Author Topic: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard  (Read 5119 times)

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Offline Preset

Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« on: June 04, 2018, 11:06:08 AM »
Hi All.

I am wondering if I only output midi to keyboard and use General Midi with Windows 10.  If there is any need to use something other than the GS Wavetable synth as a soundfont.

I recently changed operating systems from Ubuntu back to Windows (Windows 10). 
I use the LMMS program with my PSR E443.  I've become aware that Windows has the Roland GS Wavetable Synth for this installed.  It does not get listed as a soundfont.  I found on the web it being described as being of lower sound quality than other soundfonts.  Largely because of the small file size.

This time round I am struggling to get any soundfont to download and install.  Websites seem to give no direct clear instructions or they seem dodgy.  There seems to be some extra stuff I need to do for any downloaded.  I tried fluidsynth and got the zip file.  I unzipped and could not find any sf2 fluid_r3 file.  I got a another suggestion to use the coolsynth site for the fluid_r3 file.  It comes out as a text file of garble.  So there must be something I am meant to do with that.  I did find through my backups a copy of one called Omega. 

I set Omega in LMMS as a default soundfont.  I am not sure if Windows settings are not letting this over-ride the Wavetable synth.  I know that my keyboard uses X-Glite so the sounds outputted are as they are. 

So as I am rarely playing sound back to computer.  Would it make any difference for some better quality soundfont for output to my keyboard?  It just concerned me recently that suddenly the GS Wavesynth sound I use for a couple of voices played through channel 1 and 3 (right and left hand) seem to be a slightly lower tuning to that of the keyboard 440 Mhz.  Somebody here http://impossible-music.wikia.com/wiki/Microsoft_GS_Wavetable_Synth  suggesting it seems to be 435 Mhz.
Preset

Current Keyboard: Yamaha PSR E443
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 12:30:28 PM »
Some people (including myself) sometimes use the free CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth and our favorite soundfont(s) as a substitute for the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. VirtualMIDISynth doesn't have any sounds of its own; it needs one or more soundfonts. I think a lot of Yamaha users who use VirtualMIDISynth like to use Don Allen's Timbres of Heaven Soundfont with it:

http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth

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

But there are other MIDI players and GM1/GM2/GS/XG soundfonts available, so you don't have to use VirtualMIDISynth and Timbres of Heaven if you prefer something else.

By the way, you should be aware that soundfonts which bill themselves as GM1/GM2/GS/XG compatible do not necessarily-- and probably do not-- contain the same soundwave files as a Roland GS or Yamaha XG keyboard, because those soundwaves are proprietary and copyrighted. Rather, it is similar to the way that the GM1 soundset works-- GM1 specifies what instrument each Program Number should sound like (Acoustic Grand Piano, Nylon String Guitar, Upright Bass, Alto Saxophone, etc.), but each company that manufactures a GM1-compatible keyboard uses their own soundwave files for these GM1 voices, such that for instance the GM1 Acoustic Grand Piano voice doesn't sound exactly the same on keyboards made by Casio, Korg, Roland, Yamaha, etc. All it really means when someone says that a soundfont is GM1/GM2/GS/XG compatible is that you can send the Bank Select and Program Change numbers used by those soundsets to the soundfont and it will play a voice that is intended to correspond to the requested GM1/GM2/GS/XG voice.

As for the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth, it usually does show up in a DAW under the list of available MIDI Out devices (ports). But I'm not familiar with LMMS; I do have an old version of it installed on my Windows 10 desktop computer, but I was never able to get the hang of using it-- although I admit I didn't put much time and effort into trying since I already had other DAWs that I was able to get around in.
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
Current controllers: M-Audio Axiom 61-II
Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
 
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Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 12:43:45 PM »
Also, one program you might be interested to look into is SynthFont:

http://www.synthfont.com/

Before I bought my first Yamaha (PSR-E433) and was just starting to get familiar with the whole idea of software synthesizers, DAWs, etc., I came across SynthFont while searching for information about piano roll editors. At that time I didn't know any better and thought that SynthFont is a DAW, but it isn't; it does have a lot of similar functions as a DAW-- MIDI routing, MIDI editing, MIDI sequencing, and hosting of virtual instruments-- but it can't be used for audio and MIDI recording. In any case, it will let you play many different types of soundfonts, sample formats, plug-in formats, etc. The first version is more or less free but is donationware, so it will pop up a nag screen if you keep using it without obtaining a license by making a donation, but the performance is unimpaired. The second version-- SynthFont2-- is not free; you must obtain a license for it. There is also a free version that runs as a VST plug-in so it can be used in your favorite DAW (if your DAW can use third-party VST plug-ins).
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
Current controllers: M-Audio Axiom 61-II
Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
 
The following users thanked this post: Preset

Offline Preset

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 05:09:36 PM »
Just to clarify.  I like to make backing tracks on the computer.  Then play midi channels back to the keyboard.  With one or two voices played live via keyboard as midi controller.  I find the playback seems to work much better this way for me.  The computer seems to cope a lot better too.


