[LAU] Decent Sampler

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Sat Apr 3 17:51:53 CEST 2021

This is a public service announcement, since I suspect that many here will
not be aware of this development.

David Hilowitz (0) recently "ported" (1) his new sample library playback
engine Decent Sampler to Linux. It is available as a Linux VST3 plugin and
as a standalone application (2) David's work was substantially inspired by
the work in the Pianobook community (3), where people build often-complex
sample libraries originally to "save" real pianos but increasingly covering
new territory (such as the Winter Voices project (4)).

I am a little disappointed that David chose to define a new sampler library
format rather than use SFZ, given the developments with sfizz over the last
several months. However, both DecentSampler and SFZ are text formats, and
there are gratis implementations for them both. In theory, DS -> SFZ
conversion could be automated, though the other way around may be more

Yesterday I downloaded 36 Decent Sampler libraries from the Pianobook
website, and although they are not all quite as awesome as I had hoped for,
some of them are amazing and all of them make a valuable addition to the
sample library situation for Linux audio/music workflows. There are also
some gratis and some non-gratis libraries for Decent Sampler on the Decent
Sampler website.

It would be lovely if Decent Sampler was libre as well as gratis, and I
hope we see quality SFZ libraries either gratis or reasonably priced,
because that format offers some features missing from Decent Sampler. But
for now, I personally consider this a wonderful step forward for
Linux-based musicians.

(0) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCoAJ5JYKYTMubpTIsWi70w

(1) I put ported in quotes because I believe that DS is implemented using
JUCE, and so this mostly just involved changing the build flags :)

(2) https://www.decentsamples.com/product/decent-sampler-plugin/

(3) https://www.pianobook.co.uk/

(4) https://www.pianobook.co.uk/library/winter-voices/
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