ArthurM

Good program for composing with video game soundfonts?

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Hello! I am currently working on a project that uses the FFVII soundfont (I have my reasons). The soundfont has loads of problems (listen to the crackles on that clarinet), but that's another story.

My issue right now is finding the right software for turning it into music that sounds good (i.e. similar quality to Final fantasy VII). I tried FL studio but it doesn't support sf2 format and I really can't stand the interface. I am currently using Anvil Studio, AKA the MS Paint of music. If you've ever used it you know how insanely limited it is. I enjoy the simple interface and the fact that it's free, but I need something that lets me control more than just pitch, length, and volume of a note.

P.S. my only equipment is my computer, if that matters.

Thanks!

--Arthur

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http://picopicose.com/software.html

this thing is accurate, lots of work to get into, doesn't use soundfonts but the .spc file itself. that means you definitely get the data the composers used, not whatever the hobby musician did with samples ripped from the rom.

if you can get jiggy with FL, the 32 bit version still supports the legacy soundfont player, and that one usually plays as intended (i.e. no/fewer wonky loop points resulting in the crackles you experience).

naturally, .sf2 support just isn't getting any better. there's some .sf2 programming masterpieces around from the late 90's, but good luck finding a modern sampler to play them back correctly according to the old Creative standard. stuff like vintage dream waves 2.0.sf2, which while not based on VGs, has that same min/max spirit...provided the right playback, you can get hundreds of patches at less than a hundred KB, which is down to meticulous programming and using all of .sf2's inherent capabilities. but not to digress...

 

the comprehensive answer is: get ahold of the .wav samples, be they encoded in an .sf2 or not, and learn more about looping samples, in any given sampler.

the SNES did not have any capability to blend loop points. i'm assuming you don't know what that means. in a modern sampler like kontakt, you can relatively easily avoid said crackles by blending.

what this means is you don't necessarily have to find the exact loop point in the sample, as used in the OST. you find something that is close enough and let more recent technology do the rest. it will sound close enough.

if you want meticulous authenticity though, and no existing .sf2 sounds right, you might have to delve into the craft/art of looping samples the old way. you need a sampler that shows you how the waveform is looped, and allows you to exactly correct the loop.

good if the sf you use plays mostly right in your sampler, better if you can correct any imperfections caused by faulty programming or import.

may sound daunting...however, any work you put into this subject matter puts you into the shoes of those old composers a little. wrestling with crappy music technology and cartridge space, turning out the best music per byte.

basically, basic knowledge about archaic sampling technology is essential to becoming a well versed '16-bit musician' ;)

all this is not necessary at all to make good music 'in the vein of', but it can be fun and a deepening experience! those loop points can be bitches, tho......

 

PS: if you're just using a basic software for soundfont playback and have never pondered how it works under the hood, this all might read like jibberjabber; it helps immensely to see a visual representation of how the sample is played and looped, which a basic soundfont player probably won't provide.

 

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5 hours ago, Nase said:

http://picopicose.com/software.html

this thing is accurate, lots of work to get into, doesn't use soundfonts but the .spc file itself. that means you definitely get the data the composers used, not whatever the hobby musician did with samples ripped from the rom.

Directwave for FL supports sf2s 
works for both 32 and 64 bit versions 

Also I'm using that software that you mentioned, Nase, I can correct all of the DKC soundfonts....Yessssss

which one do I download....? 

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sadly, directwave is also pretty bad as far as sf2 import goes. it's way worse with complex multisamples than anything else, but with the typical snes soundfont, there's usually 2 problems: way too high pitch for everything (bitrate thing i guess, easy to fix), or loss of loop points for some instruments (harder to fix, obviously).

but directwave is a good sampler. being an FL guy, i like the seamless integration. also good for creative sound design (built in fx, mod matrix), but i haven't done any exact looping of samples with it; can't vouch for it being easy to use for authentic 16bit music.

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Am I missing something? I'm fairly certain FLStudio supports SF2 in the Fruity Soundfont Player. Did support change recently? I still have a lot of projects that use SF2s that still work.

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1 hour ago, DarkeSword said:

Am I missing something? I'm fairly certain FLStudio supports SF2 in the Fruity Soundfont Player. Did support change recently? I still have a lot of projects that use SF2s that still work.

It only works for the 32 bit version, not 64 bit. 
32 bit has problems with memory, 64 doesn't. 
Example: if I use more than 10 channels with SAC, FL 32 crashes, while 64 bit works just fine. 

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I have 64-bit FLStudio running right now and my SF2 soundfonts are working. I don't think there's an issue with SF2 support in FLStudio. :|

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huh?

https://forum.image-line.com/viewtopic.php?t=139225

are we living in parallel universes?

if yours has a 64 bit fsfp, i'll gladly join yours...if there are no drawbacks and raining donuts, too.

no seriously, i spent a particularily useless portion of early last year trimming my netbook to just contain 32 bit vsts, as i wanted to keep the sf player on there. i'm confused.

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I mean, that thread is nearly 4 years old and references FLStudio 11. I'm on 20 and it works. Join me in my parallel universe dude.

