Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries | integraudio.com

Today we’ll learn more about bagpipes and pipes in general, with some great choices for plugins and libraries in 2024.

Bagpipes are unique and captivating musical instruments that have been a part of various cultures for centuries. With their distinctive sound, bagpipes have become synonymous with Scotland and the country’s traditional music. Despite their popularity, many people do not know much about the history of bagpipes and how they work.

In the following section, we will delve into two questions to gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating musical instrument.

Where do Bagpipes Come From?

Bagpipes have a long and varied history, with evidence of similar instruments dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, although in different formats than what we know as the instrument today.

The modern Scottish bagpipes, however, can trace their origins back to the medieval period, with the Great Highland Bagpipes becoming the most widely recognized form of the instrument.

How Do Bagpipes Work?

Bagpipes are wind instruments that consist of a bag filled with air, a blowpipe for inflating the bag, and several pipes or reeds that produce sound. The player uses the arm and the breath to pump air into the bag, which travels through the pipes and has sound.

The player can control the sound by squeezing or relaxing the bag with the arm and finger movements on the chanter, the main pipe that produces the melody. The pipes can be made from various materials, including wood, ivory, and metal, and can have different shapes and sizes to produce different sounds.

In addition to the pipes and air supply, many bagpipes also have a variety of other components, including a chanter (the pipe that produces the melody), drones (pipes that provide a constant background sound), and a reed (a thin piece of material that vibrates to produce sound).

The 7 Best Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024

1. Celtic ERA 2 By Best Service

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The best tool for your Celtic music to come to life.

Celtic ERA 2 is a comprehensive sample library that provides access to the authentic sound of traditional Celtic instruments. Designed for modern music production, this powerful plugin offers a rich and detailed representation of instruments like the Uilleann pipes, Irish flute, Bodhrán, and more.

With a wide range of performance styles, advanced playability controls, and high-quality effects processing, Celtic ERA 2 provides a highly expressive and immersive playing experience

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Samples

The plugin uses high-quality sound samples recorded by professional musicians to achieve the highest level of realism and expressiveness. They were carefully recorded and meticulously processed to provide an authentic and expressive playing experience.

The samples include various playing styles and articulations, allowing you to create a diversified blend of traditional Celtic music performances.

  • The interface

As expected, Celtic ERA 2 features a user-friendly and intuitive interface designed to streamline your workflow and provide quick and easy access to the samples and features you need for your productions.

The interface is designed with simplicity, providing a clean and straightforward layout that allows you to focus on the creative aspects of your music production.

  • Controls

Celtic ERA 2 uses advanced programming techniques to provide a highly expressive and dynamic playing experience. This means that each note played inside the plugin’s user interface screen will resonate just like expected in the real counterpart instrument, with as much naturality.

With real-time control over aspects like articulation, vibrato, dynamics, and more, you can create a truly immersive and authentic playing experience.

  • Instrument collection

The instrument collection included in Celtic ERA 2 is diverse, covering many traditional Celtic instruments. Some of the standout instruments in the collection include fiddles, harps (lever and pedal), accordions, and pipes (Uilleann, Scottish Great Highland, and Border pipes) mostly.

Still, you also get other curious instruments such as bodhran, bouzouki, whistles, and more.

  • Performance styles

The plugin also includes a wide range of performance styles, including traditional and modern playing techniques and various musical genres and moods. You can customize these styles to fit your needs and preferences or create custom styles from scratch. The final sound will be authentic and organic, regardless of the settings you choose.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats and runs in standalone mode.

Summary:

Celtic ERA 2 by Best Service is a comprehensive and versatile sample library that provides access to the authentic sound of traditional Celtic instruments. With a wide range of performance styles, advanced playability controls, and high-quality effects processing, it offers an immersive and expressive playing experience.

The sound library included in the plugin is expertly curated and provides a wealth of options for incorporating the unique sound of these instruments into your musical productions. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, Celtic ERA 2 is an excellent tool for exploring the Celtic world’s rich and diverse musical traditions.

2. Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes

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Get your Uilleann pipe sound nailed instantly.

Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes is a virtual instrument sample library that brings the authentic sound of the Uilleann pipes to your digital audio workstation. Developed by Xtant Audio in collaboration with renowned Uilleann pipes player Dicky Deegan, this plugin offers a highly expressive and immersive playing experience.

The library provides a comprehensive representation of this traditional Celtic instrument. Whether you’re looking to incorporate the unique sound of the Uilleann pipes into your compositions or explore this fascinating instrument, Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes is an essential tool to nail this sound instantly.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Instruments included

Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes library includes various pipes, each recorded with multiple dynamic levels, round-robin samples, and alternate fingerings, providing a realistic and expressive playing experience and allowing you to capture the nuances and subtleties of this complex instrument.

You can expect Uilleann pipes, Irish flutes, Highland pipes, fiddles, and even whistles among the included instruments.

  • Easy interface

The user interface of this extensive sample library is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and access all the features and functions of the plugin.

Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes includes a range of performance parameters, allowing you to customize the sound and behavior of the Uilleann pipes to suit your specific needs by adjusting the volume, tuning, and expression of the instrument.

To create a rich and immersive soundscape, you can do the same with the effects processing, like in reverb and delay. The interface also includes a range of visual aids, such as dynamic displays and performance meters, providing a clear and concise overview of the instrument’s performance.

  • Performance styles

Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes includes a range of performance styles, allowing you to recreate the unique sound and feel of the Uilleann pipes in various musical contexts.

The performance styles include traditional and folk styles, as well as more contemporary and experimental ones, thus providing a versatile range of options for your every production need.

  • Sample library

The sample files in Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes have been recorded with high precision and attention to detail, capturing the rich and complex sound of the Uilleann pipes in all its glory.

The sample files have been recorded at multiple dynamic levels and with alternate fingerings, providing a high degree of realism and expression when playing the instrument.

  • Effects

Effects are often a reliable way to enrich your sound, especially when dealing with sample audio instead of recording the actual instrument.

To get this ambiance nailed as best as possible, Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes comes equipped with a range of high-quality effects fully integrated into the plugin’s interface, allowing you to shape further and enhance the sound of the instrument in your productions.

The included effects include reverb, delay, and other processing tools, providing various options for shaping the instrument’s sound.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Kontakt version 4.2 or higher (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player!)

Summary:

Xtant Audio Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes is a highly expressive and versatile virtual instrument sample library designed to provide a realistic and expressive playing experience for the Uilleann pipes and other Celtic instruments.

With its advanced sample-based synthesis techniques, intuitive performance controls, and high-quality effects processing, Dicky Deegan’s Uilleann Pipes provides a complete solution for adding the unique sound of these pipes to your digital audio productions.

3. Uilleann Pipes by Ilya Efimov Production

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Traditional sounds are at your fingertip’s reach with this curated sample library.

Ilya Efimov Production has some excellent sample libraries with the most diversified instruments covered, and now you can expect to add even more of these unique options to your collection. Uilleann Pipes is a virtual instrument sample library that brings the traditional sound of the Uilleann pipes to your digital audio workstation.

The Uilleann pipes are a type of Irish bagpipe that are unique in their construction and sound and are considered one of the most expressive and versatile of all bagpipes.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Samples

The sample library in Uilleann Pipes features a comprehensive collection of this instrument’s sounds, with 750 samples that cover each note on the instrument, with variations including chanter, drones, and regulators.

The samples were recorded using high-quality microphones and studio equipment, ensuring that the sound was as rich and expressive as in the actual instrument.

  • Articulations

To make your final sound even more realistic than you’d expected, articulations are a mandatory tool. In Uilleann Pipes, there are several articulations to help you with that, including “Staccato,” “Legato” (normal and glissando), “Vibrato,” “Flutter Tonguing,” “Ornamentations” (cuts, strikes, rolls, etc.), “Crescendo,” and “Decrescendo.” They all provide rich and expressive results to your track.

