I often get asked how to create a soundfont, or modify an existing one. There are some excellent explanations of the basics at the following two sites:
Ethan Winner's site Soundfont Tutorials Not everyone has a soundcard that can use soundfonts - but there's a software solution you can check out at http://www.vsampler.com/english/index.html. This is reported to also offer a solution if you don't have enough memory to load a big soundfont also. SonicImplants web site has free and commercial soundfonts - great to supplement your GM soundbank, of for that special composition - check it out.Michael Lerman on MP3.com - Michael contacted me a few weeks ago and told me that he would be publishing some original compositions he recorded using the PersonalCopy soundfont PC42. Listen to his work (and the PC42 soundfont) at the MP3.com page for his new album "Forever Yours" - the first two songs use this soundfont.
Thanks Michael, and the very best of luck with Forever Yours
HammerSound - a great site with the best collection of soundfonts I've found. Thomas has all the great "big" soundfonts you've heard about on this one site, as well as some of the soundfonts I have here. If you check out no other soundfont site, check out this one.
The SoundSite - Along with HammerSound above, one of the best sources for soundfonts I've found on the web. They limit the number of users that can connect to the FTP download source, so be patient. They also have lots of MIDI files.
E-mu Systems, Inc. - there are free soundfonts here too, and commercial soundfonts to buy and download, and CDs with soundfonts. If you're creating that monster soundfont, you may want to consider adding some commercial soundfonts, and here's the best place I've found to get them. Check out Hot New Stuff on this page.
Sonido Media - some free samples - Sonido Media is working on a big soundfont for commercial release. You can download sample sounds from this soundfont on their site.
Melody Machine - home of the sfArk utility used for most of the big soundfonts on these pages
Megota Software - home of Sfpack - now used in the distribution of the PersonalCopy soundfont Version 4.2
Note: As of late December 2001, this site is down. The SFPack utility can be downloaded from this link.
Bries Wim's home page - This is an interesting site with some good links for the soundfont enthusiast. FindSounds.com - This is pretty interesting - a site with links to all sorts of sound effects on the WWW.
To the developer of a GM sound bank, one of the biggest problems is testing out each of your voices. You need to play a MIDI file that not only plays each voice, but you have to know which one is playing. In addition, the instrument has to be played correctly, with the proper controller, or the "synthy" sound you think you're hearing may not be the fault of your voice, but how the voice is played. There's a few sites I've found to help, but the best is: Buzzwood MIDI test pages.
Warren Trachtman has a great piano soundfont on his page, as well as some great ragtime piano music. The piano is such an integral part of music you need a realistic one, and here it is.
John Sankey has a great harpsichord soundfont (it's on on this site - german8.zip) but this is his home page. Lot's of interesting information about his musical background. You'll never think about a harpsichord the same way again after visiting there.
Frank Wen is developing the Fluid soundfont - a 48MB Monster that could be the ultimate. Check his page for progress updates on this massive undertaking.
Dejan Kamenšek has made the best Distortion Guitar soundfont I've heard - I use it and you should too. You can find it on this page.