.sfz format definition?

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mcdonalk
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2008/12/21 02:21:58 (permalink)

.sfz format definition?

I have just installed Dimension Pro (included in S8PE upgrade).

The Dimension pro refers to the following web site for a definition of the .sfz format:

http://www.rgcaudio.com/sfzformat.htm

However, when I navigate to this link, I end up on a Cakewalk web page that does not have such a specification.

Where can I access sfzformat.htm, or obtain an official .sfz specification?

thanks

Keith
#1

23 Replies Related Threads

    b rock
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2008/12/21 06:47:07 (permalink)
    Where can I access sfzformat.htm,...
    This is the proper link: The sfz format: Basics. More information & tutorials: P5 Wiki Virtual Instruments section.
    ... or obtain an official .sfz specification?
    This is as good as it gets. Cakewalk Synthesizers: From Presets to Power User.

    The free links will certainly get you started. Once you have some familiarity, opening up DimPro's .sfz files in a text editor is a great resource. The book has a reference section that will take you wherever you want to go.
    #2
    mcdonalk
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2008/12/21 14:36:26 (permalink)
    b rock:

    Thanks for the excellent links.

    Keith
    #3
    rabeach
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2008/12/21 19:23:23 (permalink)
    At the bottom of the The sfz format: Basics page there is a link for examples. I cannot get this link to work. Anyone else having this trouble.

    Examples

    Example .sfz definition files showing every opcode functionality can be found here.

    #4
    raweber
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/01/03 12:58:19 (permalink)
    The sfz example page requires a log-in to view. Any workaround?

    Rob Weber
    Poser Composer
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    #5
    Gribs
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/01/03 13:56:20 (permalink)

    As a Rapture license owner and user, I asked about the SFZ format here a long time ago in this thread

    thread on SFZ format

    The resources mentioned above have been very useful for my limited use of the format. My intentions have always been to delve deeper and get into scripting, but I have had too many diversions. I am revisiting it again now, and came here looking to see what is going on now. In fact, before the holidays I finally bought the Cakewalk Synthesizers book just for the chapters on Rapture and SFZ. The Cakewalk Synthesizers book gives a snapshot of the SFZ format but as was stated when I asked about it a while ago, the format is always changing. SFZ's from Cakewalk designed for the latest release of Rapture or Dimension Pro may not read correctly into another program that is supposed to read SFZ format because there might be new opcodes in a version of the SFZ handling code buried in the Cakewalk synthesizers that are not in the "standard."

    The problem as I see it, and I could be wrong naturally, is that there is no precisely documented standard that says "SFZ must have these features and anything else is an extension" and there is no way other than familiarity, reference and bug tracking, etc. of determining whether a certain opcode is an extension belonging to Cakewalk or someone else or is part of the nebulous SFZ standard.

    The base SFZ format as I understand it is a very nice format, text based, easy to script, etc. As such it has grown in popularity recently and has been adopted by other companies including Camel Audio, Wusik, DangerousBear, and others. It is available as a conversion format in Extreme Sample Converter. I think that the electronic music community would benefit greatly from an easily reachable, regularly updated online resource that documents the current SFZ standard, tracks old versions of the standard, keeps release notes for each new release of the standard, etc so that we can all be on the same page. I am thinking in terms of something like an old-fashioned programming language or class compliance standard. From a business standpoint I think that such a standard would be good for business for Cakewalk and also for other developers that use the standard.

    Thanks for listening!



    Dr. Gribs
    Electro-optical engineer and industrial mathematician
    Electronic and acoustic music enthusiast
    I like to play with stuff that makes noise and sometimes music comes out
    Cakewalk Rapture owner
    #6
    karmagician
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/10/31 23:09:14 (permalink)
    b rock

    More information & tutorials: P5 Wiki Virtual Instruments section.


    This link is broken - check it out. Does the P5 Wiki no longer exist?
    #7
    b rock
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/01 08:22:36 (permalink)
    Does the P5 Wiki no longer exist?
    Possibly.  It may be down temporarily (once again), or it may have followed the path of its namesame.
    Most (if not all) of the virtual instruments information have been mirrored here.
    #8
    Amazed
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/01 22:50:55 (permalink)
    Well I must say this all looks very stupid. If I have my story correct sfz is simply a collection of wav files or pcm files witha text file to describe patches and parameters but there is no editor available. Or has this changed. No worry, just edit the text file lol. You can't build samples like this without an editor. There was a perfectly good format for this kind of thing complete with editors and that was soundfont. What the hell was wrong with that? We have the complete spec for soundfont with all the dev tools and all. ppfftt

    Just what about sfz makes it any better and on top of that we don't have the tools?
    Not that I'm too interested but I would probably start with building a soundfornt and then writing a utility to extract the sfz from the soundfont. Seeing as sfz is described in  some circles as a zipped soundfont maybe this bit is done. ??

