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

Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT | Integraudio.com

Today we’ll dive into the best string ensemble libraries for Kontakt available in 2022.

From classical to pop music and from complex scores to a subtle passage in a song, string ensembles are guaranteed to elevate your track’s sonic quality. No matter if a quartet, a duo, or even a solo instrument. The sensitivity and warmth provided by such instruments played together are marvellous and used continuously throughout modern productions.

However, not everyone can play these instruments or have them all gathered up at a studio. You had to assemble the players and record a specific song or score on the go in the past.

Luckily we live in modern times that don’t require such hard work to get excellent results, and these libraries are here to prove this point.

Each developer carefully recorded and edited the samples so every producer, no matter if in a large studio or a basic home studio setup, can also showcase the best music possible.

This list gathers the top picks for string ensemble libraries available for Kontakt in 2022. Below, you’ll find some freeware options as well.

Top 7 Strings NI Kontakt Libraries 2022 

1. Native Instruments Cremona Quartet

More Info & Price
A collection of the most valuable instruments you could ever think of, right on your screen.

How about having a Stradivarius instrument on your next production? Native Instruments has made it possible with the Cremona Quartet sample library. The name is derived from the Italian city of Cremona, where its surrounding woods provided the raw material for many iconic instruments to be built.

As a result, they feature lots of personality and character, distinct qualities that only an instrument dating back to the 1600s could provide.

Other libraries, such as Session Strings Pro 2, can be way more complex in terms of instruments present, but Cremona Quartet prevails by having a one-in-a-lifetime selection of the best violins, viola, and cello you could possibly imagine, right at your DAW.

It’s incredible to imagine that some of these instruments are valued way beyond any average person could afford, yet they’re all available for your creative use.

Key Features:

    • The instruments
      Featuring a very well-selected quartet, Cremona features four outstanding instruments: a Stradivari violin called “Vesuvius,” built around 1727; a Guarneri violin called “Prince Doria,” built around 1734; another Stradivari, but this time a cello that was built in 1700; and an Amati viola built in 1614, the oldest here.
    • “True Solo” strings
      Every note sampled on Cremona was extensively recorded using different dynamics and microphone positions, assuring no phasing issues appear on legato transitions, from pianissimo to fortissimo. This creates a vividly organic performance, just like a real player would offer to you.
    • “Smart” position
      With the “Smart” position algorithm, you can simulate the fingerboard position any professional player would choose in an actual performance instantly. Alternating between the “Low String” and “High String” options allows you to determine precisely how you want the instrument to sound. The lower position will sound more mellow, whereas the higher position offers a clearer and brighter sonority.
    • Human vibrato
      Basically, you’ve got a very nice vibrato effect captured from the player’s hand and later reapplied with the proper parameters on the sample itself. This ensures that the best and most fluid effect comes out of it, while in the meantime, you can also automate and control it in real-time.
CREMONA QUARTET Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

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

Summary:

Aside from the usual excellent work, Native Instruments has excelled one more time by simply offering the best possible string quarter you could ever imagine. Sure, what really matters, in the end, is superb audio quality and good articulations, but the instruments featured in this library really excel any expectations.

Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri are household names in terms of fantastic luthier work, so why not have them on your next production? The sound quality is amazing, and so was the recording process.

The articulations are nice and should fit most productions without any problem at all.

Related Reading:

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

2. NI Symphony Series String Ensemble

More Info & Price (Trial Available)
A perfect option for modern productions and cinematic scores that require a natural and organic sound.

String Ensemble, the second installment of Native Instruments’ Symphonic Series of orchestral instrument sample libraries, follows closely behind the stunning Brass Collection. While employing the same creative team, orchestra, and recording location throughout a series is customary, and this is not the case here.

While the Brass Collection was recorded with the help of Soundiron’s team, this String Ensemble was recorded with Audiobro’s. And the good reason for that is because Audiobro also created the excellent LA Scoring Strings library, widely regarded as one of the best string sample libraries ever created. So you can rest assured about the amazing quality these samples have!

