About GeneralUser GS
GeneralUser GS is a GM and GS compatible SoundFont bank for composing or playing MIDI files. There are currently versions for use with FluidSynth (or Qsynth), MuseScore, Sound Blaster Live!/Audigy/X-fi sound cards, and other SoundFont-compatible hardware and software synthesizers. For owners of Sound Blaster audio cards, GeneralUser GS can greatly enhance the sound quality of GM/GS compatible MIDI files when loaded into the sound card's RAM. Compared with the default SoundFonts that Creative Labs ships with their sound cards, the instrument sounds in GeneralUser GS are far more realistic.
Although GeneralUser GS was originally designed for use with Sound Blaster audio cards, most recent development has been for the excellent FluidSynth, the best software SoundFont player available, in my opinion. It also sounds quite good on many other softsynths, although not all are guaranteed to sound fully correct.
I decided on the name "GeneralUser" because the bank was designed to sound well with all kinds of music rather than specializing in only a few styles, thereby benefiting the general user. It's not a great name, but that's what I came up with almost 20 years ago, and it's stuck.
Listen to the following MIDI files played through GeneralUser GS:
download | The Hybrid Collage by S. Christian Collins, 2005, a smattering of different musical styles
download | March #1 in D major by S. Christian Collins (1995)
For MuseScore, GeneralUser GS has been carefully tweaked for orchestral composition so you can hear your music with better quality and improved balanced between instruments. Here is a short orchestra piece played in MuseScore with the stock sounds and synthesizer settings:
download | MuseScore Orchestral Example played using stock sounds
Now, the same excerpt played with GeneralUser GS MuseScore version 1.44:
download | MuseScore Orchestral Example played using GeneralUser GS
Hardware Synths (support provided through audio driver)
- E-MU APS
- Sound Blaster Audigy, Audigy 2/NX/ZS, Audigy 4
- Sound Blaster Extigy
- Sound Blaster Live!
- Sound Blaster X-Fi
Other synths not listed here may work, but I have not had the opportunity to test them myself.
* – FluidSynth 1.0.8 (and earlier) has some bugs in the way that it handles SoundFont 2.01 modulators, among other things. Please use version 1.0.9 or later.
- Sound Blaster version 1.44 - for use with Sound Blaster sound cards (Live! or Audigy series recommended).
- FluidSynth version 1.44 - for use with FluidSynth or Qsynth. (optional: Rosegarden instrument list*)
- MuseScore version 1.442 - for use with MuseScore.
- SoftSynth version 1.44 - for use with most software synthesizers, especially those that don't support SoundFont 2.01 modulators.
Want to be notified of updates? Follow me on Twitter: Follow @SChrisCollins
* – Use the old version of the Rosegarden instrument list if you have trouble accessing the sounds in the different preset banks due to an older Fluidsynth version.
Please follow your synth/sound card's documentation for instructions on loading GeneralUser GS as the default GM/GS bank. This usually requires GeneralUser GS to be loaded into bank 0, and any other SoundFonts loaded into bank 0 to be removed prior. Additional setup instructions are included in the README file included in the archive.
Please note that starting with version 1.44, the license has changed. I wanted to make it easier for GeneralUser GS to be repackaged and modified if necessary, which should hopefully now make it possible for e.g., GNU/Linux distributions to include it in their repositories. Please see LICENSE.txt included with the GeneralUser GS download for more information.