Free SoundFonts - Free Quality SoundFonts (sf2) - bs-16i SoundFonts

This aim of this site is to provide high quality SoundFonts (virtual musical instruments in sf2 format) that can be played using a midi keyboard connected to a computer, tablet or smart phone. Emphasis has been placed on real or acoustic instruments particularly piano and other favourites for keyboard players (pads, strings, electric pianos, organs and orchestral) but some SoundFonts here also include high quality guitars, some synths and ethnic instruments. There is also a nice GM set for playing general midi files. The SoundFont format sf2 is widely supported by lots of programs/apps and devices.

-November 16, 2017 new Choir Presets in KBH-Real-Choir-V2.5
-November 14, 2017 General Midi sets updated
-October 13,  2017 - New extra compact version of the Yamaha C5 pianos requiring only 157mb of Ram. (Yamaha-C5-Small-v1.5)
-June 10, 2017 - Piano SoundFont compatible with sforzando now available (see piano section)
Download from the links below:
Hardware suitability descriptions relate to iOS devices (iPhone/iPad) but most PC's will be able to play all of them. You can easily customize the size of SoundFonts - see near the bottom of column 2 for details.
How much Ram does my iPad/iPhone have?  Go to iOS Ram List

Currently some issues with latest version of bs-16i app not supporting large soundfonts.  Use SoundFonts 600mb or smaller for iPhone 6s/iPad Air 2 or devices with 2gb Ram or less.
Full Keys (Pianos, EPs, Pads, Strings, Orchestra, Synth and Organs):
These first sets are for playing individual instruments - if you want a GM set scroll down to the General Midi section.
1) Full Keys Including 15-Velocity-Layer Salamander (Yamaha C5 Grand Piano and a Full Suite of Other Instruments
This comprehensive set contains the most detailed version of the Yamaha C5 Grand plus a full compliment of performance sounds to cover all your needs from pads, strings, EPs, orchestra, synth, organs, guitars and many other instruments. At 971mb in size (with 592mb dedicated to one outstanding piano with five brightness levels to choose from)  it is designed for the fussy pianist who also wants a full bank of sounds at their fingertips.
Perfect for iPad Air2 or iPhone 6s or later  (scroll down to Recommended Apps toward the bottom of this column for more information)
*For iPad Air 2/iPhone 6s and above or PC* 
Google Drive Link sf2:

Extended Version 2 for PC includes Upright Piano
Google Drive Link sf2:
 Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V2.3   (1150mb)
Google Drive Link sf2 zip (same but zipped for faster download):

2) Full Keys Including 6-Velocity-Layer Salamander (Yamaha C5 Grand), Uprights, Steinways and Nice Instruments
Three high quality pianos (6 velocity layers) plus a full compliment of performance sounds (Pads, Strings, EPs, Orchestra, organs and many other instruments). These sets still require an iPad Air 2 or iPhone 6s minimum or PC with at least 2gb of Ram but leaves room for running one or two other apps depending on their ram usage.
Version A - Includes Guitars
*Full Instrument Set with 3 Pianos*
Google Drive Link sf2: 

Version B - Without Guitars
Google Drive Link sf2:
3) Full Keys Including 6-Layer Salamander and Upright Pianos-   
A slightly smaller set with two 6 layer pianos included plus all the other performance sounds except guitars. The size of this set might suit if you want to run other ram intensive apps at the same time. For iPhone 6s/iPad Air 2 recommended.
Google Drive Link sf2:
Nice-Keys-Complete-JNv2.0   (749mb)   

4) Full Keys Plus 6-Layer Salamander (Yamaha C5 Grand)-
One high quality piano plus the performance sounds.
Version A - Includes Guitars
A great set for devices with 1gb of ram.
Google Drive sf2:

Version B - Without Guitars
Google Drive sf2:

5) Full Keys Including Steinway Pianos-
Lower Ram requirements for this set with one piano plus the performance sounds. Recommend iPhone 5/iPad Air.
Google Drive sf2:

