Play drum samples

Hi there,

I have some drums samples I would like to play, but they’re just .wav files, not a “real, proper” drumkit. What’s the best way to play them (in Ardour, but maybe also in other applications on Linux)? Is there some application where I can load them and then play them with MIDI?

You could make your own SFZ and load it with sfizz. This can get really involved, but it can be easy to get started. Let’s say you have two samples: snare_drum.wav and kick_drum.wav. Make a file with the following text:

<region> key=36 sample=kick_drum.wav
<region> key=38 sample=snare_drum.wav

Save it as drums.sfz in the same directory as the wav files. Create a midi track with sfizz, load your drums.sfz file, and now midi notes 36 and 38 will play your kick and snare samples.

Here are some examples of much more involved drum kits: Virtuosity Drums, Tchimera Drum Kit. One nice thing about SFZ is that the files are plain text so you can load them in a text editor and see how other SFZ instruments are made.


Polyphone is another application to make your own soundfont, from scratch or you could import an existing (drum-)soundfont into Polyphone and replace the samples with your own.

When you have your soundfont ready you only need to load that soundfont into a plugin like AceFluidsynth (from within Ardour) to play them.

You could load the samples into the slots of the LSP sample player. They come in many flavours

Hi there! I tried to load them into LSP but found hard to use it in my tracks… I was only able to load one audio file at once, while I need something which allows me to load all the wavs and make me play it with MIDI

Hi, nice idea!
Is there a more “automated” way to create such SFZs? Like an application to use for it?

I’m not aware of an app to generate SFZs. While I was making my kit, I found that I was repeating the same pattern over and over again, so I wrote a python script to reduce the busywork:

Here is an example generated file:

How many sound files are you working with? Where did you get them?

@Michael_Willis Polyphone was already mentioned upthread and can be used to generate SF2 and SFZ soundfonts.

Thanks! I missed that. I just got an email notification and responded without reading the rest of the thread.

Also on the Versilian website, they have a tool for creating sfz files:

I’ve had mixed success with it. It’s not 100% intuitive.

On the sfztools site, they also reference a few: