Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

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Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

Brian Sweetnam
In the past months, i've been wondering if it would be possible to build a
midi sound module, using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.  there is a chip that
I've been looking at, which can be bought alone, or mounted on various pc
boards.  This chip is called the VS1053. They are even available in South
Africa, which is great.  I let go of the idea, because I don't want to
invest a lot of time and money, and then the sound quality is not great.  I
saw today as I read the MagPi 63 edition, that it can be done.  They give a
step by step instruction on the whole process of creating just such a midi
soundbox. The polyphony limit is about 40 in practice using this project.

Instead, as you might know, I am now much more inclined to use soundfonts to
do exactly the same job, still using a Raspberry Pi 3.  The advantage is,
that not only can I install the best possible soundfonts that will fit in
under 1 GB of ram, but, I can also customise such a soundfont using
Polyphone. I can also install pre-created custom disposition for other
purposes - e.g. classical organs, theatre organs, drawbar organs, and
anything else you can imagine.

And, there is not really a polyphony limit using the soundfont method
either, that I know of.  Perhaps someone with more knowledge can address
this issue?



-----
Regards,

BrianS
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Re: Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

jbeach2646
Brian,  I am not sure what you mean by a "Midi Soundbox."  However, I know
that it is possible to create .dls soundbanks using Direct Music Producer
which was a packaged part of the DirectX
8.0 of quite a few years ago.  I believe it came out with one of the first
Windows XP operating systems, about 2002.   Direct Music Producer is a more
time-consuming and tedious soundbank editor than any of the Soundfont
editors, (Vienna, Viena, or Polyphone), and that I why I never attempted to
create organ soundbanks with it.  Seemingly, it could have been designed to
be far
more user friendly.  I believe that this is the reason why there are so few
.dls soundbanks available on the web.  The gm.dls is about the only one that
is regularly packaged with Windows operating systems for use as the standard
General Midi soundbank for soundcard playback of midi files.   It is based
on the Roland SoundCanvas Soundset which was available for download
as the SCC-1 Soundfont from some of the big soundfont websites many years
ago.  This is what is used by the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth listed as an
output port option in Midi Sequencer programs.  It is good, but several
years ago, I downloaded the "fury.dls" general midi soundbank and changed
the name to "gm.dls" and substituted it in the System32 folder for the
gm.dls which was the Roland SoundCanvas Soundset.  I think it is higher
quality sounds.

The problem with the Direct Music Producer soundbank editor is that it does
not allow any type of bulk importation or bulk editing.  Copy and Paste
functions were limited increasing the time
necessary to enter parameter values which is facilitated by Polyphone.   I
believe there are some applications like Awave Studio which can convert .dls
to sf2 and vice-versa, but they require a purchase fee.  I don't think there
is any advantage to the one over the other or that, given the intrinsic
quality of the wave samples used, there is any difference in the sound
output between a
.dls and an .sf2 file.

With respect to polyphony, I think Fluidsynth allows for the greatest
polyphony, certainly more than Creative Sound allows.  This must be a
software capability which is not limited by the soundcard and is only
limited by the amount of RAM memory in a computer.   In jOrgan, Fluidsynth
Sound, I set the polyphony to 512 which is the same setting as the Audio
Buffers Size.  I don't know if they have to be the same.  Seemingly,
polyphony could be higher.  I don't know what the optimum setting is, but
since polyphony should accommodate the maximum number of
keys depressed times the total number of stops engaged, I think 512 should
handle most multiples without "dropping" notes due to exceeding the limit.
I think 40 for a polyphony limit would
prove to be insufficient.  Full-octave chords of choruses of principals,
flutes and mixtures would exceed 40 and you would notice the difference.
If you have 4 GB Ram using 4 Raspberry Pis,
that should be enough for most purposes.

John Beach






----Original Message-----
From: Brian Sweetnam
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 5:59 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [jOrgan-user] Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

In the past months, i've been wondering if it would be possible to build a
midi sound module, using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.  there is a chip that
I've been looking at, which can be bought alone, or mounted on various pc
boards.  This chip is called the VS1053. They are even available in South
Africa, which is great.  I let go of the idea, because I don't want to
invest a lot of time and money, and then the sound quality is not great.  I
saw today as I read the MagPi 63 edition, that it can be done.  They give a
step by step instruction on the whole process of creating just such a midi
soundbox. The polyphony limit is about 40 in practice using this project.

Instead, as you might know, I am now much more inclined to use soundfonts to
do exactly the same job, still using a Raspberry Pi 3.  The advantage is,
that not only can I install the best possible soundfonts that will fit in
under 1 GB of ram, but, I can also customise such a soundfont using
Polyphone. I can also install pre-created custom disposition for other
purposes - e.g. classical organs, theatre organs, drawbar organs, and
anything else you can imagine.

And, there is not really a polyphony limit using the soundfont method
either, that I know of.  Perhaps someone with more knowledge can address
this issue?