6) Full Keys with Small Piano  For small Ram devices (excludes the detailed pianos but includes the smaller Steinway B's and Nice-Instruments)-
Google Drive sf2:

7) Small Set and Small Piano  For smaller Ram devices as above but excludes Nice Instruments but contains a smaller instrument set.
Google Drive sf2:

Suits most devices-
Acoustic and electric guitars.
1) Full Guitars 
  Guitars-Universal-V1.5    (150mb)
Compressed zip Google Drive:
2)   Acoustic Guitars JNv2.4   (84mb)
Google Drive sf2:
3)  Electric-Guitars-JNV4.4      (66mb)

General Midi:
1) SGM with Improved Acoustic Guitars and Basses
Google Drive Link sf2: 

2) SGM with Improved Pianos, Acoustic Guitars and Basses
A good medium sized SoundFont for programs like MuseScore.
Google Drive Link sf2:  *New January 2018*

3) SGM With Full 6-Layer Piano, Acoustic Guitars and Basses
Google Drive Link sf2:

1) Salamander, Steinways and Upright Pianos
Version A -The Salamander Piano (Yamaha C5 Grand) has 15 velocity layers (compared to 6 in all but the first of the Full Keys sets at the top) and long samples - Steinways and Uprights have 6 layers and all pianos have optional resonance and various brightness settings.
This set is for the piano virtuoso desiring seamless expression over the velocity range.  Choose this set if you have a PC or a relatively new iOS device (iPhone 6s/iPad Air 2 minimum).
*The most detailed 3 pianos set on this site - for the fussiest of pianists* 
Google Drive Link sf2:
*Standard Version (best for iOS and bs-16i app)version*

  Sal-Stein-Uprights-Sforzando-V3.4  (999mb) *Plogue Sforzando for PC/Mac compatible version*

Version B -Salamander Piano has 6 Velocity Layers - Steinways and Uprights are medium compact.
This set has all three of the best pianos available in a size that can be handled by most devices (PCs or recommend iPhone 5/iPad Air or 3 onward). Needlessly long samples have been shortened but looping only happens at almost inaudible trailing ends of samples (many after 20s).  If you are looking for a quality set with different piano types to choose from then this is the one. This set is already included in the Nice-Keys-CompletePlus and Nice-Keys-Extreme.
*More compact 3 pianos Set*
Google Drive Link sf2:  

2) Salamander Plus Upright Pianos
Two versatile and high quality pianos (Salamanders and Uprights) in one set.  Salamanders and Uprights have 6 layers and long samples.  Suits smaller Ram devices or if you want to limit Ram usage. This set is already included in the Nice-Keys-Complete set.
Google Drive Link sf2:

3) Steinway Pianos 
Version A - Meduim sized with very long samples.
Google Drive Link sf2:

Version B -   Compact size with same lovely sound.
Google Drive Link sf2:
This piano is already included in the Nice-Keys-PlusSteinway set.

4) Salamander Grand Yamaha C5
Version A - This version is the high quality version as in 1) above, with long samples and 15 velocity layers.  Various brightness levels are available plus optional resonance. It is medium sized to suit most devices and includes just the one piano.  
*The most detailed single piano*  *Recommended*
Google Drive Link sf2:                
  Yamaha-C5-Salamander-JNv5.1   (592mb) *Works on iPad Air2/iPhone 6s using bs-16i app*

Version B - Small sized and great for smaller ram devices or to keep ram usage to a minimum.  Has 6 velocity layers, various brightness levels and optional resonance. Sounds almost identical to Version A but more compact. 
Google Drive Link sf2:

[Attention Korg Pa3x /Pa4x owners and Korg Pa700/1000 owners- I have a special version of this 6-velocity layer piano in .set format that will load to your Korg in compressed format at 116mb (equivalent to 232mb) - This set sounds wonderful on the Korg and uses 22 oscillators for outstanding realism including resonance, key-off and pedal effects. Send me an email (see bottom right) and I can provide a download link or go to the demo on SoundCloud here Korg Pa Yamaha C5 and follow the download link]

