SoundFont is a technology for generating sample-based instrument sounds. It’s supported on GNU/Linux by a variety of apps, including Qsynth, which can be used as an external JACK instrument and connected to Digital Audio Workstations like Ardour 3 and Qtractor.
Many SoundFont instruments are freely available, but some of them are compressed and instead of of the .sf2 file extension, are .sfArk files. sfArk is a custom compression system, but fortunately these too can be used on GNU / Linux. Here’s how.
- Install the dependencies (this command is for Debian / Ubuntu based systems):
sudo apt-get install git zlibc
- Clone the sfArkLib repository:
git clone https://github.com/raboof/sfArkLib.github
- Compile and install sfArkLib by following the github instructions
- Clone the repository of the sfArkXTm command line utility:
git clone https://github.com/raboof/sfArkXTm
- Compile sfArkXTm:
Note: the sfArk command line utility for extracting sfArk files is only installed in directory that you compiled it in. Unless you move the binary to a system directory, or create a synlink to it, you will always have to specify the path to the binary when you use the utility.
- Convert your .sfArk file to a standard .sf2 file:
~/sfArkXTm/sfArkXTm yourSfarkFilename.sfArk yourSfarkFilename.sf2
That’s it. Good luck!