Where are my sound fonts and who installed the plugins?


… me again… yesterday, after I started a subscription I downloaded and installed Ardour 8.2.0.

I hope you bear my new questions.

I) Sound Fonts
Some time ago I installed the packages fluid-soundfont-gm and fluid-soundfont-gs from the Linux Mint repository.

My questions:
I.1) where are they stored, i.e. which path do they have?
I.2) are they SFZ or sf2 sound fonts?
I.3) what is the difference between sf2 and sfz sound fonts?

II) Directories (paths) for the plugins
After Ardour installation, in “Preferences/Plugins/VST/VST 2.x/Path” very many paths were contained, but only one really existed in my file system: “usr/lib/vst”. I deleted the imaginary paths and made a re-scan.
The path for VST3 is empty, my system doesn’t seem to have VST3 plugins.

My questions:
II.1) In “Window/Plugin Manager” many (29) Plugins have the status “Error”. It doesn’t change after Re-scan or Index update. I understand they are not usable. Can I remove these plugins?
II.2) Are there “Standard” paths for storing the plugins? Or at least recommendations?
III.3) when were the plugins installed: when Mint was installed or when Ardour was installed?

Btw: my system is a notebook with Linux Mint 21.2 Victoria, Cinnamon, 64 bit.

Thanx in advance for your answers.

SFZ are not sound fonts. sf2 are sound fonts. I don’t know where those particular packages are installed on your system. You could probably use a file search program to locate them.

I beg to differ. SFZ is a “sound font” in a somewhat different format than SF2 (and a more flexible, powerful one at that).

1 Like


To clarify, the term SFZ as used on this site does not mean a sforzando dynamic marking, and it also is not the same thing as a soundfont. Soundfonts are a completely different file format which includes both the samples and the definitions of sample behavior in the same binary file, while SFZ is a file format which only defines the behavior of musical instruments and does not include the sample content. SF2 may look a bit like SFZ visually, but that’s a coincidence

I find this misleading. Yes, SFZ files only reference the sample data (in other files), but since they name actual files (not abstractions), the combination of an SFZ file with the sample files it names is semantically identical to a soundfont. And in fact, since SFZ also allows for relative paths when identifying the samples, the notion that the files collectively form a bundle that is semantically “a sound font” is quite strong.

Here’s an example of a stanza from an SFZ file:

sample=Nippon Samples\NipponStrike_C-1.flac
lokey=0 hikey=23

This data is meaningless without the “Nippon Samples” folder being present in the folder where this .sfz exists.

So sure, the SFZ file by itself does not, by itself, contain the samples. But the SFZ file by itself is useless. It is only only the bundle of SFZ + named samples that can be used by anything at all and for this reason I consider them to be soundfonts.


hi Foersu
for all the debating, no one seems to have answered your questions.
I can answer some of Q1
fluid-soundfont-gs is .sf2 and may be found in /usr/share/sounds/sf2/
The installed file is called FluidR3_GM.sf2

The sounds directory also has subdirectories for some other formats

Thank you for the very interesting infos to the differences and similarities between SFZ and sf2, I learned a lot.

@merryl0: thank you for the path of the package fluid-soundfont-gs.

@foersu In case you don’t already know, if you want to use SFZ instruments, you’ll need a plugin like sfizz or LiquidSFZ

On the other hand, you can use the plugin ACE Fluid Synth that comes bundled with Ardour to use SF2 soundfonts.

SFZ has some advanced features that SF2 doesn’t support. One example among many is round-robin samples. Don’t let that stop you from using SF2 soundfonts though, there are some good ones even if SF2 doesn’t have all of the features of SFZ.

I can appreciate the “chunker” perspective here: I often vacillate between “chunker” and “splitter” mindsets. FWIW, the term “font” in software tends to indicate a monolithic file, containing all the binary glyphs for the (printable) font, arranged in a specific, array-like format.

By contrast, formats like SFZ, Decent Sampler, and Rhapsody split apart the binary blobs (corresponding to a font’s “glyphs”) from the logic used to select them: the same sample might be selected by multiple notes, or randomly chosen for a given keypress among a set of similar ones, or distinguished by the velocity of the keypress, or have its audio output shaped by an arbitrary set other input parameters. Even further on the spectrum might be sample-based formats like Kontakt, which allow for mutation of the sample selection or rendering via scripting.

Hi Michael,

indeed I didn’t know. Very valuable information, thanx!

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