Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries In 2022

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Let’s look at the best cello plugins and libraries available in 2022.

Orchestras are music ensembles with multiple sections, with many musicians in each section. These ensembles developed and evolved from earlier settings, as far back as the 17th century, which culminated in the formation we see today in operas and concertos.

A stringed segment contains only string instruments among the multiple sections. You’ll hear violins, violas, double basses, and cellos ringing clearly, and it’s that last instrument we’re discussing today.

The cello, or violoncello, is a four-string instrument of the violin family. Usually, it’s tuned one octave below a viola (C2, G2, D3, and A3) and is significantly larger than one, coming in 4/4 and 7/8 sizes (about 30 inches in height). It’s a part of the string quartet, but it can also be used as a solo instrument or as a part of an even larger ensemble.

Modern styles and film scores use the cello in their creations, constantly present in jazz, world, and neoclassical music. It’s versatile, all its sounds are wonderful to listen to, and gladly you can count on good-sounding plugins and sample libraries to get a glimpse of this beautiful instrument inside your DAW.

Today’s list encompasses the best cello plugins and Kontakt libraries available in 2022, with some special additions at the end of the article. 

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries In 2022

1. Native Instruments Stradivari Cello (Kontakt Library)

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Also Included in Cremona Quartet Strings Collection
The deep tones of an authentic Stradivari cello are ready to use however you’d like.

The Cremona Quartet Strings Collections is a bundle that includes a string quartet, but not a regular one: here, you have multiple historical instruments, like Stradivari and Guarneri, sampled most cautiously. Among the multiple options in the bundle, the cello is our focus here.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • “True Solo”
      Every sampled note on Stradivari Cello was meticulously recorded using several dynamics and microphone placements, ensuring that there are no phasing difficulties on legato transitions from pianissimo to fortissimo. This results in startlingly organic performances, similar to what a genuine player would provide.
    • “Smart” algorithm
      The “Smart” position algorithm allows you to rapidly mimic the fingerboard position that any professional player would pick in a live concert. You may customize how the instrument sounds by switching between both the “Low String” and “High String” choices. The lower position produces a mellower sound, and the higher position produces a crisper and brighter sonority.
    • Realistic vibrato
      Essentially, you have an excellent vibrato effect collected out from the player’s hand and can afterwards reapply to the sample itself with the appropriate settings you may wish to include. This guarantees that the greatest and most natural effect is produced while allowing you to automate and regulate it instantaneously.
    • Authentic instrument
      You can expect to use one of the best-sounding instruments on the planet in your next production. The cello sampled was a 1700 Stradivari “Stauffer” model, with unique responsiveness and sound character. All the rich, warm tones can be not only recreated but also tweaked according to your taste and needs.
    • Mic positioning
      Native Instruments always include an option where you can set the mixdown of the microphones present in your unique way. There are 32 microphones, but they’re all included within the three main categories – “Close,” “Mid,” and “Far.” You can also use a stereo-only mix that will go easy on your CPU processing, delivering the same results in a faster workflow.

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. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

Aside from its normal outstanding efforts, Native Instruments has outdone itself again by simply providing the finest string quartet library you could dream of. Sure, what counts most, in the end, is excellent audio quality and articulation, but the cellos in this collection much exceed any expectations.

Stradivari is a very well-known name in the world of luthier work, so why not include one in your next production? The sound quality is incredible, as was the recording procedure. The articulations are excellent and should work well in most productions.

Related Reading:

Top 12 Violin Plugins With Authentic Sound 2022

2. Audio Modeling SWAM Cello V3 (Plugin)

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Audio Modeling is a company dedicated to recreating famous instruments without the help of any sample files, instead counting on physical modelling to achieve the same sonic results. This results in significant lightweight storage space and RAM consumption, as it doesn’t depend on any sample files to be loaded.

 

Key Features:

