20 Best FREE Kontakt Libraries 2022 For Various Categories

Let’s have a look at 20 of the top FREE Kontakt libraries available in 2022.

As you probably know, Kontakt is the first word that comes to mind when we talk about software samplers. Furthermore, with so many libraries available for Kontakt, even I get overwhelmed trying to decide on one to try! So, I figured a list of the best free libraries is long overdue. However, let’s talk about some key things about Kontakt and the free libraries first:

Kontakt is a sampler developed by Native Instruments, the brains that provide the necessary framework to power this world of sampled instruments and sounds. To access any of the Kontakt Libraries, you’ll need to install one of the two variations of the Kontakt Sampler: the paid version or the free Kontakt Player.

However, since the free Kontakt Player is only for the brands that have a business deal with Native Instruments, many of the free sample libraries will require you to purchase the paid version of Kontakt. Still, a few companies generously offer Kontakt Player support, and such libraries are usually outstanding.

Now that we’re done covering the basics, let’s check out what the list has in store for us:

Contents

Top 20 Free Kontakt Libraries 2022

1. Heavyocity FOUNDATIONS Piano (Piano Library)

More Info & Download

Foundations is a series of instruments by Heavyocity that are available for free, and this piano library is the first and currently the only one in the series.

Foundation Piano is a soft-dynamics piano library with a beautiful sound. It’s ideal for creating film scores and writing backing piano parts in softer pop songs. Frankly, I enjoy playing it simply for its warm sounds and textures, which inspire compositions quickly.

Furthermore, the library provides an arpeggiator and some effects to get even more creative.

Heavyocity FOUNDATIONS Piano - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries (Various Instruments) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Dual Layers
    Foundations Piano employs two layers of samples to generate its sounds. The first layer is a deeply-sampled grand piano prioritizing the softer side of the instrument. Further, the piano doesn’t have an overly loud hammer noise that many felt pianos do. Similarly, the second sample layer is the texture layer, which employs synth sounds. You’ll also find ten presets that help you discover the variety of sounds this library can create.
  • Sound Design
    The library offers an arpeggiator, gate, and volume envelope to help you shape the sound. You can use the gate to create rhythmic lines impossible to play live, while the volume envelope lets you create pad sounds out of a piano. Similarly, other sound design features include three master effects: punch, delay, and reverb.
FREE Piano — Preset Playthrough | Heavyocity FOUNDATIONS

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt 6.6.1 and Kontakt Player 6.6.1 or higher.

Summary:

The piano is possibly the most sampled instrument ever. I don’t even remember how many piano instruments I have. So, it’s rare for a new piano library to draw my attention. However, Heavyocity focuses on the softer side of pianos to create a cinematic sound, which, admittedly, is still an overdone concept.

Yet, this library provides very high-quality sounds for a free instrument. It also supports the free Kontakt Player, which is an added plus.

Related Reading:

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

2. DS Drum – RCS Essentials “Mahogany” NEW* (Drums 1)

More Info & Download

Over twenty-five years have passed since Luca Deorsola opened the doors to what would become DS Drum, but the company’s primary focus—hand-build, custom-designed (by its customers) drum kits—remains strong at the company’s Rebel Custom facility.

Here you will find a virtual drum sample collection sampled in amazing detail and realism to help you replicate the DS Drum sound on your electronic drum kit or your home productions. You get thirty gigabytes and eighty thousand drum samples from Italy’s finest!

Key Features:

  • Mixer 
    Red Pack drums made an ALL/Master fader tab so you wouldn’t have to click through every tab just to lower the bass drum volume. So this works really fast and is easy for quick adjustments in level.  In other words, these faders affect every microphone in the room, including the kick, snare, and everything in between. 
  • Effects 
    You’ll see four modules there: a transient designer, tape saturator, parallel compression, and two reverbs with distinctive tones, all of which were sampled from the impulse responses of a well-known hardware unit heard on numerous hit albums.
  • Humanize 
    If you want rimshots to be triggered automatically at a certain hit strength, i.e. snare hit speed, you may adjust this using the autorimshot slider; after you’ve assigned the autorimshot articulation to a pad or snare key, it will activate automatically when the predetermined threshold is met.
  • Groove Player 
    On the Groove page, you may listen to grooves by DS artists to get ideas for your songs, play them again to sing along with the guitar, or even use them as a starting point by dragging and dropping them into your project. You are free to alter the notes in any way you see fit.
  • User Interface
    The “behind the drums” interface would appear when they launched the plugin on a Kontakt player. This screen is essentially the plugin’s primary menu. We have the greatest flexibility here, where we’re at the top. Options like the Dashboard, which allows us to pick from presets or store our own, may be found here. 
FREE Kontakt drum library | DS Drum - RCS Essentials

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt 5.7 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt 5.7 is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.10 or higher 64-bit. It comes in VST 2AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Finally, we can state that is a useful plugin, especially considering the variety of sounds and customization options it provides. 

3. Sample Logic Taste the Fury (Drums 2)

More Info & Download

Any composer knows how important percussions are, and this library acknowledges your needs.

Taste The Fury by Sample Logic is a taiko drum ensemble instrument based on the paid Drum Fury library, which features over a hundred drums and percussion instruments. The free library is excellent for action-packed scores and adds a dramatic vibe to your songs. And alongside the straightforward interface, robust refining controls, and built-in effects, the library doesn’t disappoint.

Sample Logic Taste the Fury - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Dynamics
    The taiko in the library provides samples for the two hands playing the percussion, and each features a huge number of dynamic layers. However, there aren’t any round robins. So, you’ll have to make some minor velocity adjustments on each note to keep the taiko from sounding robotic.
  • Polished Interface
    Taste The Fury has a single-page interface and provides everything necessary to customize your sound. You’ll find pitch adjustment, a velocity randomizer, an amp envelope, and filters. Similarly, there is an equalizer, compressor, delay, and reverb to help speed up mixing. Each effect also provides a detailed page for customization.
  • Polish Up
    The library provides two sliders named Energizer and Polisher, which add specific characteristics to the sound. The energizer slider adds grit and dirt to the sound, making the taiko sound aggressive. Conversely, the polisher slider rounds off sharp edges, creating a smoother sound.
Sample Logic - Taste The Fury - FREE Kontakt Library - Review and Demo

Compatibility:

Taste The Fury is available for Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

The taiko is a crucial part of any epic percussion ensemble. So, Taste The Fury offers cinematic composers one of the most important instruments you could have in your arsenal for free!

Furthermore, despite the gigantic sound, the library is only about sixty megabytes in size. Hence, I love using this library to layer with my existing percussion sounds with little impact on the RAM.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT 2022 (And 4 Freebies)

4. Splash Sound Percussion Elements 3 (Drums 3)

More Info & Download

Add some epic rhythms to your musical arsenal with this action-packed percussion kit.

Splash Sound’s Percussion Elements 3 is a free pack based on the paid Epic Percussion 3 library, featuring three drum kits and seventeen solo percussion instruments. Percussion Elements 3 provides the same engine as the paid library, offering you various effect processors, multiple mic positions, stage manipulation, and a rhythm generator.

Splash Sound Percussion Elements 3 - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com  

Key Features:

  • Epicness & Mics
    The Epicness knob is the large globe-like parameter at the center of the user interface. Turning this parameter up results in a multi-band compressed sound that tightens up the low frequencies while increasing their volume. Similarly, it adds air frequencies at the top end, making the sound pop through the mix. A little saturation helps make the drums sound upfront and aggressive.
  • Mic Positions
    The library offers three mic positions for you to mix: a stereo close mic, a stereo hall mic, and a mono room mic. You can change the level of each microphone from the main UI and create variations easily. Similarly, the Stage tab opens another page where you can pan and add “distance” to the following elements of the kit: kick, taiko, toms, snares, tambourine, and cymbals. It adds distance by fading the volume between the close and room mic while keeping the hall mic’s volume constant.
  • Effects
    The Effects tab features four effect processors: three-band EQ, reverb, compressor, and delay. Furthermore, each effect provides detailed controls for you to customize. So, you can easily create full mixes without using any third-party plugins.
  • Rhythm Generator
    The Rhythm tab opens a page where you can load and make minor customizations to the built-in rhythm loops. It loads seven loops at a time, and you can change the type between Normal Time and Displaced Accents. Further, each of these types features Straight and Triplets style rhythms. So, there are 7x4 = 28 loops in total.
    Additionally, you can change the loop tempo from ½ to 2x, which helps make the loops sound mysterious to epic and climactic easily. And you can add time and velocity humanization. Unfortunately, you cannot drag and drop these loops into your DAW as MIDI clips.
FREE KONTAKT LIBRARY - Splash Sound PERCUSSION ELEMENTS (Cinematic Drums)

Compatibility:

Percussion Elements 3 is available for Kontakt 5.8.0 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Almost every film or game score requires some dramatic percussive parts, whether you’re scoring for horror, fantasy, or sci-fi. So, this free library is an excellent bread-and-butter percussion kit if you don’t already own another set. It features ensembles of taikos, epic toms, and snares alongside a solo tambourine, cymbals, and a kick drum. Frankly, I suggest downloading it even if you own a percussion library solely because it’s superb for layering.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

5. Rigid Audio Drum One (Drums 4)

More Info & Download

Write and perform electronic drum parts fast with Drum One.

Rigid Audio’s Drum One combines a sampler and synthesizer engine to create extensive loops, and modulated drum takes. With control over seven different synth engines, you can create sounds for various production needs.

Furthermore, effect processors allow you to add body, grit, and saturation to your drum sounds.

Rigid Audio Drum One - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Main Interface
    The main page has all the controls for audio generation, including amp envelopes, filters, modulation, and velocity settings per drum instrument. You can dial in specific settings for each of the seven instrument engines independently and emphasize three main sound generation elements. These elements include Body, Hit, and Noise. Besides these, master controls and effects like reverb, saturation, and compression process the entire kit.
  • Synth Engines and Mix Page
    You can randomize the re-triggering of the sampler depending on your needs. Additionally, you can add effects like drive, feedback, saturation, EQ, Stereo width, and more for a cohesive sound across all engines. Likewise, the Mix Page allows you to gain-stage the engines into a balanced kit and even add an EQ.
  • Other Features
    Choose from 64 included kits or load your custom samples for use within the plugin. You can map MIDI CCs and use MIDI learn to modulate your controllers. This feature is great if you like to use MIDI controllers or keyboards. Furthermore, the library allows you to create separate audio outputs for the drum engines, which allows you to mix the kit in your DAW.
Rigid Audio Drum One Trailer (FREE Kontakt Instrument)

Compatibility:

Drum One is available for Kontakt 6.4.2 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Drum One is an excellent drum library with sixty-four drum kits. Each kit features seven drum engines with three generators each.

However, my favorite feature is that it allows you to load custom WAV samples, something many other drum libraries keep avoiding. This feature allows you to create custom kits with onboard effects.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)

6. Rigid Audio Metawave (Atmo / Granular Soundscapes)

More Info & Download

Metawave could be the perfect library for you if you make ambient music or underscores.

Creating atmospheric soundscapes requires you to either manipulate samples and layer multiple synths or use a granular synth. However, they all require time and effort to finish. So, Rigid Audio’s Metawave provides sixty-four cinematic granular soundscapes with a built-in engine to customize the samples. Let’s take a look at what features it provides:

Rigid Audio Metawave - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Four Layers
    Metawave uses four waveforms to generate its soundscape. However, they don’t all play at once. Instead, it plays each layer’s grain in order, creating unpredictable sounds. Once the four layers have finished playing, it starts over. Furthermore, you can change the waveform for each layer, change its volume, add reverb, and enable or disable pitch tracking. Other than these effects, the library provides a flair (metallic overtones with pitch control), a flanger, and a phaser effect on the main output.
  • Randomize
    In addition to creating variation by using multiple waveforms in order, you can swap the waveform for a layer into random ones by clicking on the RND button. It automatically changes the waveform every time it’s the layer’s turn to play and creates variations.
  • Granular Control
    The green knobs on the upper part of the user interface allow you to control how the library plays its sample layers. Use the Flux knob to adjust the speed of layer cycling. Similarly, Speed controls the playback speed, while Spread changes the stereo imaging. And finally, the Length and Multiply knobs control the grain length and sample playback offset, which helps the instrument cover more of longer audio samples.
  • Sequencers
    There are two sequencer lanes available. The top one controls the sample offset or start position for all the layers. So, it can create variations even from the same samples easily. Similarly, the second sequencer controls the formant shifting for the fourth layer.
Rigid Audio Metawave Trailer (FREE Kontakt Instrument)

Compatibility:

Metawave is available for Kontakt 6.4.2 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Despite only having sixty-four samples, Metawave can produce a wide variety of sounds. You can automate various knobs to create excitement or softness. Or, you can use the built-in sequencers to do so.

Furthermore, it provides sixty-four presets for you to delve into and find out what the library offers.

Related Reading:

Top 20 Ambient Music Plugins 2022 (Pads, Atmos, Soundscapes)

7. Impact Soundworks Heritage Percussion  (Ethnic Percussions)

More Info & Download (Put Your Price)

Impact Soundworks offers a set of well-sampled percussions with an excellent user interface.

It’s rare finding a free library that looks and sounds good, but Heritage Percussion does just that. It provides you with thirteen percussion instruments: cabasa, large/small clave, cork drum, cowbell, djembe, beaded rattle, large/medium/small rattle, squash calabash, double-sided shaker, and half-gourd shaker. The squash and gourd ones produce very ethnic and earthy sounds, fitting for cinematic scores or New Age music.

