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A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
G'day all,
there is now a formal PDF with screenshots available from the Scripto. 
Please visit: http://nwc-scriptorium.org/helpful.html#Explanations for access.

The new document contains additional information as well.



Oops, error found - updated section is in green

In another thread fitzclan asked about access to better sounds than the defaults in vista when you don't have a soundfont capable soundcard.

It just happens that I've been playing with this a bit recently and found enough bits 'n pieces to get basic VST happening.

Given that I was unable to get a handle on what other had said to me when trying to help I thought I'd take a crack at a very quick rundown to just get people started...  I've been thinking of writing a kind of intro based on my frustrations but that will take a while...

Here goes:

A) You need a virtual MIDI cable - MIDIYoke works for me...
Get it from the MIDI-OX site: http://www.midiox.com/
Click the MIDI Yoke link and go down to the NT version - works with 32 bit vista - dunno 'bout 64 bit

B) You need a VST host - "VSTHost" works for me...
Get it from the authors site: http://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm
Scroll down to the download link labelled "here"

C) You need a VSTi that plays soundfonts - VSTSynthfont is the only one I know of - it works for me...
Get it from http://www.synthfont.com - click the "Downloads" link on the left and then select the VSTSynthfont link.

D) Find a soundfont you like...  This is very subjective though I like the "Airfont 340" (though the version I downloaded had a "percussive" flute which I fixed - dunno if the download has been updated) and S. Christian Collins "General User GS".  A good resource has always been Hammersound: http://www.hammersound.com/

======

OK, install MIDIYoke and VSTHost according to their respective instructions - VSTHost is little more than extracting it to a destination folder...  MIDIYoke will require a reboot.

Next, copy the VSTSynthfont .DLL to an appropriate location - a folder under the VSTHost installation is as good as any, though not the only choice.

Put your soundfont into a directory somewhere - perhaps associated with your VSTSynthfont .DLL.

Launch VSTHost.  From the |File| menu select to add a "new plugin".  Browse to the VSTSynthfont .DLL location and select it.  On initial load this will request a soundfont - browse to your soundfont and select it.


You need to tell VSTHost which MIDI Input devices are valid for it to listen to: Select |Devices|MIDI...| and click the desired device(s) in the list in the MIDI Input Devices list - if you want to be able to use more than one use <Ctrl> when clicking.  For our immediate purposes MIDI Yoke 1 is sufficient, though you could just as easily select all the MIDI yoke options.


By default the synth will listen on all available MIDI ports which may not be useful so you can select a specific: Click on the centre button on the right hand edge of the VSTSynthfont window.  This opens the "MIDI Devices" dialogue which will allow you to select from a list of available MIDI devices - select the first MIDIYoke one and click OK


You may also need to select a wave output device.  |Devices|Wave| - Output port - experiment here, the "MME Microsoft Sound Mapper" should always work but will have some latency - if you have an ASIO compatible card it is worth trying the ASIO options


NOW, open NWC and change your playback device in |Tools|Options|MIDI (tab), remove the current device and add the SAME MIDIYoke device you selected in the VSTHost application for VSTSynthfont.

Load a song and click the play button voila

You will need to load VSTHost before you can use it, of course, but you could opt to place a link into your "Startup" folder.  Note that it remembers it's setup between loads so you don't have to go through all that rigamarole every time.

=======

The added bonus to all this is you now have access to a bunch effects and stuff to really make your sound come to life.  Compressors, reverb, you name it, the effect plugin will be available somewhere.  I haven't begun to explore this aspect yet - Given time, I will.

  • Last Edit: 2008-10-12 10:46 pm by Lawrie Pardy
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #1
My personal favorite GM soundfont collection is the 32 MB Reality soundfont.

031.9mg Reality GM GS Bank.sfArk

You can find the Reality Soundfont here.

You'll need SFArk to uncompress it.  You can find SFArk here.

