I need some help with my MIDI sound!!!

Maybe someone who is into this can answer because it's really important for me...

I'm a musician who creates songs on my computer. Unfortunately my MIDI sound sucks. I use those simple programs which use MIDI as playback... Is there better programs who doesn't use MIDI???

I've some wave-files that other people have sent me where you can hear their MIDI sound... And their sound kick ass! It almost sound like it is recorded with real instruments. My question is: "How can you make your MIDI sound better" Some use Sound Fonts to get a really good sound, but what exactly is Sound Fonts and how do you use it???

Otherwise from that can you use software to make your midi better?

It would be really good if someone know an answer to my provblems! Thanks!!!

/Emil Landin
12 answers Last reply
More about midi sound
  1. What sound card or sound chip does your system have?

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  2. I have a crappy built in soundcard who is placed directly on the motherboard...

    In the device manager it says: "Intel(r) 82801BA/BAM AC'97 - Sound Device" - I don't know a heck about those things so i don't know what that means
  3. I was trying to figure out if you have wavetable synthesis for Midi but I don't know what the onboard sound capablilties are for Intel motherboards.

    I only know Windows 98 but if you check the Control Panels and look for Multimedia there should be a tab for Midi. What does it say is enabled? What is available?

    Wavetable is good. FM synthesis is crap.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  4. Well in the program I use it looks like this:

    <A HREF="http://www.algonet.se/~klhemtj/midi.jpg" target="_new">http://www.algonet.se/~klhemtj/midi.jpg</A>

    So i guess i have a wavetable... but the sound quality sucks anyway...

    But as i asked earlier if I buy a good soundcard with sound fonts. Does that come as a second option here then?

    But can't anyone of you who has a good soundcard with soundfonts record a wave-file of a midi-file you got so I can hear how it sounds?
  5. Quote:
    I have a crappy built in soundcard who is placed directly on the motherboard...

    Hmm first you need to get a sound card capable of soundfonts. The Audigy 2 would be a good choice but even the Live! has decent soundfont support. Then you need to replace the crap Creative soundfonts with better ones. A good choice is the Utopia soundfont, available at "utopialive.com".

  6. I could not to not to agree with you more :). FM can be very good - ever heard Equinox by Jean-Michael Jarre? I'am not a musician, but I know old Yamaha's DX7 synth (which is FM synth!) is still popular among electronic music composers. There is even DX7 module for SW1000XG :).
    Wavetable can be a piece of crap - ever heard MS Software Sythesizer? Or SB Live/Audigy with original sound fonts supplied with those cards? Just becouse synth uses wavetable, it does not make it sound good. A lot (but not all!) depends on samples used in wavetable.
    I use SB Audigy with GeneralUser sound font, a combination which I find comparable to my old (7 years!) Yamaha SW60XG (it's amazing what Yamaha can do with 4MB of ROM). I stopped using Yamaha for midi listening only becouse it's an ISA card, and I have no ISA slots in my comp :(.
    In general I agree that for GM/GS/XG midi you need good wavetable synth. But if you are composer, you can make good use of FM too.
    BTW GeneralUser sound font and some infos on sound fonts in general can be found at http://www.sccmusic.250x.com/.
  7. Guess I haven't heard good FM synthesis but I have heard the bleep and bloops of crappy FM synthesis.

    As for Wavetable, I suppose bad samples would naturally yield bad sound.

    I can empathasize with hanging on to an old sound card. I'm still using a 6 year old Turtle Beach Tropez card (ISA). I have no idea how it compares to current sound cards but at least the Tropez doesn't make me wince. Actually I think it sound pretty neutral. I'll have to give it up when I get my next motherboard.

    Obviously you know more about sound cards than I. What would you suggest to help Landin? It seems he is using MS Wavetable Synthesis for Midi. Are improved sound fonts possible for Landin? How about a better sound card? Any recommendations?

    The latter was as much for me as Landin. I'd just be looking for something cheap that doesn't hurt my ears. Later I'll probably use onboard sound with an nForce2 board but for now I'm just looking for something that doesn't steal so many CPU cycles as the Turtle Beach. Did I mention I'm cheap? I usually only use two speakers for my PC but I would like digital output to connect to my surround receiver. Do you know anything about the Aopen AW850D?

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  8. If you used FM for GM midi playback, then I agree you could only hear bleep and blops :).
    I don't know much about AW850D, only what AOpen's site says. I've been using AOpen AW744Pro for 2 years, and I kinda liked it. I has hearable XG midi synth (still much worse than SW60XG), 4-ch output, and optical digital output. I belive it didn't offered any suppord for custom midi wavetable samples (DLS or sound font), which is bad for a musician.
    AW850 uses DLS for midi synth, which I think is bad. DLS is M$ version of sound fonts. I have not seen any quality DLS bank, but I'll be honest - I didn't bother to search much for it :). If I were a home musician with low budget, I would go for Creative's SB Audigy line of cards, since they offer good enough sound quality, and have decend midi synth with plenty both free and commercial sound fonts available to make it sound good.
    As for nForce2, I know nothing about its midi capabilities. We must be aware that most modern auido chips offer amazing x.y sound (currently 7.1 seems to be on top ;), 3D audio, AC3 & mp3 aceleration, and other stuff, but very little or no midi support. Midi in games is long dead, I have not seen a new title using midi music for years, so many sound card makers don't bother with it any more.
  9. Quote:
    AW850 uses DLS for midi synth, which I think is bad. DLS is M$ version of sound fonts. I have not seen any quality DLS bank, but I'll be honest - I didn't bother to search much for it :).

    Is this a hardware issue with DLS or just a problem getting quality sound fonts? What about sound font conversion programs?

    As I said, midi isn't a big issue for me. I was just curious. Thanks for the help.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  10. Sorry, Landin. As you can see from my posts I don't have enough experience to help you. I thought perhaps you were using FM Synthesis for General Midi but that doesn't seem to be the case from what you have shown us.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  11. I have an audigy with MagicSFver2.sf2 (69 mb nearly) loaded.
    Unless you have this combination (or near this,or better) you can't hear the bass of the church organ while your volume is only 1/4 way up!(for example creating a track in cakewalk) A musician without proper equipment sounds like a building that has no balcony. One time in the past,when I had awe64 (which had only 512kb of ram), I used an external program to load 8mb GM soundfonts for listening my midi tracks. Maybe you can find something like that. But don't expect magic. It is clear that you need an equipment. (at least a sb live! value with 61 mb jurgen v2 soundfont)
    these large soundfonts can be found for free, but you have to pay little for your soundcard...
  12. Sorry for comming in late on this, it's been a hellish week(end).

    By the look of it, your using the MS GS Software synth. I'm also not familiar with how your soundcards internal synth will sound. I agree thaloc and phsstpok that not all sound cards sound good (I'm still using my Ensoniq Soundscape Elite ISA card from time to time). Creative cards use Soundfonts, so you can upgrade your sound. FM synthesis can sound good with the right amount of control, or it could really suck. There are some decent software synths on the market if you want to go that route, along with software samplers (GigaSampler gomes to mind). The last option I can think of is the obvious outboard gear aka the keyboard or sound module hooked to a MIDI interface. This is the one I personally use the most, but then I write my own sequences. Hope this answers some questions (though it probably made more).


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