Top 12 Ethnic, Folk, World & Asian Plugins 2022 (Free & Paid)

Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And Kontakt Libraries) | integraudio.com

Today we will discuss the best Ethnic, World, and Chinese plugins for 2022 to give your song a different feel and spice up your mix.

The digital era of creating music makes it easier for anyone to produce music using sounds and instruments once rare to find and physically record. Nowadays, more and more production styles include ethnic elements that can give a lot of character and a unique tone to a song, and the diversity of these instruments is so extensive that sometimes you need to experiment before choosing what suits your track better.

Having such delightful tools at your disposal means that your tracks will sound as fresh as possible, with enough instrument variety to get the perfect sound you aim for in seconds. When it comes to unique sounds and new soundscapes, all items in this list will assist you ideally, and all you’ll have to do is try them out.

But, before digging deep into these new sounds, let’s answer two fundamental questions to define what to expect from Ethnic, World, and Chinese plugins in 2022.

What Is Ethnic Music?

Ethnic music is a music style that expresses feelings and thoughts from a specific ethnicity, which can reflect on the costumes and traditions of a particular group of people in a community. These songs originate alongside a specified culture, written in a specific style and with a specific sonority.

Also known as folk music, ethnic music encompasses the different styles and genres worldwide, spanning different countries, religions, and cultures. The context of each song is determined by the context lived by a family, group, tribe, community, or other close-knit groups, with aspects such as tonality and timbre varying significantly throughout the world.

What Is Traditional Music?

Traditional music involves commonly created music, executed similarly from the time of its production down to the present day. This music style can be very popular, with recurrent executions and transcriptions done by a local population of a specific region, usually written anonymously.

Ethnic music can be different from traditional music because the first style encompasses sonorities, musical traditions, and specific styles. In contrast, the second one consists of popular songs familiar to any culture. For example, Asian music can have distinct variations and staple elements, but Christmas songs are consistent with a specific message, lyrical themes, and instrumentation.

So, let’s dive into the multicultural side of music-making. Whether it’s percussion, strings, or vocals that you need, below, we will cover the best plugins out there for this category.

Top 12 Ethnic, Folk, World & Asian/Chinese Plugins 2022

1. UVI World Suite 2

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Travel around the world and get the sound that perfectly suits your song.

The continuation of the successful World Suite was released last year by UVI. A VST provides users with a wide range of options from every place imaginable. The sound palette you can find in this plugin is diverse, and since it is so user-friendly, you can explore it fast and efficiently.

World Suite 2 features live recorded instruments, loops, phrases, and samples for you to truly enhance your production variety and combine sounds like never before. In addition, each tool comes with customizable options, from filters and EQs to timbre settings and reverb, allowing you to get that standing-out sound.

UVI World Suite 2 - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins & Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Instruments
    Three hundred ninety physically recorded, deeply sampled instruments are geographically and ethnographically divided into 12 groups with individual custom controls to make your choice unique and as close, or as far, as the original traditional sound. The list is impressive: from Japanese koto and Celtic guitars to African bongos and Aboriginal didgeridoo.
  • Loops and Phrases
    The World Suite 2 includes over 10,000 loops and phrases to choose from. You can use them as a whole or even chop them and create brand new beats. The recorded vocals and performances will make it easy for any music maker to include traditional elements. Even sound designers will appreciate just how much you can do with the power of World Suite 2.
  • Travelers
    “Travelers” is a built-in function that allows you to combine multiple elements in an individual track. This multi-track instrument will allow you to play up to 6 loops simultaneously, with the ability to fine-tune and do a starting mix, such as panning and high/low filter pass. It will also allow you up to 12 different instruments for faster grouping, or if you feel adventurous, the random option might give you something you never thought of before.
  • Realism
    The fact that everything was recorded live gives you that organic feeling. Most of the phrases are performed extraordinarily and are looped perfectly. Unlike many libraries, this one will make you forget the MIDI sound that no one wants.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AU, and AAX plugin formats.

Summary:

World Suite 2 provides a lot of versatility to work with. It can be a lot of help to both amateur and professional producers since the requirements and size are not too high. You can find a lot in it and spend hours and hours creating or just having fun. It provides more than enough for its cost, and it can be a significant weapon in your music crafting arsenal.

2. Native Instruments Spotlight Collection: Middle East

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This perfect collection gathers all Eastern instruments you may want to use in one place.

Spotlight Collection: Middle East includes a collection of wholly sampled percussion and melodic sounds that work with Kontakt 5 and the free Kontakt Player. These instruments have been meticulously designed to be both genuine and user-friendly. So even if you are unfamiliar with the musical style, creating the mood of a Middle Eastern musical group is now possible, as simple as it gets.

Continuing Native Instruments’ Spotlight Collection of sounds from around the world, Middle East is a collection of multi-sampled instruments from the respective region. Based on traditional techniques, this library is designed to add authentic Middle Eastern flavors to your music productions with the aid of a complex sample library.

Native Instruments MIDDLE EAST Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins & Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Instrument ensembles
    These ensembles contain several percussion or melodic instruments that produce the sound of a whole traditional Middle Eastern musical group. Three of them are included: one featuring five melodic instruments, a percussion ensemble, and another ensemble featuring an entire string group. Some characteristic instruments included are the darbuka, the dohola, the bendir, the oud, the tanbur, and the saz. The string ensemble consists of two violins, viola, and cello, all recorded by a renowned Turkish ensemble.
  • Groove control
    As one of the “Performance Controls” found in this collection, the “Groove” control is located within the percussion section of instruments. It controls the complexity of the pattern: at its lowest setting, only the main beats will be heard; at its highest setting, all of the additional embellishments in the pattern will be heard. This allows for uniquely designed percussion parts with as much reality as possible.
  • Precise editing
    Spotlight Collection: Middle East can do as you please if you want to tweak your percussion, melodic, or even your scales to your taste. You can load, edit, and export patterns or phrases very quickly. You have typical configurations, such as volume and defining where your snippet will begin or end, but you can also export any idea via MIDI quickly and the same way you heard it before.
  • Tuning adjustment
    Just as in the “Groove” knob, a dedicated configuration will positively affect your melodic instruments. This control adjusts the tuning of the notes in the “Phrases” and played notes. When turned down, no additional tuning is applied; in the middle position, the tuning will be as it is defined in the selected scale; at the top position, the tuning will be double the tuning amount specified by the scale.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

This is a nice collection of uniquely captured samples. Focusing on Middle Eastern characteristic instruments, Spotlight Collection: Middle East is Native Instruments’ response for a distinctive sample package that will expand your sonorities and enrich your productions very quickly. You can also tweak your samples within the plugin, so every significant adjustment is at the same screen you’re already working on. It’s a helpful tool that showcases the audio quality and ease of use in a decent graphic design.

