[linux-audio-user] how good are soundfonts and where do I find them?

Robert Jonsson rj at spamatica.se
Wed Jul 7 10:41:52 EDT 2004


onsdagen den 7 juli 2004 10.10 skrev Atte André Jensen:
> Hi
> Being new to soundfonts I baically needed a decent piano soundfont for
> arranging stuff for my students, but after shopping around, I thought it
> maybe could be taken a step further. So my question is: Are soundfonts
> good enough for "real" music production? 

There is nothing wrong with the format in itself. It's more a question of what 
soundfonts you can get your hands on. There are a few places where quality 
soundfonts can be bought they oftenly sound pretty good. 
More importantly though there are droves with free soundfonts ranging from 
extremely good to really bad. 

> And where can I find nice ones 
> to download? I guess I'm looking for imitations of real instruments,
> mostly piano, accoustic drums and bass, but expressive strings and other
> orchestral sounds would also be nice.

The best site is still www.hammersound.net. There has been a few other sites 
earlier but they have sadly disappeared.

> So far I found the "FluidR3 GM.SF2" (142M), how does that compare to
> what's outthere? 

Sounds in FluidR3 are pretty good I suppose, I have used some of them. A lot 
of work has gone into FluidR3 to make the sounds blend together. Sometimes I 
think this takes away the edge for certain patches.
That the sounds blend together is important if you use the font to play ready 
made midi files straight of. This is nothing that concerns me very much, I 
mix and match from a lot of soundfonts and sound-types. 
I'm more interested in sounds that feel original, they are oftenly not found 
in the biggest and most highquality soundfonts.

Drums are an exception though, I'm on an constant crusade to find better, more 
lifelike drums.
www.nskit.com is the current top of the crop. I'm going to try dfh in a while 
too (that costs money though and is not a soundfont at all) 

> I also found alot of .sfArk sounds but it seems they 
> are in som kind of windows-only compressed format. I downloaded the
> sfarkxtc_lx86.tar.gz but it complains "This file was created with sfArk
> V1, and this program only handles sfArk V2+ files.  Use sfArk instead."
> on all the .sfArk-files I downloaded. Is there a linux utility that will
> uncompress those files?

As has been noted, the windows utilities run fine under Wine, not a perfect 
solution but it works.

> I run debian/unstable and plan on using fluidsynth and rosegarden if it
> matters...

Pretty much all music on my page below is done using fluidsynth (though that 
might not be good exemples of how soundfonts sound ;-P).



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