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#642804 - 02/18/21 02:44 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT?
Registered: 01/24/01
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Ola Offline
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I’m pondering about updating to version 2021 or not. I have version 2019 on my win10 pc but hardly ever use it. I do, however, use my 2010 version which I have on an old win xp machine with a Sound Blaster x-fi card.

I love the simplicity of being able to use GM soundfonts on my old machine, but still haven’t been able to figure out a way of doing this on a machine without a Sound Blaster card. I use CoolSoft VirtualMidiSynth to listen to midi files in media players but the lag makes it useless when working inside a DAW.

On my win10 PC I have instead been using Acoustica Mixcraft more and more. The general midi instruments there at least sound better than CoyoteWT and Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth - and they have zero lag. Mixcraft is also less buggy than Powertracks and has great graphic automation lanes for just about every parameter (something I have wished for in Powertracks since 2005)

But Powertracks has superior midi editing and I have a great fondness for the program as I started with it 20 years ago and have written lots of music on it.

If there was a way of playing GM soundfonts with minimal latency on my win10 pc, I would probably keep using PT and update to the newest version, but is there a hassle-free way? Throughout the years I have tried various VSTi:s that have been recommended, but I have never managed to make them work as an easy accessible GM-font, I have only managed to get individual SF-instruments playing.

What I want is the easiness of working out song sketches with a great sounding GM sondfont. Anyone doing this? If so, I’d love to hear from you and learn what program you use and how you assign the soundfont as the general midi output driver in Powertracks.

Thanks!
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#642811 - 02/18/21 03:17 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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I'm sure there are ways to have the convenience of a GM soundset, but do you actually require SoundFonts? Or just a way to play decent GM sounds?







Edited by rharv (02/18/21 04:26 PM)
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#642832 - 02/18/21 06:39 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: rharv]
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Ola Offline
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Being able to play decent (better than Coyote) GM sound with no latency would certainly be nice! I would, however, prefer using my collection of GM SoundFonts. They are much better than Coyote and I am so familiar with the sounds. I know which ones that go well together, and that makes it very easy to get started writing.

That said, I would also be interested in learning more about samplers and libraries that work well with PowerTracks. Most of my Vsti plugins are synths and I am mainly interested in working with traditional instruments, especially during the writing phase.

Does for example SampleTank or Kontakt work well with PowerTracks, or are there viable but less expensive alternatives that people here are fond of?
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#642873 - 02/19/21 04:29 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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Yes, Kontakt and Sampletank should work as long as you get a VST 2 version, and some also use Synthfont 64
https://www.pgmusic.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=540691
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#642918 - 02/19/21 09:48 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Ola Offline
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Thanks, I will start with Synthfont 64 and see if I can get it to work without any latency. I'm pretty frustrated by the latency I get with PT on every computer I have had since my win98 and Xp ones (which both had SoundBlaster Cards).

I really wish PT and BIAB would come with something like Mixcraft's "Acoustica Instruments" - a nice sounding, built-in General Midi instrument with no latency. Makes it so pleasant and convenient to get started.

But I much prefer PT to Mixcraft when it comes to midi-editing (chord wizard is nice too!), so I won't give up on PT yet.
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#642928 - 02/19/21 11:39 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Jim Fogle Offline
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You may want to contact PG Music Support.

When PG Music released 64 bit Band-in-a-Box in 2019 they included a general midi instrument patch for use with SynthFont64. As far as I know the GM instrument patch is not available anywhere else.

When SynthFont64 and the general midi instrument patch is used, the instruments automatically load similar to the way Coyote WT or the Microsoft Wavetable works with the 32 bit program.
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#642930 - 02/19/21 12:05 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Ola Offline
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Great, I'll keep that it mind. Just a few hours ago I decided to upgrade my 2009 BIAB and ordered the 2021 version.
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#642964 - 02/19/21 03:12 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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I'm pretty sure at the time the PGMusic synthfont was released I also loaded the Chaos GM soundfont and it worked, so not sure you really need the PGMusic GM font if you already have other GM fonts
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#643241 - 02/21/21 10:05 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Bob Calver Offline
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have you read Peter Gannon's 'no brainer' sticky post? you can get the TTS1 GM2 dxi free and its the one PG Music use to design their midi styles.

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#643756 - 02/24/21 06:23 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Bob Calver]
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Ola Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bob Calver
have you read Peter Gannon's 'no brainer' sticky post?


Yes, I’ve tried it but actually couldn’t get it to work on PT. Maybe I’ll give it another shot, but I really want to use soundfonts as I have a large collection of GM soundfounts that I like and I am familiar with.

I didn’t know that PG Music use TTS1 when they design their midi styles. Good to know, thanks!


Edited by Ola (02/24/21 06:25 AM)
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#643757 - 02/24/21 06:24 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Ola Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle
You may want to contact PG Music Support.

I updated my 2009 version of BIAB to 2021 yesterday and was delighted to get the included SynthFont 64 to work perfectly with all my GM soundfonts without any hassle. All instruments loaded automatically just like you described!

As I haven’t bought the 2021 version of PowerTracks with 64-bit support yet, I couldn’t try it there, but of, course, I received the RealBand 2021 with BIAB! So I started it and hoped to have the same experience there. Unfortunately I didn’t.