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dood it really didn't work on both my machines. it produces an empty wrapper stating that fsp can't be loaded in 64 bit FL. are you really sure you're opening it in 64 bit, not clicking on the .flp and it goes 32bit for compliance? did you use 64 bit plugins in those projects? aren't they getting bridged?

i'm finding it unlikely that you overlooked that, so i'm the more confused. i'd like to have fruity soundfont player to go back to for some old gems.

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Sigh...

I confirm that Fruity Soundfont player does not appear to work on 64-bit FL Studio. Some months ago I put FL Studio 11 on my laptop and put on the 64-bit version only to find that Fruity Soundfont player does not load on it. I tried some other soundfont VSTs, but I wasn't satisfied with any of them.

I may suggest abandoning the concept of trying to play Soundfonts entirely as they are really outdated for use today. There are no soundfonts that equal the quality you can get from some affordable VSTs now and if it's difficult to even load them into a DAW, it's a sign it's time to move on.

The VST I've been touting for folks who still want an all-around package that has major affordability, reasonably small size and really respectable/usable quality is Xpand! 2 by AIR. https://www.airmusictech.com/product/xpand2#.XGMCHvnavIU . This is like a modern Roland Sound Canvas with a full range of the necessary instruments and you can usually find it >$20. I bought mine for $1 legitimate and I'm genuinely pretty impressed with it for what it is. I think that's where the proper substitute for soundfonts holds in modern times. 

With the right effort, you could really make a pretty good remaster of FFVII music with Xpand 2 alone in my opinion.

 

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1 hour ago, Meteo Xavier said:

There are no soundfonts that equal the quality you can get from some affordable VSTs now and if it's difficult to even load them into a DAW, it's a sign it's time to move on.

This.  Soundfonts are so 2003.

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.sf2 just happens to have a couple of the best sampled sounds ever, among a much larger percentage of crap. 2 decades of hobbyist sampling, folks...you don't get that in any library.

worth preserving. unlike more complex fonts, the snes ones are easy to recreate in another sampler, of course.

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Let's be real here  - soundfont versions of SNES or game-sampled stuff has iffy quality at its absolute best. Technology has improved on it by now. You can make your own Cyan flute with a super short grace note at the beginning of a note one or two half-steps above the pitch you're trying to do and then have it vibrate with modulation.

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that's perfectly possible in the soundfont standard. multisample, LFO.

the first real barrier of technology with .sf2 is round robin.

what is this 'iffy quality' you're talking about? it's people not putting in the work to find the right loop points. .sf2 absolutely has everything needed to recreate SNES instruments, except the chorus/delay/reverb unit of the SNES soundchip.

it's not a matter of technology, it's about the fucking right loop point. the relevant technology has staid the same for 30 years.

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Wow, a ton of information in this thread. I appreciate all the suggestions.

The looping thing makes sense. So when it plays a half note, it is actually a bunch of shorter notes stitched together, and the end/beginning doesn't line up, causing the cracks. I get those when looping something like a waterfall sound effect, though I usually just crossfade in those situations.

The FFVII music files are in psf format. I don't know if that makes a difference, since most of the discussion here is around spc format. My goal is to mimic the sound of the FFVII ost to the point that you can't tell the difference. I want to create new compositions but with the authentic playstation FFVII sound. I know there are better sounds out there, but I am going for the retro nostalgia factor.

There are many accurate psf players, so I don't see why that quality can't be translated to a midi sequencing program...anyway

I am eager to try out some of these programs and see what happens 

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3 hours ago, ArthurM said:

So when it plays a half note, it is actually a bunch of shorter notes stitched together, and the end/beginning doesn't line up, causing the cracks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(signal_processing)

just quoting this for the yellow graph on the right side, illustrating how short a loop cycle can be. many super nintendo sounds have a really simple single duty loop cycle somewhat like this, but an attack portion before that which makes up the characteristic part of the sound. the loop cycle then functions like an oscillator in a synth, controlled by an ADSR envelope to make it gradually fade away. if that loop is just off by a tiny degree, i.e. the wave doesn't line up, it begins to crackle, sound off-key.

the more mathematical the waveform sampled is (sine, square), the easier it is to loop cleanly in a single cycle. the more complex the overtones of the instrument sampled are, the more likely it becomes that you cannot capture its essence in a single cycle loop, or a couple, or many. the perfect loop can be anything from a tiny fraction of a second to a couple seconds, really.

it's a lot of trial and error, basically, before you find something musical with some waveforms. on the plus side, you get a little heureka! moment when you find a loop point in a classic waveform that sounds exactly as the original.

this all applies to the playstation era as well, although they had a little more disk space to work with by then, and redbook audio capability if desired.

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8 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

Let's be real here  - soundfont versions of SNES or game-sampled stuff has iffy quality at its absolute best. Technology has improved on it by now. You can make your own Cyan flute with a super short grace note at the beginning of a note one or two half-steps above the pitch you're trying to do and then have it vibrate with modulation.

and if you do wanna do authentic retro, a lot of the old Roland sound modules and stuff are now sold as VSTs fairly cheap

and Super Audio Cart

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