Top 20 Instrument VST Plugins For Musicians 2022

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

This article will explore the best VST instrument plugins for musicians in 2022.

The role of a musician has changed drastically in the modern music era. Back in the day, you had to hire session musicians to come and play in a recording studio to record a record.

For better or worse, this has changed with the introduction of VST plugins. Nowadays, you can have any instrument imaginable at your disposal in the form of a VST plugin. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians 2022

1. Arturia Augmented STRINGS (Versatile Strings)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Augmented Strings is a hybrid string software instrument by Arturia.

Arturia is no stranger to innovation, and Augmented Strings is another example of their futuristic vision. It’s a software instrument that uses high-quality sampled string sounds in combination with synthesis to create string sounds that range from traditional to futuristic and leftfield. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Hybrid sound
    The beauty of Augmented Strings lies in its combination of sampling and synthesis. There are countless string options, and you can morph them in multiple ways to create interesting tones that defy traditional orchestral sound design. Having said that, Augmented Strings feels very grounded, so you could easily use it for a typical orchestral score too.
  • Macros
    The main interface is clean and simple, with one big knob and seven macro knobs that help you shape the string sound. It’s very reminiscent of Spitfire’s Labs interface in that way. The big knob is labeled as morph and helps you blend the synthesis engine with the sampling engine. When set at zero, it plays the pure sample recording, and as you increase its value, the morphing engine kicks in to transform and modulate the sample. There are four synthesis engines in total, virtual analog, wavetable, granular, and harmonics. The seven macro knobs are pre-mapped to different parameters, which you can’t change, but they offer accessible performative options. For example, you can easily map them to your MIDI keyboard and use them in a live performance or to record automation in your studio.
  • Layered sound
    Augmented Strings features a multi-engine that allows up to two sound layers. You can stack two completely different string patches and create even richer results. This allows you to experiment and create your signature string sounds that are unique to you and your sensibilities as an artist.
  • Under the hood
    Even though Augmented Strings has a simple interface, it still offers the option of deeper sound design for those who wish to look under the hood. You can open the layers page and dial parameters like LFOs, filters, envelopes, and sequencers. This offers extra sound design possibilities that can help you transform the preset sounds into something fresh and unique. The interface is always appealing, with every parameter clearly labeled. 

Compatibility:

Augmented Strings is available on Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST, AAX, and AU formats, 64-bit only.

Summary:

Augmented Strings is a cool new look at how orchestral instrumentation can fit into modern electronic music.  The sample library is of the highest quality, and the four synthesis engines offer a wide range of sonic flexibility when it comes to bending the string samples to create something unusual.

Overall, the instrument is excellent for producers looking for an affordable string sample library while also interested in creating unique string sounds that feel fresh and exciting.

Related Readings:

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

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

2. Waves CR8 Creative Sampler (Flexible Sampler)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

CR8 Creative Sampler is a sampler instrument by Waves.

Waves promises to deliver the most fun and creative sampler in a software instrument package with CR8. You can turn any sample into a creative instrument by using one of the five different stretching algorithms, load loops and sync them to your project, chop them easily, and identify their root key. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Five stretching algorithms
    CR8 Creative Sampler offers five stretching algorithms to help you achieve different styles of time stretching. Beats, harmonic, melodic, voice, and classic are the options on board and can all add different nuances to a sample you stretch. For example, beats is ideal for percussive and rhythmic elements since it relies on transient recognition, harmonic is ideal for chordal samples, classic is a straightforward time-stretching algorithm, and voice helps preserve the human nature of a vocal when it’s extremely time-stretched.
  • Create instruments instantly
    CR8 Creative Sampler makes creating instruments a very easy affair. For example, you can have a loop you enjoy but wish to arrange in a different key or melody. Then, you can load it in, chop a single note off the loop, crop it, and play it on your keyboard. To make the tedious process of identifying your sample’s key, CR8 offers the suggestive root note button, which will instantly recognize the note of the sample and turn it into the pre-set C4 so you can play it chromatically. Furthermore, you have access to a myriad of different controls and features to turn this single shot sample into a fully fleshed instrument.
  • Advanced sound design
    Once you create the basis of your instrument by sampling a one shot, you can start getting creative by applying different effects and tools to shape it. You have access to four ADSR envelopes, four modulators (which can be LFOs or sequencers), a filter, and MPE controls like velocity, pressure, etc. The interface is similar to all modern software instruments and works with a drag and drop system, much like Serum or Pigments. Therefore, it’s very easy to pick up and understand how it works and how to make the most of it.
  • Layer sounds
    You can easily layer samples inside CR8 Creative Sampler to create unique sounds. You can layer up to eight different sounds. Once you have created an instrument, you can enter the mixer panel and duplicate it, creating another identical layer. Then, you can load a different sample, adjust the control parameters, or even start with a fresh layer. The way CR8 approaches layering sounds is very intuitive, so once you get started, you’ll have a hard time stopping.
  • Chop samples
    Creating and layering instruments is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what CR8 can do. You can use it more straightforwardly when it comes to sampling by chopping up a sample and mapping different chops to different keys on your keyboard. You can also change each chop’s individual pitch, velocity, pitch range, and reverse.
  • Cosmos and presets
    Another excellent feature of CR8 Creative Sampler is the inclusion of Cosmos, an AI-powered sample finder. Cosmos will make locating and identifying your samples much easier and much more organized. The instrument also comes with over 800 presets and over 2500 samples to play with. It’s a lot of content, especially considering the low price point.

Compatibility:

CR8 Creative Sampler is available on Windows 10 – 11 and macOS 10.15.7, 11.6.5, and 12.4 in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

CR8 Creative Sampler is an extremely fun and versatile sampler by Waves. It can help you create instruments out of any sampler with unprecedented ease, chop samples easily, create complex patches using LFOs, sequencers, and envelopes, and layer different sound sources to create rich sounds.

I’d recommend it to any producer, from the seasoned pro who needs a powerhouse of a sampler to the beginner who needs an easy but versatile tool to understand the ins and outs of sampling.

Related Reading:

Top 6 Sampler VST Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

3. Tracktion Novum By Dawesome (Advanced Synth)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Novum is a granular & cross-synthesis instrument by Tracktion.

