What are XG Synth Effects vs. XG Sound Effects? DGX-660

Oct 13, 2020
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I'm exploring to see what sound effects I can play on the DGX 660.e

In the Voice List manual there is a section for XG Synth Effects. It seems many of them do not make sounds remotely similar to what they ar named. Rain (voice 424) for example.

In XG Sound Effects, many of them make sounds similar to their names, but agaon manuy don't. For example Breath Noise (voice 507).

Lastly, is there a particular reason for multiple voices for same thing? Trumpet voice (103), and XG Trumpet (345), for example. They both sound the same to me. So I have no idea why I would choose one over the other.'


I meant to play that note!
Jun 6, 2014
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"Sound effects" are usually expected to at least marginally resemble what they're called, because they're usually intended to be used as sound effects. But some of their names might be a bit misleading-- for example, "breath noise" might be intended to sound like a breath noise while playing a flute or something like that, rather than sounding like "breathing in and out."

But I don't think sound effects are expected to sound like movie-quality sound effects. For instance, "helicopter" might not sound realistic enough to be used in a movie or TV show, but should sound enough like a helicopter that it could add a bit of ambience to a musical performance.

The GM or General MIDI standard has 16 categories of sounds (or "programs"), with 8 sounds in each category. One of those categories is "Sound Effects," and another category is "Synth Effects." Yamaha's XG or Extended General MIDI standard expanded the number of possible sounds by adding different banks of sounds, but for the most part the sounds are still organized into different categories similar to those in the GM standard.

I think the biggest difference between "sound effects" and "synth effects" is that synth effects are obviously generated by a synth, so they aren't intended or expected to sound "realistic"-- plus, they might not even exist in the real world. For example, there are no goblins in the real world, so the "Goblins" voice can't possibly be intended to sound like goblins, although it might be intended to create a musical atmosphere that could go well with a scene involving goblins in a fantasy movie.

As far as why there are so many different voices for certain sounds, there are usually some difference between them, although the difference might be difficult to discern. For some voices, such as acoustic piano voices, the sounds may have been sampled from different pianos, or maybe from the same puano but in different settings that bring out difference frequency ranges or acoustical properties.

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