    • Left-hand mode
      One of the three main modes included in SWAM Cello V3 is called “Left Hand.” If selected, you can choose an alternate fingering: “Mid Position,” which sets the left hand in the middle of the neck, “Near The Bridge,” which will set the hand towards the cello’s bridge, and “Near The Nut + Open,” which sets the left hand near the nut and using open strings as well.
    • Right-hand mode
      The “Right Hand” mode allows further tweaking in your playing style. You can alternate between “Bow,” which introduces a bow to your instrument, “Pizzicato,” a method of plucking the strings with the fingers, and “Col Legno,” a method that uses bow strikes in each string to resonate the notes.
    • Polyphony mode
      The last of the three main modes that set your cello sound right is entitled “Polyphony,” which deals with different polyphonic movements to be played in your cello. For instance, you can mess with bow polyphony, pizzicato/col legno polyphony, mono cross-string muting, and double hold string muting. This is a useful section to work with more than one string simultaneously, providing more human touch to your track.
    • Pitch adjustments
      Divided into “Master Tunng” and “Micro Tuning,” this segment deals with everything related to your overall pitch. You can change the master tuning of the instrument in Hz or cents, aside from transposing the key of your piece seamlessly. If that’s not enough, the “Micro Tuning” segment lets you set the perfect tuning for your instrument, saving up to seven different of them for your continuous use.
    • Timbre
      Aside from the technical aspects of modelling a cello’s sound, you can add the final touch by setting the perfect timbre for your need. Especially when dealing with an ensemble or quarter situation, defining each instrument’s timbre is essential to enhance its best qualities. You can freely adjust this in the “Timbre” section.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, NKS, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

SWAM Cello V3 brings the best aspects of the cello’s sound, but without a single sampled audio file added to the bundle. This not only makes it significantly lighter in size but also explores the depths of physical modelling and how that can be useful to us, producers and musicians.

As a result, you can expect brilliant sounds with the best quality and definition in every subtle aspect. The articulations and variable plucking methods are also very nice, providing an overall realistic experience.

Related Reading:

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

3. Orchestral Tools Nocturne Cello Soloists II (Kontakt Library)

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The best Berlin players were gathered to make this awesome library available.

Orchestral Tools is known to deliver some of the best sample libraries when it comes to orchestral instruments. Now, the “Soloist Series” brings the most sought-after instruments to you with masterfully recorded samples and the most diverse articulations and dynamics, this time focused solely on the cello.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Legato performances
      Legato is highly important to provide a humanized performance, so Nocturne Cello Soloists II has 14 different legato modes available. They all provide different speeds, particular techniques, or variable expressions, delivering an authentic and realistic performance.
    • Legato patches
      Aside from the multiple legato performances included, there are two legato patches in Nocturne Cello Soloists II: you can choose between a “detacheé” or “slurred” playing mode, which sets how each legato performance group is expected to sound.
    • Set your long notes
      Recreating every single aspect of the cello’s resonance is hard, but Orchestral Tools managed to do so brilliantly. The long notes in Nocturne Cello Soloists II cover a wide range of lengths, expressions, and dynamics to provide the most realistic experience in the final sound result. Your notes won’t sound the same and will have that characteristic human feel.
    • Dynamic layer
      Orchestral Tools decided to go with a single dynamic layer in Nocturne Cello Soloists II. As it’s commonly expected of acoustic instruments, multiple dynamic layers can cause various phase issues during the recording process, so the team chose to have a single layer available as to reduce any related problems to a minimum.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.15 or higher (latest update) and Windows 10 (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Kontakt version 5.5.1 or higher is required (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player).

Summary:

As promised, this library is one of the best-sounding available. Orchestral Tools never fails to amaze producers and musicians with its exquisite, precise recreations of famous instruments.

Of course, capturing that essence with a cello is very hard, but Nocturne Cello Soloists II delivers wonderful sound results, with as much tweaking as possible to make your notes sound like you expected them to.

Related Reading:

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

4. Chris Hein Solo Cello EXtended (Kontakt Library)

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A sample library focused on capturing the best elements of a single instrument.

The Solo Cello EXtended by Chris Hein is a sample library consisting of four cellos played by different professional musicians, recorded with utmost care and attention to detail. The final result was optimized for the best playability and performance, mainly with your CPU processing power and each sample file’s quality.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • The models
      Four different cello models are included in Solo Cello EXtended, each with a specific characteristic. You can pick from “Romantic Cello,” featuring a sensitive dynamic response and clear overall tone, “Modern Cello,” which has a more dark and profound timbre relative to old wooden construction, “British Cello,” and “German Cello.”
    • Phase alignment
      In order to provide a consistent transient between each sample audio file, the entire collection was subject to a phase alignment process. This ensures that each dynamic layer has a seamless transition between notes and phrases, making the overall sound more realistic and humanized.
    • True Legato
      One of the most important articulations in string instruments is legato. The easy flow of the notes in your phrase can help make the instrument sound more natural. Solo Cello EXtended uses a true legato algorithm that faithfully replicates the instrument’s acoustic resonance meticulously.
    • Large library
      Solo Cello EXtended features a library of over 30,000 samples, with additional 38 articulations to be included in each. Add eight dynamic layers, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for a trustworthy virtual cello collection.
    • Dynamic Modes
      The user design interface is very candid and clear, tailored to provide the closest experience possible related to the cello techniques. One of the best ways to customize this is through the “Dynamic Modes” included in Solo Cello EXtended: “Note-Head Designer,” “Key-Vibrato,” “Hot-Keys,” and a dedicated blend of articulation presets.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.15 or higher (latest update) and Windows 10 (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Free Kontakt Player version 5.8.0 or higher is required.

