New soundfont for better MIDI

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New soundfont for better MIDI

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:55 pm

I'm working on a new General MIDI soundfont for more realistic sounding instruments for the old STAR WARS games' midi soundtracks, other DOS or midi based games, composing, whatever people want to use it for.

Here are some midi tracks from old LucasArts games using my new GEN MIDI soundfont:


DARK FORCES

DF_10FIGH00_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3
DF_37STAL00_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3

Here's the first action 'fight' track and Anoat City's 'stalker' level track to get an idea of the orchestra and synth instrument mix. High end and quality has degraded due to the lossy conversion to mp3, the uncompressed soundfont sounds better.


TIE FIGHTER

TF_Climfix_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3
TF_23-trainpod_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3

Part of the inflight atmospheric changes score, and Training Pod & credits music.


X-WING

XW_BattleWaitMusic-MainBattleMusic_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3
XW_Empire_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3

Inflight music from X-Wing, waiting into main battle music, and music from a cutscene featuring The Imperial March.


Here's a pretty well sequenced midi found online, from another movie score by John Williams:

Prelude_and_Main_Title_March_GM_SF2_WIP_Kiwi6_Kj_.mp3

Again, the soundfont sounds better than these mp3s.

Any feedback and suggestions welcomed.

(Glad to see the X-Wing series isn't dead, replacing 3D models, VR, original X-Wing game engine being rebuilt?!). :shock: :D

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Q
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Post by Q » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:14 pm

I love the idea of replacing the original soundfonts with better ones. This has been done by several people over the past few years for X-Wing and TIE Fighter. For example here is the the Training Pod music from the TIE Fighter Re-Orchestrated project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX9yo4PQwzs Here is the intro from the X-Wing Re-Orchestrated project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXFkHMod6uo
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K-j
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Post by K-j » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:06 pm

I have downloaded the TIE Fighter one in the past. Whilst I like some of the epic-ness and space given to the sound, there are alterations and omissions, and seems to be a lot of reverb which has an overall dulling to the sound. The X-Wing one I hadn't seen before, and seems a more loyal translation, thanks for posting that.

The TIE Fighter one is in mp3 or Flac format, not sure if that X-Wing one is available yet, but they're just straight forward tracks. With my soundfont you load a bank of instruments' sounds & settings into RAM (using a program such as VirtualMIDISynth), and it will enable you to still play the original games with the changing interactive iMuse system, but sounding like those mp3s I posted, which are just basically demos of what MIDI sounds like on my system at the moment (WIP, I'm constantly tweaking things). I'm hoping to eventually set up a website for it and share for free so everyone can play the original games with better midi music. Of course it will work with all midi, so other games with midi will benefit too (DOOM, Indiana Jones and the whatevers, Duke Nukem, Return To Zork, Under A Killing Moon etc...). Some people may even use it for musical composition projects, especially if they can't afford more expensive alternatives.

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Post by Q » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:03 pm

K-j wrote:I have downloaded the TIE Fighter one in the past. Whilst I like some of the epic-ness and space given to the sound, there are alterations and omissions, and seems to be a lot of reverb which has an overall dulling to the sound. The X-Wing one I hadn't seen before, and seems a more loyal translation, thanks for posting that.

The TIE Fighter one is in mp3 or Flac format, not sure if that X-Wing one is available yet, but they're just straight forward tracks. With my soundfont you load a bank of instruments' sounds & settings into RAM (using a program such as VirtualMIDISynth), and it will enable you to still play the original games with the changing interactive iMuse system, but sounding like those mp3s I posted, which are just basically demos of what MIDI sounds like on my system at the moment (WIP, I'm constantly tweaking things). I'm hoping to eventually set up a website for it and share for free so everyone can play the original games with better midi music. Of course it will work with all midi, so other games with midi will benefit too (DOOM, Indiana Jones and the whatevers, Duke Nukem, Return To Zork, Under A Killing Moon etc...). Some people may even use it for musical composition projects, especially if they can't afford more expensive alternatives.
Here is a a project emulating the X-Wing iMuse music system to great effect! It uses new soundfonts but keeps the original midi tracks, go and check it out: http://azrapse.es/xwvm/ (You'll need the Unity Web Player)
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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:12 am

Q wrote: Here is a a project emulating the X-Wing iMuse music system to great effect! It uses new soundfonts but keeps the original midi tracks, go and check it out: http://azrapse.es/xwvm/ (You'll need the Unity Web Player)
This iMuse project is basically the foundation on which Azrapse's XWVM is based:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11623

The reorchestration was done by Laserschwert.
Last edited by Fek'LeyrTarg on Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:04 pm

Thanks for the link, Q. It does sound very good, much better than the old FM-synth (though the music was always awesome!).

