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Sound fonts? What do you use?
Mar 23 2004
23:54
gray
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My gm and gs sounds are getting stale. Rime I upgraded. I’m wondering what soundfonts someone here reccommends. I would really like to know what RobotArcher used in his sequence, as the sounds were outstanding.

Mar 24 2004
08:34
robotarchie
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Hi Gray – I haven’t used soundfonts in the EMU sense of the word since I replaced my old Creative Soundblaster card some years ago so cannot recommend any particular ones as such, although I believe there are oddles of them out there. I often use Propellorheads Reason (you’ve probably heard of it) which is very good and has lots of add-on “soundfont type” packs called ReFills – there are lots of them about too, some commercial, some free. But for “Rachel’s Song” I used within Cubase SX about half a dozen instances of a VST plugin rompler by Spectrasonics called Atmosphere for the main bulk of the backing tracks. It’s not a “do-it-all” synth really (no drums or anything) but excels at interesting pad type textures amongst other things. I think the VST plugin format is much more open ended than sole reliance on soundfonts. I like to use Reaktor by Native Instruments (which IS capable of being a “do-it-all” environment due to the sheer number of prgrams available for it), but didn’t use it on “Rachel’s Song” at all. I did use a cute little VST plugin choir synth called Angelina in the background chorus voicey drones bit with a little bit of Lola mixed in low back there too. The only other things were the incidental wind noise and wind chimes (not to my usual taste really – but very ’80’s) which came from a plain old GM Edirol plugin. I’ll probably go back to the project again for a (final) version (2?) in a while if/when I find time and in the process tidy all the files up to be presentable and clearer as it was done a bit down and dirty. <img class=” />

Mar 24 2004
11:15
quetzalcoatl
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To answer your question gray, here are a few soundfont sites to get free soundfonts from:

http://www.soundfonts.it/

http://www.hammersound.net/

http://www.audiomelody.com/Sou…..dFonts.htm

http://www.sonicimplants.com/f…..dfonts.htm

…..and many more just a quick google away.

BTW, you don’t need to have a Sound Blaster card to use soundfonts.

Mar 24 2004
13:27
gray
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.

BTW, you don’t need to have a Sound Blaster card to use soundfonts.
I have a freeware program called sofrsynth that plays soundfonts but it is kind of inconvenient to use. I bought Creative extigy soundcard abt 6 months ago and it really sux. Didnt do half of what it claimed. Now I need to upgrade soundcard again after spending a hefty amount of cash for the Extigy which doesn’t even support soundfonts and has a pretty mediocre gm synth sound with it. I’m gettin dsl next week so I will be able to try some of the larger sound fonts. The small ones I tried were not very good.

Mar 24 2004
19:24
quetzalcoatl
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Don’t mention it gray.

Mar 24 2004
21:20
robotarchie
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I might be on the wrong tack altogether, but I understood from reviews in magazines that the Creative Extigy was actually considered a pretty good “pro-sumer”kind of sound card and a bit of a bargain. I don’t know what a “dsl” is, but I assume it’s perhaps a soundcard that supports “EMU-type” .sf2 soundfonts, yes? As I understand it, GS and GM are merely a convenient arrangement of basic “established” sound types that were meant to form a standard of sorts thus ensuring a certain consistency of playback sound across different MIDI files that conform to it’s “layout”. My earlier comment on considering something like Reason was made in the light of your expressed wish to “upgrade” the sound quality you were achieving. The Extigy soundcard itself is probably fine as a piece of hardware/vehicle for your sound. I do think that most of the GM/GS soundsets that I’ve heard are “dumbed down” i.e. less than exciting in themselves and I think Yamaha tried to address this with it’s extended XG sets with some success. In this month’s issue of “Sound On Sound” there’s a really good article on getting into the “guts” of the GM sound which may liven up your existing soundsets if you feel they are too “static” or lifeless. Alternatively, I would urge you to try some demos of the many good “virtual studios” now available before parting with your hardearned on a “cut down freebie” that gets bundled with a card. Best of luck! :D

Mar 25 2004
00:01
quetzalcoatl
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Are you having a laugh mate? :P

Mar 25 2004
07:37
robotarchie
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:o Sorry? Have I said something wrong? <img class=” /> Wassup?

Mar 25 2004
15:17
administrator
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DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) = broadband

Gray, I recomend you try out Reason ([url:t4fucmbl]http://www.propellerheads.se[/url:t4fucmbl]), when you get DSL try the downloadable demo (47MB). Reason comes with over 1GB of (mostly) very useable sounds, and reason 2.5 will open .sf2 soundfonts. Also there is tons of free and commercial reason sounds available.

Or even better (and more expense!) combine cubase (v5.1 or SX or later) with reason and Vocaloid (via rewire). This gives you all the advantages of cubase aswell like the ability to use VST instruments and VST effects etc.

Mar 25 2004
15:30
robotarchie
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Doh! Thanks for stepping in there and bailing me out Admin – I couldn’t for the life of me quite see what I’d said wrong….. <img class=” /> I can happily go back to playing with raffia up at the back of the class now. I don’t know what your budget outlay is Gray, but spending it on better software such as Admin points out – as opposed to replacing your hardware – will yield greater results (is the short answer I am still clumsily trying to give).