3. Ample Sound China Qudi

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Capture the essence of a beautiful Chinese instrument instantly with this straightforward plugin.

The qudi is a Chinese transverse flute with a characteristic sound widely used in China’s folk music, opera, and modern orchestras. They are usually made of bamboo and are part of the dizi family of flutes. Although the wooden ones are more common, there are also qudi made from other wood types and stone examples.

Like their Dongxiao plugin, Ample Sound developed a nice collection of well-captured samples featuring a unique Asian instrument and its articulations. In addition, this collection boasts an excellent sound quality, reflecting authenticity when it comes to the samples and flexibility when it comes to how they’re played.

Ample Sound China Qudi Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Articulations
      There are three kinds of articulations in China Qudi: the Head Group (blue key switches), the Body Group (yellow key switches), and the Special Effect Group (red key switches). Each occupies one octave in your MIDI controller. The head group is used to perform grace notes at the head. The body group can not only perform grace notes at the head but also can be used for articulation legatos to express changes in the sound body. The plugin‘s body group can be used for endless articulation legatos. For example, you can start with a “Sustain,” hold the note, then play the “Expression” key switch (C1) to play legato to an “Expression” note; then play “Marking” key switch (E1) to play legato to a “Marking” note, and then press “Laying” key switch (F1) to play legato to a “Laying” note, and so on. Below you will find all articulations included.Head Group Articulations

      Abbreviation
      Full name
      Key switch
      Range
      Sus
      Sustain
      C0
      G2-E5
      Ton
      Tonguing
      C#O
      G2-E5
      GraU
      Grace Up
      D0
      A2-E5
      GraD
      Grace Down
      D#0
      G2-D5
      PenU
      Pentatonic Up
      E0
      B2-E5
      PenD
      Pentatonic Down
      F0
      G2-C5
      Rip
      Ripple
      F#0
      G2-D5
      TreS
      Short Trembling
      G0
      G2-D5
      TreL
      Long Trembling
      G#0
      G2-D5
      ScaU
      Scattering Up
      A0
      B2-E5
      ScaD
      Scattering Down
      A#0
      G2-C5

      Body Group Articulations

      Abbreviation
      Full name
      Key switch
      Range
      Exp
      Expression
      C1
      G2-E5
      Vib
      Vibrato
      C#1
      G2-E5
      Tri
      Trill
      D1
      G2-D5
      Flu
      Flutter
      D#1
      G2-E5
      Mark
      Marking
      E1
      A2-E5
      Lay
      Layering
      F1
      G2-D5
      SliU
      Slide Up
      F#1
      G2-D5
      SliD
      Slide Down
      G1
      A2-E5
      SliF
      Full Slide
      G#1
      G2-B4
      SliOU
      Slide Out Upwards
      A1
      G2-E5
      SliOD
      Slide Out Downwards
      A#1
      G2-E5

      Special Effects Articulations

      Abbreviation
      Full name
      Key switch
      Range
      Lick
      Lick
      C2
      G2-E5
      Reverse
      Mirroring
      D2
    • Mic modes
      There are two different microphone modes: “Middle Mode” and “Front Mode,” recorded with five microphones. You can adjust the volume and channel EQ of different microphones simultaneously to get a more tailored sound, adjusted perfectly to this unique instrument.
    • Wind setting
      The “Wind” option refers to the sound of air blowing in the dizi tube. This sound was extracted from each actual sample to enable the independent control of this element. The sound of any dizi without the “Wind” is very pure, but moderately controlling its volume will make some changes during the performance, increasing the feeling of “dirty” and breath to improve the realism.
    • Legato smooth
      In the actual performance of the qudi, the legatos are ever-changing, sometimes hard and sometimes soft. Legatos with no changes cannot wholly simulate actual performance, so Ample Sound focused on recreating an appropriate technique to deliver a more realistic experience. You can adjust the “Legato Smooth” in the settings to suit different legato needs.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and runs in standalone mode.

Summary:

Focusing on a sole instrument, Ample Sound’s China Qudi is a beautiful recreation of an equally wonderful instrument that showcases delicacy and a unique timbre. You have a lightweight sample library here – about 4.4GB of files – making it more appealing than similar plugins. However, the many features, such as the mic modes and the articulation library, reinforce how adaptive this instrument can become in any track, adding the perfect distinctive flavor to make it stand out.

4. Strezov Sampling Jade Ethnic Orchestra

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A breathtaking collection of beautiful Asian instruments with many configurations to tweak around.

George Strezov partnered with composer Seth Tsui to deliver a definitive collection of Chinese and Mongolian virtual instruments, and gladly they got it just right. Seth is an American film composer, erhu player, trombone virtuoso, and sound engineer established in Beijing, China. He conducted and produced every sampling session that resulted in Jade Ethnic Orchestra.

Strezov Sampling has attempted to bring more ethnical-focused libraries, most notably the “Balkan Ethnic Orchestra,” which gave the team enough confidence to attempt something similar with Asian instruments. The library consists of 50 instruments spread across over 100 patches, with the option to choose between multiple categories and instrument sections. 