I also like the AirFont that Lawrie talked about, but I found on some of the instruments, the looping was not as clean as it could be.
John

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #2
G'day John,
I haven't given it a good run through yet, but that "Reality" soundfont seems OK - except for the brass of course - there just ain't no good brass it seems :(
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #3
Hi, Lawrie -

The brass never is.  That's one of the reasons I'm looking to get the Ketron SD-2 this Christmas.  It's not perfect, but it's definitely getting closer to the real thing.

But I do like the mix of instruments in the Reality font.  I've tried a bunch (and have about 20GB worth of soundfonts on my hard drive that I've collected over the years), but I always seem to keep coming back to the Reality for the blend.  But that's also for the type of music I work with.
John

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #4
Lawrie

This looks like good information but when I try to install MidiYoke on Vista Home Premium via the add hardware control panel icon the installation fails after the oem.inf stage with a file not found message - oem.inf is found OK and the NT driver name appears but does not install. Can you offer any advice please?
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #5
As I recall, forget the add hardware.  I just used the .msi file and let the Windows installer do its thing.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #6
OK. I must have downloaded the wrong file as there was no msi in the archive.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #7
The .msi downloaded via the link immediately above the one you used on the MIDIOX site...
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #8
Thanks Lawrie got that OK. I did have to trun UAC off before the installation would complete. I have the same problem when installing AVG . Now for the next bits...
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #9
I did have to trun UAC off before the installation would complete.

Argh, I knew that too.  I have UAC permanently off on my vista testbed so I didn't run into that problem.  John Ford advised me of it and I promptly forgot about it.  Sorry mate, glad you discovered it.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #10
Lawrie

I have now completed all the steps, VSTHost is running but the only sounds I can get are using Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth.
I am still using the instrument selecetd from the predefined instrument list (clarinet). I suspect that I do not undestand something important in this MIDI application.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #11
OK, is VSTHost loaded?  If so you will have a button on your taskbar with a blue diamond icon.

If it's there have you loaded the VSTSynthfont plugin into it?  If you have, there will be a rectangular window withing the applications window that has 0: VSTSynthFont.dll in cyan, and SynthFont VSTi in white within it.

Have you loaded VSTSynthfont with a soundfont?  Click on the "Plugin edit" icon within the plugin (icon looks like a knob) and a dialogue box opens that will show the soundfont and instrument assigned to each MIDI channel.

Did you remember to:
  • Tell VSTHost which MIDI Input devices are valid for it to listen to: Select |Devices|MIDI...| and click the desired device(s) in the list in the MIDI Input Devices list - if you want to be able to use more than one use <Ctrl> when clicking.  For our immediate purposes MIDI Yoke 1 is sufficient, though you could just as easily select all the MIDI yoke options.
  • By default the synth will listen on all available MIDI ports which may not be useful so you can select a specific: Click on the centre button on the right hand edge of the VSTSynthfont window.  This opens the "MIDI Devices" dialogue which will allow you to select from a list of available MIDI devices - select the first MIDIYoke one and click OK
  • You may also need to select a wave output device.  |Devices|Wave| - Output port - experiment here, the "MME Microsoft Sound Mapper" should always work but will have some latency - if you have an ASIO compatible card it is worth trying the ASIO options
  • NOW, open NWC and change your playback device in |Tools|Options|MIDI (tab), remove the current device and add the SAME MIDIYoke device you selected in the VSTHost application for VSTSynthfont.

I appreciate that I'm repeating my earlier post here but we need to make sure you haven't missed anything.  BTW if you selected an ASIO output for VSTHost try reverting to MME - So far I haven't succeeded in getting ASIO to work on my vista notebook, but it's probably a hardware deficiency rather than a software one...

If all is basically OK, when you press play in NWC, you should be able to switch to VSTHost and see a small "level meter" near the right hand speaker icon in the plugin moving.

