Soundfonts are a popular file format for audio samples in music production. However, due to their unique structure, they can be difficult to compress using standard audio compression programs. This has led to the development of dedicated soundfont compression programs such as SFPack, SF Arc, and SFQ.
Before we dive into these programs, it’s worth noting that standard compression programs like ZIP and 7-Zip can be used to compress soundfonts, but they don’t offer the best compression ratios compared to dedicated programs.
SFPack is a popular program that uses drag-and-drop to compress soundfonts with three different compression levels. While it offers good compression ratios, there are issues with it breaking files when decompressing them, making it an unreliable option.
SF Arc is another program that offers better reliability than SFPack, but its compression performance isn’t as good. It requires users to select and drag-and-drop files in smaller groups to avoid errors.
Finally, SFQ is a cross-platform soundfont compressor that uses FLAC or OptimFrog to compress audio and soundfonts. It offers built-in integrity checking to ensure the soundfont you compress is the one you decompress. While it’s a command-line program, an installer is available to set it up easily. SFQ offers good compression ratios and reliability, making it a superior option to SFPack and SF Arc.
Users can compress files with SFQ by typing “sfq” followed by pointing to one or multiple SF2 files. To use it with OptimFrog, users type “sfq -OH” followed by the SF2 file. To use a different compression level, users type “-OH -L” followed by the desired level. To decompress files, users simply point SFQ to the SFQ file.
Overall, SFQ offers the best balance of compression performance and reliability for soundfont compression. Users who want the best compression ratios should use OptimFrog at default level 9. However, for archiving purposes, further compression isn’t necessary, and users should add them to an archive stored without trying to compress them further.