Strezov Sampling Jade Ethnic Orchestra - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins & Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Microphone positions
      Recorded in Tweak Tone Labs in Beijing, the samples benefit from three different microphone positions that can be rearranged to your taste. The “Close” and “Decca” are a sum of different mics used in the recording session, allowing for a free shaping of the sound color and ambiance. The other option, “Hall,” is a printed Chamber reverb from Sofia Session Studio – where the previous library in this list was recorded, by the way – a result of hours of recording and capturing samples to blend effectively with the studio’s acoustic.
    • Syllabuilder engine
      This engine is fantastic simply because it gives you the ability to “write” the words on the choir included. A specific dashboard is prepared to include some syllables in any order you’d like to. You can also further tailor them by including staccato, sustain, connecting multiple syllables, crossfading between different ones, and even adding legato.
    • Chord patches
      Some instruments in this library, such as the daruan and the liuqin, were recorded playing chords to deliver a realistic feel of multiple notes being played together. Those patches are distributed in a different keyboard layout to facilitate composition, divided into blue and green segments. The blue section lets you play short chords, and the green one plays longer sustained chords.
    • The instruments
      Featuring a variety of unique instruments, Jade Ethnic Orchestra includes erhus, zhonghus, morin khuur, ikh khuur, pipas, guzhengs, as well as bowed versions of some of these. Other fiddles, such as banhus and jinghus, are listed alongside guqins, zhongruans, and daruans, just to name a few. The list goes on and on, with multiple variations of the same instruments also included.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in the free Kontakt Player and Kontakt, version 5.7.1 or higher. 

Summary:

It’s always lovely to have unique-sounding instruments in your arsenal. Ethnical variety in terms of music and instruments is a welcoming feature to make your production truly special, and this is one of the libraries that will unlock a new world of sounds for you. Jade Ethnic Orchestra pays homage to the beautiful instruments found in Asian cultures, with multiple configurations and characteristics that make them sound as if played by a real musician.

5. Silence+Other Sounds Maleventum 2

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Inspired by ancient American civilizations, this plugin gathers unique flute sounds at your fingertips.

Maleventum 2 is a sample library inspired by ethnic flutes from ancient native American pre-Hispanic cultures. Following the popularly acclaimed Maleventum library based on Viking war horns, Silence+Other collaborated with Nomada Ceramica, a collective of musicians and instrument makers committed to faithfully reproducing flutes, whistles, and horns made with clay, bringing back sounds from the Aztec, Maya, and Inca civilizations of over 3000 years ago.

They’ve recorded a staggering amount of original Aztec flutes and whistles, double flutes, war horns (known as “Trompeta Moche,” a tiger-headed instrument with a peculiar sound), rare panflutes (“Antara Nazca”), death whistles and statuettes (“Estatuillas”), didgeridoos, Tlapitzali ( a typical Andine instrument) and a one of a kind whistle called “Vasija Silbadora” (or “Whispering Vessel”), which uses a hydraulic system made of two vessels to create an eerie, evocative, creature-like call. These instruments are unique pieces based on the archeological finds in Quimivil, a region in Argentina that hosts one of the most significant sites of the old Incas civilization.

Silence+Other Sounds Maleventum 2 Review - Best World & Ethnic Kontakt Library | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Global tuning
      This feature simultaneously tunes all the phrase samples to the same root key. When activated, a different “Pitch” knob replaces the previous one and allows to set all the samples at once to the same root key; just set the knob to one of the 12 root keys (ranging from C to B) to tune all the samples to a value of your choice. Moreover, when in “Global Tuning” mode, an “Octave Shifter” slider appears to the right of the “Global Tuning” knob, allowing you to shift the tuning of -1 up to +1 octaves from the root key you’ve set. Each sample’s pitch is restored to its previous value when turned off.
    • Edit screen
      The “Edit” screen features a volume envelope (“Attack” and “Release”), low pass and high pass filters, resonance, LFO rate, LFO amount, and LFO shape, which can be set independently for the phrases samples and the textural layer. The controls corresponding to phrases are on the left side (colored in yellow), and those corresponding to textures are on the right side (colored in white). More specifically, the phrase controls of the envelope, filters, and LFO can be set individually for each phrase sample on the keyboard. For some presets, if you stay on this screen and play different samples along with the keyboard, you’ll see these parameters changing according to the sample played (unless they’re set equal for all the samples).
    • IR-loaded convolution reverb
      The FX screen features a convolution reverb with several experimental impulse responses (IRs) to further sculpt and color the sounds. Very briefly, convolution is a sophisticated mathematical process that allows you to filter a sound within another one. It’s very frequently used to carefully reproduce the acoustic reverberation of natural environments (rooms, halls, etc.) or even hardware reverb units (spring reverbs, digital reverbs, etc.). However, by experimenting with the choice of the audio files used as IRs, it is possible to get creative with sound design and produce unusual effects. 
    • MIDI Polyphonic Expression
      This is a specific MIDI technology that enables multidimensional instruments (like Roli Seaboard or Haken Continuum) to control multiple sound shaping parameters independently (note bending, filters, effects, etc.) for each note when using MPE compatible software (virtual synths, Kontakt multis, etc.). Such parameters can be controlled per note, meaning that if you play a chord on an MPE keyboard, an MPE-compatible virtual synth/instrument will allow you to independently set different values of pitch bending or low pass filter for each one of the notes in the chord. While MPE is note-specific, standard MIDI is not, hence its definition of “multi-polyphonic.” More specifically, multi-polyphony is defined as the number of notes having independent control of the parameters (filters, effects, etc.) simultaneously. A multi-polyphony equal to five means that a given parameter can be independently set on five notes at once, and so forth.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher (it will not run in the free Kontakt Player!). 

Summary:

It’s nice that Silence+Other’s team decided to gather some lovely sounds from ancient instruments. Of course, you can use them as they were intended for and produce accurate renditions of important ethnic music, but the real potential is unleashed when used for innovative, modern sounds. The amount of controls and configurations is vast, and it can be a fresh new way to bring new air to your track. Still, you can also use this if you need an appropriate rendition of any specific Native American phrases or pieces.

6. Native Instruments Spotlight Collection: East Asia

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You can now have all iconic Asian instruments gathered in an intuitive interface with a wide range of sounds.

Native Instruments Spotlight Collection: East Asia captures the authentic sound of traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean instruments, in an intuitive Kontakt instrument for modern productions. It was painstakingly recorded from virtuoso performances on location in Seoul, Shenzhen, and Tokyo, including Asian melodic and percussive instruments that offer a wide range of authentic sounds.