  • Velocity layers

Uilleann Pipes works with velocity layers, which can determine how hard or soft your instrument is played. This is useful for creating more realistic and expressive performances.

The velocity layers respond to your playing in real-time, allowing you to shape the instrument’s sound naturally and intuitivelyYou also have volume configurations that will enable you to add more depth and nuance to your playing. This can be especially useful for emphasizing specific notes or creating more dramatic crescendos and decrescendos.

  • Presets

Life does get easier with presets, and Ilya Efimov Production thought well of that in Uilleann Pipes. These presets showcase the different features and capabilities of the virtual instrument and can be used as starting points for your compositions or performances.

They include various playing styles, from traditional Irish melodies to more modern and experimental sounds, and all can be useful to kick off some inspiration when missing.

  • Effects

Having built-in effects in your virtual instrument sample library is usually a bonus, and they’re present to provide a good ambiance and realism to your music. In Uilleann Pipes, you can use reverb, delay, chorus, and phaser to make your music sound the way you imagined, in a natural or experimental sense.

In addition, the effects can be controlled using the built-in interface, which provides simple, intuitive controls for adjusting the parameters of each effect. This allows you to quickly make changes and fine-tune the effects to suit your specific needs and preferences.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Kontakt version 5.6 or higher (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player!)

Summary:

Uilleann Pipes by Ilya Efimov Production is a powerful virtual instrument sample library offering a comprehensive collection focused on Uilleann pipes, with articulations and presets.

With its advanced velocity layer system, intuitive interface, and built-in effects, this plugin provides an incredibly versatile and authentic-sounding Uilleann pipes experience for musicians and composers of all levels.

Whether you’re looking to add traditional or experimental elements to your sound, Uilleann Pipes offers the tools and flexibility you need to create the perfect sound.

4. UVI World Suite 2 (Including Bagpipes)

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This compendium brings different instruments from all over the glove straight into your DAW.

UVI World Suite 2 is a virtual instrument library that provides a comprehensive collection of world instruments from across the globe. Developed by UVI, a leading provider of high-quality virtual instruments, World Suite 2 offers a vast array of sounds and styles, all recorded with exceptional detail and precision.

With over 60 instruments and 35 GB of samples, World Suite 2 provides diverse sounds, including traditional instruments from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Each instrument is carefully sampled, multi-sampled, and programmed, capturing the essence and character of the original instruments.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Multiple instruments

There are 369 instruments in UVI World Suite 2, and most are not pipes or bagpipes. The instruments that fit this description are bagpipes, shakuhachi, bawu, dizi, and ney. Except for the bagpipes (which we are most familiar with), these instruments come from Japan, China, and Persia, respectively. 

  • Samples

The sample files in UVI World Suite 2 are high-quality recordings of real instruments captured with various microphone positions to give the user different sound options.

The samples are programmed into virtual instruments, so users can play the sounds using a MIDI controller or a computer keyboard effortlessly and with as much quality as if the instrument was recorded.

  • Loops

An easy and effective way to create consistent musical ideas is by applying pre-generated loops in your track. UVI World Suite 2 comes with some of these, including “African rhythms,” more focused on African-style drumming, “Indian Classical Music,” exploring unique rhythmic ideas, “Asian Instruments,” “Middle Eastern Music,” and “Latin American Music.”

Although these may not be ideal for a bagpipe situation, they’re present to give you even more instrumentation options to choose from.

  • Phrases

Similarly to loops, phrases are built-in musical ideas that can inspire you to create new music from scratch. Again, the options are very similar to the loops mentioned above – “African Vocal Phrases,” “Indian Vocal Phrases,” “Asian Vocal Phrases,” “Middle Eastern Vocal Phrases,” and “Latin American Vocal Phrases” – but they can still retain an excellent starting point for anyone looking for inspiration in a new phrase or melody line.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for mac OS 10.14 or higher and Windows 10 or higher, 64-bit. It requires UVI Workstation version 3.0.16 or higher and Falcon version 2.1.1 or higher.

