Best GM Soundfont player in 2017? (The Life and Times of General MIDI)
TL;DR What is the best Soundfont player on iOS? Are there any with AU or IAA support? What is your favourite General MIDI Soundfont bank? And did any of you compose using GM back in the day?
As a teenager in the 1990s, I used to make 2D games, obsessively drawing every pixel, conjuring up movement engines and physics systems for my characters and their vehicles, and eventually I got to the point where I wanted to write the music, too.
My games needed to be less than 2mb, otherwise they'd be too large for people to download, so the answer was MIDI files, General MIDI style. I got some basic notation software and just jumped in, composing like mad by ear with no formal training. I even upgraded to a Soundblaster AWE32 sound card because the GM sounds were better than my SB16.
Then things took a very different turn - after high school, 99% of my effort went into shaping and sculpting sound, and I got heavily involved in the experimental music world, cooking up bliss- and terror-noise, atmospheres, atonal improvisations, AV installations, underground this and hoobeliboo that. In scenes driven by wild experimentation, the challenge was for musicians and sound artists to question the definition of music itself, to consciously break every known rule with regards to composition, harmony, arrangement, rhythm, everything... However, in these circles, one rule remained:
"Never use General MIDI! It's a sonic crime!"
Fast forward to now. I'm back to writing more song-ish songs again, so fk it! Let's jump back in.
I'm thinking that limiting myself to a set sonic palette, however imperfect, will inspire me to approach composition with fresh eyes, given that sound design is effectively out of the picture - it's notes on a piano roll or nothing at all! An exercise in creative restraint for someone endlessly drawn to sound shaping and sculpting.
So, a few questions:
What is the best Soundfont player for iOS that can handle GM Soundfont files? bs-16i? What are its advantages and limitations?
Are there any SF players that support AU? I'm aware there are memory limitations involved, but I don't even know if there's a player.
What is the best free GM SF bank?
Should I just get Roland Soundcanvas? If so, adavantsgws and limitations?
I have Auria Pro - how does it handle Soundfonts? How about GM SFs?
And of course I'm curious to hear if any of you used to compose using General MIDI back in the day? Or maybe you've never stopped? Before MP3s, I used to download MIDI files of my favourite bands. Had a killer Green Day collection in 1995.
Thanks for reading, any thoughts or reflections appreciated!