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Forsaken

Playing And Modifing Midi

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Well, I am playing Heretic and heXen a long, long time ago... These games are very old and have .mid music files instead of .wav or .mp3, and on my computer, the music quality is not the very best.

 

A few people from IXBT insist that since .mid is not really music, but more of commands how to play music, therefore midi quality depends on the synthesizer of your sound card, and they say that midi on their computers sounds better than .mp3 CD music. I don't have a sound card, and I wonder if that is true?

 

I asked them for a midi to other formats converter, and they recomended YAMAHA XG SoftSynthesizer S-YXG50. This program, though, doesn't convert midi, but plays any midi on your computer differently. After I loaded it up, the music changed a lot. Mostly to the good side, it became a lot cleaner, not like some low-quality music, but the chorus, on the other hand, became worse for some reason... I still wonder if I can do anything to that and whether or not buy a good sound card next year.

 

So, if anyone knows anything about the quality of midi music and how to make it better, if someone knows any free programs...

 

The midi's of Heretic/heXen can be downloaded here: http://ravenhurst.raven-games.com/Downloads.shtml

Though how it all will sound on your PC, I have no idea, I never was good about sound, so I'm pretty confused to whether the sound card has anything to do with it at all and IXBT guys are just imagining it. Though if anyone has a midi to something converter, I would be greatful if he or she converted one soundtrack for me to see whether or not there is any difference... Mostly interested in heXen Fantar theme and Heretic E1M6.

Edited by Forsaken

Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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If your hearing any sort of sound (CD, mp3, etc), you have a sound card.

 

Now for MIDI;

 

Do you have a Sound Blaster? You can find out by going start, control panel, Sounds and audio devices, and looking at the name and icon below the "volume" tab.

 

If so, I'll tell you how to get the Sound Font loader tool and load some of the cooler sound banks you can download for free on the net. (Sound banks are a set of musical instruments that the midi device will use)

 

Otherwise you should be able to hunt for sound banks for that Yamaha software sinthesizer you installed and find one with a better chorus.

 

Hm after looking up on this Yamaha software synth, I think it might support Sound Fonts as well.

 

Read this, this should give you some knowledge on the subject.

http://pcbuyersguide.com/audiobuyersguide/...SoundFonts.html

 

See if you can find a part of the yamaha program that lets you specify a "DLS" (Downloadable Sounds) or "SF2" (Sound Font 2)

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Thanks for your reply!

 

Well, I meant decent sound cards, not the built-in ones...

 

Yes, I have a sound blaster.

 

I'll look into it.

 

Regarding those files - my Yamaha gives little options, and even if I get any of those files, I'm not sure I know where they go...

Edited by Forsaken

Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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I don't know how much more I can add to what Domarius said but anyway:

 

Here's a more specific tutorial on readying a Soundfont bank file for use on a Soundblaster card, but maybe it says the same thing that Dom's site says (just from the card's pov instead of the synthesizer/sequencer program's). As Dom said, it changes the default instruments for MIDI files on the card from the tinny deafult ones to better sounding custom ones (which is essentially what a soundfont bank file is, and if you find a good one, it sounds *so* much better): http://dmzweb3.europe.creative.com/SRVS/CG...s.creative.com/

 

The two things you need to get going is (1) a good sounding soundfont bank file ... there are a lot on line, and (2) a loader, which effectively will be your Yamaha synthesizer/sequencer program. It *should* support soundfont loading on its own (if it was recommended, then I'd imagine it does, but I don't know), and that will be explained in its documentation or some online tut if you can find one.

 

And FYI, there is a free soundfont editor here (Vienna SF Studio 2.4) that I *think* could also serve as a loader, but don't quote me on that, because for all I know it just loads soundfonts for use with the editor and not universally default, but I really think it works as a loader too. The advantage with this, of course, is that it gives you the option of picking and choosing various instruments to customize and create your own soundfont file: http://asia.creative.com/support/downloads...&y=16&details=1://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...soundfont file, e.g., if you *just* want to add a new chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound..

