'General MIDI' Instruments Plugin


What do people use as a ‘General MIDI’ plugin with Cantabile to create a GM virtual multi-timbral sound module i.e. have all of the 128 GM sounds/instruments available/mapped by sending the correct program change?

C3 with Roland Cloud?

I actually do use the Roland Cloud version of their “Sound Canvas”, as I am a subscriber to that service. It is really nice - better than I remember!



I don’t use GM much these days but if I need it there’s a GM set in Halion Sonic.


Yeah, never tried the virtual version but I had a real one back in the day and it was a great solid machine with a lot of good sounds. IIRC EWQL Colossus was also designed as a GM VST.


Hey Terry,

is it true that you need have internet access when using the plugins from the cloud? Or how does it work?


Not when using them, only when downloading and installing, and of course for updates.

(Well, actually, what do I know? I’m seldom disconnected from the Internet entirely!)

I’d check on that at Roland. The best part is that it is not a yearly commitment - you can dip in and out of the subscription, so there is no danger in trying for a month. The $19.95 monthly layout does give you a ton of good stuff.



Watch out though- apparently most of the Roland VST are absolute CPU pigs for no apparent reason.


It is that modeling algorithm they are using on all their classic-synth emulations - supposedly they model right down to individual resistors, diodes and capacitors, even anticipating the tolerance and model. Wire-wound vs Carbon Composite resistors, anyone? I wonder what the math is like for that sort of thing!?



That’s crazy. Seems to work though. The D50 sounds better than the real thing.


I must say, the D50 plugin is the thing that might tempt me (and I was intrigued by the recent D-05 announcement). I have a D50 and it can do some great lush sounds if you program it, but I don’t want to be taking a 30 year old synth around on tour, with no backup. From what I hear, in particular from the D-05, they don’t model the intricacies of the resistors/capacitors etc on the digital synths, but they do model the crude low-resolution digital filters, rounding errors, digital aliasing and all that stuff.


That’s the thing though, the fidelity on the D50 sounded vastly superior to the DACS in the original. Plus, I think it allows for some form of stereo (not sure if it’s voice placement or a stereo chorus). Might be wrong on that. I think it has some effects that go beyond the limitations of the original unit (might be wrong there too though). Either way, it sounds good :wink:

I suppose that’s the thing; they don’t model the DAC, you’re using your modern interface to replace it.


Hi @terrybritton,

what frightened me away from these plugs was this statement in their FAQ:

You will need to be online whenever the instruments are loaded within the DAW. Once the instruments have loaded and authenticated there is no need to stay online.

This would be an automatic disqualifier for live use - can you check if that is really the case? Just unplug your network cord and start up Cantabile with one of the Roland Cloud synths and let us know what happens…




No need to test anymore, @terrybritton - I just raised a ticket with their support, asking if I really needed to be online every time I want to load a Roland Cloud plugin into any host, and they answered very quickly:

Hi Torsten,

Yes, currently that is true. We’re working on an authentication system that would not require that.


So currently, Roland Cloud seems a no-go for playing live - too risky, that…




Yes, I did just test it myself and found that to be the case. Once the daw is started up with the plugin there is no need to be connected, but at least a temporary Wifi connection would be needed at the gig to start Cantabile without throwing an authorization error for each instrument you have loaded in.

Well, these items ARE genuine CPU super-hogs anyway! I can barely run Jupiter 8 on my older AMD A10 machine here in the living room!!! Not the best choice for gigs even with authorization, perhaps.



Cloud? We don’t need no steenking cloud. When I hear about the Roland cloud I just want to slap the Roland marketing people “upside the head”.

Buy Sound Canvas VA. I was using an M-GS64 module. Now I’m using three instances of Sound Canvas VA in Cantabile. I don’t use setlists, I’ve always used both Powertracks and Cakewalk 9 instead. It’s like having two turntables. I can load a sequence while the othe is playing, depending how busy I am. In my current case I am also using LoopBe30 from www.nerds.de as a link. The sequencers feed a LoopBe30 port input and and instance of SCVA in Cantabile picks up the midi from that port’s output. That gives me isolation so I can start up the sequencers before I start up Cantabile. I use the SC-Pro soundset. Better, but close enough to the SC88 sounds in the M-GS64. IMHO the guitars get better and the basses get worse as you move from the 88 to the 8820 sounds. I also have an issue with the more modern drum sounds. It may be dated, I really like the "trash can " 80’s rock snare in the SC88.

The third instance is for One Man Band arranger software. I just use it for drums. No accompaniment sounds, just left hand bass, right hand keys and OMB drummer.

Make sure you have GM or GS resets in all of your files. The VA seems to be much more sensitive to “leftovers” from last played sequences. If you change the mode, you have to send a GS reset, or click on RESET, to get it to actually happen. The sounds are real, much better than the various SC88 virtual synths. The bad side is there is no documentation and trying to figure out SYSEX for anything will send you to either prison or the nuthouse.

For the record, I have the three instances running on a stock HP 2760P, 2.5ghz, 4 gigs RAM, 300 gigs/7200 RPM SATA2 tablet/laptop. I was using an Echo IOX Expresscard but I’ve skipped that and now go directly to the Behringer XR18 channel’s USB ASIO audio interface.

Cantabile and the three instances takes maybe 90 seconds to come up, no issues.




I use the Chorium GM sf2 allot.
sfz+ player works best.


Yes, but it’s near impossible to get it these days - Cakewalk page says it’s free, but there aren’t any download links to be found :frowning:




(This is supposed to be the last free version offered. I don’t know if Cakewalk was bundling any more advanced version before it was discontinued,)


Nope, that’s sfz and not sfz+.

sfz+ is the “professional” version of sfz. Look here - supposed to be free now, but there’s no download link to be found anywhere…