Summary:

This is an example of a solid library showcasing a large number of sample files and well-designed articulations to provide the closest experience to an authentic cello sound.

The beauty of Solo Cello EXtended lies in the multitude of nuances captured through the 30k+ samples, the multiple dynamic layers and specific articulations. In addition, the “Dynamic Modes” are very helpful in nailing the cello timbre even better.

Related Reading:

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

5. Harmonic Subtones Emotional Cello

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The ultimate approach here is to virtually capture the full expression of a cello.

Orchestral instruments are notorious for their majestic and larger-than-life sounds. However, even when playing soloed, they can convey beautiful, rich tones that fit both audacious cinematic productions and pop hit songs, and Emotional Cello aims to deliver that result to your next production.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Contextual sampling
      The “main philosophy” behind Emotional Cello is called “Contextual Sampling,” and it’s based on capturing each sample in an actual musical context so that the most natural aspects of the player’s technique are caught on the mic. Techniques like vibrato and legato become much more vivid with the help of this specific approach, which can be useful for more natural-sounding productions.
    • Articulations
      There are over 1,000 articulations in Emotional Cello, all designed with a clever script that links each of the available options seamlessly, as organic as playing a real cello would be. This is best used when dealing with a specific style or genre.
    • Patches
      Emotional Cello contains three master patches: “Emotional Cello,” “Sulponticello,” and “Harmonic Cello.” Each provides meaningful articulations that can be blended, altered, and saved to suit your needed performance style better. You can also use “Individual Patches,” which has other articulations like sustain and trills.
    • Playing styles
      Aside from setting your timbre manually, you can interchangeably switch from various playing styles, ready for use. You can select “Fast Spiccato,” “Pizzicato,” “Delicate,” “Proud Vibrato,” “Pastorale,” “Tremolo,” and many more.
    • Ornament key switches
      These unlikely clever key switches are nothing like what we normally see in other plugins and sample libraries: in essence, these are momentary and are susceptible to variation in the articulations you’re working with. This means that the key switches can be changed seamlessly, without permanent uses and providing more fluidness when playing your MIDI controller.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.15 or higher (latest update) and Windows 10 (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Free Kontakt Player version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

The great attention to detail from Harmonic Subtones paid off for the excellent quality of Emotional Cello. This awesome library focuses on capturing the most accurate expression and translating that to virtual samples, materialized in their “Contextual Sampling” approach to capturing authentic music performances.

The results are very natural and realistic, boasting expression and natural flow between each note played.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)

6. Insanity Samples Cello One (Kontakt Library)

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A great approach to bold songwriting with the cello.

Cello One is Insanity Samples’ take on a solo cello, capturing all the beautiful harmonics characteristic of the instrument. The simple interface helps get things straight, and the user can have total independence as to where to take the cello’s sound: you can create powerful phrases or craft gigantic sonorities by tweaking the parameters.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Articulations
      You can select between four different articulations: “True Legato,” “Polyphony,” “Staccato,” and “Pizzicato.” They all feature envelope control, boasting all four “ADSR” knobs for each articulation selected.
    • Legato types
      For each articulation included, some further options are expanded at the main window. For instance, if you select “True Legato,” you can set between “Adaptative – Speed,” “Adaptative – Velo,” “Fixed – Fast,” and “Fixed – Slow.” 
    • Simple interface
      Similar libraries tend to be more complex in terms of design, but that’s not the case for Cello One. The user interface is very simple and minimalistic, with all available controls or configurations set on the main centre screen. The amazing sounds you can achieve are already there; all you need to do is tweak the values accordingly to get perfect timbres instantly.
    • Effects
      You can choose to add some effects to your phrases, expanding even further your possible sonorities. Feel free to select options like “Distortion,” “Chorus,” “Delay,” and “Reverb,” with controls like “Tone” and “Feedback” available for each respective effect.

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:

A straightforward library that boasts character and personality. This is a nice way to describe Cello One, a collection dedicated to replicating a solo cello’s sonority.