Novum takes the idea of a traditional sampler and flips it on its head by asking the question: what if we could break down a sample into different timbral instruments? Inside Novum, you can load any sample and hear it in different iterations. It also includes a powerful granular synthesis engine, a versatile modulation system, and the ability to edit the sound’s timbre and temporal evolution. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Decompose
    Novum’s main interface is centered around the waveform display, representing the loaded sample. Once you load a sample, it will be decomposed and split into six different layers, which you can turn on or off. The layers are frequency-based, and you can achieve interesting results once you start combining them with layers of other sounds. For example, if you load a drum loop, you can change the timbre of the six layers by dragging in a different sample from the preset section on the left-hand side, for example, a violin. Now, the drum loop will play with the violin’s timbre, creating a hybrid between the two that’s both rhythmic and melodic.
  • Expressive sounds
    Novum is ideal for producers and artists who seek expressive and evocative sounds. Once you load a sample, you can freeze it at a certain point and play it chromatically as a new instrument. To create expressive patches, you can load MPE modulation, such as aftertouch. You can map the aftertouch control on any parameter. The effects included on Novum are rich and creative. The filter, for example, works as a regular filter until you start messing with the syntify control. Syntify will add overtones to your sound, basically doing the opposite of a filter cutoff which takes away overtones. If you map this to aftertouch, you get evolving and expressive instruments.
  • Timbre flower and modulation
    The timbre flower is included in the timbre panel, and it’s a gorgeous visualization of how each layer’s timbre works. It offers a lot of spectral variation, and by clicking on one of its pedals, you create a completely different timbre for the corresponding sound layer. Furthermore, you can add LFOs and envelopes to the mix to modulate any parameter. The LFOs come with an array of different shapes, but you can still draw your own. Step sequencers are also on board to create rhythmic patterns and, most importantly, use other modulators to affect each step.
  • Granular synthesis
    Any sound you load into Novum can be processed granularly. You can access the grains panel to do so, and there you’ll find a set of controls that will help you create rich and beautiful textures. For example, the density control can make the grains slower or faster, the size makes longer or shorter and faster grains, skew can reverse the grains, and time jitter can spread the grains throughout the entire sample length to create rich textures. The grains can also be linked to the tempo of your host’s BPM. The most interesting part of Novum is that the granular engine can work separately on each of the six sound layers, meaning that you can have different granular instruments playing the same sound but in different timbres. 

Compatibility:

Novum is available on Windows 10 or higher, and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST3 and AU formats.

Summary:

Novum offers a very unique and creative approach to sampling. The idea of treating audio as a prism that splits it into its fundamental elements is fresh and works beautifully in a sound design context.

You can decompose any sample into different layers and affect it in countless ways. I still haven’t mentioned the countless presets on board that you can drag onto your samples to create different instruments.

I would recommend Novum to experienced producers and sound designers who seek new instruments that experimentally tackle sound design.

Related Reading:

Top 11 Granular Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

4. Lunacy Audio CUBE (Sample-Based Instrument)

More Info & Price 

CUBE is a creative sample-based virtual instrument by Lunacy Audio.

CUBE can seem intimidating or overwhelming at first glance, but if you forget about the gorgeous and complex-looking interface, it’s easy to understand. Essentially it’s a platform where you can morph between different samples. It includes hundreds of sampled instruments you can assign to the cube, multiple effects, and a complex modulation system.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Morph between sounds
    CUBE is mainly a platform that helps you morph between different samples. The interface is centered around a cube, each corner representing a different sound. You can move an orb around the cube to morph between these sounds, and the closer you are to a corner, the louder that corresponding sound will be. In addition, the interface is 3D, meaning you can have up to eight sounds inside the cube. Finally, you can control the orb with external hardware for even more interactive performances.
  • Effects
    CUBE can also work as a multi-effects platform with its selection of eight different effects, including filter, EQ, distortion, compressor, chorus, delay, reverb, and limiter. So you can create lush reverb sounds or gritty and aggressive distortion effects with great ease. The interface is always gorgeous and provides plenty of visual feedback on how the effects process the sound.
  • Modulation and macros
    The modulation panel hosts the powerful modulation system inside CUBE. Here you can find four LFOs and a macro controller. The modulation system uses a drag and drop setup to assign modulators to different parameters, which makes setting it up easy. There are plenty of LFO shapes included, while you can choose to sync them to your host’s tempo or run them freely.
  • Sample editor and utilities
    The sounds panel gives you access to detailed sample editing and processing parameters. This is where you can fine-tune your chosen samples by adjusting start and end points, loop times, reverse, monophonic, or stereo width controls. You can also add an arpeggiator which will help you create interesting results, especially if you morph a regular sound with an arpeggiated one. Finally, CUBE offers a few utility controls to make it perform smoother, like the eco mode, which saves CPU load and minimizes RAM usage. 

Compatibility:

CUBE is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

CUBE is a fun tool to use when morphing between sounds. The interface is eye-catching and original while a bit intense on your CPU.

The ability to load eight different samples and morph between them offers insane sound design results, and the ability to process each sound individually makes CUBE a standout instrument in its field.

Related Reading:

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

5. ADSR Sounds Drum Machine (Drum Machine)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Drum Machine is a drum machine and drum processor plugin instrument by ADSR Sounds.

ADSR Sounds designed a software instrument that can do anything you want regarding drums and percussion. Its 16 pads allow you to create custom drum kits, and the onboard processing helps you shape and polish your drum sounds in the box. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Get grooving
    Drum Machine is about enabling you to create the best rhythms possible conveniently and easily. There are 16 pads onto which you can load different drum one shots. Each pad corresponds to a different MIDI note on your keyboard so you can easily perform your drums.
  • Sequencer
    If you don’t particularly enjoy finger drumming or performing your drums with a MIDI keyboard, there is a built-in sequencer that can help you draw your drum patterns. Each step is colored so that it matches the pad it represents, and you can create up to 16 different patterns. The best part about this is that you can drag the pattern into your host DAW, and it will create a MIDI clip with that information.
  • Sound processing
    Drum Machine allows in-depth sound design and sculpting. Every one of the 16 pads has its own chain of effects that you can add to process it. These include options like filters, EQ, compressor, distortion, and phaser. Additionally, you can pitch each sample, adjust start and end points, and change the velocity of each pad. Finally, there is a mixer page with a traditional mixer setup where you can mute and solo different drum samples, change their volume, and adjust their panning.
  • Split sounds
    A very innovative feature included in Drum Machine is the split option. This is where you can split one drum sample into its transient and body information. Once you do so, you can process them individually and have different effects on the transient of a kick drum and different processing on its body. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities regarding sound design and creative drum processing.

Compatibility:

Drum Machine is available on Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14 in VST3, AU, and Standalone formats.

Summary:

Drum Machine is a very versatile instrument for creating rhythms and processing your drums. The interface is user-friendly, and setting everything up couldn’t be easier.

