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This is the main reference point for anyone who wants to create virtual musical instruments using the SFZ format. Currently the SFZ 2 opcodes and ARIA extensions documented though some require more detail, and SFZ 2 opcodes not supported by ARIA still need to be added. There’s enough information to make complex SFZ instruments already, but we’ll continue to add more.

To make use of the SFZ format requires three things:

which tells the player how to use the samples. The SFZ file itself can be created using any text editor, though for more complex cases with hundreds or thousands of samples, additional tools can make this easier - some people use spreadsheets, and there are also dedicated SFZ creation tools.

The SFZ format is a file format to define how a collection of samples are arranged for performance. The goal behind the SFZ format is to provide a free, simple, minimalistic and expandable format to arrange, distribute and use audio samples with the highest possible quality and the highest possible performance flexibility. Soundware, software and hardware developers can create, use and distribute the SFZ format files for free, for either free or commercial applications.

Making Instruments

Text guides on how to make a simple instrument, covering the essential opcodes

  • Drum basics - covers global, group and region headers, sample, key, lovel / hivel, amp_velcurve_N, seq_length, seq_position and lorand / hirand.

  • Sustained note basics - using a flute as an example. Adds lokey / hikey, pitch_keycenter, xfin / xfout, locc / hicc, keyswitching, group, off_by and off_mode.

Some more advanced topics

  • Vibrato - typical string vibrato, humanized vibrato, asymmetrical vibrato, and even filter wobble.

  • Legato - currently simple glides, will be expanded later to include true sampled legato.

  • Cymbal muting - using group, off_by, off_mode and polyphony to make hi-hat and cymbal notes mute previous notes in a musically useful way.

  • Brush stirs - two different approaches to brushed drum techniques which produce a continuous sound rather than a hit.

Latest News

SFZ page on Italian Wikipedia

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A new page about the SFZ format has been added to the Italian Wikipedia. Let’s grow!

Modulations Explained

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We have two new articles explaining the modulations possible in SFZ1 and SFZ2. Hopefully it will now be much easier to understand what’s possible under each spec level, and just what those complex SFZ2 LFOs and envelopes can and can’t do.

New Tutorial

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We’ve published a new tutorial explaining how to use samples to model brushed drum techniques which produce a continuous sound rather than a discrete hit. Admittedly, this is a rather niche technique not only in the samples world but also in real-world music, mainly used in jazz and some indie music. Next we plan to expand the vibrato tutorial, which is currently only a simple code example.

Minor updates:

  • global_label, master_label, group_label and region_label opcodes added.
  • Added Carla and Bliss Sampler to SFZ players, updated TAL Sampler info.

New Website Launched

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We’re proud to announce a new website!

News Archive