The controls are easy to follow and provide instant results, with the possibility to add effects on top of your sound to achieve even more audacious soundscapes. The articulations are basic and do their job very well, being a reliable touch to make it sound even more realistic.

Related Reading:

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

7. 8Dio Studio Series: Deep Solo Cello (Kontakt Library)

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A masterful recording of an excellent musician playing a beautiful instrument.

8Dio is renowned for its sample libraries, ranging from multiple different instruments. This time, they bring the classic cello sound to reality with the Studio Series: Deep Solo Cello collection, featuring samples played by a real, professional musician with the best articulations available.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Articulations
      Everything depends on articulations when talking about sample libraries. They will provide the specific techniques and the most sounds to come out of a cello, and arguably they play the most important role here. For this reason, 8Dio included 88 of these articulations to be used, expanding the versatility of this virtual instrument significantly.
    • Samples
      The sample files are the core element in any library, and it’s not different here. You can select from over 20,000 samples to nail down the perfect performance for your track or score, with multiple variations to be added on top of that.
    • Arcs
      Deep Solo Cello offers a nice arc selection to be used in your cello part. They are expected to vary, resulting in different sounds explored in the instrument. There are 25 types of bowing arcs to choose from, with an added “Arc FX” section to expand the possible sonorities to come out of it even further.
    • Mic control
      To nail the sound you’re looking for, it’s always useful to set the perfect microphone balance between the available options. Deep Solo Cello allows you to set the “Near” and “Ambient” microphones to your taste, determining which position or levelling for each model is more appropriate for your track.
    • Muted articulations
      Aside from the most common articulations present in orchestral libraries, Deep Solo Cello offers some dedicated muted articulations as well. The “Con Sordino” articulations explored muted sounds with a bunch of short notes, crescendos, dynamic bowings, and even true legato.

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:

Just like other 8Dio products, Studio Series: Deep Solo Cello nails the awesome timbre variations of an instrument such as the cello.

The best part about it doesn’t solely lie in the multitude of sample files: you can expect much more nuances by tweaking the mic positioning, selecting a specific bowing arc, or even exploring the various articulations included in the bundle.

So be ready to explore a very versatile sonic tool with this sample library.

Related Reading:

The 8 Best 8dio Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Various Plugins)

8. Embertone Blakus Cello (Kontakt Library)

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This library is the result of an awesome collaboration with a professional musician.

Embertone wanted to deliver the best possible cello library, and for that, they asked Blake Robinson, a renowned Australian cellist and composer, to play the cello in the most fruitful ways. The final result turned out to be massive, with harsh sounds and exquisite articulations pushed to their limits.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Full vibrato control
      One of the most particularly characteristic articulations in stringed instruments is vibrato. This technique’s subtle nuances are enormous and add a human touch to your playing. You can expect a very authentic recreation of this effect in Blakus Cello.
    • Samples
      The sample variety in Blakus Cello is great: feel free to use over 5,500 of them to craft your perfect phrase, a distinctive passage, or the powerful melodic line your track requires, without ever running out of inspiration.
    • ENSEMBLE mode
      This mode is a collection of scripts and algorithms that uses a complex set of pitch shifts, panning, and round-robin adjustments to reproduce a faithful eight-piece cello ensemble. You can tweak parameters like “Ensemble Humanization” to get everything sounding more organic or make use of some “Randomize” elements to make the overall sound as human as possible.
    • Bow noises
      As expected, all acoustic elements behind an instrument, such as the cello, interfere with the final sound result. This is why you can set the appropriate bow noise to your cello playing, reducing or leaving it be. In essence, this EQ profile isolates the bow resonances by specifying which frequencies should be removed from the equation.
    • CC Chooser
      The dedicated window for setting any MIDI CC commands is a complete and reliable way to alter the values for seven distinct parameters: “Dynamics,” “Slur,” “Vibrato Style,” “Vibrato Speed,” “Vibrato Color,” Vibrato Amplitude,” and “Vibrato Pitch.” By customizing these values, you can set them to a key switch most suitable for your needs.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.7 or 10.8 (latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only and the latest Service Pack required). It comes in VST and AU plugin formats. Free Kontakt Player version 5 or higher is required.

Summary:

Embertone wants to deliver a friendly user experience with Blakus Cello while offering the distinctive feature of having all notes played by a professional and renowned musician.