Version -C - Extra small sized and great for devices with limited Ram but still has 6 velocity layers and the same great sound. Samples are just a little shorter.
Google Drive Link sf2:
 Yamaha-C5-Small-V1.5  (157mb)  *New*  *Only 157mb*

5) Upright Piano
Version A -  A great upright piano with 6 expressive velocity layers and long samples. Suits lots of genres including Jazz, Bar Room, Honky Tonk etc.
Google Drive Link sf2:

Version B - A compact version of the above that has been looped at the tail ends.  Still has 6 velocity layers and sounds the same but uses much less Ram.
Google Drive Link sf2:

6) Compact Small Ram SGM Piano:
This one is a very compact piano for small Ram devices-
Google Drive Link sf2:
 Steinway B-JNv2.0

Electric Pianos:
Google Drive sf2:
Rhodes EPs Plus-JN1.5   (50mb)
Compressed zip:
2)   Rhodes EP-JN1.1   (12mb)

Strings, Harp and Orchestra:
1) Strings, Harp and Orcestra
Includes the best strings and orchestral sounds with the addition of an expressive violin (only included in set 1 at the very top) and a beautiful harp (242mb) which is not included anywhere else on this site.
Google Drive sf2:

2) Piano and Orchestra
Includes the best strings and orchestral sounds plus a nice 6-velocity-layer piano.
 Nice-Piano-Orchestra-V1.0   (337mb) *Works on iPad Air 2/iPhone 6s using bs-16i app*


1) Extended Set (Includes Best Guitars, EPs, Organs plus all of the Nice-Instruments)
Includes just about everything except pianos. Suits most devices. (Tip: if you have an older iOS device have this set ready to load as well as one of the piano sets - this way you have access to all the instruments but have split them between two SoundFonts).
Google Drive sf2:

2) Standard Set
Standard Instrument set (excludes pianos, EPs and guitars).
Suits most devices-
Google Drive sf2:

3) Choir/Voice
Ooohs and Aaahs plus a solo voice with various presets with a nice clear sound.
 KBH-Real-Choir-V2.5   (16.5mb)

Drum Kit
Standard Acoustic Drum Kit.  Perfect for loading to Channel 10 if using channel select or just handy for that drum solo!
Google Drive Link sf2:
PNS Drum Kit

Four Bass Guitars
Includes Fingered, Picked and Acoustic Basses plus a 4th preset being an Acoustic Bass with a longer fadeout.  All basses have 4 velocity layers for expressive playing and percussive effects in the upper range.
Presets available include a choice of standard or low octave which can be useful for smaller keyboards or when using a keyboard split function.
Google Drive Link sf2:

Recommended Apps:
SoundFonts can be played on just about any device but you do need a program that supports SoundFont sf2 files.

For iPhone/iPad:
With the greater availability of tablets and smart phones, the setup for playing them has now become a whole lot easier and a lot more portable.
One app I can recommend for playing these SoundFonts on smartphones or tablets is bs-16i from bismark.  Large SoundFount files like Nice-Keys-* listed at the top of this page have been tested and run perfectly on iPad Air2 and iPhone 6s using this app. I have not tested them on lower spec devices. (For the record I have NO association with any app developers. If I come across other SoundFont apps that will host large SoundFonts and play without latency I will gladly recommend them).

For PC and Mac: 
There are available DAWs (like Cubase) or some free programs that support sf2 like LMMS or sforzando (which will convert sf2 to sfz). Plogue sforzando currently has problems with some SoundFonts but I am rolling out some sforzando compatible versions.
Plogue sforzando for PC or Mac can be downloaded for free from
Tips for sforzando users - don't forget to check your Send (CC91) level and to choose a Reverb preset that you like for the best sound.  Change Polyphony to 128 and for PC make sure you are using the ASIO driver in Tools, Preferences.