BTW, make sure you only have the selected MIDIYoke in your MIDI output section of NWC
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #12
Thanks for the new hint. I appreciate it and never mind going over things as many times as it takes.  However still no joy and at last count the little windows inside the main VST window has vanished.

I will try and put together more info and post it on a web site probably tomorrow now. Thanks again.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #13
...and at last count the little windows inside the main VST window has vanished.

The "little windows" are the plugins - without the VSTSynthFont one you have no synth.  You need to re-insert the VSTSynthFont plugin and make sure it has a soundfont associated to it.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #14
Hi Lawrie

Yes I'm learning slowly all these refs to synth and font etc without the background is somewhat confusing. As I am begining to grasp. The VSTHost application is code that together with a DLL in this case VSTSynth.dll can intrepret individual instrument font data in font files in this case sf2 files and pass the resulting output to a MIDI output device.

I am not sure of the format of sf2 files yet can you for instance input more than one into a synth.
Some confusion arises from the VSTHOST Plugin and Devices menus and the VSTSynth menu (mid row extreme right icon)for instance as regards MIDI data.

It is not clear to me what is selected, is it the highlighted item and which menu has preference or are they both windows on the same data.[glow=red,2,300]The Apply button is greyed out this may be a clue>[/glow]

I did once mange to get the blinking red light in the tiny tiny VSTSynth window (mid row extreme right mini icon) to dance but still no sound from nwc even though all MIDI refs were to MIDI Yoke 1. However today no dancing red light.

Where does the output from MIDI yoke 1 get sent to the sound device, sigmatel in my case?

I hope leading me by the nose through this will assist other MIDI virgins who use nwc to compose and print scores but would like better sound to persist to sucess.....or not....:)
  • Last Edit: 2008-09-19 11:29 am by Bootlebarth
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #15
Mate, I think this is being made more complex than it really is...  I know the textual instructions are less clear than a picture but that's all I can do at the moment.

One thing though.  Given that you were able to get the "level meter" thingy to go up and down, have you defined the correct output device in the |Devices|Wave| menu in the main VSTHost window?  Even if nothing else does, the MME: Microsoft Sound Mapper should work.  In this application, output from VSTHost is not midi, it is direct to your wave device.  Please re-read the green parts of the original instructions where this is mentioned and make sure you didn't miss anything.

I'm partway through a PDF document that will have pictures as well, but it could be up to a couple of weeks before I get it finished.

Ignoring hardware issues, I am confident that if you follow the steps exactly as written you shouldn't have problems unless there is a misinterpretation (E.G.perhaps I have failed to be clear enough.)

As for other parts of your questions, one thing at a time please.  You don't need to know anything about .sf2 files at this stage (possible not ever).  Just get a GM one loaded as originally instructed and see if you can get some noise from it.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #16
Hi again

One small point worth noting in your notes is that in nwc ignore the intsrument menu and select the staff playback channel to be the one you want from your VSTSynth setup.

Yes I followed all as written with a wave device enabled. The results seem a tad random for instance I have once had sound from the VST Keyboard as expected for the font but when switched to nwc I get MIDI feedback. Switching back no more sound form the VST keyboard.

However now for no known reason it is working. With the following

nwc MIDI playback option - output to MIDI Yoke 1
staff prop out to MIDI Yoke 1
VST wave device Output MME Microsoft Sound Mapper
VST MIDI device - Input from MIDI yoke 1 - Output to MIDI Yoke 1
but all these VST MIDI windows have a greyed out APPLY button so it is far from clear what has been "applied"

I fear that on next start up sound will have vanished agin.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #17
<snip> VST MIDI device - Input from MIDI yoke 1 - Output to MIDI Yoke 1

Please remove or change the OUTPUT entry.  I think it will cause unpredictable results including the aforementioned MIDI feedback.  This entry is exactly the same as connecting the output directly back to the input.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #18
Yup just what I thought but the problem is the greyed out APPLY button. I just do not know what is actually "applied" and it works just fine at present. I suspect that the output is not actually selected (ie no feedback currently). I seem to be connected to the VSTHost via a piece of very frayed string!

