2018-10-17 20:11:21

OK, I've now figured the Whole thing out.

QuickTime, or atleast iTunes on Snowleopart uses the same soundbank as MS Wavetable, just with some reverb added.

But now, here is the fun part.

VocalWriter seems to use some soundbank of it's own. When you unzip the dmg-file, there's a file called gm bank, but the size of it is 0KB. However, if you install it on a Mac with Snow Leopard, and run the program for the first time, the file seems to get boosted. When I now look at it, the size is about 3 MB, so it diffenetely stores the soundbank.

Anyway, I'll copy it to my Windows computer, and try to find out which format it is, and I'll send it out here afterwards.

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2018-10-17 20:17:19

OK, this seriously doesn't make sense.
When I copy the file to my Windows computer, the size is Down to 0KB.

I'll try to figure it out, and write back.

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2018-10-17 22:44:21 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-17 22:45:37)

Slender, the Yamaha synth is used on his older Vocal Writer productions as well, such as I'm already there, and some others. He was using that synth well before he started the remakes. The remakes I'm fairly sure are done with garage Band/Logic.

Cool, akse0435, glad you are at least trying to figure it out! 3 MB is actually a little larger than I expected, but I honestly don't know. It's more plausible than 0 kb smile
However your trouble really doesn't make sense either. Can you, perhaps, compress the files to zip or some other archival format on the mac before taking it to Windows? You'd have to verify on the Mac side that the files are actually archived of course. IF so then hopefully on windows we can finally get something out.

If the archive or anything else doesn't work, the only other thing I can think of, and it doesn't make much sense, is that maybe Vocal Writer has to be running for the file to be expanded. It would be odd, but maybe Vocal Writer has some highly compressed form of the bank in its launcher/executable and then expands it into that 3 MB file you saw when it's running. I can't imagine why it'd have to do this, though. I am simply letting speculation run wild. Lol

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2018-10-17 22:51:05

Good idea.

I'll try to compress it tomorow, but now I'm tired and will go to bed. It's about 11 PM in Denmark.

Anyway, I know for sure that VocalWriter doesn't have to be running for the file to be expanded, because I've also installed a partition with Mountain Lion, and a partition with HighSierra on the mac, and when I for example boot into Mountain Lion, the file still is 3 MB, and it's also 3 MB after copying it to my external harddrive, but when I connect the harddrive to my Windows computer, it is 0 KB.

Anyway, I'll try tomorow and write back.

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2018-10-18 07:11:07

OK, all this is getting more interesting. I packed the file in a zip-archive, and when I copied it to my Windows computer, it has the full size.

I then unzipped the files on my Windows computer, but the n, the file was downsized to 0KB.

However, as some Mac/Windows users know, the Mac creates some strange files on harddrives and zip-files, called .trashes, and .spotlightv100, and all this.
And in zip-files, You always find a folder called __macosx, and in that folder, you usualy finds a file with the same name as the file in the archive, with ._ added in the start. However, those files are always unusuable, except for this case. In this case, that file has the 3 MB size.
However, I can't open the file in Awave studio or anything. When I open it in Notepad, There's some code in the begening, that says something with macosx, and I guess that has to be removed, but I don't know how much to delete.

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2018-10-18 15:58:23 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-18 15:59:30)

Hmm, interesting. Would you mind uploading this 3 mb file so I can look at it? OR maybe the entire zip, that way I can see it in context.
If Awave can't open it, it must be pretty obscure, but maybe i'll recognize something, or maybe as you said, it has to be modified to be recognized by Awave or similar programs.

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2018-10-18 16:03:11 (edited by akse0435 2018-10-18 16:04:00)

I've deleted the zip-file, but I can make a new one, Next time I turn on the mac, but here is the 3MB file from the __macosx folder of the zip.

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2018-10-18 17:23:55 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-18 17:28:30)

So, good news and bad news. Bad news: We aren't going to get a soundfont or any other recognizable file most likely. But good news: Opening the gm file you uploaded as raw pcm data does indeed reveal samples that are used for that synth. However, some of them are odd. Some have hiss and subtle buzzy distortion. The piano has odd volume fluctuations. I know that some file formats can have compressed samples that have to be unpacked, so I wonder if these things I observe are side effects of that process. We'd really have no way of knowing.

They actually sampled a doo utterance from Vocal Writer in one of the patches it looks like, which I found pretty amusing.

I wish I could get the sample mapping in some recognizable format like DLS, sf2, pat, or something else. If I knew enough about hex editing and programming, I'd look at the file byte by byte and see if I could figure out how the format stores its mapping information, and somehow identify sample boundaries and loop points. Then I could write a converter to make a SoundFont. As it is though, I know nothing about any of these things. TO start, I'd have to know the SoundFont spec, and that's something I don't even know where to start with, so yeah, it ain't gonna happen by my hands, unless we get a lucky break. Maybe something can be gained from the zip file. My hopes aren't high, but you never know lol

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2018-10-18 17:28:17

I don't think you can get anything out of the zip-file, but I'll make it anyway.

Well, unfortunately, I'll have to reinstall Mountain Lion on my mac, so it will take a few hours before I can upload the zip-file.

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2018-10-18 17:35:21 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-18 17:46:07)

Another thought. I could make a SoundFont by sampling all notes of all instruments. Then I could figure out what's used where and reconstruct the parameters of the sound such as volume envelopes, LFO, sample mapping and other such things. But sampling the entire synth would take hours. I once did it for the Braille Note MPower GM synth and ended up with over 21 hours of data. I basically gave it an m3u list of midi files I prepared, plugged it into AC power so it wouldn't dye, and just recorded it while it did its thing. That probably won't be possible for you though because of the inaccessibility of Vocal Writer and the fact that nothing else seems to be able to access the sound set, but maybe this will give us ideas?

