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Utopia Live! SoundFont Review
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Utopia Live!

Utopia Sound Division is actually a small group of musicians with computer experience who came together to create high quality GM/GS soundbanks. Their first product was created for InterWave-based sound cards. But now their interest turns to the Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Live! range of sound cards.

The Sound Blaster Live! has a powerful MIDI engine, capable of supporting soundbanks up to 32MB by utilizing system RAM. This is where the power of SoundFont (Creative's name for their soundbank format) comes into play. SoundFonts are basically sound samples recorded from real instruments or synthesizers. By utilizing more memory capacity, higher quality sound samples can be uploaded into the memory.

The default 2MB, 4MB and 8MB EMU SoundFonts which come with the Sound Blaster Live! are great, especially the 8MB version. But Creative did not bother to further improve the 8MB SoundFont. Even the current Audigy series comes with the same SoundFont samples as the old Sound Blaster Live!. Actually the 8MB SoundFont first appeared in the Sound Blaster AWE64, but I believe they made some minor modifications to it since then.

Utopia Sound Division certainly knows about the potential of the Sound Blaster Live!, which is one of the most popular sound cards in the market. It is very affordable and yet powerful. They aim to create a soundbank with the balance of the Roland Sound Canvas, which has sets the standard for GM/GS soundbanks.

The product of their work - Utopia Live! is a soundbank created for the Creative Sound Blaster Live! series. It is limited to 32MB because the Sound Blaster Live! cannot handle soundfonts larger than that. Even if you load soundfonts that are larger than 32MB, there will be missing notes after playing MIDIs for some time. That's why the soundbank must not only sound realistic. It must be balanced, natural and small enough to fit into the 32MB limit.



  1. We were able to squeeze an extreme amount of samples into 31.5MB which was made possible by making use of the Sound Blaster Live!'s incredible '8 point interpolation' which made it possible to store high quality samples at relatively low sample rates without sacrificing quality.

  2. Utopia Live! has been developed specifically for the Sound Blaster Live! sound card and NOT for a full range of 'SoundFont compatible sound cards' and thus we were able to make full use of the card's capabilities in combination with the latest LiveWare drivers.

  3. All instruments and percussion have been carefully layered and given pre-set reverb/chorus/filter/etc. settings to get the best possible 'impact'. To give a 'small' example : All of the percussion has been recorded in stereo using a special technique (which we call: 'STEREOID') which results in incredible depth/warmth/clarit

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