How to Load a New SoundFont:
To load a downloaded SoundFont to bs-16i in Safari from OneDrive/GoogleDrive/Dropbox choose Open (or put the file in Dropbox and use Export, Open in) or alternatively use iTunes to Add the file in apps, documents and navigate to the file.  Watch YouTube clip Importing from Dropbox
A great app for playing and basic editing of general midi files is Sweet Midi Player which includes a lyric viewer for midis with lyrics/chords. You can load one of the General Midi SoundFonts above to greatly improve the sound quality. For Windows PC use the free program Coolsoft VirtualMIDISynth to install a new GM SoundFont (Get the latest version 2.1.0 for Windows 10).
To load a SoundFont in sforzando you can just drag and drop to the desktop or click Instrument, import and navigate to your SoundFont. Another good free program for PC is MuseScore and loading a new SoundFont is done by putting the file in the default Musescore SoundFont folder then selecting View, Sythesizer, Add and Set as Default. Musescore has basic editing capabilities as well as an excellent sheet music/score viewer and editor.

Tips for Nice-Keys Soundfonts:
If you are using the bs-16i or similar app try changing the Rx. Channel for say the first 8 channels all to 1. You will then have 8 easily accessible sounds to play at the touch of the Solo/Mute button. You can then mix for instance piano and pads together. Alternatively you could leave the channels 1 to 16 and use channel select to choose your favorite sounds.  To play two sounds together just put them on the same channel. This is handy for pianos where you can add the level of resonance you prefer. When layering sounds with piano choose the non resonance piano versions (available in all the SoundFonts) to avoid lack of polyphony problems.

About this Site:
This project began as a quest to find a really good software piano. Not even the expensive commercial versions were satisfying to my ears.  Most had velocity switching problems and unpleasant tones. I came across the University of Iowa Steinway piano samples which were great but there was room for improvement in the way they were presented.  My goal was to have a selection of piano and other instruments that were pleasant to play and to keep them available for free. Using SoundFont editing programs Polyphone and Viena I have done some editing to allow for expression to give a more enjoyable and realistic playing experience where timbre changes gradually with velocity where possible and without that annoying jump that is commonly found. This was applied to many of the other instruments as well.
Polyphone does an excellent job where necessary at auto looping and reducing sample sizes without compromising sound quality.
The Salamander Grand (Yamaha C5) has by nature so many velocity samples that it already has a great expressive sound. I have normalised the samples and re-attenuated them to suit sf2 format and simplified it by leaving out some pedal noises and other non-critical sounds. Cut-off frequencies have been adjusted for extra expression and using Wavosaur I have removed the gaps at the front of the samples to greatly reduce latency.

I hope you enjoy these SoundFonts.
John Nebauer
(Forum names - Reuben/Jonky Ponky)