The samples boast quality and expressiveness, with further adjustments that only increase its versatility towards any genre or particular use you may need to apply. The “ENSEMBLE Mode” is a nice highlight, offering multiple configurations to replicate an eight-piece ensemble, which can be useful in certain moments.

Related Reading:

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

9. Have Audio Double Espresso Cello Textures (Kontakt Library)

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The ideal library for score composers searching for a unique, trustworthy sonic tool.

Sometimes, it’s awesome to rely on a sample library focused on a determined style. For example, suppose you’re a score composer that needs a reliable collection to get your cinematic productions just right. In that case, Double Espresso Cello Textures might be the best option for you.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Convolution reverb
      Reverb is the perfect way to set the appropriate ambience for your instrument, recreating the optimal ambient reflections that should be perceived when playing the real instrument. To get that effect nailed even better, Have Audio decided to include a convolution reverb in Double Espresso Cello Textures. In essence, it deals with impulse responses to recreate a determined room size meticulously, thus offering a much more realistic sound result.
    • Cinematic Blend Effect
      Materialized in the espresso cup located on the centre screen, the “Cinematic Blend Effect” combines varied samples to be used in a larger, cinematic setting. By tweaking this option, you can expect more fluid sounds that may blend easier with other instruments you have going on.
    • Delay
      One of the sugar cubes is responsible for controlling the delay level (the one to the right side of the screen), while the leftmost coffee grain sets the feedback for it. By tweaking these controls accordingly, you can have the perfect reflections that may sweeten your phrases significantly.
    • Distortion
      The remaining coffee grain solely controls the distortion in most cases – or the phaser if Friction.nki is selected. This is a wonderful way to have aggressive, dramatic tones coming out of the cello without increasing volume or the overall dynamics.
    • Modes
      Double Espresso Cello Textures works in three different modes: you can switch between the “Acoustic” mode, which offers a classic sonority, the “Dystopian” mode that takes things to the next level in terms of experimentation, and the “Electronic” mode, boasting modern elements to add in your final sound.

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 5.6.8 or higher is required (it will not run in Kontakt Player!).

Summary:

Aimed to nail the best cinematic elements, Double Espresso Cello Textures is a nice bundle of samples and parameters that take the cello sound to the next level.

Surely, you can keep things the “normal” way and use the cello as expected, but the fun part is to adventure into different sonorities and bold soundscapes, ideal for an ambitious cinematic production that needs an everlasting sonic impact.

10. Virharmonic Bohemian Cello

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Most libraries replicate the instrument, but this one aims to recreate the player’s experience.

The great catch about Virharmonic’s Bohemian Cello is the ability to think and act as the performer itself instead of focusing on the instrument, delivering an ultimate organic performance in a virtual format.

You don’t need to master complicated MIDI patches or comprehensive algorithms, just feel the music as it is and play as naturally as possible.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Detailed samples
      Each sample file was captured with the appropriate passion and detail, reflecting on the high-quality present in the final result. All files were recorded with intense interval variations, multiple dynamics, and at various speeds to make a faithful rendition of what an actual cello player would sound like in real life.
    • Dynamic layers
      To add the perfect balance between notes and phrases, the dynamic layers are present further to increment the organic aspect of this virtual library. Bohemian Cello has three dynamic layers of diminuendos, going up to six seconds in length and including marvellous endings to make the entire idea sound as realistic as possible.
    • Transitions
      Further, two dedicated dynamic layers are also within Bohemian Cello. You can have two crescendo layers, which are excellent for making transitions between phrases or elements sound more natural. You also get two round-robin repetitions per bow on each arc mode.
    • Articulations
      Among the most common options, like “Marcatos,” “Staccatos,” and “Pizzicatos,” you can also explore more nuances about the bowing arcs used. You can select the arc’s model and where exactly it’s acting upon the cello strings. This increases the faithfulness of the final sound.
    • Phrase legatos
      The legatos are essential to make each phrase sound good independently of the speed set. You can tweak the bow directions, whether you’re using your fingers or a bow, add portamento, edit runs, and create playable trills.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 8 to 10 (64-bit only). The Free UVI WORKSTATION version 3.0.5 or higher is required.

Summary:

The audacious perspective of Bohemian Cello aims to take the usual sampling experience to another view due to the player’s perspective being central here. As a result, the library delivers high-quality results that can be meticulously tweaked, housed in a somewhat wordy user interface.

Aside from using specific software to load the samples, it’s worth considering if you need multiple variations regarding bowing arc types and specific articulations.

11. Cinesamples Tina Guo Acoustic Cello (Kontakt Library)

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This signature library is a nice option to get awesome cello phrases in no time.

