is a family of standardized file format
A file format is a particular way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file.Since a disk drive, or indeed any computer storage, can store only bits, the computer must have some way of converting information to 0s and 1s and vice-versa. There are different kinds of formats for...
s for digital musical instrument sound banks (collections of virtual musical instrument programs). The DLS standards also include detailed specifications for how MIDI protocol-controlled music synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...
s should render the instruments in a DLS file. As a result, some people consider DLS primarily a synthesizer specification and only secondarily a file format.
The current DLS standards were developed first by the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group (IASIG), and then by the MIDI Manufacturers Association
The MIDI Manufacturers Association is an organization where companies work together to create the standards that assure compatibility among MIDI products. The MMA is a U.S. organization established in 1985 by the original developers of the MIDI 1.0 Specification in 1983. Since 1985 the MMA has...
(MMA). Any future versions of DLS would be developed through the MMA working group process. The DLS specifications are published in English by the MMA and in Japanese by Association of Musical Electronics Industry
The Association of Musical Electronics Industry is an organization where companies work together to create the standards that assure compatibility among electronic musical instruments, particularly MIDI products. The AMEI is a Japanese organization established in 1996.- External links :*...
The DLS family is closely related to the proprietary SoundFont
SoundFont is a brand name that collectively refers to a file format and associated technology designed to bridge the gap between recorded and synthesized audio, especially for the purposes of computer music composition...
s format from Creative Labs. All versions of DLS to date are based on the wavetable music synthesis technique, however in principle the DLS file format could be used to represent instrument definitions for other music synthesis techniques. "DLS" is an acronym for "Downloadable Sounds", and also the initials of DLS 1 project leader Dave Sparks of Creative Labs.
To date there have been three major versions of DLS:
- DLS 1: Basic single-oscillator synthesizer voice, for PCs and PC sound cards
- DLS 2: Adds per-voice lowpass filter + other enhancements
- Mobile DLS: Reduced feature set and memory requirements, for mobile phones
DLS is supported by the music synthesizers built into Windows and Mac OS X. Creative Labs sound cards for PCs support DLS. Numerous software music synthesizer products support DLS either natively or as an import format.
DLS has been incorporated into other standards. The MMA's Extended RMID format encapsulates DLS 1 or DLS 2 files with a Standard MIDI File using the RIFF container technology. The MMA's XMF Type 0 and 1 formats encapsulate DLS 1 or DLS 2 files with Standard MIDI Files using the XMF container technology. The MMA's Mobile XMF format encapsulates zero or one Mobile DLS file and one Standard MIDI File using the XMF container technology. Mobile DLS is an optional media type in the 3GPP
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners...
mobile phone standards starting from Release 6.
Official MIDI Standards Organizations