Thanks for your assistance. There must be some issue with my Vista OS I have VSTHost running in XP compatibility mode with admin privs and currently UAC off. I have also upgraded the sigmatel driver.

I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #19
I'm glad it's working for you.  FYI, the install on my vista testbed is not in compatibility mode, it is a native installation...

AFAIK the greyed apply button is irrelevant.  The highlighted ports/devices are the active ones.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #20
Lawrie

Actually I don't think running in compatibility mode is making any difference in this case.

I have got used to doing stuff like that by running IE8 when many sites only work in compat mode.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #21
Lawrie

Not only will  VSTHost not install with UAC active it will not run either. This application is not VISTA friendly. UAC is Microsofts way of stopping us using computers.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #22
Not only will  VSTHost not install with UAC active it will not run either. This application is not VISTA friendly.

Interesting - I'm not having this problem...  While I generally have UAC turned off 'cos it's such a PITA and not adding any true benefit as far as I can tell, I turned it on to test and it all worked.

Quote
UAC is Microsofts way of stopping us using computers.

Ain't that the truth ;)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #23
Here are some other options:-

Mini Host
http://www.kvraudio.com/get/1015.html
loaded with:-
SFZ - VST instrument soundfont player
http://www.kvraudio.com/get/769.html
or Synthfont VST

They will still need to be cabled with MIDIOX or similar virtual cable to NWC.

Barry Graham
Melbourne, Australia

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #24
Thanks Barry, I'll give 'em a try as I'm not completely happy with the performance of my current selections - tempo's seem to vary sometimes during playback and the latency can be disturbing.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #25
For what its worth I can get the thing to work if and only if
a) both VSTSynth and NWC2 are run in XP compatibility mode or
b) UAC is turned off.

The sound quality for reeds and flute (in available free fonts) is no better and arguably worse  than the standard MIDI instruments so its not worth the effort.
I'll understand all this $thing-> $somethingelse one day...

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #26
For what its worth I can get the thing to work if and only if
a) both VSTSynth and NWC2 are run in XP compatibility mode or
b) UAC is turned off.

Interesting.  For my vista testbed, I usually run with UAC turned off and everything works, BUT as a test I also ran with VSTHost and NWC2 NOT in compatibility mode with UAC turned on and it worked fine...  Perhaps they both need to be in the same mode for things to work correctly...


Quote
The sound quality for reeds and flute (in available free fonts) is no better and arguably worse  than the standard MIDI instruments so its not worth the effort.

As always, sound quality is a very subjective issue.  Personally I have never been able to find a satisfactory brass sound.  I play trombone and trumpet, so I guess I'm a little more picky with these sounds than others.

For my tastes, the m$ synth is very ordinary and there are lots of (free) soundfonts that are better overall.  However, I downloaded many gigabytes worth before I found ones I liked and none of them are perfect...

  • Airfont 340: percussive flute :(  I fixed mine in Vienna, otherwise quite reasonable, though there are looping issues with a few instruments
  • Reality: pretty good overall
  • S Christian Collins General User GS: also pretty good overall
  • Various "Merlin" fonts: Generally quite reasonable, some are outstanding in certain instruments
  • Chaos 8MB: great Saxes - generally good jazz though the brass could be better
  • SGM: This is a new one for me - seems quite good at first blush.
  • Titanic 200: Gonna look at this soon - came well recommended

But as I said, it's all very subjective.  If you like the m$ (very old Roland samples) synth then that's good as it's an easy result for you.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #27
Hi, Lawrie -

That flute in AirFont was one of the reasons I abandoned it (yes, I could have worked on fixing it, but didn't have the time).  Do you think you could extract just that patch and make it available?  I've got the soundfont tools to incorporate it into my copy of AirFont.  You can PM me, if you would like.  Like you, over the years, I have downloaded way more gigabytes of soundfonts than I could ever audition, but who knows...

