The Sforzando Sampler


I don’t have Kontakt or ESX (windows user). I use the Sforzando sampler ( which is free and easy to use. I have a piano samples template (Sforzando files are plain text) that I just do a search and replace on, and as long as my samples are following the same naming convention, (from here I can be ready to go with a new sampled instrument in about 30 seconds. Does anyone else use Sforzando?


I think sforzando would be my preferred sampling engine.

I’ve owned Kontakt since version 1, but never use it, and upgraded all the way to version 4.

Unless you are actively involved in using lots of 3rd party commercial samples, which I am not, Kontakt is another average of 30 bucks per year (upgrade fees on average per year)for something I never use…

Not sure if I’ll ever upgrade Kontakt for the foreseeable future…

I’d be happy to contribute to any effort that makes sforzando versions of the submitted pianos, available to others…

I’m also on Windows


If you create something in Sforzando, upload it to Pianobook. Others can always create ESX24 and Kontatk from your original sample files (and maybe copying what you do in Sforzando)


Ooooh I want to check that out, does it only do loud though?


I have the three sample types (loud, soft, release trigger) coded into the SFZ file. The code looks like this…

sample=Samples/Room 27 Steinway p C0.wav

sample=Samples/Room 27 Steinway f C0.wav

sample=Samples/Room 27 Steinway RT C0.wav

For example. It may seem a bit daunting, but after you do one, the rest are just search (for the ‘Room 27 Steinway’ bit in this case) and replace with the name of another sample set. The SFZ file also has room for comments, such as:
Title: Room 27 Steinway
Instrument: Steinway B Grand Piano Made in 1969
Recorded on: 2019/02/21
So it is easy to keep things organized. I find it to be quite quick. I could upload my template somewhere…





I use sforzando on a Mac!


Sforzando is fantastic. If only there were a decent visual editor for the SFZ format I think more people would use it. I was actually thinking of doing an “SFZ for Kontakt users” tutorial video that would introduce SFZ to people who have only worked with Kontakt.


Hi David! I’m a big big fan of your youtube channel, and it’s great to have you join here! Wanted to say that tutorial video ideas is definitely something I’d watch :smiley:



Yes, SForzando… I had the same thought, but I wanted a tool to point at the directory of samples, to create the SFZ file automatically… So I did this:

Hope the rushed readme makes sense. :sunglasses:


I finally made my tutorial video. :slight_smile:


Nice video, David. That SFZ Format wiki appears to be brand new, (and that link is working now). I used to use this site, but it is much less user friendly.


Thanks! Yeah, I was pretty excited to find the SFZ Format website. I hope that it continues to get updated.


Great video @dhilowitz - will have to give sfz a try at some point. It would be interesting to learn how to do release triggers in it.


This is a release trigger (the third line defines it):

I just checked, and it releases on pedal up rather than key up when the sustain pedal is down. I know that some folks were complaining that Kontakt does that.

Looking into this further, there is also:

that causes the release sample to play on key up without regard to the status of the sustain pedal.


Hello sforzando fans! I am currently submitting an sfz version of Christian Henson’s fantastic Spring Piano instrument formatted for sforzando. It includes the 3 original pianos (now in sfz format) plus a “Spring Piano Blend” that allows you to blend different levels from each type of the 3 mics. The “Blend” piano sfz file is heavily documented, but if you have questions, please ask. There is also an extensive README file that will explain about the controls I’ve included.

I love the pianobook idea and judging from the number of views for this thread and “free sampler” threads, I think there is a real “market” for sfz instruments on this site. I would really like for us to be able to decide on some standard controls for each sfz piano and, in the future, have a “toolkit” with templates and a nice pianobook-branded GUI that we all could use to convert the other formats to a standard sfz file. I’m not an sfz expert (yet), but I am a retired programmer, so I would certainly be willing to help with the technical side of this.

With that said, I confess that I’m a guitar player and experimenter, not a piano player. I am open to suggestions from the rest of you on how these pianos should play and sound. And I’m sure I have much to learn about standard piano naming for the controls and other things in these files.

I have also included some experimental controls in my files like: Mod Wheel, Attack, Release, Response Time and Key Up Noise. My thought for the Mod Wheel and Attack/Release controls was to allow for “reverse” piano sounds and pad sounds. After trying this on a number of piano samples, though, one pad piano sounds pretty much like the next one to me. But I have left the control commands in the sfz files in case others might be interested in how it works.

Again, I just wanted to “start the ball rolling” on the sfz versions on this site. Obviously, the more we all understand about how sfz works, the easier it will be to convert the existing pianos, make them available to the community and to modify our own private versions of these pianos to include whatever crazy controls we desire!

Anybody else interested in a project to standardize the sfz files and GUI?



Hi, I submitted an SFZ version of the same piano a while back. It is on the official page. but the more the merrier. Please have a look and perhaps we can reach a standardization consensus. Then we could perhaps divide up the work of creating SFZ versions for many of the other beautiful pianos on the site.


Hi Sid, my apologies! I had downloaded the Spring Piano files a while back and didn’t see any sfz format at that time. Or maybe it didn’t show up because I hadn’t joined yet. I don’t know. Anyway, I will definitely download your version and take a look. I agree that if we can get a number of people converting pianos to sfz, the job will be easier. And thanks for starting this thread!



It’s all good. Do let me know what you think of the Spring Piano SFZ.


Sid, I think your Spring Piano sfz file is excellent! Thanks for uploading it. I love the addition of the “Brightness” filter. I never even thought of that, but it’s a nice touch. Your file settings are very similar to my Spring Piano Blend sfz. I wondered why you included a control for Key Noise On/Off, though. I have one for Key Noise Volume (as you do), but wouldn’t that volume control be enough without the On/Off “switch”? Or am I not hearing something correctly?

The other things I included (or were different) in my sfz file:

  • I used note names instead of numbers in the sample mapping (but that has no impact on how it sounds)
  • Stereo Width control
  • Response Time (This adjusts the offset=36000)
  • And some default settings so that the player could start playing immediately and then modify the defaults to suit his or her playing style.

Here’s an excerpt regarding Default settings from my sfz file (using numbers in the 300 range for the mics):
//Initialize Default Settings
//**** Change these to suit your playing style
//**** Use integer values from 0-127 (128 values)
set_cc7=127 //Volume = 100%
set_cc10=64 //Pan = 128*.5 (50%) or Centered
set_cc102=127 //Stereo Width = 100%
set_cc200=26 //Response Time = 128*.20 (20%)

//Set microphone blend
//**** Change these to suit your favorite blend of mics
set_cc301=76 //M149 mic: 128*.6 (60%)
set_cc302=108 //Apollo mic: 128*.85 (85%)
set_cc303=95 //Soyuz mic: 128*.75 (75%)

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I also had some experimental settings (Attack/Release/Mod Wheel) in my file, but I wouldn’t leave them in all the piano sfz files.

Hopefully, I will have a little more time on Sunday to take a closer look and listen! Again, an excellent job on this!