SONiVOX SoundFonts - Frequently Asked Questions

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sonivox mainWe've put together answers to some of the most common questions about the SONiVOX Virtual Instruments.  With the tips in this FAQ under your belt, you'll have even better control over your new hardware and software.

 

Contents

  1. Installing SONiVOX Soundfonts
  2. Playing the Soundfonts - Hardware or Software Options
  3. Loading SONiVOX Soundfonts in Cakewalk or SONAR sequencers (used along with a Creative Labs Soundcard)
  4. Selecting your sounds in Cakewalk sequencers after loading your Soundfont banks
  5. Loading SONiVOX Soundfonts directly into your Creative Labs card
  6. Using VSampler 3
  7. Using Sfz Player
  8. Using LiveSynth Pro
  9. Using Logic EXS 24
  10. Using Reason NNXT
  11. Other Soundfont Software Samplers
  12. Reverb Settings
  13. I can’t find the Audio HQ Control for loading my sounds.
  14. I get an error message saying I don’t have enough memory to load these sounds.
  15. The volume is really low on my system. How can I turn it up?
  16. Something is distorting, clipping, or sounding really bad when I play SONiVOX sounds.
  17. Additional Technical Support

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Installing SONiVOX Soundfonts

  • Locate the folder where you downloaded your SONiVOX product.
  • Double click on the installation program; "BJ Large Ambient1.exe" or "The Complete Acoustic Guitar.exe", etc.
  • Follow the installation directions to install SONiVOX Soundfonts onto your hard drive.

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Playing the Soundfonts - Hardware or Software Options

In order to play Soundfonts, you will need to have either a soundcard that directly supports soundfonts or a software sampler that can import the Soundfont files. The only soundcards that directly support Soundfonts are the creative Labs Soundblaster Live, Audigy, and XFi soundcards. If you have a different soundcard, you will need to use a software sampler. We recommend using either VSampler 3 or RGC Audio's Sfz Player, which both do a very good job of importing all the programming parameters correctly. If you plan on using other software, please see the section below on other software samplers for more details.

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Loading SONiVOX Soundfonts in Cakewalk or SONAR sequencers (used along with a Creative Labs Soundcard)

Most current versions of Cakewalk sequencers have a dedicated menu item for loading Soundfont banks. If you have a Creative Labs soundcard, you can load the Soundfonts directly within the sequencer, simplifying the process. (If you have a different Soundcard, you will need to use software capable of playing back Soundfonts – we recommend VSampler 3 or LiveSynth Pro. Please see the sections below for instructions on loading using this software).

  1. Open your Cakewalk Sequencer.
  2. Select Soundfonts under the File Menu or the Options Menu. (If there is no Soundfonts option, contact Cakewalk Music Systems to upgrade to a Soundfont compatible version.)
  3. Select a blank Bank by highlighting it. This will be the Bank # for selecting program changes.
  4. Hit the Attach button and select your SONiVOX Soundfont file. Wait until it loads into memory. (You’ll see a message at the bottom of the Cakewalk window indicating it’s loading.)
  5. Close the window. You’re sounds are now ready to be selected in the sequencer.
  6. If you receive a message that there is not enough room to load the Soundfont, you need to increase the Cache size for the Creative Labs soundcard. Please see steps 1-3 in the section below on loading sounds directly into the Creative Labs soundcard.

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Selecting your sounds in Cakewalk sequencers after loading your Soundfont banks

  1. Make sure you’ve loaded your SONiVOX sounds in the Soundfont window under the File menu. (See above)
  2. In the track window, double click on the Patch field for the track your working on.
  3. Make sure the Input and Output parameters are set appropriately.
  4. Select your MIDI channel under Channel.
  5. Under Bank Select Method, select Controller 0.
  6. Under Bank, select your SONiVOX Soundfont file.
  7. Under Patch, select the SONiVOX instrument you want to use.

If you don’t hear the SONiVOX sounds at this point go to the Settings menu and select MIDI Devices, make sure your Creative card is selected, then say OK. This will trigger the Soundfont file to be downloaded again and refreshed.

Some other sequencing software programs offer support for loading Soundfonts within the software, such as Steinberg's Cubase. Consult the manual for your software to see if it supports soundfonts, and for detailson how to load the soundfonts within that software. Click OK and return to the track window for tracking or playing.

