What's your favourite live symphony orchestral soundfont?

• Jul 10, 2018 - 17:34

Downloading and setting soundfonts can be really really difficult for me (my Internet speed is not at all fast to download them), but I still want to get a good soundfont for my orchestral pieces.
So could anyone please recommend your favourite soundfont for live symphony orchestra, say something about why it's the best in your mind, and better still, provide a link? Note that it's for a live playing orchestra, which means the soundfont can best imitate the sound effects of a symphony orchestra playing live. I'll appreciate it because that will greatly spare my efforts.


Well, I currently use S. Christian Collins' GeneralUser GS 1.471 and like it a lot. It's hard to explain why, it just sounds good to my ears. It can be found here: http://schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php

Doubt it's the one orchestral soundfont to rule them all, but it's my favourite out of the ones I have used. I will say, though, if you have a piano part in your orchestral scores, I'd use Salamander Grand Yamaha C5 for that, as it sounds better to my ears than the GeneralUser GS piano. You can find it here: https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/

And if for some reason you want a pipe organ part in your score, Jeux14 is up to the job: http://www.realmac.info/jeux1.htm

In reply to by FugalOmen

Thank you!
One more question, have you tried GeneralUser GS Live!/Audigy version 1.44 listed below the current version? It has the word "live" in it, and I'm not sure whether it's more suitable for imitating a live performance. I'll appreciate it if you could give me an answer. :)

In reply to by Howard-C

Hope you like it.

Another tip: I found the violas in GeneralUser GS to be a bit too quiet compared to the rest of the strings, so I opened the soundfont in Polyphone and looked at the viola presets. It turned out its global attenuation was set to I think 10.0 dB, so I removed that and it sounds louder now. I'll also try editing the env attack in the viola presets too, as the viola attack in GeneralUser GS sounds a bit too much to me.

In reply to by FugalOmen

Okay, it seems removing all numbers in the env attack row for the viola preset in Polyphone and setting the global env attack to around 2.750 smoothens the viola attack. At least, that's what I did. If you have a soundfont loaded in MuseScore at the time, you will need to remove and re-load it in the MuseScore synthesizer.


This is a link to Vienna Symphonic library's demo page. It is not free. I did not yet purchase from them, but it is the best I've heard thus far.
You may be impressed by their Stravinsky Rite of Spring as I was. The Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition sections will offer you some variety. These are not perfect, but as close to live as I've heard.

Actually, I've just begun my exploration and wanted to know what others think of Vienna Symphonic.

On MuseScore I've written for as much as a 15 player ensemble thus far,using the default general font and a few sounds from Aegean. I've had to fuss with the mixer (particularly pan) and the synthesizer (mostly reverb) to get some accuracy. Not too bad. However, I've heard some fine scores for symphony orchestra on MuseScore which suffer from the mechanical, anemic feel of the fonts. It seems the more you add, the farther from realism you end up.

Note, too, that I'm new at this with little experience, but I hope this helps somewhat.

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