The Salamander Grand Piano, and LinuxSampler CVS

NOTE: The link below was to an older version of the Salamander, so the link now goes to a download page that lists the latest version. Also, LinuxSampler isn’t as temperamental as it once was when it comes to loading SFZ files, so you don’t have to follow the instructions below to the letter any more — just add a sampler channel, set it to SFZ mode, and load the SFZ file, and you should be good to go.

After a bit of a wait, what’s perhaps the ultimate free piano sample library, the Salamander Grand Piano is available! One of the guys on the linux-audio-user spent I’d-hate-to-think-how-long recording every note on a Yamaha C5 grand at 16 different volume levels with a pair of stereo mics, and the result — all 1.9GB of it — sounds lovely.

Getting it running, however, is a bit fiddly right now. Due partly to its heft, it’s distributed in SFZ format, instead of the more common GigaSample “.GIG” format. Linuxsampler supports SFZ in CVS, but it’s buggy, and the instrument needs to be set up just right to load without crashing Linuxsampler. Once you’ve installed Linuxsampler from CVS — a bit of effort, but fairly straightforward, especially since it comes with Debian package scripts — follow these steps, in order, to get the Salamander up and running:

  1. Launch Linuxsampler and the Fantasia GUI as usual — so far, so good!
  2. Create a new sampler channel in the middle of the window. Click the “GIG engine” text in your new channel, and select the “SFZ engine” option
  3. Set up your MIDI and audio devices on the right — I use ALSA for MIDI and JACK for audio, but you can use whatever you prefer here.
  4. Click on the “OPTIONS” button on your sampler channel, and select your newly-created MIDI input and audio output. Your window should now look like this:
  5. Click the “Load Instrument…” link on your sampler channel and load the “SalamanderGrandPiano.sfz” file

If you follow those steps in order, and cross your fingers, you should have a working Salamander Grand Piano setup! Once you have a working setup, make sure you export it to a file (Actions/Export/Sampler Configuration…); you’ll then be able to fire up your new piano next time by using that export (with the Actions/Run Script…) option.

14 thoughts on “The Salamander Grand Piano, and LinuxSampler CVS

  1. Hello xyclo, your missing a compiled version of LinuxSampler from CVS. You should only check out the CVS repository and compile that from source.



  2. Pingback: everything you always wanted to know about linuxsampler | woo, tangent

  3. How do we decompress the b2z file on Windows? Googling b2z leads me to sites that my virus protection says are blocked sites due to malware.

  4. It looks like 7-Zip will do the job for you — its website says that it handles bzip2 files:

    Also, assuming you’re that Learjeff, thanks for your excellent jRhodes3 soundfont! I love the sound of the Rhodes and it’s great to have access to such a good, free Rhodes sound.

  5. Hi,

    I just spent the last 2 days installing and configuring LinuxSampler on Windows, using the most recent precompiled binaries from

    A bit buggy but tried out all the features including loading it as a VST in Cantabile Lite – my VST Host.

    This is truly a revelation and a lot of people should adopt this sample player, so tat the developers have a lot more support to take it to even greater heights.

    Good points, it is very stable, except when you try to do something that is still a new feature, eg update the database.

    It uses very little CPU, you can play literally hundreds of notes of polyphony with less than 10% CPU utilisation. It loads gig files. I tried it with the free piano .gig from sonimusicae – Maestro Piano. and was able to play this piano for for many hours without a crash.

    It also loads soundfonts admirably. Not sure how features such as chorus and reverb are implemented though.

    Not so good points.

    Of course it is still in development and its free, so some bugs are understood, especially related to the database feature, which I found a way to use eventually. It does not seem to like lots of subdirectories in the source directory which you point it to, for building each folder in the database!.

    The question is, where can I find other high quality .gig or sfz files for free/open source download. Do let me know if you have an answer to this pertinent question.

    I mean quality sounds, that you can use in live real/ music

    My experience is that you usually have to go through a pile of rubble to find the diamonds in the “free” world.

    Thanks Lee fo pointing me to the Salamander Piano. Downloading now.

  6. Oh yes., Here’s to Lear Jeff. LOaded your Rhodes soundfonts in LuinuxSampler and they sounded good, especially the unlooped 70+ MB version – lovely., Now I now need to identify the right effects to talor the sound for various applications – Which freeware effects can I add to give me the various tremolo, chorusing and phasing that is so inherent in the produced Rhodes sound.

    On its own without effects the LearJeff samples are quite good, its just that sometimes our ear is familiar with the enhanced sound of the Rhodes

  7. Thanks for the heads-up! I’ve updated the link in the article to point to the new download page, which has links to the current version of the Salamander.

  8. Thanks for some other great article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  9. Like guest on May 10 I can’t get sound. LinuxSampler is working fine with other soundfonts. SalamanderGrandPianoV3_48khz24bit appears to load into LinuxSampler OK – but no sound.

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