Impact Soundworks Heritage Percussion - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Controls
    As I mentioned earlier, Heritage Percussion has a fairly elaborate layout for a free library. You’ll find a volume and pitch envelope and a low-pass filter for each percussion instrument that you can select by clicking on its picture. Furthermore, you can change each instrument’s volume, pan, tune, and randomize the pitch. Other controls include round-robin modes and velocity curve adjustment.
  • Console
    The Console page reveals two audio channels: close mic and room mic. You can add effect processors to each audio channel. And these effects include EQs, compressors, limiters, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion, cabinet simulation, multiple types of reverbs, delays, etc. Furthermore, you can add effects to the master channel.
Heritage Percussion Walkthrough (FREE Kontakt Library)

Compatibility:

Heritage Percussion is available for Kontakt 6.5 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Percussions play a vital role in music. So, having multiple libraries of percussions never hurt. And Heritage Percussion is well-sampled and provides five dynamic layers and up to ten round robins.

Furthermore, some of the instruments are quite uncommon, making it a very worthy download.

Related Reading:

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

8. Sonixinema Medicine Man (Ethnic Percussions 2)

More Info & Download

With all that’s been going around in the world, a little peace and tranquility are long overdue.

Medicine Man is a library featuring a hand-crafted Indonesian tongue drum recorded by music producer Saša Dukić. The library features deep samples of the instrument alongside an atmosphere layer to help add character and beauty to the virtual instrument. Let’s check out its features in more detail:

Sonixinema Medicine Man - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Deeply Sampled
    You won’t find any controls on the library’s user interface. However, it provides a very well-recorded set of samples with multiple dynamic layers and round robins for various sound elements like the striking noise, the ambiance noise, the instrument itself, etc. Of course, you could edit the library by entering Kontakt’s editor page, but it’s completely unnecessary.
  • Background Sounds
    Aptly named, Medicine Man features relaxing pad sounds alongside the tongue drum. You can play chords and let the beautiful textures create peaceful atmospheres. Similarly, pressing the C0 note plays a relaxing night environment sound effect. You could create meditational music effortlessly using the built-in atmospheric sound.
Sonixinema Playground - Medicine Man by Saša Dukić

Compatibility:

Medicine Man is available for Kontakt 5.7.0 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

If you make ambient music, New Age music, or film scores, Medicine Man is an absolute gem. The tongue drum is really well-recorded and sounds natural. Furthermore, the background layers help make the instrument even more relaxing and peaceful.

I’d have loved to see some controls like strike noise volume, texture volume, etc., but you can adjust all of that using Kontakt’s editor if you need to. Remember to create snapshots if you do, though!

9. Sonora Cinematic Magnetica REDUX (Pads, Textures & Cinematic Soundscapes)

More Info & Download

Evoke calmness or eeriness with this library’s eccentric sounds.

I was surprised to learn that the main sound source for Magnetic Redux was a Fender Stratocaster played with an eBow because it sounds like it. However, the library provides a peculiar drone sound that you can manipulate with built-in effect processors.

The library leans towards distorted sounds that bring a dark quality like many of my picks of horror-scoring libraries.

Sonora Cinematic Magnetica REDUX - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Texture
    The large crystal-like knob at the center of the interface allows you to dial in a texture layer. It adds complexity to the otherwise minimal sound. So, what I like to do is automate the texture layer and only bring it in when I want it. You could even modulate it with MIDI sequencers to create exciting rhythms.
  • Effects
    The library features a delay, reverb, distortion, screamer, Lo-Fi, formant filter, and low-pass filter. Each of these provides detailed control to customize the sound. Furthermore, you can add tape saturation by clicking on the tape icon below the texture knob.
MAGNETICA REDUX - Free Kontakt Library Walkthrough

Compatibility:

Magnetica Redux is available for Kontakt 6.4.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

If you create ambient music, New Age, or mystical/horror scores, this library could be handy for you. The instrument is very straightforward, but the built-in effects make sound design flexible. So, I recommend Magnetica Redux to all experimental and cinematic composers.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ Kontakt Libraries)

10. Decent Samples Lewis Pyle Violin (Violin)

More Info & Download

Recorded from a second-hand violin, Lewis Pyle Violin provides a very basic violin instrument.

The whole story behind this library is quite heartwarming. And I highly recommend checking out this video by David Hilowitz, where he talks about how he came across the violin and the untold story behind its maker.

The library only has sustained samples with no editing. So, the instrument is suited to add rawness to ensembles. And of course, David has quite a few other instruments on his website, including Resonator Glockenspiel and Tea Kettle Air Keys. So, you could check those out as well, alongside the others I’ve listed in this article.

Decent Samples Lewis Pyle Violin - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Simple and Easy
    The library provides a single sustain patch. So, you can play chords and simple melodies with it. Furthermore, you’ll find a volume envelope on the user interface to help you shape the sounds.
  • Effects
    The library features a three-band EQ and a convolution reverb. Unfortunately, you cannot change the reverb’s parameters except the wet level.

Compatibility:

Lewis Pyle Violin is available for Kontakt 5.3.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Try layering this 1895 beauty with your collection if you own other violin samples. The result might be surprisingly gorgeous!

Related Reading:

Top 12 Violin Plugins With Authentic Sound 2022

11. Wrongtools Trapeze Organ (Organ & Ambiences)

More Info & Download

The name of this library does come from the circus, and that’s where it gets interesting.

In the 70s, Easter European circuses were famous for their trapeze artists. However, alongside the death-defying leaps and flips, another element was at play all the time: music. And this music involved a very specific electric organ.

So, the Trapeze Organ library features this 100KG organ recorded through the internal speakers, spring reverbs, and mini-Leslie outboard gear.

Wrongtools Trapeze Organ - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Resizable Interface
    The library allows you to change the size of the user interface by clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the top right. Remember to click on the ‘!’ at the top right of Kontakt’s interface to refresh and update the interface size of the library. This feature is helpful if your screen has a high resolution.
  • Mics
    You’ll find four mic channels: spot, room, spring, and direct. You can change the volume of each of these mics. Or, you can disable (purge) unwanted channels entirely. Furthermore, you can route each mic channel to a new output for more control. And the channels also display a peak meter to help you adjust the levels.
  • Performance
    The library offers a convolution reverb and delay, both of which provide some more control in the advanced settings. Similarly, you’ll find vibrato control, velocity curve adjustment, and an LFO. Furthermore, the built-in XY-pad helps you explore even more sonic possibilities.
Trapez Organ ● Free Kontakt Instrument ● WRONGTOOLS

Compatibility:

Trapeze Organ is available for Kontakt 5.6.8 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Such instruments have a rather specific use. I find Trapeze Organ excellent for comedic pieces or contrasting horror pieces. Of course, it can also sound magical and beautiful as was intended back in the 70s.

So, if you create film scores or enjoy using unusual instruments, give Trapeze Organ a try!

Related Reading:

Top 6 Organ VST Plugins 2022 (For Musicians & Worship)

12. Decent Samples Mandolin Guitarophone (Mandolin)

More Info & Download

Yet another odd instrument on the list, Mandolin Guitarophone, offers a familiar type of sound yet utterly different.

Based on the fretless zithers played with picks, the marxophone was invented in the 20th century by adding keys to the zithers with built-in hammers. And the mandolin guitarophone is yet another variation on the instrument that added an extra string per note.

It resulted in a chorused, warbly sound that mandolins have. And film composer David Hilowitz recorded said instrument to produce this library.

Decent Samples Mandolin Guitarophone - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Patches
    The library features multiple instrument patches that provide various types of sounds. These include a hammer and a pluck patch, both of which have four round robins and multiple velocity layers. Similarly, you’ll find a pluck unison patch that plays all of the pluck samples in unison, with more samples coming in with higher velocity. And finally, there are swarm patches that provide softer, looped samples that almost sound like pads.
  • Controls
    You’ll find an amp envelope and reverb control on the user interface. The reverb is a convolution reverb, which sounds fairly well for most uses. However, I like to add extra processing like chorus or delays to make the sound a little spicier.
FREE SAMPLE: Mandolin Guitarophone (Marxophone) [Kontakt, SFZ]

Compatibility:

Mandolin Guitarophone is available for Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Mandolin Guitarophone is a well-sampled library that provides a unique instrument for you to work with. So, you’ll undoubtedly find it useful if you make scores or New Age music.

Furthermore, you might find it useful in some types of hip-hop music. Ethnic instruments have found a lot of fame in modern music. So, why not, right?

Related Reading:

Top 9 Mandoline Plugins & Libraries 2022 (Paid & FREE)

13. ProjectSAM The Free Orchestra (Strings, Brass, Percussions & Sound Design)

More Info & Download

ProjectSAM is well-known for its Symphobia and True Strike instruments, but did you know about their free offering?

The Free Orchestra is a collection with one gigabyte of cinematic instruments that help you quickly create many types of music. These include strings, brass, synths, and even percussions. Furthermore, the library is compatible with Kontakt Player, meaning you don’t have to spend a cent to use it! Let’s take a closer look at this exciting library.

ProjectSAM The Free Orchestra - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Variety
    The library features many types of instruments. These include accented cellos and basses, dark drones, eerie clusters, an eight-player French horn section, warm choir swells, tutti hits, woodwinds, lush violins, bold brasses, and a bass ensemble featuring a piano, harp, and bassoon. As you can see, the library prioritizes mysterious and darker sounds. However, it can also create beautiful and ethereal sounds just as easily.
  • Mic Positions
    While not all of them provide it, some instruments feature two mic positions. These include a close and a hall mic. You can blend them to customize the intimacy of your instruments.
  • Miscellaneous
    Other features in this library include a volume envelope, reverb, low-pass filter, limiter, quick master EQ, and octaving. Similarly, you can change the dynamic control mode from velocity to modulation wheel (CC 1), which is helpful to write dynamic sustain parts.
The Free Orchestra (ProjectSAM) Demo

Compatibility:

The Free Orchestra is available for Kontakt 6.2.1 or higher and Kontakt Player 6.2.1 or higher.

Summary:

If you make cinematic music for films or games, there is no reason to avoid The Free Orchestra unless you own the paid instrument already!

The instruments in this library are extremely well-recorded and sound fantastic. Further, the clusters and percussions help create moods super-fast with barely any tweaking necessary.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Orchestral VST Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022 (+ FREE Plugins)

14. Shreddage 3 Stratus Free (Electric Guitar)

More Info & Download

Stratus Free is the free version of a paid instrument, making the recording quality impeccable.

As you might guess from the name, Shreddage 3 Stratus Free features a Fender Stratocaster. However, it only has the neck pickup, a clear contrast from the paid version’s multiple pickups. Still, the library is excellent for playing arpeggios or rhythms.

And you can use it to play fast shredding notes, which is a specialty of this library. Let’s check out its main features:

Shreddage 3 Stratus Free - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Authentic
    While the library doesn’t come with many articulations, Stratus Free uses a dedicated Shred section that employs scripting to provide convincing performances. You can also use the Offset knob to reduce the picking sound, an important feature for authentic shredding performances.
  • Articulations
    You’ll find five articulations in this library. These include sustain, choke, pitched release, unpitched release, and mute. Furthermore, you can trigger these articulations using a key switch, velocity range, or MIDI CC. And you can change their volume, playback offset, and dynamism.
  • Strum Engine
    The library offers a complete strumming engine that recognizes chords and allows you to play rhythms using key switches. You can play downstroke, upstroke, and muted strokes. Furthermore, manipulating the velocity or MIDI CC allows you to control the dynamics and speed of the strokes.
FREE KONTAKT LIBRARY | Shreddage 3 Stratus Free

Compatibility:

Stratus Free is available for Kontakt 5.7 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

I find Stratus Free excellent for playing rhythms and arpeggios. Furthermore, some types of music don’t require elaborate slides and other articulations to sound nice. Many rock/metal solos rely on fast runs and quick picking.

You can perform these using Stratus Free easily. So, it’s definitely a worthwhile download!

Related Reading:

Top 6 Electric Guitar VST Plugins 2022 (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

15. Output Signal Free (Synth)

More Info & Download

Taste the brilliant pulsing instrument, Signal, by Output with this free, non-restrictive demo.

In our case, “pulsing” means moving or animated with arpeggiators, sequencers, etc. Of course, you can also turn the pulse engine off to play the original sound. Signal Free comes with twenty-five presets with most of the features from the paid instrument.

These include beautiful soft arpeggios, thick analog gated pads, basses, rhythmic leads, etc. Let’s have a look at the instrument’s key features:

Output Signal Free - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Macros
    The four sliders at the top of the user interface are the macro sliders. These differ based on the presets you have selected. And each slider can control up to six parameters in the instrument. Hence, they provide a huge amount of control over the sound with almost no detailed tweaking.
  • Dual Engine
    The library features two pulse engines, each with two rhythm engines. So, you could have four patterns running at once. Furthermore, you can change the rate and type of each rhythm. The types include wave shape, step sequencer, arpeggiator, and loops. There are also many presets in the step sequencer and arpeggiator engines that will help you get started.
  • Advanced Menu
    The advanced menu features all the parameters you can modulate using the engines above. These include volume, pan, filter, tube, bite, and volume/pitch envelopes. So, you can easily adjust how much the engines should modulate these parameters by adjusting the sends value.
Signal by Output FREE Demo Version | Free Plugin Sunday

Compatibility:

Signal Free is available for Kontakt 5.3.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Signal Free is an excellent synth library that all modern music genres and scores will find beneficial. While there aren’t as many presets or sounds available in this library as the paid version, you can still use Signal Free to layer with other synths.