    Hope that helps otherwise soz for rambling ...

    Just found this ..http://audio.clockbeat.com/sfZed.html
    That should get you home pretty much.

    post edited by Amazed - 2009/11/01 22:53:06
    #9
    René
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/02 16:25:12 (permalink)
    There was a perfectly good format for this kind of thing complete with editors and that was soundfont. What the hell was wrong with that? We have the complete spec for soundfont with all the dev tools and all. ppfftt


    You know what's funny, the sfz format was originally crafted exactly to overcome the limitations in the SoundFont spec.
    When the freeware sfz player was released, five years ago, there was only one editor for SoundFonts (Vienna Studio), and it required you to have installed a Sound Blaster card. SoundFonts did not support 24-bit samples, and all sampes needed to be included within the .sf2 file (so no sharing between sets, no external editing, etc.). SoundFonts didn't disk-stream, and lacked all kinds of sample switching and triggering extensions such as release triggering, control or keyboard switching (a.k.a. 'dimensions' in GigaStudio).
    Playing a .sf2 file at that time was mostly limited to Sound Blaster cards. A few samplers played sf2 files, but only supported a minimal subset of the format functionality.

    In regards to the tools, the goal of sfz was exactly that: it doesn't need a tool (or if you want, it just needs Notepad). It's based on the samples themselves, and a text file.
    This is certainly not for everyone: end-users will most likely prefer to tweak knobs and sliders. Sfz isn't good for this (and it was never a goal). On the other hand, creating massive libraries of samples via scripting isn't possible with knobs, and sfz excels here. Horses...


    -rgc

    #10
    DaveClark
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/02 17:20:26 (permalink)
    Hi all,

    Just what about sfz makes it any better and on top of that we don't have the tools?


    You can use awk, sed, Python, Perl, Ruby, C++, Pascal, Visual Basic, vim, pipes, filters, paste, cut, sort, redirection, and thousands more programs and techniques under MacOS, Linux, Unix, Windows 3, 4 (95 - ME), 5 (XP), 6 (Vista), 7, ... much easier than you can with binary formats like SF2 which practically speaking require custom tools.  Generally speaking, text-based format files for various purposes are far more flexible, portable, and useful than binary ones, albeit they can be slow and bulky.

    Regards,
    Dave Clark
     

    #11
    ChristopherM
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/06 10:03:21 (permalink)
    Rene - any views on why Cakewalk makes it so difficult to get hold of definitions for sfz?  It seems every few weeks someone posts when they are struggling with broken links, out-of-date material, etc. and no-one from Cakewalk has even taken the trouble to make a sticky here, say.  Cock-up or conspiracy?  Will there be another synth that uses the expression engine or is it a moribund platform?
    #12
    René
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/06 17:18:37 (permalink)
    ChristopherM, I don't think it's as much as "Cakewalk makes it so difficult" as it is "Cakewalk isn't working on making it easy". Probably doesn't sound that much different, but the slight difference is important.

    It's not that we're hiding the spec, or trying users not to get proper information, or trying to make people not see the core springs. sfz format become a huge format, which gets expanded in every new synth. Being expansible was one core goal of sfz.

    World moves really fast. We release bunch of products every year. Synth releases happen at every major and minor host updates, LE bundles, hardware bundles, international and foreign versions, etc. Often synths require tweaks to interact better with the context they're designed to live in, so a new sfz tweak appears.

    In such a scenario, keeping track of all docs and changes is a major task. At the same time, and this is not a secret either, the number of sfz-speaking fellows is quite short, and probably because the profile of the products crafted with it is not so prone to grow.
    I can reference that when the sfz format v1 was crafted, the full doc was public for years and wasn't really appealing to general public.
    So far, embracing the mega project of compiling and maintaining the full sfz scope documentation (and well, in a world crisis context, too) has not happened as it appears as a huge task with a small number of benefited customers, therefore there has always been a better destination for that same manpower.

    I can't say this will change for sfz in the near future, but we have some alternative ideas as to make this better.

    I apologize for this inconvenience. On the other hand, Dimension and Rapture are solid, and sound great. Don't they? :-) And fortunately, Simon has written a great book which covers a huge bunch of what sfz is and has, which costs less than a pizza. Give it a spin.


    -rgc
    #13
    dmbaer
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/06 18:04:43 (permalink)
    Rene
     
    I can't say this will change for sfz in the near future, but we have some alternative ideas as to make this better.

     
    There's one improvement to conventional practice that could be made ... one which wouldn't change the sfz spec one bit.  I've just been reading the manual for the Alchemy softsynth.  It explicitly states what sfz features are supported.  It's a short list, but has the essential elements for defining multisamples.  Anyone who intends to put together sfz files for use with Alchemy will be grateful that this was published by those who know exactly what's supported.   It'll save lots of trial and error for those who have no idea and no way of learning (apart from time-wasting experimentation).  It would be nice to think that the Camel Audio example will motivate other vendors of sfz compatible software to do the same.
     
