Ensure to have git installed to be able to download the sfizz source files, then run:

git clone --recursive

This will also download recursively all the submodules required to build the project.

Use sfizz.git repository if you are only interested on the library.

If you already downloaded the project without the recursive (or recurse-submodules) option, you can run:

git submodule update --init --recursive

See also the main FAQ page.


On macOS and Windows we build most of bundled dependencies statically. However you can use a package manager to install the required libraries, like [Homebrew] on macOS and specifying the related SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_* CMake options (see below). This will also speed up the build process.

Check the Linux page for details on how to install the required libraries on various distributions.

CMake Build System

We use CMake as build system. The basic process is to configure and build the project.

On macOS using brew:

brew update
brew upgrade cmake


Current configuration options for sfizz are:

ENABLE_LTO                Enable Link Time Optimization                       [default: ON]
SFIZZ_JACK                Enable JACK stand-alone build                       [default: ON only on Linux]
SFIZZ_RENDER              Enable renderer of SMF files                        [default: ON]
SFIZZ_SHARED              Enable shared library build                         [default: ON]
PLUGIN_AU                 Enable AU plug-in build                             [default: ON only on macOS]
PLUGIN_LV2                Enable LV2 plug-in build                            [default: ON]
PLUGIN_LV2_UI             Enable LV2 GUI build                                [default: ON]
PLUGIN_PUREDATA           Enable Puredata plug-in build                       [default: OFF]
PLUGIN_VST2               Enable VST2 plug-in build (unsupported)             [default: OFF]
PLUGIN_VST3               Enable VST3 plug-in build                           [default: ON]
SFIZZ_BENCHMARKS          Enable benchmarks build                             [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_DEMOS               Enable feature demos build                          [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_DEVTOOLS            Enable developer tools build                        [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_TESTS               Enable tests build                                  [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SNDFILE         Build with libsndfile                               [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_SNDFILE_STATIC      Link the sndfile library statically                 [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_ABSEIL   Use Abseil libraries preinstalled on system         [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_CATCH    Use Catch libraries preinstalled on system          [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_CXXOPTS  Use CXXOPTS libraries preinstalled on system        [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_GHC_FS   Use GHC Filesystem libraries preinstalled on system [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_LV2      Use LV2 headers preinstalled on system              [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_SIMDE    Use SIMDe libraries preinstalled on system          [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_KISS_FFT Use KISS libraries preinstalled on system           [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_PUGIXML  Use pugixml libraries preinstalled on system        [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_USE_SYSTEM_VST3SDK  Use VST3SDK source files preinstalled on system     [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_PROFILE_BUILD       Profile the build time                              [default: OFF]
SFIZZ_RELEASE_ASSERTS     Forced assertions in release builds                 [default: OFF]

On macOS it's possible to enable universal builds by adding -D CMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES="arm64;x86_64".


The 3 basic steps are: - create a build directory and cd into it - create the configuration - run the build command (the following example uses make, default build tool on Unix based systems)

mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..

From (at least) CMake v3.13 this can be done in 2 steps in a crossplatform way:

cmake -B build -S .
cmake --build build

For further details check the CMake configuration options manual. For reference check also our CI build workflow file.

You can build with clang, although in that case the CMakeFile defaults to using libc++ instead of libstdc++.

By default this builds: - The shared library version of sfizz with both C and C++ interfaces - The JACK client on Linux - The offline rendering client - The AU plugin on macOS - The LV2 plugin and its UI - The VST3 plugin


All targets but the GUI-less LV2 plugin can be disabled using:

cmake .. \

and process as before.

All targets but sfizz_render can be disabled using:

cmake .. \

and process as before.

Rendering MIDI files

You can find sfizz_render in clients/sfizz_render. From your build directory, type clients/sfizz_render --help for more information.