My first soundfont


Well, I did a quick knock off sampling of my 1977 Rhodes Mark I Stage piano, to check out methodology and learn the tools.

Here’s the soundfont:

jRhodes1.sfpack (6MB, expands to 46MB)

Don’t expect pro-quality playability. It ain’t Scarbee! But I like the sound, and the results are better than I’d hoped with my dash-off methodology during sampling.

Here’s a short clip of me playing the results. Not too bad, considering how quickly it went together.

=> jrhodes.mp3

Please ignore the crappy timing. I’m having a latency problem with Giga. Yet another little technical mystery to figure out. Isn’t computer-based music fun!

I sampled every 4th white key, starting with F1. I didn’t use a key-thumper because the one I rigged up made too much noise, which came through on the recording (bam!). I started with three velocity layers, but added a 4th between the mezzo and forte layers, from middle C down, because it really needed it.

I recorded straight off the harp, bypassing the Rhodes’ tone controls. I scooped out in the bass, about 100 Hz, using the semi-parametric on my mixer, because that’s the sound I want (and what Scarbee, great as it is, isn’t). It’s a pretty deep scoop that takes out a lot of the fundamental, leaving lots more headroom for highs. (100 Hz seems too
low; maybe the little marks on my mixer aren’t accurate :wink:

I recorded each velocity layer in one file, in 24 bits, using a MOTU 828. I normalized and converted to 16 bits, and removed the noise using CoolEdit96 (which only handles 16-bit files). I then processed each file with a little Python program I wrote, which chops up the samples into separate files, naming the files according to the note name (based on the frequency using a simple autocorrelation algorithm). I created the instrument using GigaStudio32 (which I found on ebay for $30).

If I do another round, I probably won’t sample too many more keys – the Rhodes doesn’t seem to need it. Maybe every 3rd white key instead. What I will pay a lot more attention to is the velocities when sampling (of course). Unless I can design a reliable and QUIET thumper, that’ll be the hardest part.

No doubt it can stand quite a bit of tweaking. It could be made a lot shorter using loops. At the end of some of the notes you can hear me drop the key, and I haven’t bothered to envelope that out. I rarely hold a chord for more than 10 seconds, the typical sample length.

If anyone bothers tweaking it, please let me know!


Learjeff, that is really astonishingly good. :)

Hi Jeff. Good you go ahead with this. I cant download now, but in the week i will try to add a review.
If you feel well with it and want to share it with the public, you can try for upload it.
see you later!

Hey, congrats, Jeff! If the thumper is giving you impact noise, wouldn’t some extra cushion on the “finger” (or whatever the sampling experts call it) help? I’m thinking some of that foam water pipe insulation–not too hard, not too soft–or thick felt, or…you get the idea. Anyway, I’ve only heard the mp3 sample so far, and it sounds great, but I only have simple PC speakers here. Can’t wait to get home and take it for a spin. :) Thanks! (BTW that autocorrelation is a pretty clever way to pick out the fundamental frequency (I just looked it up).)


Sounds great to me, Jeff. It’s very natural sounding I think. The proof will be how well it sits in fuller mix without much twiddling. Rhodes can sometimes be pain because the tone is very sine-like.

Tony, I used the fuzzy side of a velcro strip in several places, but there’s just too much velocity and too much wood. I haven’t given up on the idea, I just didn’t bother with it for my first stab since it wasn’t working out and I was getting better results with my finger. I might find that my finger really is the best tool, though – along with n-Track meters.

Actually, phoo, it’s that heavy sine component that I filter out to get the sound I like. Sure, it’s still there especially in the higher registers. But the big hump in the middle of the keyboard is scooped out.

BTW, I found a program that makes doing the loops REALLY easy (Extreme Sample Converter 2 demo). So I’ll probably be offering a looped version in a far smaller package.

Another thing I noticed and haven’t accounted for yet, but two different converters produced sf2 files the same size, but one sfpack-compresses down to 6MB and the other to 12MB. I wonder what the difference is!

