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RKhive links

Recommended Soft Synth (no extra hardware required)

Bismark BS-0, BS-1, and BS-16 soft synths
These soft synths are a great deal at, respectively, free, USD $30, and $50. Even the feature-limited free one will get your SoundFonts into the sequencer of your choice, and each one comes in multiple flavors (AU and VST, Windows and Mac). They refuse to load a small number of soundfonts, but are otherwise solid.


AWE/Live/Audigy Software (requires a compatible soundcard)

AWE V-bank 98 patch manager/editor, by Markus Eisenstoeck
Magnificent, years ahead of its time. It's discontinued, though, so you'll have to find a serial number for it.

Vienna editor
Creative Labs’ basic free SoundFont editor; still a reliable choice.


Windows Soft Synths (no extra hardware required)

SoundFaction Alive editor
A USD $40 SoundFont editor that—theoretically, anyway—can work with a soft synth. Unfortunately, it seems to require the LiveSynth DXi plugin, which is discontinued and difficult to find. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

RGC Audio SFZ soft synth
Recently bought by Cakewalk and discontinued, this is an excellent free software-only VST plugin for using SoundFonts in Windows MIDI apps. Well worth tracking down.


Mac Soft Synths (no extra hardware required)

Apple DLS Music Device soft synth
Apple's own soft synth, included with OS X. Its usefulness is limited by an inability to select more than the first patch in a soundfont bank and sound quality issues on some Intel Macs.

SoundFont Synth by Andy Drabble
$15 Audio Unit plugin for using SoundFonts in OS X MIDI apps like GarageBand. Some quality issues on Intel Macs and Ableton Live compatibility problems.

SimpleSynth soft synth, by Pete Yandell
Free, no-frills standalone app that you control through the IAC Driver.

fluidsynth~ soft synth, by Norbert Schnell
Free Max external that lets you use SoundFonts in Max/MSP/Jitter.


Commercial Samples

Jensen Samples
Excellent guitar samples, from USD $10.

SONiVOX
Sonic Implants' high-end SoundFonts, from USD $10.


Resources

Hammersound
Very big SoundFont collection.

SynthZone
A collection of links for SoundFonts and sampling in general.

Jordan van Bergen
Another good link collection.

FreeMusicSoftware.org
Blog focusing on free tools.




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