Update Notes:
Site constructed April 2016
Steinway-Grand-Piano: May 8 doubled velocity filtering from 4 to 8.
Added Nice-Instruments-JNv1.0 August 3. Version 1.1 increased note range of some instruments and improved velocity expression. V1.3 added Chamber Strings and Full Strings.
Nice-Instruments-JNv1.4 Minor improvements to velocity switching in Chamber Strings and Violin.
SalamanderGrand-sf2mod added 28 September. Improved attenuation v1.6. Reduced size and added extra velocity curve v2.1. Optional Resonance added back v2.2. Improved resonance release v2.3.
v2.4 minor reduction in bass resonance.
Latency improved on Salamander Pianos and file size reduced in SalamanderCompact-sf2mod-JNv3.0 
Bright Upright now included in Nice-Upright-Piano-JNv1.3 and SalamanderPlusUprightPianos-JNv1.1.
Added SalamanderUltraCompact-JNv1.0 and Nice-Upright-Piano-Compact-JNv1.3 December 9, 2016.
Added the compact Salamanders and Uprights to Giga set creating Nice-Keys-Complete-JNv1.0.
Improved dynamics of Steinways in Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv1.2, Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv1.3, Nice-Steinways-Compact-JNv1.4, Combined-Nice-Pianos-JNv1.4, Nice-Steinways-JNv5.7 and Nice-Keys-PlusSteinways-JNv1.8.
Compacted the Steinway in SGMv2.01-SMP-Stein-JNv1.0 December 22, 2016.
Added FM-Acoustic Hybrid Pianos to Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv1.3, Nice-Keys-Complete-JNv1.1 and Nice-Keys-PlusSteinway-JNv1.9 December 29.
High Quality Salamander Pianos included in GM SoundFont SGMv2.01-SMP-Sal-JNv1.3 January 2.
Minor update to Upright Pianos for longer more natural decay in Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv1.4, Nice-Keys-Complete-JNv1.2, Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv1.4 and Salamander-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv1.1 January 12.
Extended key release on Steinways from F6 and above in Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv1.5, Nice-Keys-PlusSteinway-JNv2.0, Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv1.5, Nice-Steinways-JNv5.8 and Nice-Steinways-Compact-JNv1.5  January 19.
Nice-4-Bass-V1.0 added February 18. V1.4 includes choice of key ranges.
Nice-Keys-Extreme-V1.5 February 23, extra guitars added but no increase in size February 23.
Extra Guitars also for Guitars-Universal-V1.5 and Electric-Guitars-V4.4 February 24.
Fine-tuning of Basses in Nice-4-Bass-V1.5. February 25. Bass fine-tuning fixed in SGMv2.01-GuitsPlusBass-V1.4 and SGM-v2.01-Sal-Guit-Bass-V1.1 February 26.
Added Nice-Strings-PlusOrchestra-v1.1 March 16. V1.2 added extra presets March 20.
Added Detailed_Salamander-PlusSteinwayUprights-v1.0 March20.
Minor bug fixes and new presets for Nice-Strings-PlusOrchestra-v1.4 March 21.
Extra presets for harp and fiddle for Nice-Strings-PlusOrchestra-v1.5 March 22.
Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V1.0 added May 15.
New Mellow and Dark Piano Presets added to Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V2.0, Yamaha-C5-Salamander-JNv3.0 and Sal-Stein-Uprights-Detailed-V2.0 May 27.
Mellow and Dark Grands added to SalamanderUltraCompact-JNv2.0, Nice-Keys-Extreme-V2.0, Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv2.0 and Nice-KeysComplete-JNv2.0 May 30.
Mellow and Dark Grands added to Nice-Keys-Sal-Guit-V2.0, Nice-Keys-Plus-Sal-V2.0, Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv2.0 and Salamander-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv2.0 May31.
Added new Dynamic Grand to Yamaha-C5-Salamander-JNV4.1, Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V2.1and Sal-Stein-Uprights-Detailed-V2.1 June 8.
Plogue sforzando compatibility for Sal-Stein-Uprights-Detailed-V3.0 and Yamaha-C5-Salamander-JNv5.1 June 13.
Resonance fixed in Sal-Stein-Uprights-Sforzando-V3.1 June14. Improvements in Bright Grands V3.3 June18. Improvements to Uprights V3.4 June20.
Minor improvement to Filter Resonance in Yamaha pianos in Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V2.3 June 28.
Yamaha-C5-Small-v1.5 added October 13.
General Midi SoundFonts improved and fixes SGMv2.01-GuitsPlusBass-V1.4 and SGMv2.01-Sal-Guit-Bass-v1.3 November 14.
New Vocal presets in KBH-Real-Choir-V2.5 November 16.

