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Another methode how to import soundfonts

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Joined: 13 Oct 2011
Posts: 1493

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:12 pm    Post subject: Another methode how to import soundfonts Reply with quote

lately I've received some inquiries about inadequacies in importing sf2 samples and how to work around them - I'd rather answer that here than PM.

Some basic information:

Sf2-files are structured as sf2-bank, sf2-preset, sf2-preset-zone, sf2-instrument, sf2-instrument-zone, sf2-sample, all memorized in RIFF-format.
Audio data are (WAV, PCM) are located in the stda chunk of the RIFF, the playback parameters described for the instrument and presets are in its pdta chunks.

Soundfont bank samples in PCM format are mapped to sections on a musical keyboard. Synthesis parameters are described in instruments and presets (loops, vibrato effect, velocity sensitive volume changing etc) and are capabilities to render audio content to get the quality of a professional digital sampler.
sf2 files therefore are divided into two essential parts:
- part one of sf2-files contains audio samples in PCM format
- part two of sf2-files contains describtions of playback synthesis parameters
Software that will open / convert or fix SF2 files mostly only use the first part - the DEFINED GROUP OF PCM AUDIO SAMPLES.
Simple sf2-files have an empty second part and do not contain PLAYBACK PARAMETERS for instruments and presets. Such sf2-files are ease to convert, because only a simple separation of audio files and non existing descriptions of the playback parameters is necessary.
To completely import of more demanding sf2-files only make sense if all PLAYBACK PARAMETERS of sf2-soundbanks are considered. Most sf2-converters - like import function of Korgs Pa-keyboards - ignore data in describtions without converting them, because it is difficult to automatically convert / implement playback parameters for sound systems / generators.

With more demanding sf2 files, however, playback parameters are mostly responsible for high quality properties, so it is necessary to MAKE ADJUSTMENTS OF PLAYBACK PARAMETERS for Korgs oscillators with built-in soundeditor..

Also with YEM sf2 can be imported as content of Yamahas packs, but it is the same - it may not be possible to accurately convert all of the data from .sf2 files.

If imported data does not produce the expected sounds, editing functions are necessary to make adjustments to take into account play parameters (overlapping sample areas, envelopes, filters, lfo, modulators etc) as described in sf2.

I do not believe there are sf2-converter which satisfactorily implement all play parameters as expected for the produced sounds, but maybe YEMs software’s editing functions are somewhat more comfortable to make the necessary adjustments, than is the case with Korg's built-in sample software of Pa-keyboards.

For me a better way to handle KORG for using Sf2 files for Korgs Pa-Keyboard is to convert sf2 to sfz format - therefore I prefer the use of "Polyphones" export function:

Load sf2-file and export it as sfz-format and you get all samples in a separate folder in wav-formats. Wav-format seems to be better suited to be imported with Pa-Keyboards (also possible with previous Pa800/3x).

Exporting sf2 as sfz also generate a sfz-file, that can be read like a txt-file, in case you open it with texteditor.

After you get some experience how to interpret the parameters of this sfz-textfile, with values of that parameters it is much more easier to make all necessary adjustments in soundeditor of Pa-keyboards.
kind regards
- siebenhirter, austria -
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Joined: 22 Mar 2012
Posts: 740

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that most helpful. Just a shame we don’t have most slots for sounds,
Gem Wk4, Technics Kn5000, Solton Ms60, Yamaha Psr K1, Korg Pa50sd, Tyros 4, Korg Pa700
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