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TOPIC: Clipping occurs when using soundfonts...

Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #1

  • Michael
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A while ago (actually a couple of years :P ) I discovered soundfonts from classical organs and harpsichords. I guess some people of you already are familiar with those ones: sonimusicae.free.fr/accueil-en.html On the website you can download the soundfonts for free.

I've used the classical organ soundfont to render a MIDI-file of Bach's Tocatta to a wave-file. After that I listened to it and I heard distortion which is a result of clipping. Clipping occurs when the maximum allowed amplitude is crossed.

In this case it probably can be fixed easily by increasing the values by "Attenuation" in the instrument-section, so there will be more headroom. (Headroom is the difference between the maximum amplitude peak of the sample and the 0 dB value. When you normalise a sound with audio editing software the headroom is zero. When you edit a sound with a limiter which is set to -3 dB the headroom will be 3 dB.)
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I'm wondering. Does creating a quality sound library mean you have to tweak the invidivual samples with equalisers, low/high-pass filters, limiters, compressors, etc?
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Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #2

  • Wanda Fish
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What SW did you use to render it with?
Please note that your (my) typical soundfont player plugin has a Gain parameter.

By cranking up that gain knob too far, just about any soundfont
will produce clipped results.
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Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #3

  • Strix SoundFont Team
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I believe that the OP is using the Polyphone built in sound recorder, but I don't think that there's any sort of 'Gain' control on it.

Maybe that could be a feature to consider for the next version of Polyphone?
Strix SoundFont Team

The creator of DSoundFont and FM Electric Piano.

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sites.google.com/site/strixsoundfont
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Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #4

  • Michael
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I've rendered the MIDI-file with Plogue SforZando and imported the soundfont with the aria-engine.

Like I already mentioned in the OP the gain of the samples can be adjusted with [Attenuation (dB)].

Suppose you have loaded a SF2-file with Polyphone, you play chords on your MIDI-connected keyboard and you'll hear distortion. That's probably a sign you have to adjust the Attenuation. You can check it by looking at the graphical display of the individual samples. If the samples are all normalised to its maximum (0 dB) than you have to adjust the attenuation. By entering a value of 6 you'll create headroom of 6 dB and the sample will be played with that specified decreased volume.

I suggest an additional gain should not be appearant on a future version of Polyphone, because it can lead to confusion when tweaking the values in the instrument and preset sections.
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Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #5

  • Michael
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My question is actually as follows:

Is it comparable with mixing the tracks of a song in your DAW? To create a good mix you have to adjust the gain of the individual tracks of course. You also have to adjust the EQ and dynamics with compressors and limiters, because otherwise the mix won't get balanced.

When you play chords on your keyboard you often play several sound samples simultaneously. So when programming a soundfont do I have to be alert to specific frequencies related to the assigned root key (to prevent a muffled distorted sound when playing chords on the keyboard)?

I hope I have explained well what I mean... :P
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Clipping occurs when using soundfonts... 7 months 2 weeks ago #6

  • Wanda Fish
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I see. Your question really is:
Should I design my soundfonts so that playing one note at velocity 127 does still provide some headroom? E.g. -6 dB or so?

I would want to leave that to the more savvy.... but my educated guess would be nope, or -3 dB at most.
My reasoning / some of the obvious facts are:
  • The Attenuation is knit into the soundfont (It's "internal" for that matter.
    And you don't want to "mess with soundfont internals" just because "of the Toccata")
  • Indeed, playing more than one note at a time will get a louder output level - playing lots of simultaneous notes can cause clipping, for sure.
  • Hence it makes sense to have an *external* gain parameter. The creator of a soundfont can't account for / tell how many notes a user will play simultaneously.
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