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Topic: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s) (Read 370 times) previous topic - next topic

Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Hi all,
after looking into @Flurmy 's little issue here: https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=10126.new#info_72826
I thought it might be worthwhile if we took the time to share our preferences regarding Soundfonts.

As I'm sure anyone who has spent any time looking for a soundfont that suits them knows, it can be a very long and frustrating exercise, so I thought it could be good if we pooled our discoveries. 

Which soundfonts do you like, which ones do you dislike and reasons for both.

Bear in mind, this is all subjective and should NOT be considered an objective critique as your mileage WILL vary.  My personal priority is for good sounding winds, particularly brass.  Of course my interpretation of good and yours will surely be different.  My preferences are heavily informed by my trombone playing.  If you are, say, a piano player I'm sure piano sounds will be your priority, ditto if you are a string or reed player etc..

Something I've found interesting.  In many cases certain sounds will be identical between very different soundfonts.  I can only assume there has been a lot of "borrowing" going on between authors, or perhaps many of them have used the same sources for some of their sounds.  Because of my bias for brass I have noticed this particularly in the brass sounds.

I'll kick it off:
LIKE:
Merlin_GMpro(v3.15)                                      I really like the trombone sound and none of the other sounds I've used irritate me enough to look further at the moment.

DISLIKE:
Airfont340The trombone sound is terrible and the Bright Acoustic Piano is trying to be a Harpsicord.  Also seems to have playback problems on Acoustic Grand patch
Airfont380The trombone sound is terrible
Several Creative fonts distributed with soundblaster cards I've purchased over the yearsObviously computer generated, just disappointing, though sax sounds seem to work
Roland (various)These are clearly related to the Roland sounds distributed with Windows and we all know why we don't use that!
Around 20 other soundfonts (list below)For most of them the trombone (and other brass) is just plain wrong.  In many cases strings are good, but I've found a few where violin sounds in particular are sub-standard.  In general they aren't awful, I just don't like them.  YMMV

AMBIVALENT:
Yamaha XG SoundSetThe Yamaha S-YXG50 synth was my goto in XP, but the .sf2 implementation is not nearly as good.  No longer a favourite.  Difficult to find and not worth the effort IMHO.
WeedsGM3.sf2Generally OK, but I find the brass wanting
Musyng Kite.sf2/Evanessence2.sf2Both from the same creator, the latter is the predecessor - Generally OK, but I find the brass wanting
Timbres Of Heaven GM_GS_XG_SFX V 3.4 Final.sf2Generally OK, but I find the brass wanting
Titanic 200 GM-GS SoundFont 1.1.sf2Generally OK, but I find the brass wanting
FluidR3_GM.SF2Generally OK, but I find the brass wanting

As you might be able to tell, I'm particularly fussy about the brass sounds...  And they're often very disappointing.

List from DISLIKE table:
053.7mg Taiji Generation V6.66 Bank.sf2
38.1mg the atomic soundfont v1.0 bank.sf2
61.9mg_Jurgen_GM_GS_Bank.sf2
65.8mg music man gm gs v1.0 bank.sf2
8Rock11e.sf2
Airfont_340.sf2
airfont_380_final.sf2
Arachno_SoundFont_Version_1.0.sf2
Creative (emu10k1)8MBGMSFX.SF2
Creative Labs 2M GM_2gmgsmt.sf2
Creative Labs 4M GM_4gmgsmt.sf2
CrisisGeneralMidi3.01.sf2
CT2MGM.SF2
CT4MGM.SF2
Hyper-VSC SF-GS v2.sf2
OmegaGMGS2.sf2
Roland SC-55 50 MB by Trevor James.sf2
Roland SC-55 54 MB by Trevor James.sf2
ross.sf2
sYnerGi 200.sf2
sYnerGi 200LE.sf2
sYnerGi-8Mb.sf2
sYnerGiGS.sf2
SYNTHGMS.sf2

Disclaimer:
To the best of my knowledge all of these soundfonts are freely distributed by the authors with the exception of the Creative ones which I progressively acquired as I purchased various Creative sound cards over the past several decades.




I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s) and VSTi

Reply #1
I assume "soundfonts" also includes "VSTi" instruments.

I use:
a) "Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra" for most everything instrumental, also piano.
b) "Soundiron Olympus Micro Choir" VSTi in Kontakt 5 player for choral sounds.
c) Chorium.sf2 as a standard soundfont for "internal use", I think I also used it for a few brass instruments a few years ago - but I'm not uptodate here.

H.M.

 

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #2
Airfont340   The trombone sound is terrible
I absolutely agree!  ;D

Of course you know that, with the help of some dedicated software, you can make your personal collection of patches (i.e. sounds) picking your best-of-the-best from many different s.f. Do you?

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #3
I absolutely agree!  ;D

Of course you know that, with the help of some dedicated software, you can make your personal collection of patches (i.e. sounds) picking your best-of-the-best from many different s.f. Do you?
Yeah, but I'm far too lazy ;)
The time it would take to just identify the particular patches I'd want in the aggregate set could easily be the rest of my life!  :o
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too


Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #5
Favourite and preferred seem to be words that do not really seem to fit soundfonts.
I seem to use one until such time as I play something and suddenly the sound offends my ears.
I then change to something else.
But of course I also load up "1 instrument" sound fonts where appropriate.

Currently my general soundfont is Evanessence2 which knocked Titanic of the list.  Not perfect but it will do for now.