There’s also a staggering content size of drum kits, samples, fx, and presets that you can access once you purchase Drum Machine. These are all great reasons for beginners to invest in it.

Related Reading:

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)

6 Best Drum Machines 2022 For Studio & Live Performance

6. SubLab XL (Bass & Sub Bass Instrument)

More Info & Price

SubLab XL is a bass and 808 instrument by FAW.

The original SubLab was a creative software instrument designed specifically for creating deep bass sounds and 808s. It featured the innovative X-Sub technology by FAW, which guaranteed sub integrity on all sound systems. The XL version includes many more features and fresher sounds.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Synth engine
    The beauty of SubLab lies in its split into three different engines. The synth engine is where you get to design the bulk of the bass sound. You can choose between sinewave, triangle, square, saw, and the new super oscillator. Once you’ve selected the sound shape of your choice, you can set the pitch and detune your sound. As a result, you can achieve subtle and deep bass sounds or buzzy and supersaws with great ease. The super oscillator is an excellent addition to SubLab, and it’s great for creating buzzy sounds with a deep low end.
  • Sample engine
    The sample engine is where you can load different samples to handle the sound’s transient. You can load a kick drum or any other punchy sound that will be the transient of your 808. Additionally, you can choose to sidechain the synth engine to the sample engine so that the transient comes through loud and clear.
  • X-Sub
    The main appeal of SubLab is X-Sub, the psychoacoustic synth engine that guarantees the integrity of your sub bass no matter what playback system it’s heard on. It basically adds a consistent sublayer underneath your bass sound. Of course, you can adjust how much of it you wish to add, but overall it’s very balanced and can help your bass sound stand out and hit hard anywhere, from earbuds and laptop speakers to club sound systems.
  • Effects and modulation
    SubLab offers a few different tools for sound design. You get one LFO that can be assigned to two parameters simultaneously. It can be synced to your host’s BPM or run in Hz and has sine, square, saw, triangle, and noise shapes. Furthermore, there is a filter, perfect for sculpting your high end and boosting your low end with the right amount of resonance. Finally, you get access to new effects, like the waveshaper, which comes with sine fold and linear fold options. This is perfect for creating interesting harmonics on your bass sound so that it cuts through the mix. There are also tape distortion effects with hiss and wobble controls and a bit crusher with decimation and bit mode controls.
  • Macros
    Another great new feature of SubLab XL is the macros. You get two macros that you can assign to various parameters. Once done, you can use a single knob to modulate multiple parameters. This is a great way to turn a basic 808 into something unique and original that suits your music. There is also a captivating macro window with excellent graphics that represent the way the macro behaves with the bass sound.

Compatibility:

SubLab XL is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

SubLab XL is a great upgrade to the original SubLab. The new super engine offers a new range of bass sounds that can feel synth-like than 808s. The new effects are creative and fun to play with, while everything else that made the original so good is still effective.

If you’re a contemporary hip hop and trap producer, SubLab XL could be the one instrument you need to cover your bass duties.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Sub Bass Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools)

Top 12 Studio Subwoofers For Music Producers 2022 (Best Value)

How To Avoid & Remove Clicks In Sub Bass? Full Guide

How Loud Should Subbass Be?

7. Arturia Piano V3 (Piano Collection)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Piano V3 is a piano software instrument by Arturia.

The piano is one of the most popular, used, and familiar sounds in music history. However, finding a good one in the digital era is often challenging, especially if you’re after a realistic and authentic sound.

Arturia has created Piano V3 to capture the most authentic piano sounds possible through physical modeling, from mechanical to sonic behavior. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Wide range of sounds
    Piano V3 doesn’t focus on a single piano sound. Instead, Arturia was interested in creating an instrument that accurately portrays various pianos styles. Therefore, with Piano V3, you can access American, Japanese, or German Grand Pianos, Jazz, Classical, or Pop Upright Pianos, plucked Grand Piano, or experimental options like the Glass and Metal Grand Pianos. You can achieve all sorts of sounds and feelings with these models, from shimmery Pop piano sounds to punchy and dark hip hop sounds.
  • No samples
    When you invest in a high-quality piano instrument, you’ll need many gigabytes of space on your hard drive to cover the large sample libraries that come with it. Fortunately, Arturia’s Piano V3 is not sampled-based. Instead, it uses physical modeling to simulate a real piano’s physics and acoustics in real-time. This complex algorithm guarantees consistency and authenticity in your piano sounds.
  • Tweak the sound
    Even though the piano sounds are excellent and authentic, you can still adjust and tweak certain parameters to make them fit your productions. For example, you can adjust the brightness knob for brighter or gloomier sounds, the timbre knob for different sonic and harmonic characteristics, the dynamics knob for a punchier or more sustained feel, and the stereo width knob for customizing your stereo field. Each of these knobs can transform the sound drastically, giving you much room to play with.
  • Dig deeper
    You can dig deeper with the studio page if the above knobs are insufficient to get the piano sound just right. Here, you can adjust the mic positions and create realistic spaces for your pianos to exist in with amazing reverb algorithms. Effects like EQ, compressor, and preamp are further tools you can use to customize your sound. Finally, you can adjust the noises that come through the hammer and pedals, the age of the strings, as well as their exact tuning and acoustic settings like the lid position, soundboard resonance, and sympathetic resonance.

Compatibility:

Piano V3 is available on Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST, AAX, and AU formats, 64-bit only.

Summary:

Piano V3 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an authentic and realistic piano software instrument. The interface is very simple, with few controls on the main page that help you tweak the basic characteristics of the sound, while the 12 piano models offer plenty of variation and sonic flexibility.

The fact that you can dig deep and adjust some of the more niche controls, like the age of the strings or the soundboard resonance, is a testament to how accurate and meticulously designed this instrument is.

Related Reading:

Top 12 FREE Piano Plugins 2022 That Sounds Like Paid

Top 8 Piano VST Plugins For Musicians In 2022

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

11 Best Rhodes Plugins 2022 (+5 FREE Plugins)

8. VSL Synchron Brass (Advanced Brass)

More Info & Price

Synchron Brass is a brass software instrument by VSL. 

Synchron Brass is a sampled-based instrument. This means that each instrument and each note you hear was played by real musicians and captured by the engineers in various ways to ensure sonic flexibility and versatility.

