Helpful ReplyAnyone Still Use Soundfonts?

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Starise
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2017/10/11 15:28:37 (permalink)

Anyone Still Use Soundfonts?

The only soundfonts I've used were the ones written into patch/program banks already made. The whole idea seems old to me since we can now use higher quality sound engines that stream audio from disk. I guess the tech made its way into software and is still in use in one form or another. I noticed there are still lots of free soundfont files online along with free players.
 
Cakewalk was once big into their own version with .sfz files were they not? Those files seem written more for program change locations / rompler file locations in a few of the synths included with Sonar. 
 
The reason I'm asking is I recently spoke with someone who uses Musescore and that program apparently uses soundfonts. 
 
So is this current tech, old tech, or somehow both? 
 

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#1
mettelus
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/11 15:50:26 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/12 12:17:17
There may be confusion with the use of soundfonts (.sbk, .sb2, .sf2) and SFZ files (which is a text file of sample data). Soundfonts seem to have fallen by the wayside, but sfz files are very much alive and well. Not only are they used in Cakewalk synths, but Sforzando player is used in several applications (notation programs, etc.) to achieve similar results.
 
I tend to associate soundfont with SoundBlaster, and never saw them used outside of early applications that came with those cards.

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Starise
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/11 17:36:14 (permalink)
I don't write notation  so I'm not familiar with the free Musescore program. Apparently that program still makes use of soundfonts. 
I was falsely under the impression that .sfz files were a form of soundfont. I also associate soundfonts with soundblaster cards and hardware synth presets.
Apparently in the Musescore program  you can load a kind of soundfont orchestra to compose with. Notion 6 loads soundfonts I think. 
 
I'm trying to figure out why anyone would prefer using soundfonts when they can simply use midi and vsti instruments to get the job done. I guess I just don't know enough about it.

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dubdisciple
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/11 18:18:38 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/12 12:18:09
I have actually started using soundfonts again as a hack of sorts.  I am using Studio One Prime to supplement the music studio program I created in a middle school.  The reason i am using soundfonts is The one included Instrument, Presence XT has very few options to expand soundset without buying expansion packs.  My program is geared towards lower income students.  SF2 files can simply be dragged on to Presence and are imported as a preset.  I have had decent results even dragging SF2 files that are basically waveforms.  I can create basic leads and bass patches in this way.  That is my reason for using them (Presence will not import SFZ).
 
Primary reason I have seen other people use them are there are still la rage number of free ones available and/or using a legacy instrument that utilizes them.  For years I used the Planet Phatt soundfont for making a particular retro style
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Jeff Evans
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/11 19:29:43 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/12 12:21:19
It is simply another format for storing audio and playing it back.  Any notion of it being inferior in any way to other formats is simply incorrect.  It sounds great and in talented hands sounds stellar.  I use Studio One and also import SF2 files into Presence.  It is handy that it can do that.  You could edit the sounds too with the editor.  
 
I got onto some free huge sound effects and instrument libraries in this format and they sound excellent.  It is still a current standard of sorts and has not gone away.  There are tons of free instruments too.  Some virtual instruments are compatible with the format.  You can always convert to another format too. 

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jimfogle
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/12 01:06:27 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/12 12:23:17
Both old and new.  The concept has been around for a long time.  However interest in MIDI seems to be rising and Soundfonts is an inexpensive way for newcomers to learn about MIDI controlled instruments and sound design.
 
http://polyphone-soundfonts.com/en/ is a modern, open source soundfont editor.  Users with a unique instrument can record the instrument and construct a MIDI instrument anyone can use.
 

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msorrels
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/12 10:36:57 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/12 12:23:19
I think the reason so many developers choose to support soundfonts is because it is the only relatively open sampler format.  Quite literally there isn't anything else.  So either a developer supports VST/AU plugins (can't support ProTools because of Avid) and forces their customers into that support nightmare or they include a soundfont player/engine.   It doesn't mean soundfonts are bad (or good) but rather are a technology that is available.  If there was something better that was available and supported they would use that.  I wouldn't read that much into it.

-Matt
 
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Starise
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/12 12:37:56 (permalink)
 
Thanks guys!
 
