Actually, the electric guitars are the two instruments on which I spent the highest amount of time, so I don't really see how I could improve them right now ;)
Eris Falling said:
As I said in the Plutonia MIDI Pack thread, the bass guitars and pianos in this soundfont are very nice, but I'm really not a fan of the guitars, they don't sound too nice in most cases. Plusfort (MAP06) of NightFright's Plutonia MIDI Pack conversion really showed this. I don't know how much you can improve them, but I'd definitely welcome an improvement if you could do it :)
I tried tons of samples for these two: real electric guitars with effects, without effects, sampled "famous" synth guitars (like the SC-88 power guitars you can hear on Duke Nukem 3D's "Grabbag" official MP3 from Atomic Edition), amp-driven renditions... nothing was versatile enough to fit as a general-purpose instrument. Either these guitars sounded too "realistic" and were impossible to use with General MIDI files, or either they sounded too bland to give some strength to many tracks.
I ended up using 8 different samples mixed together to get these guitars (as described on the Arachno SoundFont documentation). And, as far as I know, most people usually think that they're a huge improvement on those you can usually find on some other SoundFont banks or synths.
As somebody pointed out on the ZDoom thread linked by Gez, the SC-8850 has several electric guitar amp effects which sound very good and realistic to my ears, but may remain too "synthetic" for most trained guitarists.
Even "professional" virtual electric guitars usually sound "synthesized". Listen to "Legacy of Rust" by Skaven. I remember reading somewhere (his website maybe) that he used a well-known plugin for the electric guitar sound back then (a quite popular one) but I can't remember which one. And, even on this track, the "synthesized" feeling is here... with a paid electric guitar plugin directly designed to simulate an electric guitar!
So, it's even more difficult to achieve guitar amp effects with SoundFont synths, which don't offer any integrated "electric guitar" effect, so you can only rely on the samples themselves ;)
I'm actually very happy with the Arachno SoundFont electric guitars (but how I could say anything else, hehe!). I released a demo of these presets on YouTube several months ago, if you want to compare them with some famous tracks which aren't from video games: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cAtUbuQB0g
Choirs are very difficult to sample as well, even more if you want both bass (men) and treble voices (women) in the same instrument, like I did for my Choir Aahs ;)
Guitars and choirs are always the weak link it seems. Is it the uncanny valley or what? I am always distracted by those two.
The SC-8850 has pretty decent choir samples. I'll try to benefit from them for the next instrument update.
Really? It sounds very strange to me, I never noticed it, even with my own X-Fi (although I have an updated EMU20K2, PCIe version) which renders the MIDI file just like other synths, SoundFont or not.
Also, there is a missing instrument in e1m2. It's easy to find because it is the first one and doesn't play. It is missing in every sound font tried.
Is there any YouTube/SoundCloud/whatsoever link I could check with the original music and the instrument you're missing, to compare it with?
It was the case... until powerful software synths like BASSMIDI or VirtualMIDISynth came out in 2010 ;) (hopefully, they were released just before I finished writing the SoundFont's documentation, so I could add information on alternative software synths on it!).
I use an x-fi but after reading this thread will try a software solution and maybe that will help. Too bad, I thought dedicated hardware was the way to go. What do you guys use for your sound device?
I don't really use my X-Fi anymore these days, just BASSMIDI or VirtualMIDISynth alternatively (BASSMIDI for recordings as its rendering is more stable once all instruments have been cached, and VirtualMIDISynth for listening purposes, mainly because of its faster caching mechanism).
They both sound the same as they're using the same BASS engine, and they don't suffer from all the exasperating playback issues you can have with *all* hardware Sound Blaster SoundFont MIDI synths (either Live!, Audigy or X-Fi), mainly related to limited polyphony.
Although I never thought I'd ever say that back when I was building the SoundFont on my Live! (because software synths available at the time, like sfz or TiMidity++, had incomplete SoundFont support), I'd recommend using these two software synths over any Creative soundcard any day now.
I really like arachno sound font overall. For me it is as good or better than the alternatives I have been exposed to.
This track sounds better on the YouTube link you've provided, for sure ;)
Someone reported that the Arachno soundfont was too loud on some instruments of CBLOOD7 when played through Fluidsynth within SLADE 3. I tried it myself and the volumes were reasonable; but I'm really not convinced by how the strings sound in that song. So if you update the font, I suggest finding better strings. :)
The strings are a mix of acoustic and synthetic presets on this song. It usually sounds good, but it really depends of the "synthetic" threshold applied to the Synth strings on the SoundFont you're using ;)
Anyway, Arachno SoundFont's strings could be improved with some better samples in some areas. My SC-8850 often sounds more natural on most MIDIs using string ensembles.
But it seems that Blood's MIDI files were composed on a particular synth. Some instruments appear in red on vanBasco's Karaoke Player (meaning that the presets chosen are not from the "standard" GM or classic GS set from SC-55/SC-88) and are not recognized by my SC-8850 or MU1000.
I'll have to checkout the rendering of Arachno SoundFont on FluidSynth as well.