Key Features:

    • Legato
      A crucial element in any orchestral sample library, legato provides the necessary organic nature of any performance. When activated, this option enables you to control the transition behavior via velocity – with portamento coming up on lower velocities as well. Although this can be tricky, a slider enables you to control the value at which the portamento is activated.
    • Divide the section
      All sections present were recorded in separate “A” and “B” parts so the “True Divisi” functionality could be implemented. The “Auto Divisi” engine, which is activated by default, keeps the player sizer constant when performing polyphonic lines, chords, or phrases, bringing more authenticity to the overall performance.  
    • Many tools
      String Ensemble comes with some additional tools that can help you entirely use the plugin. You’ll find a dedicated mixer section with an EQ, reverb, and compressor included. Aside from the effects, you’re able to alter the microphone positioning, setting close, mid, or far from the instrument, and bringing new sounds into play.
    • Dynamic knob
      Featured in the middle of the screen interface, the “Dynamics” knob is an excellent way to make the overall ensemble sound the way you want. Rolled back close to zero, you’ll hear a soft bowing with a slower attack, ideal for quieter moments. A fiercely bowing is evident at maximum value, but with distinctiveness between the different players, as in a real orchestra.
Library Spotlight - Symphony Series Strings

Compatibility:

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

Summary:

String Ensemble is a nice library that offers great adjustments on the go. The sonority isn’t much different than other libraries – maintaining a consistently good sound quality – but it’s undoubtedly a well-defined software.

The “Dynamics” control allows for a precise adjustment of the overall dynamics and, allied with the built-in effects, can create a unique atmosphere and sonority. If you’re looking for a great-sounding library with straightforward controls, this is the one.

Related Reading:

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

3. Heavyocity NOVO Modern Strings 

More Info & Price 

   

 

As its name implies, the six patches that makeup “Traditional” are standard multi-sampled fare. Although not limited to it, as we shall see, you could use them to create believable, naturalistic string arrangements.

The two ‘Evolved’ patches are highly unusual. Here we have the string orchestra filtered and repurposed with the help of a plethora of built-in effects and a potent macro system, wherein a single MIDI-driven control dials in multiple simultaneous parameter changes.

Key Features:

  • Package
    This library is based on a  collection of recorded sounds created at the illustrious Warner Bros. Studio recordings from Los Angeles to give you an idea of the tonal range available. Like other American libraries, the strings are bright and near, but the built-in FX makes it simple to melt the timbre with reverb or delay, and the three recorded mic positions are fun to experiment with.
  • Round Robins
    It’s possible to keep tabs on the up-and-down bows and the round robins, all from within the Kontakt instrument itself. This does its job well. However, you may be staring at the RR display more than you’d want; consider it a novel piece of equipment in sample libraries.
  • Evolved Section
    The Evolved component of this package, which includes the String Designer and the Loop Designer, is where the Modern part comes to life. First, the instrument’s architecture deviates slightly from the Traditional patching, providing tools for generating dynamics, tonality, and meter out of the extensive library of raw sample data provided.
  • String Designer
    String Designer is a specialized sample-playback engine featuring three oscillator-like sources “channels,” different per-channel synth structures, EQ, and effects, and a slew of master effects.
    The large central orb in the user interface is still controlled with the modulation wheel but now serves as a macro for animating the values of the synth and effects settings for each channel, making it an integral part of the overall aesthetic and audio quality. In addition, a Macro Sequence allowing for a one-shot, LFO, or step-sequence action means it can also move autonomously.
  • Effects
    You can access additional controls and parameters in the lower half of the window via two curved columns of buttons labeled Env, EQ, Filter, Mix, Perf, and Space. Interestingly, the Env(elope), EQ, and Filter preferences are stored separately for each articulation.
    The envelope follows the standard ADSR form but lets the user choose between a natural release example and an artificial ‘R’ stage. The filter is a real per-voice synth-like thing with an envelope and key-tracking rather than a suffocating effect.

Compatibility:

The library is available for Kontakt 6.7 or higher. Kontakt 6.7 is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.10 or higher 64-bit. It comes in VST 2AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

NOVO is a velvety dream for those who adore symphonic strings’ expressiveness, dynamic range, and emotional strength. The package may be useful if you enjoy or make a living from composing music for film or video game soundtracks. The Traditional strings library portion of the package holds its own against competitive offerings, but the Hybrid portion makes it feel very cinematic and modern and represents a real strength that is hard to find elsewhere.

4. AudioBro Modern Scoring Strings 

More Info & Price (Trial Available)
A 60-piece string library that’s fully customizable in every major aspect, allowing for unprecedented control over the instruments.

AudioBro was previously mentioned in this list as one of the best teams ever to develop sting ensemble libraries. Modern Scoring Strings, or MMS for short, is no exception for that. The interface brings an organized and clean look, clearly showing every articulation, control, and configuration you might want to use. The big, central knob will deal with the overall dynamics, for instance.

This library was recorded in different divisi sections or half a section at a time. Each configuration is present to give you the power to properly set the ensemble in any way you’d like to, with extreme sound quality and versatility towards each sample.

Their previous library, LA Scoring Strings, was much renowned when released, and now it’s clear that MMS is a new and updated approach to it.

