Logic EXS format - The default for pianobook?- (now resolved - Structure 2 can playback EXS)


Just being honest.

  1. The EXS format only runs in Logic

  2. current versions of Logic only run on a Mac.


  1. Anyone on a PC or who does not use Logic is not “with it” and is excluded from realistic participation in the pianobook community.

Somewhat frustrating, cos as a PC user, whose only reason to use a Mac would be to use Logic, something I cannot justify at this time, I certainly do not need Logic to make music, and have no reason to invest in EXS, as I am not a sample library producer, only an end user making minor tweaks to patches, we are excluded.

Christian Henson, is not to blame, Logic is his domain of expertise and as he leads the forum, it will dance to this de-facto tune.

Unless we solve this, we might as well rename the community to become Logic-Pianobook.com.

Only stating the obvious.


I think this is something we are largely aware of, thus the recommended inclusion of the samples (RAW and Noise Reduced) in each published instrument. That way for those who don’t use EXS or Kontakt, there is the ability to remap these instruments to the desired sampler.

Since so many DAWs out there and 3rd parties have their own samplers, it simply is not feasible to provide a format for everybody, and there is not one format right now that fulfills everybody’s needs unfortunately.

Another note is that it generally seems like Kontakt is the predominant format of instrument for this site per community-submitted instruments, and many have already been converted to sfz kindly by the community.

If Kontakt is inaccessible still, however, (perfectly understandable) there is the free https://www.tx16wx.com/ sampler which will convert and load EXS instruments for you. And if you’re in Ableton Live the sampler instrument will also convert and load EXS instruments. And if you’re in FL Studio Directwave will import them too. And if you’re in Pro Tools structure 2 can load them.

I’m sorry if this reply comes off as cold, but this topic has been discussed exhaustively before. Obvious statements are welcome here and have good rhetorical uses in edifying a forum like ours many a times, but this is not one of those problems that I feel like needs it. I do agree with you though, about the immediate lack of accessibility frustrating and I wholeheartedly support any notion or movement that encourages us to make these many instruments widely available to the public.


I am so glad I spoke up.

Many thanks for your response.

You just might have the answer fro me.

By coincidence I do own Structure 2, in a version the version that is usable in any DAW,. and if this can properly read EXS formatted sampled instruments, than I have a way out.

As soon as I have a breather, I will test this out and reconfirm is that overcomes my constraint.

If Structure2 also can read unencrypted Kontakt files, as is claimed, which is what the majority of pianobook Kontakt formatted libraries should be, then super…I get 2 for the price of one. We’ll see…


Sure Structure can import EXS, thanks…


I agree, since a freely availabe, current and crossplatform plugin like Tx16WX reads and plays EXS, there is actually not any feasible argument against the format, but …

SFZ format mappings on the other had seem to be the better practice for free libraries now, since being able to quickly load up a sample library in the free and flawless Sforzando provides the most uncomplicated way of accessing and using these great samples to non-Kontakt users, while EXS mappings typically have to be converted in those mentioned third-party sample players into their native format first, which is more error prone than the SFZ mapping + Sforzando combination in my experience. Every third-party sampler has a different way of translating those EXS libraries with their various parameters into their own native settings.

For example: I’ve seen the ADSR envelope being messed up in EXS libraries which have been converted in third-party samplers.

Hence, I suggest that the actual focus in terms of mappings for non-Kontakt users should actually be on SFZ mappings, since the necessary plugin to play SFZ reliably, natively and without the error-prone need for translation is freely available and works well on Mac & Windows and in most DAWs.

There seems to be an easy way to turn Kontakt mappings into SFZ mappings using Creator Tools and this LUA script.


I’m pretty sure that Structure cannot read the latest (v6) Kontakt libraries and also not v5.x libraries, unencrypted or not. If I remember correctly, the latest Kontakt version it can read is uncompressed v3, while most Pianobook Kontakt libraries use at least v5.x


I am reminded of how competing vendors eventually got together somehow to interoperate on a single standard - MIDI, which is probably the most important junction in the history of electronic music.

Sure it is not implemented with 100% consistency, but very rarely do you plug one MIDI device to another and experience hiccups…And in spite of their competition, this common standard, really helped the market grow. I should marvel that every time I switch on my weighted stage piano, and connect via either USB or traditional MIDI cables, it just works…and on the computer Windows, OSX, Linux have well established implementations of MIDI, so its not too much effort to get this MIDI into and out of any DAW. But I obviously take all of this for granted.

It gives me such a healthy respect for standards. While I love the beauty and freedom of adventure and exploration of all manner of sonic possibilities, I submit that to really take pianobook to where it can attract more minds, with greater resources, which is a good thing for us all, we are at a stage where it is optimal for a larger team, somewhat beyond just Christian Henson, would be responsible for taking Christian’s wonderful initiative so far, and defining a larger subset that will be sustainable long term, that enables maximal inclusion/participation.

The revised standards would take a long view of the minimum specs, and work on providing formats, and guidelines and best practice guidance, across whatever are the prevalent standards e.g EXS, Kontakt and SFZ - which are predominant at this time, and align this with the tools that support this standard for the key operating systems - WIndows, OSX and Linux…

I feel that there is a unique opportunity here, to build upon what Christian has started to establish a common information repository that enables anyone who has a certain minimum, i.e any computer with WIndows, OSX or Linux as a starting point, to be guided with all the info needed to create or consume sample based instruments, in the predominant sample library formats.

At this time there is nothing out there that approximates such a standards think tank… I’d be happy to contribute to this effort, which I anticipate - enhances the pianobook community.

Fundamentally what I have in mind is a repository, that evolves over time, a one stop shop for really effective information, that for the purpose of supporting the freely available libraries in pianobook, empowers anyone - starting with absolute novices, to rapidly understand how to go about consuming or creating sample libraries, especially those available in pianobook.

I see three stages of the development of this repository.

  1. Defining a structure of a body of standards administrators and how they would work together to develop and document the standard for the repository - not technology standards but information standards. How information to be included in the repository is reviewed and revised, to keep it relevant.

  2. Defining the information structure of the repository - which can be done in revisions 1, 2, 3 with some of this being future intentions. So right from the start we know whats in version 1, or what will be in version 1 of the repository, once version 1 is completed.

  3. Developing the content, based on the structure, for each revision.

a) Developing content
b) Reviewing it
c) enabling as many others to comment on the content i.e a draft proposal stage
d).Publish the completed repository for each version as intended.

  1. Monitoring the repository to take note of what needs to be included or deprecated (i.e wish list) in future versions of the repository.
    Somewhat similar to how some of the standards that we rely on today such as those governing networks are developed. (which involve all manner of interested parties)…

I have been deliberately abstract, in prescribing all of the above cos while I have ideas about what could be in such repositories, the governance of a standard library of what is basically information, can be far more important than the information itself, in making the information relevant and effective (i.e with appropriate long sighted governance, established at the outset, the frame work for its continuous improvement has been baked in right from the start…

This committee of ombudspeople obviously needs a name e.g The Common Sampling Initiative - Standard Review Board.

The whole point is to establish an effective repository, that like MIDI, will outlive the professional and actual lives of those who participated in its creation, and become something that others can go on to continue to improve.

I am instructed by the challenges of the current Linux model, what happens when Linus Torvalds departs. Linux is not my best example of an open developed standard, too much individualisation in its operating model.

So ultimately pianobook has a choice to continue to evolve like Linux or to consider taking a more open, sustainable, leadership and guidance model that will outlive Christian’s involvement, and become something that has a life of its own, being pushed by the energy of many others.