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Midi files wont play

Discussion in 'Soundblaster Live' started by Tom Johns, May 30, 2004.

  1. Tom Johns

    Tom Johns Guest

    Any suggestions why Midi sound files suddenly wont play...they used to play
    and I am not sure what Ive done. Every other type of sound file works as

    General Information
    Device Name : SB Live! Audio [C000]
    Manufacturer : Microsoft
    Version : 5.10
    Product ID : 101 / 1

    Specific Wave Information
    Maximum Standard Sampling Bits : 16-bit
    Maximum Standard Sampling Rate : 44.1kHz
    Channels : 65535

    Using XP Pro.
    Tom Johns, May 30, 2004
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  2. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Off the top of my head:

    * Open the Creative sound mixer and check the MIDI volume control is not
    muted/turned way down.
    * Open control panel/multimedia applet and check the SB Live hardware synth
    is set as default MIDI device
    * Open Creative Soundfont applet and check you have a soundfont loaded (and
    if not, load one, or else you'll hear no notes being played :))
    Lenny, May 30, 2004
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  3. Tom Johns

    Tom Johns Guest

    Thanks Lenny after a long time trying I finally found the answer.
    I went through "Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" and on
    the Audio tab changed the MIDI music playback default device to Microsoft GS
    Wavetable SW Synth. For some reason it was set to SB Live! Synth A (C000). I
    have no idea what these devices are but all seems to be working good again.
    Thanks for the help.
    Tom Johns, May 30, 2004
  4. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    The MS synth is a software emulation synth meant for PCs with cheap sound
    hardware that has no default MIDI support. It has very poor instrument
    quality, you should definitely use the SB Live synth instead. You'll get
    much better sound that way even with the default soundfont (provided it is
    loaded, heh), and especially if you download a better soundfont from the
    Lenny, May 30, 2004
  5. Tom Johns

    Tom Johns Guest

    I double checked and the soundfont was loaded and on your advice I changed
    the default device back to SB Live! Synth A and confusingly it works
    perfectly now. Very strange. Thanks again.
    Tom Johns, May 30, 2004
  6. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Great! :)

    Glad to have been of help. You may want to scour the internet a bit for new,
    better soundfonts, you'll find a bunch here for example:

    Remember to bump up the static caching setting before attempting to load a
    large soundfont. Don't be afraid to set it to max (typically limited to half
    your installed memory); even though it says "static"; it won't actually use
    more memory than the soundfont needs.
    Lenny, May 31, 2004
  7. Tom Johns

    Doc Guest

    Also, you can explorer making your own, which is one of the great
    things about the SF2 protocol the Soundblaster cards use. *Anything*
    that you can record you can make a soundfont out of. The only
    limitations are you recording gear/skills and the RAM limitations of
    the Live card - no such limit on the Audigy.

    With the Live card you can use up to half you system RAM to store midi
    patches, but can only access 32 megs.
    Doc, Jun 4, 2004
  8. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Well, actually the Live CAN access more than 32 megs, but things can start
    to go a bit screwy after a (long) while with notes disappearing etc. I've
    used a soundfont that was 40+ megs in size on my live cards with no
    problems, but then I'm not a musician. :) Now I have Audigy2 ZS and use a
    soundfont that is 57 megs, hehe. Works great! :D
    Lenny, Jun 4, 2004
  9. Tom Johns

    Doc Guest

    Nope, 32 megs and you're done. You can load much larger SF's depending
    on how much RAM you have - official party line is up to half system
    RAM though there are reg-tweakers that allow you more, but what's the
    point? You can't use more than 32 megs. Once you've reached the magic
    number, exactly what you've observed happens. Notes quit playing.

    The Audigy has neither the 32 meg or 1/2 system ram limits. Got 3 gigs
    of RAM? You can use whatever the system isn't using for Soundfonts,
    though probably not prudent to cut it too close.