Mar 25 2004
17:12
andromeda
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I can remember back in the 80s, the obsession with “sounds”. You had to have the latest synth sound (remember the DX7?). I must say I finally got fed up with the constant race to have a new sound. If your sounds are lifeless, it might be more about what you are doing with them, rather than the sounds themselves. After all, the sound of the classical piano, violin etc has changed little over many years but no-one is suggesting they are lifeless. Surely, the point is, you need to be doing interesting things with the sounds you have, rather than constantly looking for new sounds?
Just a thought….
Cheers
Chris

Mar 25 2004
20:29
robotarchie
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I think to be fair to Gray, and after listening to all his considerable contributions to the group, he’s obviously not using much more for backing tracks than the “straight” GM sounds from his soundcard – hardly what you’d call a “gear lust” victim (as yet). I can easily cut him some slack here as I’m an <img class=” /> AWFUL <img class=” /> bad example of that particular disease. I’m not encouraging him to go mad out there with the plastic – but I will say :twisted: it’s a truism that you can never have enough compressors… :evil: :twisted: (evil laugh fades)

Mar 26 2004
01:46
gray
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Thanks you guys for all the info. You’re right about me using strictly gm or gs sounds RA. Some of the sounds are okay, but some really bad and all are inconsistent. I’ve learned to do reverb by doubling instrument snad shifting which helped a lot, so I know a little about making what you have sound good. But you can’t make a gourmet meal out of a turd ya know.

Mar 26 2004
07:42
robotarchie
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Tell that to a dung beetle…..

Mar 27 2004
08:13
gray
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Oh yes, and if you read the reviews on creative extigy you will find that it isnt at all as good as the ads claim. Could have bought a card for half the money or less that would do twice as much. There were no reviews or ratings to find when I purchased it.

Mar 27 2004
11:23
robotarchie
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The main thing I ask of a soundcard is that it sounds good as a carrier of my music. That’s all I really ask it “to do”. Third party software takes care of the “doing”. Surely the Extigy card does a decent enough job of input/output quality? I got the impression that it might just be the bundled software that’s the problem.

Maybe the moral of the story is to wait for the independant reviews to come out before investing. Wise words and hindsight? Sometimes hype – “ad excitement” and a feeling of just wanting to get on with it can create a regrettable impulse purchase. I may have bought my Lola vocaloid software mainly on hype and impulse (plus discount at a trade expo). I actually only caught the last minutes of the vocaloid demonstration at the show but I went ahead and bought it anyway, and for the record don’t I regret it. However, if I’d waited to catch the review in this month’s very popular “Computer Music” magazine I really can’t say for sure whether I would still have still gone ahead and got it or not. My gut feeling is that I would still have done it as I tend to go along with the reviews in the more “heavyweight” magazines. I was actually expecting them (Computer Music) to do a “gee-whizz” article in their usual brightly lit comic style. On that subject, it is slightly worrying that an independant forum such as this User Group does not carry mention or links to that most critical (not to say derisory) of reviews in its home page news section – only the “good reviews” get through apparently. The total exclusion of a review in a major mainstream magazine can only add grist to the mill for those members who have expressed some concern over the close involvement of Zero-G staff on this site. I’ve even been asked (albeit indirectly) if I work for them!

Mar 27 2004
12:09
administrator
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[quote="RobotArchie":21kde90g] it is slightly worrying that an independant forum such as this User Group does not carry mention or links to that most critical (not to say derisory) of reviews in its home page news section[/quote:21kde90g]
There is nothing sinister going on.

I am aware of the review, but I couldnt find any links to it on the net. Presumably its only in the actual physical mag that you can read it (I am not a regular reader myself). And when I looked at the Puter Music site (3-4 times now) I couldnt even find any mention of the review, so I couldnt even say “please read issue number ????”. Even doing a search on the word ‘vocaloid’ turned up nothing! I just re-checked their site, It’s still not updated.

I certainly want this site to be as impartial as possible, so if you have the issue date and a sentence outlining the length in pages (how detailed?) and basic outcome of the review, please hit the “submit news” button (<—). Please tell me about any other mainstream magazine reviews you see aswell.

Mar 27 2004
15:33
robotarchie
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I think that CM/Future Publishing will no doubt update their site in due course. The magazine itself is currently on the shelves of good newsagents for anyone to check out for themselves. The review is kind of academic now at least for those of us who’ve already got our vocaloid(s). I don’t slavishly believe everything I read in magazines anyway – after all, it’s only an opinion and quite often they are based on short exposure to beta or early reviewers versions of software. I think we’ve had a software update since that article was written. However, the overall tone was that vocaloid was far from the “magic bullet” of expectation and that the pre-publicity had perhaps (mis)lead them slightly to expect a simple “plug and play” monophonic synth type solution.

Personally, as regards this User Group, I don’t sign up to a sinister plot theory myself and the earlier “mouthpiece” accusations which I read on the forum are probably being a tad unfair. It doesn’t put me up nor down really – it’s a nice thought just to have the group here irrespective of whose idea it was or whatever the perceived motives were in doing so.

OOPS! <img class=” /> I’ve just noticed a typo gaff in my last post which reads “for the record don’t I regret it” – it SHOULD have been “for the record I don’t regret it”. If I hadn’t written it myself I’d have to blame a conspiracy…. <img class=” />

Mar 27 2004
15:53
gray
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I think there is a conspiracy. It’s the great typo conspiracy of 04. I get a lot of r’s instead of t’s and vice versa. Or could it be that sometimes I use 2 fingers to type instead of the usual 1?? Only the shadow knows for sure.

Mar 27 2004
16:58
robotarchie
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The Shadow (gulp). I reserve the use of two fingers for gestures mainly, although the middle finger has been known to be used in typing. Only The Bird knows…. do you guys like my new “hairstyle” by the way? My Caped Crusader days are now over 8O

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