AudioBro Modern Scoring Strings Review - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Great sound
      MSS is a library that captures the full potential of an expressive, diverse string ensemble. The reason for this is how each section was carefully mixed, combining all divisis beautifully for a perfect orchestral mixed sound. All built-in articulations sure help with that, but applying four different microphones to capture this huge sonic aspect is another reason why everything sounds so good together.
    • Easy ideas
      If you want to add nice phrases that will increment your track, MMS has got your back. The cleverly built “Ostinatos” section can create melodies at the specified tempo and dynamics, according to any chords you play. With this tool, creating motifs and meaningful phrases will be more accessible than ever and instant.
    • Scale friendly
      It’s hard to emulate a fast, well-played scale run with samples. Usually, they don’t sound as good as a real player would, but AudioBro fixed that for you. The “Scales” section offers the possibility to play 16th and triplet forms with a pleasant blending that’s worthy of a compelling performance. You can also tweak the “Dynamics” control to make the runs adjust to your preferred tempo.
    • Expanded legato
      The Modern Scoring String Expanded Legato is an add-on library full of legato, portamento, and glissando articulations. It’s available both as a bundle and a separate product. The MMS library contains “Sordino,” “Sul Tasto,” and “Sul Ponto” sustains, but it doesn’t offer the legato transitions of such articulations. This 60GB add-on brings these legato articulations to the sustains mentioned previously:

      Transitions
      Violins 1 & 2
      Violas A & B
      Cellos A & B
      Basses A & B
      Solo Violin
      Solo Cello
      Legato
      x
      x
      x
      x
      x
      x
      Portamento
      x
      x
      x
      x
      x
      x
      Glissando
      x
      x
      x
       
      x
      x
Modern Scoring Strings walkthrough part 1 (AudioBro MSS)

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.13, 10.14, 10.15, or 11 (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, AU, and NKS plugin formats and runs in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.0.4 or higher is required.

Summary:

This library brings the combinations that any string ensemble would highly benefit from. The number of controls and configurations put this one of the best offerings as of today, all combined and housed in an elegant user interface.

The algorithms involved were developed with special attention to detail, especially when talking about chord analysis and phrasing creation.

MMS is a perfect choice for any producer wanting to craft the most authentic experience from a string ensemble, simply by the number of controls one can have at their disposal.

Related Reading:

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

5. Native Instruments Session Strings Pro 2 (Kontakt Library – Violins, Violas, Cello & Double Bass)

More Info & Price

If you’re looking for the feel of an incredible modern string ensemble, this library might be the one for you.

The first Session Strings Pro had a reputation of being unimpressive, especially compared to many other amazing plugins and libraries out there. But Native Instruments upped the ante with SSP2 with many new tools to improve the expression and user experience.

To give a performance that feels authentic, this library comes with 22 different articulation samples and 9 customizable key switches giving the user control over the performance. You can also choose between traditional (left to right from highest to lowest) and modern (celli and basses in the center and violas and violins to the sides), depending on your needs.

Key Features:

  • Mode:
    With Velocity Switch mode, you have a default articulation and one that triggers once the MIDI velocity surpasses a threshold. For better control, assign the articulations you need to the keys you want with Key Switch mode, which is simple and effectiveRhythm Animator mode works like an arpeggiator; it has a grid of up to 32 steps to set the pattern and six articulations to choose from for each step. Phrase Animator works like an arpeggiator too, but focuses on preset melodies and passages.
  • Presets:
    There are 48 different presets to help users adjust the vibe depending on their needs. You can select from a plethora of different settings to sound like a full orchestral string section, a more modest chamber orchestra ensemble, strings that feel recorded in a studio, or even give it a more LoFi feel. These presets are also very useful to get an idea of how all the tools can be used to get the sound desired or as a starting point and then make minor adjustments to give the feel you want.
  • FX Section:
    This menu displays an incredible yet simple rack of effects divided into three sections. The first one is the envelope controls called Shape and Humanize to control aspects of the performance such as Attack, Bow noise, Pitch, Timing, and more. The second one is the insert effects that feature a Compressor, a three-band EQ, and Color; the compressor can be adjusted to have gentle, punchy, and transparent compression, and the color control acts like a pre-amp to enrich the sound and can select different units and has an intensity knob; the EQ also has three modes (Warmth, Wood, and Bowed) to enhance specific frequency ranges. And the third one is the send effects section, which has reverb and delay; reverb comes with pre-delay and return level knobs and different types of reverb, while delay has time, feedback, and return level knobs; both send levels can be controlled in the mixer.
  • Mixer:
    This section comes with the traditional faders and pan knobs for each channel, but also we find send level knobs for reverb and delay, solo and mute buttons, detune and transpose controls, and additional compressor and three-band EQ besides the ones in the FX section for better tone shaping.

