Instruments, Samples, and Sound Effects

This is the central page where you can find sampled instruments, recorded snippets, sound effects, and other resources to help render your ideas and MIDI data to real audio output.

This page and wiki/free_audio_data need to be merged.


What are samples, sampled instruments, synthesizers, soundfonts, and samplers? How do they interact with sequencers and JACK? What is physical modelling?

Sound synthesis is the artificial generation of sound. It can be done via spectral or physical modelling. A synthesizer is a tool used for sound synthesis. Sound synthesis is not yet well-developed enough to realistically render orchestral pieces. See Soft Synths/Samplers for more about this type of sound generation.

Sampling is the use of samples to produce audio. Samples are soundfiles of individual notes and articulations an acoustic instrument can produce. They serve as sources for sampled instruments, files a sampler can use as virtual instruments for sound production. Formats for sampled instruments include GIG, SF2 (also: soundfonts), and SFZ. Sampling is currently the only way to produce acceptable renditions of orchestral music.

A sequencer is tool for playing and manipulating note information, most commonly in MIDI form.

For more practical information, see Peter Schaffter's MuseScore tutorial, and another page in this wiki, The composer's toolbox.


What licenses can be expected? What is the “ideal” license for sampled instruments?

Current practice

As it stands, most Linux users build their own ad-hoc collections by scavenging fragments from around the net. See the section How to create instruments below.

Commercial products

For an outdated list, see List of sample libraries at the LinuxSampler forum. Check also the Sample Libraries section of the same forum.

(Please note, it would be useful to have such information integrated and updated here.)

Digital Sound Factory

Digital Sound Factory offers sample libraries in 2 formats that can play on Linux:

Cakewalk Dimension is an SFZ player, and the files play on LinuxSampler.

Check their free example downloads.

Relevant forum discussion: Thousands of SFZ samples for LinuxSampler.

Free Sampled Instruments

This section provides unverified, unchecked links to other instruments. Warning: Most of the licenses are bad, and some downloads on collection sites are straightforward illegal. If there are instruments with good licenses around, we would like to integrate them here and mirror on our own download server:

How to create instruments

This section discusses tools, methods, and resources for the creation and editing of instruments.

GIG editors

SF2 editors

wiki/instruments.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/06 22:15 by baryon