Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 6 Best Kontakt Libraries) | Integraudio.com

This article will cover the best film scoring plugins and Kontakt libraries available as of 2021.

You may have an arsenal of orchestral libraries and other instruments, but finding the exact timbre or percussive energy can be challenging to fit a particular score. Sometimes, it’s a little synthetic arpeggio or a preset string ostinato that helps you deliver a concise emotional vibe.

In this article, we cover the virtual instruments that are dedicated to film scoring and delivering unique sounds to your project. Several of these plugins are designed to ease and quicken your session, despite seemingly having a generic sound library.

Film Score vs. Soundtrack: What’s The Difference?

A film score is any movement or piece of music over a specific scene in a film, whereas the soundtrack is a generic term referring to the entire score of a film. Similarly, if a film includes licensed or tailored songs, they come under the term soundtrack.

However, the terms aren’t fully limited to the descriptions above. For instance, a film score could also mean the entire score of a film, whereas commercially, the term “soundtrack” is used when releasing an album of scores and licensed songs in a film to keep things simple.

In fact, in the professional community, “soundtrack” refers to every sound you hear in a film, including music, dialogue, and sound effects. Hence, depending on what context and community you are conversing in, the terms can mean various things. However, keeping the information above in mind will help you keep up.

How do you start film scoring?

The first step to film scoring is spotting. It is the step when you sit down (in real or virtually) with the director and, if needed, producers to determine what style of music is required in each key part of the film. Use the timecode to keep things organized.

Spotting is also when you should decide if the localization of music is necessary. For example, if you are scoring a scene taking place in a country with notable cultural influence, consider using ethnic or native instruments from that place. Localization can also include time, like using traditional instruments in a medieval era film.

Once you have a map planned out for your score, it’s time to fire up your DAW and load your video clip inside it. This step is when experimenting with various instruments and plugins gives you a palette of sounds to use. On that note, we can get into our list of the best film scoring plugins:

Related Readings:

Top 6 Best Sampler Plugins 2021 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 11 Drums & Percussion Plugins 2021 (And 5 Best FREE Plugins)

17 Tips & Tricks For Modern Sound Design 2021

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2021

11 Best Granulizer Plugins 2021 (VST, AU, AAX) for a Future Sound Design


Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021

1. Spitfire Audio – Hans Zimmer Strings

More Info & Price

Renowned virtual instrument manufacturer, Spitfire Audio, produced Hans Zimmer Strings with the help of the legendary composer for Dunkirk, Interstellar, and Inception.

As with many virtual instruments by Spitfire Audio, Hans Zimmer Strings had a high investment in quality and detail. Recorded in London’s Lyndhurst Hall, the plugin featured 344 professional string players who performed various exciting techniques.

Hans Zimmer Strings suits exceptionally well in film scoring productions; its orchestral quality can be leveled to the fantastic Spitfire Audio’s Orbis plugin, as both deliver authentic and organic sounds fitting for every great cinematic project.

Spitfire Audio Hans Zimmer Strings Review - Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Performance
    The Spitfire Audio team gathered many strings players in AIR Studios and recorded a substantial range of techniques from different mic positions and angles. They include long super sul pont, tremolo, marcato shorts, harmonic waves, legato, long superb flautando, and col legno tratto.
  • Spatial Distribution
    The developers arranged the players in different locations for sound enrichment. For the violinists, twenty in each direction, center, left, right, and further filling the galleries. For violas, twenty at the close center and both sides. Cellos featured the same distribution as violins, and basses were twenty-four at the very center.
  • Samples
    The sampling field of Hans Zimmer Strings is excitingly whole. The process of capturing the samples delivered astounding results for every particular instrument. With 251 GB in download size, the plugin has more than 360,000 samples, 246 presets, and up to 26 mic positions for the best possible outcome at producing astounding levels of string detail in any thematic score.
Walkthrough: Hans Zimmer Strings

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Spitfire Audio delivered a fantastic and brilliantly designed string virtual instrument with the assistance and production techniques of legendary composer Hans Zimmer. With different options, you can choose between Violins, Violas, Basses, and Cellos to compose an entire orchestral piece. It offers many ways to alter the instruments’ feelings by featuring different techniques, mic placements, and presets to achieve any texture in a score.

2. UJAM – Symphonic Elements STRIIIINGS

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

STRIIIINGS is a fantastic virtual instrument by UJAM produced and recorded at award-winning composer Hans Zimmer’s Control Studios.