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Loading SONiVOX Soundfonts directly into your Creative Labs card

If you are using Software that doesn’t have direct Soundfont support, or are just playing live, you can load Soundfont files directly to the Creative Labs card. Depending on which Soundcard you have, you will have slightly different applications for controlling your card

For Soundblaster Live! and the original Audigy cards

  1. Open the AudioHQ application located in your Creative Labs folder.
  2. Double click on the Soundfonts Control Panel
  3. Select the Options tab. Using the Soundfont Cache slider, set the amount of cache memory to at least half of the available memory in your PC. In other words, if you have 512 Mbytes of RAM in your PC, set this to at least 256 Mbytes. You can also set it higher if you like. (Setting the cache memory does NOT mean setting aside or reserving that memory. The memory can still be used by other files or programs as needed.) This step only needs to be done once.
  4. Select the Configure Bank tab.
  5. In the Select Bank list select an empty Bank (for example, Bank 1).
  6. Click the Load button and select your first SONiVOX Soundfont file.
  7. If you wish to load another set of sounds at this time, select another empty bank and repeat step 7.
  8. Continue with this method until you have loaded all the files you wish or until you run out of memory.
  9. It is possible to load multiple files into a single bank. In this case, the different files will be displayed in the Bank Stack Window, and all the programs loaded from those files would show up in the same bank. However, to keep things clear and simple, you probably want to put each file into a separate bank.
  10. Close the Soundfont Control. You’re now ready to use your SONiVOX sounds.

For the Audigy 2 card

  1. Open the Soundfont Bank Manager application located in your Creative Labs folder.
  2. Click on the MIDI Devices Button.
  3. Set the Cache parameter to Dynamic Cache. Using the Soundfont Cache slider, set the amount of cache memory to at least half of the available memory in your PC. In other words, if you have 512 Mbytes of RAM in your PC, set this to at least 256 Mbytes. You can also set it higher if you like. (Setting the cache memory does NOT mean setting aside or reserving that memory. The memory can still be used by other files or programs as needed.) Then close the MIDI devices Window. This step only needs to be done once.
  4. Click on the word Bank on the left hand side of the Soundfont Bank Manager window. A popup window appears that allows you to choose a bank to load into
  5. In the Select Bank list select an empty Bank (for example, Bank 1).
  6. Click the Load button and select your first SONiVOX Soundfont file.
  7. If you wish to load another set of sounds at this time, select another empty bank and repeat step 7.
  8. Continue with this method until you have loaded all the files you wish or until you run out of memory.
  9. It is possible to load multiple files into a single bank. In this case, the different files will be displayed in the Bank Stack Window, and all the programs loaded from those files would show up in the same bank. However, to keep things clear and simple, you probably want to put each file into a separate bank.
  10. Close the Soundfont Control. You’re now ready to use your SONiVOX sounds.

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Using VSampler 3

VSampler3 is software sampler that comes as both a stand-alone and plug-in product (for both DXi and VSTi formats). We recommend using this software because it does a great job of correctly importing all the programming parameters. It should be noted that older versions of VSampler do NOT work well with Soundfonts, so if you use VSampler, make sure to get VSampler 3.0 or later. The DXi plugin of Vsampler 3 comes bundled with SONAR 3.0 Producer Edition. The following instructions are for using VSampler 3 within SONAR 3.0

  1. From the Insert Menu, select DXi Synth, then VSampler.
  2. A dialog Box will pop up. Make sure that "MIDI Source Track" and "First Synth Output" are selected, then press OK. This will create two tracks - a MIDI track for recording your MIDI data, and an audio track used for outputting the audio from VSampler. The MIDI track is automatically assigned to send MIDI data to the VSampler audio track.
  3. Under View, select DXi Synth Rack. When that window pops up, double click on VSampler.
  4. If this is the first time you are using VSampler, you will have the chance to go through the registration process. Once you finish with that, the VSampler Window will come up.
  5. In the VSampler window, click on Import, then SF2. This brings up a file navigation window, allowing you to navigate to eth file you want and choose it. You will then see all of the programs contained in that file.
  6. If you click once on a program, you can audition it. Double click a program to load it. You should have the "target in use" parameter set to "Next Free Slot" or "Ask" depending on how you want to work. This will allow you to specify where the program will be loaded. Everything that you load into VSampler is remembered for future use, so once you have loaded sounds into a particular VSample bank and location, it will remain there for all future uses of VSampler
  7. Once a program is loaded, you need to go back to the MIDI track, and assign the MIDI channel, bank, and program number to that track, so that it plays the correct sound. In the “Bnk” drop-down list, select the SoundFont bank you loaded. Select an appropriate patch in the “Pch” drop-down list.