Firstly, it appears I have to buy a separate version of SynthFont64 if I want to use it outside BIAB. I will gladly do that if I can get it to work, but I couldn’t.

I could load the VSTi and choose it as the default synth for midi and was told I had a 15 day trial period. Great, but there was no sound whatsoever, regardless of what soundfont I loaded in the SynthFont64 options.

So it seems you are onto the solution. Maybe what’s lacking is the general midi instrument patch that PG Music released for BIAB.

If I can get it to work, I will update PowerTracks too. RealBand is a fantastic program (seems underappreciated actually), but I prefer PT for most of my work which mainly involves midi.
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#643858 - 02/24/21 07:00 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Jim Fogle Offline
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I have the updated Synthfont64 and gladly paid the $17 US for the lifetime license so my experience may be different than yours.

Synthfont64 is recognized and loads in my DAW, Cakewalk by BandLab. The GM compatible patch will also load but I have to manually load it. Cakewalk by Bandlab uses the latest version.

Of course Synthfont64 works in Band-in-a-Box but it is the older version supplied by PG Music. I get the prompt a newer version is available bit I click through that.

Someday I'll go through my computer and replace the PG Music version with the latest version but I'm in no hurry to do so.
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#644050 - 02/26/21 08:47 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Ola Offline
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I have been in contact with the author of VSTSynthfont64. He was very helpful and told me that I should be able to use the version included in BIAB in all my others DAW:s as well. Apparently, there was a minor bug in the program. He fixed it extremely quickly and mailed me the new version. Now it works perfectly in RealBand and I can enjoy all my GM soundfonts, play in real-time and render them to wavs - lovely!

Soundfonts now work in Mixcraft too, but the GM patches weren't assigned automatically like they were in BIAB and RB.

I now plan to update Powertracks 2019 to PT 2021 so that I can use the 64-bit plugin there too and continue working with soundfonts just like I used to on PT 2010 and my Soundblaster X-fi card. smile


Edited by Ola (02/26/21 08:53 AM)
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#644090 - 02/26/21 02:43 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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Jim Fogle Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ola
I have been in contact with the author of VSTSynthfont64. He was very helpful and told me that I should be able to use the version included in BIAB in all my others DAW:s as well. Apparently, there was a minor bug in the program. He fixed it extremely quickly and mailed me the new version. Now it works perfectly in RealBand and I can enjoy all my GM soundfonts, play in real-time and render them to wavs - lovely!

Soundfonts now work in Mixcraft too, but the GM patches weren't assigned automatically like they were in BIAB and RB.

I now plan to update Powertracks 2019 to PT 2021 so that I can use the 64-bit plugin there too and continue working with soundfonts just like I used to on PT 2010 and my Soundblaster X-fi card. smile


That's very nice to read. Hopefully you'll give him feedback how well the fix is working. That way if he publishes the update, all the subscribers (like me) will have access to the fix.
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Desktop: i7 Win 10 build 2004, 12GB ram 256GB SSD, 4 TB HDD
Laptop: i3 64bit Win 10 build 2004, 8GB ram 500GB HDD
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#644092 - 02/26/21 02:53 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Ola Offline
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Yes, I've told him how it worked in all the DAW:s I have access to. I hope he publishes the update for everyone.
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#644095 - 02/26/21 03:09 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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Be extra kind and leave him a nice review, that helps others a lot too. smile
Glad to hear you got it working.

The good news; PT 2021 should still feel pretty comfortable to use.
Caveat; you will need to get used to a new menu system and right-click options, but that is a minor tradeoff for the new features you will enjoy.
Going from 2010 to 2021 will be quite a change.

Examine the new menus, everything is still there, but it may have moved.
If in doubt, right click on a track and explore the options there.
That would be the best advise I can think of for such a big upgrade.
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#644103 - 02/26/21 03:49 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: rharv]
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Ola Offline
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Absolutely, Great program and great service from great guy. I'll recommend VSTSynthFont to everyone!

I'd now like to learn more about using VSTi:s in PowerTracks. I am little confused about how to apply effects like reverb and compression to just one VSTi track and not also to all the other tracks that also uses the same VSTi. I don't know if I have to use the send buses or if I am just assigning the synths (or ports and channels) incorrectly. But I should probably start a new thread about that grin
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#644137 - 02/26/21 08:07 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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Assign a new instance of the synth (and thus the FX after it) using the Port option.
Right click - Port
Select one of the available DXi/VSTi synth ports (except the bottom one which is default and will affect all other tracks using the same synth).
By creating a separate instance of the synth it acts independent from the 'default' that is used on all the other tracks, so the reverb etc is separate.




Edited by rharv (02/26/21 08:11 PM)
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#644189 - 02/27/21 09:07 AM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: rharv]
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Ola Offline
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Of course, feeling stupid now (but happy and very pleased with Powertracks). It works perfectly smile Thanks!
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#644235 - 02/27/21 03:56 PM [PowerTracks Pro Audio] Re: Is it possible to use a soundfont as general midi output driver in PT? [Re: Ola]
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rharv Offline
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Sometimes it only makes sense after you know the solution <grin>
No need to 'feel stupid', we're all learning .. or at least I hope I'm still learning
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