Symphonic Elements STRIIIINGS is the result of high investment in equipment, players, and engineers. The unique and intuitive plugin offers handy tools for customizing and optimizing the strings’ sounds with decades’ worth of string recordings performed by treasured musicians.

UJAM Symphonic Elements STRIIIINGS Review - Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Strings
    The plugin features two types of strings: the low and high ranges. In the low strings are cellos and double-basses with many different effects and two effects busses. The high strings contain violas and violins and also have many effects and two busses for them. Both strings have a Decay and Link control so that you can match them together. A power button is also featured on each string type so producers can activate each individually.
  • Controls
    Apart from having an immense amount of presets, adding up to 200, the plugin also has variety in its featured controls. With an unusual Finisher knob, you can make fundamental changes to the audio output by choosing between great 25 presets. A highlighter knob will match the fades between the lows and highs, producing exciting risers. The ambiance will add high-quality reverberation to the master signal. These controls offer dramatic changes to the master, making them pop out easily in a mix.
  • Timing
    Some speed switching controls are convenient for intense note customization. At the Micro Timing menu, STRIIIINGS will keep playing, and you can select the instruments to perform in half or double time in their current arrangement. The Swing Control is beneficial for delaying the off-beats, which evokes the typical swing music groove.
Walkthrough | Symphonic Elements STRIIIINGS

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

STRIIIINGS give straightforward and detailed symphonic texture for any track while offering easy-to-use controls. The UJAM plugin offers exciting effect-busses that you can operate individually, which is extremely practical for achieving different scores of vibes and feelings. Using Hans Zimmer’s recordings of expert musicians, this brilliant yet straightforward plugin holds many cinematic principles in its performance.

3. Spitfire Audio – Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations Review

More Info & Price

Abbey Road One Orchestral is a collection of instruments carefully recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Studio One at Abbey Road is a renowned studio where recordings of notable projects and bands took place, such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Amy Winehouse. Spitfire Audio teamed up with expert musicians and engineers to deliver an outstanding symphonic orchestra in an easy-to-use and helpful plugin by providing you with the same acoustics and essence of many award-winning recordings.

While featuring a good variety of instruments, such as brass, strings, and woodwinds, Abbey Road One Orchestral is an exciting addition to any score.

Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations Review - Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Sample Kontakt Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Library
    The library is extensive and exciting, featuring sixty-nine articulations and five dynamic layers—another extended part of selections that allows good experimentation opportunities for you is microphones customization. The plugin has ten individual microphones, such as RM1B and TG Desk, and two mix signals. You can change between these settings and achieve many textures, such as a vintage vibe with the TG Desk or a more classic mix, with the RM1B mic.
  • Instruments
    Spitfire Audio worked with three sections of instruments in Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations. The Wondrous Flutes features piccolo and flutes recordings with a delightful higher texture. On the other hand, Legendary Low Strings has a vibrant low-end representation with its precise samples of Cello and Bass. Sparkling Woodwinds are an improvement for any thoughtful scene within a film, the sparkling presence in its samples is completely outstanding.
  • Effects
    The release works intuitively by setting the release time. Reverb bases itself on improved reflections of Abbey Road Studio One, which is exceptionally rich in textures. Tightness will cut directly to the actual sound of the instrument by skipping the start of the note. Vibrato works intuitively and offers crossfades, which can vary between highly present or lacking. The Technique provides well-performed instrumental methods for you to select by choosing the specific name.
Walkthrough — Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Spitfire Audio worked hard to make a fantastic orchestral plugin that could deliver the acoustic presence and cinematic texture of Abbey Road Studios. The excellent result, which is Abbey Road One Orchestral Foundations is capable of reproducing authentic brass, woodwinds, and low strings with incredible performance, and an ideal and versatile mix. The team behind Spitfire Audio’s plugin consists of award-winning mixing engineers and master musicians; in addition to this, you can also customize and set effects to the highly realistic samples.

4. UJAM –   Symphonic Elements DRUMS

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Hans Zimmer’s inspirational take on percussive elements helped shape Symphonic Elements DRUMS, a rhythmic tool accompanying strings cinematic scores.

With legendary samples of over decades of recordings, UJAM developed a fantastic drum virtual instrument with many playing styles, presets, and exceptional engineering.

By featuring orchestral percussions, such as Bass Drums and Toms, Symphonic Elements DRUMS is an optimal addition for providing rich rhythmic textures to any piece in a movie.

