Official MIDI Specifications


The MMA's Downloadable Sounds (DLS) Specification defines a sound data format and the required synthesizer features for accurate playback on any DLS compatible synth.

DLS Level 1
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This document and the underlying specification is the result of extensive research and discussion by a group of hardware and software manufacturers to determine a base-line architecture which will support playback of "downloadable" sounds. It was the goal of this group to determine an architecture that would be similar enough to the majority of existing products to allow fast time to market, without sacrificing performance. The specification is particularly aimed at multimedia computing applications and platforms.

This document is in two parts. The first part describes the playback device architecture, and how device parameters will be defined. The second part describes a standard file format for distributing these samples. Recommendations are also planned for the protocol and messages to be used in creating standardized processes for initiating and managing downloading, so that applications, devices, and platforms can all be compatible.

DLS Level 2
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The MMA’s Downloadable Sounds Specification Level 2 (DLS-2) is a logical extension of DLS-1 intended to be in-line with what is commonly considered state of the art today in multimedia computing. The specification is the result of collaboration between numerous hardware and software manufacturers represented by the MMA, as well as input from other organizations intending to use the format, such as MPEG (IEC/ISO JTC-1 SC-29 WG-11).

This document describes the playback device architecture as well as extensions to the file format which support additional DLS-2 specific chunks. For complete details of the Level 1 format, please consult the MMA’s Downloadable Sound Specification (Level 1) document.