Furthermore, I sometimes use Signal Free’s built-in rhythm presets solely for inspiration that I can then expand using more synths.

Related Reading:

Top 13 Synth VST Plugins 2022 (And 5 FREE Synths Plugins)

16. Decent Samples Box Violin Sustain & Swells (Violin 2)

More Info & Download

Experimental music takes on a whole new meaning with this unusual instrument.

Box Violin is an instrument library. It features samples of a violin built out of a paintbrush box, a personal project of a film composer Dave Hilowitz. The odd design makes the instrument sound thin and airy, making it sound best when mixed with a darker instrument.

Decent Samples Box Violin Sustain & Swells - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Two Articulations
    The library provides a Swells patch and a Sustain patch. The Swells patch contains three velocity layers, whereas the Sustain patch contains four velocity groups that you can control using the modulation wheel. Furthermore, the modulation wheel transitions from a single sample to eight overdubbed samples, resulting in an ensemble-like patch.
  • Simple
    There are merely three controls on the user interface: volume, tone, and reverb. You can make the violin sound darker using the tone knob. And the reverb knob adds a convolution reverb, which sounds quite nice and doesn’t use up much CPU resource.
Free Sample Library: Box Violin Sustain & Swells (Kontakt, SFZ)

Compatibility:

Box Violin is available for Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Box Violin is an excellent instrument to mix with your string sections. It may not sound very appealing alone, but it adds beautiful, almost glassy high-end frequencies to other instruments.

So, it could be a great companion library for orchestral or cinematic composers. Similarly, you might like it if you enjoy creating experimental and strange music.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Viola Plugins 2022 With Most Realistic Sound

17. XPERIMENTA Minima (Guitars, Pianos Glass Hit, Carillon, Pads)

More Info & Download

Create complete minimal, ambient tracks using this collection of instruments.

Minima is a library that includes fourteen natural and synthetic instruments. Xperimenta has recorded and designed each instrument to sound as smooth and soft as possible.

Furthermore, the minimal user interface reflects the library’s name with only one knob dedicated to adjusting the FX amount.

XPERIMENTA Minima - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Variety
    The library offers crucial instruments required for ambient-style music. These include piano, carillon, glass, glockenspiel, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonics, five synth pads, whale (synth), and distort (distorted synth). Load these instruments, add bass and drums, and you’ll have a complete template for pop, New Age, chill, ambient, etc.
  • FX
    You’ll only find one knob on the library’s user interface: the FX knob. This knob controls various effect parameters under the hood, and the exact effects defer based on the instrument you have loaded. For example, the electric guitar instrument primarily has delay linked to the knob, whereas the harmonics instrument adds reverb with the FX knob.

Minima 2 has been released, feel free to check out the video:

Minima 2 Free Toolkit - Walktrough

Compatibility:

Minima is available for Kontakt 5.6.8 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Despite not being the most customizable library, Minima genuinely sounds excellent. I love its glockenspiel most of all, and the other instruments like the harmonics, pads, whale synth, etc., also come into use once in a while.

So, if you make scores, ambient music, or other soft music, Minima is indispensable.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt 2022 (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)

18. Alpine Project Triple Pack (Brass, Strings & Woodwinds)

More Info & Download

This library is proof of how important scripting is to creating a realistic virtual instrument.

Alpine Project uses public domain orchestral samples to create a set of excellent orchestral solo instruments. However, the main difference from many other similar libraries is that Alpine Project uses complex scripting and balancing.

So, it provides scripted legato in all of its instruments. Hence, these solo instruments are excellent companions for other free ensemble libraries.

Alpine Project Triple Pack - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Legato
    Of course, the scripted legato is the most important feature of this library. You can enable or disable legato using a key switch. Similarly, you can change the transition length using the velocity of the target note. Furthermore, if you want to avoid a legato transition, avoid overlapping the notes.
  • Dynamics
    You can change how hard or soft the instruments are playing using the modulation wheel (CC1). Some of the instruments feature true dynamic layers, whereas others use filters and scripting to generate faux dynamism. Either way, manipulating the dynamics is key to ensuring your performances sound as natural as possible.
  • Articulations
    Many of the instruments provide multiple articulation patches. You can use these to add variations and authenticity. For example, the violin features long (sustain/legato), tremolo, staccato, pizzicato, etc.

Compatibility:

Alpine Project is available for Kontakt 6 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

It’s difficult finding usable orchestral instruments when you’re on a low budget. So, Alpine Project is undoubtedly one of the best free orchestral libraries available today. It provides multiple articulations, dynamics control, and scripted legato.

And if you need an ensemble library to combine with Alpine Project, I recommend checking out Orchestral Tools Layers, Spitfire BBCSO Discover, and ProjectSam: The Free Orchestra.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (+ Best FREE Plugins)

19. KLANG The Free Instrument Series (Various Instruments)

More Info & Download

Explore the eccentric with KLANG’s unusual approach to sampling and sound designing.

Unlike many libraries that attempt to recreate some natural instruments, KLANG instruments go the opposite route. They use unusual recording techniques and unconventional effect plugins to produce bizarre and sometimes beautiful sounds.

Hence, the instruments are quite handy for score composers and ambient music producers.

KLANG The Free Instrument Series - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Straightforward
    Each instrument in the KLANG series features only three knobs dedicated to sound design. Depending on the instrument you’re using, these can include a release knob, distortion, filter, additional texture, etc. For example, the beautiful prepared-piano library called Alto Glockenspiel features a drive, destroy, and filter frequency knob.
  • Effects
    Each KLANG instrument provides a delay and a reverb. The reverb types include room, chamber, church, plate, rich, algorithm, space, infinite, and deep valley. Furthermore, you’ll find two more effects at the bottom left (under the Master label), which often include a modulation effect.

Compatibility:

Amore Grand Piano is available for Kontakt 5.6.8 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

KLANG is labeled a tiny instrument series, and it’s very appropriate. Most of the instruments in this series are unique and serve a very specific purpose. So, they may be super handy if you find the exact thing you’re looking for, or they may just be utterly useless.

And that unpredictability is what makes these instruments some of the most exciting on the free market. And if you happen to like these, you can also buy a pack of fifty-three KLANG instruments for Kontakt here.

Related Reading:

Top 20 Instrument VST Plugins For Musicians 2022

20. Precisionsound Amore Grand Piano (Piano)

More Info & Download

Amore is a standard grand piano library fitting for pop, hip-hop, and similar genres.

PrecisionSound’s Amore grand piano prioritizes resource-saving and being straightforward. So, instead of using multiple dynamic layers, the library uses a single sample per note with faux dynamism created by using a low-pass filter.

It’s a super minimalistic way of faking multiple sampling, and it works for backing pianos. Hence, if you don’t want to load gigabytes of samples for playing a few chords in a busy mix, Amore is the perfect fit.

Precisionsound Amore Grand Piano - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Effects
    Amore allows you to add a convolution reverb with various impulse responses, including halls, rooms, stage, plate, etc. Similarly, you can add a simple delay. And if you need to sculpt the sound a little, a three-band EQ is available on the main page.
  • Velocity Response
    The library allows you to write a custom velocity curve or use the Response Type and Shape parameters to create and tilt various curve shapes. This feature lets you adjust the library’s velocity sensitivity to match your MIDI clips or keyboard.

Compatibility:

Amore Grand Piano is available for Kontakt 3 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

Amore offers an intimate recording of a Yamaha grand piano.

It keeps the size small, making the library ideal as a backing instrument. I wouldn’t recommend it for playing solos, but it’s excellent if you intend to add plenty of effects like Lo-Fi plugins for hip-hop.

Related Reading:

Top 12 FREE Piano Plugins 2022 That Sounds Like Paid

Bonus:

20. Impact Soundworks The Stroh Violin (Violin 3)

More Info & Download

Continuing the unusual instruments on this list is the Stroh violin, a variation on the traditional violin.

The most recognizable feature of a Stroh violin is the resonating metal body and horn, which makes the instrument self-amplified. It produces a much louder and brighter sound compared to a classical violin. Furthermore, it’s beloved for folk music and street performances, where self-amplification is a desirable feature.

Impact Soundworks The Stroh Violin - Top 20 Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Articulations
    The library features three articulations: legato, spiccato, and pizzicato. Furthermore, you can select the key switch you want for each articulation. And the library provides scripted legato to make note transitions smooth and flowing, which is important for playing solos.
  • Rhythmic Engine
    The Stroh Violin employs a rhythm engine with three layers: note dynamics, length, and attack offset. You can use these to create pulsing, gated sounds with the sustain patch or ostinato patterns with the spiccato and pizzicato patches.
  • Effects
    The library offers various effects to customize the sound. These include dirt blend, vinyl effect, distortion, sample offset (start point), and reverb with multiple impulse responses.

Compatibility:

The Stroh Violin is available for Kontakt 5.4 or higher (NOT the free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

The Stroh Violin is a unique instrument that I have yet to find in any other mainstream sample library. It’s frankly generous of Impact Soundworks to provide this library for free.

Furthermore, the library features three dynamic layers with up to five round robins. So, the instrument is fairly usable, even for solo performances.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Strings Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And 3 Free Libraries)

Conclusion

There are more free sample libraries nowadays than ever, and it has become more and more difficult to find the ones you need. I hope this article provided you with a list of possibilities you wish to try.

Note that most of these require you to purchase the full version of Kontakt. However, like the Klang and Decent Sampling instruments, some of them offer their libraries in other formats like SFZ or Ableton Sampler.

SFZ is free to use, while Ableton Sampler comes with the Ableton Live DAW. So, you should check those out if you don’t own Kontakt.

Related Topic:

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022

We tried to pick the top 20 Kontakt libraries in 2022 for all categories, encompassing a wide variety of genres.

Native Instruments Kontakt is arguably the most famous and influential sampler available today. In addition to the developer’s sample libraries, thousands of paid and free sample libraries are available for the sampler.

Many of them have become staples for most music producers today. Hence, it’s only natural that I’m talking about the best of those libraries you can find this new year. The list includes ethnic instruments, analog synths, granular synths, scoring instruments, beat-making toolkits, etc.

Native Instruments provides two versions of the software: the free Kontakt Player and the paid Kontakt. The free version lets you use the sample libraries, whereas the paid version lets you edit the samples deeply under the hood.

However, note that not all libraries open in the free version. So, make sure you check under the Compatibility section of each library on the list.

Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at our list:

Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers…)

1. Heavyocity Symphonic Destruction (Orchestral/Scoring Instrument)

More Info & Price 

Heavyocity Symphonic Destruction - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

The epic film score and trailer composers receive a treat in the form of this Kontakt instrument.

Heavyocity’s Symphonic Destruction combines traditional and hybrid orchestral sounds with synths, heavy guitars, and impact sounds to deliver a highly usable toolkit for modern film and trailer scoring.

Many of the samples are from Heavyocity’s Novo strings, Forzo brass, and Vento woodwinds libraries, and the distinctive processing from Damage 2 percussions makes them as bombastic as possible.

The library features two classifications of instrument engines: Designers and Performers. Each folder contains engines and instruments dedicated to specific purposes in trailer/film scoring.

From mysterious and malicious quips of staccato passages to action-packed horns and impacts, you’ll find them all. However, there’s more to Symphonic Destruction than merely a collection of samples and loops.

Each engine in the library provides different features that allow you to manipulate and customize the samples or loops to your liking. Furthermore, macros let you control multiple parameters with the turn of a knob or your modulation wheel. This feature makes it a breeze to perform with the library.

Key Features:

  • Designer Engine
    The Designer Engine allows you to design many kinds of sound palettes, from pad-like hybrid strings to intricate horror drones. Of course, there are numerous factory presets and samples you can use to make new patches. Each patch features three channels where you can load a sample. You can preview, load, and distribute samples across the keyboard in the Source menu at the top left of the interface. Similarly, you’ll find three menus on the top right of the interface: Cycle, Macro Sequencer, and Master FX.
    The Cycle page lets you modulate each channel and its start position, velocity, and panning with a sequencer. Similarly, the Macro Sequencer modulates the Macro knob in the middle of the interface that controls six parameters: Envelope, EQ, Filter, Drive, Gate, and Space. Note that you can click on each parameter to find the envelope, filters, and effects editors.
  • Braam and Loop Designer Engines
    These Designer Engines are similar to the main Designer Engine. However, the difference is that you’ll find the menu Designer instead of Cycle at the top right of the interface. And the Designer menu is better suited for braams and loops. Instead of sequencing, you can change the volume, pan, tune, and start position of each channel.
    Furthermore, like in the previous Engine, each patch contains three channels. However, the Engine distributes each source/sample you’ll find in this Engine per octave across the keyboard. And the bottom octave plays all three channels simultaneously to give you an epic braam or a complicated loop with a single key.
  • Performer Engine
    The Performer Engine allows you to choose various instrument types like Traditional, Hybrid, Damaged, Soundscapes, Hybrid Pedals, Damaged Guitars, etc. Each of these comes with different sounds and articulations that you can switch using key switches. Also, you can control the dynamics using your modulation wheel or the velocity, depending on what you choose.
    In the Engine itself, you’ll find buttons on the left side of the user interface to open an amp envelope, a three-band EQ, and a filter. And on the right side, you’ll find a mixer, a performance editor, and space. In the Mixer, you will find three channels: Main (Dry), Hall, and Reverse FX. And the performance editor lets you add a gate or dynamics sequencer. While the gate sequencer controls the instrument’s volume, the dynamics sequencer modulates the dynamics (velocity) of the sample. And finally, the space page lets you add a delay and a reverb.
  • Repeater
    When you select short sounds like staccatos, colegno, and pizzicato, a module called Repeater appears. You’ll probably use it for ostinatos most often. However, every good ostinato requires accented notes to enhance the rhythm, and this library’s Repeater lets you do just that. It lets you play ostinatos with 3rd or 4th note accented, crescendos, diminuendos, etc., without writing each note in your DAW. Similarly, you can adjust the round-robin from none to six.
Symphonic Destruction - Preset Playthrough | Heavyocity

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.1 or Kontakt Player 6.6.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

The more you attempt to explore this library, the more you realize how vast the sonic possibilities are. I would describe this library as a comprehensive sound module for trailer or film music. You will find almost everything you’d need to compose epic hybrid cinematic scores.