 

Technically it's not even necessary to have loader support on the synthesizer because apparently you can do it by directly accessing the card without a dedicated loader, but I don't know how to do that, and anyway a loader makes the process so much easier. If your Yamaha doesn't do it, then you should google for one that does.

 

I did all of this using Cakewalk, but I don't really use MIDI outside of Cakewalk so I don't know so much about your situation. Anyway, the documentation for your yamaha should steer you the right way. Good luck.

Edited by demagogue

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Ahhh you have a Sound Blaster, easy.

 

Look - if you have a sound blaster, you not only have a sound card, you have THE sound card. At least, the pseudo standard for the industry. Your only other options are shitty onboard ones or some extravagant multi-input multi-output one specifically for music studios, and Sound Blaster usually make some of the best of these anyway, to the best of my knowledge.

 

But anyway, back on topic.

 

If you have a disc that came with your sound blaster and you installed evertything on it, then you should have a menu in start menu.

Click Start, All programs, Creative, Creative HQ

(If you DON'T have this, then you need your "LiveWare" installed.

http://uk.europe.creative.com/support/down...ype=0&x=28&y=16

That is the download link for the standard Sound Blaster Live software, its the first link called " Sound Blaster Live! - LiveDrvUni-Pack English", but it wouldn't hurt for you to go to www.soundblaster.com and click "support" and then "download" and then go through the steps of choosing your country, and then specific Sound Blaster version. If you are not sure which version you have, then you should check in your system hardware config in windows. Ask me more about this if nessecary. There are different verisons - Live, Live 5.1, Audigy, Audigy 2, etc.)

 

A new window opens up, and one of the icons is "Sound font". In the "Configure bank" tab, you can see the currently loaded sount font, it should be the default '2GMGSMT' or something similar.

First you have to adjust the amount of system ram to the size of the sound font you want to load.

 

Hm I remember a bug with huge sound fonts - if you don't have twice as much total ram as your allocation size, the sound font will refuse to load. That should'nt be a problem nowadays though.

 

Anyway to allocate more ram, click the "Options" tab, and adjust the slider to the right, it shows you how much mb you're taking. Just making something above what you're loading, we're going tocome back and put it back down to the minimum after we've loaded the sound font.

 

Go back to the "Configure bank" tab, and click on the '2GMGSMT' or name of the existing sound font whatever it may be. Click the 'clear' button (replace never works). Then click the 'load' button and browse to your new sound font.

 

When it's loaded, go back to the options tab and push the slider all the way back to the left,. You'll notice the lowest it can go is now the size of the new sound font.

 

That's it, all your midi games should sound better after that. Now for some of the biggest and best sound fonts;

 

Some are so big that people like to compress them with a special Sound font compressing program when they upload them to their website. Don't know how it does it, but it does it realy well.

http://www.melodymachine.com/

 

Now the best big sound font I use is this one

http://www.personalcopy.com/sfarkfonts1.htm

The direct download link is

ftp://ftp.personalcopy.net/pub/PC51d.sfArk.exe

but it wouldn't hurt to go to that page and have a read too.

 

 

Ah there is another bug - only on Sound Blaster Live cards (I have one :() but not on the newer Sound Blaster Audigy cards - with large sound fonts, some instruments will miss notes as they play occasionally. Not too often but kinda annoying, which is why I don't always have the large sound font loaded, in addition to the ram it eats.

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Ah there is another bug - only on Sound Blaster Live cards (I have one :() but not on the newer Sound Blaster Audigy cards - with large sound fonts, some instruments will miss notes as they play occasionally. Not too often but kinda annoying, which is why I don't always have the large sound font loaded, in addition to the ram it eats.

