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  3. Monday, 23 September 2019
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Hi, I'm fairly new to .mid and have been making all my music with them by writing .csv files and converting to .mid using csvmidi.exe (I'm sure you know it). I then convert the .mid to .mp3 for the final product (fwiw: https://mooremetrics.com/1000-wittle-bits).

My question is, assuming I'm taking full advantage of the .mid capabilities (bends, effects, all that), aren't I still missing something when I just take Windows' default MIDI sounds? In other words, if I created my MIDIs (and later MP3s) on a computer with a different operating system, different sound card, etc., would my MIDIs sound different? If so, how/why? I've heard the term "MIDI driver", which seems to be related, but they all seem to be external devices like keyboards, etc. Is there some type of software I can get that would make my MIDIs sound better than the default Windows (or is it my sound card?)?

Thanks so much!

Tyler Moore (reductionist@gmail.com)
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Hello,

As I understand what you're trying to achieve, I would suggest that you check out the SynthFont package, which I use here to play midi files under Windows as this machine does not have my Sound/Midi card installed (no suitable slot) so I cannot link to my various external devices.

SynthFont will play the midi files perfectly happily, and uses Virtual Synth systems to generate the sound. You can load various SF2 (Sound Font) files to provide the sounds, I'm using a fairly good set called 'Timbres of Heaven' which works well, and includes a standard GM set, plus various extras, including some XG sounds, and others. You'll need to add suitable Bank Select commands into your midi files to get at the non-GM sounds.

SynthFont has built-in options to 'play' the result as audio, or play directly to a .WAV file for instant recording. This might be a help for you?

There are other SF2 file packages that you could explore if you want to try other sound sets. 'Timbres...' is however MASSIVELY better than the MS default sounds. Note that the MS data file is 3.4Mb in size, while the Timbres file is 395Mb, although it contains nearly three times the number of sounds (338 vs 128).

Of course, you can get some much nicer sounds using external modules, I especially like my Yamaha MU90r, and I've got some great midi files specially set for that unit, but if you want to 'distribute' your work to be enjoyed by others then anyone who wants to hear your work 'correctly' needs the right modules. At least with the SynthFont (or similar) they can load the correct SF2 data files.

The packages I've mentioned can be downloaded free, there are other ways to do the same thing that might involve some costs.

The quality of your sound card might come into it as well, but just about any modern card would be able to produce better sounds that could be achieved with the MS default sounds. Although these are based on a Roland system, they are now VERY dated.

Geoff
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Yes midi, is just a controller protocol "as i understand it note-> on/off", velocity, sustain so there is no sound to midi you could think of it in simlest form like the olo self playing pianos with punch card roles. But holding alot more information. But there is compability between where the programs is "if the hardware synth or software" follow midi standard. The original was 128 instruments 0-127, and then you have midi channels you assign instruments to the midi channels. That way you can record different instruments to play simultaneous.

When it comes to software that should be equivalent between plattorms Linux, Android, Mac and Windows many use soundfonts *.SF2 that guarantee that whoever whol listen have at least similar sound. I must say i prefer hardware to compose many synths do have GM mode "still today?".

Well i run old hardware at home a "module" Roland SC-7 is the cheapest little thing but sound better then any soundfont i found yet. I also have a Korg N364 that also has a 'GM mode.

So the GM mode is so that the instrument are mapped to same program number.

When you talk about midi drivers they are generally for the "midi interface" it can be a cable "don't buy the cheapest they don't work", or a soundcard. Midi interfaces was popular on soundcards during the PCI era. Nowadays pretty much all are USB "i have not seen any PCI-E ones The interface is just on older equipment with a 5-pin DIN port a analog to digital converter. Now adays midi controller is already digital in synth "so it is just a USB cable".

I am just a layman playing with midi, so correct me if i am wrong in above.
In short midi is just digital recorded on and off signals for specific notes using specific sounds that are numbered by GM standard. There is no sound at all coming over a midicable or interface, your device ***synth, drums, module, software*** is what create the sounds when you ***send them MIDI messages***.
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I would like to add another option, just in case. VirtualMIDISynth is a software MIDI synthesizer using Soundfonts (.SF2 files) implemented as a Windows multimedia user driver, accessible as a standard MIDI Out device. So, it is an equivalent replacement of the "Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth" that is included in Windows. It also converts MIDI files to audio files directly.The Soundfonts are configurable, and in this area I would recommend GeneralUser GS By Christian Collins (about 27MB) if you want fair quality without wasting free disk space.
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