The VSL sampling sessions took 20 years, and now all those years of brass sampling are packaged inside this rich instrument.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Variety of brass instruments
    Synchron Brass covers a wide range of brass instruments as a brass instrument. It offers two solo trumpets and French horns, as well as two different ensembles for each of them. There are also tenor trombones, bass trombones, cimbasso, bass tuba, tenor trombone ensemble, low brass ensemble, trombone ensemble of nine players, and a giant Tutti brass ensemble of 28 players. Each of these instruments was sampled meticulously by different players who performed different articulations so that you can have access to the most authentic and realistic performances possible.
  • Timbre adjust
    The timbre adjust is one of the most useful features of Synchron Brass since it offers huge expression and realism to your brass sounds. Brass instruments are known for their subtle volume and timbre variations which the player masterfully performs in a live context. The timbre adjust control can help you achieve that through the CC8 control. It also allows you to perform dynamic changes in a single velocity layer and create articulation variants.
  • Microphone positions
    The engineers of VSL utilized a complex setup while running the recording sessions for Synchron Brass, which included nine separate microphone configurations. This provides us with a wide range of room options, and each mic captures different nuances in both timbre and performance. All instruments were recorded through a close, a mid, a Decca tree, and surround microphones, while the solo horns were recorded by additional condenser mics placed behind the musicians. There was also a room mic that captured the ambiance of the room. All of these are available as separate channels in the onboard mixer. With all these mics at your disposal, you can create lush brass instruments, dark and gloomy ones, or mix your brass sounds in surround or 5.1.
  • Recorded at Synchron Stage Vienna
    The recording sessions for Synchron Brass happened at the Syncron scoring stage in the heart of Vienna. The stage offers cutting-edge technology and the best possible acoustics, guaranteeing the best quality for your brass instruments. As a result, the stage has a unique sound that many composers seek in their film scores, like Hans Zimmer’s production company for “The Crown” and Lorne Balfe for “Ad Astra.” 

Compatibility:

Synchron Brass is available on Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST, AAX, and AU formats.

Summary:

Synchron Brass is a gorgeous brass software instrument that samples a wide range of brass instruments beautifully. The sound is realistic and evocative, while the user has control over various parameters to customize the sound.

The different mic positions, articulations, and variety of instruments and ensembles ensure you’ll never feel limited when using Synchron Brass. I’d recommend this instrument to any composer or producer who works with classical instrumentation regularly.

Related Reading:

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

9. Eric Whitacre Choir (Choirs)

More Info & Price

Eric Whitacre Choir is a choir software instrument by Spitfire Audio.

The human voice is perhaps the most evocative and complex instrument we possess. Therefore, creating a software instrument that captures its many nuances is challenging to say the least.

Spitfire Audio worked with Grammy winner Eric Whitacre who crafted this instrument by recording an elite ensemble of singers. The result is an instrument that does justice to the human voice and can enrich any music production.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Sampled like a full orchestra
    Spitfire Audio says that they treated the recording sessions for Eric Whitacre Choir as an orchestra recording session, something that makes sense once you start exploring this instrument. 22 singers were recorded during these sessions, six basses, five tenors, five alto, and six sopranoes. Their singing covers 170 different techniques, and as we’ll see later on, you can create compositions that flow through them and evolve.
  • Evo Grid
    Evo Grid is Spitfire’s unique technology, the common threat between their instruments that makes them unique and functional. Evo Grid works wonders with the Eric Whitacre Choir. It recognizes vocal samples that evolve over time and arranges them across the keyboard. As you play different chords or melodies, the different samples will evolve and move through different articulations and singing techniques, ensuring your compositions are never still or predictable. It’s a very useful feature to have that ensures interesting results at all times.
  • Wide range of sounds
    A choir might sound like a cheesy or predictable sound choice for some people, but this one covers 200GB worth of material, so you better believe there is a huge range of content and variation here. You can access different classic choir articulations, like rhythmic nah, swells of mmm or ooh, microtonal shifts, and pitch clashes. All these are excellent for any classical music context and ideal for modern composers.

Compatibility:

Eric Whitacre Choir is available on Windows and macOS in VST, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Eric Whitacre Choir is a deeply detailed library dedicated to the human voice as an instrument. The detail that went into the recording sessions and their quality are testaments to Spitfire’s drive for perfection.

There is a staggering amount of information and audio to experiment with while staying authentic and realistic to what a real orchestral choir can achieve. I would recommend this instrument to film and game composers since I think it best suits classical applications.

Related Reading:

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

10. Arturia B-3 V (Organ)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

B-3 V is an organ software instrument by Arturia.

Part of Arturia’s V collection, which focuses on recreations of legendary synths and instruments, B-3 V is an accurate depiction of a tonewheel organ. It also emulates the rotary speaker found on classic organ instruments for an even more authentic experience.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Gritty and vintage sound
    B-3 V captures the unpredictable nature of a tonewheel organ and rotary speaker. Due to its mechanics, the real instrument had a gritty and unpredictable sound that would introduce pitch and tone variations. Arturia captures all of that thanks to the TAE technology that precisely models the components of a tonewheel organ. As a result, it sounds and feels as close to the original as possible while carrying some tricks.
  • Next generation organ
    Even though Arturia accurately models the original tonewheel organ, they added a bunch of cool features that make B-3 V unique and able to compete with any modern software instrument. For example, you have a step sequencer, an LFO, and a multi-point envelope which help you create complex patches and add movement and interest to your organ sounds. In addition, you can sync the modulators to your host’s BPM or run them in ms for even more unpredictable effects.
  • Under the panel
    In the old days, you’d need a soldering iron to get under the hood of the original organ. Instead, Arturia lets you control parameters like the tonewheel profile and the tonewheel leakage. You can also set decay times for the harmonic percussion sound that’s synonymous with the signature sound of the tonewheel organ. Finally, you can mix the upper and lower manuals, the percussion click, and the background noise to create as clean or as dirty patches as you’d like.
  • Effects
    The effects in B-3 V help you achieve vibrant and warm patches or dirty and experimental ones. You have access to a mechanical scanner vibrato which is modeled faithfully after the original. There is also an excellent sounding chorus effect for creating thicker and wider sounds. Finally, the rotary speaker is the one that steals the show. Its half-moon switches help you achieve slow and fast tremolo speeds. This effect is responsible for the spacious sound you’d expect from a tonewheel organ and achieves a faithful recreation of the original.

Compatibility:

B-3 V is available on Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST, AAX, and AU formats.

Summary:

B-3 V is one of the most faithful software recreations of a tonewheel organ. Whether you are into Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop, or Reggae, this instrument will give you exactly what you’d expect from an organ instrument and much more.

But, of course, if you’re into any other genre of music, you’d appreciate the tweakability of this instrument and its ability to create emotional and evocative patches.