UJAM Symphonic Elements DRUMS Review - Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Content
    Symphonic Elements DRUMS offers a total of 1219 phrases in fifty-three percussion styles. The plugin also packs many one-shot sounds, totaling more than two-hundred-and-sixty of them, being five one-shots for every Style. UJAM also added three hundred sound-designer presets in their plugin, which provides immense inspiration for scoring.
  • Design
    The plugin by UJAM gives you some exciting sound designing opportunities. In a Finisher effects segment, a one-knob control can change the moods and textures of the drums, thus giving the you a convenient method for reaching different rhythmic vibes and genres. A Crossfade control is also present in the plugin’s interface; you will automate the low and high sections subtlety.
  • Orchestral Instruments
    Using Hans Zimmer’s legendary library of percussive elements, Symphonic Elements DRUMS features an exciting amount of orchestral instruments. These include seven percussion instruments for their plugin: Surdos, Orchestral Bass Drums, Orchestral Toms, Taikos, Doumbeks, Field Drums, and Snares.
DRUMS in Action | Symphonic Elements DRUMS & STRIIIINGS

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Symphonic Elements Drums results from decades of recordings of many unique playing techniques performed by different masters. UJAM teamed up with award-winning composer Hans Zimmer to develop a virtual percussion instrument fit for any orchestral score. While featuring seven instruments and an effects knob, the plugin will let you experiment and explore many inspiring percussive patterns. We also included DRUMS in the best drums & percussion plugin round-up.

5. Orchestral Tools Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion

More Info & Price

Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion features mix-ready versatile drum sounds that are precisely present in many award-winning movies, such as Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Godzilla vs. Kong.

By working together with Tom Holkenborg, Orchestral Tools developed a complete virtual instrument designed for drums and percussion. With a focus on films, composers can dynamically modulate the well-recorded samples in the plugin in a pervasive range.

Orchestral Tools delivered further customization options with various sizes and tuning for drum sounds and a mix of four different drum samples.

Orchestral Tools Tom Holkenborg's Percussion Review - Top 7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Dynamic Range
    One of the most exciting features is the extended dynamic range with different tunings for each drum in Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion. Every model of drum featured in the plugin will have two tunings, low and high tuning. Both tunings will present extra inches specifications and have more than nine modes depending on the drum model.
  • Models
    The recorded drum models in the Orchestral Tools plugin are conveniently present as percussion instruments in many scores for films and movies. The plugin has seven instruments, Bass Drums, Surdos, Tupans, Concert Toms, Taye Toms, Marching Band Drums, and Custom Drums. Each offers different tunings, exciting parameters, and two mic placements for each high or low tuning selection. Some models even feature other drums. For example, the ten-inch Taye Tom has two different recordings for separate drums.
  • Mix
    Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion has pre-mixed samples. The legendary producer, Tom Holkenborg, has used his processings and mixing skills to deliver accurately mixed audio. The drums will sound upfront, and you can quickly highlight them in any mix; its distinct sonic modulation makes it fit for any project.
First Look: Tom Holkenborg's Percussion by Orchestral Tools

Compatibility:

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

Summary:

For delivering the fabulous tools of an acclaimed composer to the public, Orchestral Tools combined talent with Tom Holkenborg and amassed seven years of high-quality drum recordings made by the renowned composer. With many models and tuning options, the drums featured in Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion will fit perfectly for action scenes with its popped-out mixing and aggressiveness. The dynamic possibilities also give any producer the ability to make the drums smoother and dramatic, proving the plugin’s versatility and handiness.

6. UVI – Meteor Review

More Info & Price

Focused on serving sound designers and composers for games and films, UVI’s sampler Meteor has an extensive library of field recordings and sound effects that can be in-depth modulated.

Featuring an intuitive and highly interactive interface, Meteor proves its efficiency by showing organized controls and detailed settings on a straightforward and pleasant display.

Meteor gives complete control of pitch, velocity, and time to adjust sonic characteristics of any sound, providing instrumental use for a vast array of projects of any gender.

UVI Meteor Review - Top7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Structure
    UVI’s Meteor features seven tracks that you can divide into two sections with three layers for rising sounds and four more layers for impacts. The layers offer stimulating effects such as reverb, delay, volume, and panning. You can assign the tracks for the Rise or Impact segments, organized according to your preferences.
  • Rise and Impact
    When you assign tracks for the Rise segment, they’ll have the ability to customize some characteristics within the sound, such as the velocity curve, pitch, modulation, two multi-modes, one for distortion and the other for the filter. The tracks in the Impact segment will offer time offset, changes in the lengths of tails and transients, both filter and distortion multi-modes, a pitching effect on a glide, and an exciting granular mode, IRCAM.
  • In-depth Shaping
    Meteor gives you the control of LFOs, a Multi-Step algorithm for filters and panners that can affect both Rise and Impact segments combined or separately. Many effects can provide the producer with exciting results on the stereo bus. Effects such as a 3-band Equalizer, low-pass filter, convoluted reverberation, Delay, amplitude, and a one-of-a-kind dynamics effect, named “THRUST,” you can set its values through a single knob, provide robust sound customization.
UVI Meteor | Overview

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

UVI Meteor works exceptionally well as a sampler. It can provide sound designers a creative palette of sound effects, with many unique textures, based on the seven tracks disposition featured in the plugin. Music composers for film and movies can also benefit from Meteor by turning “Hold” off and setting specific values for the sound’s parameters like pitch and velocity.

7. Orchestral Tools Layers Review (FREE)

More Info & Download

Layers by Orchestral Tools is an excellent accessory for any composer since it features high-quality orchestral sounds and a modern interface entirely for free.

Captured at Teldex Scoring Stage in Berlin, Layers provides recorded orchestral textures fitting for any production. Its free status does not mean it’s simple. The plugin, made by renowned manufacturer Orchestral Tools, has many customizable controls for mixing and modulating the instruments in detail.

The orchestral patch of Layers is diverse. Strings, woodwinds, and brass segments can be accessed easily through the interface and feature many articulations.

Orchestral Tools Layers Review - Top7 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Instruments
    Orchestral Tools’ Layers has a complete library, achieving an entire symphony formation. Full Orchestra is a highly well-recorded segment with four microphone positions and placements. With woodwinds, players will have the choice to select one of the five microphone settings. The Brass selection features five microphone placement options. And with Strings, you will benefit from highly well-produced string sounds and four different mic positionings.
  • Articulations
    For more in-depth customizations, the producer can define articulations within an instrument’s sound. The expressions will offer different styles and vibes possibilities and are incredibly extensive in variations. You can choose if instruments will play on major or minor chords and if the chords will play as sustains or staccatos. Furthermore, a Low Unison articulation can also switch between sustain or staccato, as well as a Sus4 chord.
  • Blending
    Layers has an interesting layering feature. You can choose instruments to be blended, resulting in completely organic and unique sounds that can have exciting vibes. The producer will have a dynamics-shifting feature for even more authenticity to the blended sound by blending the instruments.
Layers: Free Orchestral Instrument - Walkthrough

Compatibility:

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

Summary:

Renowned virtual instruments manufacturer Orchestral Tools did an enormous favor for all composers stuck with doing scores while being on a budget. Layers is a free plugin that delivers everything paid samplers offer with good quality and an easy-to-use interface. Its blendable instruments can result in many unique sounds that cover a vast range of vibes and energy. While providing many articulation options, any you can benefit from the plugin’s various dramatic effects that a complex score may require.

Related Readings:

The 13 Best Synth Plugins 2021 (And 5 FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2021 (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 Plugins For Beginners 2021 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 10 Free EQ Plugins 2021 Update (For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2021 (And 3 Best Free Tools)

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2021 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)


The 6 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring 2021

1. Spitfire Albion ONE

More Info & Price 

Spitfire Albion ONE - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Albion ONE by Spitfire is an all-in-one scoring tool featuring a 109-piece orchestra and many synth sounds.

This library is probably the first thing people recommended you to buy when you stepped into the film scoring world, and there’s a reason for it. Albion ONE offers an extensive range of sounds fit for modern films and games, including orchestral multis and synth sequences.

Key Features:

  • Orchestra
    Albion ONE features a 109-piece orchestra featuring acclaimed players from London. They were recorded performing various articulations: short notes, long notes, tremolos, pizzicatos, etc. The sounds are divided into sections: Brass Low, Mid and High, Woods High and Low, and Strings. Hence, you cannot play each instrument individually.
  • Techniques
    Albion ONE features phrases for commonly-used orchestral flairs that are triggered using a single note. Similarly, you will have four mic options: close, tree, outriggers, and ambient. And finally, it features an ostinato designer or sequencer for tense, rhythmic pieces.
  • Percussions and Loops
    Of course, the library also features an extensive collection of percussions ranging from gentle vibes to action-packed blockbuster strikes. Furthermore, you can mangle and manipulate hundreds of percussive loops using the built-in Brunel Loop module.