More Information:
Nice-Keys-Suite-V1.0 The largest soundfont that will run comfortably on iPad Air 2/iPhone 6s with the bs-16i app.
Nice-Keys-Ultimate-V2.3 The biggest SoundFont at 1150mb in size.
Best for PC or latest iOS devices. 
Go to iOS Ram List  Both the above sets convert your device or PC to the equivalent of a high-end sound module for your midi keyboard.  It has the full 15-velocity-layered version of the Yamaha C5 Grand (592mb) along with lots of other sounds. This set also includes extra string sounds that are in the Nice-Strings-PlusOrchestra set (all except the harp).
It includes just about everything except Bass and Drums.
Nice-Keys-Extreme-2.0  Still a big SoundFont set at 1gb or 1000mb (645mb dedicated to 3 pianos with 6 velocity layers). Similar to the top set but the main piano is a little less detailed so it leaves room for an extra piano (Steinways).  PC users should not have any problems or if running on iOS this set runs perfectly well on iPhone 6s or iPad Air 2. It is still possible to load this set within the bs-16i app and run Sweet Midi Player app using GM set one at the same time for midi backing if required. This set has everything described below plus the addition of guitars.
Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-JNv2.0  A large set with three different piano types plus all the nice instruments.  All in a package of 943mb.  Pianos have different brightness and resonance settings available and all the nice instruments from EPs, Pads, Organs, Strings, Orchestra and Synths are included.  A printable link to the list of available instruments is here  Nice-Keys-CompletePlus-Instrument List
Nice-Keys-Complete-JNv2.0  A solid all-round performance set as above of 749mb including Salamander and Upright Pianos but excludes the Steinway Pianos.
Nice-Keys-PlusSteinway-JNv2.0  Has all the main performance sounds with one type of piano the Steinways.  This set a bit smaller at 495mb.  A printable link to the list of available instruments is here Nice-Keys-PlusSteinways-Instrument List
Nice-Keys-B-Plus-JN1.4  Same as above except the Steinways are replaced with a the more basic 33mb SGM piano. File size is 328mb.
Nice-Keys-B-JNv1.5  Same as the one above except the extended Nice Instruments are not included. Total size is 148mb.  A nice set and perfect for smaller Ram devices.

Guitars-Universal-V1.5  Combines the 2 guitar fonts below into a single SoundFont at 150mb.  Instrument List Guitars
Acoustic Guitars   Has 84mb of quality Steel, 12 String and Nylon Guitars. Quality Steel Guitar Samples from Keith Smith ( used with permission from Keith (thanks Keith!).
Electric Guitars   Has 66mb of Electric Guitars ranging from Les Paul, Single Coil, Jazz, Distortion and Overdrive Guitars.


SGMv2.01-GuitsPlusBass-V1.4  Is a high quality 300mb General Midi SoundFont with a full complimemt of GM instruments.
Based on SGM-v2.01 ( with improved quality aoustic guitars (21mb) and basses (50mb) and also designed to run on apps such as Sweet Midi Player. This is a great GM SoundFont and the one I use on iPad/iPhone and PC.  You can comfortably run this GM Soundfont in Sweet Midi Player app on most iOS devices. For Windows PC you can install a new GM soundfont using the free program Coolsoft VirtualMIDISynth.
SGMv2.01-NicePianosGuitarsBass-V1.3  As above but also includes a cut-down version of the Salamander Pianos by Ziya Mete Demircan . The total size is 309mb.  A good medium sized GM SoundFont that works well with programs like MuseScore.
SGMv2.01-Sal-Guitar-Bass-v1.3 Same as above but with the addition of a full 6-velocity layer piano as well. Requires 518mb.