Related Reading:

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

11. Addictive Drums 2 (Complete Drums Collection)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Addictive Drums 2 is a drum production software instrument designed by XLN audio.

This instrument is designed to bring to you drum sounds played by real drummers. In addition, you can access countless kits and performances by professional drummers that will humanize your drum patterns and bring life to your songs.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Multiple packs
    XLN gives you access to different categories of drum packs. The first of them is ADpaks. They are expansions that contain complete drum kits and presets. There is a vast collection of drum kits that you’ll have access to once you purchase Addictive Drums. The kits cater to many different genres and can help you expand your knowledge of styles you’re not familiar with. Whether you’re into Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Trap, or Experimental music, you’ll surely find something to inspire you.
  • Mix and match
    An inspiring feature of Addictive Drums is the ability to mix and match sounds between different kits. For example, you can use a mallet from an Experimental kit, a kick and snare from a Hip Hop kit, and rides from a Rock kit to create your hybrid drum kit. You can also easily mix your drums inside Addictive Drums through the handy onboard mixer. In addition, you can mute and solo sounds, mix the volume, and adjust the panning.
  • MIDIpaks and Kitpiece paks
    MIDIpaks are dedicated to beats. These outlets allow you to insert your own MIDI patterns and create beats through countless kits. However, you still have access to organic humanized grooves recorded by professional drummers, which is a great way to set your electronic beats apart from the rest and add life and unpredictability to them. The Kitpiece Paks are dedicated to single percussion instruments that XLN audio finds inspiring and unique. These short flavor bombs are meant to add spice and character to your drum kits.
  • Effects
    Addictive Drums 2 is not just a drum playback device but rather a drum production studio. Therefore, plenty of effects are included to help you sculpt your sounds and shape them into the ideal version you have in mind. You can add effects to each of the sounds in your kit, with some of the choices being EQ, shaper, reverb, delay, tape compression, and vinyl noise. You can also adjust settings like the beater on the kick drum membrane to get different sounds and variations. 

Compatibility:

Addictive Drums 2 is available on Windows 7 and higher and macOS 10.10 or higher in VST, AU, or AAX formats.

Summary:

Addictive Drums 2 is a very detailed and in-depth drum production studio. You have access to countless kits, sounds, and humanized grooves performed by professional players.

The fact is that this instrument can cater to any producer of any genre and experience level since it’s easy to use and contains so much content that you can produce any style of music with. 

Related Reading:

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins In 2022 (And FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

12. Algonaut Atlas 2 (Sample Browser/Kit Creator/Drum Sequencer)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Atlas 2 is a sample manager, kit creator, and sample processor by Algonaut. 

It can perform a lot of different tasks that are meant to save you time while producing music. For example, Atlas can help you organize your samples, locate the ones you need at no time, create custom drum kits, perform advanced sample editing, and even create sequences. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Drum manager
    Technically you can use Atlas on any sample, but it shines on drums. This software instrument is powered by an AI algorithm that scans your sample directory and organizes them based on their sonic characteristics. Everything is color-coded, so you can easily distinguish the kicks from the hats and snares. These are all located on pages called maps. You can create as many maps as possible and recall them on the fly. This is an excellent time hack that will help you save time from mindlessly scrolling through hundreds of one-shots just to find something that might fit your song.
  • Create kits
    Atlas 2 helps you create custom kits with minimal effort. You can manually select your own sounds from one of the maps you’ve created or let Atlas create one that you find inspiring. Atlas also embeds your drum kit samples inside the project file, so there’s no way of losing them if you ever open the project on a different machine. No more missing files. Atlas is compatible with Ableton and OS, which means you can drag multiple drum pads and load them into an Ableton drum rack. Finally, it supports hardware machines like Launchpad and Maschine, so you can adjust its layout to match those devices.
  • Sample editing
    You can process and edit your samples in detail through Atlas’ editor. You have access to a volume ADSR envelope and a utility menu with controls like velocity, pitch, time, pan, and pan mirror. In addition, you can set the sample in reverse, flip the phase, add a low pass or high pass filter, and tune it in detail.
  • Sequencer
    The sequencer inside Atlas is very advanced and offers many different features. For example, you can create sequences and export them to either MIDI or audio files. It’s built for drums and combines both a sequencer grid and a piano roll. You can easily import MIDI files, revert to previous patterns, copy and paste them to create variations, and create triplets or trills for variation. Another great feature is the polyrhythm functionality of the sequencer, but also the MIDI out feature, which enables Atlas to play other instruments, plugins, or hardware.  

Compatibility:

Atlas 2 is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 – 12 in VST, VST3, and AU formats.

Summary:

Atlas 2 can be many things. On the one hand, it can be a utility plugin for organizing and locating your drums and samples.

On the other hand, it can be a powerful performance and composition tool for creating complex rhythmic patterns. Whatever of the two you are after, Atlas can deliver on a high level.

Related Reading:

Top 15 Plugins 2022 For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

13. AAS Chromaphone 3 (Unique Two-Voice Synthesizer)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Chromaphone 3 is an acoustic object synthesizer by AAS.

Chromaphone 3 uses physical modeling to create sounds of different timbres. It utilizes a variety of different resonators to achieve this, and it’s one of the most realistic-sounding physical modeling plugins on the market. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Resonators
    The heart of Chromaphone’s sound design process is the selection of resonators. There are eight resonators to choose from, including beam, marimba, close tube, plate, drumhead, membrane, open tube, and string. In addition, you can mix and match different resonators to create new instruments. The idea is that you can carve wood, stretch the skin, or shape metal to create realistic instruments that are fresh and original. Finally, Chromaphone is the first software synthesizer to fully maximize the effects of coupling resonators. Its unique technology ensures that the energy flow between a pair of different resonators is captured and portrayed in this instrument.
  • Effects
    Chromaphone allows you to complete the sound design process in the box with its onboard effects. You can access effects like delay, reverb, phaser, chorus, tremolo, flanger, guitar amp, and distortion, to name a few. They are all located in a dedicated effects panel and can be set up in chains, allowing extra sound design flexibility.
  • Great for live performances
    Chromaphone 3 adds a feature that makes it extremely playable, the macros. Each layer has four performance macros corresponding to modulation, timbre, effect, and envelope. They are all designed to be mapped on any MIDI keyboard or controller easily and conveniently, so you can start tweaking at no time. In addition, the response happens in real-time, so there’s minimal latency, something that’s extremely important when playing live or recording automation.
  • Huge content
    When you purchase Chromaphone 3, you can access a library of extended content that features 421 high-quality presets designed by nine top sound designers. In addition, people like Michel Basque, Adam Pietruszko, and Sean Divine contributed their expertise to design realistic or extremely unique and creative patches. You also get a refurbished sound library version from Chromaphone 2, which amounts to 670 extra sounds

Compatibility:

Chromaphone 3 is available on Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, NKS, and Standalone formats. 