Sorry if it sounds like I'm obsessing, I just love this sort of stuff big_smile

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2018-10-18 19:04:55

IIRC, .gm soundbanks are used by Javax.sound.midi, so it might be possible to access the data somehow via a java application?

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2018-10-18 19:07:38

First, here is the zip-file.

Secondly
@musicalman: I don't know exactly what you mean by those Things, but if you can make a midi-file with those Things you want, I can convert it to an aif-file with VocalWriter, using sited help.

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2018-10-18 20:09:57

CAE_Jones, could you download the files Akse0435 has linked to and see if you can make any headway? The file I downloaded was called GMBank with no extension so not sure if that's any good. Aside from that, it sounds like the Java thing you're talking about has to do with making Java scripts, and since I'm not a programmer, I'm afraid I will be terribly lost trying to do that.

@Akse0435, I will try to explain this simply so you understand, because I want to make sure you know what I'm talking about before you do it.

Basically what I would be doing is recording many notes for one sound, then moving onto the next sound and recording those same notes for the next sound. There are 128 sounds in total, plus a drum kit. Here's a midi file for the first instrument.

I could put all the instruments in one midi file so you could do just one pass through everything. It would be roughly 16 hours, not 21 as I said before (the extra hours were extra stuff which I don't think we need here).

However, I'm not sure how Vocal Writer would cope with that large a file. The file would be large, probably over 10 GB, though thankfully compressing to 7zip or zip or something should reduce it a bit, and you could always make it mp3 or something like that, but that will degrade the audio slightly.

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2018-10-18 20:26:00

Well, isn't it worth a shot?

But I don't want to go through so many midi-files, so it would be good with just one file with it all.

But do the 16 hours reffers to the time it takes to make the midifile with all instruments, or the editing after I've made the audiofile?

If it doesn't take much time to make the midi-file with it all, then I'll think it's worth a shot, but I understand if you think something else.

If the audio file would be so large afterwards, I could always convert it to FLAC, which is a lossless audioformat with lower size than wav and aif, and then pack in a 7z-file.

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2018-10-18 21:43:12 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-18 21:44:25)

Yeah, the flac idea is good. I'm more worried that Vocal Writer won't be able to save the entire file, since wav and aif and stuff have file size limits iirc.
Maybe, we can try it all in one batch, and if that fails, then we can split it up into several small batches, depending on how much Vocal Writer can do at a time. I will start preparing a large midi file to cover everything. Maybe we should take this to private messages of some form, whether they be on here or with some other app?

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2018-10-18 21:59:53

What about Skype or e-mail, you deside.

My skype-name is: aksel.christoffersen

My e-mail is: [email protected]

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2018-10-18 22:10:07

I'll add you to Skype.

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2018-10-18 22:12:24

Ok.

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2018-10-18 23:02:50

I found a line that says "Copyright Triton, 1995" in the ._GMBank. Also something like "com.apple.quarantine".

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2018-10-19 00:48:16 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-19 00:49:09)

Hmm, Triton was a Korg synth released around that time, but triton is the name of the synth, not the company, unless there's another company Triton that I don't know about. Besides, some of those sounds have a very Roland flavor, particularly some drums and a few other sounds. But I do think the snare drum is from Korg.

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2018-10-19 07:22:14 (edited by Dekyo-NEC2608 2018-10-19 07:25:32)

Sorry to disappoint you all, but I have not found another useful text data in the file. Only preset and instrument names.

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2018-10-19 08:18:05

You can get the samples by importing ._GMBank as raw data, albeit not in the most optimal form. Not sure what the specifications for the samples are exactly, but I think they're big endian 16 bit PCM.

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2018-10-19 09:22:33

Also if anyone is interested, I found a weird text line in the Windows CE sound bank file (wince_gm.dls) that says "Nathan Grigg  INAM   030A1X  ISFT   Sound Forge 4.5 ISBJ     DATE    1999-10-12". The text data apears many times, but the number 042C4 and the month and day (1999-10-12) change.
Aparently, Nathan Grigg is a composer and sound designer.

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2018-10-19 16:22:26

Cool, Dekyo-NEC2608! How did you scroll through the file and look for text? Do you have some filter for non-text characters or something?
@Slender Yep I knew about importing the file as raw, I did that yesterday. Akse0435 and I are trying to record samples so we can figure out how everything is mapped, but are currently running into hurdles. I'm not surprised but yeah, this is going to get interesting.

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2018-10-19 18:48:39 (edited by Dekyo-NEC2608 2018-10-19 18:57:29)

@musicalman I just opened the file in Notepad++ and I pressed ctrl+right arrow to read the things correctly. There's various words that are related to the RIFF DLS structure, such as "LIST", "insh" (instrument header) "rgn" (region) "rgnh" (region header) "wsmp" (sample information) "wlnk" (link information) "lart" (unknown) "art" (unknown) "fmt" (wave format) "INAM" (name or title) "ICOP" (copyright) "ISFT" (software), also I found instrument and preset names, and garbage text.
The structure definition is taken from this page.
Also, I wanted to get CRIMSON's DLS TOOLS because it can handle DLS 1, DLS 2 and Mobile DLS (3GPP). But it is not anywhere for download, and it is shareware. So, is totally impossible to found the full version. sad

I love sound generator ICs and LSIs. Hopefully some day I'll become one! The most powerful one!

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