Compatibility:

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

Summary:

If you’re looking to compose for a violin section or a string ensemble, Session Strings Pro 2 is a force to be reckoned with, but keep in mind that this library was designed to be used as sections, so it doesn’t offer solo instruments. Also, this library is rather expensive.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Violin Plugins With Authentic Sound 2022

6. Insanity Samples NEO STRINGS – Solo String Ensemble

More Info & Price
A modern collection of solo string instruments with tons of articulations and special effects.

NEO STRINGS is a modern approach to string libraries. There are four instruments to choose from – violin, viola, cello, and double bass – with 24 articulations to work with, some of which are designed to be more modern, reaching a textural aspect much sought-after in cinematic productions.

Over 60,000 samples comprise this library, with different microphone positions and dynamic variations included.

Insanity Samples NEO STRINGS - Solo String Ensemble - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Mic mix
      You can take complete control of how the microphones relate to one another through the sliders located in the interface’s top center position. You can choose from “MID L” (Stereo Left located in the middle of the room), “MID R” (same thing but Stereo Right instead), “OVERHEAD” (close microphone located directly above the playing position), and “DISTANT” (an ambient mic set in the far side of the room, facing the player). RAM light versions of each microphone’s positions are also available (they only feature a single mix control for volume and panning).
    • Keyswitch selections
      On the left side of the interface, you’ll find the long list of articulations available, and depending on which instrument you’re using, it can be a long one. The small light close to its name will indicate which articulation is in use, but this can be easier and more intuitive: by using key switches located between the notes E3-G#4 in your MIDI controller, you can quickly alternate between each articulation, creating a solid and more realistic performance.
    • Three main sliders
      Located at the middle to the bottom position of the screen, these three sliders offer even more versatility: the “EXP” is an internal volume level, the “DYN” allows for real-time crossfading between recordings of different dynamics or velocity levels, and the “VIB” includes vibrato in any note you’re playing. The last two options are only available in “True Legato Sus” and “Polyphonic Sus” articulations.
    • New textures
      Getting a more modern approach than most libraries, NEO STRINGS features some cool effects and techniques that will be useful to anyone looking for new sounds. Some include harmonics, Pont-Tasto Cycles (when the player bows diagonally from the bridge to the neck, creating a breath-like sound), erratic vibrato, and post bridge FX (bowing behind the bridge in order to create extreme eerie pitches and dissonance).

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). A full version of Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher is required (it will not run in Kontakt Player!).

Summary:

This collection delivers what it promises, considering it’s a string library. You’ve got all the instruments there and all the most common configurations that will allow for great sonority and phrasing. However, the catch is that you’ve got some extra techniques in there, helping to get out of the box accordingly. The interface is a bit dull and perhaps too dark, but extra control with your MIDI keyboard will probably fix this. 

Related Reading:

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries In 2022

7. Native Instruments Action Strings 2

More Info & Price
Get your creativity flowing with stunning musical and realistic sounds.

Action Strings 2 is the successor to the well-known Action Strings, a cinematic sample library that creates orchestrated musical tracks. It includes 125 live-recorded expressive modules as well as 11 single articulations, including sustain, staccato, and tremolo.

You may build your original musical phrases or freely play any using these aspects, giving you both the astounding realism of a live performance and boundless creative flexibility with this comprehensive 41-piece ensemble.

NI Action Strings 2 - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Phrase notation
      This exciting tool allows for a fluid and new way of writing down your musical phrases and melodies. The note’s vertical position is shown just like in a real staff, but the musical length is displayed horizontally, just like any MIDI note editor. Breaks and articulations are expressed by their own symbols, so this is a clever way to visualize better what you’ve just written without losing the clarity of conventional notation.
    • Mixer section
      Here’s where you can adjust everything the exact way you want to. Sliding the faders will allow for a precise blending of each microphone, mixing signals, and applying our beloved effects. Plus, you can route to individual outputs in Kontakt. It also features an “Ensemble Selector” that can switch between “High” and “Low” ensembles (and even solo one of them) and a “Global FX” section that permits you to add EQ to the main output and selects between different types of reverb.
    • Phrasing stock
      Are you feeling a bit clueless or without inspiration? Then I’d suggest you take a look at the different phrases on Action Strings 2! You can browse between many stock phrases and use them as you wish. You’ll find “4th,” “8th,” and “16th” variations alongside “Trills,” “Arpeggios,” “Basic Rhythms,” and “Single Articulations,” just to name a few.
    • Envelope shaper
      Within the “Editor” page, there’s a dedicated control to assist you in shaping the dynamics and sustained notes. By dragging and drawing the shape according to your need, you can easily change how the notes are being played and sounding very quickly. Short single notes, such as staccatos, may have only a single step that may be changed, whereas longer, sustained notes will have many handles to allow you to give these modules dynamic forms.
ACTION STRINGS 2 Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update) and Windows 10 (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.5.3 or higher is required.

