Pianobook is a free archive of sample libraries created by Spitfire Audio founder Christian Henson (also the man behind LABS project).
Launched in 2018, Pianobook is already an impressive archive of free sample libraries (Kontakt, SFZ, and EXS24 formats) containing everything from usual instruments to absolutely original creations.
But as we all know, Kontakt costs some money, SFZ may have some limitations and EXS24 format isn’t accessible to everyone. This is where Frédéric Poirier comes in and converts 103 EXS24 instruments from Pianobook to the free DecentSampler sample player plugin for Windows, macOS and Linux – making Pianobook truly free to anyone.
We had the pleasure to talk with Frédéric and here is the story behind his fantastic work:
“My name is Frédéric Poirier, I am a media composer for 10 years. I discovered Pianobook a few years ago and I loved the concept, so I started making sample instruments. Last December, the Pianobook community created altogether a massive choir instrument: Winter Voices. This instrument was available in the free and multi-platform DecentSampler format. I tested it and was amazed by how simple yet powerful it was.
So I decided to dive into this new sampler format by converting some of my instruments. During the process, I found a way to extract sample data from EXS24, the built-in Logic Pro sampler. I asked my brother-in-law for some help to convert these data to something readable for DecentSampler. The tool he created was easy and simple to use, so I was able to convert all the data in a few seconds.
Then I downloaded every Pianobook EXS24 instrument to convert them to DecentSampler. It was a long but rewarding work, and I had some help from Dave Hilowitz, the creator of DecentSampler, who answered all my questions about his sampler.
In the end, I converted 103 instruments and 214 presets, and these instruments are available for DecentSampler. This sampler works with every DAW using VST or AU plugins, and even works with iOS!”
“The conversion tool I used to make DecentSampler instruments has been recreated by Raúl Yebra, a Pianobook member, as a web-based tool, so you can convert your EXS instruments to DecentSampler too. The only limitation is that the trick to extract data from EXS24 only works with a version of Logic Pro older than 10.5 (because Apple upgraded EXS24 to « Logic Sampler » and it doesn’t work with it). But the old EXS24 sampler can open new Logic Sampler instruments, meaning that Pianobook contributors can still create instruments with Logic Sampler, all it takes to convert them to DecentSampler is another Pianobook member with an old Logic Pro version to do the conversion.
Besides the EXS instruments, they are also 400 Kontakt instruments on Pianobook, so for now you need the full paid version of Kontakt to use them. They are ways to convert these instruments to DecentSampler, and make them free to use for everyone. I will continue to create and convert instruments for Pianobook, if you want to support me in this work, you can have a look at my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/fredpoirier.”
The entire process is also explained in this video, where Frédéric is interviewed by Christian Henson:
All the Decent Sampler libraries are available for free download on Pianobook. Right now, the easiest way to find those is via this Google search. Also, download the free DecentSampler here, plus if you want more libraries from the software creator himself, take a look at this page.
We thank Frédéric, David, Christian and all the guys at Pianobook for all the support of the music community!