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MIDI sound card that sounds as good as the AWE32/AWE64

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi,

It's been --decades-- since I fooled around with MIDI sounds.
I was blown away with Creative Labs AWE32/AWE64 back in the late 1980s.

Questions:

1. How come MIDI sounds from my computer's on board sound card sucks considering it has been about 30 years since the AWE32?
I would think they are even better now.

2. Is there a sound card out there today that can sound as good or better than the AWE32/AWE64 in terms of MIDI playback?

3. Is there a way for me to make my MIDI sound card sound as good as the AWE32/AWE64 by loading better MIDI sounds? If yes where do I start to do this?


I am basically trying to improve the MIDI sound quality playback on my computer. I am open to suggestions.

Thanks in advance,
--eric
post #2 of 7
What used to be done entirely in hardware on the AWE32/AWE64 boards using SoundFont technology by Creative has been replaced by sample based libraries that run via sequencing software on PC/Mac platforms and are processed by the PC and played back as digital audio to any compatible sound card.

I recently purchased something called a "Maschine" by Native Instruments, it's a 16-pad sequencing drum pad looking device that seamlessly integrated with the "Maschine" software that runs on a PC (or Mac). There are sound libraries that come with it for thousands of common and uncommon instrument types, and you can map MIDI data and channels in the software to tracks in the sequencer then play it back via your sound card. The quality of the sounds is PRISTINE. Most of the samples are 24-bit 96 KHz I think. Of course, this is a hardware+software solution, but they also sell just the sound library plugins and those can be used with other non-NI branded sequencing software like Pro Tools, Cakewalk, Cubase, Acid, etc., any program that supports the RST plug-ins.

So in summary, you're going to need a sequencing package and some kind of sound library package, tie them together, and load up then play your old MIDI files. =)

Greg
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Greg, that answers pretty much everything.... just to clarify...

If I get something like Pro Tools which I assume comes with a sound library (RST?) , this will allow me to play MIDI a lot better? Or can I just buy the sound library and install that as a "standalone" to replace the default MIDI sounds in Windows 7? Which one would be good to start with?

...Will it "replace" the default MIDI library in my Windows 7, so that if I use a player like VLC on a MIDI file, it will sound better?

Or will I need to run all MIDI files through Pro Tools to get the nice MIDI sound?
Edited by ericagph - 8/2/13 at 9:13pm
post #4 of 7
Don't assume that a sequencer (of any brand) comes with a sound library. Many do not.

You would need to run the MIDI files through the sequencer in order for the sound library to be employed.

This might be something you can check out - it's free / shareware from what I can tell.

http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth

Greg
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Greg, thanks again
post #6 of 7
    Wow, thanks Greg!  I've been looking for something like this for years! thumb.gif

    I don't understand why Microsoft doesn't get a few brains and ditch the "Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth" from Windows 98 and just write a simple driver (like this one) to interface to the much better DirectMusic Synthesizer (that only games can use)—and then pay someone to make a better soundfont while they're at it. rolleyes.gif
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post #7 of 7
there are standalone plugins like the Steinberg Hypersonic, Komplete that you can use to play your MIDI files even without a sequencer or a DAW.
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