Summary:

UVI World Suite 2 is a comprehensive and versatile tool for music producers and composers who want to incorporate world music into their productions. It offers a unique and creative way to add depth, complexity, and cultural authenticity to your music.

The library features loops, phrases, and samples of traditional and contemporary musical styles, covering regions and cultures such as Africa, India, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, bringing to life unique instruments from the drums, strings, and wind family to life.

However, the bagpipes or pipe choices are very limited, so this may not be the most appropriate choice if you need such instruments.

5. Bolder Sounds Celtic Pipes V2

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The iconic Celtic instruments you need are included in this plain packaging.

Bolder Sounds Celtic Pipes V2 is the second installment of a plugin that provides authentic sounds of the Great Highland Bagpipes, the Irish Uilleann Pipes, and the Scottish small pipes.

This sample library is designed to be a trustworthy device for composers and producers who want to incorporate Celtic music’s distinctive and traditional sounds into their productions. Celtic Pipes V2 offers a collection of high-quality samples recorded from real instruments, providing you with a wide range of expressive and dynamic playing styles.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Playing techniques

The playing techniques are beneficial when recreating an instrument’s sound, even more if they are based on sample files. The plugin includes different playing techniques, such as staccato, legato, and grace notes, that allow you to create various musical expressions and dynamics.

For example, the staccato playing technique involves playing each note sharply and abruptly, while the legato playing technique involves playing notes smoothly and harmoniously. On the other hand, Grace notes are short and ornamented notes used to add embellishments to a performance.

  • Customize your sound

Feel free to design your sound the exact way you want to in Celtic Pipes V2. This way, you can create unique and meaningful melodies that stand out simply by setting parameters like volume, tone, and pitch control, adding effects, setting the velocity response, adjusting the MIDI mapping, and much more.

  • Sample library

Celtic Pipes V2’s sample library provides a collection of high-quality samples recorded from real instruments, giving you access to the distinctive and expressive sounds of the Great Highland Bagpipes, the Irish Uilleann Pipes, and the Scottish small pipes.

The samples were recorded with a high level of detail, capturing the nuances and subtleties of each instrument. This allows you to create realistic and authentic performances, whether composing traditional Celtic music or incorporating these unique sounds into more modern and eclectic styles.

  • Friendly interface

It all starts with how you perceive the controls and parameters in Celtic Pipes V2, and for that, we have a straightforward user interface design that can help you get the most music out of it.

The interface is divided into several sections, each with controls and features that allow you to shape and mold the sound of the instruments to your liking.

One of these sections will enable you to adjust each note’s volume, pitch, and tone, giving you precise control over the final sound and allowing you to create precisely the performance you are looking for.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Kontakt version 3 or higher (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player!)

Summary:

Focusing on the iconic bagpipe sounds from Celtic folkloric culture, Celtic Pipes V2 provides a high-quality sample library that accurately captures the sound of these instruments and a user-friendly interface that allows you to shape and customize the sounds to your liking easily.

Although diverse, this sample library could be updated for even better use since its last update was from 2010, and the official website has been down for some time now.

6. Quilcom SIM-BP (Free)

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A freeware alternative that doesn’t use samples to mimic bagpipe instruments.

With a simplistic interface and many controls going around in your user interface screen, Quilcom SIM-BP promises to deliver authentic bagpipe sounds without loading samples simply by adjusting the synthesizer inside it to mimic these tones.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Chanter

This section refers to a monophonic synth for simulating the pipe that plays the melody. Three tuning options are available, each with adjustable micro-tuning for a more cohesive playing experience.