Good for you Jeff…

I haven’t progressed into soundfonts, myself. But I’m reading the replies to the posts, on this project.

Well done…


Jeff, that’s a great demo of the sound!

I wouldn’t know it wasn’t the real thing!

TVM for doing this - I realise it was as much an experiment… please experiment more!!!


Oops, I goofed!

One of the converter programs I used was a demo and converted the wave files to 10-bit format (!) If you listen to any key as it fades out the quantization noise is quite obvious.

Download it again, same URL (same filename) and instead of a 6 MB sfpack file, it’ll be a 12MB file that expands to the same 46 MB and sounds a lot better!

Well, i get& tryied it.

First: Thanks! very nice job

-The work you have done look very professional. The amount of samples of this soundfont is not very frequently found.

-Im not a Rhodes specialist, but it sounds very well. I can hear the diffrences between the samples at diffrent velocityes, and the expression you can get is really good. The piano (soften) samples are very sweet.

-about looping: i prefer the unlooped version, but in certaint situations maybe the looped version can be good.

-A tip: the word “soundfont” has a “magical” attraction. If you include this one in your site, maybe is a good help in promotion your music site. (Only be carefull with the bandwith)

Well, i will try to play something, and post later, to celebrate the born of a new nice soundfont from one of our folks :D

see you

Only to mantain this thread at top a little more, and no one lost this nice soundfont :;):


After I'm sure it's settled down, I'll be posting it at the popular soundfont spots, so folks can find it when they want it. And probably from my homepage, too -- especially if I do some more. I'm tempted, but the stuff I've wanted might already exist so we'll see. E.g., acoustic guitar. I did find a pretty good classical guitar recently.

I really appreciate your support, Marce!
I'm tempted, but the stuff I've wanted might already exist so we'll see

Hi Jeff. I have a lot of the free soundfonts in my hardisk. IMHO there are good soundfonts in every instrument almost, but with good layers and diffrent touchs, not much.

I think that are missing yet:
-a good French HOrn with diffrent touchs and a Trumpet with laaarger samples
-the same for the oboe. (there was out there a very good project called "Knudorch Clarinet" that you cant found no more, that cover the need of a good clarinet.

Is a little difficult sample what i mentioned, because you must get a good player and a good instrument. I dont remember what other instrument can be a good one to sample. But the good sampled instrument are not losted. By example, Ethan Winner sampled very nice way a Bassoon years ago. Still is one of the best you can found in the web, is a must have.

Well Jeff. See you! and if you want sample any other thing, be sure that a good amount of musicians will apreciate it (beyond they dont say it to nobody :D )

Thank you so much!!!

this is exactly the sound font that i have been looking for for the longest time!!

at first i thought that i was looking for a vibraphone sound (i was looking for a sound like The American Analog Set’s).

You definitely need to post this elsewhere, it sounds excelent.


BTW- where did you find a good AC guitar SF, i havent had much luck lately!

Glad to hear it :)

I haven’t used it, just listened to the demo and it sounded usable and a lot better than the one built into my Ensoniq synth.

Just a little OT here…I stumbled across a dude that has a '79 Fender Rhodes piano. I have not seen it yet but he says its worth about 600 clams. Supposedly in sweet to very sweet condition. That sound about right? I probably will not be interested in buying it myself, but you never know what good trades might come along…

Besides, if I ever get my mind around this soundfont thing, I can use Jeff’s samples and won’t much need the real thing. Nowhere to put a real rhodes anyway!


I can use Jeff's samples and won't much need the real thing

Hi TG. I really like sample technology, certainly i can do music that in other way i cant. But i believe that one of the negative things it have is that the musician lost the real "relation" with the instruments. If you can get a "real" instrument, dont loose the opportunity, for sure you will learn and enjoy, IMHO, more than a sample.

Jeff, and idea: Dont want you publish some little pictures about your Rhodes? If later in the future you publish it in the web, maybe a little webpage with some info and pictures about the real instrument will made more real and near for the musicians.