This plugin includes a selection of 14 string and wind instruments, from blown flutes and reed instruments to plucked lutes and hammered dulcimers. A vast bank of customizable phrases allows distinctive parts to be constructed efficiently, while the instrument’s built-in traditional scales and tunings let you quickly create unique melodies with an authentic sound. In addition, you can choose from 24 percussion instruments that can be free-played individually or as part of bespoke ensembles. Each instrument and ensemble comes with an array of preset grooves, which can be further tweaked with intuitive macro controls.

Native Insturments EAST ASIA Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins & Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Melodic instruments
      Each section is divided between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean examples. The Chinese melodic instruments consist of a dizi, erhu, guqin, guzheng, pipa, and yangqin, while the Japanese include a hichiriki, koto, shakuhachi, shamisen, and shō. Lastly, the melodic Korean instruments are the ajaeng, daegeum, and gayageum. 
    • Performance slider
      This fabulous feature changes the musical effect applied to the instrument to create more expressive and authentic performances. The effects include tremolo, dynamics, vibrato, fill speed, and the balance of low and high drums. Each instrument type will have a different effect assigned to the slider. Moving the slider to the right increases the intensity of the performance effect, and it can be deactivated at any time.
    • Percussive instruments
      The percussions are divided between the three distinct Asian cultures, just as in the melodic session. You have Chinese bangu, bangzi, dabo, daluo, hua pen gu, naobo, xiao tanggu, and xiaoluo drums and cymbals, Japanese kakko, kane, kotsuzumi, miya-daiko, o-tsuzumi, okedo-daiko, shime-daiko, shōko, and tsuri-daiko drums, and Korean buk (samul), buk (sori), janggu (samul), janggu (sanjo), jing, kkwaenggwari, and sogo drums.
    • Scales and ornaments
      East Asia includes a selection of scales and ornaments used in each instrument grouping. The scales provided vary between major and minor pentatonic, pentatonic II, III, and V, hirajoshi, kumoijoshi, iwato, ryuku, akebono, major, and chromatic. Different ornaments can also be included, each designated to a specific instrument.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

The large variety of classic Asian instruments included in Native Instruments Spotlight Collection: East Asia makes it one of the best sample plugins for iconic ethnic musical tools. The variety is expanded within three different cultures, with many specific variations that can make them sound uniquely special to your tracks. Kudos to the scale and ornaments editor for bringing standard scales used in Asian music and the possibility to alter them and add specific ornaments designated for each instrument.

7. Strezov Sampling Balkan Ethnic Orchestra

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This ultimate collection gathers the necessary instruments to recreate Balkan music and does much more than that.

George Strezov is responsible for creating some of the most excellent ethnic-tailored libraries, bringing the most unusual sounds to you via high-quality samples recorded in the most meticulous way possible. George is an orchestrator, composer, and orchestra/choir contractor passionate about sampling technology based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The superb quality behind their plugins tells us how good they are at it.

Balkan Ethnic Orchestra is divided into five segments, each representing Balkan music in a specific way. You have “Band,” “Choir,” “Ethnic,” “Pads,” and “Percussion” categories that divide the instruments between easy-to-find groups. As the name implies, each category fulfills a specific need while offering different instrument options simultaneously.

Strezov Sampling Balkan Ethnic Orchestra Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • The segments
      The library is divided into five distinct segments that organize all instruments included. First, you have the “Band” category, which features different brass instruments, double bass, guitar, and accordion, followed by the “Choir” category, which comprises four beautiful singers who sung the same content as the one featured in the Rhodope 2 plugin. Next in line is the “Ethnic” category, whereas many variations as possible with woodwind instruments, voice, stringed instruments, and plucked strings are instantly applied. The “Pads” are sound-designed instruments that aim to create specific atmospheres, and the “Percussion” section offers some unique instruments like the large bells (“chans”), as well as multiple “tarambukas” (Bulgarian version of the darbuka).
    • X3M Engine
      Applied only at the “Percussion” segment, this engine features 12 different zones to which you assign different patches. When you load up an instrument in this patch, you automatically load all samples inside your “Samples” directory. However, the instruments are built to keep all samples purged unless you load them up in a zone. This means that you have a single patch with all types of percussion you might need, you also have a patch that is optimized not to consume as much RAM, enhancing the processing power and allowing for more creativity to flow from you.
    • Syllabuilder Engine 3
      The choir within Balkan Ethnic Orchestra features the Syllabuilder technology. Allied with “Phrasebuilding” and “Wordbuilding” technologies, this incredible tool lets you tweak the exact words your choir will sing with as much naturality as possible. You can also further tailor them by including staccato, sustain, connecting multiple syllables, crossfading between different ones, and even adding legato.
    • Perfect ambiance
      The “Pads” segment has only one patch in it, but inside, you will find multiple different pads created mainly with instruments from the library and perfectly fits the style of each of the other categories. There are two sections of pads, “Futuristic” and “Fantasy,” each with specific approaches to the presets. The first offers a more electronic vibe, with a dark ambient feel, while the second brings more of the ethnicity spirit and less of the electronic aspect to the sounds.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in the free Kontakt Player and Kontakt, version 5.7.1 or higher. 

Summary:

The dedication to Strezov’s plugins is enormous and is proven by the different technologies included to improve the sample’s quality. Of course, the variety of unique instruments sampled by their team is marvelous, with excellent audio quality involved, and you will undoubtedly benefit from having the most different instruments right inside your DAW. However, technologies like the X3M engine and the Syllabuilder tool make it stand out as an ethnic sample library and a creative music tool that will breathe new air into your tracks.

8. Native Instruments Spotlight Collection: Cuba

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The most authentic Afro-Cuban sounds are included in this magnificent collection.

Continuing Native Instruments’ Spotlight Collection of great sounds from around the world, Spotlight Collection: Cuba is a collection of multi-sampled instruments from the respective region. This library is designed to add authentic Cuban flavors to your productions based on traditional techniques.

This plugin features an incredibly accurate, easy-to-navigate way to find the styles you need and to show you how the various styles relate to one another in real life. Because there is such a great variety of rhythms within the Afro-Cuban music realm, they are organized into sub-menus within their respective categories. While you will find some similarities among the styles, you’ll notice that each pattern is highly unique in its way.