Summary:

Featuring a very nice “Editor” page, Action Strings 2 offers very good software that should be very friendly to long hours working in a specific score. It’s constructive to have tools such as a phrase notation editor on the same screen and easily convert them into MIDI and beyond.

You can shape, alter, tweak, and modify each note regarding its duration, length, or pitch very quickly and with corresponding sound quality. 

Related Reading:

Top 20 Native Instruments Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

Best Free String Libraries For Kontakt 2021

1. ProjectSAM – The Free Orchestra 

More Info & Download
A little over 1GB of high-quality cinematic samples, for free.

This free collection features a wide range of orchestral sounds and includes all 12 original presets (with two new ones!) from ProjectSAM’s Symphobia 4 library. It also has a collection of layered presets that reutilize existing sounds to get new, creative instrument layers

Project Sam - The Free Orchestra Review - Top 3 Free Strings Libraries For KONTAKT | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Twelve instruments
      You’ll get 12 different instruments in the ensemble, with horns, orchestral percussion, cellos, contrabasses, violins, woodwinds… The list goes on and on. The catch is that the instruments are separated by presets, each channeling a specific sonic atmosphere.
    • Easy-to-use interface
      With minimal tabs, windows, or controls to choose from, everything you’ll need is on the main screen. Aside from usual controls, like envelope and reverb, you also get “Quick Equalization,” “Octaver,” and “Reverse Sample” options that further expand its versatility.
    • Bonus control
      Each specific preset will benefit from a “Bonus” knob, which delivers a specific effect. Located at the bottom row of three knobs, first from left to right, it changes according to which preset you’re using. You can have options like “Boom” (to enhance bass frequencies) and “Vowel” (to make the notes sound different when played) that will make your track sound uniquely, but depending 100% on whatever preset you choose from.
Project SAM - The Free Orchestra Overview

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It works in Kontakt Player or Kontakt, version 6.2.1 or higher is required.

Summary:

A great collection of orchestrated instruments for free. This collection is a nice starting point if you’re beginning at composing scores and soundtracks, as the controls are easy to operate and the overall library size is significantly small. The audio quality is superb, and all presets are great sounding on their own capabilities.

Related Reading:

20 Best FREE Kontakt Libraries 2022 For Various Categories

2. Sonuscore – Sustained String Chords

More Info & Download
A unique tool designed to create massive and warm orchestral sounds.

Sustained String Chords is a sample library released alongside the Free HD Orchestra Chords as a freeware option for the sound of a full symphonic orchestra featuring a clean interface with all the basic controls you’ll ever need.

You simply have to register at their website in order to get both copies for free. So feel free to explore playing chords with the entire orchestral ensemble, adding highs or lows as you go and controlling all velocities simultaneously.

Sonuscore - Free Orchestra Chords Review - Top 3 Free Strings Libraries For KONTAKT | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Reverb knob
      The only visible command at your starting screen is a “Reverb” knob alongside another curious control. The reverb itself doesn’t need much explanation – simply twist that knob to get a perfect ambiance going – but the “Velocity = Mode” command displays whether the chord you’re playing it’s major or minor. This is useful because if you play with soft velocity, a major chord will be generated from your note; if you play hard, a minor chord will pop up as instantly as possible.
    • Key switches
      Sonuscore added some useful key switches to this program to further expand the versatility behind this software. You’ll activate certain ensembles by clicking certain regions of your keyboard/MIDI controller. On the first octave, from C1 to B1, you can trigger low, mid, and high chords to be played together, with the following octaves (C2-B2, C3-B3, and C4-B4) meant to trigger each string session, but separately – low, mid, and high string chords, respectively. 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). A full version of Kontakt version 5.6.0 or higher is required (it will not run in Kontakt Player!).

Summary:

Both libraries offered by Sonuscore are of high quality regarding the samples and are very easy to use. In addition, a clean and minimalistic approach to showing the commands on your screen sure makes things easier and fresher, especially in a freeware option.

Speaking of that, the only bummer is that you’ll need the full version of Kontakt to run this library, which can scare some users away.

3. Orchestral Tools Layers (SINE Player Library)

More Info & Download
An effortless way to add a classical touch to your subsequent productions.

