Defines which sample file the region will play.

Possibly the most important opcode, this is the one that tells the sampler which sample file to actually play. This should include a relative file path from the folder where the SFZ file is.

In most cases, there will be a sample opcode in every region of an SFZ file, though not always.

If the sample file is not found, the player will ignore the whole region contents as there's nothing to play. Long names and names with blank spaces and other special characters (excepting the = character) are allowed in the sample definition.

Getting the sample to play back at the correct pitch is not automatic, and generally can't be done with the sample opcode alone, even if the file name includes pitch information. Assuming that the tune or transpose opcodes are not used to change the pitch, the sample will play unchanged in pitch when a note equal to the pitch_keycenter opcode value is played. If pitch_keycenter is not defined for the region, sample will play unchanged on note 60 (middle C). If pitch_keytrack is set to 0, the sample will also play unchanged in pitch, regardless of how pitch_keycenter is set. If the key opcode is used to define the range of the sample (instead of lokey, hikey and pitch_keycenter) the sample will also be unchanged in pitch.


At the SFZ1 specification level, the supported sample formats are: + WAV of any sample rate + Ogg Vorbis compressed samples

For SFZ2, the Cakewalk book specifies the following sample types in addition of the above: + AIFF of any sample rate + FLAC support is not specified as mandatory, though FLAC was supported by Cakewalk Session Drummer, and is supported by ARIA

See also Features section in the home page.

WAV is usually the first choice, or perhaps AIFF when using macOS. FLAC is the second choice, as it is lossless compression audio is always preferable, though it needs to be decoded which can cause slower performance compared to WAV. Other compressed formats can be used for test cases or situations where keeping the file size small is more important than audio quality.

See also the table of supported sample formats by some engines for more details.



Each engine can also support custom oscillators. For example, ARIA supports using this opcode for some basic synthesized sound waves such as:


Tri is an alias for triangle. For cases where we don't want to actually play a sample but want a region to exist and be played (for example, to mute other sounds when using group and off_by, the silence value can be very convenient).

Note that in this case the * is a real character and not a wildcard.

Name Version Type Default Range Unit
sample SFZ v1 string N/A N/A

Category: Sound Source, Sample Playback