Native Instruments Cuba - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Instrument sections
      All instruments included here are divided into four distinct sections, consisting of “Percussion Ensembles,” “Single Percussion,” “Melodic Ensemble,” and “Melodic Instruments.” The first features a cajón ensemble, a hand percussion ensemble, a rumba ensemble, and a salsa ensemble, while the second gathers bongos, cajóns, conga sets, single congas, and timbales. The last two groups consist of a full backing band with a selection of pre-programmed patterns, a lead trumpet that you can play on top, and instruments that you can play a single melodic line.
    • Presets
      Two main preset configurations can be applied to the samples, a “Mixer” dedicated to loading and saving mixer presets, like levels and effects settings, and an “Instrument/Ensemble” option that loads and saves specific instruments settings, such as any specific articulation or sonority.
    • Instrument settings
      A picture represents every instrument included in Kontakt. This is both for illustrative purposes, to give you a clear idea of what kind of instrument you are playing, and give you access to instrument settings. The “Instrument” menu allows you to select multiple variations of said instrument, with additional “Tune” and “Tap Vol” controls that deal with the overall tuning of a percussive element and a dedicated setting that tweaks a light tap between hits in a constant rhythm.
    • Trumpet articulations
      The trumpet instrument settings are slightly different from the other instruments in this library. There is only one trumpet instrument, but the “Instrument” menu mentioned earlier can be used to select different articulations, like “Staccato,” “Marcato,” “Sustain,” and “Tenuto.”

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

Native Instruments’ Spotlight Collection: Cuba is a summary of every essential Afro-Cuban instrument, with great merit going to the extensive percussion selection. You can adjust a whole ensemble or a single instrument with the same attention to detail, enhancing a specific sonic characteristic or even bringing articulations into your sound. The variety is large, and the audio quality is nice, making this a definitive homage to the vibey instruments that enrichen the Cuban music.

9. Ample Sound – Ample China Zheng

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Your virtual China Zheng that has many articulations and features 8GB of sampled content.

The zheng is a very popular Chinese instrument that belongs to the zither family. They are usually plucked, with all the strings stretched across their thin, flat body. Ample Sound used a Dunhuang Guzheng 694L instrument to capture all aspects of its sonority, containing 21 strings and made with professional-grade paulownia soundboard and backboard.

Ample Sound - Ample China Zheng - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Special bend system
      One of the most natural aspects of stringed instruments is the string bending technique. It can be achieved by slightly bending the string up or downwards, augmenting or diminishing the pitch of the current note being played. To simulate this effect, you can bend each string individually while keeping the others regular while changing the sound and velocity according to how you prompt its use.
    • Three play modes
      This unique instrument was recorded to permit multiple “Play” modes to be used effortlessly. There are three distinctive modes: “Keyboard,” which can be played just like a piano, with 12 semitones; “Gliss,” showcasing an original technology that simulates two-hand glissandos as if played by two different hands; and an “Instrument” mode, designed specifically for playing pentatonic scales.
    • Four mic modes
      There are five separate microphones included in Ample China Zheng: “Left,” “Right,” “Body,” and “Stereo” (L & R) room microphones. However, the four different modes (“All,” “AB,” “left MS,” and “right MS”) can create various new sounds according to the position you decide to keep each one of them.
    • FX selection
      Some cool effects included can help increase even further the functionalities of this plugin. You can count with a high order 8-band EQ with intuitive control of the frequency response, a 2-line compressor with soft knee, auto release, and auto makeup support, a 6-tap echo that allows you to tweak the parameters of six different echo points individually, and a convolution reverb with IR simulation.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and runs in standalone mode.

Summary:

Ample Sound has some fantastic offers regarding different and ethnic-oriented instruments, with this collection bringing a great example of such unique musical devices right to your screen. Ample China Zheng is the perfect recreation of a zheng instrument, captured down to the tiniest details. You can expect great clarity, enormous attention to detail, and unique configurations to make it sound like you want.

10. Best Service Forest Kingdom 3

More Info & Price
This great plugin has brilliantly captured all natural sounds, including forests and jungles.

Forest Kingdom 3 is the sequel to the award-winning sample library developed by Eduardo Tarilonte, containing instruments and sounds that create the perfect forest atmosphere. You can count on more than 700 presets over 20,000 individual samples and almost 18GB of the total size.

The instruments contained vary from Native American flutes to various ethnic percussions, with an enhanced and updated dynamic control via the pitch bend wheel. You also get lots of soundscapes that can evolve and blend with one another very easily, with remarkable shamanic voices and fantasy creature sounds.

Best Service Forest Kingdom 3 Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Performance grooves
      The “Performance Grooves” consist of 300 inspiring and editable multi-track performance MIDI grooves that give you three and a half hours of complete musical inspiration. Grooves consist of a multi-instrument project patch and an associated MIDI file. The primary purpose of these loops is to help you find the right performance groove instantly. You can press any white key to listen to mixed loops of the different performance grooves before saving anything.
    • Blow Intensity controls
      This plugin offers a wide variety of flutes, and all of them have a new “Blow Intensity” system configuration. In essence, it controls the dynamics and expression and is linked to the pitch bend wheel. In this way, it is easy to go back to the middle position, where the flute sounds naturally.
    • Unique sounds
      The multiple instruments included can be very helpful to nail that soundtrack project, but the special and unique sounds brought by Forest Kingdom 3 are just as magical. You can choose between beautiful ethereal solo voices with real legato and shamanic phrases, an array of fantasy creature sounds, and bird calls, aside from over 200 inspiring soundscapes, all controlled by the mod wheel to make them evolve and change.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.12 to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 8 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Best Service’s ENGINE 2 Sample Player.

Summary:

Ambient sounds and unique nature noises are often required from sound designers and soundtrack composers, and for this Best Service’s Forest Kingdom 3 is a very helpful tool. All samples, especially the ones involving natural sounds, were brilliantly recorded and offer a good variety of configurations expected in a library such as this. The overall interface is very fluid, with few controls at first but containing all necessary tweaks, nonetheless.

