The good old SoundFont format is definitely becoming a thing of the past. But still, I’m sure that most of us have a couple of favorite SF2s stashed in a safe place somewhere on the Hard Drive. Some of my favorite free piano sample libraries for example are actually SoundFonts.
Now, the chances are you probably already have a favorite SoundFont player VSTi, but here is a list of the best freeware plugins in this category, just in case you want to try something else, or need some new features.
Follow the links for download info, demo videos and screenshots:
- bs-0 by Bismark
DSK SF2 v2 by DSK Music
- Phenome by Prodyon
- Shortcircuit 1 by Vember Audio
- SFZ+ Professional by rgc:audio
- TX16Wx by CWITEC
- XS-1 by Jeskola (Donationware)
My favorite plugin on the list is SFZ+ Professional, it offers all the basic tools I need when working with SoundFonts. Shortcircuit is a great choice too, with the only drawback of not being able to browse through different presets without reloading the SF2 file. Cheers to joe maro and Rumpelfilter for reminding me to add Shortcircuit to the list!
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I’ve tried them all apart from the Jeskola one (which I will check out soon since I’m still looking for the perfect soundfont player!)
DSK SF2 works fine and has all the basic functions you would expect! So far my favourite!
SFZ Sample Player is a nice and simple one, but I have trouble running more than one instance of it in Reaper, as soon as you have two of them the sound become distorted.
Phenome has some nice features but I have trouble with soundfonts that contain more than one preset. Phenome will not let me change the preset so you’re stuck with the first one, which is kind of crap…
so far my impressions!
XS-1 is pretty good, i was quite surprised with its features when i first discovered it.
For soundfonts i use Phenome to chekk them out but then i use the fabulous ShortCircuit to play with them.
Shortcircuit lets you import sf2 and sfz files :)
hi joe, are you using Shortcircuit 1 or 2 for this? i used to load sf2 files into SC1, but i never liked the fact that it is not possible to browse through different presets. never tried it with SC2, though.
using SC1 fore that. yep i know what you mean thats why i browse soundfonts with another player like DSKs or Phenome…
but mostly i know my soundfonts so i dont really have to search a lot…
i just do all of that cause i love the possibilities that come up when i use SC1 :)
I never thought about using Shortcircuit! Great idea, will check that out! Opens up a lot of possibilities indeed!
i guess you’re right guys. not being able to browse through the presets is a drawback, but even so, shorcircuit offers superior functionality when compared to other freeware sf2 hosts. so i’ve decided to add it to the list.
cheers joe and rumpel! ;]
Just been going through SF players myself and found ShortCircuit2 is really the business. It has a browser to load by single click like Phenome, but is searchable which is really very useful.
It is also a fully fledged sampler to edit samples and zones etc to fix or adjust those pesky soundfonts. Of course it also loads .gig and .kit and normal .wav and .aiff.
It doesn’t have direct from disk (DFD) like SFZ+ though.
sforzando will convert SF2 files to SFZ and will play them.
And what about the best sfz player category? :)
I gotta agree w/Rumpelfilter: DKS SF2 works very well.
At least, in Reaper..
I had the same problem w/SFZ, as well.
“Sfzorando” (sp?) is also a good too, and it play samples and soundfonts.
By the way…thank you for this great page. What a wonderful reference!!
The best one I have found, after trying them all is tx16wx vst. Brilliant and the best if you ask me.
The free Sfz Player is a sf2 player too!! Unlike SFZ+, SFZ Player can load both sf2 and sfz files and there’s a great advantage in using it: It has multicore CPU support, and SFZ+ has not.
“The good old SoundFont format is definitely becoming a thing of the past. ”
Really? Then what replaces it?
SFZ and NKI.
Guys! Can someone upload SFZ + Professional 64? I can not find it anywhere….
Sf2 Tale is Over …
Gotcha – SF2 player by Beatassist has many tweaks and FX onboard