Thanks,
John

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #28
G'day people,
OK, I have a very sketchy PDF document that I'd appreciate some proof reading on:
http://zoundz.pardyline.com.au/SupportFiles/VST-ForDummiesLikeMe.pdf

It has been put together rather rather quickly for all its taken me several weeks to get to it.  So, it's really a bit "rough and ready" and therefore suggestions for improvement will be welcomed.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #29
Lawrie

I have a had a quick scan through and see no major errors (of course)  However. nit-picking, the first sentence of the third paragraph is a little wooly? It doesn't actually finish if you see what I mean.
Tony.

  • Bart
  • NWC2 User
Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #30
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
 

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #31
G'day Bart,
yeah mate, the pdf was always gonna be an extension of what I had written in the first post.

Creating mp3's etc. can be done several ways, including things like Timidity or selecting a MIDI synth in NWC with acceptable sounds - not the standard m$/Roland softsynth...

I assume you don't have a sound card that can use soundfonts, so this alternative should be a viable one for you.

I'm not sure about the instrument selection problems you're getting...  Do you have instruments assigned to the channels in NWC in the staff properties or as instrument changes?

This assumes you used VSTSynthFont.  If you're using another VSTi it may not be recognising instrument patch changes and instead requiring that you set the instruments directly in the plugin.  This is one of the reasons I selected VSTSynthFont.

===========
G'day Tony,
I see your point - edits to come, but might take a while.  Think I'll wait for additional comments before making changes.

Thanks mate.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #32
Hi Lawrie;
   Just browsed through real quickly and have a couple of quick comments:
Page 2 Step 4: You give the following link for a sound font file. http://www.sccmusic.250x.com/sfont/genuser/download.htm. When I try to follow this link I get a 404 error. Also it is unclear whether this link is for the "Reality" sound font or for Mr. Collins's General User GS 1.4 sound font.
   Will try to follow the directions closer on my XP machine in the next few days. All in all a very good starters guide.
Seems there is a mismatch between clicking the link in this message and clicking it in the pdf file even though I just did a copy and paste from the pdf to here. Clicking the the link in the pdf attempts to get the "Reality" sf2ark file that was posted in another  topic on these boards. Clicking the link from within this post takes you to Mr. Collins's site for the General User GS 1.4. The wording of the sentence in that case makes more sense.
Regards
Keith


Last edits in red K.N.Mc
  • Last Edit: 2008-10-05 03:47 am by Keith Mckenna
Illigitimi Non Carborundum

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #33
Thanks Keith,
that link is fixed, as is the paragraph that Tony mentioned (thanks again mate).  I have also added a short paragraph at the end.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #34
Lawrie

An excellent document - (Hope you will allow it to be linked from the Scripto eventually)

I have the following comments :

Step 1
Since this is for "Dummies" in the sense that the reason they are reading this is that they are starting from scratch, I would also describe how to turn UAC off, install and then turn it back on again.
It may be that the "student" is also completely new to Vista and will need help with this too (This could be as a footnote or an appendix if you do not wish to spoil the flow of the document). Many would not want to take this step without a guide.

Step 4 - Here is another source of soundfonts
http://www.members.shaw.ca/glitch/sffiles.html but please respect his her (thank you John) request about not downloading all at once - then there may be a chance that they will be around for a while.

Page 6
Turn off autosave performance
I would recommend that people ensure that this is not ticked (In the File Menu) since any errors made will be "autosaved" and this could lead to problems getting the whole thing running again. (Can you guess what happened to me !)


That's all - Cheers
  • Last Edit: 2008-10-05 11:05 am by Richard Woodroffe
Rich.

