Soundfonts

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dag
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:59 am

Soundfonts

Postby dag » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:36 am

I think SFZ is probably the superior format, so if I could find a reliable way to convert SF2 to SFZ on Linux that'd be great. However, I haven't found any method to do that and there's also many more apps that support SF2 (Caustic, Audio Evolution, Grand Piano ...) than do SFZ (only G-Stomper that I know of on Android) so even with conversion it would mean I would have to have duplicates on the 16 GB device storage. And I already have to be selective because my SF2 collection is something like 12 GB. :-P

So it would be great to have support for SF2 soundfonts in G-Stomper. Unlike Caustic, G-Stomper actually supports velocity layers, and unlike Audio Evolution, you can actually see and edit these parameters. Not to mention the obvious benefits of being able to use such soundfonts in songs.

I don't know how much work that would be but since support for the most important parameters is already there I imagine that you could find some library to read SF2 files, add a UI to load them (needs some special UI to select bank and patch) and map to VA-Beast PCM parameters. I don't mean to say it's trivial but it doesn't seem impossible? :-)

However I have a sneaking feeling that you have already considered this and there's a reason it's not supported... A minor issue I can foresee is what do to with the arrow buttons to select the next preset. I would think the most logical thing to do then, when an SF2 file is in use, is to select the next patch within the current bank of that soundfont. But another option might be to select the next file, as normal, and if it's a soundfont file simply select the first bank and patch.
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planet-h
Posts: 1292
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:46 pm

Re: Soundfonts

Postby planet-h » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:51 pm

Thanks for your message, dag

dag wrote:I think SFZ is probably the superior format, so if I could find a reliable way to convert SF2 to SFZ on Linux that'd be great. However, I haven't found any method to do that and there's also many more apps that support SF2 (Caustic, Audio Evolution, Grand Piano ...) than do SFZ (only G-Stomper that I know of on Android) so even with conversion it would mean I would have to have duplicates on the 16 GB device storage. And I already have to be selective because my SF2 collection is something like 12 GB. :-P


Yes, that's correct. SFZ is the superior format, for many reasons.

  • SFZ is transparent and generic. In fact .sfz are just text files, no more, you can edit them in a simple text editor.
  • SFZ does not bundle any samples in some proprietary format, sfz just references samples in .wav, .aif or .ogg (even though GSS does only support .wav and .aif).
  • SFZ does support Mono AND Stereo samples (and GSS is true Stereo from bottom to top)

  • SF2 is proprietary and binary.
  • SF2 bundles all samples in a proprietary pcm format.
  • SF2 is only Mono.

And that's just the peak of the Iceberg.

dag wrote:So it would be great to have support for SF2 soundfonts in G-Stomper. Unlike Caustic, G-Stomper actually supports velocity layers, and unlike Audio Evolution, you can actually see and edit these parameters. Not to mention the obvious benefits of being able to use such soundfonts in songs.

I don't know how much work that would be but since support for the most important parameters is already there I imagine that you could find some library to read SF2 files, add a UI to load them (needs some special UI to select bank and patch) and map to VA-Beast PCM parameters. I don't mean to say it's trivial but it doesn't seem impossible? :-)


And yes, there are probably libraries (even though it's usually required to rewrite 50% of such code to get an adequate performance).
Also, yes, I see the benefit.
As you say, it's not impossible, but it's quite a lot of effort, because SF2 has a completely different structure than all the other formats.
Reading an SF2 is not that complicated, but fitting it's own bank structure properly into the VA-Beast bank structure and into the GSS sample pooling is a lot of work.

dag wrote:However I have a sneaking feeling that you have already considered this and there's a reason it's not supported... A minor issue I can foresee is what do to with the arrow buttons to select the next preset. I would think the most logical thing to do then, when an SF2 file is in use, is to select the next patch within the current bank of that soundfont. But another option might be to select the next file, as normal, and if it's a soundfont file simply select the first bank and patch.


Actually, yes, I considered it at the time when I wrote the VA-Beast PCM Module in Dec 2015.
I did not kill that task, it's just on hold. So far everybody has been happy with the SFZ importer, but if there's a serious need, I'll of course consider it again.
I'll take a closer look to it again soon, once the next official release is live (v.5.2).

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