What's the best sound font that is the most accurate

• Mar 21, 2016 - 22:30

So, I've had it in regards to how musescore sounds. I would like to find the most accurate sound font possible that musescore could handle. What is it?

Also, I have read the hand book to see how sound fonts work, however, I could not find how to make a certain soundfont default. I would like to replace the junky soundfont that's currently in my musescore software with something more accurate. How do I make my choice default?


That is quite the tall order.
So here's what I have to say: that is entirely based on what you want.

Do you want a good GM bank here's one, it's nearly a GB:

However, just because it's the biggest does not mean it's the best. That's completely subjective. I know some people really like Timbres of Heaven:

Another popular one is General Users GS:
(download link in handbook)

If you want to get out of the GM specification, that is a whole other issue. There are many specialty and individual soundfonts.

Sonatina is a good orchestral soundfont, it is almost strictly classical (and maybe a bit of jazz):

Also look at Squidfont, it's older, but it has some good patches:

For Piano, the Salamander grand is very good: http://freepats.zenvoid.org/Piano/

So is Piano in 162, but you need to edit the file to get it to work with MuseScore:

Anthony Deaton has some good pianos and percussion:

If you want an accurate pipe organ Jeux de Orgues is impossible to beat, but is complicated to use with MuseScore:

If you like early music, check out Sonae Musicae, they have excellent harpsichords, a carillon and a small organ :

If you want accurate sounding electric Guitars, check out FlameStudio:

Also, for guitars, basses (including an acoustic upright), there's Karoryfer, which uses SFZ, thus only limited support in MuseScore:

That's what I have, but you may not like them, there is no "magic bullet" so to speak for this issue. It's all a matter of personal preference

to set a soundfont (or multiple soundfonts) to default go to view -> synthesizer make sure all files are loaded in the order you want. Hit set as default.

In reply to by [DELETED] 597046

Okay, thanks for what you've provided. I am UNABLE to have winzip files. I would prefer a file that is easy to install. Basically download it, and then add to Musescore. What I'm focused on is Choral, Orchestral (full and String) and Piano. Maybe percussion if necessary.

In reply to by Elwin

You can load as many soundfonts as you like, and when you press the "Set as Default" button, they will all then be loaded each time you start MuseScore. It will still be up to you to choose which instruments get used from which soundfont for each score, though.

In reply to by [DELETED] 597046

Okay, after trying a few, I would say I think Timbres of heaven is the best overall, however, it does have its drawbacks. I have had to turn the volume down pretty low since it knows the definition of forte. General User has the best orchestra sounds, however it is lacking some instruments and its choir sounds are terrible. HQ orchestral soundfont has really accurate sounds as well, but it lacks other instruments as well. HQ orchestral also has the best choir sounds. Florestan Basic was not exactly good, some sounds were irritating me.

Timbres of heaven's sounds were a little less that General user or HQ orchestral for some of the instruments, but it had the all instruments in it. Its dynamics are well defined, I'm talking to the point that you will need to lower the default volume even if your headphones are on 1 setting. (Yes I keep my headphones in settings less than 3. When I had windows 7, I kept them at one. 2 was considered too loud. Now that I have windows 10, one is a bit too soft. I usually keep mine at 2 now). The choir sounds are tolerable, they can work, the piano sound couldn't top HQ orchestral.

In addition to depending on your needs, it's also hopelessly subjective. Some people like the saxophone samles from soundfont X better than than those from Y, others prefer Y to X. But the same person who prefers the saxophones from X might prefer the violins from Y, and vice versa.

The soundfont that comes with MuseScore - FluidR3 - has for many years been generally considered one of the very best GM-compatible soundfonts that is freely available. But of course since this is subjective, everyone has their own preferences and things they like better about some other particular soundfont. The one that the most people seem to find the biggest improvement overall is Timbres of Heaven. A few people find GeneralUserGS to be better even thought it is much more limited in its sample sizes. Probably when push comes to shove, in a blind test, most people would prefer some sounds from each of these.

Aside from those three, there really aren't any freely available GM-compatible soundfonts you'll see many people preferring over FluidR3 overall.

If you remove the GM-comaptible requirement, the field opens a bit. For orchestra instruments *specifically*, a lot of people like Sonatina, but it's missing pretty much any instrument Mozart didn't use. For piano specifically, a lot of people like Salamander, but that's *all* it is - just a piano. And so on.

In reply to by Elwin

You don't - either the soundfont conforms to the GM standard or it doesn't.

Be aware, however, that using a non GM soundfont may lead to unexpected results when using MuseScore's default instruments, as the Instruments.xml file which controls them uses the GM soundset as its standard.

Consequently the SSO SF2 soundfont does not produce the sounds associated with ones in the instrument dialogue.

TBH if you're wanting better playback then you would be better to invest your efforts into exporting an SMF from MuseScore then using a DAW to produce the sounds you want with VST instruments and effects.

MuseScore lacks the fine control over performance parameters available in a DAW, and so, whatever soundfont you use is not going to sound accurate.

It is, however, good enough for checking harmonies etc.