Summary:

Chromaphone is a realistic physical modeling synthesizer that offers a different synthesis style to modern producers and sound engineers. It’s also extremely fun to play with and a great performance tool.

If you wish to create realistic instruments differently by yourself or access countless other instruments designed by professionals, Chromaphone 3 is for you. 

14. IK Multimedia MODO BASS 2 (Bass Guitar Collection)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

MODO BASS 2 is a physically modeled bass instrument by IK Multimedia.

MODO BASS 2 is an expansion of IK Multimedia’s physical modeling collection. It includes a variety of different basses, different articulations, patterns, and new grooves

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Realistic sound
    MODO BASS is the only software instrument that models the entire process of playing a bass. Its unique technology takes into consideration the bass model, pickup type, playing styles, and string parameters like type, age, gauge, number, and tuning, to create a realistic live bass experience. In addition, IK Multimedia thought of every little detail that contributes to a bass instrument’s sound, including playing styles like finger, slap, pick, stroke direction, muting, noise, and pluck position.
  • Analog modeled effects
    Another huge contributor to a bass sound’s character and liveliness is the effect processing. MODO BASS uses analog modeled effects to further establish a realistic sound. You can access tube amplifiers, solid state amplifiers, four different stompbox FX, delay, chorus, compression, distortion, envelope filter, and octaver. The sound quality is amazing, and the character is warm and analog. The effects do an excellent job of complimenting the realistic nature of this bass instrument.
  • 22 different bass models
    MODO BASS 2 includes 22 bass models that can cover any style of music. The models are inspired by some of the most iconic bass instruments of all time, including the Fretless Jazz inspired by the Fender Jaco Pastorious Jazz Bass, Studio Upright inspired by a Jazz style Upright bass, Horn Bass inspired by the Danelectro Longhorn Bass, and Fusion J-Bass inspired by the Fender Marcus Miller Jazz Bass, to name a few. Anything from Jazz, Rock, Pop, Funk, Soul, and RnB can be covered with great detail by MODO BASS 2.
  • Patterns and grooves
    MODO BASS 2 has a patterns section that helps you load different patterns through a menu that uses smart filters to narrow your search by genre, length, song section, time signature, key, and other parameters. The patterns were performed by elite professional bass players and captured for your convenience. The interface is very easy to use, with sound auditioning being extremely easy

Compatibility:

MODO BASS 2 is available on Windows 10 or later and macOS 10.13 or later in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

MODO BASS 2 is probably the most realistic bass software instrument on the market. This physically modeled instrument considers every little detail contributing to a realistic bass sound.

As a result, the effects are warm and pleasant, the patterns and grooves extremely useful, and the workflow smooth. I’d recommend this to the professional producer who’s constantly in need of a realistic bass sound and doesn’t have access to a real player.

Related Reading:

9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

15. Ample Guitar M III (Acoustic Guitar)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Ample Guitar M III is a virtual steel-string guitar instrument by Ample Sound. 

The instrument is sampled based and utilizes 4062 samples from a steel-string guitar. It offers a bunch of different controls and parameters that will help you edit and customize the sound of the guitar.

Plenty of playing styles and patterns are also included to help you achieve realistic compositions.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Realistic sound
    Ample Guitar M III offers a realistic steel-guitar sound with plenty of different playing styles and other features. You can select between sustain, hammer on, legato slide, slide in or out, palm mute, slide guitar, natural harmonic, strum, and popping. All of these are located in the wide range of samples that are included with the instrument and that were recorded by professional players.
  • Patterns
    You can create realistic compositions with Ample Guitar M III through the player tab. Here, you can set up different strumming patterns, and adjust the release time, stroke volume, velocity, and separation. You can also access a handy graph where you can design your strumming patterns. You can select from countless chords and strumming techniques per step to add variation and interest to your compositions. Remember, everything came from a professional recording, so it will always sound excellent. The keys are also tagged on each step so you can stay in key even if you’re not a music theory expert. Finally, you can set swing, quantize, and time signature values through the corresponding knobs.
  • Tab player and articulations
    The tab player included in Ample Guitar M III is excellent at helping you create realistic compositions. You can also set different articulation changes to create even more variation within your patterns. This can help you achieve key switches very conveniently.
  • Effects
    Ample Guitar M III includes a few excellent effects that will help you add space, life, and interest to your guitar sounds. There is a full spectrum parametric equalizer, which looks stunning. You can set up multiple bands and be as surgical as you want to with your cuts and boosts. There are also delay reverb and compression effects. All of them have full-view interfaces that look amazing and can help you craft the sound and stereo field of your guitar sound with extreme precision.

Compatibility:

Ample Guitar M is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Ample Guitar M III is a very useful software instrument for the producer who seeks a realistic guitar sound. It comes with a library of huge content that can help you create guitar compositions for almost any genre.

The effects look and sound amazing, and the tab player can help you craft unique and realistic patterns with convenience.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)

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

16. Ample Guitar LP/Les Paul (Electric Guitar)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Ample Guitar LP is a virtual electric guitar by Ample Sound.

The famous Gibson Les Paul guitar inspired the instrument. Ample Sound actually sampled the real thing and recorded 6128 samples, all of which are included in the Ample Guitar LP. The result is a faithful representation of the Les Paul electric guitar.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Tab player
    Inside Ample Guitar LP, you’ll find a tab player filled with all the popular tablature formats. You can sync it to your host’s tempo and adjust the velocity values, velocity hum, swing value, and strum time. You can also set up custom time signatures and tempos to create any kind of pattern you wish.
  • Strummer
    The strummer page is handy for those who seek inspiration when unsure what to add to their song. You can set up different steps and adjust the key and chord mode of each step. You also have access to the strum time, stroke volume, and a selection of three different humanization knobs that are meant to mellow and add life to your patterns. Finally, you can quantize the strums and control the quantize value, add swing, or modulate the time signature for more interesting results.
  • Guitar Board
    Arguably, the most fun and addictive part of owning an electric guitar is setting up your custom guitar pedal board. Guitar Ample LP has an effects panel with an empty board to which you can add your desired effect pedals. Choose between compressors, octaver, 5-band EQ, chorus, phaser, delay, or reverb to customize and add interest to your guitar sound. There’s also a fun wah pedal which is extremely enjoyable to play with.