This orchestral library is intended to be used with the SINE Player, a free virtual instrument plugin provided by the same company, Orchestral Tools.

All samples provide pristine quality regarding each sectionwoodwinds, brass, strings, and full orchestra – while maintaining a fluid workflow in a minimalistic and straightforward user design interface. You can also download each of these four sections separately if you prefer.

Orchestral Tools Layers Review (SINE Player Library) - Top 3 Free Strings Libraries For KONTAKT | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Recorded with dedication
      You can notice that this library features a generous amount of high-quality samples, especially when talking about a freeware option. All samples were recorded at the Teldex Scoring Stage, in Berlin, with the main goal to work as pristine and efficiently as possible with the software. They used high-quality gear and microphones to capture the full essence of these ensembles, so you’ll have the full experience right on your DAW.
    • Simplicity at its best
      Don’t worry about controlling multiple settings at the same time. The Layers library was developed to bear an intuitive interface, suited for beginners and more advanced producers as well. This enables you to play it as any virtual instrument, thus not requiring any specific orchestral knowledge to make music from it. It can be too simple for more advanced users, but it may be just the right thing for someone starting out to make scores recently.
Layers: Free Orchestral Instrument - Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST and AU plugin formats and works with the SINE Player. 

Summary:

This is not a must-have if you already own a decent orchestral library. Although it can be a welcoming experience for newcomers starting to venture into the scoring world, Layers may lack some of the main controls and adjustments so essential to make the best out of an ensemble sound.

If you look for simplicity, though, this is a great choice to try a good-quality library and get good sounds as soon as you run it for the first time.

Bonuses:

1. Cinematic Studio Strings 

More Info & Price
A rich, organic, and warm-sounding string library with a refreshed look.

Cinematic Studio Strings is a symphonic sample library consisting of a large string ensemble. You can choose from violins, violas, cellos, basses, “full ensembles,” “lite ensembles,” and “classic legato patches,” with articulations such as sustain, legato, tremolo, pizzicato, harmonics, and more.

Feel free to blend the instrument’s sections or just use them soloed, always adding the perfect articulation for your orchestrated endeavor.  

Cinematic Studio Strings - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Special articulation functions
      On two specific articulations – “Staccato” and “Pizzicato” – you can have an extra menu to the right of the center of the screen. You can use your mod wheel to select between different articulation variations. Taking “Staccato” for example, you’ll have “Sfz (sforzando),” “Staccato,” “Staccatissimo,” and “Spiccato” options to further vary your dynamics. It can be deactivated by right-clicking on that same area.
    • Mic positions
      This library was masterfully recorded using an array of microphones, and gladly you can set them as you wish. On the lower left corner, the four fades are responsible for the main ambiance of the ensemble: “Close” gets all the instrument’s details just right, “Main” delivers a realistic conductor’s perspective, and “Room” captures the whole essence of the space the ensemble is playing on, and “Mix” is a blend of all three previous faders, with a specific “out-of-the-box” nice sound.
    • Easy to use
      Cinematic Studio Strings was designed elegantly, with a beautiful UI and clear controls right in front of you. When you first open up the library, you’ll see the main articulations right at the center of the screen, displayed in a beautiful setting. You just have to click on it to start using each one, but you can also set your key switches on your MIDI controller as it follows:

      Key switch
      Articulation
      C0
      Sustain
      C#0
      Tremolo
      D0
      Measured tremolo
      D#0
      Trills
      E0
      Harmonic
      F0
      Staccato
      F#0
      Marcato
      G0
      Pizzicato
      G#0
      --
      A0
      --
      A#0
      Legato
      B0
      Con sordino
Watch this BEFORE you buy Cinematic Studio Strings [REVIEW]

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It works in Kontakt Player or Kontakt, version 5.6.8 or higher is required.

Summary:

The most elegant library on this list is also a very intuitive one. You don’t have to think too much or have multiple configurations to have decent sound quality. This collection proves just that by presenting specific controls regarding specific articulations.

The microphone positioning and envelope controls are two well-developed settings here, with a special mention to the mod wheel’s unique tweaks.

Related Reading:

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

2. Native Instruments Emotive Strings

More Info & Price 

Emotive Strings is a Native Instrument library for programming expansive strings sections. 

