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Where are General MIDI Sounds?

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Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:44 pm

Hello. I've got some MIDI files of musical examples that were created for-and-using General MIDI sounds... the cheap tones that sound when you play them in (e.g.) Windows Media Player through most built in PC soundcards such as RealTek or Soundblaster.

When I play files though my external Audio Interface, I hear nothing... so does that mean the sounds are stored on these soundcards and not on the Windows disk?

I really need to hear these examples as they were created (for General MIDI sounds) so I know what the intentions were. Are there any (free) players that have these sounds built in that I can simply download and install? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something?

I'd like a quick GM player so I can audition them. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:54 pm

You need to point the MIDI data towards a synth (hardware or virtual) that understands GM commands. At worst you could simply point the MIDI at Windows' built-in in GM synth - which should be available as a virtual instrument in your DAW. It won't sound particularly great, but it may suffice to hear what's going on.

All GM consists of is standard MIDI commands. If you have an idea what sound each part is trying to play (you should be able to import into a DAW and separate it by MIDI channel) then you could get a rough idea of the song by choosing appropriate sounds in whatever synths or sound modules you have to hand and making sure you match each MIDI channel up with a suitable patch. Drums are invariably on channel 10.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:07 pm

On other people's PCs, I can just open these MIDI files with Windows Media Player, which plays simple '90's Yamaha keyboard' type sounds, I presume stored on the bundled soundcard?

The thing is, I know that these files were created with these simple sounds in mind, so I can't point them to my favourite synth or drum machine to hear what they intended.

There are also a lot of MIDI files and I need to listen through them quickly, without having to 'unfold' them in a DAW or whatever each time. Surely this can't be that difficult? How does Windows Media Player know where to get the sounds normally, and why doesn't it play them through my audio interface if they're on the PC disk?

Thanks
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Agharta » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:14 pm

What version of Windows?
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:17 pm

Agharta wrote:What version of Windows?

Windows 7. The original soundcard bundled with my PC would probably play these files no problem by default. I'm talking really basic stuff, the sounds that play when you open a MIDI file on a website or open them in Windows Media Player at, say, a library or whatever. It might be the MICROSOFT GS WAVETABLE SW SYNTH sounds I don't know.

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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:31 pm

I'm very confused, but maybe it's these sounds that I'm talking about. I assumed everyone would know exactly what I'm talking about...

https://musical-artifacts.com/artifacts/713

Thing is, I don't really want to open them in a DAW every time and route them to a soundfont, I just want to quickly listen like I could do on any budget PC I've ever used.

Thanks
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Logarhythm » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:43 pm

What are you currently trying to play them with?
Can you not open then in Windows Media Player? It should just play them using the Microsoft Wavetable GS synth built into Windows without any tinkering IIRC, and give you exactly the basic cheesy GM sound for which you're looking.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:49 pm

Logarhythm wrote:What are you currently trying to play them with?
Can you not open then in Windows Media Player? It should just play them using the Microsoft Wavetable GS synth built into Windows without any tinkering IIRC, and give you exactly the basic cheesy GM sound for which you're looking.

Cheers. Windows Media Player just shows the file playing, but there's no sound from it, though my Audio Interface anyway, although I'd assume there would be through the bundled soundcard I removed. That's why I'm surprised (if) they're on system32, because there'd be no reason they wouldn't play through my (Firewire) audio interface. I don't know how it works.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:58 pm

It seems to be the gm.dls file, typically located in C:\windows\system32\drivers. So it is an actual soundfont by Roland that WMP uses to play the sounds and not the soundcard. So it's quite odd that I don't hear anything.

But I never did... even using the Edirol (made by Roland) audio interface on my XP laptop, I remember plugging headphones into the laptop and hearing the MIDI file playing but nothing though the interface.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Logarhythm » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:04 pm

I believe the GM synth is part of Windows 7 rather than the soundcard / AI device.
If you go into control panel, select manage audio devices, look at the Playback tab and right-click on your current output device (your soundcard), can you see an option for "About Software MIDI Synthesizer"?
Choosing this should show you something that looks roughly like this:
Image

Edit: You might also be able to see it as a MIDI output in your DAW, and play them that way:

Image
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Elephone » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:15 pm

Thanks. When I configured my Audio Interface, perhaps the GM synth is automatically disabled then. I really don't want to use my DAW because it 'unfolds' the complex MIDI file into all the parts and controllers, etc, which then need to routed to the soundfont each time.

I just want to play files like I would in WMP, so I can get an idea about musical examples... otherwise it'd take me an age to finish the book that they came with.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby Logarhythm » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:52 pm

I'd suggested checking the DAW because it might show you if the basic Windows thing exists in your system, as a starting point.
With some DAWs you might not need to go through that setup process each time either - tried with Cubase and if I import a MIDI file it seems to automatically allocate the correct sounds from the Windows GS synth based on the info in the file, in the same way that Windows Media Player would.
If it's just a basic player that you need them you could try one of the web ones - there seem to be a few sites where you can upload a MIDI file to play back.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:50 pm

The Windows GM instrument is present in Win10 - when I import MIDI files into Cubase on Win10 it defaults to it.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby ef37a » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:02 am

Just my 2p'oth... in Samplitude Pro X3 (and 3 other Sam versions I have) you hit 'Y' and a connections menu comes up and you can set Audio tracks and MIDI to Wavetable Synth if you want to.

This obtains for W7 and W10. As Elf says WtS does not sound good and the latency is 'note next week' bu you get a noise.

Dave.
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Re: Where are General MIDI Sounds?

Postby leeSophia » Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:45 am

Elephone wrote:Hello. I've got some MIDI files of musical examples that were created for-and-using General MIDI sounds... the cheap tones that sound when you play them in (e.g.) Windows Media Player through most built in PC soundcards such as RealTek or Soundblaster.

When I play files though my external Audio Interface, I hear nothing... so does that mean the sounds are stored on these soundcards and not on the Windows disk?

I really need to hear these examples as they were created (for General MIDI sounds) so I know what the intentions were. Are there any (free) players that have these sounds built in that I can simply download and install? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something?

I'd like a quick GM player so I can audition them. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance

Much appreciated. At the point when I designed my Audio Interface, maybe the GM synth is naturally incapacitated at that point. I truly would prefer not to utilize my DAW since it 'unfurls' the perplexing MIDI document into all the parts and controllers.

I import MIDI records into Cubase on Win10 it defaults to it.

GarageBand will perceive General MIDI program changes, so utilizing standard midi documents is surprisingly better than previously. Here is the guide on that. Cheers! https://garagebandonpc.com/
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