    I forgot to include sample libraries in the available arsenal for
    making SF's. You can make superb orchestral SF's with sample libraries
    and an Audigy and lots of RAM.
    Doc, Jun 4, 2004
  10. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Dude, have you actually tried this or not? Like I said, I have, and my Live
    played larger soundfonts FINE. All instruments worked. I left a MIDI looping
    overnight, and then I had no MIDI sound at all when I woke up the following
    morning, but that was like the only way to make it stop; leave it playing a
    really long time. So it's not a matter of "more than 32 megs = no sound",
    this simple demonstration shows it's something else going on.
    Lenny, Jun 5, 2004
  11. Tom Johns

    Doc Guest

    Yes. I make my own SF's all the time.

    You have a misunderstanding of how it works. You're going to say
    "bullshit, this guy doesn't know he's talking about" until you
    research it further and find out I'm right.

    It's not directly dependent on the overall size of the bank or
    instrument, it's how much of it you use.

    Let's say you load an 80 meg general midi bank - has everything from
    piano to helicopter sounds. How much of that bank that you use, i.e.
    how much you actually *access* depends on what you play or what midi
    file you use.

    Each note of a particular instrument's notes takes up a certain amount
    of memory. The size of the memory allocation depends primarily on the
    size of the .wav file. Bigger instruments with longer loops or no
    loops obviously have bigger .wav files.

    So, if you play a simple melody only on the glockenspiel, you're not
    going to use a lot of memory. However, if you have a symphonic
    orchestration, with a lot of rich harmonies and a lot of notes which
    use string ensembles, pianos, brasses, etc. etc. - the larger
    instruments, you might hit that 32 meg ceiling.

    A better way to demonstrate this is to load a large singe instrument.
    Let's say you have a grand piano that's 100 megs - (and an individual
    instrument can easily be *much* larger than this) and the memory to
    support it of course.

    Start playing chromatically up from the lowest "C". I doubt you'll
    make it halfway up the keyboard before notes stop playing. Why?
    Because once you've accessed more than 32 megs, the architecture of
    the Live card won't support any more.

    The only way to get around this are programs that purge the memory as
    you go, though I hear they don't work that great. Anyway, why fool
    with a band aid like that now when the Audigy makes the whole thing a
    moot point?

    The Live (as well as the PCI-512) is a super card, I've done lots of
    recording and midi stuff with it, but it does have the limitations
    I've described.
    Doc, Jun 6, 2004
  12. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Um, do note I did not say "bullshit, this guy doesn't know what he's talking
    about", I said something else entirely. If your habit is putting words in
    the mouths of people you disagree with is your standard modus operandi,
    people will tire very quickly of talking to you, so here's a free tip: don't
    do that unless you want to pursue a debate entirely with yourself! ;)

    Like I said last time, playing MIDIs with a large soundfont worked JUST
    FINE, for some hours of constant playing even. Overnight though, it conked
    out, but then again most people don't play MIDIs for that long. It's
    possible using an extreme amount of polyphony would result in dropped notes,
    but I did not experience that in the testing I performed; all the MIDIs I
    tried played just fine while I was actually listening and not sleeping. I
    have to conclude therefore that it works...for a time. Which is *exactly*
    what I've been saying all along.
    I didn't own an audigy then, and I'm actually not sure it was even released
    when I first tried a larger than 32MB soundfont... I do now though, and I
    much enjoy the no-limit soundfont support when I listen to MIDIs (not that
    often, I have to say, but it does happen).

    If you know of any websites that has a high-quality MIDI archive (that sound
    well with a general MIDI bank loaded, heh), I'd be interested in hearing
    about it. :)
    Lenny, Jun 6, 2004
  13. Tom Johns

    Doc Guest

    I was anticipating what you would likely say given your previous
    response. I said you can only access 32 megs with a SB Live, you
    begged to differ. You said:
    No "words in your mouth" This is what you stated. It's incorrect. You
    followed it up with an emphatic "dude, have you tried it? I have..."
    ergo, you think I don't know what I'm talking about. Just another way
    to say "you're full of shit".
    If you try to put 1.5 gallons in a 1 gallon bucket, It's not "acting
    screwy" when it overflows. It's not capable of what you're trying to
    make it do, you wouldn't expect it to hold 1.5 gallons.

