Monday, December 18, 2006

An awesome and free Sampling Synth



I was turned on to this free VSTi instrument i.e. virtual instrument which accommodates to the VST specs by my friends at Audio Masters Forum. This little jewel packs the same sampling engine that rgc: audio uses in their hardcore top of the line synths. sfz only functions as a sampler but with very impressive performance specs. Furthermore, it can load SoundFonts which are very high quality and very widely available sound libraries. Actually, there is quite a bit of free SoundFonts which may carry one quite a ways. I loaded a Grand Piano SoundFont and it sounded quite good. I would have t say as good to my ears as the Grand Piano sound in my Roland XV2020. sfz can be tuned depending on the performance constraints of the PC and what one is trying to do. In English this just means that one with a modern PC can use sfz on a live gig at an acceptable quality level. At the home studio the highest quality settings can be brought out to render to wav file i.e. where on to use sfz in the recording studio.

As mentioned sfz is a VSTi instrument. This means that one requires a host. In my studio I use a combination of an inexpensive audio recording package , namely Sony’s ACID Music Studio and Adobe Audition. Unfortunately, as great as Audition is it does not support VSTi. Audition is very much multi-track recording focused. Music Studio although not by a long shot as powerful as Audition in the multi-track recording area it does support VSTi and midi sequencing better, so its a good compliment. Music Studio is only $70.00 so its well worth it.

Having said that there may be times when I will want to use sfz outside of Music Studio i.e. I may indeed want to record into Audition directly. In that case we need a VST host and one can be found here:

once hosted sfz can be triggered via midi and its audio output properly re-routed so that it can be recorded into Audition or whatever. Yes, I could just host with Music Studio. Well, I’m guessing , honestly have not tried hosting with Music Studio and recording sfz into Audition but it does technically follow that one can do that. The reason though to use something like Cantabile is that it is a lightweight no frills, and of minor impact to the host system.

To conclude , again , a great time to be a recording music enthusiast. Another set of tools to add to one’s arsenal. sfz will certainly help make your music sound great.

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