Similarly, although the workflow isn’t very obvious at a glance, using each sound engine and experimenting with the buttons and knobs gets you up to speed. Also, when you’re producing, try turning up the proprietary Punisher knob if you need to hype things up a little.

Related Reading:

Complete Guide To Film Scoring In 2022 (How To Score A Film)

2. Impact Soundworks Tokyo Scoring Strings (Strings Library)

More Info & Price

Impact Soundworks Tokyo Scoring Strings - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Captivating Japanese strings are renowned for their agility and dramatic tones, and this library seeks to capture that quality.

With so many Japanese anime and live-action shows/films gaining traction worldwide, score composers are bound to receive requests to match the scoring styles of such media. However, the Japanese string ensemble differs from the Western ensemble. They have fewer players placed in a smaller hall/chamber, and the articulation styles tend to have more flair.

The developers worked with Koichiro Muroyo, the conductor behind the sound, to build the Tokyo Scoring Strings. This library provides all the nuances of an authentic string ensemble featured in many globally favored soundtracks from Japanese media.

Similarly, Mitsunori Aizawa, the recordist and mixing engineer, is also responsible for the sound in many of these famed scores. So, with these skilled professionals and the sound of Sound City studio, Impact Soundworks has produced a sampled instrument library unlike anything else.

Key Features:

  • Authentic Sound
    Tokyo Scoring Strings features five string sections in the Japanese format. There are eight first violins, six second violins, four violas, four cellos, and three basses. Furthermore, each section has a comprehensive set of articulations recorded in detail. The articulations include arco, bowed/slurred legato, bowed/slurred portamento, rebow, staccato, staccatissimo, spiccato, secco spiccato, sforzando, decrescendo, pizzicato, tremolo, trills, releases, and harmonics. Each articulation features multiple dynamics and round robins. Similarly, the arco articulation offers three vibrato levels.
  • Mixing
    The library features a Console, which is a full-featured mixer. It allows you to adjust the levels of the mic channels. And you can load up to eight effect processors in each mic channel. Similarly, you can load eight more on the master channel, not to mention the send routing support. The reverb effect features custom impulse responses that provide real-life spaces to your production.
  • Poly Legato
    In addition to the highly detailed articulation sets, it features true legato. This feature lets you transition from one note to another smoothly. Furthermore, the library’s poly legato enables you to transition multiple notes to another set of notes using MIDI channels/MPE controller. These features ensure authentic and convincing string performances when programming or playing live.
Tokyo Scoring Strings Sonic Overview & Patch Walkthrough (Updated Legato!)

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.1 or Kontakt Player 6.6.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

With over 84 GB of sample content, Tokyo Scoring Strings is a genuinely comprehensive string ensemble that accurately captures the Japanese standard. You can control almost everything related to the performance on the front page, making the library effortless to use.

And its mixer section lets you create complete mixes before you even touch your DAW’s mixer. Overall, I highly recommend this library to anyone who already has a standard orchestral collection and is now looking to expand their sound palette.

3. Native Instruments Sequis (Acoustic Sequencer)

More Info & Price 

Native Instruments Sequis - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Sequis presents acoustic instrument samples with the unique potential of modern sequencing and processing.

Orchestral Tools has been producing sampled instruments for composition and orchestration for many years. They have now combined their expertise with the brilliant minds at Native Instruments to reimagine the way musicians play acoustic instruments.

Inside, you’ll find various instruments ranging from keyboards and strings to percussions and woodwinds. And you can use a pattern sequencer to play each.

The instrument selector loads a menu that divides the samples into Instruments and Articulations. Under Instruments, you’ll find guitars, dobro, banjo, viola, cello, bass, flues, bass flues, pianos, marimbas, steel tongue drums, cajons, tablas, metal and wood percussions, shakers, hi-hats, female voice, etc.

Similarly, each instrument features multiple articulations. For example, if you click on the Female Vox instrument, you’ll find different syllables, vowels, single vowels, etc., under the Articulations section. These help you add peculiarity to your rhythm.

Key Features:

  • Sequencer
    The library features four layers, each capable of loading samples. You’ll find two pages on the user interface: Perform and Edit. On the Perform page, there are three controls. Tempo lets you change the tempo half or twice as fast as the DAW’s BPM. Similarly, you can enable or disable looping. And at the center, Layer Control lets you set how you want the layers to play. You can select either Modwheel or Polynote. The prior lets you play only one layer or all four depending on the position of your modulation wheel, whereas the Polynote mode plays more layers when you play more notes.
  • Edit View
    This page allows you to create and adjust pattern sequences, switch the instrument’s articulation, change the layer’s volume and pan, and add effect processors to each layer. The editing controls let you adjust swing, add accents to notes, and activate triplet patterns for polyrhythms. Similarly, the effects include reverb, filter, and delay. Together, you can achieve a fully-mixed scape of rhythms and sounds.
    The editor also features Sequence Segments, which are segments of the pattern (four in a 4/4 pattern). You can modify each segment to activate or deactivate it and repeat or reverse it once before continuing playback.
  • Snapshots
    Sequis features over four hundred snapshots or presets in many categories. These categories include basslines, bowed, clean slate, echoes, effects, flues, keys and mallets, percussions, plucked, etc. Although most are simplistic, each preset sounds tastefully designed to add rhythm and pacing to your music production.
SEQUIS Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.0 or Kontakt Player 6.6.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

What sets Sequis apart from similar products is that it stays true to the acoustic category. Most sequencing libraries tend to preset hybrid sounds to add a creative taste. However, Sequis only features acoustic sounds. So, it might sound somewhat different from what you might expect, although the results are undoubtedly beautiful.

Still, I’d have liked to see a pattern designer like the ones in sequencer plugins to provide more control and intricacy. Then again, simplicity is often the key to success, and I’m sure that is the philosophy of this rhythmic tool.

Related Reading:

Top 9 Sequencer & Arpeggiator KONTAKT Libraries 2022

4. Sonuscore Elysion II (Synth/ Sequencer)

More Info & Price 

Dive into the world of the aggressive and driving side of film and trailer scoring with the second iteration of Elysion by Sonuscore.

Elysion II comes with the entire sound palette of the original Elysion instrument (with both the GUIs available), which was a collection of ambient synth samples or highly treated acoustic instruments. Now, Elysion II adds raw and massive-sounding samples alongside a brand-new user interface and a sequencing ensemble engine from The Orchestra library.

Combine the power of the sequencer, the wide variety of the sampled instruments, and its built-in effect processors, and you’ll find Elysion II to be a formidable scoring tool all on its own.

The electronic sounds are best suited for sci-fi and action films, games, and trailers. Although, I love using such sounds combined with acoustic instruments to add impact and space to my scores.

Key Features:

  • Layers
    Each patch in Elysion II features five instrument slots. You can load an instrument in each to create an ensemble of sounds. Similarly, each layer lets mute/solo, shift the octave and add an arpeggiator/envelope. Note that the latter depends on the kind of instrument you have selected. Only sustaining instruments allow you to use both, whereas hits only allow arpeggiation.
  • Theme Browser
    Click on the preset’s name at the center to open the Theme browser with over four hundred themes. Here, you’ll find three categories: Spheres, Pulses, and Animated. Spheres feature hits and pad themes. The hits are shorter sounds, whereas the pads are longer and moving. Similarly, the Pulses feature rhythmical patterns, and the Animated patches are the most intricate ones utilizing the ensemble engine to design complex arrangements.
    Similarly, you’ll notice that the names of planets categorize the patches or themes. Each planet represents a sonic character. For example, Mars represents aggressiveness, Earth is familiar and pop-like, Sagittarius is violent and dark, Antares is cinematic, Mercury is lively and vibrant, and Jupiter represents joy. There are twelve such planets.
  • Arpeggiator & Envelope
    Each layer features an arpeggiator and an envelope editor. The arpeggiator lets you set the time signature, rate, order, steps count, transposition, swing, etc. And you can write custom sequences using the sequencer, where you can draw each note’s value with your mouse. Also, the envelope editor works very similarly.
    Furthermore, you’ll also find a dedicated Pan Engine per layer that adds space and movement to your sounds. You can draw shapes in the editor with your mouse to create the path for your panning to follow.
  • Mixing
    The Mix Page lets you control the volume, pan, and send levels to the master effects. The master effects include a compressor, delay, and reverb. The reverb is a convolution reverb with impulse responses from reputable effect processors and real-life spaces.
Best Service's ELYSION 2 by Sonuscore - Preset Demos

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.0 or Kontakt Player 6.6.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

The first Elysion was a cinematic soundscape engine dedicated to ambient sounds. So, the contrasting aggressiveness of the second version is a welcome change. The samples contain up to three round robins and five velocity layers. Furthermore, the upgraded engine and user interface make the upgrade worth it even for the fans of the previous version.

I highly recommend this instrument if you often make sci-fi or action music and are a fan of electronic sounds. Similarly, the soundscapes and rhythmic themes also come in handy for producing pop and dance music.

Related Reading:

Best Kontakt Libraries For TRANCE Music Available in 2022

5. Native Instruments Symphony Series String Ensemble (Orchestral Strings)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

 

A 60-piece lush-sounding string orchestra ideal for epic film scores at your disposal.

Following up the release of Symphony Series: Brass, Native Instruments has teamed up this time with world-famous Audiobro, responsible for LA Scoring Strings, one of the most well-regarded and on-demand string libraries of the past few years.

Five patches or Kontakt instruments comprise this library: violins, violas, cellos, basses, and an ensemble option that works great for pads or to draw some ideas. In addition, each section is provided with a fair amount of articulations to assign up to 8 of them.

Key Features:

  • Articulations:
    Each section is provided with up to 10 articulations consisting of sustains, sordino, tremolo, staccato, spiccato, pizzicato, octave runs, and more. The legato articulations comprehend the Divisi function, so each Divisi part has its own smart individual legato control over transitions (fingered or portamento) when two notes are played simultaneously. There’s also a threshold slider control to determine the transitions to portamento controlled with velocity. There’s an option for No Vib. to Vib. for the legato articulations, meaning that a note starts with no vibrato and fades into it.
  • Section Setup:
    This string orchestra, like any other, is divided into 4 sections: violins I and II (conformed by 30 players and divided into 16 and 14 for each, respectively), 12 violas, 10 cellos, and 8 basses. In this tab, you can control how big each section will be by setting the overall number of players for each section, allowing you to write for a small and intimate orchestra or create an epic soundscape with a full-string section.
  • Divisi:
    One issue with many string libraries is that each section is recorded monophonically as one, which is a problem when playing several notes simultaneously as the number of instruments is usually doubled – the more notes you play at the same time, the bigger the section gets in number –; this means that, if you have a 20-piece violin section and play two notes, you’ll have a 40-piece violin section. However, thanks to the True Divisi function featured on this library (turned on by default), the number of players is kept consistent, as it automatically divides the number of players when playing polyphonically. Further explaining, there are two violin sections, I and II (as per usual); when playing divisi, the section splits in 16+14 for two notes, 16+7+7 for three notes, and 8+8+7+7 for four, resulting in a more true-to-life performance, made possible due to the sections for each instrument being recorded in two separate A and B parts.
  • Dynamic Knob:
    A very large knob can be seen in the centre of the GUI. It enables to control of both volume and intensity by blending several layers of samples. This way, for example, soft bowing with a slower attack can be achieved with a low setting. Below, we find more performance controls for expression, attack, release, and brightness.

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt Player 5 or higher. Kontakt is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Symphony Series: String Ensemble offers the flexibility to achieve any sound, whether you want close and intimate chamber strings or a larger-than-life cinematic ensemble. Its true Divisi feature and the option to set up the section size make this library stand out above many others, especially considering how easy it is to control its behaviour. However, one weakness this library has is that it doesn’t come with a solo string library like its predecessor Symphony Series: Brass, even though they cost the same.

Related Reading:

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins 2022 (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)

6. Native Instruments Ashlight (Granular Synth For Soundscapes)

More Info & Price 

From animated textures to enveloping soundscapes, this granular engine does it all.

Ashlight is a texture engine for producing intricate atmospheres, pads, soundscapes, effects, and even leads. The sounds range from cinematic soundscapes to dark and moody bass and atmospheres. It features a built-in sample library and a granular synthesizer to generate sounds.

And the user interface features five pages that let you perform, edit, and customize the sounds. Let’s have a look at these pages in more detail.

