I didn't want to clutter up the "XMPlay MIDI plugin" thread anymore than it already is <grin>, so's I decided to create a new thread here.
(from the "XMPlay MIDI plugin" thread)
Do not underestimate the power of the S-YXG50. It might not sound that good with plain General MIDI files, but it beats the crap out of everything else if you feed it some properly sequenced XG MIDI files. And with whopping 512 notes of polyphony, it can handle even the craziest / most complex MIDI arrangements ever created.
There were 3 or 4 versions of the S-YXG50 softsynth. The last version (for Windows XP) is the only one that sounds good (44kHz output, 512-note poly, improved sound set). The older ones (for Win98) were terrible - 22kHz output, only 64-voice polyphony and a really shitty sound set
I just downloaded and installed the last version of Yamaha's S-YXG50 (Yamaha S-YXG50 v4.23.14S WDM) along with the 4MB sound bank/waveset, and I gotta say that I'm quite impressed! Many of my own GM MIDI compositions, as well as others in my MIDI collection sound just "OK"... but playing any that were specifically sequenced for the XG are really impressive.
(rewind to 1996/1997 or so)
I was composing mostly on a Wave Blaster (1) and an AWE32 with the usual "8MBGM.SF2" soundfont that I had purchased on CD. Back then my current project was the score from Eternal DOOM, and since most folks still had only OPL FM synyh for their MIDI music playback, I had always wished that more folks had a decent wavetable daughterboard so's they could hear the music like *I* could hear it <grin>.
One of the members of Team Eternal/TeamTNT, Lisa Moore, was interested in upgrading her PC with a wavetable daughterboard, and the Wave Blaster's (1) were getting a bit hard to find. So, I suggested the Yamaha DB50XG... although I wasn't really familiar with it; I only knew that it had a 4MB ROM of onboard samples, so I figured it would be comparable to my Wave Blaster (1).
She bought the board and installed it, and played a few of my Eternal DOOM tunes on it for me over the phone... I wasn't impressed in the least bit, and quite a few times thought to myself "YUCK!" (although I wouldn't tell her that, as I had suggested that board in the first place <grin>. The stock GM setup when playing standard GM MIDIs was fairly "weak" to me.
(fast-forward to today)
Since the S-YXG50 (with the 4MB sound bank) is about the same/comparable to the DB50XG, I can now hear how the DB50XG would have sounded playing MIDIs designed for XG. Like the Wave Blaster (1), on the DB50XG you can create completely new instruments using the ROM samples, and they could be sent to Wave Blaster (1) via sysex... just like the DB50XG; with a utility for the DB50XG "XGedit 95", and a utility for the Wave Blaster (1) "WB Manipulator".
But, what I didn't realize at the time, was that the DB50XG (as well as the S-YXG50) has ALL SORTS of additional hardware effects processors; overdrive, distortion, feedback, etc..., which my Wave Blaster (1) did/does not.
The Wave Blaster (1) supports chorus, but that's about it... it doesn't even have a reverb processor: which was one of MY BIGGEST GRIPES about it. As, with the addition of reverb processor, one could reproduce the *EXACT* same sound of any of the E-mu Proteus MIDI modules (Proteus 1/2/3/FX)... which sound quite phenominal, espcially with the orchestral instruments (which is the content of quite a bit of my own compostiions).
Anyhow, I was fooling around with the S-YXG50 and playing the old Yamaha XG MIDI file "D_RP_02X.MID"... and all I can say is DDAAAHH-UUUMMMN!
I've had and liked that MIDI file for many years now, but had only previously played it on my Wave Blaster (1) and AWE-32 cards (with the "8MBGM.SF2" soundfont loaded); as well as currently with my SBLive (with my custom "Weeds General MIDI SoundFont v3.0" loaded). Now, mind you, it sounds REALLY NICE on those cards (and especially with my "Weeds General MIDI SoundFont v3.0" on my SBLive), but...
...the custom overdrive guitar sysex/instrument in that MIDI when played on the S-YXG50 (and I'm sure a real DB50XG as well) sounds, well, nothing short of PHENOMINAL! A far cry from simply playing the regular standard GM overdrive guitar sample/instrument on the S-YXG50 and DB50XG (which is what I heard over the telephone years ago from Lisa, mentioned above)
I was then "obligated" to play all of the MIDIs that I had previously downloaded years back from the long-since gone "Yamaha XG Free Song Data Library" with the S-YGX50... WOW!
Anyhow, in a nutshell:
I still am quite biased towards my SBLive and all of my soundfonts (as I can give most modern (as well as retro) hardware MIDI modules a run for their money <grin>; oh, and just rambling/reminiscing here... I remember years past really drooling over the Roland SC-88Pro when it first hit the market).
But... I had absolutely NO idea just how powerful that the DB50XG was (and still is), and how great it sounded! And, it's quite cool how well the S-YXG50 (with the 4MB ROM sound bank) can simulate the DB50XG
P.S. Heh, it appears that the files for the S-YXG50's 4MB sound bank are in actuality a ROM dump from the DB50XG
(Edit) P.P.S. Maybe you can tell me, what is the difference of the S-YXG50/S-YXG70/S-YXG100? I realize that only the S-YXG50 WDM version is supported for Windows XP (the others for W9x), but what's the deal with the other (higher numbered) versions?
e.g. Did the S-YXG100 include a larger ROM sound bank than the other two?