Tina Guo is a Chinese-born American cellist with an extensive musical career. She covered multiple genres and styles, performing with theatrical elements and elaborated figurines to deliver the best performance possible.

Now it’s up to you to further expand Tina’s abilities with this excellent sample library focused on the cello. 

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Infinite bow
      Present in all Cinesamples products, the “Infinite Bow” aims to deliver a unique sonority: with this function enabled, you can produce extended bowing sounds, almost as if the arc bow itself was infinite in size. You can even use your sustain pedal in your MIDI controller to explore this feature.
    • Signature sound
      It’s uncommon to see a signature plugin or library focused on recreating a specific artist’s sonority. Tina Guo has worked with big names like Hans Zimmer, and such iconic playability is translated into this excellent library. Feel free to incorporate Tina’s techniques and do even more with that, thanks to a handful of clever algorithms included.
    • Unique instrument
      Tina Guo used an 1800 Gand & Bernadel cello to capture the cello’s nuances better. The old age of this instrument is the perfect recipe for a wooden, solid timbre that resonates with the cello’s reputation very easily, boasting sound character and personality in each note played.
    • Legato engine
      As the name implies, Tina Guo Acoustic Cello Legato features a unique legato engine. This is associated with the best dynamic aspects of the instrument, and the original resonances of the vintage cello used are translated virtually to increase your composition’s dynamic soundscape significantly.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in both Free Kontakt Player and Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher.

Summary:

It’s hard to capture an instrument’s sonic essence virtually, let alone translate an artist’s style into the software. Somehow, Cinesamples managed to nail that nicely, with intuitive controls and a welcoming interface.

All best elements about her playing style are included, with possible modern variations – like the “Infinite Bow” – also added.

12. VSL Synchron Strings Pro

More Info & Price

Vienna Symphonic Library is responsible for some of the best sampled orchestral instruments, and Synchron is certainly one of them. 

Synchron Strings Pro is a string library recorded in Synchron Stage, Vienna, and it features a massive arsenal of articulations with unparalleled sampling and programming. The result is a highly natural-sounding string library, capable of simple pad-like long notes or energetic runs alike. 

I must note that due to the sheer size of the library (over 122 GB for the smaller version), it might be overkill if you are looking for a backing section for pop music or so.

However, if you enjoy composing classical music, Synchron Strings Pro stands as one of the best strings plugins that money can buy. 

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Natural Articulations
    The instrument features an extensive collection of articulations and expressions, including standard ones like legatostaccatospiccatotremolo, etc., and special ones like harmonics, col legnoflautando, and legato agile, which is ideal for fast, bouncing runs. Similarly, each articulation has multiple types, expressions, and release options. So, for example, you could have a legato with vibrato played in pianissimo with a soft release. 
  • Multiple Mic Positions
    The Synchron Strings Pro was recorded using 8 microphones. And the library has a Standard and a Full version, where the latter has all 8 microphones available for adjustments. The standard version has a close mic, mid mic (front row), room mic (L/R), and room mic (centre). 
  • Immersive
    Let’s continue with the previous feature. The Full version employs four more mics, including a back mic (second row), the main surround mic, a high stereo mic, and a high surround mic. They are primarily for creating immersive surround sound, including 2.0.2 (stereo with height audio) and 5.1.4 (Aura 3D or Dolby Atmos setup). 
  • Presets
    The library features many presets that include per-ensemble preset, mapped tutti, and octave combinations employing two ensembles for a fast workflow. Most presets feature multiple articulations that you can switch on the fly and polyphonic legato.
VSL Synchron Strings Pro vs other flagship libraries

Compatibility:

This library is available for Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.10.5 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Synchron Strings Pro is an inspiring wealth of sound with natural note transitions and expression. It does require a moderately powerful computer to perform smoothly, but it’s to be expected for instruments of this detail. I would highly recommend it if you work on classical music.

The only downside is that you will require an eLicenser USB protection device, even for the demo. You can purchase one from Vienna or use an existing eLicenser key, such as from Steinberg or Arturia. Finally, the installation process can be tedious for someone, but it’s worth it in the end.

Related Reading:

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

6 Best Free Cello Plugins 2022

1. Spitfire Audio Amplified Cello Quartet (Plugin)

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Exquisite cello sounds for free.

Can you imagine running a cello into different effects pedals and… a guitar amplifier? Well, if that’s what you always wanted, then Spitfire Audio made things easier for you. So be ready to discover the awesome sounds and sonic variations inside Amplified Cello Quartet.