Key Features:

  • Performance Page
    The primary control for sculpting the sound is the XY pad in the center of the Performer page. It allows you to make the most significant adjustments in the sound’s character. This page also contains four Macros that allow you to quickly control and alter the assigned parameters. Furthermore, you can change the volume of the two layers in the library: grain and sample. Let’s talk about these next.
  • Grain Page
    The granular synthesis starts with an audio sample, divides it into tiny parts known as grains, and plays back the grains out of order. The size of these grains is usually less than a hundred milliseconds, making it near impossible to detect the source sound. On the Grain Page, you can change the playback order, speed, duration, level, pitch, etc., of the grains to design new sounds. Furthermore, you can sync the Grain Cursor to your tempo, resulting in perfectly timed sweeps, risers, effects, and transitions. And, of course, you can also change the volume, panning, and the amp envelope.
  • Sample Page
    The sample is the second layer of your sound. You’ll find various parameters on the Sample Page that allow you to shape and manipulate the source sample. You can select a source sample from the built-in custom library featuring multi-samples and one-shots of choirs, synths, noises, percussions, pulses, guitar, etc. You can change the tuning, start offset, add a filter, add filter envelope, arpeggiate the sample, and add a volume envelope.
  • Effects And Global Page
    On the Effects Page, you’ll find several effect processors that you can add to each of the layers in your patch. You can load up to four effects per layer, and there are a total of nine effect processors. These effects include a multi-mode filter, EQ, dynamics, gate, drive, modulation, delay, reverb, and utility. The latter controls the stereo image and panning.
    Similarly, the Global Page features four global effect slots and options to aside the XY pads to a MIDI CC value. The effect section on this page applies to both layers of your patch.
ASHLIGHT Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.0 or Kontakt Player 6.6.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Ashlight is described as a “real-time cinematic texture instrument.” It features an XY pad that you can assign to your MIDI controller for performing live. And it uses a sample alongside a granulated sample to generate its ambient textures. There are 263 grain-source samples and a hundred sample sets.

Furthermore, it comes with a factory preset library with over 320 snapshots. If you often find yourself looking for dark and moody soundscapes, drones, subs, pulsing sounds, etc., Ashlight could be the perfect instrument for you. However, for a library dedicated to a small niche, the price may seem steep for some.

Related Reading:

Top 11 Granular Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

7. Native Instruments Symphony Series Woodwind Ensemble (Orchestral Woodwinds)

More Info & Price 

An ensemble with an authentic sound and intuitive GUI aimed at professional composers.

Recorded at Montclair Presbyterian Church, Oakland in collaboration with Soundiron, this ensemble comes with 314 articulations, providing a flexibility and precision with great quality of sound. The user interface is consistent with the rest of the Symphony Series, being very minimalistic and easy-to-use.

Symphony Series: Woodwinds comes with two libraries, one for solo instruments and one for ensemble and feature the regular line-up of a woodwind section: flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet – bass and contrabass clarinet are not included in the solo library. Additionally, the tenor saxophone was included to this line-up too – which regularly is not featured in a woodwind section.

Key Features:

  • Legato:
    In order to give these instruments a wide array of expression and playability, Soundiron included not only a main legato articulation but also legatos for different dynamic ranges, including piano, mezzo forte, and forte (plus the aforementioned main legato) to most of the instruments.
  • Arpeggio:
    It is a habit of Soundiron to include an arpeggio function (or scripted arpeggiator) in the libraries they work on; this is no exception. The samples for the phrases were recorded live – confirmed by Soundiron themselves –, making them sound natural and non-mechanic. Its presets include major, minor, fifth and octave arpeggios. This Arpeggio Runs Tool is included in the main, legato, and staccato articulations and comes with controls over the type of run, speed, number of notes, and so on.
  • Sound-shaping:
    The instruments were recorded with close, mid, and far microphones and are reflected in their respective dedicated channels – plus a stereo channel that is a combination of the three microphones – which, in conjunction with the panning controls, is useful for placing the instruments wherever we need without depending on reverb effects. Additionally, there’s a parametric EQ with three bands, a compressor (with the classic threshold, ratio, attack, and release controls), a filter with cutoff and resonance controls and a convolution reverb with a fair amount of IRs.
  • Performance:
    In this section, we shape interpretation using the dynamics knob, which controls both volume and intensity, and the envelope controls for attack, release, tightness, and motion, which come in the form of sliders. Also, in this section, we choose the articulations we need and find some handy tools like the Repetition Tool. These controls are very responsive and easy to control, so it doesn’t take long to get the performance we want.

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt Player 5 or higher. Kontakt is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

The sound quality this collection offers is excellent. Thanks to the 3 microphone channels, it is possible to get a very epic cinematic sound, even with the quintet. The repetition and arpeggio options are very well executed, as well as effects like the sax’s broken runs or the flute’s flourishes.

The only issue with this library is that the sound is too wet, so much so that it’s really hard to get a defined sound from the instruments, incorporate it into an orchestra, or blend it in with another library. It’s not impossible to achieve a closer and more intimate sound, but it does require a lot of work.

With that being said, the sound this library offers is top-notch and works great for film scoring.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

8. Native Instruments Piano Colors (Versatile Piano)

More Info & Price 

Native Instruments Piano Colors - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

If you’re tired of the same old piano sounds in your collections, this inspiring library might spark your creativity back to life.

Native Instruments and Galaxy Instruments have come up with Piano Colors, a library of prepared piano sounds with unconventional playing and recording techniques.

From overtones generated with plastic pins and hand-plucked strings to strings beaten with mallets/brushes and bowed with electronic devices, you’ll come across a vast library of sounds you never thought possible from a grand piano.

On top of having a strange and exciting sample library, the library features various sound modules on its user interface that help you bring vibrant colors to your sonic palette. These modules include multiple layers of sounds, an arpeggiator, effect processors, and more.

Furthermore, the user interface features colorful light columns behind the piano. These light columns represent the sound layers, and their width represents the volume of each layer.

Key Features:

  • Noises
    Among the layers in this library, one of the most important is the Noise module. When you click on Noises on the main page, you’ll open a new page with five modules. These are the various kinds of noises in the library, including pedal, mechanical, key attack, pianist, and electronic devices’ noises. You can control the volume of each, and some have more parameters and controls for customization.
  • Two Layers
    Two of the layers are dedicated to sample playback, and you can load one of the many sampled instruments in this library in each layer. You can see more of their controls when you click on the Layer 1 and Layer 2 buttons on the main interface and open the Tone Page. This new page lets you change the brightness, pan, tone, dynamics, sub-harmonics, overtones, resonance, envelope, etc. Similarly, you can add four modulation effects, a dynamics effect, EQ, a reverb/delay, and LFO modulation per layer on this very page. The reverb/delay effect features a variety of effects, from convolution and analog reverb to the proprietary Replika delay.
  • Particles
    You can adjust the behavior of the Particles engine on the Particles page. When you play notes on your keyboard, the Particles engine triggers and processes additional samples called particles. It creates a series of notes and tones to create a cloud-like effect. You can customize the engine so that they behave a specific way. For instance, you can change the generated particles’ density, variation, sync, decay, pre-delay, stereo doubling, etc.
  • Arpeggiator
    On the Arpeggiator page, you will find a 32-step sequencer that lets you adjust each note’s rhythm, velocity, and length. You can also change the arpeggiator’s order, rate, octave, length, humanization, velocity range, etc. Using the arpeggiator alongside the Particles module rewards you with a fabulous scape of sounds.
PIANO COLORS Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.0 or Kontakt Player 6.6.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Piano Colors is a genuinely unique sample library. It features a prepared piano with many kinds of treatments, mallets, bows, etc. And it can sound anything from soft and soothing to harrowing and piercing.

You could use it to generate a bed of evolving soundscapes in a film’s underscore or as a rhythmic arpeggio instrument in a pop song. Overall, for what it does and the quality of the sounds, I have no complaint about this library.

9. Heavyocity Damage 2 (Epic Drums)

More Info & Price 

Heavyocity Damage 2 - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Damage 2 is one of the most extensive libraries of epic cinematic percussions.

The second Heavyocity library on the list is Damage 2, an aggressive hybrid percussion collection with 864 loops and 208 presets spread over three designer engines. You’ll find a range of sounds, from massive gran cassa and taikos to spooky gong scrapes and pristine cymbals.

Many of the sounds feature multiple mic positions, including close, room, hall, LFE, and analog Crush. On top of having a massive sound library, Damage 2 also utilizes its designer engines to produce realistic performances. You can use it for creating rolls, flairs, and even rhythms.

A single instance of Damage 2 with proper customization of the engines can act as full-on percussive backing with a humanized feel. I also like recording its performance into another track as MIDI data and editing the performance there.

Key Features:

  • Ensemble Designer
    The Ensemble Designer is the most important engine in this library, and it comes with presets in ten categories. Among these, the “All-Star Presets” category showcases a lot of what the engine can do. In the designer engine, you can use the Stage page to load different instruments or “sources.” Each patch can load up to thirty-six sources spread across your keyboard. If you load a bank (a preset of 12 sources), the sources will spread across an octave. So, with 36 sources total, you will have three octaves of sounds on your keyboard.
    You can move each source on a virtual stage on the Stage view, setting the panning and depth (reverb wet/dry) intuitively. Next, you’ll find various controls on the Settings page to adjust the performance. The upper part features round-robin controls, velocity randomization, velocity curve, etc. And the lower part lets you change the drum’s tuning, attack, decay, and tone (also found on the Stage page). Similarly, you can activate Performance, which is a MIDI repeater. You can make it play crescendos, swells, flairs, rolls, and rhythm.
    Finally, on the Master FX page, you can activate up to seven effect processors. These include Filter, Punish, EQ, Compressor, Saturation, Delay, and Reverb. You can reorder these effects, activate or deactivate the effects, and customize each effect on the lower section of the page. Try the proprietary Punish knob to add grit and aggressiveness using preset compression and saturation.
  • Kit Designer
    Following the Ensemble Designer, we have the Kit Designer, which is essentially a typical drum machine. You can load drum sources using the sixteen drum pads on the lower part of the Mix page, which is the default view. From C1 to D#2, these drum pads follow the GM format to keep things simple. Furthermore, you can customize each source on the Settings page. Here, you can adjust the mic position mix, pad MIDI note assignment, tuning, velocity sensitivity, round-robin, choke, etc.
    When you add a sound source to the pad, you can mix the sound at the upper section of the Mixer page. A mixer view lets you control the volume and pan of individual drum sources. And below it, you can add up to four effect processors on each drum sound. These effect processors include compressor, transient, EQ, filter, overdrive, modulator (phaser/flanger), delay, and reverb. Finally, as with the previous engine, there’s a Master FX page with the same controls.
  • Loop Designer
    In this designer, you can load up to 36 loops spread across three octaves in the Source view. You can preview each loop before dragging and dropping it onto your desired note. Next, you can add four effect processors that act as sends for each loop. The effects include compressor, Lo-Fi, filter clean/dirty, modulator, distortion, delay, gater, and three reverbs.
    Furthermore, you can use a sequencer to modulate the effect sends. These help you create rhythmic sounds with your effects. And finally, it features a Master FX page with the same controls as the Ensemble Designer’s page.
Damage 2 - Preset Playthrough | Heavyocity

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.2.2 or Kontakt Player 6.2.2. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

While designing custom drum kits and ensembles is no doubt fun, Damage 2’s credible collection of presets is not something to be overlooked. The presets fully utilize the engine to present creative and inspiring sounds right out of the box. You can use these for adding flourishes to your cinematic score or pop music.

Similarly, the extensive set of effects and mixing controls ensure that you can create mix-ready sounds without using your DAW.

10. NI Symphony Series Brass Ensemble (Orchestral Brass)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A 32-piece symphonic brass section was developed in partnership with Soundiron.

Recorded in St. Paul’s Church in San Francisco by Soundiron, this collection is comprised of two libraries: Solo and Ensemble, each one including the four instruments of a symphonic brass section (trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba) and a group section or Ensemble (Quartet for Solo).

The ranges of the instruments in the Ensemble and Quartet patches can be adjusted and also overlapped when unlinked. Also, instruments can be deactivatedwhich helps save CPU usage – in case you need just trumpets and horns or trumpets and trombones, for example.

Key Features:

  • Articulations:
    Over 100 articulations
    were recorded and provided to the instrument sections. They’re distributed across all the sections and solo instruments of which each come in six types of preset: Effects, Expression, Legato, Staccato, Sustain, and a general-purpose one with the name of the according instrument – meaning that, for example, the trumpet section would be reflected in Trumpet Effects, Trumpet Expression, Trumpet Legato, Trumpet Staccato, Trumpet Sustain, and Trumpet; and so on with the rest of the instruments –. This can be inconvenient since each preset comes with just a set of articulations according to its description, but none of them have all the articulations; the general-purpose one has a lite mixed set of all the articulations (but not all of them as previously mentioned). The reason for this is reducing the load on the CPU, which is also why it is possible to purge articulations in the articulations tab which reduces the load. This also simplifies the process of performance or MIDI drawing (depending on your style) to only use what you need. Although, it could have been possible to have this option and also an almighty all-articulations preset instead of having to load several presets to be able to make use of several sets of articulations.
  • Repetition Tool:
    You can repeat short note strikes two or three times or keep it repeating indefinitely with this feature while pressing down on a key without releasing when activated. Also, this feature allows to create patterns of 1/8th notes or 1/16th notes with accents. This is very useful for playing rhythmic sections or ostinatos.
  • Dynamics:
    The upper segment of the main page in the GUI features the dynamics knob, which controls a combination of volume and intensity and can be mapped to the mod wheel. There are also slider controls for attack, release, tightness and motion to fill the performance with realism and expression.
  • Mixer & FX:
    This section features a four channel mixer with stereo, close, mid, and far microphones – stereo being a combination of the three aforementioned as a RAM-friendly option – with toggle on/off controls and panning sliders. Below, we have a parametric EQ with three bands, a compressor, a low pass filter, and a convolution reverb with 100 different impulses helping add some ambience, which works great for presets with shorter release times. There’s also a Transfer Settings feature that allows users to copy the settings in the mixer section to other instruments. For some reason, this feature does not work when trying to copy the settings of a section to a solo instrument, nor the opposite.

