Improved Timpani and Tam Tam

• Jan 31, 2016 - 23:12

Both the timpani and the tam tam sound horrible. They also are unable to play nearly as loud as some instruments, like the trumpets and trombones. Being a percussionist myself, I am desperate.


Unfortunately the GM standard doesn't include gongs or tam-tams.

Consequently the nearest sound in the default soundfont to it has been used which is the chinese cymbal.

I use the Roland Orchestral Rhythm soundfont when I wish to use gong or tam-tam in my work. To be found here.....

The only downside is that all the soundfonts listed there are in SFPack format which you will need to uncompress them. This is fine if you're on Windows, but Linux and Mac Users may have a problem there.

It would be good to include a gong and a tam-tam in the default soundfont, and I will try to source some suitably licensed samples.

The Timpani isn't the worst I've heard, it suffers from only having three samples across the range, and is, again, on the list for eventual improvement.

Keep your eye on the soundfont forum which is where announcements about changes to the default soundfont are made.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

People need to remember that a volume control can go down as well as up :)

If the brass is too loud compared to the timps - turn it down in the mixer!

Part of the problem is that the timps are getting attenuated somewhere - the samples themselves are pretty loud. Also there different filter levels for the different velocity splits, which again aren't helping.

I find when using timps that I usually need to up the velocity levels in the inspector in order to get the timbre to sound right.

I did recently have a look at replacing the samples with the ones from SSO but I wasn't very happy with the result.

I will have a look to see whether I can fix the attenuation, although they seem loud enough in Viena.

Perhaps there's some attenuation going on in the FluidSynth implementation - IIRC we added a little to stop artifacts appearing in the SF3 version - #21814: Playback of SF3 features loud pops

We can do very little about this until a new version of libsndfile is released.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I took a look at the timps during the past day, and I may have hit on the problem.

You may be interested to know that attenuation on the timps was reduced from 11.5 to 10.0 in version 2.09

I think part of the problem is that the decay and release envelopes aren't set well enough to allow the sample tail to come through on short notes.

Working on it.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I have improved the Timp sound considerably, although it is still not as good as it could be due to only being composed of 3 samples.

The Decay phase of the ADSR enevelope was set as longer than the Release! Guess the original designer wasn't fully au fait with amplitude envelope concepts.

I've also removed the global attenuation.

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