What is a Soundfont & why do I want one?
SoundFont the brand name that referred to sample-based synthesis in early sound cards to playback MIDI. There was no where near enough data available on disk for an mp3! You needed the sound font stored on your sound card to turn that midi data into a more musical result. Often used in games and later mobile phones they created a generation hooked on general Midi.
Although it was never intended as a way to compose music, the sounds have become classic tools for dance and hiphop producers.
NI’s Kontakt has largely replaced the soundfont and alternatives have sprung up that enhance the concept like ReFX’s Nexus. While they replace the need for soundfonts, they are often expensive investments. Soundfonts are free, can contain hundreds of sounds from orchestral to drums and evoke the past.
We’ve collected an ultimate list of some of the best we could find from around the web so you don’t have to.
The Free Soundfont List
- Hammer sound – 535 Soundfonts Library
- RKHive – Huge selection of soundfont sounds and banks
- SoundFonts.it – 22 Free Soundfonts
- Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra – GM Soundfont bank of orchestra sounds
- HD Orchestral Bank – A full compliment of all GM sounds
- Thomas’ Sounds – Classics like the Korg M1 and much more
- Hip-Hop Soundfonts – 126 Hiphop sounds
- Warbeats – 57 Soundfonts, nice list
- Guard Dere – Loads of classical Soundfonts from way back
- Nikleus Collection – 30+ banks
- Christian Collins – A few banks of full soundfonts
- Ethan Winer Originals – 13 Original Soundfonts
- Instrucol – 25 Soundfonts
- Muse Score – Some popular GM SoundFonts
- Personal Copy – GM Soundfonts and more tools for management
- Shan Soundfont – A Bank of sounds
- Ntonyx.com – 17 Soundfonts
- Lysator – FTP Directory of Soundfont
- Johannes Roussel – 32 Soundfonts
- Betty’s Instruments – 11 Sampled from Casio VZ 1
- Sounds For Beats – 12 Free soundfonts
- Milestones – Some organs
Game / Chiptune Sounds
sfArk & Other formats
Some Soundfonts use a compressed format, use the sfArk tool to open them.