Decent Sampler Is A FREE Sampler That Reminds Us Music Is About Sharing


Decent Sampler isn’t exactly recent news, but we wanted to highlight the excellent work done by creator Dave Hilowitz and share it with anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

If you don’t know, Decent Sampler is a sample player that plays libraries in the DecentSampler format (dspreset or dslibrary). You can grab the plugin for free from the Decent Samples website, where you can also get a bunch of free libraries and some paid, too.

A common complaint amongst music makers is that too many libraries require the full version of Kontakt, which is far from cheap. Sure, there are many free Kontakt libraries, but most of them aren’t compatible with the free Kontakt Player plugin.

Developing libraries for the free Kontakt Player will incur license fees, which aren’t feasible for smaller developers. Understandably, certain developers can’t afford to make their content available for the free Kontakt Player, which leaves users with the potential option of paying for a library then paying for Kontakt, too.

Decent Sampler isn’t a Kontakt replacement, nor does it claim to be the most advanced sample player on the market. It offers a free alternative that’s easy to use and has an ever-growing collection of libraries.

It’s fair to say Decent Sampler isn’t without fault, and users have experienced various bugs. One that came up quite often is that Decent Sampler would fail to reload the correct library when opening a saved project in your DAW.

However, I like Dave Hilowitz’s approach to updates/fixes because he thinks about them from both the user and developer points of view. The most recent version of Decent Sampler (v1.4.5 Windows – v1.4.2 macOS) is more stable than ever with improved library management.

There are some exciting developments in the pipeline if you’re a sample creator, including LFOs, Modulation, and potentially multiple outputs. You can check out a video demonstrating how to develop samples for Decent Sampler.

A while back, we talked about Frédéric Poirier converting over 100 Pianobook libraries to the Decent Sampler format. Now, that number is significantly higher and growing fast. Free access to thousands of weird and wonderful sounds is the appeal of Decent Sampler.

Talking of weird and wonderful, check out Dave’s latest free library made from a desk lamp found in the trash. Watch the video; it’s pretty damn cool.

Christian Henson’s (Spitfire Audio) Pianobook is a massive collection of libraries created by talented musicians worldwide. The Pianobook community is so positive, and Decent Sampler compatibility enhances that positivity.

When I say music is about sharing, it shouldn’t be beyond us to share encouragement, knowledge, or tools even in a competitive industry.

We all love music; we approach it in different ways, but it gives us all something positive in our lives. Without being overly sentimental, I like to think we have a very positive community at BPB, too, and it’s awesome to see comments offering advice or help.

Decent Sampler is available in 32/64-bit AU, VST, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS, Windows, and Linux (64-bit only).

AUv3 version is also available for iOS.

More info: Decent Sampler

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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.


  1. Hi James, i hope all is well 🙏
    Thanks so much for your info on this, thats great news about all of the libraries & future features.
    I never tried it before but i would like to in future. Thanks for sharing too, i agree with what you said sir.
    Keep well 😊

  2. Decent Sampler has the potential (if not already done so) of being a game changer. With hundreds of sounds available at Pianobbok.
    It’s light on resorces, constantly improved. A real bonus for the impoverished muso.

  3. if music is about sharing then what is wrong with SFZ format that not only has tons of implementations and a completely open specification.

    What point is there in rallying people behind a new and niche format that a single company controls?

    • A good question indeed. While the format is documented and publicly available for anyone, nothing is clearly stated about the openness or not about it. Unless I missed it. It would be interesting to know if other samplers could support it legally. And what about modifying existing SFZ editors to export in this format? Or making translators.
      IIRC TX16Wx is the same, an XML-based format, documented, but I never saw a clear statement about it being open. Is giving away publicly the format details makes it defacto open? I’m not a lawyer…
      That said, SFZ is a mess of various incompatible extensions, so I understand why a dev would avoid it as a -main- format and has to make their own to support their sampler features.

    • I feel you about SFZ. I have always loved SFZ since way back when Cakewalk was in its heyday, and I would promote it every chance I got. I even participated in getting it accepted on Pianobook when that community first started. SFZ has a lot going for it, However, it has two (fatal?) flaws:

      1. The spec seems bloated and unwieldy for the casual sample developer. As I mentioned, attempts to get SFZ going at Pianobook mostly failed due to the spec being intimidating. Despite the big spec, simple things like random_robin are tricky to implement.

      2. The format was always controlled by basically one company. SFZ has no UI information (other than an image tag which is not implemented by most players), so users are stuck with the ugly Sforzando UI. Plogue, the maker of Sforzando has a process you can go through to get a license to create a custom UI, and it is just not worth it for most people. Even installing the custom UI can be a point of failure.

      With Sfizz, the open source SFZ player, the UI is still at the mercy of the player devs (they let you stick an image on the front in the latest iteration). With DecentSampler, you could spend 10 minutes and have a beautiful custom UI you could be proud of that would compliment your sample instrument. Then zip the whole thing into one file for distribution.

      Simplicity and a beautiful customizable UI. Never underestimate the power of a pretty picture!

      • I wasn’t familiar with Sfizz, so I decided to give it a look. It does read .dspreset files, at least the one I tried. Yes, only one, Ghost Piano by Andrew Shaffer from Pianobook if you really need to know. Not sure how compatible it is, but it’s a good start to have an open source alternative. :)

  4. Dave Hilowitz has created a true gem of a sampler in Decent Sampler and I really look forward to the future development of it. It has really become a fabulous alternative to those who can’t afford the full version of Kontakt. The only real Kontakt Player ‘sampler’ that I know of, is way less functional that Decent Sampler (no round robin and only sampling of C and F# keys) and also a paid product is Synthetic Materials ( Synthetic Materials is a good basic sampler for Kontakt Player, in addition to including a good number of instruments. Please comment if you know of any other Kontakt Player instruments that can also function as a sampler.

  5. Michal Ochedowski


    At first I was really hesitant. I didn’t want to add just another sample player to my collection. What at first seemed like an unnecessary hustle (only a player, nothing more), turned up to be the biggest advantage. The simplicity of the interface and the fact how little time it required to get started, really spoke to me. When I loaded first two libraries, that’s when I new it was worth checking out. After testing some other commercially available, also free but much bigger piano collections, I was surprised to find that the ones much smaller in size could sound so much better, to me that is. Straightforward and simple with quality sounds. Recommended.

  6. That’s a very decent initiative. And the community around BPB is super decent too. (sorry I can’t help the pun) Thinking of it, have you guys ever thought of setting up an online community forum for BPB? I love online Forums and I would hop on and get there to the point of addiction.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      I thought about it, but moderating forums is a lot of work (because of spam, trolls, etc.) and I want to spend my time available for work on writing and publishing quality content. That said, the comments section is getting a significant upgrade soon, and if that works out, maybe I will build a small forum, too. First things first! :)

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