Compatibility:

Ample Guitar LP is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Ample Guitar LP is a very realistic depiction of a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. The people at Ample Sound did a great job sampling the real instrument and brought great patterns and grooves performed by professionals inside this software instrument.

The strummer and tab player are the features that steal the show with their playability and attention to detail.

Related Reading:

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

17. Ample Ethno Ukulele 

More Info & Price 

Ample Ethno Ukulele is a ukulele software instrument plugin by Ample Sound.

Another addition on this list by Ample Sound, the Ethno Ukulele plugin, is sampled-based and includes samples recorded from a Kamaka HF-3 uke. The interface is similar to that of previous Ample Sound plugins on this list and features a tab player and an effects page.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Playing styles
    Ample Ethno Uke features plenty of different playing styles, all captured by real performers who brought their knowledge of this instrument to the software version. Choose between palm mute, sustain, natural harmonic, legato slide, hammer on, and pull off. The playing styles can add great variation to your compositions and transform the same pattern into completely different compositions, excellent for those willing to experiment and tweak the different parameters available.
  • Tab player and strummer
    The tab player and the strummer work similarly to those on other Ample Sound plugins. You can set the release time, stereo separation, velocity, strum time, and stroke volume. A plethora of chord choices are available to you at all times, all tagged by key and chord mode. It’s the perfect place for people unfamiliar with advanced music theory. Finally, you can create up to eight different sequences in the same Ample Ethno Ukulele instance while switching between them.
  • Effects
    Ample Ethno Ukulele includes effects similar to those on Ample Guitar M III, with identical delay, EQ, and reverb effects. The interface is gorgeous, and the convolution reverb steals the show with its friendly interface and rich sound.

Compatibility:

Ample Ethno Ukulele is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Ample Ethno Ukulele is a great depiction of a classic ukulele. The interface is what you’d expect from Ample Sound, and the tab player is extremely useful for creating realistic and rich compositions.

Related Reading:

The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

18. Ample Ethno Banjo

More Info & Price 

Ample Ethno Banjo is a virtual Banjo instrument by Ample Sound. 

This instrument samples a Deering Sierra Banjo and comes with a 3.9 GB sample library that’s dedicated to bringing realistic and lively Banjo patterns and compositions into your production routine. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Realistic Banjo sound
    Ample Ethno Banjo is dedicated to bringing you a realistic Banjo sound. It achieves that by sampling a Deering Sierra Banjo extensively. The instrument was recorded by four different microphone types, mono, bridge stereo, body stereo, and neck stereo. You can access each one of them and adjust them to achieve different sonic results that will impact the character of your Banjo.
  • Articulations
    There are nine different articulations inside Ample Ethno Banjo, which are helpful in adding interest and excitement to your Banjo compositions. Choose between sustain, legato slide, palm mute, strum, legato with random length and pitch, natural harmonic, and pop, to name a few. These articulations can be set up on the tab player and can help you switch the vibe of your pattern at any time.
  • Capo and advance bend
    The beauty of a Banjo is how the player bends its notes to create its unmistakable sound. With Ample Ethno Banjo, you can extremely bend one string while the rest play at a regular pitch. The string that’s bent will remain so until it is triggered again, which creates an interesting and realistic effect. There is also a capo algorithm based on a 5-string Banjo capo that offers extra realistic sound.

Compatibility:

Ample Ethno Banjo is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Ample Ethno Banjo is a great instrument for the producer who needs a Banjo instrument in their production. The sample library is extensive and covers a wide range of sounds, articulations, playing styles, strumming styles, and Banjo tones while remaining user-friendly at the same time.

Related Reading:

4 Best Banjo VST Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)

19. Spitfire Audio – Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations (Orchestral Collection)

More Info & Price

Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations is a full orchestral software instrument by Spitfire Audio.

Abbey Road Studio One is probably the most iconic studio room in the world of music composition. This is where some of the most iconic film scores were recorded, from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to Avengers Endgame.

Spitfire Audio teamed up with Abbey Road to record and curate one of the most ambitious orchestral libraries ever put together in a software instrument package. 

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Full orchestra
    Abbey Road One gives you access to a full orchestra with all four rows of instruments, strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. The instruments captured are the ones used by composers the most and include 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8 strings, brass with four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, two bass trombones, one tuba, one contra bass tuba, and one contrabass trombone, and woodwinds with bass clarinet, piccolo, cor anglais, contrabass bassoon, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, and two bassoons. There’s also a good selection of percussion performances played by three players on high-quality percussion instruments.
  • Pre-orchestrated
    Usually, a composer, in order to put together a great score, would need the help of an orchestrator whose job is to split the score into different parts for all different instruments. However, Abbey Road One comes organized into ensembles, which means you can sketch your ideas quickly without worrying about which instrument is playable at certain pitch ranges or how to set up string ensembles properly. The strings are split into high and low, as are the woodwinds. Setting everything up is easy and intuitive, which adds huge value to the playability of this instrument.
  • Extreme control
    Inside Abbey Road One, you can access and edit every little detail so that you can achieve your perfect score. You can select between 69 articulations and up to five dynamic layers. Furthermore, you can customize your sound by adjusting the microphones. Ten microphones were used to capture the orchestra, and you can adjust them at any time, as well as the two mix signals. The microphones used are some of the most iconic in film scoring, including a pair of RM1B microphones recorded through a TG Desk to create a vintage sound. The person responsible for the mix of the orchestra recordings is the four-time Grammy winner sound engineer Simon Rhodes, who mixed the scores for Avatar, Hugo, and Harry Potter.           
  • Perfect for classic sounds
    The most important feature of Abbey Road One is its sound quality and character. This plugin will fulfill your desires if you’re after the sound of classic film scores like Jaws, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Avatar.

Compatibility:

Abbey Road One is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 – OS X in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Abbey Road One is the complete library for orchestral and cinematic music. It captures a full orchestra beautifully without sacrificing sound quality over content size. The amount of detail you have over the different microphones and articulations is enough to allow you precise control over your score. A perfect instrument for the modern composer.

Related Reading:

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

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

20. Native Instruments Kontakt 6 (Advanced Sampler)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Kontakt 6 is a sampler instrument by Native Instruments.

Calling Kontakt 6 a sampler is a disservice to what it can really do. It’s the ultimate sampling platform in music production and has been for a while now. It consists of a massive library of sounds that surpasses 55 GB, and that includes detailed and expressive instruments of all kinds.

