As described above, a soundfont player is a kind of synthesizer that
uses the wavetable synthesis method by playing back recordings of real
instruments. Different instruments can be used by loading different soundfonts into the player, and the quality of the sound is mainly determined by the quality of the used soundfont.
This section describes one possible configuration of a software soundfont player that can be freely downloaded from the web and works with Overtone Analyzer.
Note: The steps described here are only
necessary if your soundcard has no support for soundfont playback and
you don't have external MIDI hardware. If your soundcard is already
capable of native soundfont playback (such as the Soundblaster Live! and Audigy family of cards), you should use these existing facilities for playing back the high quality soundfont described here, as they
will be easier to use and give faster playback.
- Maple Virtual MIDI Cable: http://www.hurchalla.com/Maple_driver.html
Note: As of April 2009, this website seems to be down. While this is resolved, the relevant file can also be found here.
- SaviHost: http://www.hermannseib.com/english/savihost.htm
- sfz Sample Player from rgc:audio: http://www.cakewalk.com/support/project5/sfz.aspx
Note: If the official location doesn't work, you can search the web for "SFZ Sample Player" to find this file, for example here or here.
- Soundfonts, for example WST25FStein_00Sep22.zip from: http://www.pianosounds.com/freesoundfont.htm
- Download the four files above. The given
links were working as of April 2009, but since we have no influence
over these external sites, they may stop working at any time. Please let us know if these links are no longer valid.
- Install the Maple Virtual MIDI Cable by downloading and installing MapleVMCv356.exe.
- Run sfz197.exe
to install the sfz Sample Player. When asked for the installation
folder, change the destination into something like "C:\Program
- Delete sfx.exe in the folder where you just installed the sfz player.
- Open SaviHost.zip and extract savihost.exe into the folder you just created in step 3.
- Rename savihost.exe into sfx.exe.
- Open WST25FStein_00Sep22.zip
and run the contained WST25FStein_00Sep22.exe to extract the piano
soundfont. When asked where to save the resulting file, click on the
browse button and select the folder from step 3:
Check the folder of the sfz player. It should now contain the file WST25FStein_00Sep22.SF2.
sfz.exe. Remember, this should be the renamed savihost.exe, not the
original sfx.exe that was installed by the sfz player. You should now
see something like this:
on the "FILE" selection area (see cursor in the image above) and select
the piano soundfont installed in step 7. If you click on the piano
keyboard of the sfz player, you should now hear piano sounds.
- In the "Device" menu of the sfz player, click on "MIDI" and select "Maple Midi In: Port 1" as Input Port:
on the "Save" icon of the sfz player and save your configuration, for
example as "settings.fxb". This will cause the player to remember the
selected soundfont for later.
- Now open Overtone Analyzer,
press F3 to open the device options dialog, and select "Maple Midi Out:
Port 1" as Midi Output Device.
This concludes the installation of the soundfont player. If you press
the piano keys in Overtone Analyzer now, you should hear a piano sound
that is much better than that of the internal software synthesizer.
Other Instruments / Soundfonts
If you are interested in other instruments, search the web for soundfonts to download.
There are many free and commercial soundfonts available. Once you have
downloaded a soundfont, extract it into the folder of the player and
load the file through the file selection box of the player.
While the method presented here will allow you to greatly improve
the sound quality of your midi instruments even with a cheap standard
sound card, there are a few drawbacks:
- You will have to run the sfz player and keep it running while in use.
high quality soundfont such as the one described here will use a lot
more system resources than the default software synthesizer. If you
don't have a very fast computer with sufficient memory, you may
experience a noticeable delay after pressing a button and before
hearing the sound.
- You will no longer be able to select the
output instrument through the Overtone Analyzer Audio Settings Dialog.
Instead, you have to load the soundfont through the user interface of
the sfz player.
- If you are using cheap computer
speakers, the method here won't help you much. You need to use
headphones or a decent speaker system to get good sound.