Compatibility:

This library requires Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher, which requires Windows 7 or macOS 10.10 or higher for both 32-bit and 64-bit.

Summary:

Overall, you will find Albion ONE to be a mix of traditional and modern film scoring cultures, capable of producing a wide range of sounds. In addition to what we’ve talked about so far, you will also find synth loops and hybrid sounds for good measure. It’s truly a versatile library that every score composer should have.

2. Heavyocity – Damage 2 Review

More Info & Price

Damage 2 is an upgraded version of the first Damage Kontakt library. The library contains solid elements for aggressive and perforative drum sounds.

Damage 2 can deliver tempo-synced giant, epic, explosive drum patterns for any score, featuring more than eight hundred new loops with modern parameters and controls.

At skywalker sound, a famous LucasFilm subdivision that works on audio editing, mixing, and sound design, Heavyocity recorded punchy epic percussion, providing a genuinely next-gen workflow.

Heavyocity Damage 2 Review - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Source
    Damage 2 features an immense quantity of intense and exciting recordings. A convenient tool in selecting the sources for crafting many designs is the “Category” section. In category, you can choose between nine segments full of exquisite and unique instruments and recordings, such as drums with different inches and even a trashcan. By browsing through Monster, Organic, Taikos, Ethnic, Cymbals & Gonds, Found Sounds, Hybrid, Damaged, and Transitions, you will craft all sorts of explosive, evil drum mixes.
  • Stage
    On a stage panel, you can monitor the perceived stereo placement in which the sound source is present. Each of the three octaves will be given control of the stereo field, with an additional five-position selection for the microphones, Close, Room, Hall, Crush, and LFE.
  • Settings
    Each key can be customizable by you in the exciting Settings section. For performance improvements, you can change parameters like Velocity, Modwheel, and Expression. Time and velocity can also be set for different techniques such as Crescendo, Swell, Flam, Roll, and Repeat. With a randomization tool, the library offers easy creation and experimentation of realistic performances.
  • Punish
    The plugin offers a custom effects chain, including Heavyocity’s unique Punisher technology. Effects such as EQ, Saturation, Compressor, Filter, Reverb, and Delay can be organized and dragged to fit an ideal processing order in the effects chain. The custom Punish effect will inflict a sophisticated destruction level, the signature of the Damage series, in three selectable intensity levels. Nightmare, Hurt Me Plenty, and Gently Now are the three destruction levels you can switch between in the instruments.
Damage 2 - Preset Playthrough | Heavyocity

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 6.2.2 and higher.

Summary:

With Damage 2, every track will have the additional textures of destructive and intense drums. Composers can benefit from the many instruments recordings featured in the library selection for scoring action, post-apocalyptic, monstrous projects. By adjusting parameters in the settings panels, you can administrate expression levels and drums’ intensity. The acclaimed Punish effect by Heavyocity will offer three destruction levels, giving composers the possibility to make any drum pattern extremely explosive.

3. Audiobro – Modern Scoring Strings Review

More Info & Price

Recorded at a cinematic-sounding scoring stage, Modern Scoring Strings features a string library with great performance controls on techniques and articulations.

Audiobro delighted the music community with the release of an incredible Kontakt strings library recorded on different divisi sections. After the acclaimed LA Scoring Strings release, Audiobro spent twelve years upgrading and enriching their sampling techniques, particularly for string instruments.

With modern and technological algorithms, Modern Scoring Strings can combine many divisis according to Orchestral positionings and different microphone mixes, delivering cinematic possibilities for any score.

Audiobro Modern Scoring Strings Review - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Ostinato
    One exciting, powerful point of this library is its incredible performance for building authentic Ostinatos. Modern Scoring Strings features an excellent 8th-note legato and ostinato recording quality. In addition, major and minor seconds and thirds and perfect fourth and perfect fifth inserts into chords and phrases with a unique and technological Smart Engine developed by Audiobro.
  • Smart Mode
    Apart from offering a brilliant engine, Moder Scoring Strings also features highly modern “smart-modes.” You can switch between over a dozen of these smart-modes, which provide exciting techniques such as Diatonic Held Note Mode, Diatonic 16ths Mode, and Diatonic Triplets Mode. The intelligent mode will work as a play-assist tool to make strings sound great in any key.
  • Variable Performances
    By offering many attacks, sustain, and dynamics ranges, Modern Scoring Strings makes it possible for a significant amount of control to shape the notes. Audibro’s developers made actual attack samples at various amounts to build a good array of attack and sustain variations. By doing so, they made it possible to select between Bloom/Crescendo Sustains, Normal Sustains, and Bowed/Accented Sustains.
  • Diversification
    Many playing methods are available for you to select in Modern Scoring Strings. The highly versatile Kontakt Library by Audiobro offers you exciting playing techniques such as Martelé, Staccato, Staccatissimo, Spiccato, Pizzicato, Col Legno, Octave Runs, Aleatoric (horror and tension), Bass runs, and Bartok Pizzicato.
Modern Scoring Strings walkthrough part 1 (AudioBro MSS)

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 6.0.4 and higher.