    Just my 2 cents.
     
     
    #14
    René
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/06 18:54:42 (permalink)
    Well, I take you folks have already seen this one:

    http://www.cakewalk.com/DevXchange/sfz.asp
    #15
    Fog
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/06 19:40:16 (permalink)
    there was  a ruby script someone did to make the task of making the sfz's a bit more straight forward to make , but the person in question didn't post back much .

    it was looking promising, you'd give it a folder to explore (mainly computer music mag disks) and it'd  generate the sfz's , from the sample names.

    e.g. sawtoothC0 , sawtoothC1 etc

    would be put on their respective key / mapped.

    IMHO thats the side that puts people off messing around with SFZ's a lot of people just want something editing wise that maybe can be done in a few clicks / drag & drop..

    it's like some things are made hhmm tricky.. drum maps is another one.. why can't it just generate them off SFZ's.. is one example..

    anyways, I think more see it as a rompler , because the editing side is well dis-jointed from it.



    #16
    slartabartfast
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/07 01:33:28 (permalink)
    It would be nice to think that the Camel Audio example will motivate other vendors of sfz compatible software to do the same.
    +

    I think dmbaer is trying to say: Post a list of what opcodes are usable in which of your synths so we do not have to do reverse engineering every damn time we try to use it.
    #17
    techead
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/08 22:28:17 (permalink)
    slartabartfast



    It would be nice to think that the Camel Audio example will motivate other vendors of sfz compatible software to do the same.
    +

    I think dmbaer is trying to say: Post a list of what opcodes are usable in which of your synths so we do not have to do reverse engineering every damn time we try to use it.


    That sounds like a good idea for a community project page in the Wikis given the lack of such info directly from Cakewalk.
    #18
    techead
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/08 22:31:12 (permalink)
    b rock



    Does the P5 Wiki no longer exist?
    Possibly.  It may be down temporarily (once again), or it may have followed the path of its namesame.
    Most (if not all) of the virtual instruments information have been mirrored here.

    Yeah....the P5 Wiki software seems to be responding with error messages.  No doubt something got broke behind the scenes on the Wiki server.  But the bits of interest here should be available on the other Wiki for SONAR.
    #19
    ChristopherM
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/09 03:18:07 (permalink)
    I apologize for this inconvenience.
    No apology needed, of course.  I guess that an optimistic view would be that Cakewalk is being more generous than other developers by giving those who are interested an insight into at least the first layer of inner workings of the Expression Engine synths, so we are better off in that respect.  And, of course, you wouldn't expect sfz specs to have mass appeal any way.  I agree that Simon's book is very useful, although it has been around for a while now.  Maybe Simon would like to publish updated information via his website
    #20
    dmbaer
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/09 12:07:11 (permalink)
    slartabartfast



    It would be nice to think that the Camel Audio example will motivate other vendors of sfz compatible software to do the same.
    +

    I think dmbaer is trying to say: Post a list of what opcodes are usable in which of your synths so we do not have to do reverse engineering every damn time we try to use it.


    Yes, that's exactly what I meant.  But to be clear, I wasn't singling out the CW synths.  This seems a reasonable thing to expect of any synth that allows some form of sfz definition.  The sfz "language" is quite extensive and it's unlikely we'll ever find a synth that supports all possibilities.  But there are so many parameters (for lack of a better term), that it's a lot of work to reverse engineer.  On the other hand, those with access to the code should be able to put together this information in short order.
    #21
    timidi
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2009/11/25 20:59:12 (permalink)

    ASUS P8P67, i7-2600K, CORSAIR 16GB, HIS 5450, 3 Samsung SSD 850, Win7 64, RME AIO.
     
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    #22
    debris
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2010/04/20 12:30:36 (permalink)
    Whoa!! timidi.... thanks for the link!!  I've been surfing for info for over 3hours now, and FINALLY I get to a Craig Anderton article (a guarantee of clear, concise overview)...  great!!   think I'm starting to figure all this out... still not sure of the current differences between SF2 and SFZ...and there is an SFZ2 version...?  and no hope of some kind of comprehensive intro/examples/etc.... especially for Mac? I found a company selling a Mac editor for SF2... is it possible/practical to use that and 'port' the finished product over to SFZ?   sorry for all the questions, but I haven't found any answers!  ...yet...  :-)    thanks...
    #23
    ChristopherM
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    RE: .sfz format definition? 2010/04/21 04:47:59 (permalink)
    IMHO, the main correspondence between SF2 and SFZ is that the first two letters are SF.  Otherwise, they are quite different.  One of the most significant differences is that SF2 has the audio samples embedded in it, whereas SFZ does not, instead having text-based "pointers" to the samples (which therefore must be located where the SFZ says they are located).
    #24
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