Orchestral Music Software

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These days, choosing your music software is just as important as choosing your DAW because you’re committing to learning its features and idiosyncrasies. You might think that there aren’t enough differences in software vendors’ offerings on the surface, but choosing the right orchestral VST for you requires quite a bit of consideration.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best orchestral VSTs on the market today and evaluate them with the sample-based producer in mind.

How We Selected the Best Orchestral VST

Whether you’re a generalist music producer or an enthusiastic orchestral music specialist, finding the perfect orchestral VST is a difficult task. Many of the software vendors offer music samples for you to evaluate the quality of the samples; however, the ease of use of the software and its workflow are also important to consider.

When it comes to sample quality, we played the recordings on multiple sources and volumes, noting the audio fidelity, especially at extreme pitches and volumes. During your own evaluation, we recommend playing the samples with a focus on timbre, smoothness and realism as you adjust the pitch and volume. The instruments must be impeccably clear even at full blast.

The next thing we evaluated was the speed of the software engine. In many cases the speed of the software is determined by the memory capacity of your machine. So, to avoid a slow-loading instrument, consider the minimum requirements of the VST. Additionally, we preferred the software instruments that were user-friendly. This means that the VSTs with great user-interfaces and simple navigation ranked higher in our evaluation.

Be sure to choose an instrument with enough instruments and samples. In our testing, a 50 GB sound library for the orchestral VST would be fine for a home studio.

Orchestral Music Software

With over a dozen brands of orchestral VSTs in the market today, selecting your dream instrument is a real chore. So, to help you quickly make an informed decision, we have created an in-depth guide of some of the best orchestral VSTs in the market.

1. Miroslav Philharmonik Orchestra

First on the list is the Miroslav Philharmonik 2, one of the best orchestral VSTs available in the market. This powerhouse instrument comes packed with a large audio capacity (55 GB) worth of samples, data and loops. The library also features Miroslav Vitous’ breathtaking recordings of sounds and music performances by the Czech Philharmonik Orchestra at the famous Dvorak Symphony Hall. These legendary recordings give you quality samples enabling you to reproduce world-class orchestral sounds in your music.

Its unique multi-timbral workstations (16 in total) incorporates an array of carefully laid out instruments. The collection includes wind instruments, brass, and string. As for the user interface, the Philharmonik Orchestra VST features a top-notch layout, including easy to navigate menus enabling you to locate every sound quickly.

Free orchestral music making software

The package includes a 34 classical DSP effect, 4 master effects, 4 insert effects for every instrument and patented ultra-quality reverb effects. With both the VST/DAW and standalone programs installed, you also enjoy the benefit of choosing how to play your instrument.

Pros

  • 55 gigabytes loaded with samples
  • Easy to download the software- Direct digital download
  • A large Variety of master and individual effects
  • Compatible with the DAWs, VSTs, and Standalone application

Cons

  • Quite Expensive if you are on a tight budget ($529)

2. Garritan Instant Orchestra

If you are looking for the best value for the price you’re paying, be sure to consider this pack from Garritan. The software comes at an incredibly low price that should fit most budgets. Garritan Instant Orchestra is well regarded among music enthusiasts and boasts an authentic sample library.

Garritan is designed with an extensive choice of instruments which include strings, bass-octave tones, strings overlays and big hits. It also comes packed with additional sounds including ethereal textures, wild overlays, mega-hits, chaotic whirls, spooky wind textures, super-lush strings, slivery choirs, light glassy, harps, low-octave rumblings, glissandi, bombastic brass sections and chord clusters. Finally, Garritan also comes with an integrated ARIA player saving you from spending on a separate sample player.

Pros

  • Compatible with the VSTs and other systems like windows (Ableton) and Mac (Logic Pro X)
  • Easy to use with the USB and MIDI hardware and software
  • User-friendly interfaces
  • High-quality audio clips and samples
  • Comparatively cheap ($179.95)

Cons

  • A restricted number of samples
  • Not compatible with Adobe Audition

3. Native Instruments Komplete 13

Willing to invest in an all-in-one solution? Well, Native Instruments’ Complete 13 is arguably the best orchestral VST pack in the market. Loaded with plenty of orchestral instruments and more, this instrument is ideal for the jack-of-all trades producer.

Native Instruments’ Komplete 13 comes with a huge storage capacity of about 200GB which houses more than 13000 different sounds. Inside, you will also find a 45 product pack which includes additional software like UNA Corda, Strummed Acoustic, Reactor 6, Replika and many more. If you’re looking for more than just orchestral samples, Komplete 13 offers the most value on this list.

