Still many readers are coming here because of my posts about MIDI. Most visitors are especially interested in improving their MIDI sound windows-wide, so it won’t sound like a cheap Chinese toy anymore. ;) I described one way to achieve this goal in a previous post. However, this information is more than two years old now, and the Timidity driver I recommended back then hasn’t been updated since 2008, so it’s time for a more modern solution.
Recently I discovered by chance a new, more up-to-date program: BASSMIDIDrv. It does exactly the same as the Timidity driver: It makes Windows play all MIDI sounds with one (or more) selected SoundFont(s). In addition, it has two big advantages over Timidity:
- You don’t have to edit any configuration files by hand. The BASSMIDI driver has a graphical interface which lets you easily select your desired SoundFont(s) in a file browser.
- This interface also allows you set BASSMIDI as the standard MIDI driver in Windows.
Especially the second point is a relief: Since Windows Vista, the MIDI synthesizer can no longer be easily changed in the Control Panel as it used to be the case in Windows XP. Therefore, until now you always had to take the detour via Putzlowitsch’s Vista MIDIMapper, which adds a corresponding application to the Control Panel. With the new BASSMIDI driver however, additional tools are no longer necessary.
This is how it works:
- Download the BASSMIDI driver
- after installation, click “Configure Driver” in the Start menu
- under “SoundFont”, add one or more SoundFont(s) that the driver should use, then click “Apply”
- under “Advanced”, select the “BASSMIDI Driver” as Default MIDI Synth, then click “Apply”
If you don’t know what SoundFonts are, you can read two paragraphs here for explanation. Further down on the same page, there is also a short list of good SoundFonts available for download. I myself like to use “Crisis General MIDI v1.8” for simple purposes.