Plogue has released sforzando, a freeware SFZ player virtual instrument in VST/AU/RTAS formats for Windows and Mac OS.
The instrument was designed for working with SFZ files, however it also loads SF2 (aka SoundFont format), as well as DLS and WAV files (which instantly get converted to SFZ format). Although you can use sforzando as just a regular sampler for playing WAV files, you’ll definitely need some knowledge about the SFZ script in order to get the best out of it. The best way to get started would probably be to load a few SFZ libraries in it and take a look at the included script and how it affects the playback of the samples.
Plogue’s new instrument is actually a really good tool for learning the SFZ script, as you can test your script in real time. Definitely grab this one if you have lots of SFZ instruments on your hard drive, or if you’re planning on creating sample libraries using this format in the future.
Sforzando is based on the ARIA Engine, which was used to create the ARIA Player and other products from Garritan, as well as the fantastic chipsounds instrument by Plogue. It’s worth noting that the download page on the Plogue website also features link to the free ARIA sound collection that you can use in sforzando. The free sound content includes samples from Garritan, Patch Arena, Digital Sound Factory, and more.
Plogue has also published a nice video tutorial about the SFZ format, which uses their new instrument as the learning tool:
sforzando is available for free download via Plogue (12.5MB download size, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/RTAS format for Windows & Mac).