Summary:

With Modern Scoring Strings, producers will set any kind of vibe and feeling through highly versatile string samples. The incredible engine of the library by Audiobro is remarkably modern with its featured Smart mode. Modern Scoring Strings can reach a colossal field of textures to create scores for any movie genre by offering you an immensely diverse amount of playing techniques.

4. Native Instruments – STRAYLIGHT Review

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

STRAYLIGHT is a highly cinematic sound design tool by Native Instruments. Its potential for post-apocalyptic sci-fi and thrillers makes it an exciting instrument for games, films, and TV.

With the assistance of acclaimed film, TV, and video game composer Paul Haslinger and four more entities specialized in audio, they came up with a Kontakt library great for any project. Native Instruments allows STRAYLIGHT to inspire you with high dynamic performance.

Producers won’t need to spend time processing sounds in the mix when using STRAYLIGHT. Every note played is already fit for the screen with its highly sophisticated engine featuring modern mixing algorithms.

Native Instruments STRAYLIGHT Review - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Granular Engine
    STRAYLIGHT’s Grain segment is the result of a highly operational granular engine developed by Native Instruments’ best engineers. Composers can synchronize it with the score’s tempo for authentic transitions. The grain section features parameters for setting the signal’s range, Tuning (pitch and detune), Amp, ADSR, LP and HP cutoff filters, and reverb.
  • Sample
    In the sample section, you can make in-depth modifications to the sound’s character and texture. A pitch segment will offer a transpose and a tuning knob. The filter segment has many modes that you can switch between, and it also has knobs for Cutoff, Resonance, and Drive. An exciting feature that the filter offers is to set ADSR values for it. The Amp segment in Sample also offers you ADSR values, as well as a volume knob.
  • Pairing
    An exciting processing possibility that the Kontakt library offers is its Grain and Sample pairing. Without sacrificing any organic quality from the sound, STRAYLIGHT will modulate characteristics for sounds in both the Grain and Sample sections. After you set parameters and values in the two main sections of the library, they’ll have the option to combine a layer of the granular engine with the sample module, amplifying experimentation and sound design.
Native Instruments Straylight Demo

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 6.2 and higher.

Summary:

With this brilliantly designed library, any producer will have the tools for producing high-quality instruments for video games, TV, and movies. The granular engine and sample modules featured in STRAYLIGHT make it an incredibly versatile library for sampling great raw material and turning it into apocalyptic or sci-fi instruments.

5. Native Instruments – ARKHIS Review

More Info & Price 

Manufactured in collaboration with Orchestral Tools, ARKHIS is an amazingly versatile plugin that focuses on delivering the best results for any score with its highly modern layering engine and a prized sample library.

Recorded at Teldex Scoring Stage in Berlin, ARKHIS features acoustically treated samples with cinematic sonic enhancements. The incredibly intuitive interface and pleasant design of the Native Instruments library make it a highly friendly tool for any composer.

With many effects controls, you can add texture and color to the instruments’ notes. The library is optimal for pitching, sculpting, and tweaking any signal by offering many envelope parameters.

Native Istruments ARKHIS Review - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Presets
    ARKHIS is complete in terms of presets. You can improve their scores by selecting highly versatile presets in various categories: Pads, Motions, Sparkles, Stutters, Sub, Swells, and Textures. Each section features more in-depth presets; for example, in Pads, you can select between nine pads instruments with different and unique sonic characteristics.
  • Master Envelope
    In the Master Envelope segment, you can shape the sound to whatever dynamic color you want. The Master Envelope offers controls for Attack, Hold, Decay, Sustain, and Release. All of these parameters will behave on the layers globally. For more experimentation, you can set the amount of influence the Master Envelope controls will inflict on individual layers by setting values for Wet/Dry knobs featured on each.
  • Effects
    Native Instruments’ ARKHIS features six effects that are highly modern and intuitive. Filter, Chorus, and Delay work intuitively and provides easy-to-use interactive controls. Bits is an exciting distortion effect that provides low-resolution to the sounds. The “FX” section will offer Distortion and Flanger knobs, which results in colorful experimentations. The Convolution is a highly modern Reverb that features fantastic algorithms for simulating realistic early reflections on a virtual or physical space.
  • Three Layers
    ARKHIS has three highly interactive layers that you can blend and stack consistently. For optimal arrangement, you can use one layer for low-end cinematic presence, a second layer for exciting mid-range sounds, and the third layer for bright instruments to fill the high-end. Each layer will feature controls for Volume, Pitch, Envelope, and Effects.
ARKHIS Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 6.2.2 and higher.

