Author Topic: Preserving original midi sounds  (Read 5531 times)

Offline Cackles

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Preserving original midi sounds
« on: September 04, 2008, 21:24:22 »
Up to now, I've done all of my songs in MIDI, so I'm kind of ignorant about other formats. The problem with midi songs is that they tend to sound different on different sound cards, so I'm looking into MOD formats as a way to make my songs sound the same on other computers without taking up as much space as MP3s or OGGs.

The question I have is whether or not there's a way to import midi instruments as they sound on my computer. The midi instruments that comes with ModPlug makes my songs sound kind of weird, so I want to keep the instruments I was originally using.

Offline LPChip

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 21:33:07 »
I can give you two kind of answers here. A really short and basically not so much saying answer, and a longer one.

The short answer would be: Yes its possible one way or the other.

The long answer is actually one I can't give because I'd need more information for that.

First of all, the sound you have on your soundcard is obviously important, so my question is: What soundcard do you have?

Secondly, the midi bank you use, what kind of extension is it, and how did you got it?

Third question would be: how do you want to distribute your music?

If you don't really mind about the method of distribution, you'll most likelly end up using mp3 anyway, so converting the midi to mp3 could save you alot of effort in the first place. If you really want to distribute an .IT file, then there will be alot of work involved, as you'll need to extract the sounds from the midi bank before you can make a song with it. Ofcource, once extracted you can use it for any song, which makes it a one-time only process.

If you just want portability for yourself, you can use .IT files with VSTi plugins to play midi bank files (like .sbk, sf2 and dls). So there are some options available. I'm looking forward to see the answer to the questions provided earlier in order to help you further.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
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Offline Cackles

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 21:48:38 »
I'm using a Sigmatel HD audio 92xx and using Vista (Not sure if that's important, but it sounds different when I boot into XP and listen to my midis). I haven't gotten any other midi banks, so I'm using the one that came with my computer. I'm not sure what extension or where it is though.

Not really sure how I want to distribute it either. I just want to use a format that preserves the original sound on other computers and takes up as little space as possible. I just heard that the MOD formats tend to be smaller than MP3s.

Offline Sam_Zen

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 01:01:52 »
The main disadvantage of MIDI soundfiles is the dependency of the current hardware situation of the soundchip.
Software dependent as well, with the presets by some extenal soundbanks.
The difference lies in the fact of system-independent single sound-sample files.

The reason why a MOD file can be smaller than a MP3, is the fact, that it's not time-dependant.
A MOD (or XM or IT) file contains the necessary material to perform the serial composition.
The sounds of the instruments, and the score to play them.
A MP3 is just a recording of the piece, so if things are added, or the playbackspeed is changed, it will have a bigger filesize.
With a tracker file these differences could be just a few more code-bytes, whether a piece is 3:32 or 6:42.
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Offline LPChip

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2008, 06:11:37 »
Please note, that if you're after quality (which I'm sure you are) then it can easilly come to the fact that the MP3 version will be much smaller than the module.

The reason for this, is that the main difference between midi and modules are, that a midi doesn't store the sounds in the file, while the module does.

If you extract the sounds from your soundfont in a high quality base, then it can very well be that just one instrument takes up to 3 mb. (depends on how good your soundfont bank is though)

I have a >100 mB soundfont bank, and I extracted a guitar once. Got me a 4 mb instrument. But if you have say... a 8mB soundfont bank, then it'll probably be very tiny. like 40kB

I can make modules of 20mB each quite easilly, which rendered to mp3/ogg gives me a 5mB file.

But one thing is quite strange. You have different sound between XP and Vista. That really doesn't make much sense, unless one of the two is not configured properly.

The first thing you want to figure out, is what you have in Vista, and then try everything to get a duplicate situation in your XP. Yes, that is possible!

That means: Find out what sounddriver you use in Vista. Can it be that you use DirectX - MS Wavetable device, or are you indeed using your soundcard drivers? I have an X-Fi card with like 9 different sounddevices for midi, each giving slightly to alot of different sounds.

Secondly, if it indeed uses your soundcard drivers, can you find a place in the controlpanel of your soundcard to change the soundfont?

If so, what is it currently set to, and can you set this similar in XP?

And finally, what extension does the bank have if its indeed a soundfont bank?
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Sam_Zen

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2008, 06:24:16 »
I must admit, things have been changed in the meantime, due to big filesizes of the single instruments.
So a tracker can be 120 MB while the MP3 maybe is 2 MB.
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Offline bvanoudtshoorn

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 11:20:41 »
Hmm - a quick google of "Midi Tracker" gives me this site. There's also the rather venerable zTracker, which hasn't been developed since '02, if you're interested in getting your MIDI files across. You can also have a play with Aodix, which, TBH, looks pretty awesome, but can't export to IT or anything, and requires VST instruments throughout.


Now, as I think has been mentioned already, you'll generally find that high quality tracker files are bigger than MIDI files. Much bigger. There was a stage when I was regularly working with XIs and ITIs between 50MB and 250MB. Nowadays, I work 99.99% with VST instruments, particularly Kontakt. Kontakt 2 + 3 gives me a combined total of around 50GB of samples, but allows me to keep the file size down to around 200-500KB per song. (You can achieve a similar effect by using ITPs in OpenMPT). The problem, though, is that if you don't save the sounds into the file, then unless someone else has exactly the same files as you, they won't be able to play the track at all. That's why MP3s etc. are so prevalent on music sites like here and Trax In Space - not everyone has the same setup.

Offline LPChip

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2008, 11:53:06 »
Barry, I think you kinda misunderstood his question.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline bvanoudtshoorn

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2008, 14:12:44 »
===
Barry, I think you kinda misunderstood his question.
===

Maybe a little... But what I posted is kinda relevant... :P

Offline Sam_Zen

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Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2008, 23:28:44 »
This is an exploration of the alternatives instead of using MIDI files. With all the aspects involved. And consequences.
The main question by Cackles is, I think, to publish a file which sounds the same on somebody else's computer.
So I think it's quite relevant to mention the aspect using VSTi's, that the plugin should be present, to get it played correctly.
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Offline uncloned

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Re: Preserving original midi sounds
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2008, 00:17:31 »
Quote from: "Cackles"


The question I have is whether or not there's a way to import midi instruments as they sound on my computer. The midi instruments that comes with ModPlug makes my songs sound kind of weird, so I want to keep the instruments I was originally using.


There exists excellent general midi soundfonts.

I think there is a freeware  VST soundfont player available to use in modplug.

While it would not be exact this will probably be close, and at least not bad in sound quality.