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt Player 5 or higher. Kontakt is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

This collection is an excellent choice as it offers a lush sound, great sound-shaping tools, a fair number of articulations and impulse responses, and both Solo and Ensemble options. Its weaknesses can be easily overcome, although it requires patience and spending some time tweaking the presets and effects to get the sound you need.

11. Native Instruments Pharlight (Voice-Based Synth For Vocal Soundscapes)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Pharlight is an innovative pad sound generator from the makers of Kontakt and is frequently utilized by cinematic composers.

Pharlight has a granular engine built from the ground up and a variety of audio sources. The granulated sounds are routed via several effect processors and modulators to produce dynamic and immersive soundscapes. 

It also has a sample layer that you can use to add background noises, envelope attacks, tonal centering (for atonal soundscapes), and pads to the mix.

Most of the sound sources in this library are vocal sounds choreographed to perform well with granular synths. These include invented phrases, noise samples, beatboxing, and choirs.

The main focus is on ensuring that the sources have spectral variations. It provides a variety of sounds for the granular synth to utilize.

Key Features:

  • More Than A Library
    Besides its built-in sample library, you can import wav, aif, and ncw audio files into Pharlight to use them as sound sources. Of course, you can use the custom sample as either a sample waveform or in the granular synth. Furthermore, Pharlight finds the audio sample’s root key automatically, making manipulation easier than ever. Note that sounds with a large range of frequency content tend to sound best.
  • Grain Page
    On this page, you’ll find the Grain Layer. It is essentially a granular synth that cuts the sound source into tiny “grains” and plays them back, altering the order, stretching them, etc. Pharlight lets you adjust the grain size, interval, playing position, range and tuning to customize the generated sound. It also has an amp envelope.
  • Sample Page
    As you probably guessed already, the Sample page features the sample layer. It functions like a typical sampler, allowing you to load lengthy sounds such as vinyl noise or even a single-cycle waveform. Pitch adjustments, start offset, filters, filter envelope, and amp envelope allow you to manipulate the sample playback.
  • Effects Page
    Each of the two layers has its own effect section on the Effects page. Additionally, effects that apply globally are in the Master section. You’ll find reverb, delay, drive, tape saturation, guitar amps, tube distortion, and compressors for mixing your sounds. And finally, it also features an XY modulator that’s great for live performance.
PHARLIGHT Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.2.0 or Kontakt Player 6.2.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Pharlight is best suited for creating atmospheric sounds like pads, textures, sound effects, and sometimes even leads. It uses granular synthesis alongside sample playback to generate its sound. Furthermore, most of the presets utilize the XY modulator so that you can perform live playing them.

The built-in samples are mostly vocal sounds, although they pretty much don’t sound anything like the choirs we’re used to. Still, the voices help add a somewhat organic vibe to the synth-like sound of the library. And I also like how it allows you to use custom samples.

Related Reading:

Top 6 Choir VST Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (+ Freebies)

12. Native Instruments Mysteria (Vocal Based Synth 2)

More Info & Price 

Native Instruments Mysteria - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Mysteria is a distinct and immersive vocal/choir library excellent for scoring films and trailers.

Native Instruments and Galaxy Instruments have crafted something genuinely unique and incredible with Mysteria. It has you covered whether you want to evoke a sense of terror, wonder, dread, or ethereal beauty. It uses a variety of choir “clusters” that you can mix and manipulate to produce highly expressive sounds. Depending on the needs, the clusters include recordings of elegant harmonies or chaotic discord.

Thanks to its unique and inviting interface design, you can start with calm and beautiful sounds while smoothly transitioning into the unsettling chaos of dissonant voices. Furthermore, quick automation results in stark changes that act like impact percussions. Similarly, processed, hybrid sounds add an even more distinct quality to Mysteria’s abundant sound palette.

Key Features:

  • Layers
    Mysteria features two layers, each capable of loading a sound. You can then morph between them using an XY-pad on the interface. Horizontal movement on the pad morphs between the two layers, whereas vertical movements add modulation and intensity changes in most presets. However, when making custom patches, you can control what changes occur with the pad movements in the Effects Page.
  • Incredible Recordings
    Mysteria employs four choirs in its recordings.
    These include an epic 48-singer choir, a 24-female singers alto/soprano choir, a 24-male singers tenor/bass choir, and a modern quartet choir. On top of contemporary recordings of the choir, it also features strange vocal techniques, melodic lines, whispers, body noises, feet stomps, breathings, etc. These provide a large variety of sounds to use in your scores.
  • Source Page
    A small waveform icon at the bottom of the user interface opens the Source Page. Here, you can change the fundamental parameters like amp envelope, pan, tuning, mic variations, etc. The settings vary depending on the preset types loaded in each instrument layer. Speaking of which, there are two kinds of presets: Atmosphere and Cluster. The prior features atonal sounds like whispering and stomping, whereas the latter uses tonal sounds like melodic lines. Furthermore, this page allows you to split the two layers across your keyboard, letting you play a layer at a time.
  • Effects Page
    On this page, you can add effect processors on each layer. These effects include an EQ, Space reverb, Replika delay, and a “Mod FX.” Under Mod FX, you’ll find six effects, and, as I mentioned earlier, you can modulate these using the XY-pad. The six Mod FX include Hacker, Mutate, Color, Drive, Stereo, and Phaser. Here, Hacker is an LFO-based processor, Mutate features unusual convolution effects, and Color changes the tone of your sound. The rest are self-explanatory.
MYSTERIA Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.2.0 or Kontakt Player 6.2.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you often compose film scores or enjoy making cinematic music, Mysteria is a truly useful instrument. It evokes emotions harnessing the human voice and hybrid synths as sound sources. There are over 800 sound sources, 600 layer-presets, and 350 presets. Most of the presets and samples are best suited for horror, fantasy, drama, and mystery themes.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022

13. Output Substance (Bass Engine)

More Info & Price 

Output Substance - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

With Substance, gone are the days of layering multiple samples and synths to achieve your perfect low-end rumble.

Substance is a complete bass sound designing instrument featuring built-in samples of real-life acoustic instruments and dirty analog synth sounds. On the main page of the user interface, you will find a peculiar layout of three instrument layers, their controls, and macro faders that let you customize the sound quickly.

And you can also assign the macros to a MIDI CC to control them with your MIDI controller. You’ll find the power buttons to mute/enable the layers at the center of the layout. Moving out a step will lead you to the volume of each of the layers. Next, you can select various sound sources by clicking on the source name.

Outside of this section, you’ll see the category of the sound source you’ve chosen, and the logo represents the same. On the outer edge of the circular layout, you’ll find four macro faders, which differ based on the preset or your assignments.

Key Features:

  • Edit Page
    You’ll find the three layers and their various controls on the Edit page. Each layer has a volume envelope, pan knob, stereo width control, tune/transpose, and sample start offset. Similarly, you can also enable monophonic/polyphonic mode and legato. For further customization, you’ll find the key range, legato glide time, and velocity sensitivity in the Advanced tab at the bottom of the Edit page. These features are essential for creating 808-style gliding bass in electronic music, hip-hop, trap, etc.
  • Mixing
    There are three pages dedicated to mixing in this library: EQ, Filter, and FX. The EQ page features a 3-band EQ per layer and one more for the global output. You can choose either shelf or peak mode for the low and high bands. Similarly, the Filter page contains a multi-mode filter for each layer and a high-pass and low-pass filter for the global output. Furthermore, it also has a filter envelope.
    Next, you will find six effect processors per layer on the FX page. These effects include distortion, motion (chorus/phaser/flanger), pitch, compressor, delay, and reverb. Similarly, the global FX section has distortion, compressor, delay, and reverb.
  • Rhythm Page
    The Rhythm page contains a single LFO or a step-sequencer. When one of them is activated, you can start “sending” various parameters into the LFO/sequencer to modulate them. You can do so by using the upper half of the Rhythm page. Here, you’ll find volume, bite, cutoff, and resonance under each layer. And you’ll also find high-pass cut and resonance, drive, tone, and low-pass cut and resonance under the Global Sends section. If you wish to modulate one of them, turn up or down the respective fader to make it modulate positively or negatively.
  • Arpeggiator
    Substance has a built-in arpeggiator with twelve types of playback styles. These include pedal tone, up, down, up-down, down-up, random, chord (polyphonic), four zigzags, and as played. You can also use a step sequencer to control the velocity of each note in the arpeggio. Similarly, other controls include octave selection, gate, swing, rate, etc.
SUBSTANCE by Output - Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.8.1 (NOT free Kontakt Player). Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Substance is a handy tool if you often make music with bass at the forefront like trap, hip-hop, and even house. Similarly, it features interesting acoustic basses, including low brass sections, contrabass pizzicato, bass guitars, etc. When mixing these sounds with the electronic counterparts, I found the results excellent for sci-fi/action trailer music and film SFX design too. Furthermore, there are plenty of controls for customizing the presets.

That said, I would have loved to see a sample import feature that let me use custom sounds for mixing with the library’s samples. In a way, the lack of this feature defeats the library’s purpose, which is to help people avoid tedious sound layering.

However, the built-in sounds are perfectly adequate in most cases. Hence, I recommend you give it a try.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Sub Bass Plugins 2022 For Producers (Best Low-End Tools)

14. Native Instruments Symphony Series Percussion (Orchestral Percussions)

More Info & Price

A library that provides depth and versatility with its vast collection of orchestral percussions.

This library boasts a vast amount of 55 instruments featured. Recorded at Studio 22, Budapest, with the collaboration of Sonuscore, this collection offers flexibility with all the instruments it includes as well as the tools for shaping the timbre and performance.

Its GUI is simple and intuitive and, combined with the articulations, a large number of samples and the drum head resonance simulation, provide the users with a detailed and authentic sound with ease.

Key Features:

DHRS:
Making a virtual instrument is not an easy task consdering the recording of the samples, as exhaustive as it can get, is the easy part compared to what comes next, the programing of the samples to imitate a real performance. With that in mind, this library uses Drum Head Resonance Simulation (DHRS), a unique sampling and playback system that switches intelligently between samples of beating on a still drum head and a resonating drum head to simulate a real-life performance.

5 Microphones:
To ensure quality, clarity and authenticity, this library – like the rest of its counterparts in the Symphony Series – was recorded using close, mid, and far microphones, capturing not only the instruments but also the natural reverberation of the studio. But additionally, a spot mic was added to the mix – making a total of 5 channels – to give the users the choice to accentuate any instrument they desire and prevent it from being lost or just cut through the rest of the orchestra besides just balancing distance and placement.

55 Instruments:
With a whopping number of 55 instruments, SSP offers a wide variety of both classic and exotic instruments, including bass drums, snares, toms, timpani, cymbals, celesta, vibraphone, crotales, glockenspiels, jawbones, rain sticks, gongs, chimes, tamtams, and many, many more. These instruments are grouped into 6 categories: Drums, Tuned Percussion, Cymbals, Metal, Wood, and Kits, of which the latter offers 7 sub-categories where some of the instruments of other categories are grouped differently for a commodity like Big Hits, Cymbals, Snares, Toms, and Orchestral Percussion, while others include other instruments like FX Drones and Toys; and the Big Hits combines several of the instruments for impactful segments of a piece. 

Drums:
As the drums are the main reason for anyone looking for an orchestral percussion library, most of the effort and attention to detail was put into recording, sampling, and programming them, making sure they offer the most authentic sound and many options for playability and effects like drum rolls, which are executed superbly. 

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt Player 5 or higher. Kontakt is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

This collection offers a lot of versatility, although many claim it’s not good when it comes to epic drums, which is not entirely true. While it is difficult to achieve that massive cinematic sound, with a good balance of the 4 microphone channels – or maybe just using the close and spot mics – and making the right choices with EQ and compression and then adding reverb, that feature can be accomplished. Some instruments are short in number of samples and options for playability, mostly the non-orchestral. On the other hand, the drums take the spotlight, offering a lot of detail and options.

15. Native Instruments Electric Vintage (Electric Guitar)

More Info & Price 

Native Instrument’s Electric Vintage is a capable guitar library that lets you play rhythm and lead.

Electric Vintage faithfully reproduces the sound of the Fender Telecaster, one of the most popular electric guitars of the late 1950s. It has a flexible engine that can play lead melodies and dynamic strums with an extensive library of patterns. You’ll find hand-played strums, arpeggios, and riffs in the pattern library.

The single-coil pickups produce a nasally, twangy tone that made the Telecaster stand out throughout history. And the recordings in the Electric Vintage library accurately capture the tone. Furthermore, while the library is a natural fit for funk and pop, it also shines in hip-hop, rock, and EDM music.

Tweaking the built-in virtual amp and effects results in a large variety of tones.

Key Features:

  • Rhythm Patterns
    There are 231 patterns in the library, which span various genres. Strumming, open and muted chords, riffs, arpeggios, etc., let you choose the style you need for your Similarly, changing the chord voicing (fret position) opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can also assign key switches to each pattern and play them in various orders to create custom rhythms.
  • Playing Melodies
    Electric Vintage comes with two instruments. The first is for playing rhythms, whereas the second is for playing melodies. Furthermore, you can also combine the melodies with the rhythm patterns. It results in a dynamic and convincing performance. For playing melodies, there are a variety of articulations available, including open, muted, flageolet, tremolo, and slides, and the ability to bend the strings using the pitch wheel. Similarly, pick your favorite tone by switching between finger and plectrum strokes.
  • Mixing
    Electric Vintage lets you select between the bridge pickup and the neck pickup. And you can also enable doubling to add stereo width. Other settings include muted note length, fret noise, and detuning. Similarly, you can add effects to mix your guitar sound further. The Amps & FX Browser allows you to select effects like distortion pedal, EQ, compressor, reverb, delay, modulation, and tape effect. Additionally, you can select amp simulations and cabinets to add color to your tones.
ELECTRIC VINTAGE Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.5.2 or Kontakt Player 6.5.2. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Sound-wise, it’s difficult to fault Electric Vintage. It reproduces the Telecaster sound well, and it features a range of effects and settings to configure your sound. Similarly, the pattern recordings are clean and highly usable.