LABS Amplified Cello Quartet

Key Features:

    • Recorded by professionals
      As with all Spitfire Audio products, this library received excellent treatment to provide bold, innovative sounds for anyone to use. The masterminds behind this project were Christian Henson and Harry Wilson, delivering the best aspects of a cello quartet into easy-to-use software.
    • Simple to use
      The same fluidness and clean looks in Amplified Cello Quartet are also present in other LABS products. You can expect a very fluid workflow that won’t weigh too much in your CPU consumption while boasting great sounds in every parameter selection you make.

Compatibility:

The library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.

Summary:

The freebies from Spitfire Audio tend to be very trustworthy and reliable sonic tools to work with, and the best part is that they offer new perspectives to common instruments. Cellos are not that common, but it’s very hard to see modern-sounding options in this instrument field, and Amplified Cello Quarter nails in that aspect.

Related Reading:

Top 11 Spitfire Audio Libraries & Plugins 2022

2. Spitfire Audio LABS Cello Moods (Plugin)

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If you need further modern sounds in a cello sound, you got it.

LABS is Spitfire Audio’s attempt to provide meaningful, nice-sounding sample libraries for free. This expands the accessibility towards high-quality samples and plugins while introducing new, modern concepts to producers worldwide. Cello Moods is relevant because it focuses on a collection of performances from Alice Allen.

LABS Cello Moods — FREE Performance Cello VST!

Key Features:

    • Four modes
      You can nail the perfect sonority with the help of four modes to convey the most varied emotions in your track: you can use “Awe,” “Melancholy,” “Tension,” and “Wistfulness” to better tame the improvisational skills of Alice Allen’s characteristic sound.
    • Significant style
      Alice Allen is renowned for her innovative approach to cello playing, derived from her passion for Scottish traditional music. This is excellent to bring new, exquisite techniques into your next production, with assured virtuosity and clear sound quality in each played note.

Compatibility:

The library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.

Summary:

As with other LABS libraries, Cello Moods has a characteristic sonority that may be the perfect solution for you or just be another virtual instrument variation. If you’re open to trying it out, be aware that the exquisite sounds may provide the perfect sauce for your track to reach new heights.

Related Reading:

20 Best FREE Kontakt Libraries 2022 For Various Categories

3. VSTBuzz pocketBlakus Cello

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A reliable freeware to get the best cello sounds without effort.

Australian composer Blake Robinson created this sample library to offer a freeware alternative to a virtual cello instrument, with exquisite attention to every resonance.

Top 12 Cello Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Maximum quality
      The samples contained in pocketBlakus Cello were recorded using a Rode K2 microphone, providing the necessary quality to capture every subtle nuance of the instrument. 
    • Two patches
      You can alternate between two patches to get the most out of this virtual instrument: the “Legato” patch provides long sustained notes, while the “Spiccato” patch is ideal for short, quick notes.
    • Add your effects
      The entire library was recorded in a dry setting to allow users to add whatever effects to the cello in the most natural way possible. Feel free to add the appropriate reverb, the perfect delay setting, or even a bold move like distortion or overdrive on top of it.

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:

There are nice elements about pocketBlakus Cello, and they’re all very straightforward in fulfilling what they promise. You can expect nice sounds and a good simulation of a real cello inside this plugin, but unfortunately, you won’t make use of any of that if you don’t own the full Kontakt player.

4. Versilian Chamber Orchestra 2 

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Delivering character and personality, this library is a great resource for orchestral sounds.

Versilian Studios wanted to create a sample library that should be relative to real-life expectations. Most products claim to achieve the “real” sound, independent of the instrument aimed to be replicated, but that’s exactly what the team didn’t want to do. So, eventually, VSCO 2 was born to go against that mentality.

2021 Free Orchestra VST Plug-in (VS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA 2) Review

Key Features:

    • Samples
      Among the many instruments included in this orchestral ensemble, you can rely on over 1,900 sample files distributed among multiple categories, including the cello. Additional 1,200 files were added to expand the instrument’s versatility further.
    • Articulations
      The freeware version features the basic articulations present in orchestral instruments, but that’s more than necessary to get things going. You can expect common options, like “Legato,” “Staccato,” and “Pizzicato.”
    • Pan control
      A dedicated “Pan” knob will set the accurate panning for your sound. When dealing with ensembles, this is essential to establish the proper sonic environment and stereo imaging of the instruments included.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in .XRNI, SampleTank, and .WAV sample formats.