 

 

That is because of the limitations of the Creative SBLive!/Audigy drivers on the EMU10K chipset - they will only play 32MB of sound data simultaneously, so if you have a large, high quality multi-layer soundfont loaded, you can quite easily hit the 32MB limit with a simple chord. I have a number of very large soundfonts wich are almost useless for serious music because of this design flaw (unless I use them in a softsynth like SFZ). I am not sure if the X-Fi suffers from the same problem. Creative make truly shit, awful, reprehensibly bad drivers, but since they are really the only soundcard manufacturer straddling the fence between professional audio and positional/game audio, there isn't much choice for gamers who like to do a bit of music as well.

 

If you really want to have nice midi playback, you can invest in some serious music hardware and software - with an M-Audio Audiophile 192 + a nice software multisampler like gigastudio you can record those midi files down to high quality audio or mp3. This will cost you a lot of money, so if you are not a computer musician, forget it. You could also get the EMU1212m or 0404, which use the same chipset as the SBLive!, but have much better drivers and also load soundfonts. AFAIK, they don't suffer from the 32MB ceiling for soundfonts, so no dropped notes.

 

A good software synth you can use to play soundfonts is SFZ http://www.rgcaudio.com/sfz.htm - coupled with a suitable VST host (well, it also works as a stand-alone app, and I belive it will record incoming midi signals as audio) you can use it to load very large, high quality soundfonts, and mix down the midi file to audio. It does soundfonts much better than the SB hardware, and does not suffer from the rather limiting memory restricitions of the SBLive!. Use with the ASIO 4 All drivers for best results with a SB or built in audio.

 

 

If you have a bit of money, get the low end Creative X-fi. It is a flawed card, but it is the best gaming+music hybrid solution out there, and it will make your midi files sound pretty sweet with the right soundfonts. It has a postprocessor which they call a "crystalizer" - it is really a filter that does a bit of equalisation and throws in an exciter, and it deliberately colours the sound, but it can make low quality recordings sound better.

 

hope that helps, I can't really add anything more to what Domarius and demagogue have already said...

Edited by obscurus

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Oh no. I don't have a Sound Blaster... It's my DosBox heXen that thinks I have one... I guess that's why it slows down so much. Sorry. I didn't look at my Control Panel first...

 

Thanks for all the information you gave here, it's more than enough. I'll guess I'll read some of the material on those sites, becuse whatever YAMAHA I have, it doesn't seem to know what a SoundFont is.


Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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Forsaken, even if you don't have a sound card, you can use software soundfont loader/players (eg SFZ, which is free by the way) to load a high quality soundfont, and then record it to .wav, which you can then compress to mp3 if you want. A lot of motherboards have on board audio which is adequate for ASIO4ALL ( http://www.asio4all.com/ ) to work with, so you aren't out of luck yet. There are a number of utilities out there that will convert MIDI to audio, but as always, RMV, and a lot of them are not free.

 

Depending on what sort of gear you have, you will probably need to spend some cash, either on new audio hardware, or on software, to get good results, though there should be enough free stuff out there to get you started. http://www.kvraudio.com/ will have links to all sorts of software that will do the job, check it out.

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He wants to play old games that use MIDI, just with good quality midi output. Recording to MP3 isn't an option.

 

Hey Forsaken, another good MIDI abandonware game - Ultima 8: Pagan.

 

From what i read, the yamaha soft synth you posted, supports DLS (downloadable sounds) of some sort, so its probably just a matter of finding the right instrument banks for it.

 

Oh and to speed DosBox up considerably, set the frameskip to 1 or 2. (I think 1 should do it, if 1 means skip every second frame) You won't even notice the difference in frame rate and the speed will be great.

 

Your computer will probably run slow when it has to use a soft synth like the yamaha one. DosBox emulates a sound blaster no matter what sound card you have, because none of them work like the old sound blasters.