It consists of samples of string phrases mapped to key and tempo that you can use in your productions or play in real-time. The sound quality of the samples is great, with finely recorded orchestral sections with the highest grade equipment in rich-sounding rooms. In addition, it consists of realistic legato sounds and emotional arpeggios

Key Features:

  • Playable instrument
    The library lets you do expressive articulations and realistic programming with its expression slider, the release time of the phrase, and legato transitions. You can also edit the tempo to be 1/2, 1, or 2x of the session tempo.
  • Detailed phrasing
    The ‘Phrases’ window allows you to select phrases from the following options: High Ens and Low Ens in terms of pitch, Single Pitch, melodic, Emotive, and Arpeggios in terms of articulations. In addition, you can select 4/4 or ‘Odd’ time signatures for time signatures. Each category has many phrases, out of which you can select.
  • Sound selection
    You can browse through all the presets and phrases, as the library consists of 28 GB of completely playable legato string phrases. In addition, you can adjust the master EQ, Stereo image, mic position, and the reverb/room sound.
  • High-quality samples
    Instrumentalists of the Budapest Scoring Symphony Orchestra played some of the samples that Native Instruments recorded in the library. The players played every possible phrase with high precision and authenticity, which is reflected in its sounds. 

Compatibility:

Emotive Strings require a free Kontakt player and 28 GB of hard disk space

Summary:

Due to its ultra-realistic sounds, articulations, and sound engine, Emotive strings is one of the best orchestral Kontakt libraries. It’s great for film scoring, game sound design, and creating songs’ cinematic and rich string sections. However, it’s also heavy on the CPU, so ensure you use it on the appropriate gear.  

3. Insanity Samples Haunted Strings 2

More Info & Price
Eerie and weird sounds worthy of any freaky soundtrack, with endless configurations.

Developed and recorded similarly to the previous item in this list, Haunted Strings 2 offers the perfect dark and horrid vibe worthy of any terrifying production.

The entire ensemble was recorded together at once in the studio so that the perfect sound mass would come out of it.

It also includes special effects and techniques to expand the creepiness even further while meticulously capturing the continuous movement of every player.

Insanity Samples Haunted Strings 2 - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Textures
      A great part of what makes this collection so creepy involves the textures included. They can be long-sustained or short and aggressive textures, both being really useful depending on what you aim to achieve. Dwelling between them offers great variety in terms of ambiance, independent of what articulations you’re using.
    • Post FX
      After treating your phrases with dark textures and weird articulations, how about throwing in some effects to the track? You’ve got included “Distortion,” “Chorus,” “Rotator,” “Delay,” and “Reverb” options, with individual controls and separate chaining. You’ll be surprised about how a simple twist on the “Drive” knob can turn things nasty and macabre while turning on the “Delay” might create that perfect hazy vibe.
    • Chord modes
      Haunted Strings 2 features two modes of pre-defined chords, with “Chord Mode 1″ consisting of basic triads and power chords, while “Chord Mode 2” includes extended ones, such as major/minor seventh and dominant seventh chords. The library will automatically generate random chords with all the articulations and techniques you desire on it by activating each option.
Haunted Strings 2 - In-depth Walkthrough - Twisted Chamber Strings for Kontakt

 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). A full version of Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher is required (it will not run in Kontakt Player!).

Summary:

This is the definitive library for your next creepy production. The sound quality is the same expected of similar collections – high quality! – but the number of customizations regarding creepy sounds is astonishing. That hard staccato passage on a cello or a high-pitched violin phrase will sound just as morbid as in any Halloween special episode or terror movie, especially with the effects you might want to include with it. 

4. Sudden Audio Raw Strings 

More Info & Price 
A modern sample library focused on getting organic and lively sounds allied with an intense expression.

This was inspired by great cinematic composers and their distinctive techniques to make an orchestra or string ensemble sound as innovative as possible. Raw Strings combines orchestral instruments, dazzling effects, and a comprehensive sampling technique to bring a new and fresh sound to your next production. Creating string textures, for instance, is very easy, and you can instantly create your own soundscape, just the way you want to.

Sudden Audio Raw Strings Review - Top 7 Strings Libraries For KONTAKT (And 3 Free Libraries) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Sound Book
      The “Sound Book” is the section designated to contain all available articulations and their variations. You can have the sample sounding as it is in the “Standard Sounds” mode, with a set of naked string sounds, but you can also add tape effects (with variable speeds!), reverse sounds, and extra sounds, such as bow noises, tape crackles, bow clicks, jangled percussion, and many more.
    • Randomize it
      A “Random Dice” control can be used to inspire you in moments of creativity block. Located at the lower center position of the screen, the little die icon will automatically generate new articulations for each selected layer directly from the “Sound Book.” You can also randomize the tuning (+-1 octave) and the overall panning.
    • Lots of FX
      Bearing a significant number of effects to be used in your samples, Raw Strings comes with a few built-in options. You can throw in some delay with six different modes (“Analog,” “Diffusion,” “Digital,” “Modern,” “Tape,” and “Vintage”), reverb, convolution, filter, phaser, compressor, chorus, EQ, and even a limiter if you’d like
    • Arpeggiator and sequencer included
      Quite an odd choice for an orchestral library, you might wonder. And it is. But it can also be a helpful tool for creating fresh string textures and mangled string tones. You can select how repetition should work and the note pattern. Also included, the sequencer can be useful to resample everything and create new soundscapes with existing waveforms, all without leaving the software’s main interface.
RAW Strings for Kontakt 6

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher.

