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Correct workflow using soundfonts


I asked myself this question many times... so this time I try asking to you :)

When using some MIDI tracks to play samples from soundfonts (e.g. loading fluidsynth or Calf monosynth plugins on tracks) is there a correct way which is better than others to work, especially about saving memory, if the same soundfont has to be provide different sounds to a few tracks?

Example.. I need a piano, an organ, a bass. I create 3 tracks. Then I load the fluidsynth DSSI plugin to all 3 tracks, I select the same soundfont since it contains all the sounds I need, choosing the proper instrument and incrementing the channel number.

Is there a better way to do this? as creating a MIDI bus with the plugin on it and 3 MIDI tracks which send MIDI events to the bus? Or since the plugin has been loaded, it doesn't affect memory so much putting it in several tracks?
Again, is it better to manage all stuff loading the soundfonts in View -> Instruments? and then selecting the same soundfont with different instruments from the proper tracks?

thank you so much


rncbc's picture


in terms of resource usage, the MIDI output bus method is the best and probably the only you have to share the same multi-timbral soundfont across two or more track/channels, no matter which plugin you' re using.


I'm actually working on developing/tweaking a similar workflow using Konfyt (hosts sf2 and sfz soundfonts). If you're interested in chatting or sharing ideas/methods, I'm always lurking on IRC as mtf8. Just reach out on freenode. If you don't know what that means, let me know and we'll figure out a way to communicate.

I can't get a MIDI bus for Calf Fluidsynth to work.

1. Create MIDI bus "GM", duplex, add and active Calf Fluidsynth (load .sf2 and set up channels with different sounds, piano on 1 and bass on 9)

2. Create MIDI track "bass", set Input/Output to Master/GM, select channel 9 and instrument Calf Fluidsynth.

No sound, bus "GM" doesn't seem to receive any MIDI data although track "bass" peak meter moves.

I am clearly missing some connection.

rncbc's picture

hi oscillator

if any of the MIDI tracks are set to output to the "GM" bus then the peak meters on the "GM Out (MIDI)" bus should move along as same as all MIDI tracks that are merging into it during playback, no matter which plugin or instrument is inserted there or there...

otoh. i am sorry to tell that calf-fluidsynth.lv2 is not that of a so called reference standard to the multi-timbral schema i've been suggesting about... especially when you set some some instrument/bank or program at the Tracks/Properties... whatever...

as a rule of thumb, when dealing with instrument plugins, NEVER set, touch or mess with the Instrument, Bank nor Program properties of a MIDI track. Keep it all to "(No instrument)", and/or "(None)". You've been advised ;) The rather majority of LV2 instrument plugins out there have no notion of "programs" (as DSSI or VST ones do) and when they happen to support the outcasted lv2_programs extension they only happen to work when inserted on a MIDI track; while on a (multi-channel) MIDI output bus the behavior is undefined or simply wrong.


Thank you Rui for the clarification!

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