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Beast SoundFont Howto

Which BEAST version to use?

SoundFont support is (at the time this howto was written) a new feature in BEAST. This means that if you're using a precompiled version from your distribution, the feature may not exist in your version of BEAST. You need BEAST newer than 0.7.8 to be able to use SoundFont instruments. Depending on when you read this document, not even the upstream git version may have the feature. In that case, you can still try it by building the unofficial BEAST version known as StwBeast. However, after the integration into upstream BEAST, some things may change, and you may not be able to use songs you create now.

In any case, if you're using BEAST versions > 0.7.8, SoundFont support should just work.

Where to get SoundFonts?

On Debian based linux systems, such as Debian or Ubuntu, the simplest way is to install the

  • fluid-soundfont-gm

package. After doing this, a general midi SoundFont should be available in

  • /usr/share/sounds/sf2/FluidR3_GM.sf2

Other distributions may also package SoundFonts. There is also HammerSound which has many SoundFonts for download. While the Fluid R3 SoundFont is public domain, it is a good idea to check the license of SoundFonts you downloaded from the net.

Loading a SoundFont

To be able to use a SoundFont in BEAST, you need to load it first. To do so, you need to use the SoundFont Repository which you can find in the ComboBox on the left/top corner of the BEAST main window. Basically its the same process like loading waves. You go to the SoundFont repository (for waves: Wave repository), use the Load... button, navigate to the SoundFont, and open it. Once you open it, you'll see a list of presets contained in this sound font in the lower half of your screen.

Using a SoundFont

SoundFont presets can be used as instruments in songs; to do this you need a song. If you don't have one, go to Project -> Create Song. The next thing you need is a track to assign a SoundFont preset. To create a new track, just add it with the Add Track.

The other option for getting a Song and Tracks is to import a midi file using File -> Import MIDI.

Finally, once you have a Track, you can double click on the Synth field in the left part of the Song View. There is a tab named Available Sound Fonts where you can select the SoundFont and Preset you want to assign to the selected track.