-----
Regards,

BrianS
--
Sent from: http://jorgan.999862.n4.nabble.com/jOrgan-User-f999863.html

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Re: Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

Brian Sweetnam
John,

By "Midi soundbox" I mean the following:

a Midi soundbox, is a stand-alone box, which can be connected via MIDI to a
midi controller keyboard.  Playing on the midi controller keyboard then
generates messages sent to the midi soundbox.  The midi sound box in turn
looks at the messages received, and plays output of sounds accordingly...
For example, if you select a 'Piano' sound on the midi sound box, then play
a piece of music on the keyboard, it will be rendered in the piano sound.

Generally speaking, having 'hardware' midi box is simpler to set up and
maintain, but they usually have polyphony limits. Examples of hardware midi
sound modules, are the Edirol, Ketron, Yamaha and other sound modules, none
of which are available in South Africa.  

However, the Raspberry Pi changes all this.  I would prefer to build a midi
sound module, that loads one or more soundfonts into memory, and is accessed
via Wifi (or a midi cable).  The commercial sound modules mentioned above,
usually only have GM, GS or XG soundbanks installed in them, and not any
pipe organ soundbanks, like the soundfonts that we use in our jOrgan
dispositions.

So, you could theoretically build your own drawbar keyboard, using the right
midi encoders.  You could run it all on a Raspberry Pi 3 that can be built
into the keyboard, and controlled with drawbars connected to midi encoders.
Or you could build a drawbar box, with only drawbars on it.  You would the
need to connect a midi keyboard to it in order to play the drawbar organ.






-----
Regards,

BrianS
--
Sent from: http://jorgan.999862.n4.nabble.com/jOrgan-User-f999863.html

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BrianS
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Re: Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

jbeach2646
Brian,   Creative Labs soundcards were the original (AWE-32) soundfont
soundcards, allowing the owner/user to create his own soundfonts.  Having a
capability to load 128 different soundfonts, each having 128 Presets,  in
128 "bank slots" in RAM renders 16,384 assignable presets of sounds
possible.   Unfortunately, Creative Labs has stopped producing soundcards
that support soundfonts as "Creative Sound" in jOrgan.  However, they are
usable with Fluidsynth, although I am not sure that there is any sound
quality advantage.  Realtek, onboard PC sound does as good a job of
outputting sound as most soundcards.  With Fluidsynth, there is no
perceptible difference in sound quality output.

I believe you are, essentially, concerned with General Midi sounds with the
GM, GS and XG soundbanks.  With Creative Labs soundcards which supported
soundfonts, it was possible to load
soundfonts having GM, GS and XG sound quality.

What you describe concerning a drawbar keyboard is already available as a
jOrgan disposition by Paul Stratman.  The soundfonts and disposition I sent
you a while ago are all based on the
additive synthesis of drawbars given in the Chart of Hammond Organ Stops
adapted from pipe organ sound analysis.  There are approximately 220 of
them.  With various footages and combinations of footages, mixtures, etc., I
believe that disposition contains over 400 stops.  I have just adjusted the
tuning of all +20 cents since I discovered that it was unacceptable for the
accompaniment of orchestral instruments or piano tuned to A=440Hz.  I am not
sure how this discrepancy occurred, because I used Audacity to generate the
original sine waves from which the additive synthesizer soundfont was
created for the additive synthesizer disposition in jOrgan.  It should be
perfect, but it was flat by approximately 20 cents.  Although I am not
inclined to do all the additive synthesis for the 220 stops all over again,
I would like to have them perfect without the need to adjust Tuning Cents in
Polyphone to compensate for the flatness.   The adjustment has worked to
produce good consistency of tuning throughout all the 8 soundfonts that are
used in the disposition.

John B.



-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Sweetnam
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 7:10 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [jOrgan-user] Raspberry Pi applications with jOrgan

John,

By "Midi soundbox" I mean the following:

a Midi soundbox, is a stand-alone box, which can be connected via MIDI to a
midi controller keyboard.  Playing on the midi controller keyboard then
generates messages sent to the midi soundbox.  The midi sound box in turn
looks at the messages received, and plays output of sounds accordingly...
For example, if you select a 'Piano' sound on the midi sound box, then play
a piece of music on the keyboard, it will be rendered in the piano sound.

Generally speaking, having 'hardware' midi box is simpler to set up and
maintain, but they usually have polyphony limits. Examples of hardware midi
sound modules, are the Edirol, Ketron, Yamaha and other sound modules, none
of which are available in South Africa.

However, the Raspberry Pi changes all this.  I would prefer to build a midi
sound module, that loads one or more soundfonts into memory, and is accessed
via Wifi (or a midi cable).  The commercial sound modules mentioned above,
usually only have GM, GS or XG soundbanks installed in them, and not any
pipe organ soundbanks, like the soundfonts that we use in our jOrgan
dispositions.

So, you could theoretically build your own drawbar keyboard, using the right
midi encoders.  You could run it all on a Raspberry Pi 3 that can be built
into the keyboard, and controlled with drawbars connected to midi encoders.
Or you could build a drawbar box, with only drawbars on it.  You would the
need to connect a midi keyboard to it in order to play the drawbar organ.






-----
Regards,

BrianS
--
Sent from: http://jorgan.999862.n4.nabble.com/jOrgan-User-f999863.html

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