    It's not a "debate". You've stated something that's inaccurate. It's
    not a matter of opinion or conjecture on my part. I'm not trying to
    piss you off but if correcting you means you don't want to
    participate, I'm not the one losing out. You walk away still not
    knowing what you're talking about.

    Like *I* said, it'll play fine...until you've used 32 megs worth.
    Additional notes won't play. Some notes will come out, but no new ones
    will. If you do further investigation, you'll find that this is the
    way it is. This is also one of the biggest gripes about the Live
    cards, that Creative is misleading when they say "use up to half your
    system ram for Soundfonts". Yeah, you can *LOAD* a 1 gig soundfont if
    you have the memory. Of course, you can't actually USE anywhere near
    that much, but hey.... It has to do with the fundamental architecture
    of the card itself and how it addresses system memory.
    It has nothing to do with how long you play it, it has to do with how
    much memory you use. If you play one note over and over, you can play
    it till the cows come home as long as that one note isn't more than 32
    megs. However, when the cumulative size of all the files accessed
    reaches 32 megs, no new notes can be played. I don't know what other
    issues your system had so can't comment on why it "conked out".
    It's not just possible, it's an absolute certaintly if you go over 32
    If it continued to play all the notes you attempted to play, then you
    didn't go over 32 megs. It's also possible if there were complex
    harmonies, notes were dropping out and you just didn't notice them.
    There used to be an absolutely mammoth site called "The Sound Site"
    but as near as I can tell it disappeared. Not sure what happened to

    Put "Free Soundfonts" in a search engine and explore the links and see
    which ones are still active. There are some decent free ones, but to
    get truly top-notch soundfonts you have to make them yourself out of
    high quality samples or pay for them. You'll never get truly high end
    sound with micro-looped Soundfonts like those in these 4, 8 meg banks.

    If you want to hear what can be done with Midi via the Gigasampler
    format, check out some of the demos from


    here's one place to get high quality professional soundfonts

    Doc, Jun 7, 2004
  14. Tom Johns

    Lenny Guest

    Yet it can obviously play MIDIs flawlessly, though not for an indefinite
    time. So again, it's not a case of "can't access more than 32MB - period".
    Nothing of what I've said previously contradicts any of this. You're
    obviously just looking for things to be unneccessarily confrontational
    about. Calm down, dude.
    No, if I meant you're full of shit, believe me I would have said so.
    However, I did not, and I'd prefer if you stop making up your own stuff and
    then reply to THAT rather than what I ACTUALLY said. It's terribly rude what
    you're doing.
    It's not "using" 32 megs worth, it's not like a car engine that consumes
    memory like fuel. If it was to stop working once one uses 32 megs worth, it
    would do that within minutes (each voice would use say around 40-80kB per
    second depending on pitch when playing back samples, with a peak of 94). So
    it burns through memory pretty quick, that's for sure. Still it quits from
    playing THE SAME memory for a number of hours.

    I didn't fully explore wether complex harmonies results in dropped notes -
    I'm not a musician so I don't have a keyboard - but I could hear from the
    MIDIs I tried it didn't drop notes on the ones I tested with. So I have to
    conclude it "works", well enough for casual use anyway. This is what I've
    stated all along, and as I've tested it I know it works the way I say it
    does. :p

    Thanks for the links.
    Lenny, Jun 8, 2004
  15. Tom Johns

    Doc Guest

    Never said it did. I said "access". Re-read my previous explanation.
    Every note that it accesses for the first time is a .wav file of a
    finite size - x-number of K-bytes or megs.
    No, again, it stops accessing new notes once the total file size of
    all new notes accessed adds up to 32 megs. Which is what I said
    previously. If you still disagree with this statement, you need to do
    further research. As a hint, you won't find this anywhere on the
    Creative website, at least the last time I looked. You also probably
    won't find a Creative tech support rep who knows this. Of course,
    that's not surprising.
    Doc, Jun 8, 2004
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