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Topic: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

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  1. #1

    Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    I have some roland and ensoniq format CDs. I have converted them to soundfonts. I was wondering if these soundfonts are the same quality as the original sample or as if I had converted to kontakt or something else? just making sure, since I've heard things about soundfonts inferiority.

  2. #2

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Soundfonts are whatever quality they were recorded - they're just wave files mapped to MIDI notes and velocities.

    The difference is in how you can manipulate that sound when playing and recording it. With soundfont players all you get is MIDI note and MIDI velocity. Everything else (filters, ADSR envelopes, etc) is built into the soundfont and cannot be manipulated in real time (someone step all over me if I'm wrong here).

    With the higher level samplers like Kontakt, you have a significant level of control over the sound, with numerous real-time MIDI controls.

    All that being said, I have some soundfonts that I absolutely love - a couple of pianos, some percussion stuff, a killer hammered dulcimer.

    It all depends on what you want to pay...

  3. #3

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Rob, I have to correct you. ;-)

    Soundfont 2.1 has extensive modulation routing capabilities.

    Unfortunately, most of the soft soundfont player plugins do not support the full soundfont spec. My old Soundblaster Live! card did indeed support them and was capable of fairly complex real time control and programming.

    Most samplers that support soundfont do not support the full spec either, so you will lose all of that programming when you import them.

  4. #4

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    But - for live performance, where the differences are not as noticable, soundfonts can be a handy way to go. I use the sfz player in my Receptor, and load several soundfonts that I converted from Giga libs - a trumpet-tenor Blue Note horn section, a clav, marimba and GM extended percussin, etc. and they work great. And I have a bunch of quite playable free downloadable fonts from the web.

    When you need real-time control, Giga or K2 obviously have the edge, but don't discount the lower-cost options.
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  5. #5

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Von Richter
    Rob, I have to correct you. ;-)
    Soundfont 2.1 has extensive modulation routing capabilities.

    Unfortunately, most of the soft soundfont player plugins do not support the full soundfont spec. My old Soundblaster Live! card did indeed support them and was capable of fairly complex real time control and programming.

    Most samplers that support soundfont do not support the full spec either, so you will lose all of that programming when you import them.
    All true... I think VSampler 3 (maz-sound) would import the advanced modulations, if I'm not mistaken... Could be wrong, it's been a while since I've used either of those technologies!

    Here's some useful "application note" info on SF2.1: http://freepats.opensrc.org/sf2/sfapp21.pdf

    And here's the 2.1 spec: http://www.soundblaster.com/soundfont/sfspec21.pdf

    It's a shame those advanced features never really got used so many years ago...

    Couple things to keep in mind about SF2 (from memory):

    * No stereo WAV support, so you need L/R mono samples

    * 16-bit only -- but hey, the editor for the mighty Gigastudio only supported 16-bit for years, right?

  6. #6

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    I guess I should go back and put these into kontakt format then. Thanks for all the info. Any other format recommended?

  7. #7

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbaccki
    All true... I think VSampler 3 (maz-sound) would import the advanced modulations, if I'm not mistaken... Could be wrong, it's been a while since I've used either of those technologies!

    Here's some useful "application note" info on SF2.1: http://freepats.opensrc.org/sf2/sfapp21.pdf

    And here's the 2.1 spec: http://www.soundblaster.com/soundfont/sfspec21.pdf

    It's a shame those advanced features never really got used so many years ago...

    Couple things to keep in mind about SF2 (from memory):

    * No stereo WAV support, so you need L/R mono samples

    * 16-bit only -- but hey, the editor for the mighty Gigastudio only supported 16-bit for years, right?
    Now 24 bit http://www.sonivoxmi.com/ProductDeta...SymphonicBrass
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  8. #8

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen McMahan
    The problem with most soundfont sets is that they are created for EXS24
    Huh? Soundfonts are an E-MU/Creative Labs format, no relation to EXS24 whatsoever. In fact, "Soundfont" is a registered trademark of E-MU.

    Also, there is no layering limitation for Soundfont format... you can have 127 discrete velocity layers if you want, in fact I once recorded and programmed a drum kit that used all 127 layers. ;-)

  9. #9

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by germancomponist
    Beat me to it! ;-)

    For the sake of clarity: 24 bit support was added in Soundfont 2.4. They are backwards-compatible with 2.0 and 2.1. In other words, 24-bit Soundfonts will play back at 16-bits on a 2.1 or 2.0 device. Not sure how this works with the VI-style SF2 players, but it works on Creative Labs/E-MU hardware.

  10. #10

    Re: Are soundfonts generally low quality?

    What tools are currently available (for Vista OS etc.) for making soundfonts? I can't find any mention of Vienna on the Creative Labs website...

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