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That is because of the limitations of the Creative SBLive!/Audigy drivers on the EMU10K chipset - they will only play 32MB of sound data simultaneously, so if you have a large, high quality multi-layer soundfont loaded, you can quite easily hit the 32MB limit with a simple chord. I have a number of very large soundfonts wich are almost useless for serious music because of this design flaw (unless I use them in a softsynth like SFZ). I am not sure if the X-Fi suffers from the same problem.

 

I wonder if this is a problem in Linux using open-source drivers. I have an Audigy 2 and I have never heard of this, although I haven't done much music so maybe it does manifest itself in Linux as well.

 

Not that I would use the onboard synth anyway - using Linux it is trivial to load an opensource softsynth, splice it into the audio chain and achieve far better sound quality than the hardware version. This also happens with absolutly no discernable audio-lag, unlike the last time I tried using a softsynth in Windows which was unplayable with its half-a-second latency.

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Ahh... MIDI soundtracks. Can't really add anything to the above on how to convert MIDI, but I'll give a word of warning: Don't hold your breath - it might not sound as expected.

 

I first had this when I downloaded a few Monkey Island MIDIs. I knew it would sound different on my current soundcard, and actually looked forward to the "improvement". Alas, the instruments did sound better, but did not trigger the requested nostalgia. Back then, when I played the game for hours and hours, I had an AdLib soundcard - which had MIDI sounds that could be described as "synthetic" at best, and no sampling properties at all. I was so used to the synthetic sound that my beloved soundtrack sounded odd and different on a proper soundcard.

 

The game soundtrack where I noticed this the most was Dune. The first one, that is. For it's time, it had amazing, incredible music. I searched the net for years(!) until I found a mp3 recording of the MIDIs on an AdLib - and I still love the original sound.

 

Edit: And now I forgot to reply to the original request. If you have a stud machine, you can use DosBox, which has included MIDI emulation. If you have a less powerful machine, try VDMSound.

 

Edit2: Oh man, I should not post while working - I just realised that I totaly missed the topic. Sorry!

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The nostalgia factor, yeah - some games were "made" for FM synthises, even though they also supported midi, all the work went into making the FM version sound the best - Tyrian (pitch sliding is missing from the midi version, sounds bad), Dune 2, Monkey Island 2

 

But some other games sound BETTER. Ultima 8 Pagan is by far the best... you can tell the composer was using MIDI primarily. It sounds best in midi. Hexen is another, but the music isn't that great in the first place.

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I never managed to load heXen in DosBox without slowdown, and I raised frameskip and all, does not help. Heretic works, heXen doesn't, but I have jDooM anyway or DooMsday. And I played heXen DosBoxed way before I even knew what Yamaha is. Also, I was playing heXen on a laptop. Because only jDooM works there, DooMsday crashes to desktop all the time.

 

Ultima... I heard about them. They are space games or something? Or am I confusing with Elite? Also, did you play Space Rangers? It's old, too, I wonder if I want to try it out, some guy seemed to be like crazy about them.

 

I didn't really worry about Heretic/heXen music much, I just had the midi and that is all. But the thing was, I always wanted to get one heXen II soundtrack, but I had no CD, so the music was in .mid files I don't know where and I always wanted to get the midi (didn't care about format). And when I finaly found the .mp3, I was astonished by the quality compared to the old midi. And Heretic has that same soundtrack, slightly modified. With Yamaha, it sounds much closer to the heXen II .mp3, maybe even bettter, with the exception of the chorus, either Yamaha doesn't worry of those a lot, either Kevin Schilder messed up and put only two varitations named "ahh" and "ohh", which don't blend into each other well...

 

The heXen II .mp3 soundtrack: http://media.putfile.com/Cath-79

And this is the Heretic .mid one: http://media.putfile.com/Cath-39

 

Sorry for putfile, but otherwise you'll be waiting a lot on rapidshare to download a tiny .mid. Anyway, there is a difference, I don't know what synthezators you have, but if you don't have any advanced ones, heXen II sounds a lot better. At least, it did, before I put Yamaha up.