Furthermore, you can drag and drop your samples to build your own unique instruments with the help of its powerful editing capabilities.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Sample anything
    Kontakt 6 is more than a sampler; it’s the epitome of what sample-based software instruments can be. It hosts hundreds of realistic and detailed instruments that are sampled-based, and you can bet that some of your favorite artists and producers use it daily. Furthermore, Kontakt hosts instruments from other manufacturers ranging from realistic to full-on experimental and abstract instruments. It’s apparent that you can achieve any sound you seek using Kontakt.
  • Build instruments yourself
    Kontakt is a great place for creative minds to experiment and create new and original sampled instruments. It gives you access to a flexible and high-quality set of editing features that will assist you in creating complex instruments. Kontakt 6 comes with the creator tools, an application that enables instrument creation in a more straightforward way. It includes features like a GUI designer, debugger, and an instrument editor.
  • Wavetable mode
    The wavetable mode is a new feature in Kontakt 6 that enables users to create unusual and experimental instruments. It comes with ready-made wavetables that will get you started instantly, while plenty more are available online. You can layer two or more wavetables and modulate them with LFOs, envelopes, and filters.
  • Play series
    The play series is a new feature in Kontakt 6 and includes three new instruments. They work similarly because they have two sample layers that you can blend with a balance control. In addition, six macro knobs provide easy access to a series of modulation parameters. The macro knobs are built to be easily assigned to hardware knobs and faders, which will enable users to perform them live easily.
  • Hardware integration
    Being a Native Instrument software, Kontakt is fully compatible with all Native Instrument keyboards and hardware MIDI controllers. In addition, all instruments in Kontakt, both NI ones and ones from other manufacturers, allow instant audio previews, tag-based presets, pre-mapped controls, and many other features that offer a smooth workflow. 

Compatibility:

Kontakt 6 is available on Windows 10 or 11 and macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, and 12 in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Kontakt 6 is as good as a sampler can get. Loading in a sample and editing it to great detail is easy, and you can create your own instruments on your way to achieving a unique sound.

In addition to that, you have access to an insane volume of content. Hundreds of instruments and thousands of samples are at your disposal once you own Kontakt 6. 

Related Reading:

Is NI Kontakt 6 Sampler Worth It? (2022 In-Depth Review)

Bonuses:

1. Knif Audio Knifonium (Tube-Driven Synth)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Knifonium is a virtual analog synthesizer by Knif Audio.   

It achieves a unique and authentic analog sound through the 26 vacuum tubes that power it. With two tube-driven oscillators, a ladder filter, and ring modulation, it manages to stand out in the overcrowded virtual analog synth market.

Top 20 VST Instrument Plugins For Musicians | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Faithful to the original
    The original Knifonium is a hardware synthesizer that stands out due to its unmistakable sound and handcrafted hardware units, which are designed meticulously by audio device designer Jonte Knif. The software version of the Knifonium achieves a sonic character that is very close to the original. If you seek analog sounds or an analog synth capable of creating some truly unusual sounds, then Knifonium may be the synth you seek.
  • Extra features
    Knifonium offers features that are not available on the original hardware. It features eight independent voices, which allow extra sonic flexibility and versatility. You can produce atmospheric pads and textures that are wide and lush but simultaneously powered by 208 vacuum tubes. A unison mode, a mid-side, and a stereo spreading feature offer even more control over your stereo field.
  • Effects
    Knifonium offers a carefully curated selection of effects that will help you craft your sounds with even more detail. The effects include a vintage-style phaser, a wave shaper, and an SPL equalizer. You can also add classic effects like digital delays, reverb, chorus, and flanger. The effects are set up in a chain in the form of effects pedals, something that is fun to set up and can offer thousands of possible combinations and results since the order of the pedals affects the sound.

Compatibility:

Knifonium is available on Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 – 12 in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats. 

Summary:

Knifonium is a gorgeous virtual analog synthesizer. It can achieve any sound, from lush atmospheric pads and textures to soaring lead and bottom-heavy bass sounds.

The tubes that power it offers a unique and pleasant sound, while the effects are plenty and can help you polish the sound in the box. An excellent choice for the professional producer who seeks quality analog sound. 

Related Reading:

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022

2. iZotope VocalSynth 2 (Vocoder Synth)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

VocalSynth 2 is a vocal-focused synthesizer by iZotope. 

This instrument is unique in focusing solely on vocal production and processing. It features five blendable creative modules that process vocals differently and can help you achieve a contemporary and high-quality sound.

This instrument may be for you if you enjoy things like talkbox, vocoders, formant-shifted vocals, and over-the-top vocal processing.

Key Features:

  • Five vocal modules
    The main interface of VocalSynth 2 is centered around the five vocal processing modules. Biovox is a module that focuses on vocal characteristics like formants, nasality, and vowel shapes. The vocoder is a classic vocoder effect, while compuvox offers modern bit-crushing effects that help you create robotic voices and glitchy effects. Finally, talkbox works as a traditional talkbox effect, and polyvox helps you create harmonies out of a single vocal line. These modules have their own unique controls and can be blended to your liking to create a single stack of vocals that carries a unique sonic character.
  • Auto mode
    Auto mode allows you to get the fundamentals of your vocal right with minimal effort. While on auto mode, your vocals will be pitched in key with the rest of your song. It will also generate additional harmonies that compliment your main vocal and help you blend all of the modules together.
  • MIDI mode
    The MIDI mode is where you can have even more control over the exact pitch of your vocal. You can route your vocal to a MIDI channel and create MIDI clips with chords or melodies that will trigger your vocal and force it to play those chords or melodies back. It’s a handy tool to own in case you only have a single vocal layer to play with, but you wish to add more details and layers for interest and variation. Finally, it’s the feature to go for if you’re after that classic vocoder sound you’ve heard on most of Daft Punk’s records.
  • Sidechain mode and presets
    The sidechain mode is an interesting mode for creating new and unusual sounds. You can send any audio into VocalSynth 2 to use as a carrier signal. Once you’ve done that, the audio will “talk” as if it were a voice, forcing it to create interesting and unusual sounds. Finally, with VocalSynth 2, you can access four different artist preset banks designed by people like Jonny Hawkins, Computer Magic, KillaGraham, and Deezle. The presets can make your vocals sound super hard and in-your-face or abstract and ethereal.

Compatibility:

VocalSynth 2 is available on Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13.6 – 12.3 x in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

VocalSynth 2 is the ideal vocal processing instrument for the modern producer. If you produce any popular genre of music, you must’ve noticed how vocal processing evolved in the past ten years.

Every popular song features formant shifted vocals or vocoders of some sort. VocalSynth 2 can help you achieve that sound or, even better, create new styles and flavors that will set you apart from the crowd.  

Related Reading:

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins 2022 (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

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