What is a soundfont?

Friday, March 30, 2007 
By Stephane Brault

Can I create my own soundfont?

Of course you can create your own soundfonts. Although there are a few soundfont editors available, Vienna Soundfont Studio is probably the best known. If you are a Linux user, you can get Smurf.

Here are a some other soundfont tools :

  • Alive is a drag and drop based visual editor for SoundFont banks , and can be used to create, manage and edit SoundFont files on Windows systems with a Sound Blaster compatible card.
  • FluidSynth is a free, open source program which synthesizes using SoundFont technology without need for a SoundFont-compatible soundcard, and the size of loaded SoundFont banks is limited by the amount of RAM available. There is a nice GUI for FluidSynth called Qsynth which is also open source. Both are available in most Linux distributions; compiling them for Windows is also possible.
  • Megafont is a (freeware and open source) program created for dynamically managing, loading and unloading SoundFont files on Creative Sound Blaster Live! cards. I.e. it's a dynamic cache manager for these cards.
  • The SFZ SoundFont Player is a freeware VST plugin which allows the playback of SoundFont presets on cards not natively supporting such playback.
  • Timidity++ is a high quality software-only MIDI sequencer and MOD player available for various platforms. It uses sound fonts (GUS-compatible or SF2-compatible) to render MIDI files, so you don't need to have a SoundFont compatible soundcard. However, for .sf2 files is not as good as FluidSynth which follows very closely the sf2 specs.
  • The Vienna SoundFont Studio can be used to edit and create SoundFont files on Windows systems with a Sound Blaster compatible card. Swami is another SoundFont editor/creator for Linux systems.
  • SynthFont can play, edit, and create SoundFont banks on soundcards which are not Sound Blaster compatible.
  • bs-1 / bs-16 is a SoundFont 2 compatible sampler for Steinberg VST plug-in format.
  • SimpleSynth is a SoundFont 2 compatible software synthesizer for use with Mac OS X.
  • PolyPhontics is professional sound bank studio for Mac OS X that supports SoundFont and DLS formats.
  • PolyPhontics GB is a SoundFont sound bank editor specifically geared towards GarageBand users.

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