Free alternative to Sonatina Symphony

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)


Hi guys,

Using various, free samples (with lots of manual editing), I've created a free alternative to Sonatina Symphony. I call it the "No Budget Orchestra". It should work in any sfz player (Sforzando, LinuxSampler), or any wave-based sampler.

The orchestra isn't packaged in one big zip file. Instead, each instrument is packaged in its own zip file. And all those files are available via:

The files making up the orchestra are:

There are also some non-orchestral instruments (guitar, bass, drums). (Hopefully DSmolken won't be outraged at what I did to his bass samples. I like stereo.)


Thanks for these.

I downloaded your Altosax, and I like the legato mode, very nice.

But I found that (when played soft) one of the samples was off by half a note.

Code: Select all

<region> lokey=g#4 hikey=a#4 pitch_keycenter=a4 sample=4_A_p.wav
Has to be :

Code: Select all

<region> lokey=g#4 hikey=a#4 pitch_keycenter=g#4 sample=4_A_p.wav
Changed in S3,S4,V3,V4 and all is well :hyper:

Now off to download some more....


It's actually DSmolden's recent alto sax, but redone in stereo, relooped, some tuning and volume shaping, and I cherry-picked only the best-blending samples instead of using all of them with round-robins. I also created some release samples.

I should explain about the sfz mappings.

For instruments that normally play one note at a time, you should use the legato mode mappings. These filenames have "legmode" in them (ie, bass_legmode.sfz, cello_legmode.sfz, flute_legmode.sfz, trumpet_legmode.sfz, etc). With legato mode, when you play a note, and then overlap the next note (ie, start the second note before you release the first note) it "smoothes" the transition between the two notes. For a bowed instrument, this simulates the musician playing both notes with a single bow stroke (instead of a separate bow stroke for each note). For wind/brass instruments, this simulates the musician playing both notes with a single breath/tonguing (ie, a slur). Legato mode is useful if you want to make the sampled instrument sound more realistic, by simulating real bowing/breath/tonguing. In music theory terms, it allows you to simulate realistic-sounding "phrasing" for string/wind/brass instruments.

To use legato mode on a midi track, go into the "Piano roll" editor, and overlap any series notes you want to be played with a single bow stroke (i.e., as a single phrase).

For live performances, physically play the second note before you release the first note. For musicians with limited technique, it may be difficult to control legato mode this way. So I offer 2 additional mappings for 2 alternate methods of controlling legato mode. Filenames that have "legsus" in them (ie, bass_legsus.sfz, cello_legsus.sfz, flute_legsus.sfz, trumpet_legsus.sfz, etc) control legato mode using MIDI sustain pedal (controller # 64). While the sustain pedal is on, notes are played legato. When the sustain pedal is off, notes are played normally. (To use this properly, you should have the pedal off for the first note of a phrase, and then immediately hold the pedal down while playing the subsequent notes of that phrase). Filenames that have "legped" in them instead use MIDI legato pedal (controller # 68) to control legato mode. Even this may be too difficult for musicians with very limited technique. So I offer the following simple sfz:

<region> sample=Practice more, you lazy sod .wav

There's just one caveat with legato mappings. Due to the way it works, it's limited to single note lines. If you try to play 2 (or more) notes simultaneously, only one of the notes will sound. The others will be immediately cut off. So if you need to play chords, you can't use the legato mappings. Use a regular mapping (ie, bass.sfz, cello.sfz, flute.sfz, trumpet.sfz, etc).

Filenames with "_vib" mean that the instrument has vibrato. So "flute_vib_legsus.sfz"' is a legato mode (using sustain pedal) flute with vibrato. "flute_legsus.sfz"' is without vibrato.

Sfz files with a short, nondescriptive name, usually a capital letter followed by a number such as S1.sfz, V2l.sfz, R1.sfz, etc, are not to be used directly. They're support files.


I'm wondering about copyright and attribution? Are the instruments without any sort of readme file Public domain?


Some of the orchestral sections are mixes utilizing sf2 files that never came with any license nor even attribution. I presume that they're public domain since they've been made available as so for years upon various web sites.

I've done a lot of work on them to improve them, and as far as my own work is concerned, I want folks to freely benefit from that. I don't much like license restrictions.

I may have forgotten to include a license in some of my original stuff. I write software too, and sometimes I forget to throw a license on my sources before I release them. I just care about getting work done. Lawyers, copyrights, licenses, patents, etc have become an impediment to creativity and productivity.


j_e_g wrote:It's actually DSmolden's recent alto sax, but redone in stereo, relooped, some tuning and volume shaping, and I cherry-picked only the best-blending samples instead of using all of them with round-robins. I also created some release samples.
Cool. And, wow, that was fast - the sax hasn't even been out for a week. What other instruments are based on the Karoryfer stuff?


DSmolken wrote:What other instruments are based on the Karoryfer stuff?
Some of the basses (of course).

I did one of the pasta basses (, your second doublebass (, and solo cello (

I revamped the samples to stereo since my P.A. system is run in stereo. I'm the anti-Phil-Spector. I mix every instrument in stereo. I also looped everything, used the sfz legato mode, and added release samples to allow the instrument to be played more "realistically" via a MIDI keyboard controller.


Nice. I'll download them out of curiosity, to see what you did. So far I just grabbed the trumpets and orchestral percussion.


Thanks j_e_g. I was just wondering about my possibly using some of the samples in my Kontakt or Maize VST work.


bigcat1969 wrote:using some of the samples in my Kontakt or Maize VST work.
Yes. Use everything. Try everything. Even where we used the same source material, such as the freesound ldk violin (, I did very different processing. (For example, I even looped the tremulo samples). So, it's different than what you've already done with that material, and therefore could be of interest.

I don't do kontakt instruments, but ask if you have questions about how the samples are being used in the sfz mappings. Most everything is looped, except for percussion. Looped waves without vibrato are in the Sustain (or "A") folder. Looped waves with vibrato are in the Vibrato folder. The Release folder contains the non-looped (one shot) release samples (triggered only upon note release).

I name waves starting with an octave number, then an underscore, then the note letter (perhaps followed by a b for "flat"). So 4_C.wav is mapped to middle C, and 4_Db.wav is a half step up. If I have velocity layers, then I'll append another underscore, followed by a dynamic marking (pp to ff). So 4_C_pp.wav is middle C in the softest velocity layer, and 4_C_ff.wav is middle C in the loudest velocity layer. ( "4_C_mf.wav is middle C in the velocity layer that's just right.", says Goldilocks). You should be able to map the waves just by looking at the filenames.


Thanks man I'll have some fun taking a look at everything you have assembled.


Do you want to take a crack at some viola samples I recorded recently which I think are not quite up to our usual standards, but which might be OK as a source for a small sample set that can hide in an orchestra crowd?


DSmolken wrote:want some viola samples I recorded?
Absolutely. I've been waiting for those.

Return to “Samplers, Sampling & Sample Libraries”