If you are using an earlier version of SONAR, the MIDI and audio tracks are not automatically connected. So you need to do the following:

  1. Choose Insert-Audio Track to add a new audio track.
  2. Right-click in the FX box and choose DX Instruments-VSampler.
  3. Follow steps 3-6 to load the sounds you want into VSampler.

Next you need to set up your MIDI track:

  1. Select “LiveSynth Pro” in the “Out” drop-down list in the MIDI track you want LiveSynth Pro to play. Be sure you are selecting the MIDI track, not your Audio track where you selected LiveSynth Pro as your “FX”.
  2. In the “Bnk” drop-down list, select the SoundFont bank you loaded.
  3. Select an appropriate patch in the “Pch” drop-down list.

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Using Sfz Player

Sfz is a freeware VST/DXi sample player created by RGC Audio that allows for disk-streaming of soundfont files, among other useful features. If you're using Cakewalk Sonar5 or beyond, Sfz comes bundled with it. Even if you're using a Creative Labs soundcard you should seriously consider utilizing Sfz as its DFD mode will allow you to load and use more soundfont instruments than is currently possible with Creative Labs cards.

If you don't have Sfz, you can download it for free here: http://www.rgcaudio.com/sfz.htm. Be sure to follow the included instructions for installing it and consult your sequencer's help files for information on configuring VST synths; your sequencer will need to be VST compatible in order to run Sfz. Once you have Sfz installed and configured, follow these steps to load and use your SONiVOX Soundfonts:

  1. Launch Sfz. If you're working with Sonar4 follow this path from the 'Insert' option of the Sonar menu bar: 'Insert/DXi Synth/VST/Sfz.' If you're using Sonar5 or beyond go to: Insert/Soft Synth/VST/Sfz.
  2. In the Sfz interface, click on the field next to 'File' and point the browser to the location of the soundfont file you wish to load. Consult the Sfz help files for more information on playback options.

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Using LiveSynth Pro

SONAR 2.0 came with a demo version of Live Synth Pro. As mentioned above, we have long recommend using this software because it does a great job of correctly importing all the programming parameters. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Live Update, the company that created LiveSynth Pro, has gone out of business. It is hoped they will return and continue selling this excellent software. We have included the instructions below, since so many people already have access to this software.

To Use LiveSynth Pro for a Track in SONAR 2.0:

  1. Choose Insert-Audio Track to add a new audio track.
  2. Right-click in the FX box and choose DX Instruments-LiveSynth Pro.
  3. The LiveSynth Pro control panel will open automatically.
  4. Click Browse and select a SoundFont (.sf2) file.
  5. Choose an unused bank by entering the number into the “Bank #” text box. LiveSynth Pro supports up to 128 simultaneously loaded SoundFont banks each with up to 128 sub-banks.
  6. Click Load to load the selected SoundFont.
  7. Close the LiveSynth Pro window.

To Assign MIDI Tracks to be played with LiveSynth Pro:

  1. Select “LiveSynth Pro” in the “Out” drop-down list in the MIDI track you want LiveSynth Pro to play. Be sure you are selecting the MIDI track, not your Audio track where you selected LiveSynth Pro as your “FX”.
  2. In the “Bnk” drop-down list, select the SoundFont bank you loaded.
  3. Select an appropriate patch in the “Pch” drop-down list.

Note: If you load a SoundFont bank with sub-banks, the sub-banks will show up in the “Bnk” drop-down list.

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Using Logic EXS 24

In order for Logic to recognize the soundfont file you will need to move it into this directory: Library/Application Support/Logic/Sampler Instruments.The soundfont file name will be added to your available instruments list the next time the instrument menu is opened in EXS. The first time you select your soundfont, Logic will automatically convert it to an EXS instrument; the original soundfont file will not be changed or deleted.