11. Quiet Music Healing Lite

More Info & Price (FREE Version Available)
A lightweight plugin that brings the tranquil sounds present in Oriental music.

Quiet Music is a specialist developer when it comes to calm sounds and meditation-oriented audio software, and Healing is one example of that. It features two Tibetan/singing bowls, a rainstick, and one Tibetan tingsha. They can all be layered together with the help of the screen’s buttons and their respective faders to adjust how much of each element you will be listening to.

Quiet Music Healing Lite Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Lite version
      This software comes in two versions, one paid and another free lite edition. The major difference is that the latter doesn’t contain as many effects and samples as the paid version, aside from the addition of macOS Monterey support in the full version.
    • Specific controls
      The paid version features more tweaks than its freeware version. You can have full control over “Gain,” “Pan,” and “Envelope” settings, aside from having a built-in reverb and two filter modes.
    • Central pads
      The interface features eight central pads, each designed to represent a specific bowl size. Every button has its own fader, so you can easily blend the different sounds inside the own plugin’s interface. All samples are stacked in round robin mode.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.13.6 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

This is the perfect collection to nail the esoteric sounds that appear so frequently in Oriental music, with the appropriate controls to make it your own sound. The cool thing about Quiet Music’s Healing is the freeware Lite version, which features almost the same configurations as its bigger brother, but with almost no effects control and significantly lighter size. This can prove effective if you just want to try out the plugin or don’t need the extra tweaks inside your DAW.

12. EastWest Sounds Quantum Leap RA

More Info & Price
A collection of worldwide iconic instruments that reflects the cultural diversity of humankind.

In ancient Egypt, Ra was regarded as the creator of everything, the god of the sun. He is usually represented with the body of a man and the head of a hawk, holding an ankh and scepter. The chief location of Ra worship was Heliopolis (a Greek word meaning city of the sun). This is why EastWest’s team thought Ra would be an appropriate name for the largest and most comprehensive rare and ethnic virtual instrument ever made.

Quantum Leap RA was born a few years ago as a sample library called “Rare Instruments.” All of the sounds from Rare Instruments are also included herein RA, but this represents approximately one-tenth of the content. Ninety percent of RA was recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, with utmost attention to detail and exquisite sound quality.

EastWest Sounds EastWest/Quantum Leap RA Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Performance
      The “Performance” section features four controls, including three knobs for activating specific scripts for performance parameters – “Portamento,” “Repetition,” and “Legato.” The developing team defined the settings, but you can also save a .ewi file and load your own version to it. 
    • Round robin reset button
      The fourth control of the “Performance” section is a “Round Robin Reset Button.” In essence, a round robin articulation is one in which several different samples are recorded with all parameters, such as volume, speed of attack, and so on, being essentially constant. This reset button corrects any potential errors regarding the playback of each round robin since it’s based on the previously played sample. It can easily correct an uneven number of repetitions by resetting the command.
    • Micro tuning controls
      The instruments included in Quantum Leap RA are from every corner of the world, and most of them don’t fit West’s equal temperament. For this reason, EastWest included an option to incorporate various scales into your track while providing an authentic feel to it. There are two micro tuning controls. The one at the left is a drop-down list of all the scales available in RA. At the top of the list is “Western,” which tunes the 12 notes in each octave to the traditional scale heard in all the other libraries; this choice, in effect, turns off micro tuning. The control at the right is another drop-down list of the 12 note names. This choice tells the engine which note is the lowest on the scale, called the “root.” All intervals for the other scale notes are relative to this fixed pitch.
    • ADT controls
      Artificial Double Tracking is a technique invented at Abbey Road Studios that approximates the effect of double tracking without actually taking the time to record two takes. The original ADT process was based on magnetic tape; in Quantum Leap RA, the effect is created digitally. However, the software programmers added a tape simulator to mimic the slight speed variations of the two analog tape machines that created the ADT effect.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.

Summary:

The amount of instruments present is impressive. You can instantly have instruments from Africa, Asia, or the Americas with great sound quality. They offer specific parameters as well as general configurations to make it sound just like you want to. The screen can be a bit intimidating, but all possible configurations are present and displayed there. The algorithm and features included demonstrates how much time the developer’s team spent crafting this plugin, resulting in a great library for ethnic world instruments.

4 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins & Libraries 2021

1. Sonuscore Ethnic Flue Phrases Free Version

More Info & Download
A handy composition tool that will bring new life and air to your next production.

Inspired by their Lyrical series, Sonuscore developed this great plugin to meet every music producer and sound designer’s need. Ethnic Flute Phrases bring iconic Chinese woodwinds to you through an extensive sampling recording session that captures all nuances and subtleties of these instruments, with options to tweak their sound even further. 

Sonuscore Ethnic Flue Phrases Free Version - 4 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins & Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Two page modes
      You can alternate between two distinctive modes that will also change the screen you’re in. The first, called “Main Page,” presents the instrument selection and a phrase progress bar in which you can see the waveform of the current sample being played. The other, called “FX Page,” presents all their effects and configurations.
    • Playback speed
      The speed knob present in the “Main Page” allows you to instantly change the phrase’s playback speed. It can slow down to 75% of the initial speed and go up to 125%. It can be useful to alter the speed of a determined specific sample quickly, right through the main interface.
    • Effects
      The “FX Page” gathers three effects alongside the phrase progress bar on top. You have an EQ with an on/off button, “Low,” “Low/Mid,” “High/Mid,” and “High” controls, a delay with an on/off button, “Unit,” “Time,” “Feedback,” and “Mix” knobs, and a reverb with on/off button, “IR Menu” with five distinct impulse response presets, “Predelay,” and “Send” configurations.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). A full version of Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher is required (it will not run in Kontakt Player!).

Summary:

A great freeware alternative to get precise flute sounds without giving up the sound quality. It features good complements, such as the FX section and the legato instruments, that can make you forget this is a freeware plugin. Something that may remind you of that is that it won’t run in the Free Kontakt Player, just like most Sonuscore plugins.

2. Samsara Cycle Audio Virtual Plucked Strings

More Info & Download
Any plucked sound is present on this excellent-sounding free plugin.