Users of keyboards like mine might get a bit confused with the XG-Lite voices being of lower sound and quality.  Not realising they are what's used to replicate the midi voices from GM1.  The more expensive keyboards like the synthesizers obviously use larger files on those keyboards.  Which are refereed to in Yamaha as XG voices I believe.  When I used to use the Fluid sound font with Ubuntu.  I did notice that If I listened through the computer head phones jack.  I could tell it was closer to the actual voice sound.  Like voice number 4 sounds more like a Rhodes piano on the computer than my keyboard.  I did wonder a bit where copyright came into play for those sound fonts also.


I got thinking about the Omega file I found.  This was from when I had Windows Vista and was running as a 32 bit computer.  Now I'm Windows 10 running 64 bits.  So that could cause issue with making that file run properly any way.   
Preset

Current Keyboard: Yamaha PSR E443
 

Offline Preset

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 05:40:55 PM »
Some people (including myself) sometimes use the free CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth and our favorite soundfont(s) as a substitute for the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. VirtualMIDISynth doesn't have any sounds of its own; it needs one or more soundfonts. I think a lot of Yamaha users who use VirtualMIDISynth like to use Don Allen's Timbres of Heaven Soundfont with it:

http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth

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

As for the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth, it usually does show up in a DAW under the list of available MIDI Out devices (ports). But I'm not familiar with LMMS; I do have an old version of it installed on my Windows 10 desktop computer, but I was never able to get the hang of using it-- although I admit I didn't put much time and effort into trying since I already had other DAWs that I was able to get around in.

Thanks I might take a look at those sites.  I'm still getting my head around all this DAWs and Midi stuff.  Stuff like special effect add-ons and VSTs, like in LMMS I not familiar with.  I probably don't have much use for those yet. 

Any way LMMS may seem a bit confusing at first.  When it comes to which soundfont player to use and which way you intend to use.  Each soundfont player like one called ZynAddSubFX has a bank of regular voices.  Like a range of Rhodes pianos.  They play those sounds if you output to computer.  But will not be the same to keyboard.  So I've got my head around that.   The SF2 player (which I mostly use).  Has one tab containing general midi voices and drum sets listed from what ever soundfont file is selected, listing the group and patch numbers.  Another tab (which I mostly use).   Is where I select midi from Keyboard on a couple of channels and midi out to keyboard on all channels.  Apart from the channel numbers.  I have to set the midi program number as being +1 to the list of midi voices.  So any of the sound font players in LMMS will play their own sets of voices to computer.  But will all use the same set of General Midi voices and matching XG-Lite voices on the keyboard.  Well got my head around that. 


It would be interesting if anyone has actually got a reply from MS on the GS Wavetable Synth.  Asking if it could be improved and have the tuning looked at.  I ended up starting this whole thread.  Because since going back to Windows.  At first I thought the midi was playing an octave lower.  Then I realised the sound was actually not quite matching the keyboard.  Then I read where someone suggested it was more like 435 Mhz instead of the standard 440 Mhz.  So deeper sounding.  Hence wondering if a different soundfont would actually make difference to the way I play. 
Preset

Current Keyboard: Yamaha PSR E443
 

Offline Preset

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 06:07:14 PM »
I just managed to get the Fluid R3 soundfont from here http://www.synthfont.com/soundfonts.html to convert to the sf2 file from the garbled text file.  I followed the instructions at the top for the SfArk feature that needed to be downloaded.  Extracted it's self and then dump the text file onto one icon.  A couple more things and it's converted. 
Preset

Current Keyboard: Yamaha PSR E443
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 01:55:43 AM »
It seems that I do have the latest version of LMMS installed after all, since it hasn't been updated in a few years. "Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth" isn't listed anywhere I can see under the MIDI settings, just "WinMM" or something like that. I'll need to spend some quality time with LMMS later to learn the basics.

Are you sequencing MIDI data to the PSR-E443 live and using the keyboard's built-in sounds? Or are you playing MIDI sequences on the computer live and using sounds from virtual instruments? You could also do a combination-- some channels being played by the keyboard and some being played by virtual instruments. For certain types of sounds you'll get better quality from virtual instruments than from the PSR-E443, but the best virtual instruments aren't available for free.
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
Current controllers: M-Audio Axiom 61-II
Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
 

Offline Preset

Re: Midi Soundfont when Midi Out to Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 10:32:21 PM »
I am using the keyboard sounds actually.  Even when there is the drum tracks.  I might determine that I want to use one of the Power drum sets.  So it uses what ever the keyboard determines for that.  Last night I had a little go at listening to some of the Rhodes pianos in the ZynAddSubFX thing in LMMS, through the computer and my headphones as keyboard as midi controller.  Sounded very nice.  I think it is the wavetable synth doing the sound. 

It's a bit confusing now.  In ubuntu I'd get a output options of a number of midi port types.  I'd get an option of LMMS as output and keyboard.  And probably any other program that could connect.  In Windows 10 it works different.  It works with out any soundfont installed.  Using the wavetable synth. 

I just discovered a weird thing when clicking the piano on the SF2 Player with my mouse.  I start by setting the 1st sound Grand Piano from the Fluid soundfont.  I click the keys and get the piano sound.  I go over to the Midi tab.  I turn on the midi out option.   I can only select the Wavetable synth as midi out.  My keyboard is not connected.  It's now playing two versions of the one sound.  Each has a slightly different sound quality.
Preset

Current Keyboard: Yamaha PSR E443