Where can I find DLS soundbanks?

Discussion in 'Getting Started/New Member Help' started by WhereTheDLS, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    I'm obsessed with MIDI files and stuck with a computer that'll only use DLS soundbanks. SF2 isn't an option. I've searched and searched for DLS files to replace Microsoft's Roland's awful 3MB gm.dls, but all I've found is a Final Fantasy 8 soundbank, and it's not much better. I feel like throttling something.

    What happened to DLS soundbanks? Where can I find some? CAN they be found anymore?
  2. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    That standard never really took off, except as the sample banks of some games. You won't find any DLS files. However, there is an SF2 to DLS converter on the market. Awave Studio will help you there. You should also consider SynthFont, a freeware 10Kx emulator by Kenneth Rundt.

    If you're looking for a specific SoundFont, contact me. I have too many to speak of.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2005
  3. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    Never took off? Great. Reading all the websites about DLS soundbanks made me think they were just barely less abundant than soundfonts. Thanks alot, internet.

    I thought about Awave, but I've heard that SF2 to DLS conversions result in ugliness because the formats are too fundamentally different.

    Unfortunately things like SynthFont wouldn't do any good for me, because as far as I know, they only work as standalone MIDI players and can't be assigned as Windows' preferred MIDI playback device like, say, Wingroove can.

    So unless I heard wrong about SF2 to DLS, I guess I'm pretty much royally screwed, huh?
  4. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    Awave 9.3 does an excellent job, I'm happy to say. You may allow me to convert the banks if you don't have the resources necessary to make the purchase or otherwise.
  5. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    In that case... Totally excellent, and since I pretty grimly don't have the resources necessary, thank you. It'd be great if you could do that. I'm not sure exactly what I should ask you to convert, though.

    What's the highest quality standard 128-instrument soundfont you know of?
  6. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I could never single out any one best among my collection of 182 at share, but some favorites are SGM-180 1.5 (175MB), Titanic 200 GS 1.2 (275MB), Fluid R3 (140MB), Concert GM 0.93b (219MB), and GM Thai Mix 2.6 (174MB). Many of the smaller banks are also good, like Unison GS (27.9MB), Reality GS (31.2MB), GeneralUser GS 1.4b3 (29.9MB), and my own ZSF-GM 0.8a (41.8MB). For the full list of GM banks I host, look here.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2005
  7. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    Hmm. I could manage to download a sub-200MB one, but it'd be alittle annoying with a dial-up connection, and loading a 100+ MB soundbank might make Windows alittle unhappy.

    I'd prefer one of the smaller soundfonts, but is there a really noticable difference in quality between them and the larger ones?
  8. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    There tends to be a difference, yes. I just updated the page with file sizes [comp / decomp]. Would you rather start out with the quintessence of generic, that be Reality, or one with more of a crystalline color, Unison? Or, take your pick from any of the others.
  9. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    Alright then, let's see. I guess the best compromise between quality and not strangling my system RAM would be the SGM-180 1.5 soundfont. I'll go with that.

    Unfortunately, though, DLS files don't compress very well. Transfering it to me could tie up our connections for quite awhile. How do you want to go about doing it?
  10. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I would upload it to the YouSendIt server, where they will provide a download link worth up to a max of 25 hits. I'll do this soon, but our city's primary ISP lost functionality for twelve hours, I formatted my OS partition, and my siblings want to play Diablo 2 on my computer. It will take a while before I can set things straight. I'll be back here with the link within a couple days.

    *Update 1
    I had a problem with the conversion... Apparently DLS does not support scale tuning. The drumsets relied heavily upon it, so now they aren't sounding very healthy. I'm fixing it by manually repositioning the root key of each sample that I know is affected by the parameter drop, but a bit more time will need to be spent on it. Just a few hours should do it.

    *Update 2
    Check your PM box for the link. It should be uploaded.

    *Update 3
    If 102MB is too much for you and are willing to wait a bit more, a ten-piece split RAR of the file is being uploaded to my domain, allowing you to download the bank 10.2MB at a time. If nothing breaks during my nap, it will be at zsf-gm.net/sgm180dls.part01.rar, sgm180dls.part02.rar, ... sgm180dls.part10.rar. Download them in sequential order, because that's the way I'm uploading them. I'd give the first a wait of about an hour after my last post update (0700 GMT -8) to solidify before download, else risk corruption of an incomplete source.

    *Update 4
    Corrected "Udpate 1"
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  11. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    102MB would be just fine, but YouSendIt seems to hate GetRight. It won't let me resume downloading, and that's alittle unhandy, because there's no way I can keep up a connection for the six hours it'd take.