Summary:

Native Instruments offered precious technological procedures for making ARKHIS. By applying modern algorithms, usually reserved for plugins, the renowned plugin manufacturer made a Kontakt Library featuring an intricate engine, exciting effects, three stackable and blendable layers, and highly versatile presets. With ARKHIS, you will create scores for any project at outstanding loudness levels using a highly intuitive Master Envelope.

6. Audio Imperia – Talos Review

More Info & Price 

Talos is a Best-selling brass library developed by Audio Imperia. The library’s massive range of colors and textures makes it widely versatile at providing both powerful and delicate performances.

Talos is also straightforward to control and set parameters, featuring many instruments such as French Horns and Tubas. You can select mic positions and different playing techniques for precise brass performances.

Talos’ interface is straightforward to use. In a single panel, you will have complete control of the mix and presets. A convenient big knob will serve the signal with saturation.

Audio Imperia Talos Review - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Controllers
    In Talos, there are two types of controllers for setting the main characteristics of the sounds. The essential section features three knobs, Dynamics, Expression, and Vibrato; along with these knobs, a Tight toggle can set the Sample Start to the maximum value. In the advanced section, you can operate values for Dyn. Range, Sample Start, and Leg. Smooth. The Dyn. Range will apply volume control to all articulations; Sample Start will control latency and Leg. Smooth offers crossfade in Legato Articulations.
  • Toggles
    Three exciting toggles are present in Talos’ interface. When Sordino is enabled, an instrument made with natural sordino performances will play, emulating authentic sounds from the actual instrument. When you enable the 2nd Violins, a neighbor-borring feature will act on the instrument’s timbre; featured arrows will inflict an upwards or downwards shift to the timbre. A Niente toggle will provide modulations in the low-end dynamics controller’s volume, excellent for silent fade-outs.
  • Articulations
    The ridiculous quality of the articulations featured in Talos is outstanding. You can choose between Legato, Sustained, Pizzicato, Spicatto Fast, Spicatto Slow, Staccato, Marcato Short, and Marcato Long for selecting articulations. As brass articulations, those are highly versatile options for any score since they’re of actual recordings of expert players.
Audio Imperia "Talos: Epic Brass Ensembles" - Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 6.3.2 and higher.

Summary:

The highly versatile brass library by Audio Imperia offers many ways of adding brass elements to any mix. With many featured instruments, Talos has many articulations and techniques, precious for many scores. Apart from its incredible controllers and toggles, the Kontakt library by Audio Imperia will provide sounds ready for the screen with its two highly sophisticated mixes, Classic and Modern.

7. Hidden Path Audio – Orchestral Rise Builder Review (Free DL)

More Info & Download

Hidden Path Audio delivered a fully-equipped orchestral library, with vast instruments focusing on rising build-up entirely for free.

Not only is Orchestral Rise Builder straightforward to operate, but it’s also amicable by being accessible to any composer and producer with its free price.

The Orchestral Rise Builder will make any vibe transition possible recorded at Georgian Film Studio in Tbilisi, Georgia. The possibilities are exciting, particularly for horror and tense build-ups.

Hidden Path Audio Orchestral Rise Builder Review (Free DL) - The 7 Best Kontakt Sample Libraries For Film Scoring | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Rise Mix
    Apart from giving you a high-quality rise effect with specific risers, such as brighter instruments rising the high-end, you can combine different instruments to achieve fullness. The feeling can stand out in a unique and highly prominent way by playing the low-end risers with the high-end and mid-end ones.
  • Three Risers
    Orchestral Rise Builder features three types of risers regarding their duration. You can choose between Long Risers, Medium Risers, and Short Risers for specific dramatic delivery. There are also different instruments that you can switch between, Full Orchestra, Strings, Brass, and Woodwinds.
FREE KONTAKT LIBRARY | ORCHESTRAL RISE BUILDER

Compatibility:

This library is available for Kontakt Player version 5.5.1 and higher.