Summary:

This is a nice option for sound designers and score composers who might want a refreshed, modern take on classic orchestral libraries. Raw Strings is one of the most innovative libraries on this list because it allows for many customization options, leading you to creative sounds and terrific textures.

A must-have for any producer dwelling on ambiance and atmospheric sounds.

Conclusion

Orchestras are enormous, both in essence and in sound. They can add the right punch, delicacy, sensitivity, or energy to any movie while also bringing the perfect background scenario to a song. These are one of the many reasons why having a good and reliable string ensemble library should be a priority with any audio producer these days.

Specific knowledge of score writing is always welcome, but this list proves to us that it’s not mandatory. Most software listed here can instantly deliver very good sounds without tweaking many controls. Of course, having many options to choose from is always nice, but that’s not a demand.

If you are looking for a substantial library with many samples to choose from, the Cremona Quartet may be a good choice. It features the best instruments you could possibly imagine to have, with a large variety of configurations in terms of articulations and dynamics.

Another similar option is Action Strings 2, with just as many controls but not with the sought-after Stradivari instruments. Both are from Native Instruments, a company dedicated to creating wonderful sample libraries.

Other options, such as Cinematic Audio Strings, offer a fluid workflow without sacrificing sampling diversity. The good thing about it is that it works as smoothly as possible, with easy controls and a very nice-looking interface.

This can be more useful to producers in need of a lightweight screen but with the same great samples. The same goes for Sustained String Chords, a wonderful freeware option for symphonic sounds. Speaking of which, the Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM is a brilliant freeware library containing a large variety of instruments, sections, and articulations and housed in an elegant, organized screen.

It’s probably the best freeware option, as it’s not too heavy (only 1GB in size!) and offers many options at the same time.

All libraries listed here showcase the extraordinary quality and attention to detail, so it’s up to you to choose what’s best and what’s not so helpful. Remember to always try them before buying, so you’ll be 100% satisfied.

See you next time!

Other Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins 2022 (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2022 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins 2022 (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep 2022 (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)

 

Top 20 Synthwave Plugins 2022 (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

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

Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2022 (And 4 FREE Tools)

Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop 2022 (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 2022

 

EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins 2022 For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins 2022 (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In 2022 | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins 2022 (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal 2022 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)

 

Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2022 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2022

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 2022

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins 2022 For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best FREE Tools)

 

Reverb & Delay Plugins:

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins 2022 | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 2022

 

Metering:

Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins Of 2022 – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins 2022 To See The Waveforms

Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software 2022 (+ Best FREE App)

 

Amps & Preamps:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

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

Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

 

Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

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

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Best Guitars & Drums)

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

 

Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries 2022 For Various Instruments

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

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022 (No VSTs)

 

Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 2022

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins 2022 To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

 

Instrument Plugins: 

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

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins 2022 Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins 2022 (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

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

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)

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

 

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

Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 2022

Top 12 Sub Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique 2022 (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022

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

 

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

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

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins 2022 (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

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

 

Top 8 Piano Plugins 2022 (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2022 (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners 2022 (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)

 

The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

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

Top 13 Sequencer Plugins 2022 (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians 2022 (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)

 

 

Processing & Sound Design:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins 2022 (PAID & FREE)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)

Top 12 Saturation Plugins In 2022 (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)

Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins 2022 For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)

 

Top 6 Limiter Plugins 2022 For Precise Mastering & Mixing

The 8 Best Filter Plugins 2022 For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)

6 Best Autotune Plugins 2022 To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)

 

Top 6 Flanger Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

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

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning 2022 (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins 2022 (Best Old & Modern Picks)

 

Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 2022

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins In 2022 For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins 2022 (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins 2022 That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Free Plugins)

 

Top 11 Distortion Plugins 2022 (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins 2022 | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins of 2022 | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..

 

Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins 2022 (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins in 2022 | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins 2022 | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins Of 2022

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2022

 

DAWs:

Best DAWs For Musicians Available in 2022 (With FREE DAWs)

Don`t copy text!