[linux-audio-user] Linux midi players that don't require download of large patch or sample files??

Dave Phillips dlphilp at bright.net
Sat Feb 21 09:31:56 EST 2004

Hi Randy:

  I'm not totally sure about how things work in Windows (is anyone?) but 
the likelihood is that your soundcard was installed along with a set of 
patches ready to go. AFAIK no soundcard comes with a pre-programmed 
hardware synth on-board, though I may be wrong about that. So your old 
card probably needed the patches or soundfonts too, but in typical 
Windows fashion they were loaded and you never had to consider them 
(which is a pretty good way to do things for a normal user, IMO).

  Your consideration now is actually a few considerations:

    Does the SiS support a real on-board hardware synth ?
    Does the SiS really only support a software synthesizer ?
    If it does support a synth, what sound sources does it require (i.e. 
soundfonts, GUS patches, WAV, whatever) ?
    Does ALSA and/or OSS/Free provide native Linux support for the SiS ?
    Does the driver support all the features of the SiS chipset ?

  You should start your explorations here:


  Look over the Soundcard Matrix to see if your soundcard/chipset is 
supported. Click on the Details for more information about the depth of 
support provided by the available driver.

  Btw, soundfonts can vary wildly in size. My SBLive came with a disc 
that included General MIDI soundfonts, in 2, 4, and 8 MB sizes. For a 
comparison, I also utilize the Fluid soundfont with the TiMidity++  
software synthesizer. That soundfont (FluidR3) is almost 150 MB, much 
too large for my SBLive's standard memory but it works great with the 

  Also btw: Look at the TiMidity++ and playmidi for lightweight players 
for your MIDI files. Check here for more information :


Best regards,


Ruth A. Kramer wrote:

>Sorry, this is probably a very newbie question, and I haven't lurked
>very long or searched the archives (partly because I don't have a good
>idea of keywords to search for).
>I've used Linux for a few years, but sound isn't normally a concern.  My
>son is trying to make the switch from Windows to Linux (and has, for
>some things) and now wants to play midi files.
>His impression is that, on Windows, sound players use synthesizer's (and
>"patches"/"samples") built into the sound card while on Linux those
>patches/samples (??) have to be downloaded and he talks about 40 MB
>worth of files in some cases.
>Maybe the difference is that we also changed computers, and his current
>computer has an on-board SiS 7018 sound thingie while his previous
>computer (IIRC) had a separate sound card, possibly with something like
>the Yamaha OPL xxx on it.
>Any light anybody can shed on this would be appreciated.  (I did skim
>through a Linux Sound HOWTO (that was actually a little bit more like an
>FAQ), and saw some hints, but I really don't know how to interpret
>Keywords to use to search the archives or Google, or pointers to simple
>documentation that focuses on this subject could also be helpful.
>No doubt what ever I learn will end up on a WikiLearn page
>Randy Kramer

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