What's your go-to generic instrument set?

I like to start composing first before I think about the instrument sounds. It’s a problem I’ve had with trackers (or the odd DAW I touched) before, It’s easy to get lost in the plethora of instruments or samples to choose from and by the time I would have figured it out, ideas have faded. I understand many people like to create beats or sounds first and get inspiration from there, but I prefer setting up the rough framework for the whole piece before diving into the sound design.

The solution I have come up with so far is to use the Microsoft MIDI instruments. It has more than enough instruments and some are a good placeholder until I find a better option. And they’re built-in the OS. They come with limitations, you can’t use effects on them.

I wonder what your go-to options are for a generic instrument set. I’d be happy to know about things that provide the usual band outfit (bass, drums, guitar, keyboards including piano and synth sounds) from which you can then, at some point, start replacing them one by one. I’m not necessarily looking for high quality, just versatility.

No miracle my friend
general midi is totally legacy nowaday



As a low resource “rompler” built in GM midi is hard to beat, especially the price!

If you search there are a couple well known gm midi sound fonts that people have put together, and can use with sfzorando. IMHO they aren’t that good.

What are you lacking with the gm midi? If you want higher quality you’re going to have to buy a plug-in.

There are quite a few of these…kontakt, sound canvas (free with free cakewalk),sampletank, omnisphere, etc

I personally use sampletank I got with a group buy discount (they have them often). There is a limited free version. The libraries are good quality but they are many many many gb in size. I got version 4 but only use the version 3 instruments because they’re lighter.


Same. Always using the OS built in MIDI sounds as sketchbook.

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Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2 have very high quality sounds. You can download the sound fonts for them from my site here

Animal Crossing (the first game on the page linked above) has a very wide variety of sounds as well, though not as high quality as Kingdom Hearts, and some sounds may need to be tuned to 440Hz

You can then use Polyphone to convert them from SF2 to SFZ format, to be loaded directly into Renoise’s sample engine. I plan on converting them myself but haven’t had the time to yet :slight_smile:

Also you could use Sforzando to load SF2 files, but I prefer Image-Line’s DirectWave VST (official sales for the VST version have been discontinued), or TX16Wx as another free option.

Also found this SF2 player but haven’t tried it myself.


@T-ger Thanks, I was aware of Spitfire Audio, but it didn’t quite fit the needs. But I hadn’t heard of Caustic 3, looks fun, if I can get the hang of it this may come in handy when on the road.

@ags All right, good to know it works for others too.

@kingdoobie Nice suggestions. No, at the early stages I’m not looking for quality, certainly not the big guns like Sampletank. I was looking for romplers or fonts geared towards rock and pop, but maybe I shouldn’t be too fuzzy and stick with GM. Big guns like Kontakt and Sample Tank are overkill at this point (and their size).

Thanks @Orangalang, I’ve downloaded the Kingdom Hearts sound fonts, checking them out. I’ve also tried that Juicy SF plugin but FYI, I only got it to work as a stand-alone player, not as a plugin for Renoise. Maybe converting SF2 → SFZ makes more sense.

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Come to think of it, the Kingdom Hearts soundfonts’ instruments are still unlabeled I believe… I have some work to do on them. But the actual sounds themselves are very good if it’s those particular instruments you’re looking for :slight_smile:

Correct, unlabeled, just numbered (and not even sequentially numbered). I’m unsure if it beats the default GM set, they also seem more orchestra-oriented, but some sure sound quite nice.

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this is a good sfz set

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