  • Drones

The section below, entitled “Drones,” simulates the sound of up to three fixed-pitch pipes, which generally sound continuously and against which the chanter plays. You can set the preferred pitch at which each drone pipe speaks and other relative parameters.

  • Fluct

This dedicated knob adjusts the fluctuation in your bagpipe’s sound, which can act similarly as a sustained note that offers a slightly unstable tuning due to the airflow from the player’s lung. This can offer a more organic and realistic sound result.

  • Interface

The parameters and segments are housed in a somewhat polluted interface design, which, unfortunately, makes it appealing only to users accustomed to dealing with synthesizers and other complex instruments. The components are denoted and their parameters too, but messing with every parameter available in this plugin is confusing.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher, both 64-bit. It comes in VST plugin format.

Summary:

A simplistic approach may not always be the best. Quilcom SIM-BP offers a polluted interface with many unnecessary controls that could be simplified to provide a meaningful user experience when dealing with a virtual bagpipe instrument.

Other than that, the sounds are abysmal and can somewhat resemble what a bagpipe sounds like, but with too much effort involved in nailing the most simple tones.

7. Soundbytes BagPipes (Free)

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A simplistic approach to getting decent bagpipe sounds for free.

Offering a minimalistic approach to bagpipe sounds, BagPipes is a free alternative to get instant tones that can be convincing enough to be used in your next production. You have some cool ornaments to make your melody richer, and the further communication with any MIDI controllers you might have makes it an exciting alternative to paid sample libraries.

Top 7 Bagpipes & Pipe Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2024 - 2024 Update

Key Features:

  • Instruments

There are six instruments included in BagPipes: “Galician Gaita,” “Swedish Saeckpipa,” “Bock,” “Flemish Pipe,” “German Shepherd’s Pipe,” and “Bohemian Dudy.” They can be interchanged seamlessly and instantly.

  • CPU-friendly

With the simplistic user interface design and simple sample files, BagPipes can quickly load on most computers (with Windows installed) and do not consume much power in general. This can be attractive for newcomer producers and musicians who currently cannot own a more substantial computer.

  • Attack noise

You can set the attack noise variation to any value you’d like in BagPipes to give a more realistic final result. Techniques such as trills and other ornaments can benefit since they mimic a humanized performance and be more sensitive to most ears.

  • Modulators

Vibrato and the bag pressure are other configurations that can make BagPipes sound more authentic. The former is crucial to mimic a consistent airflow, with subtle variations only the human body can provide. At the same time, the latter can give an immersive approach to the actual instrument’s construction and capabilities. 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher, both 64-bit. It comes in VST plugin format.

Summary:

Straight to the point, BagPipes is an excellent alternative to getting a clear bagpipe sound for free. You can support Soundbytes by purchasing it anyways, but that’s not required. The interface is poorly designed, but the contained sounds can be everything you need for a short pipe section in your next production. The worst part is that it’s a Windows-exclusive freebie plugin. 

Conclusion

Bagpipes are unique instruments that represent an entire culture and folklore, mainly aimed at the Celtic people. Other places worldwide have created similar versions of the same instrument, consisting of a bag, some pipes, chanters, drones, and reeds.

The human aspect is essential when playing these instruments, as the airflow coming from the player will determine the final sound coming from it.

Our list sought to deliver and showcase some of the most effective products available nowadays, most based on sample files recorded from the actual instrument to provide authentic sonorities.

These can be helpful, especially among producers who create in their home studio settings and cannot afford to correctly record these pipes, either by lacking the specific microphones for the job or simply by not knowing anyone who plays them.

Two essential items are the leading contenders to get the best sounds with the most appealing user experience: Celtic ERA 2 By Best Service and Bolder Sounds Celtic Pipes V2. Of course, other options are still relevant and concise, but these two came on top because of their sonorities and their relatively simple interface to work with.

Remember to try out the products you may be interested in before buying them and feel free to give your insight on your preferred choice in the comments section below.

See you next time!

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