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Livesynth Pro DXi 8/10

One of the best features of the Sound Blaster Live sound cards is their ability to load up Soundfonts. Essentially Soundfonts are *.sf2 files, which are instruments. You can get piano soundfonts, guitar soundfonts, speech soundfonts (basically any instrument out there) and you can make your own using Vienna Sound Studio. These can then be accessed through any midi sequencer like Cubase, Sonar, Logic etc. There are many soundfonts now available on the internet either free or to buy. Hammersound at http://www.hammersound.com has a fantastic collection of soundfonts. Check out the Piano soundfonts which are brilliant at Hammersound (which are far better than the internal sound on most sound cards).

Unfortunately before, if you didn't have a Soundfont soundcard you had a problem. Then came along several soft synth like Gigasampler and Livesynth Pro DXi which let you use soundfonts no matter what soundcard you have. Livesynth Pro DXi is a DirectX instrument and can be loaded up in sequencers which support DirectX instruments, like Cakewalk Sonar. You can load up as many soundfonts as you want (till you run of memory and your CPU overloads!), and then access them through Sonar. Every Soundfont I tried loaded up worked and Livesynth have tested it with many Soundfonts already. If a Soundfont you use is not compatable just e-mail the company and they should solve the problem! There was no noticeable lag or CPU overload when playing back Soundfonts through Livesynth Pro DXi in Sonar. Being a DXi instrument, Sonar can treat the output as audio, so you can run audio filters and then mixdown the Livesynth Pro track into a WAV digitally, with the touch of a button. Consequently, recording your final mix is easy. It saves you from recording you MIDI to WAV using an external audio editor. Even people who own an SB Live, will end up buying this product, since it allows for flexibility and easy mixdowns.

If you own Sonar, you should buy this, especially since Sonar comes with a load of soundfonts (from Sonic Implants), and without Livesynth Pro you won't get the full benefit from them. A time-limited version already comes with Livesynth Pro SE, which works fully but then after a month it only loads up Soundfonts smaller than one megabyte. Check out http://www.livesynth.com to buy it online.