I have some compositions in the form of MIDI files. I would like to have a "preview" of what they would sound like with real instruments, without actually having an expensive orchestra playing them.

Are there any software programs (price is not an issue) that can take a MIDI file as input and apply real-sounding instruments to the different tracks and then produce a more or less "listenable" music file (i.e. make the notes sound as close to human performers as possible)?

Please note that I do not want a plugin or a DAW enhancement - I want this to be as simple as possible, preferably a stand-alone program.

Here is what my research has yielded so far:

  • Garritan Personal Orchestra: the sound is good, but no indication of whether it can work with MIDI files. Nothing on whether it can be integrated into the new Sibelius - if that were true it would be a good start.
  • Miroslav Philharmonik: there is a stand-alone version that I downloaded, but it is immensely complex and there is no indication as to whether it can open MIDI files.
  • various other programs offer this functionality with MIDI instrument input (such as a synthesizer), but I am looking for MIDI file input of already composed and arranged pieces.

What are my best options? Does anyone have experience with such programs?

  • Well, a software midi sequencer will load the midi files in and send them to a software midi syntheszier. DAW software programs are the usual route to go, but can be, umm, hard to figure out and configure. How realistic are those midi files you have? Midi is not a very good format for storing human nuances in acoustic instruments like violins, etc. Midi files store note on(with velocity) and note off. That's mostly it except for some "controls" like pedal, sliders, etc. The violin track will be just notes. pitchbends too if you're lucky. Oct 9, 2015 at 23:06
  • So, well, you may not need as totally accurate sound reproduction as you think. Any ole decent keyboard's onboard synthesizer plus a software midi sequencer on your pc will probably do fine... So I guess this isn't really an answer so much as a request to clarify your question... Oct 9, 2015 at 23:07
  • 1
    Have you looked into programs such as TiMidity++ in conjunction with software sample libraries such as FreePats or EAWPats ? And if so, why do these synthesizers not meet your requirements?
    – baitisj
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


I ended up using Garritan Personal Orchestra, which features a standalone program called "Aria Player" that is able to render MIDI directly to orchestral sounds.

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