    Your domain plays nice with GetRight, though, so I'll be downloading the 10.2MB split RAR files, instead. Which'll of course also take about six hours. I hope that's not a problem.
  12. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I included the decompressor utility in the archive; the RAR is just for split. The bank is 177 MB decompressed.

    Take as long as you need to download. 1and1's hosting capabilities are to where they won't notice a thing from you.
  13. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    Okay. I just finished downloading and unstuffing it, and... It doesn't work. Windows won't even try loading the soundbank. It acts like there isn't even a DLS file there at all. I don't know why. The trial version of Awave has no problem opening it, and it recognizes it as a DLS. I browsed through it, and I found some wierdness, like a distort guitar that sounds like a brief muffled nylon guitar, and the reed organ sounds like a very short electronic beep, but as far as I know that should just result in some strange sounding instruments, not a soundbank that doesn't work.

    For what it's worth, all the other instruments sound amazing from inside Awave. But...Damnit damnit damnit. Have any ideas?

    If I'm screwed, then thanks for all the work, anyway.
  14. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    You're trying to get Windows to load the bank? Through what interface? I had no issues with my playback of the DLS when I loaded it into Audigy's E-mu 10Kx engine. My only long-term solution is you'd get a Sound Blaster Live! card. They are exceedingly cheap in the right places (just 50 USD for fresh ones, and down to 15 for used) and will load SoundFonts, the format that is natively supported in most of the SBLive!/Audigy line of cards.

    I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, but DLS just isn't mainstream enough for a reason.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2005
  15. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    Well, I'm not using an "interface", exactly. I've got WindowsME, which tries to force me into using the default Roland GM.DLS soundbank by restoring it everytime it gets deleted or overwritten. Or it did, until I disabled that lovely little feature.

    So the way I change soundbanks is to open c:\windows\system32\drivers, name original GM.DLS something else, and rename the replacement soundbank to GM.DLS. It's messy, but it should work fine, and it did work fine for the FF8 soundbank. When I try it with the SGM-180 DLS, though, I simply get no sound coming through the MIDI device. The MIDI device, by the way, is the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth.

    It's probably a longshot, but when you converted it, did you make sure to do it in DLS 1.0 format? The Microsoft synth is probably way too archaic to recognize anything better.
  16. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I did convert it to 2.0. That's a good point, but 1.0 would make the conversion worse. I'll get to it in some spare time, but now I am busy with other projects I've been meaning to get toward before college starts.

    Perhaps you could use a Winamp MIDI plugin to change your default DLS soundbank to SGM-180. If you're interested in the best version, try Pete's v2.6a. Select DM / Microsoft Synthesizer as the playback device to enable DLS functionality ('Show all DirectMusic devices' must be turned on).

    A bit of info. Microsoft has nothing but a lease on GM.DLS. The bank is actually a slimmed down version of the Roland SoundCanvas 55 GS module. I checked into it, and you're right about the format version being 1.0. SF2 will not convert to this obligingly. If Winamp won't do it for you, expect a lot more time for the DLS 1.0 version.

    With a quick and dirty conversion and a play through Microsoft Synthesizer in DXDiag and then Winamp, stuff is playing. A few sounds are indeed muffled or otherwise missing critical parameter data, or just altogether missing. The drums are mostly nonexistent, plus once again lacking their scale tuning. I may take this one instrument at a time, recompiling them in the end.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2005
  17. WhereTheDLS

    WhereTheDLS New Member

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    It's easy to make SGM-180 into my default GM.DLS, seriously sloppy though my method is, so I'm afraid Pete's MIDI plugin wouldn't do me much good.

    But it's alright. I thought I'd never have any hopes of getting a good DLS soundbank, so I don't mind waiting. Feel free to take your time and then some.
  18. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I don't think it would make any difference. The MS DLS synth engine supports 2.0, so nothing would come out of producing a 1.0. Aside that, my Awave has quit working for me lately, and I can't get it to load anything more.

    So, I'll break out my Audio Compositor application to do the rest of the work. The conversion is as complete as it can be under the circumstances. The result, IMNSHO, stinks. However, I'll continue to upload them in the exact fashion as before, so be sure your IE TIF cache is cleared if you got one.

    If it still doesn't work, try the Winamp plugin. It has engines you probably haven't seen in a while. After that and no dice, there is nothing I can do but redirect you to the only GM bank written entirely in the DLS specification that I know of, Fury.

    Zandro Out.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  19. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    2.0 is supported by the MS synth engine after the Direct-X 8.0 update.

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