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Messages - Bart

101
Lawry,

God news from Belgium. In my first configuration tries, I must have screwed up my VSTHost. After making unavailable the old configuration (in C:\Documents and Settings\Bart\Application Data\SynthFont) and after unzipping again VSTHost in a new location, VSTHost is now accepting instrument-changes as sent by NWC just as you explained it should do.

Two major differences could have caused my problems:
(1) I selected the sinfonia synthfont (sinfon36.sf2), which is not a complete GM-soundfont and added also a second soudfont (WST25FStein.SF2) since this has a superb Grand Piano. I always used the same combination  when creating WAV/MP3 from Timidity or Synthfont. BUT: Tests have shown that for each channel you can define a specific synthfont file without corrupting the output. Even instrument presets are "corrected" with the midi commands from NWC, so these settings don't seem to hurt.
(2) Somewhere and somehow I also must have defined some bank configurations in VSTHost. This modification should be the reason why I experienced those strange effects. I'm quite sure now that this was my not forgiven mistake.

So, one caveat for all future users: do exactly as Lawry explains and don't play with different options in VSTHost unless you are prepared to get strange effects!

Thank you very much Lawry
Bart
102
Thank you, Lawry, for investing your time in my problem.

I fear my lack of midi/vst knowledge and terminology causes confusion, but nevertheless I try to explain what I see and hear (and what/when I don't hear anymore) when I play for instance
the sample song Consecration of the House / Overture by Beethoven, by Tina Billet, and which is delivered with NWC2.

When I start playing this NWC-file I see in the status bar of VSTHost flashing the words "loading/saving/ready" while at the same time in the title bar of VSTHost a whole bunch of "numbers" are passing, starting with 74,69,71,61, etc until it settles to number 49. At that moment I read the full title  VSTHost 49: ** Init ** Believe it or not, he last staff has instrument setting string ensemble 1 which corresponds to patch 48. I think the one-number difference can be explained by the starting count number which can be 0 or 1.

When I open the drop down box just under the menu bar in VSTHost (performances or plugins I suppose), I see that the selection is the 49th "plugin" (+1 since it starts counting with 0), which I sadly didn't configure. So I don't hear anything.  If I change this to another "plugin" which I did configure VSTSynthfont.dll (in my case for instance plugin 1) I can hear all af a sudden the music that NWC is playing for me.

If I add an additional staff which I force to bank 0, what seems to correspond with plugin 1, I can hear the music immediately. But if I use a different bank number, it's again pointing to a non-defined and thus muting plugin.

With this file, there is also an instrument switch at the beginning of measure (for Pizzicato - patch 45) and my "plugin" 1 changes again, now to number 46.

I suppose NWC and VSTHost are doing what I ask, but since there are a few options that I don't fully understand, I'm not sure I'm asking them the correct things.

For instance, should I specify in STAFF:INSTRUMENT the predefined instruments or the Midi Patch Instrunctions (send patch, send bank select, MSB/LSB)? Even more obscure is VSTHost, since it is totally new for me. Should I define plugins for all 128(+1?) performances? And how do both programs interact?

I just use an ordinary PC with a build in soundcard, probably even on the motherboard (avance AC'97 audio). I don't believe this can load soundfonts directly. Until you explained this alternative I was doomed to use the acceptable (but less flexible) midi mapper.

Bart
103
Lawry,

In a previous comment I told you about my problems with VSTHost where a seeming random "plugin" was used when I started playing a NWC-file.

As you suggested, it is indeed related to my instrument settings (one for each staff) and/or instrument changes defined in my NWC files. When using microsofts built in midi-mapper, besides the channels I also had to define the instruments.

But when using soundfonts, the configuration of the instruments should be done in VSTHost (or more specifically in the VSTSynthFont.dll-plugin where one can define a different instrument for each channel). But this is probably already known stuff for an average soundfont user.

The consequence is that a NWC-file behaves differently when used with soundfonts than when used with the midi-mapper.
I found a workaround so that NWC-files should sound correctly with both midi-devices:
Just define the staffs with the instruments that are needed for playback with the built in midi-mapper and ADD A LAST staff (if necessary with only rests) for playback with soundfonts. This last staff should be given the same "instrument number" as the plugin number where VSTHost is configured.  When playing the file VSTHosts starts with swapping to the different instruments, but since the instrument of the last (empty) staff corresponds to the used VSTinstrument, VSTHost uses the correct "plugin".

I believe this remark may be helpful for new soundfont/vsti/vsthost/midiyoke users.

Bart

104
Hi lawry,

The PDF contains the same information that you gave already in this forum, but since it is more structured and made more clear with screen shots, it will even better understood than the forums guiding steps. Thanks for the good work !!

I implemented your strategy last week for the following reasons:
I already learned before in these forums that creating audio (WAV,MP3,...) from NWC files should be done with midi2audio converters like Timidity, or Synthfont, which both use soundfonts. I also experienced that it's not a good idea to "tune" the sound in NWC since the sound that NWC uses differ from the sound that is generated when soundfonts are used. Especially balance between different instruments seem to be different. I think this problem should be tackeled with your strategy.

This is working now. But, I experience one problem which at first made me think it wouldn't work:

When starting to play NWC-files, VSThost switches to a random, usually undefined VSTinstrument, which - of course - doesn't generate any audio output.  Only after switching back manually to the defined VSTinstrument in VSTHost, I can finally hear NWC played with soundfonts. 

Also at random times during play VSTHost switches to another VSTinstrument. As far as I can see, this switch is not triggered by Noteworthy Composer. Why could VSTHost decide to change the used VSTinsturment during play? Very strange.

Bart