Furthermore, the pattern browser lets you play a pattern on your keyboard, and the library will automatically find the matching style for you.

16. Vir2 Instruments MOJO 2: Horn Section 2.0 (Horn Instrument)

More Info & Price 

Vir2 Instruments MOJO 2: Horn Section 2.0 - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Mojo 2 is a collection of deeply-sampled brass and reed instruments with excellent features for realistic performances.

Vir2 is one of the most known sampled instrument developers producing a variety of instruments, from mallets to guitars, and they have undoubtedly nailed the recording and programming in Mojo 2. It’s a brass library ideal for jazz, march-style music, beguine, funk, big band, pop, etc.

It features various legato modes that make playing solo parts effortless while keeping everything sounding natural.

The library features seventeen sampled instruments, including trumpet, muted trumpet, piccolo trumpet, muted piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, muted flugelhorn, French horn, muted French horn, clarinet, baritone sax, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, bass trombone, muted bass trombone, trombone, and muted trombone.

Each horn features three round robins and four velocity layers for the ultimate realism.

Key Features:

  • Era
    Mojo 2 comes with four era-presets: modern, retro (60s – 70s), vintage 1 (40s – 50s), and vintage 2 (20s – 30s). It changes the tone of the recordings and adds noise to simulate the vintage eras. So, whether you’re writing a dramatic piece for a modern film score or a vintage horn part for a piece calling back to Louis Armstrong’s masterful melodies, Mojo 2 has you covered.
  • Legato
    Mojo 2 features both true legato and running legato. True legato makes a smooth change from one note to another when you’re performing. It’s one of the vital parts of realistic instrument performance. Similarly, running legato makes the instrument “run” from one note to another by playing the notes in-between consecutively. It’s also a common technique in horn performance.
  • Mixing
    First, the library’s Mixer page provides you with three mic positions: close, near, and room. These help you adjust the raw tone of the horns. Furthermore, it also allows you to adjust the number of players from one to ten per instrument with auto-divisi. Similarly, you can change the humanization and stereo spread of the ensemble.
    Additionally, the Effects page lets you add nine effects to process your horn sound. These are the effects included: EQ, cabinet, stereo width, saturation, tape saturation, compressor, limiter, delay, and reverb. Each effect features an on/off toggle switch, detailed parameters, and presets.
  • Mapping Page
    The last page in the library’s user interface is the Mapping Page. On this page, you’ll find the thirteen articulations of the instrument. And you can select the method you wish to use for switching between them. The most common way is to use key switches, but you may also use velocity. This page also lets you select the key switch note, velocity value, etc. Similarly, you’ll also find the MIDI CC assignments for various parameters.
In-Depth 2.0 Walkthrough | MOJO 2: Horn Section

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.8.1 or Kontakt Player 5.8.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.11 or higher 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Mojo 2 is a comprehensive horn ensemble instrument that covers just about every need a composer could have. Each instrument has thirteen articulations, including sustain, staccato, stabs, bend down, octave run down & up, doits, rise to hit, shakes, trills, swells, crescendos, and falls.

Furthermore, the era presets help you effortlessly achieve a vintage or modern sound. So, if you often require horn sounds in your composition, you should go ahead and try its demo for sure.

17. Native Instruments Straylight (Modern Soundscapes & Transitions)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Straylight is yet another granular synth-based cinematic sound designing tool on my list.

Ambient soundscapes, strange textures, and enveloping pad sounds are essential in film, TV, and game scores or trailers. Straylight aims to use a granular synth engine mixed with a sample player to generate organic yet superficial sounds fit for everything from post-apocalyptic sci-fi and action to moody thrillers.

The most powerful part of the library is its sample library. The sound sources include everything, from simple string ensembles to off-the-wall ideas like rubbing a rubber ball on a glass surface. The resulting library features over 360 distinct sound sources for granular and sampler layers.

Furthermore, if you are short on time, you can find your perfect sound from over 300 presets.

Key Features:

  • Customize
    Like Pharlight, this library also allows you to load custom samples in both the grain and sample layers. The best sounds to use in the grain layer are those with a lot of frequency content. The more content there is, the more the synth can utilize. As for the sample layer, you can pretty much use anything. However, ensuring that the two complement one another results in a delightful result.
  • Granular Engine
    Clicking on Grain reveals the page where you’ll find Straylight’s granular synth. As mentioned in the previous libraries, a granular synth divides a sound source into small segments called grains. And on this page, you can adjust the grains’ duration, fades, level, pitch, playback order, speed, etc. Furthermore, you’ll also find an amp envelope on this page.
  • Sample Player
    The Sample page features the sample layer, which provides parameters to shape and manipulate the playback of the sample. These parameters include tuning, start offset, a filter, filter envelope, and an amp envelope. Furthermore, when you load a custom sample on this page or the Grain page, Kontakt automatically detects the root note for you.
  • Effects Page
    You can apply effects to each of the two layers I’ve described above on this page. There are four effect slots for each layer, and you can choose from nine effects. These effects include delay, drive, dynamics, EQ, filter, gater, modulation, reverb, and utility (stereo imager).
    Like the layer effects, you can also load four of them in the Master FX section. Furthermore, the library features a separate Send FX section, where you’ll find a global delay and reverb. You can also control the amount sent from the Grain and Sample layers in this section.
Let's Play: Straylight from Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.2.0 or Kontakt Player 6.2.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Featuring over 450 presets, Straylight is a vast library of cinematic sounds. The sounds are categorized into atmosphere, pad, lead, transition, keys, effects, subs, and pulses. Furthermore, you can create new sounds by loading custom samples from your collection.

Often, sounds created using granular synths are unique and utterly distinct from the original source. So, make sure you try even the sounds you’d least expect to sound good!

18. Native Instruments Analog Dreams (Modern & Vintage Vibes Synth)

More Info & Price 

Native Instruments Analog Dreams - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Combine the timeless sounds of esteemed hardware synthesizers with modern processing and creative effects.

Analog Dreams utilizes recordings from custom-built sounds of classic hardware synths as its sound source. And with contemporary processing, you’ll find a robust collection of retro-futuristic sounds perfect for electronic music subgenres and even scoring films.

Movies like Tron, The Terminator, and Blade Runner relied on synths and processing to invent their distinguished sounds. Now, you can too with Analog Dreams.

Powerful sound editing capabilities and bespoke effects chains provide more flexibility and inspiration for individuals who want to delve further into sound designing. Similarly, you’ll also find an analog-style sequencer in Analog Dreams, which can generate intricate melodic and rhythmic patterns.

If you feel stuck, try the randomize option to see where it leads.

Key Features:

  • Factory Presets
    The library includes 150 snapshots or presets organized into five categories: bass, FX, keys, pads, and plucks. These presets employ the raw sounds of legendary vintage synthesizers and present them in a contemporary context. It does so by using effects, modulation, and layering. Furthermore, the presets are sure to showcase the capability of the Analog Dreams and help inspire you to create new sounds.
  • Sound View
    If the core functionalities of the main user interface aren’t enough for you, try the Sound View. On this page, you will find all the controls related to selecting and manipulating your sound sources. The controls include tuning, pan, volume, bit-crush, multi-mode filter, modulation envelope, amp envelope, and two LFOs. Furthermore, you can edit each layer separately or use Layer Link to edit them simultaneously.
  • FX View
    Analog Dreams provides an EQ per layer and a global effect section, where you can load up to six effects from Kontakt’s collection. The effects include Choral ensemble, Flair comb modulation, Phasis modulator, Replika delay, bus compressor, etc. After enabling the effects, you can reorder the chain and save the chain as a preset to use in another library instance.
  • Sequencer & Macros
    Of course, no instrument inspired by vintage gear would be complete without a sequencer. Analog Dreams provides a 16-step sequencer that lets you create musical phrases, modulate the velocity and macros parameters. To select the macros, you will need to open the Macros View. Here, you can assign up to twelve parameters to each of the six macros. And each parameter can have a separate min/max range and a shaper curve to change the knob behavior.
ANALOG DREAMS demo and walkthrough (FREE right now!)

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.0 or Kontakt Player 6.6.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you are enthusiastic about the sounds of iconic hardware synths, Analog Dreams should provide you with a lot of inspiration. The presets range from mellow keys to massive bass sounds, making the library appropriate for various genres from pop and EDM to film scores and New Age.

Furthermore, it offers ample control over the sound design, making the library more like a synth than a sample-based instrument. And the low price helps make it a value for money too.

19. Strezov Sampling Jade Orchestra (Asian Ethnic Instrument)

More Info & Price 

Strezov Sampling Jade Orchestra - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Jade Orchestra is an ethnic orchestral collection of Chinese instruments and Mongolian choirs.

Co-produced with Seth Tsui, a conductor, the library includes over fifty instruments with over a hundred patches. The primary instrument categories are bowed string ensembles/solo, plucked strings, vocals, woodwinds, percussion, and pad sounds.

Furthermore, while most of the sounds are predominantly from China, other Asian sounds such as the Mongolian Longsong quartet, Moorin-Khuur, and the Japanese Shakuhachi are also present.

This library is best suited for film score composers who find themselves working on Asian-themed films, where musical localization is necessary. Similarly, you might also find the sounds useful to add peculiarity to an archetypal orchestra or even a pop song.

Key Features:

  • Performance
    Jade Ethnic Orchestra, like the rest of Strezov Sampling’s instruments, has exceptional playability owing to its true legato recording and scripting. It lets you play pieces with flawlessly connected notes that sound like you played them on a real stringed instrument rather than a keyboard. True legato is also available in the choir/voice patches.
    Similarly, the instruments in the library also provide multiple articulations. Most of the stringed instruments provide legato, tremolo, staccato, and pizzicato. Key switches let you switch between them. Likewise, bends, harmonics, and tremolo are available for plucked strings. And it features a syllable builder for natural choir performance. You can save your “lyrics” in the syllable builder to use in another instance of the library.
  • Mic Mixing
    Strezov Samplings used three mic placements to record the instruments: near, Decca, and hall. Decca Tree is the most typical method for recording orchestral instruments, as you may know. In this setup, three microphones are used to record the stereo features and the center sound. The collection includes a range of tailored convolution reverbs in addition to the original chamber hall sound (from Sofia Session Studio).
  • Comprehensive
    With over 110 GB of compressed sample content, Jade Ethnic Orchestra offers deep round robins and multiple dynamic layers, in addition to what is apparent in the recording, like articulations and mic placements. They add to the organic and natural feel of the instruments. Furthermore, other features like polyphonic legato and the proprietary X3M percussive engine provide even more possibilities in performance.
Jade Ethnic Orchestra - "Shenlong" PLAYTHROUGH by Jean-Gabriel Raynaud

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.7.1 or Kontakt Player 5.7.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you’re looking to add the flair of Chinese and other Asian instruments to your music, the Jade Ethnic Orchestra provides a straightforward way to get started.

Furthermore, each instrument is multi-sampled and well-scripted, making it one of the best ethnic sound libraries yet. If it sounds like something you need, do give it a thorough try.

Related Reading:

Kirk Hunter Diamond Symphony Orchestra – Best Budget Orchestra?

20. Native Instruments MIDDLE EAST (Ethnic Library)

More Info & Price

Middle East captures the sounds of Arabic, Turkish, and Persian music in a remarkable collection of melodic and percussive sampled instruments.

The sound of Middle Eastern music is probably one of the most commonly used sets for film and game scores. It has become a staple to add peculiarity to a character or location, whether or not it has anything to do with the Middle East! And in Native Instrument’s take on these familiar sounds, the library seeks to remain as authentic and natural as possible.

Key Features:

  • Instruments
    Spotlight Collection: Middle East features three sections of instruments: ensembles, percussion, and melodic. Ensembles include three patches: one with five melodic instruments, one with a percussion ensemble, and one with a complete string group. Similarly, the Percussion category features single Middle Eastern percussion instruments with more detail than the percussion ensemble preset. And finally, the Melodic category features single melodic instruments with key switches for ornaments and patterns. In total, there are thirteen percussion instruments and eight melodic instruments.
  • Patterns
    The library features twelve patterns and phrases per instrument. These are authentic performances in MIDI format, which can be loaded and manipulated on the Perform page. You can trigger these patterns and phrases using the lowest mapped octave on your MIDI keyboard. The editing controls include sync, playback rate, tempo, etc.
  • Mixer Page
    The Mixer Page lets you control the volume, pan, effect send, and three fixed effects per channel. The three effects include an EQ, a drive knob, and a tone knob. The latter applies a low-pass filter when turned to the left and a high-pass when turned to the right. Furthermore, there is a separate reverb channel, which is a convolution reverb with five different spaces. The send knob on the instrument and master channel sends the dry sound into this reverb.
Spotlight Collection: MIDDLE EAST Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.1 or Kontakt Player 6.6.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Native Instruments Middle East is a comprehensive library of Middle Eastern instruments and patterns. There are twenty-seven instrument presets, 248 snapshots/presets, and 1,488 MIDI patterns and phrases.