Summary:

This is one of the best freeware options to explore, thanks to Versilian Studios’ reputation for bringing nice orchestral libraries to life. However, if you’re looking for a library that specifically deals with cellos, this is not a good option because it comes with 18 other instruments aside from it, which can be too much for a specific use.

5. ProjectSAM The Free Orchestra (Kontakt Library)

More Info & Download
For free, you can use a little more than 1GB of excellent cinematic samples.

ProjectSAM’s free collection contains the 12 original presets from its Symphobia 4 library (plus two new ones!), aside from a library of layered presets that repurpose current sounds to create new, intuitive instrument layers.

The FREE Orchestra Plugin from Project SAM

Key Features:

    • Light interface
      All controls you’ll require are on the primary screen, without different menus, panels, or controls to distract you. Aside from standard parameters like envelope and reverb, you get the “Quick Equalization,” “Octaver,” and “Reverse Sample” choices, which increase the versatility of the cello’s sound.
    • “Bonus” modes
      Each preset will include a “Bonus” knob that will give a special effect. It changes depending on the preset you’re using and is situated at the bottom row of three dials, first from left to right. You can have settings like “Boom” (to amplify low frequencies) and “Vowel” (to recreate a kind of formant effect) to make your cello’s tone sound distinctive, but this is entirely dependent on the preset you select.
    • Many instruments
      Aside from the multiple instrument options available, you can choose between cellos and contrabasses seamlessly. There are violins, woodwinds, and horns as well, so it may be useful to deliver a small orchestral ensemble with a focus on the cello, for instance.

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 fantastic assortment of free orchestrated instruments, especially the cello. This collection is a good place to start if you’re new to writing scores and soundtracks because the controls are simple to use, and the total library size is modest. In addition, the audio quality is outstanding, and all presets sound fantastic on their own.

6. DSK Strings

More Info & Download
This lightweight option might be ideal for beginner producers and composers.

DSK is famous for offering freeware options for famous instruments, and the collection is expanded with the addition of the Strings plugin.

DSK Strings - Free VST

Key Features:

    • Two layers
      There are two dynamic layers included in DSK Strings, offering a more vivid and organic detail to every note played. There are also 22 waveforms in total included.
    • Detuner
      If you need to use more octaves or even detune your melody, this plugin can easily do so in the “Octave” section, with a “Fine” knob and a numeral selection of the semitones intended to be altered.
    • Effects
      It’s always nice when companies include effects into the plugin so that you can make every adjustment right inside the software’s window. You can choose between flanger, delay, and reverb.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows XP or higher (32-bit only). It comes in VST 2 plugin format.

Summary:

As always, DSK’s plugins tend to be ideal for beginners in production or composition. The simplicity behind its controls and samples is favourable for inexperienced users, and this may be irrelevant for more professional uses. The worst part, beyond the sound quality of each sample, is that it’s Windows exclusive and only runs in 32-bits.

Conclusion

Orchestral instruments tend to be very hard to recreate virtually. However, thanks to the resonance imposed by these instruments, the ideal scenario for their performances is live, in real life. Be it in a studio room or on a concert stage, everyone listening to their overtones will be delighted, independent of the microphones used or the effects added.

Specifically, the cello was the main character in this week’s article. In multiple situations and styles, the big, imponent instrument is widely used among score composers, music producers, and sound engineers worldwide. So, in order to present the ideal library for you, we’ve collected some nice options for you to choose from.

Among the best libraries, Native Instruments Stradivari Cello excels in capturing the nuances of an authentic Stradivari cello, iconic for its building quality and perfect sonority.

Other cool options are Audio Modeling SWAM Cello V3, which relies solely on physical modelling instead of using sample files, and Chris Hein Solo Cello EXtended, which offers the same results as the previous two but with significant lower CPU consumption.

Cinematic productions always require massive sounds, and the cello is constantly present. For specific score composition uses, we recommend Insanity Samples Cello One and Have Audio Double Espresso Cello, both tailored to get the best cinematic sounds from the least tweaking from the parameters and controls.

Finally, the freebies section offers some nice choices, but Spitfire Audio Amplified Cello Quartet and Spitfire Audio LABS Cello Moods hit the spotlight by providing immersive and gigantic sounds with a modern, bold approach to it. These are ideal for modern producers looking for different tones that can be applied in modern settings.

As always, it’s nice to try the demos before buying the final products. Be aware of what you need, and the perfect plugin will come to you.

See you next time!

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