In reply to by Elwin

It' not a requirement in that sense - it's more a question of user expectations. You are free to use non GM soundfonts already, but that means they won't be plug-and-play compatible with GM soundfonts. So they won't contain the full set of instruments you are accustomed to, or might have them in different places within the soundfont so you'll need to use the Mixer to tell MuseScore where the flute sound can be found, etc.

In reply to by Elwin

I know this is an old thread, but if you're still having problems with zip files, try peazip. It is opensource(free), and is super powerful, opening almost anything from .rar archives to .zip files, all except .alo/.aol(I forget it, but there is only 1 it can't open.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Other Isaac, the only notable difference that I've noticed is the piano sound. I've also noticed a slight difference in the strings in the fact that they are no longer ear-splitting. Okay, I actually do like it. It's just that the choir sound is still horrible. However, I think it can work for now. What I hate about it is how notes like D4 sound.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Well, what I did wish I could find was for the choir sections, that actual professional sections would sing the Aah or Ooh so their color would be able to show in the music. There should also be one for the voice where the whole choir sings Aah or Ooh and then people drop out when it gets too high or too low. That would actually help a lot. Then again, I have a great imagination accompanied by perfect pitch, so I can imagine what it would sound like if a real choir sang them.

In reply to by Elwin

Unfortunately, what you are asking for: A 100% perfect sound library that is compatible with MuseScore does not the MuseScore Orchestra and what I listed is about the best there is in my opinion.

You will have to shell out 300+ US Dollars for the library, about 25$ for a JACK compatible DAW (unless you're on Linux), Download and use JACK to hookup MuseScore and your DAW. I would say that you could take b presets that you like of each soundfont to use.

I think that is the only way you could avoid having to pay for Garritan Personal Orchestra or a similar product.
What system do you run where you can't unzip a .zip file. Are you having a problem with the .7z files? The program 7zip is free. If you can't unzip .rar files with a free program called Rarzilla (it's safe) is free add unzips them. You can look up SfPack and SfArk to unpack compressed soundfonts.

And yes, I have downloaded every one of those files and I uploaded one of them I can say they are safe downloads.

In reply to by [DELETED] 597046

I tried that so many times. Extract all, Extract to, etc. You know what? It took me directly to winzip. This only works for Windows XP/Vista. I have Windows 7. If you could provide step by step instructions on how to do that for windows 7, then that would be nice.

In reply to by [DELETED] 597046

Shoot Me! (just kidding. My AP Chemistry teacher would always say that every time we would forget a topic. I kind of picked up that bad habit from her). I figured out how to do it. You right click, open with windows explorer, and then hit extract all. Well, it doesn't work with some files though.

In reply to by Elwin

This is an ancient form of soundfont compression called sfArk which was used way back when the standard for Internet connections was Dialup, and connection speeds were 56 kbps if you were lucky!

You can find it here for Windows.....

It still works on Windows 10 :)

You will also find some soundfonts around in SFPack format you can find that (for WIndows) here....


In reply to by frfancha

Actually, the ".zip" format was created by the late Phil Katz, through his PKZIP program, which turned out to be one of the best AND the fastest file-compression programs ever yet invented. Unfortunately, he battled both lawsuits and alcoholism throughout his too-short life.

Well, define what you consider "accurate"?

You will often find many soundfonts are strong on certain songs, or weak on others. Some sound good with certain instruments, some sound horrible. Often the Overdrive and Distortion guitars sound like strange electric razors!

If you want to check out my soundfont, OmegaGMGS2, here is my Soundcloud with my soundfont playing different midi songs: https://soundcloud.com/rick-simon-828789564/tracks

Now, if you want the soundfont, download it from here. It is only 125 MB in size, yet feel free to compare it to those many times its size! http://www.mediafire.com/download/2as606szvw1pbw8/OmegaGMGS2.sf2

One of the things I did to make it sound as good as possible is make sure it is accurate, well balanced, and sounds good in a mix (not just individual instruments). I have compared it to every soundfont and have yet to find anything that beats it. I have about 58 complete banks, commercial and free, and none of them sound better (not to toot my own horn, everyone that hears it has said the same).

In reply to by Ricsim78

I tried your soundfont, and it sounds great! So far the only problems I've had is that the fingered bass and picked bass sound pretty quiet and the contra-alto flute has wheezing sound before every not. At forte the fingered and picked bass sound like they're at piano. Other than that, it's wonderful

I've decided that when I get my own laptop, I'm going to get GPO5. It's the only sample that impressed me. I think Sibelius+noteperformer would be too expensive.

Nov 24, 2017 - 21:51

Revisiting this, in that it's a year old.

Any new updated soundfonts that sound good for orchestra or jazz?


Nov 24, 2017 - 21:52

Revisiting this, in that it's a year old.

Any new updated sound fonts that sound good for orchestra or jazz?


If are you still having trouble unzipping files, download them on a smartphone or tablet then extract them on the device in a folder you can find easily. Plug the charger cable into the device and the usb end into the computer. The computer will recognize it as a "removable disk" like a flash drive. Use the files application on the computer to access the device's files and move the soundfont file to the musescore soundfont folder. If you didn't need this I am sorry for wasting your time! (Side note: this method works best with an android device and make sure your cable has file transfer capabilities.)

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