Tuesday, January 11, 2005

VSTi Sampling Made Easy with the SFZ format and engine

rgc:audio software :: The sfz format - this is something I've been reading up on and have spent some time dabbling with. The concept is very simple and it really seems to work well. Here's how I'm using it in my "lab":

* Author your various .WAV audio samples (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, weird sounds, etc.) - anything you want!
* Create a simple "sfz" file using your editor to specify the note, key assignments, and lots of other parameter data.
* The sfz format has LOTS of stuff in it, but it can be simple too.
* Download the free sfz player
* Access your or other sfz audio samples via MIDI using any VSTi enabled software tool (SONAR, Cuebase, et al.)
* Enjoy!

On the commercial front, BirdwellMusic.com (me) is looking into ways of providing our customers, students, producers, composers, arrangers, et.al., with empowering tools. Many have been asking for a way to combine the best of Real Trumpet with Virtual Trumpet. Guess what folks - this is it! Obviously, Real Trumpet and Virtual Trumpet are their own things and can't be "replaced" of course! But an easy-to-use audio sample format that enables flexible MIDI access - we'll, that's very cool. And the audio quality and flexibility of the sfx format is extremely powerful.

There are still some nagging questions about sample intellectual property (namely, how do content authors distribute their audio sample libraries to customers while still being able to reasonably protect their intellectual property from being duplicated, replicated, stollen, etc.) - and maybe that's not the point or even an issue for some, but it's certainly a consideration many, including myself, are probably mulling over.

Anyway, I did some preliminary tests with my own Flugelhorn sfz enabled/empowered audio library and used it as a VSTi from within SONAR and the results were fabulous! It will take some work to get it ready for primetime (like I've already done with Real Trumpet), but I've heard the future - and it sounds great!
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