Salamander Grands   The Salamander Grand Piano is a large detailed piano by Alexander Holm with 15 velocity layers (16 originally) and long samples.
( ( Some versions on this site have been carefully edited down to 6 velocity layers and looped at the almost inaudible tail ends to reduce Ram usage but the quality is almost indistinguishable.  They are based on a nicely sampled Yamaha C5 Grand. Samples have been normalised, re-attenuated, latency reduced and modified for sf2. Three or more brightness levels are available plus optional resonance.
Sal-Stein-Uprights-Detailed-V3.0-   The most detailed versions of the Salamanders (including the new Dark and Mellow Grands) plus also includes the Steinways and Uprights for versatility in sounds at 999mb in size.
Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv2.0   A great set with all three pianos (Yamaha C5 Salamanders, Steinways and Uprights) available to play at various brightness levels plus optional resonance.  The pianos have been compacted a little and the Salamanders have 6 carefully selected full range velocity layers rather than 15 but the sound is not compromised.  All samples are still very long (just not needlessly long). These are already included in the Nice-Keys-CompletePlus and Nice-Keys-Extreme.
Salamander-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv2.0  A nice two piano set.  Salamanders and Uprights have 6 velocity layers and distant almost inaudible trailing fade outs have been looped to save space (452mb) but sound quality is maintained.  These are included in Nice-Keys-Complete.
Nice-Steinways-JNv5.8   A beautiful long sampled 3 velocity layered Piano 376mb in size with 5 Presets - Classic, Studio, Medium, Bright and Honky-Tonk.
Samples were obtained from:
Creative commons license
Extra velocity filtering brings this up to a virtual 8 layered piano.
Nice-Steinways-Compact-JNv1.5  Sounds the same as above and has the same number of velocity layers but long tail ends trimmed and looped at almost inaudible sections.
Yamaha-C5-Salamander-JNv5.1- Arguably the best free piano on the internet and better than many of the expensive ones as well. Modified for sf2 with five brightness levels with optional resonance and this set includes the new Dark, Mellow and Dynamic Grands.  All in a set at 592mb in size.  This version has the detailed 15 velocity layers for seamless expression.
SalamanderUltraCompact-JNv2.0   A much smaller 237mb version of the above piano but sounds almost the same with full expressiveness over the velocity range.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of this relatively small Ram piano. This version has 6 velocity layers.
Nice-Upright-Piano-sf2-JNv1.3  One of the best upright pianos with 6 velocity layers, lots of expression and a bit of grit and imperfection.
Nice-Upright-Piano-Compact-JNv1.3   The same as above but looped and uses much less Ram.  
Steinway B-JNv2.0  Is a compact (33mb) piano with three presets. Based on SGM piano samples with a little more expression. Pretty good sounding for its size.

Rhodes EPs Plus-JN1.5  Is an extended 50mb version of the Rhodes EP, plus also includes a DX7, Clavinets, Wurlitzer, Electric Grand and Harpsichord.
These are already included in all the Nice-Keys-** SoundFonts.
Rhodes EP  Is a nice expressive 8 layer 12mb Electric Piano with the classic Rhodes sound including slow and fast tremolo settings.

Nice-Strings-PlusOrchestra-v1.5  If you are looking for strings, harp and orchestral this is the set for you at 421mb (with 242mb dedicated to the harp that has over 590 samples and up to 8 velocity layers!)

Gothic/Celtic Harp by Jason Sommerlad.

The All Around Violin has three velocity layers plus key-off effects and is public domain.

Ethan's Cello is by Ethan Winer (

Nice-Piano-Orchestra-V1.0 Has orchestral sounds as above minus the harp but includes a very nice 6-velocity-layer piano. Size is 337mb in total with 157mb dedicated to the piano sounds.

Nice-Instruments-Extended-V1.3  All of the instruments below plus the best Acoustic and Electric Guitars, EPs and Organs.  This set plus a piano set (say Sal-Stein-Uprights-UltraCompact-JNv1.5) will cover just about everything. It is 382mb in size.
Nice-Instruments-JNv1.5  Is a set of 200mb containing various expressive instruments including Flute, Sax, Trumpet, Violin, Chamber Strings, Banjo, Mandolin, Bagpipes, Sitar and Moog Synth.  Sounds have been edited to place emphasis on dynamics and responsiveness to touch. These are already included in the main Full Keys sets.
A nice set of Ooohs and Aaahs.  Creative Commons by 4.0 International
plus Irina Brochin soloist by Papelmedia.