Yeah I thought that was kind of what I'd heard in a video clip of the old game engine rebuilt. Great that it will be released with better midi from the off. Which is just as well, even though I've been trying to balance quality and file size, my soundfont is currently 1.76 GB uncompressed. So if people are still using older machines with low RAM (unless there are ways of using compressed formats like mp3 or Flac in soundfonts?)... Well, they might not be able to load it all into RAM at once (best option), but might still use it loading instruments as and when needed (which is said might introduce stuttering when loading on the fly).

Anyway it does sound good. It would be interesting to talk soundfonts with the creator(s) if possible, see which they thought were the best to use for whatever instruments etc. if they'd like. Or if they had troubles with anything, finding a certain instrument for instance. Call my people, let's do brunch. ;)

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MajorParts
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Post by MajorParts » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:43 pm

I don't think Az is using any soundfonts for the original midi. He was given mp3 (or something...maybe ogg) files by someone who mixed down the midi with soundfonts/vst plugins

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:09 am

Thanks for the reply.

Oh right, the VST route. That's even more interesting if they have that, either pre-recorded files or VSTs being triggered by iMuse? "Very intriguing..." Plus ogg or mp3 formats will help keep the filesize down for distribution. I've got uncompressed 44kHz and maybe some 48kHz wav files to deal with so it's a much larger end result. Which is ok, if you have the RAM to spare.

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Post by Rookie_One1 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:47 am

So, who is work on it? ;)
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K-j
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Post by K-j » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:10 pm

I'm not sure to which you're enquiring to now. I'm working on this soundfont individually, which is a completely separate project from the very promising X-Wing game engine rebuild which currently demonstrates it's own music method, as mentioned above.

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Post by Rookie_One1 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:38 pm

sorry, was not awaken completly when I wrote my previous message and in that state, I tend to be completly incoherent in what I say or write.

I probably meant how the work is going on the soundfont
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K-j
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Post by K-j » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:55 pm

It's in an almost finished state. Currently it has a full General MIDI bank of 128 instruments, and some GM2/extra instruments. As I go through listening to this, that, and the other, testing and tweaking, balancing, I always come across something I wasn't quite satisfied with before so try to get things the best I can before release.

At the moment I'm going back to work on Distortion Guitar, and String Ensemble 1 (again). I'm also wondering if it's worth adding the extra drum/percussion sets or just leaving it with Standard and Orchestral as it is at the moment. :?

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Post by nevara » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:55 pm

WOW, sounds really nice! Looking forward to it!

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:00 am

I nearly posted some more demos, the soundfont has reached a 'Release Candidate' state. Countless setting alterations later, some instrument swapping and removal, resampling/looping, some additional GM2 instruments and drumkits, nearly there. Only thing that stopped me posting more up to date demos is that I've been messing with both the string section preset settings again. But it is sounding much better to me, and should be worth all the extra effort.

One of the things I've readdressed is the reverb settings, global and preset values. I almost uploaded some demos as stated above, again the mp3s loose clarity and the kind of soundstage space I've been trying to recreate particularly for the main orchestral instruments.

A more recent demo should be forthcoming.

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Post by nevara » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:11 am

We shall watch your career with great interest

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:58 pm

^ :D

So this went from RC status to having a major overhaul. I found that some soundfonts I used were commercially released, so I removed those, found some more damned good free stuff, and it's sounding much better, better than ever!

I need to optimise the String Ensemble (lots of instruments in there meaning lots of active voices, probably resulting in slow down on older machines). I need to get the reverb right, it sounds much better now but listening to it on different sound systems, it could still do with turning up. I just don't want it over the top as others have done in the past. It's going to sound so different on different systems anyway. Tough to get a balance.

I want to release some new demos as the others are old hat now, but I know I'm almost there now and very soon newer demos would sound different to the finished release.

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K-j
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Post by K-j » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:57 pm

Project not abandoned, I've been working on it constantly.

New demo finally posted, much improvement over the old demos:

GEN MIDI (WIP) - Superman - Prelude and Main Title March

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Post by Justagai » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:26 pm

Glad to see this is still going!

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