I can't really help here, but the discussion is very interesting. My first soundcard was a Sound Blaster AWE32, and to this day it still had some of the best MIDI playback I've ever heard. I used to sit for hours and listen to MIDI versions of classical music from Comptons Encyclopedia. When played on any other soundcard, it sounded pathetic by comparison. I do remember some stuff with different SoundFonts, but I think the default one generally sounded the best.

Other than that, I probably didn't know how to fully use the rest of the features on the card. I was mostly interested in games at the time. I'm pretty sure I tried adding 30-pin SIMMS, but it either didn't work or had no effect (that I was able to distinguish). Great card though.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:17 pm

If you're willing to set up a secondary system or dual-boot, it appears that Linux + FluidSynth + DOSBox may be a workable combination.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

The Egg wrote:I can't really help here, but the discussion is very interesting. My first soundcard was a Sound Blaster AWE32, and to this day it still had some of the best MIDI playback I've ever heard. I used to sit for hours and listen to MIDI versions of classical music from Comptons Encyclopedia. When played on any other soundcard, it sounded pathetic by comparison. I do remember some stuff with different SoundFonts, but I think the default one generally sounded the best.

Other than that, I probably didn't know how to fully use the rest of the features on the card. I was mostly interested in games at the time. I'm pretty sure I tried adding 30-pin SIMMS, but it either didn't work or had no effect (that I was able to distinguish). Great card though.


The last soundcard I bought was an AWE64 Gold, and with the extra SIMMs, you could load custom soundfonts. Made listening to regular MIDI files a thing of beauty. It did nothing for game music, though.

It's a shame the GUS didn't catch on. Instead of standard soundfonts, game devs could load custom soundfonts, which really made every game sound unique. I tried it out in DosBOX with Star Control 2, and the difference was night and day. No wonder the MOD scene snapped them all up.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:26 pm

just brew it! wrote:If you're willing to set up a secondary system or dual-boot, it appears that Linux + FluidSynth + DOSBox may be a workable combination.



If I was going to get a second system, I'd chase down a 486 (DX2-66 or DX4-100) Dos 6.22 system in good condition, with a SB-16 and either a Roland Daughterboard, or an external SoundCanvas. I'd probably stick with a Tseng Labs ET4000/w32 video card, and a trusty old Sidewinder joystick for Tie Fighter, Wing Commander, and those Novalogic Helicopter sims. That was THE best, most rock solid DOS based system I've ever built.

*NOTE* The Novell NEtware 4.11 and 5.x system I built don't count, since they used DOS purely to bootstrap the NET OS. I did much prefer it over NT4.0, except for the IPX/SPX part. And that IPX to IP translator/router in 5x left MUCH to be desired.

Novell Directory Services, however, ate Active Directory's lunch, long before MS "stole" it (Domain structure? Really, MS?) . I was able to teach K-12 teachers how to administer that. Oh, and Zenworks Desktop MGMT was a DREAM! No matter how much a user messed up their workstation, Zen would automagically fix the problems while the Netware client logged them in.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:32 pm

Hz so good wrote:The last soundcard I bought was an AWE64 Gold, and with the extra SIMMs, you could load custom soundfonts. Made listening to regular MIDI files a thing of beauty. It did nothing for game music, though.

It's a shame the GUS didn't catch on. Instead of standard soundfonts, game devs could load custom soundfonts, which really made every game sound unique. I tried it out in DosBOX with Star Control 2, and the difference was night and day. No wonder the MOD scene snapped them all up.

Games with the AWE32 were hit or miss. Some of them recognized and used the extra features, while others (most) just saw it as a SB16. I did test a few different versions of the AWE64, and I still remembered our AWE32 sounding better. Of course, Creative started making a million different versions to confuse the customers, so I might have been testing against a slightly cut-down variant.
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Re: Virtual Synth question

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:34 pm

I think I still have an AWE64 around here somewhere, though (being an ISA card) it obviously hasn't been used in years. I think the last discrete soundcard I bought was an M-Audio Revolution, probably over 10 years ago at this point. These days I generally just use onboard, or pop the M-Audio or my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz into the system if I need high-quality ADCs for recording from a line source (like the above mentioned vinyl digitizing project). Since I haven't gotten into the whole retro gaming thing, and spend 99% of my time in Linux anyway, FluidSynth (plus QSynth front-end, and JACK plugins back end... long story I won't go into here) has been meeting my PC MIDI synth needs. FluidSynth sounds pretty good even with the default SoundFonts from the Debian/Ubuntu repositories. :wink:
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