I seen this from an older thread. A sampler that reads soundfonts for free. It's a vst so it should load and work in Sonar. I haven't tried it yet. Looks interesting!http://www.tx16wx.com/
 
I also have Studio One Jeff. I haven't used Presence yet. Now I'm itching to see what it's about!
 
This opens up a whole Pandora's box of opportunity for anyone who might fancy playing with it. I probably have over a dozen vsti synths. Some with a thousand patches....I'm not sure what the draw is for me but it looks interesting. I think maybe the ability to make something more individual. Free sound banks are cool too. A person could set up an order or patches with it too.
 
This reminds me of midi. It never goes away, we just find different ways to work with it.
 

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#8
bitflipper
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/12 14:07:13 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/13 13:30:01
Good analogy between MIDI and Soundfonts. And VST for that matter. Despite their limitations they continue to be widely-used because they are public standards. The Kontakt environment may be light years beyond soundfonts, but it's proprietary. There will never be a third-party Kontakt player.
 
Plogue sforzando, though basic, lets anybody experience sfz playback. It's not multi-timbral, it doesn't come with a big collection of instruments, the UI is simple and updates have been sparse (after 5 years it's still version 1). But it's FREE and 64-bit.
 
And of course, there's CW's own Rapture.
 
It's actually possible to dive deep into the world of sampled instruments and never set foot in the Kontakt universe. There have been a number of quality commercial libraries adapted to sforzando. Here's an example, a multi-miked Kawai concert grand piano (pianos are especially well-suited to the format):
 

 
You probably already have more sfz instruments than you realize. Rapture is mostly sfz-based. Many Kontakt libraries that you'd assume require full Kontakt, e.g. the cheap Iron Pack instruments from SoundIron, are available/bundled as sfz. I'm always raving about Indiginus' Solid State Symphony but forget to mention that its "lite" sibling SSS_Q ships with an sfz version in addition to the Kontakt instrument.


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#9
Starise
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/13 14:32:37 (permalink)
Interesting info there Dave. Thanks. I may have another part time hobby as a result.

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TheMaartian
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/13 15:25:29 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/10/13 19:03:52
The primary place I still use soundfonts is with the free CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth (a very good replacement for the very bad Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth). The product web page has links to a good number of useful soundfonts.
 
http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth
 


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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/13 15:33:00 (permalink)
bitflipper
...
Here's an example, a multi-miked Kawai concert grand piano (pianos are especially well-suited to the format):
 

...

What a lovely instrument! My mother had it's slightly smaller (6'6"), less expensive brother. Fabulous tone for that size soundboard! Loved playing it!

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dubdisciple
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/17 18:42:09 (permalink)
Btw, presence will not use sfz bit will use sf. I'm finding it to be useful as a teaching tool.
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Glyn Barnes
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/17 19:02:09 (permalink)
Nobody has mentioned TX16WX
 
This is free and will load and play Soundfont 2 files and SFZ files. That is the tip of the iceberg, its a very capable program.
 
There is a "Pro" version with more features 29 Euros for non commercial use and 89 Euros for a commercial license.
 
 

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Starise
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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/20 14:58:38 (permalink)
I did mention that. I haven't had a chance to use it yet though. Looks like something I could get lost for hours in 

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Re: Anyone Still Use Soundfonts? 2017/10/28 12:13:20 (permalink)
I believe soundfonts were 1st used by EMU synths back in the day (1990s) before the sf2 format went public, which happened when Creative Labs bought EMU and incorporated soundfont technology into their SoundBlaster sound cards.
 
A host of soundfont sample sets were offered by various vendors like Sonic Implants (now Sonivox) who now offer them in the form of actual vst instruments.
 
Soundfont files contain the samples and instructions in one file whereas the sfz format separates them allowing you to edit, add or subtract any samples you want. The sfz format is also more limited in expressive control compared to soundfont files IMO.
 
As mentioned, sForzando and certain versions of sfz player will load and play soundfonts. However, I believe they convert them to sfZ format so they're not really soundfond players.
post edited by soens - 2017/10/30 10:44:39
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