Samsara Cycle Audio is known to develop awesome free plugins that offer great sound quality in neat packaging. Virtual Plucked Strings is no exception, bringing many sounds from the zither family of instruments with a ton of configurations to make it sound just like you intend to.

Samsara Cycle Audio - Virtual Plucked Strings Review - The 4 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Vibrato effect
      Vibrato can be a good technique to be applied in plucked strings instruments, basically because it can give a natural feel as if someone is playing and giving the right intonation to a phrase. The controls present tweak the “Delay,” “Speed,” and “Amount” aspects of the vibrato effect, with an additional switch to activate or deactivate the effect whenever you wish. A “Sine” or “Ramp” wave selection is also possible.
    • Envelopes
      Virtual Plucked Strings offers two distinct envelopes, one for the “Tone Velocity” and another for the “Output” section. Both feature ADSR knobs, but the first envelope also has “Amount” and “Velocity” controls that can be activated at will.
    • Autobend
      The “Autobend” is a partner to the “Vibrato” effect, as it’s a very common technique to be applied to a stringed instrument. This option allows for automatic bending and can be previously configured with “Up,” “Down,” and “Amount” knobs.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (32-bit only). It comes in VST plugin format.

Summary:

A simple yet trustworthy plugin that gathers different stringed instruments for you for free. Virtual Plucked Strings comes in a somewhat polluted interface, with lots of knobs organized as a synthesizer. It’s all logical but not so much intuitive for beginner producers – which highly benefit from freeware plugins. The sounds are good, but all configurations tend to be done with knobs instead of faders or even presets.

3. SampleScience – Nu Guzheng

More Info & Download
A virtual instrument that offers a great guzheng sonority, free of charge.

Nu Guzheng is based on a multi-sampled set of guzheng samples, recorded in stereo and delivered to you at a 24-bit rate. Only one instrument was used to create this plugin, giving more character and personality to each sample. The overall settings can make it sound as unique as ever, with infinite possibilities.

SampleScience Nu Guzheng Review - The 4 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • LFOs
      There are three distinctive types of LFO present: “Wave,” “Target,” and “Source” are the options, with a distinctive selection in each of them. Some “Target” options include “Expression” or “Pitch,” for instance, with just as many wave shapes included.
    • Room ambiance
      With a simple single knob, the “Reverb” effect mimics a room preset, and instant ambiance can be achieved by rolling this knob. To further enhance this ambiance, a “Pan,” “Volume,” and “Cutoff” controls are next to it, and tweaking them jointly can give you the perfect ambient sound for your zheng to shine out.
    • Three voice modes
      You can select between “Polyphonic,” “Monophonic,” and “Legato” voice modes, which will dictate how the notes and phrases sound. The first mode enables many notes at the same time, even in different strings, while the second gives a one-voice output. The last option implements legato articulations that provide fluid playability.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Very straightforward and simple to use, Nu Guzheng is a great zheng virtual instrument. Sampled through only one instrument, this plugin features great controls and a somewhat nice compressed audio quality, perfect for getting your workflow going. The varied number of controls can make it sound unique or just like in that reference track you need to keep in mind to work on your track.

4. MONSTER DAW Ethnica

More Info & Download
This plugin features a wide variety of world instruments, from exotic flutes to cheerful bagpipes.

Ethnica was developed by MONSTER DAW with ethnicity in mind. The team wanted to bring a nice collection of great instruments from all around the world, and they continue to do so to this day: Ethnica is constantly expanding and receiving continuous updates, getting more and more options every week/month.

MONSTER Ethnica Review - The 4 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Simple interface
      Especially when dealing with large sample collections, the design interface can be a serious upside to producers who spent hours and hours creating new sounds. In Ethnica, you can easily select any instrument and have its basic controls displayed on this simple interface, without much pollution and offering just as many configurations as other plugins do.
    • Unique samples
      Ethnica is a result of different collaborations from all around the globe. Every sample present is unique because it was played, recorded, and edited in a different way by many different musicians and producers throughout the world. However, this doesn’t present a risk to the overall integrity of the samples since all are consistently good-sounding.
    • Effects
      Every virtual instrument features the same controls on the main interface: a master volume, a master reverb, and envelope settings. As simple as possible, you can set the perfect sonority and ambiance at a knob’s twist, giving even more character to each sample audio file.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS (64-bit only) and Windows (32 and 64-bit). It comes in VST, VST2, VST3, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Arguably one of the best freeware sample collections that feature a worldwide selection of unique instruments. The best part about this is that it’s constantly receiving updates, so you can hardly say it’s outdated or has bad quality. The interface is simple and may look like a cheap-sounding plugin, but it isn’t. It all comes to give you a lighter CPU experience, perfect if your PC isn’t so fast or if you just want to check it out quickly.

5. Versilian Studios Etherealwinds Harp II

More Info & Download
You have a 34-string lever harp and tenor voice with phrases at your disposal in this great plugin.

The lever harp is smaller than its orchestral cousin, with fewer strings (from 22 to 38) and an overall smaller range. The eponymous levers appear at the top of the strings (shown above below the tuning pegs), which allow each string to be sharpened by a half step. By tuning some notes a half step flat and then raising them to natural for playing in C natural or sharp keys, the instrument can play both sharp and flat keys.

Versilian Studios: Etherealwinds Harp II Review - The 5 Best Free Ethnic & World Plugins | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Articulations
      Inside the instrument’s folder, you will find several .nki files, each correspondent to a specific articulation or set of samples. All harp articulations are present in the “Articulations KS” file, consisting of standard finger plucks, a pluck near the soundboard, and a muted plucking. You also have sustained and stopped versions of each articulation.
    • Phrases
      There are 240 pre-recorded phrases present, ready to be used at your will. They are organized by key switches and can be altered via specific tonalities or chord changes. For example, when writing in C, you can use the C Phrases key switch and then switch to F if you modulate to F or feature an F chord or tonicization you want to harmonize over.
    • Mic configurations
      As simple as possible, you can quickly reset your microphones in order to capture and simulate the best ambiance possible. You’ll  get a vertical slider dedicated to the overall volume, a purge/load button to reduce the memory usage when not in use, and a horizontal pan slider.

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt version 5.6.8 or higher (it will not run in the free Kontakt Player!). 

