Over 100 free Pianobook sample libraries are now available for the freeware Decent Sampler plugin.
To fairly describe the journey that led to this point, I should mention three names; Christian Henson, David Hilowitz, and Frédéric Poirier.
You may already know Christian Henson as the founder of Pianobook and co-founder of Spitfire Audio. Pianobook is a peer-to-peer community of creatives who upload and share their sounds/libraries. We should give thanks to the many Pianobook contributors, too.
Even though Pianobook is a free and welcoming community, there was still a perceived paywall because libraries often require a full version of Kontakt or Logic’s EXS24.
As a potential sample playback solution for users who don’t own Kontakt, David Hilowitz created Decent Sampler. You can download Decent Sampler as a freeware plugin for Windows, macOS, Linux, and iOS directly from the Decent Samples website.
The plugin is available in 64-bit VST, VST3, AU, AUv3, and standalone, playing libraries in the Decent Sampler format (.dspreset or .dslibrary). Decent Sampler is awesome because it’s free, simple, has some fantastic libraries, and David has a great video detailing how to create your own DS instruments.
You’ll find compatible libraries on the Decent Samples website, and it’s worth noting they offer free Kontakt/SFZ libraries, too. Another way to find libraries is to use the following Google search: site:pianobook.co.uk/library (“DecentSampler” OR “Decent Sampler”) – provided by David.
While Decent Sampler provided a welcome alternative, most Pianobook libraries weren’t DS compatible, leaving users with the same paywall issue.
Frédéric Poirier is the man who converted over 100 Pianobook libraries to the Decent Sampler format. Now, on Pianobook, if you search instrument types using the EXS24 tag, almost all are DS compatible. Frédéric created a tool that converts EXS data to DS data, and it might be available to download at some point.
Anything that helps people access creative tools that might otherwise be unattainable is a great thing. Pianobook was a remarkable project from day one, with the very best intentions. With his time and effort, Frédéric Poirier has taken Pianobook one huge step closer to being the community it was always meant to be.
I’ve focused on the story more than the sounds because there are too many to mention. But, you’ll find everything from cinematic pianos and strings to random objects like fire extinguishers. If you can make a noise with it, it’s probably in there; enjoy.
More info: Pianobook for Decent Sampler (YouTube video)