Summary:

Fit for any score, Orchestral Rise Builder can add flavor and color in any dramatic transition. Its different sonic ranges make it possible for specifically tense situations. By combining the extra risers, you can achieve protuberant tense sensations for any project in their scores. In addition to that, the library by Hidden Path Audio is entirely free.

Bonus Plugin

UJAM – Nemesis Review

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

UJAM surprised many producers with an incredibly modern and futuristic drum machine by delivering an authentic and exciting product. Nemesis beatmaker is particularly optimal for action-filled films.

Nemesis is a go-to plugin for building intense and sharp drum patterns featuring many presets and drum kits. Its heavy and aggressive hits combine fury with futurism.

Featuring a heavily produced library, you can select between many presets and Mix modes to make Nemesis stand out through any mix. With a cyberpunk thematic, rhythmic patterns can range from enigmatic and obscure to fiery and bright.

UJAM Nemesis Review - Top 6 Film Scoring Plugins 2021 (And 7 Best Kontakt Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Kit and Mix Sliders
    Some curved sliders on Nemesis offer exciting controls concerning the kick/snare and the beat intensity. The kick/snare curved slider offers a gradual fader that the you can temporarily control. The Beat Intensity slider works intuitively by allowing you to set specific values for the drum’s intensity by temporarily turning it down.
  • Special Controls
    You can set custom-made controls featured in Nemesis’ interface. The EDEN: Kick Pump slider sends the kick into a sidechain compression; DOPE: Vinyl Drive can simulate retro effects with noise and compressor functions. Hustle: Bass Tune allows you to tune the kick drum over an octave. VOID: Vortex whirl the beat around while you are affecting the slider, producing a vortex sensation. VICE: Time Machine adds vintage or futuristic drums textures; it depends on what you value more. HYPE: Riser works intuitively, creating high-impact builds. KANDY: Sweetness makes drums cut through the mix.
  • NEMESIS: Pressurize & Hypercharge
    This exciting distortion tool is the most acclaimed tool within Nemesis. While carrying the library’s name, NEMESIS: Pressurize & Hypercharge will direct sounds to different areas. Pressurize behaves as a compressor condensing signals and making them slice through the mix. Hypercharge act as a distorted tool for crafting fierce, electrified sounds.
  • Times
    Some exciting controls can inflict different effects on the timing in which drum patterns will play. Nemesis offers a Swing slider that manages beats towards a triplet timing. The Quantize slider works intuitively by letting you set quantize values for the beats. The Slack will emulate the clumsy timing of a slow processor that some MIDI or drum machines usually feature.
Walkthrough | Beatmaker NEMESIS

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Nemesis works as a beatmaker, showing a cyberpunk thematic and delivering handy controls for you to evoke aggressive or futuristic vibes in any score. The plugin by UJAM is extraordinarily versatile and fit for action and intense scenes. Nemesis allows you to set many effects values for distortion, compression, noise, and even timing with highly intuitive and easy-to-use custom controls. A kick/snare control will give you the freedom to brighten up the kicks and snares in the drum pattern. A general intensity can also be precisely controlled in the plugin, delivering a great customization experience.

Conclusion

By presenting many modern plugins, every producer will benefit from this article’s selection of tools that contains strings, brass instruments, percussion, woodwinds, sparkles, and many unique orchestral elements. Along with a diverse palette of instruments, having many playing techniques and organic effects can offer composers autonomy to achieve accurate performances in their scores.

For percussion greatness, we feel that both Tom Holkenborg’s Percussion and UJAM’s Symphonic Elements Drums achieve our percussive preferences with smooth and realistic results. Their different drum models and reliable mixing algorithms caught our attention the most.

Next, we consider Abbey Road One by Spitfire highly optimal for orchestral performances due to its acoustic presence, high-value recordings, and cinematic nature gathered from recording at Studio One, Abbey Road. The many effects and extensive libraries featured in Abbey Road One plugin fit many of our criteria.

Then again, we always recommend you to check out all the plugins and Kontakt libraries featured in this list since their value differs from one use case to another, especially when it comes to film scoring. In the end, we would also recommend you checking alternative plugins for film scoring, such as Output ArcadeSpectrasonics Omnisphere 2.7, and definitely check the NI Komplete 13. If this was a plugin, we would definitely mention it, but it didn’t fit into the list because it’s a bundle.

Scroll to Top