PNS Drum Kit  This free acoustic drum set is courtesy of the proVitamin GM free demo set (  PinkNoise Studio on the web.

Nice-4-Bass-V1.5 This is an sf2 simplified version of three different basses - all with 4 velocity layers.  It includes the 1958 Otto Rubner double bass played and mapped by Drogomir Smolken, recorded by Ludwik Zamenhof. The samples are exceptional and some percussive effects have been mapped to some high notes. Royalty-free for all commercial and non-commercial use. Copyright 2016 Karoryfer Lecolds (Karoryfer Samples). The original Meatbass sfz version for Sforzando has round-robin sampling and includes arco as well as pizzicato presets.  (
The included Electric Finger Bass is an Ibanez Roadstar Electric Bass courtesy of and converted to sf2.
The Electric Picked Bass is also from turtlesounds and there are some nice effects in the upper range including finger slides and percussive sounds.

Customizing Your SoundFont
Suppose you like say the large Nice-Keys-Extreme SoundFont but you wish it was a bit smaller and didn't include certain sounds.  You can customize it with just a few mouse clicks by using the free SoundFont editing program Polyphone.   Its very simple to do.
Download the free Polyphone program from here:
or just click Polyphone to go to the site.
Open the SoundFont with Polyphone.
Click the arrow next to Presets.
Right Click on any presets you don't want.
Select Delete.
Go to Tools, Global, Remove Unused Elements, OK.
Save the New SoundFont (File, Save As, rename it if you wish).  That's all.
The reduction in size will depend upon which samples are being used/shared between the various presets.

You can also use Polyphone to combine SoundFonts. Simply open two SoundFonts, drag a preset from one to the Preset heading in the other. Close the SoundFont you don't want (main folder title, right-click, close) then save.

If you just want one or two instruments from a large SoundFont then follow this procedure.  Open the large multi-instrument SoundFont in Polyphone, then select File, New, Name the new SoundFont.  Go to the Presets of the original SoundFont, Left-Click the Preset you want and then holding down the Left mouse button then drag it to the Presets of the new SoundFont and let go of the button (the preset is now inside your new SoundFont).  Right-Click on the main heading of the original SoundFont and choose Close File.  Now simply choose File, Save (or Save As), Close.

Audio Demos of SoundFonts (on SoundCloud)
15 Velocity-Layer Salamander Piano
Yamaha C5 (Salamander) Grand playing Classical Style (Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# Minor-Short Version)
Yamaha C5 (Bright) tinkering with 70s Pop
General Midi SGMv2.01-*
Showcasing basic SGM Piano:
Steinway Grand Piano
Expressive Strings (included in Nice-Keys SoundFonts)
Some fiddling on some Nice-Instruments
Live Recording with Salamander Piano accompaniment 

The basis for the Steinway is from
htpp:// creative commons licence and samples were sourced from University of Iowa.  Extra presets, tonal adjustments and extra velocity filtering layers have been added by myself.
The Salamander Grand made by Alexander Holm (details above) who sampled his Yamaha C5 Grand and is quite well known for having a great sound. Most sf2/sfz versions seem to be lacking the proper dynamics, have latency problems or have been oversimplified. This sf2 version has addressed these issues yet retains its essential character including optional resonance but removes other non-essential sounds such as pedal noises.
The acoustic steel guitar was made by Keith Smith ( who graciously allowed me to use it. Extra presets, velocity filtering and some other changes have been made.
SSO Strings (Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra) is a creative commons licensed library. For violin, chamber strings and flute I have taken several of the instrument samples and layered them together to allow for expressive playing over the velocity range. Flute SSO for example contains soft, hard and overblown samples from SSO. To create chamber strings I have used bass strings, cello, expressive violin and viola over certain ranges of the keyboard.
Other sounds are the pick of the best that are freely available on the net and have been edited mainly to give better dynamics, layered with other sounds or adapted to suit sf2 format.
Happy playing,
John Nebauer