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #35
Quote
please respect his request

Hi, Richard -

Just for clarification, this site is run by Allanah Fuhre, who happens to be a "she".  She was pretty active on the PGMusic discussion boards, but I understand her husband's health issues have reduced her ability to participate more frequently.  That being said, there's a ton of good stuff on her site.  I've participated in several beta testing projects with her.
John

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #36
G'day Rich,
suggestions taken on board - new version now up - same name as the old one.

I haven't used the link to Allana's site as I would prefer to seek permission first given that she is conscious of bandwidth restrictions.

Here's the link again to save scrolling back up the page...
http://zoundz.pardyline.com.au/SupportFiles/VST-ForDummiesLikeMe.pdf
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #37
Now there's a thing.

I use a completely different method to turn UAC off and back on again.

You pays your money ......
Rich.

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #38
I use a completely different method to turn UAC off and back on again.

If the way you do it is simpler lemme know, 'cos I'll change it.  The steps outlined are based on m$ help directions - which is probably the "fat" way given how m$ usually do stuff ;)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #39
G'day all,
'nother update posted.  Mainly grammatical corrections and a very brief description of the basic VST concept added to the bottom of page 1.  Thank you to those who have contributed so far.

http://zoundz.pardyline.com.au/SupportFiles/VST-ForDummiesLikeMe.pdf

Is it ready for publication to the Scripto yet?
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

  • Bart
  • NWC2 User
Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #40
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


Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #41
G'day Bart,
I thank you for your interest and input but I'm afraid you've lost me a bit here...  I'm not having the problem you describe at all.  With instruments defined correctly in the NWC file, playback to my testbed installations is always correct without resort to additional "control" staves.

I use a few different synths, all GM or a superset of GM, and have no problem.  As with any synth, one must define instrument selection in NWC, but then it just works.  m$ MIDIMapper (usually the m$ GS softsynth from Roland), soundfonts in my Creative card, Yamaha XG softsynth, this VST configuration again using soundfonts, other VSTis that do not use soundfonts...

I am aware that you can define instruments on a channel by channel basis within the VSTSynthFont VSTi but this should not be necessary in the configuration I have described.  Hence the selection of a GM VSTi.  The whole thing is controlled by MIDI from NWC.  Manual instrument assignment within the VST environment is, I believe, only appropriate when using a non GM synth.  Although, it should still be possible to select instrumentation via MIDI commands provided you know the patch information for the non GM synth in use.

I will note that other VSTis I've looked at required a "performance configuration" or "performance arrangement" which is simply a nuisance in this context.  The ability to select instruments via MIDI is critical.  Not a problem if you don't need instrument changes etc. but still not ideal for the purposes of NWC performances.

Perhaps you could attach an excerpt of a file that gives problems when it doesn't have the "control" staff AND a copy with the control staff so I can see first hand what you're experiencing.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

  • Bart
  • NWC2 User
Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #42
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

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #43
G'day Bart,
I can't duplicate this...

Please tell me, how many instances of VSTSynthFont do you have loaded?  Just one or "lots"..?  There should be only 1.

Have you manually set the patches in VSTSynthFont?  They should not be for this usage.

Perhaps you could try this for me.  REMOVE ALL the plugins you have installed.  If you have installed multiple instances then remove ALL instances too.

Now, your VSTHost window should be empty. 
Click |File|Save Performance|
Exit VSTHost

Next, open Windows Explorer and browse to "C:\Documents and Settings\your user name" and look for a folder called "Application Data" 
If you can't find it click |Tools|Folder Options...|View(tab) and activate the "Show hidden files and folders" radio button.  Click OK

Now you should be able to see the folder called "Application Data".  Open this folder and look for a folder called "SynthFont" - rename it (just in case we need it again).  This will remove all traces of previous VSTSynthFont configurations from VSTSynthFonts ability to find 'em.  This step is important because if you don't do it then VSTSynthFont will simply remember the current configuration which I think is wrongly set up.