 

Even after that I didn't care much, but then IXBT guys started praizing heXen (first one, in fact) music, as always, and I asked about converting .mid to .mp3. They said - midi rules with a good sound card and sounds better now because there are sound cards better now with synthesators...

 

What is it with your forum and .rar files? I tried to upload something and couldn't!

 

"Hexen is another, but the music isn't that great in the first place." - Well, am I a heXen fan or not?

 

EDIT:

I found a file that is called 052_Florestan_Ahh_Choir.sf2, seems like something I need, now I have to figure out how to put into my Yamaha.

 

Just downloaded Ultima 8, looks interesting on screens.

Edited by Forsaken

Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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Cool, hope you enjoy ultima, If you have any problems running it, start a new thread and I'll help.

 

Yeah frontends (jDoom etc) are better than Dos Box for the higer end games. I know what you mean about the latest Doomsday crashing. I have an older version and it doesn't crash at all. Try looking for an older one.

 

Yeah that .sf2 file is an instrument bank. See if you can work out how to get the Yamaha synth to load it.

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OK, this is not midi related, but I didn't want to create another topic...

 

Does anyone know a free self-made vocabulary? By self-made I mean where you can put in words in a nonexistent language and then point out what they mean, and with a search system, of course. Like a regular vocabulary, but with your own words, because if we leave all those words as a list like we have now... Spend hours on trying to find the right translation... The language we are using doesn't exist, it's isn't just a rare-use language or something. Well, that's what I need. I don't need anything extraordinary, just a fill-yourself dictionary. Like you can do something like that in Lingvo, but it's not free, and we need a free one so that all users can use it, otherwise I'll be OK with Lingvo 'cause I have it...


Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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OK, I'll make a new one...


Too late to save us but try to understand

The seas were empty -- there was hunger in the land

We let the madmen write the golden rules

We were just Children of the Moon

We're lost in the middle of a hopeless world

Children, Children of the Moon watch the world go by

Children, Children of the Moon are hiding from the Sun and the Sky

 

© The Alan Parsons Project - Children of the Moon

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OK, this is not midi related, but I didn't want to create another topic...

 

Does anyone know a free self-made vocabulary? By self-made I mean where you can put in words in a nonexistent language and then point out what they mean, and with a search system, of course. Like a regular vocabulary, but with your own words, because if we leave all those words as a list like we have now... Spend hours on trying to find the right translation... The language we are using doesn't exist, it's isn't just a rare-use language or something. Well, that's what I need. I don't need anything extraordinary, just a fill-yourself dictionary. Like you can do something like that in Lingvo, but it's not free, and we need a free one so that all users can use it, otherwise I'll be OK with Lingvo 'cause I have it...

 

 

Try http://www.langmaker.com/db/Main_Page and ahve a look around. There are utilities that will do pretty much what you want, but you might have to hunt around the website.

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I wonder if this is a problem in Linux using open-source drivers. I have an Audigy 2 and I have never heard of this, although I haven't done much music so maybe it does manifest itself in Linux as well.

 

 

It is only the Creative drivers - AFAIK the Linux drivers don't suffer from this limitation. You will only notice this problem with very large multilayered soundfonts - with 95% of soundfont it isn't much of an issue. It is most noticible if you try to play a piano part that makes extensive use of the sustain pedal - on a moderately large piano soundfont you will qyickly hit the 32MB ceiling, as well as the polyphony limmits of the Creative drivers...

 

EDIT: Actually, it is part of the hardware limitations of the SB Live!/Audigy series - they have a 32 Mb aperture for sound data to pass through, but good drivers can fudge around this with clever data streaming. Aparently the Audigy drivers can fudge through quite a bit more data, even though it is mostly the same hardware as the Live! (just has better DAC/ADC chips). Not sure what the Linux drivers do with the 32 Mb aperture problem....

Edited by obscurus

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