GeneralUser GS

About GeneralUser GS

GeneralUser GS is a GM and GS compatible SoundFont bank for composing, playing MIDI files, and retro gaming. It features 259 instrument presets and 11 drum kits, all while possessing a very low memory footprint (less than 30 MB of RAM). Due to its clever, detailed sound programming, GeneralUser GS can sound as good or better than SoundFonts that are 2-3 times its size.

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 I haven't bothered to change it.


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)

GeneralUser GS also works well with the MuseScore music notation software if you are looking for an alternative to MuseScore's stock instrument sounds:

download | sheet music (MuseScore file) | March of the Muse by S. Christian Collins, played using GeneralUser GS


Although GeneralUser GS was originally designed for use with Sound Blaster audio cards, the most recent development has been focused on SoundFont-compatible software instead. The current version of GeneralUser GS requires a SoundFont synth with support for SoundFont 2.01 modulators. Compatible synths include FluidSynth 1.0.9 or later (and other software that uses FluidSynth such as Qsynth, LMMS, and ScummVM, just to name a few), MuseScore 2.0.3 or later, SynthFont2 or later, and VSTSynthFont 1.080 or later.

While the current version of GeneralUser GS can be used with the hardware synthesizer found in many Sound Blaster audio cards, you will achieve better results using a version that was designed especially for this hardware (see list of downloads below).

Most other SoundFont synths do not support all of the programming I have used in GeneralUser GS and will cause many of the presets to sound incorrect. (See my blog post Using SoundFonts in 2016 for more information on this matter.) For these unsupported SoundFont synths, you can download an older "SoftSynth" version of GeneralUser GS below that cuts out a lot of the special programming and is less likely to result in broken-sounding presets.




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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.