Please note that if you follow these steps and find that EXS does not recognize the file, it could be because the file name is too long to be recognized. Try changing the file name to something short and sweet (MyNewDrums.sf2) and see if this makes a difference. In all likelihood, it will.

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Using Reason NNXT

Simply browse to the soundfont file from within the NNXT sampler and click 'open.' That's it!

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Other Soundfont Software Samplers

There are several other software samplers that can load or import soundfont files. Be aware, however, that porting .sf2 files to other software samplers can often be a risky proposition; many soft samplers that claim to support the Soundfont specification will, in many cases, not translate all programming parameters correctly. The most common problems involve filter data and volume settings, and occasionally some tuning problems. This is why we recommend VSampler 3, LiveSynth Pro, or Sfz Player. If you are using a different software sampler, you may find it necessary to edit some of the programs to achieve the desired effect.

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Reverb Settings

SONiVOX programs typically come with reverb and/or chorus programmed for the effects in Creative Labs cards. If you're not hearing reverb in your Soundfont instruments (please note- not all programs have been set up for reverb/chorus), you'll want to make sure your AUDIO HQ settings are properly configured. To do this, follow these instructions.

Audigy Cards:

  1. Go to Audio HQ in the Program Manager's Creative folder
  2. Click on the EAX Control Panel
  3. Change the Reverb amount to approximately -6db
  4. Keep the Original Sound amount at 100%
  5. Go to the SOURCE tab and set the Reverb amount to 0% for each of the input sources, which you select * under the Select Source pull-down menu.
  6. Save this setting so it comes up automatically the next time you boot up.

Live! Cards:

  1. Go to the Audio HQ tab in Creative Launcher, select Mixer
  2. Click on the Environmental Audio button
  3. Click on the 'Settings' parameter under 'Environment'
  4. Change the Reverb amount to approximately 50%
  5. Keep the Original Sound amount at 100%
  6. Go to the SOURCE tab and set the Reverb amount to 0% for each of the input sources, which you select under the Select Source pull-down menu.
  7. Save this setting so it comes up automatically the next time you boot up.

If in general you want a little more or less reverb, you can change these settings to your taste.

You will only hear these effects if you have a Creative Labs SoundblasterLive or Audigy soundcard. If you are using a different soundcard, you will need to use an external effects processor for any effects you desire.

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I can’t find the Audio HQ Control for loading my sounds.

The Control panel for loading Soundfonts may be called something slightly different depending on the soundcard you have. It would have been loaded into your Creative Labs folder upon installing your soundcard and soundcard software. You should also check Section 13 of this manual to make sure you have a Soundfont compatible soundcard.

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I get an error message saying I don’t have enough memory to load these sounds.

The Soundblaster Live card loads sounds into memory on the soundcard itself, while the Audigy card uses system memory. The Soundblaster Live card is limited to a maximum of 64 meg. In the case of the Audigy card, the limits are a bit more complicated. If you have less than 1.5 gig of system RAM, the maximum amount of soundfonts you can load at any one time is approximately 110 meg. If you have 1.5 gig or greater, the maximum amount is approximately 356 meg.

No matter what the limit, you still might need to adjust the memory cache setting to a larger amount than it is curently set. For the SoundblasterLive card, this can be found in the Audio HQ application. For the Audigy soundcard, call up teh Soundfont Bank Manager application and click on the MIDI Devices button. Set the Memory setting to Dynamic and increase the cache amount to the amount you need (or the max setting).

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The volume is really low on my system. How can I turn it up?

There are a few places to turn up the volume on your PC. First try going to Start/Programs/Accessories/MultiMedia/Volume Control and turn up the Volume Control, Wave Balance, and MIDI Balance to approximately 90%. If this still doesn’t fix it, you can also go into your SoundBlaster folder and select the Creative Mixer. You should set these levels also at approximately 90%.

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Something is distorting, clipping, or sounding really bad when I play SONiVOX sounds.

It’s possible your volume is too high on your PC and you’re clipping the audio. Go to:

Start/Programs/Accessories/MultiMedia/Volume Control and set the Volume Control, Wave Balance, and MIDI Balance to approximately 90%. You should also go into your SoundBlaster folder and select the Creative Mixer. Set these levels also at approximately 90%. Adjust these levels until you don’t experience the distortion any longer.

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Additional Technical Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own a SONiVOX product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the SONiVOX technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

http://sonivoxmi.com/support

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