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vsti or soundfont

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  • vsti or soundfont

    Hello,
    It's been years since my last post, and have just now started getting into triggering external sounds (I was only using the v kit for practice). I have a few vsti's loaded and working, but before I go all the way down this path, was wondering if anyone could fill me in on the pros and cons of using vsti vs soundfonts.
    thanks!
    roland v-session e's
    tama a's

  • #2
    First, they are not mutually exclusive. There are VSTi's that play SoundFonts. But, I will assume you mean loading soundfonts into your sound card and playing them via MIDI.

    One issue is that audio interfaces that support SoundFonts are usually not "pro" quality. Something along the lines of a SoundBlaster or some such. That might make it hard to control latency.

    Second, the quality of samples will be completely different. A VSTi drum program will use Multi-Megabytes of samples. A snare on BFD can have up to 255 samples. And that is just for one mic. BFD uses a multi-mic system. Compare that to the one sample for a SoundFont snare.

    Are you planning on recording? Then VSTi's will give you the most flexibility.
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    • #3
      "But, I will assume you mean loading soundfonts into your sound card and playing them via MIDI. One issue is that audio interfaces that support SoundFonts are usually not "pro" quality. Something along the lines of a SoundBlaster or some such. That might make it hard to control latency."

      Another option is to load a soundfont into a software player, like SFZ vsti/dxi , and use it in a host with ASIO (or Asio4All if your soundcard doesn't support ASIO).
      There are some excellent free kits in soundfont format that are available; and
      in a decent PC, I haven't found latency to be an issue. So if you're on a tight budget,
      check it out.
      If money is not an issue, go for one of the multi-megabyte monsters.
      You get what you pay for.
      Last edited by Vectron; 09-30-08, 11:01 PM.

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      • #4
        Soundfonts shouldn't really subjected to such a bad name. While it's true that better results are likely to be obtained with one of the VSTi libs, there is still a place for soundfonts. As Vectron mentioned, you can also use a software player to render your soundfonts. So - why not a combo: Use the Soundblaster to monitor while you play your midi into it so that you have hardware latency, then you have the recorded midi which you could load the same librrary into within a softsynth - at this point latency is irrelevent.

        This is sort of like the argument agaist "General Midi" instruments. People misunderstand that to mean "crappy sounding", but all the GM spec is is a definition of the locations that instruments can be expected to be found within the preset lists, a certain number of instruments be represented, and certain variations and extensions from there (like efdfects, or Yamaha's XG implementation). It has nothing to do with the quality or number of samples used to create the GM set.

        The same goes for soundfonts. Sure, there are some limitations to the specification itself, but I think you'll find that the bigger problem is with people's implementations. For example, here's a quote about a piano soundfont from Hammersound:
        The full version of GP One features 51 piano presets and 32 velocity layers
        This shows that a large number of velocity layers are available, which is usually the first sticking point for bad sounding sets.

        All that said, it's tough to find really great drum soundfonts out there - but it IS an excellent source of some other quaility stuff if you look long enough. It's also relatively easy to make your own if you have the right equipment and some patience. A multi-velocity recording of a snare drum takes a while to do right, but then you can simply plug that one drum into a midi mix to use it. It's pretty cool and a decent way to get into a little bit of sampling without an enormous learning curve and without breaking the bank.
        My Updated Website: https://blades.technology

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        • #5
          Been away from the box for a bit. I'm planning on bringing midi in to a pc from the module through a firepod. So it sounds like dedicated drum vsti's have many samples to take care of stick position and velocity pitch changes, while soundfounts typically will not (is this right?). I don't know what is offered in terms of libraries with the dedicated vsti offerings. One thing I've missed on my V kit is the sound of using pro mark hot rods, and thought that I'd try to record my A set for samples. But this is now sounding like a pretty daunting task. I downloaded the superdrumfx vsti, which only takes in a few samples per drum, and varies them upon output. I've started google translating and reading the manual. Does anyone have any opinions on how this guy sounds vs the traditional many sample vsti's?
          thanks again everyone!
          roland v-session e's
          tama a's

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