Relaunch VSTHost and add one instance only of VSTSynthFont.  It should prompt you for a default soundfont.  Please use a standard GM soundfont.  E.G. Reality, Airfont340, "S.Christian Collins General User GS", Chaos 8MB.  Note that it must be a GM soundfont.  Please do not assign any instruments to any channels!

Connect the VSTSynthFont instance to, say, MIDIYoke NT:1
Click |File|Save Performance|
Open NWC if it isn't already running and check that it is using ONLY the MIDIYoke connection selected above and NO others in the MIDI "Devices used by playback".

Now, open the original, unaltered copy of "Consecration" and click Play.

Please let me know what happened.  This configuration should just work.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #44
Hi Lawrie;
   Have just recently completed setting up VST on NWC from your Dummies manual and it went like a charm. The instructions were clear, concise and easy to follow.
   The latency in the chase notes is indeed a problem. About drove me crazy, which for me is a VERY short trip. On my xp tablet, setting the advanced performance settings for background appeared to make the sound and latency worse. Course there is only 512 MB of memory and a 1.70 GHz processor to so I am sure that makes a difference.
   An interesting sidelight, when I set the performance setteing to optimize for background, whenever I clicked away from NWC to another task, it stopped NWC completely. I ended up having to do a system restore to get the settings straightened out. Could well be a problem unque to my old toshiba tablet.
   Anyway your write up was spot on as far as getting VST working. As usual a very professional job.

Regards
Keith
Illigitimi Non Carborundum

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #45
G'day Keith,
very good mate, glad you got it to happen.

WRT the latency, I'm not sure where its happening...  I have a GM VSTi that doesn't need VSTSynthFont and I still have the latency, so that would seem to exonerate VSTSynthFont - BUT I've also been playing with the standalone SynthFont and it has the same kind of latency...  No VSTHost...

The only common factor would seem to be MIDIYoke, but I've used that elsewhere and not noticed any latency at all...  Confusion reigns supreme!

As time permits I will seek a solution.  ASIO should kill latency altogether but I can't seem to get an ASIO driver working on my vista notebook - reckon the audio chip is at fault.  Still much to do, but at least the intro seems to be OK - except for the problems Bart is having - I'll continue to explore things with him and hope we come up with a solution.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #46
[font=Arial
Morning Lawrie;
   Of course confusion reigns my friend, we are dealing with computers here. I have a feeling at least a part of the latency problem on my system is the fact that it is an older Toshiba tablet/laptop combination with a 1.70GHz cpu.
   All in all an excellent job as usual on the intro. I will be interested in hearing how you make out with the problems you still face. If I can be of any further assistance I will be more than happy to do it.

Regards
Keith
[/font]
Illigitimi Non Carborundum

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #47
Hi everybody,
 I've been using NWC for quite a few years but have only just joined the forum. Thanks for all the tips and tricks on this forum. Great guide, Lawrie, for getting sound fonts to work in NWC. One little program that may help here is Asio4all. It's a software program that gives asio performance for people without the drivers. By the way, I've been using Vista for about a year and I turned the UAC off after about a week and haven't turned it on since! All those pop-up screens. AAARRGH
Colin
PS. Just google asio4all as I can't remember the address.

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #48
G'day Colin,
welcome aboard!

I've already installed ASIO4ALL on this vista notebook, but it will not connect to my audio interface for output :(  Checked the troubleshooting guide 'n all but I think I have a sound chip that is only half duplex - which won't work - Thanks a lot HP :(

Anyhow, thanks for the input.  Hope to hear more from you.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: A VERY quick intro for getting started with VST - for dummies...
Reply #49
BUT I've also been playing with the standalone SynthFont and it has the same kind of latency... 
I've played with this on my admittedly underpowered box (XP, 500MHz AMD). I don't get latency until my processor usage goes above 95%. At that point, SynthFont seems to increase latency (the music slows down) up to a point. Then it seems to resume normal speed and degrade the sound instead.
Registered user since 1996