Summary:

A great oriented library that offers a nice variety of controls and configurations. Versilian Studios Etherealwinds Harp II brings a lever harp and all its articulations and configurations in a light interface that probably won’t drain up your processing power. The downside is that it won’t run in the Free Kontakt Player.

Bonus Plugins

1. Three-Body Technology Raindrop & Blade

More Info & Price
A dedicated yangqin virtual instrument that contains both soft and percussive sounds.

Yangqin is an instrument that’s very rich in expression. The ability to express soft and percussive sounds makes it very versatile and unique. One important characteristic that makes it stand out is the hammer’s material, made out of bamboo. By tapping the two flexible hammers, you can create sounds with Chinese elements attached to it. This sonority is neither too soft nor strong, but it can be tender or intense.

Three-Body Technology Raindrop & Blade Review - Top 12 Ethnic, World & Chinese Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Teaser:

Key Features:

    • Sound controller
      Featuring a mixer with many faders and knobs, the overall sound can be tweaked via the section in the upper right corner. You can set the balance between high and low frequencies, do a stereo swap, or even adjust each microphone’s volume and distance in a heartbeat.
    • Expression controller
      Similarly, there’s a dedicated menu for all expressive controls on the lower left side of your screen with sound properties. You can set the hand’s behavior (while playing the yangqin, each hand holds a hammer; thus, two notes go on at the same time) with three different options, adjust the velocity, as well as the envelope curves.
    • Performance controller
      At the lower right, there’s another dedicated controller menu. It allows for specific techniques used while playing the yangqin, such as flicking (flicking the sticks lightly over the strings, causing them to vibrate, will result in short and quick hits), tremolo, muting, and many more.
    • Resampling quality
      The sample rate of Raindrop & Blade and your project may be different; thus, resampling is mandatory. This parameter adjusts resampling quality, whilst higher quality would consume more CPU power. This option will take effect as soon as you engage it.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (32 and 64-bit). It comes in VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

This nice rendition of a yangqin is certainly interesting to try out, mainly because it’s oriented for a specific instrument, and there’s so much tweaking to do around it. Raindrop & Blade is Three-Body Technology’s attempt to properly capture the essence of an iconic instrument, with all the best articulations and elements necessary for it to sound as real as possible.

2. EMM Knagalis by NUSofting

More Info & Price (Trial Available)
All the structural elements of a sitar are covered in this multi-featured sample player.

EMM Knagalis is a specially developed multi-featured sample player modeled after the sitar, a very famous Indian type of lute. Although the sitar is the main star here, it also includes other instruments. You can count on Turkish Lutes, MBira (a thumb piano), santur, shamishen, and bagpipes.

Knagalis by NUSofting Review - Top 12 Ethnic & World Plugins 2021 For Relaxing Music (+ 4 FREE Plugins) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Pitch settings
      All instruments mentioned above deal with variation in pitch while playing them. To capture this in the best way possible, NUSofting brought two different sections to deal with this: a “Pitch Envelope” and a “Pitch Controls” region, both with knobs that can deal with “Velocity,” “Tuning,” “Time,” and even “Fine Tuning.” Also, vibrato can be added instantly if wanted.
    • Mono modes
      There are three mono modes to fit better each instrument’s sonority and playability: “Legato,” “Retrigger,” and “Alternate.” Each instrument can respond better to a specific playing style by tweaking into different modes.
    • Drone
      A pervasive aspect of sitars and similar instruments is the drone, a note that rings above others and can be used as a “leading tone” for the song you’re playing. You have here a multisampling player with three “Play” modes: “Free,” “Sync To Note,” and “E2 Split.” You can also control the pitch, just like mentioned earlier.
    • Effects
      There are a few effects included in EMM Knagalis. You have “Stereo Flanger,” “Stereo Reverb,” “Tone,” “Random Pitch Deviation Per Note,” and “Random Tone Frequency Deviation Per Note.”

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

The inclusion of a sitar-oriented library reinforces how different Western music is from Eastern music. The appropriate controls found in EMM Knagalis prove that even a sitar can be sampled and modified within a plugin, but the same applies to bagpipes and other lutes. The configurations present make it sound like a real instrument, and the tailored pitch settings prevent it from sounding off-track, as it does in many plugins that unsuccessfully try to recreate this iconic ancient sound.

Conclusion

The best thing about world music is the different kinds of expression it offers. One of the best ways to get to know better a certain culture, other than eating, is knowing their music. You can instantly absorb a specific costume, ideal, or behavior through music, and the best part of it is that it happens worldwide.

We’ve been making music for thousands of years in varied ways. Our ancestors used the most diverse instruments to express what they were feeling, the thoughts in their heads, or simply to celebrate something. Each environment and location defined how exactly a music style would be developed, and the same goes for any instruments used in the process.

Today we looked at some great sample libraries and collections that bring the best of planet Earth’s music right into your DAW. These plugins and libraries all boast great sound quality, as an equally pleasant variety of such instruments. The Native Instrument’s Spotlight Collection was heavily featured here, as there are multiple stances of it: the Middle East, East Asia, and Cuba collections are widely diverse, with all articulations and techniques required to make these samples sound great. Other examples, such as Silence+Other Sounds’ Maleventum 2 and EastWest Sounds’ Quantum Leap RA, also bring a large variety of instruments in the same packaging.

If you’re in need of something more specific, you must take a look at Ample Sound’s two products listed here: Ample China Zheng and China Qudi. They will be of great help if you require a tailored Chinese sound in your next track, with amazing sound quality. Even more specific than that, Best Service’s Forest Kingdom 3 brings nature sounds, forest noises, and indigenous instruments to your fingertips.

Regarding the freebies, a complete plugin is arguably the MONSTER DAW’s Ethnica library. It may not have the same size and audio samples as other paid versions, but this might be your best choice if you’re beginning to get into music production or just need a cheaper alternative.

Ethnic music needs specific instruments to be played, and this list was meant to bring a nice rendition of the best ethnic virtual instruments out there. All items should be tested thoroughly to fit your needs better and sound the way you want them to. Remember always to try out the plugins so the best sound will come out of your next track.

See you next time!

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