Rich.

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #6
I found FluidR3 before it became the soundfont of choice for the Viewer, and I've seen no reason to abandon it for my work in NoteWorthy. In my work in Sibelius, which I've had to take up for situations that require a higher level of engraving than NWC can manage, I use NotePerformer, which is a virtual orchestra that operates as a plugin rather than as a soundfont. My ideal would be a new iteration of NWC with the GUI we all know and love, the same level of engraving tools you can find in Sibelius, and NotePerformer compatibility. Dream on....

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #7
I often use Unison2. I can’t remember why I chose it, but I did listen to several before making the choice.

I have been having an issue with the trombone though. I’m currently composing for trombone and piano. When I use the “play to” feature in NWC2 viewer to create an MP3, the trombone is quite a bit softer than the piano. I have to reduce the piano channel volume to around 60 to balance it out. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’m using Cool Soft VirtualMidiSynth 2.9.3.

Any ideas what the issue is?

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #8
Some thoughts:
  • Do you find the same problem when playing back from the editor, or is it only the viewer?
  • Do you find the same problem when playing back normally from the viewer, or is it only the export to mp3?
  • I'm going to assume you've made sure both the editor and viewer are using the same soundfont.
  • I've found many soundfonts aren't well balanced when it comes to volume from one patch to the next.
  • Does the trombone channel have dynamic markings very different to the piano part?
  • Are there multiple staves on the trombone channel and if so does the last one (top to bottom) have a higher volume setting than the one you're using?
  • Have you tried a different soundfont to see if the problem goes away?

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #9
So many great questions. When you say editor, do you mean NWC 2 where I do my composing?

Dynamics are the same as the piano.
My editor uses the Windows computer standard sound font. It sounds fine in the editor. Trombone is its own channel. The muting does not  happen on playback in the NCW Viewer as well. I’m not sure how to check what sound font the Viewer is using. The difference appears constant with the three fonts I have loaded (unison 2 , FluidR3, and Titanic)

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #10
So many great questions. When you say editor, do you mean NWC 2 where I do my composing?

Dynamics are the same as the piano.
My editor uses the Windows computer standard sound font. It sounds fine in the editor. Trombone is its own channel. The muting does not  happen on playback in the NCW Viewer as well. I’m not sure how to check what sound font the Viewer is using. The difference appears constant with the three fonts I have loaded (unison 2 , FluidR3, and Titanic)
  • The editor is NWC where you do your writing/composing.
  • Matching dynamics eliminates that possibility.
  • For the editor, MIDI out is selected in |Tools|Options|MIDI (tab)|Devices used by play back:| - Your Coolsoft synth should appear here.
  • For the editor soundfonts are assigned in your synth.
  • In the Viewer you can also select a soundfont in |Tools|Soundfont| - this may or may not be the same soundfont you use in the Coolsoft synth
  • For the Viewer you can select a play back device through |Tools|Options| where an external synth or the internal synth can be selected.  You don't have to use the internal synth, even if you have loaded a soundfont in the viewer.
  • Playback to an audio format (mp3 or FLAC) uses the internal synth thus you need to assign a soundfont to it if you wish to use this feature.

Given point 7 above, is the soundfont used by the player's internal synth the same as loaded in the Coolsoft synth?  If not then this is likely the source of the difference.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #11
My editor output is Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. I’m not sure how to add Unison or whatever to the editor. Or how to add Microsoft to the Viewer (if that will solve the problem).

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #12
My editor output is Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. I’m not sure how to add Unison or whatever to the editor. Or how to add Microsoft to the Viewer (if that will solve the problem).
To get your preferred soundfont (Unison) working in the editor 3 steps are required, I assume at least 2 of them are already done as you mentioned you have Coolsoft VirtualMidiSynth.

For completeness, the three steps are:
  • Install Coolsoft VirtualMidiSynth to your machine.  I believe this is already done in your case.
  • Select the required soundfont in the synth.  I believe this, too, is already done in your case.:
    • click on the Coolsoft synth icon in the system tray
    • click on configuration
    • make sure the "Soundfonts" tab is active
    • Make sure the required soundfont is active in the dialogue, if not click the green "+" sign and add it
    • click OK
  • For the editor, MIDI out is selected in |Tools|Options|MIDI (tab)|Devices used by play back:|
    Your Coolsoft synth should appear here.  If not, select it from the Available devices.  Also, REMOVE the microsoft one if it is in the "Devices Used" list so you only have the Coolsoft one active.

N.B. You cannot add the Microsoft soundset to the viewer as it isn't a soundfont and you need a soundfont for the "play to" feature to work.

If I were doing what you are I would configure coolsoft and the NWC editor as mentioned above, and I would set the same soundfont as used in Coolsoft as the Viewer soundfont.  Then I would select the Viewers output as the internal synth.  (see reply 10 (from me) earlier in this thread)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #13
One thing that hasn't been mentioned recently is that the "play to" feature of the Viewer is only available if you are running the 2.8 beta version. (I'm pretty sure that is true, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

Re: Favourite/preferred Soundfont(s)

Reply #14
One thing that hasn't been mentioned recently is that the "play to" feature of the Viewer is only available if you are running the 2.8 beta version. (I'm pretty sure that is true, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong).
Now I think about it I'm pretty sure you're correct.  Given SEBC mentioned the feature I assume they are running it.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too