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by Francis Li

General Questions

  1. The music sounds terrible!  Is there any way to make it better?

    The quality of the music heavily depends upon the quality of the MIDI music synthesizer in your computer.  Many sound cards in computers use FM (frequency modulation) synthesizers, which generally do not sound as good as wavetable synthesizers.  Often, a sound card supports both- see General Question 2 for instructions on how to check and switch synthesizers.

    One way to improve the quality of the music is to buy a better hardware, a new sound card or MIDI synthesizer that plugs into your soundcard, preferably one that uses wavetable synthesis.

    However, there are now software wavetable synthesizers that use your existing sound card.  One such commercial software program is from Yamaha.  A software wavetable synthesizer also comes with Windows 98, if your sound card can support it.  See General Question 2 for instructions on how to check and switch synthesizers.

    Another factor involved in the quality of the music is the MIDI file itself.  A MIDI file is not a recording of a song, like MP3 or on a compact disc.  Rather, it is similar to sheet music- it contains information about instruments and the notes to play.  A person creates a MIDI file by entering in the notes using an electronic keyboard and/or sequencer (MIDI creation) software.  The quality of the MIDI file therefore depends upon the performance of the author of the file.  There's not much you can do to improve the quality here, except for looking for a MIDI file created by a different person.

  2. I have a different or external MIDI synthesizer.  How can WinKaraoke Player and Creator use it?

    The MIDI synthesizer used by WinKaraoke Player and Creator is set in the Windows Control Panel.  To open the panel, go to the Start menu, Settings, and click on Control Panel.  Then, open the Multimedia panel and click on the MIDI tab.  You should see something like the image at the right (click for full image).

    The items in the Single instrument list box represent the available MIDI synthesizers.  In the example image, the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth is selected for the best quality music.  This software wavetable synthesizer comes with Windows 98 and is automatically installed if your sound card can support it.

    The Yamaha MPU-401 synthesizer represents a port to an external synthesizer.  If you have an external synthesizer plugged into your computer, select this (or a similarly named) synthesizer to use it.

  3. I can't hear any sounds or music!

    First, check to make sure that your computer is set up to play back MIDI files.  To test, open any MIDI file (a file with .mid at the end of the name) by double-clicking on it.  If you need a sample MIDI file, take a karaoke file and rename it from .kar to .mid at the end of the name.  If the MIDI file is opened, and you can hear music, you should be able to hear music in WinKaraoke.

    If you still cannot hear any music, check the Windows Volume Control.  Double-click on the speaker icon in your Taskbar system tray (next to the clock), or go to the Start menu, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, and open Volume Control.  You should see something like the image at the right (click for full image).

    Look for the MIDI volume slider and make sure the Mute box is not checked.  Set the volume to a reasonable level.

    If you cannot find the MIDI volume slider, go to the Options menu and choose Properties.  You should see something like the image at the left (click for full image).  In the Show the following volume controls list, look for the MIDI box and make sure it is checked.  Then click on OK to close the box.

  4. Can you play or create CD+G karaoke discs with WinKaraoke software?

    No, sorry.  For more information about using CD+G karaoke discs on your computer, visit the following site:

    The CD+G Project

  5. Can you play or create Star3 files with WinKaraoke software?  What about XYZ karaoke format?

    WinKaraoke cannot read or write Star3 files.  They are a proprietary format by Creative Tech Korea, and can only be played and created on the Star3 and RealOrche karaoke programs from that company.

    WinKaraoke supports only the Standard Type 1 MIDI karaoke format.  These files have .kar at the end of their name. 

Copyright 1997-1999 by Francis Li