Whether you’re scoring a film or writing a pop song with an ethnic touch, the sounds and patterns from this library are sure to inspire you.

5 Extra Libraries:

1. Artistry Audio Scorpio (Motion Synth/Sequencer)

More Info & Price 

Artistry Audio Scorpio - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Scorpio is a synth library featuring sounds ranging from delicate bell-like tones and daunting basslines.

Scorpio combines synths with traditional instruments using granular synthesis to attain its powerful library of sounds ideal for modern scoring, dance music, electronica, New Age, etc. It features a comprehensive browser that lets you effortlessly find the sound you need.

Furthermore, you can customize the sounds easily in real-time using the XY-pad and macros on the main page of the user interface. Of course, you can also dive into the instrument by exploring its various pages and options to get a deeper level of control.

Based on the sounds in this library, I suggest the library for scoring sci-fi/action films, games, and trailers. Similarly, electronic music like EDM, New Age electronica, etc., will benefit from its evolving pads, arpeggios, and pulsating textures.

Key Features:

  • Sources
    The library has two layers or “sources” labeled A and B. You can click on the source name to open the source browser, where you’ll find the sounds in the library. The sounds have five categories: keys & mallets, plucks, bass & strings, brass, and synths & pads. You’ll find processed acoustic sounds like marimba, celesta, vibraphones, strings, etc., and pure synth sounds in the list. You can combine the two sources to produce exciting and intricate textures by changing their volumes.
  • Edit
    You can edit each source by going to the Edit page. Here, you will see the waveform of the sample you have selected. And you can change stereo width, panning, volume, tuning, amp envelope, etc., using various modules. Next, you can choose the engine type of the source: Play or Grains. Selecting Grains enables the granular synthesizer that subdivides the sample into small parts called grains. Similarly, you can add a filter and modulate it with an envelope.
    Below the source editing modules, you’ll find three sub-panels. Let’s check them out:
  • Layer FX
    Each layer has four effect slots
    . In these slots, you can load a variety of effects, including a filter, super GT, S-compressor, limiter, transient processor, EQ, tape saturation, dirt, drive, cat, delay, cabinet, cry-wah, Lo-Fi, several reverbs, chorus, phaser, and flanger. Each of these effect processors has various parameters that you can customize to change the sound.
  • Motion
    This panel lets you add further motion to the sound using two kinds of modulation: an LFO and a step-sequencer. The modulation targets include each source’s volume, pan, filter cutoff, pitch, and the FX send for each of the four slots. Each target has a slider next to its label that lets you add modulation positively or negatively.
  • Master FX
    The Master FX page works very similarly to the Layer FX page. The difference is that the Master FX applies to both sources. Like in Layer FX, you can choose up to four effects. And these effects are an excellent way to polish your sound and make them better suited for mixing with your music.
  • Arpeggiator
    After the Edit page, you’ll find the Arp page. You can enable the main arpeggiator on this page, change its speed, playback order, swing, etc. And you can adjust each note’s velocity, octave, gate, probability, stutter, and transpose using a step sequencer. These parameters help make your arpeggio patterns sound dynamic and exciting.
Scorpio // Artistry Audio - Overview

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.6.1 (NOT free Kontakt Player). Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Scorpio offers a range of inspiring sounds out of the box with a distinct style and character. The sounds vary from clean acoustic patches to aggressive synth samples ideal for EDM and trailers. Although the sounds are never really mellow – this instrument is best suited for vigorous styles of music.

Furthermore, if you are into sound designing, the ample number of source samples is sure to delight you. And the library is straightforward to use, but it can also go in-depth in detail when you need it.

2. Splash Sound Epic Percussion V3 (Epic Percussions)

More Info & Price 

Splash Sound Epic Percussion V3 - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

As the name suggests, Epic Percussion 3 provides a collection of aggressive and driving percussions perfect for trailers and film scores.

There are seventeen single-drum patches and three kits in this library. Furthermore, you’ll find 560 built-in rhythm loops that get you started quickly. Besides the sounds, the library features a straightforward library that makes sound designing intuitive. Let’s take a closer look at everything included in this library:

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive Library
    The drums in this library include bass drums, taiko ensembles, epic toms, march snares, steel drums, African drums, oriental percussion, Cuban drums, ceramic doumbeks, nagado, sticks and blocks, tambourines, shakers, cymbals, and bells. And the kits are Marching Kit, Epic Kit, and Ethnic Kit, each of which uses a collection of individual drum sounds. Whether you’re making typical trailer music or a score with some fundamental ethnic vibe, Epic Percussion 3 has you covered. As a side note, make sure you localize your scores appropriately.
  • Mixing
    Epic Percussion 3 features three mic positions: close, hall, and room. You can adjust the level of each on the main page of the interface. Furthermore, you can add effects and use the built-in “epicness” knob that mixes synthesized percussion samples for a more aggressive and gritty sound.
  • Rhythm
    The library features 560 built-in MIDI loops, and the Rhythm page lets you make basic customizations. You can switch the loops, change the rhythm type from straight to triplets, customize the loop’s tempo (half, normal, and double speed), and add time/velocity humanization. The latter helps you create convincing performances when using loops for sketching your percussion parts.
Epic Percussion 3 KONTAKT - Fast Walkthrough - New Cinematic Drums Library

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.8.0 (NOT free Kontakt Player). Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Epic Percussion 3 provides a comprehensive set of percussive instruments for most kinds of film/trailer production. The sound quality is decent, and it also features 560 inspiring loops. Furthermore, its proprietary “epicness” knob lets you add aggressiveness to your percussions with a single twist of a knob. Overall, it feels like an excellent value for its price.

3. Native Instruments Cloud Supply (Versatile Synth)

More Info & Price 

Native Instruments Cloud Supply - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Producing trap and hip-hop beats requires a variety of sounds from mellow keys to organs, and that’s where Cloud Supply specializes.

Designed in collaboration with Young Snipe, a Grammy-award-winning producer, Cloud Supply features a variety of sounds ranging from keys and leads to plucks and organs. It also contains features like resampling and effect processors that simplify applying distinctive twists to the available sounds.

Hence, you can get as thorough as you want or use the presets for rapid results.

Key Features:

  • Presets
    In Cloud Supply, you’ll find 150 snapshots or presets. The presets are divided into eight categories: FX, Keys, Keysplits, Lead, Mallet, Organ, Pad, and Pluck. They’re made to span a wide range of genres, including trap, hip-hop, grime, drill, and R&B. Some of the sounds could also come in handy for producing pop and ambient music.
  • Sound Editor
    The library features two layers or sound sources. And the Sound Editor is where you select and modify the sources. You can adjust the tune, pan, volume, apply Lo-Fi effects, filters, and modulate using an envelope and LFO. Furthermore, you can edit both layers simultaneously by activating Layer Link.
  • Effect Processing
    Cloud Supply comes with an array of effect processors and six FX slots that apply globally to both sound layers. It also features an EQ per layer. In the effect slots, you can load a reverb, delay, saturation, chorus, amp emulation, etc. Once you have loaded the effect processors you want, you can change their order and save the chain as FX presets. It lets you open a chain in another patch without any manual effort.
  • Sequencer
    Cloud Supply features a 16-step sequencer with six lanes for modulation. The controls are similar to analog hardware and contain controls to adjust the rate, direction, and swing. Furthermore, you can apply the sequencer to both layers or only one of them. It’s an excellent way to produce rhythmic parts without writing the notes yourself.
Native Instruments CLOUD SUPPLY Kontakt Play Series

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 6.2.0 or Kontakt Player 6.2.0. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Cloud Supply is best suited for smokey trap and hip-hop music. It provides a comprehensive collection for beatmakers who already have drum and bass samples. However, it could also come in handy for producing pop music.

The sounds are mellow and soft, making them excellent backing keys or pads. Still, it’s not the most versatile instrument. So, make sure you have a look at the trial before you purchase it.

4. Strezov Sampling Balkan Ethnic Orchestra (Eastern European Collection)

More Info & Price 

Strezov Sampling Balkan Ethnic Orchestra - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

Bring in the fresh, characterful sounds from Eastern Europe with Balkan Ethnic Orchestra.

It’s safe to say that Strezov Sampling’s take on the Balkan sounds is one of the best and most comprehensive ethnic sound libraries ever made. Balkan Ethnic Orchestra features over forty Eastern European soloists. And the variety is enough to make convincing Eastern European music. Or, of course, you could use it to add an ethnic touch to your contemporary compositions.

The library contains five segments or categories that define Balkan music. The first is the Band category, featuring brass instruments, double bass, guitar, and accordion. Then, the second is the Choir category with four singers.

Next, the Ethnic category features vast variations of woodwinds, voice, stringed instruments, plucked instruments, etc. And the last two categories are Pads and Percussions.

Key Features:

  • Mic Positions
    Balkan Ethnic Orchestra features two microphone positions: close and hall. In addition to being recorded with high-end recording equipment, you are also provided with custom reverb impulse responses. If you wish to try the convolution reverb, I would recommend disabling the hall mic (with Sofia Session Studio’s reverb). It helps avoid phase cancelation.
  • Performance
    The instruments feature true legato, which helps keep the patches playable and expressive. Furthermore, the quartet choir features true polyphonic legato for ten syllables at three speeds. And it employs a separate layer of “shake sustain singing” for all patches. It’s an attribute you’ll find in certain regional sounds.
  • Deep Sampling
    All of the instruments have round robins and multiple dynamic layers. Furthermore, you’ll find various ornamented short and long articulations for all instruments. The careful recording, excellent scripting, and straightforward user interface make for an enriching experience when using this library.
Balkan Ethnic Orchestra: A New Flavour For Producers

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.7.1 or Kontakt Player 5.7.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

There aren’t many Kontakt libraries dedicated to the sound of Eastern Europe. So, I find it fortunate how deeply and carefully sampled the Balkan Ethnic Orchestra is. It sounds dynamic, authentic, and of high quality.

The moment you open the library, you’ll be transported away into the midst of these talented performance artists. I highly suggest the library if you want to add more colors to your sound palette.

5. Strezov Sampling Sambhala Textural Orchestra (Scoring Toolkit)

More Info & Price

Strezov Sampling Sambhala Textural Orchestra - Top 20 Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals, Sequencers...) | integraudio.com

This library aims to be a collection of unique scoring tools with a vast library of sounds from various acoustic and electronic instruments.

The name Sambhala comes from the mythical Buddhist kingdom that is said to exist somewhere in the Himalayas and the Gobi Desert. And likewise, Sambhala Textural Orchestra features sounds from different world instruments, percussion ensembles, choirs, orchestra string, and synthesizers curated for film, TV, and game scoring.

It works particularly well when used alongside a standard orchestra in a score to create a beautiful soundscape of various instruments. You’ll find instruments perfect for fantasy films/games that sound like The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Brave, etc.

Key Features:

  • Patches
    Sambhala Textural Orchestra contains 34 patches, split into six categories: bowed strings, percussion, plucked strings, sparks, voices, and woodwinds. The patches in the percussions, plucked strings, and voices categories contain different articulations that are included as either key switches or mapped separately.
  • Mixing
    The library offers three microphone positions: Close, Decca, and Hall. Decca Tree utilizes three microphone setups to capture the middle of an ensemble and the stereo information. The Mixer section lets you control the volume of each. In the same section, you’ll also find Legato, Overlap, and Releases options for some patches.
    Legato turns legato transitions on/off, overlap cuts off the previous note/chord immediately when you play another note, and releases enable the sound of acoustic releases.
  • Elements
    There are five ambient sound effects that you can enable to create unique and exciting patches. These are named after the elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. You can enable or disable these and control their volume. Furthermore, you can also reverse the sound effect by clicking on the button.
  • Effects
    Finally, there are a few effect processors that apply on all three mic channels. These effects include a filter, compressor, EQ, delay, and convolution reverb. Click on the logo of each of the effects to open its edit parameters. Note that all of the features I’ve mentioned are on a single page. So, using the library is very straightforward.
Sambhala Textural Orchestra Walkthrough video

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt 5.7.1 or Kontakt Player 5.7.1. Kontakt requires Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

While the Sambhala Textural Orchestra library may not be comprehensive enough to score every kind of film scene, it’s still quite versatile considering how it’s designed only for creating soundscapes.

The instruments are drawn from all over the world. So, you’ll find temple bowls, crotales, koto, dulcimer, lyra, sitar, bansuri (Indian bamboo flute), Native American flute, low Irish flute, kaval, etc.

However, even if the sonic variety is credible, I find that many of the instruments lack enough dynamic layers and round-robin samples for playing melodies. Still, if you only intend to use the library for creating soundscapes, the samples are perfectly adequate.

Conclusion

There you have the top 20 Kontakt libraries available today in almost every category. It’s amazing to see how powerful a sample library becomes thanks to scripting. Percussion libraries like Heavyocity Damage 2 and Splash Sound Epic Percussion v3 are essentially virtual percussionists at the tip of your fingers.

Similarly, even if you’ve never played guitar, Native Instruments Electric Vintage lets you perform convincingly using a keyboard or programming. However, the libraries are not just about realism. Instruments like Piano Colors, Straylight, Ashlight, and Analog Dreams present everyday sounds in a completely new way.

Furthermore, my picks for the most comprehensive sets of libraries are Tokyo Scoring Strings, Symphonic Destruction, Mysteria, Vir 2 Instruments Mojo 2, Cloud Supply, and Jade Ethnic Orchestra. Each is for a different kind of use, but they all share one thing in common: they are comprehensive.

And with that, we reach the end of this article. Do let me know which ones you decided to try and your thoughts on them. Happy music-making!

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