Saturday, April 24, 2021

TECHNICAL: Using Soundfonts in BitWig


One of the things I often try when checking out a new DAW (digital audio workstation) is to see if there's an instrument available within the software that will allow the loading of soundfonts (sf2, sf3, or sfz) format sound files. 

And so it was with the latest version of BitWig. 

Whilst taking a look at the latest (3.3) version, I discovered that BitWig's imaginatively named 'Sampler' instrument was happy to load soundfonts from a collection I have. 
Strange thing is, manufacturers rrely seem to mention this capability in their literature or manuals. I could find no mention of it in BitWigs literature. A similar situation with Presonus Studio One when I discovered that their Presence instrument had the same ability, although the process on that occasion was not as reliable. 

Soundfont files (as with most sample based sounds) tend to be realworld recreations. Pianos, guitars, basses, strings, violins, those kind of things. I don't think it's unfair to say that BitWig is probably more aimed at the experimental/electronic side of things, so it maybe that people might say that there's a kind of 'creative mismatch' here. But hey, people may us a single DAW for different kinds of projects, or use it as a professional tool for creating many different types of music. So I think 'Sampler's' ability to load and reproduce soundfonts is a useful feature. 

The process is pretty straightforward. Open your Bitwig project and set up a track with the 'Sampler' instrument. Using BitWig's browser on the right hand side, locate the folder with your soundfonts and click. The list of soundfonts then becomes available in the lower section of the browser. Simply select the soundfont you require and drag it into the lower section of th escreen where the Sampler instrument resides. The should be able to play and hear your soundfont file. 

The soundfont standard is still a great way of distributing sampled instruments for a number of different instruments and platforms and are a great source for those 'everyday' real instruments we use all the time. 

Free soundfont files are available from a number of sources. Here are some of the more popular sites for them:


The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

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