ProsPaint scheme pages.

  • A 200GB storage capacity of samples, sounds, and audio products
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows systems
  • A ton of digital applications and virtual instruments

Cons

  • Quite expensive ($599)
  • Might be overwhelming for a beginner

4. Ivory II

Looking for the ultimate piano VST for your orchestral production? Well, Ivory II by Steinway and Sons may be just what you need.

Ivory II provides high fidelity piano sounds. It features 18 high-velocity levels (for each piano), sensational string resonance, a pedal noise feature, timbre shifting, a lid position, a half pedalling function, a set of tuning tables and synth layers. With the above features and a 49GB memory full of memorable samples, this instrument will transform your music. Ivory II also features Harmonic Resonance Modelling, a feature that ensures authenticity in your final product.

This VST also features timbre shifting, Parametric EQ settings and other syntax control layers, and is the top choice if you rely heavily on authentic piano samples.

Pros

  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac computers (32-64-bit settings)
  • 49 GB core memory for sample storage.
  • A wide variety of EQ options, synth, pedal noise features, and filters.

Cons

  • Limited to only piano-related samples.

5. Vienna Symphonic Library

If you are looking for flexibility in terms of your sample library’s authenticity, the Vienna Symphonic Library is a good choice. Because of its pure samples (without additives) you will be able to customize your instruments to your heart’s content. While most orchestral VSTs adopt a modern sound, the Vienna Symphonic Library has maintained its classic approach to orchestral instrument reproduction, making it a staple in the music industry.

But when it comes to its software, this instrument is completely modernized, coming with a sample library capacity of about 40GB, fully loaded with meticulously selected classical samples. It contains 28 instruments which include brass, percussion, strings, woodwinds and pianos. The software also allows you to play as an ensemble or a solo, so you can experiment with different styles in your production.

The highlight of the Vienna Symphonic Library is its string section because it is uniquely built to excel in creating legato performances. It also features an algorithmic programming feature that enables real note transition that produces unique melodies.

Pros

  • Utilizes the AX, VST, RTAS and AU formats.
  • 40GB storage memory

Cons

  • Limited samples
  • Lacks special effects

Verdict: Which is the best orchestral VST?

With so many options available, it can be quite difficult to choose which is universally the best orchestral VST. However, to make decision simpler, start with your own requirements. What is your budget? What is most important to you, audio quality or the sheer number of variety in sounds? Also, consider the purpose of the instrument. Are you purchasing an orchestral VST for professional recording or to use at your private studio? And finally, what genre of music do you intend to produce? Some orchestral VSTs are specifically designed for a specific genre of music while others are built multipurpose. After answering the above questions for yourself, the choice becomes much easier.

To summarize, here are our recommendations:

If you specialize in orchestral music production, you should consider the Philharmonik Orchestra, the Vienna Symphonic Library, or the Garritan Instant Orchestra. These choices provide a range for all budgets, and are incredibly versatile.

However, Synthogy’s Ivory II is the best choice if you primarily compose piano pieces within larger orchestra productions.

Finally, if you want a tool that serves multiple purposes for your home studio, you should consider Native Instruments’ Komplete 13. This will give you the most variety without compromising on the music quality.

If you’re still unsure, a beginner, or on a low budget, Garritan Instant Orchestra might be the best orchestral VST available. This tool fits into any budget at $179.95 and is loaded with all the necessary features to produce great orchestral music.

In this article, we offered 5 choices for your next orchestral VST, but it doesn’t end here. Do you know of other orchestral VSTs we might have missed? Let us know!

Orchestral Music Composition Software

Orchestral VSTs have never been more accessible to producers.

Soaring strings, fluttering woodwinds, and deep brass will bring an epic and emotional quality to your tracks and enhance their dramatic energy.

Orchestral libraries can contain thousands of samples and several instrument specific articulations. It’s not surprising that many paid orchestral plugins can cost upwards of a thousand dollars.

You get what you pay for when it comes to plugins, but the quality of free has been on the rise.

That’s why I’m rounding up the 6 best free orchestral VSTs capable of emulating a real orchestra.


Let’s get started.

1. Spitfire LABS

Spitfire LABS is a top contender when it comes to free plugins.

LABS is an ongoing series of free software instruments made by musicians and sampling experts in London. It’s updated with new sounds constantly, and sports an easy to use user interface.

Their soft piano plugin is still a go-to piano sound for many professional composers. Some musicians have used it to write entire albums of solo piano music.

LABS offers top quality string samples, warm brass samples, and several other unique additions of the orchestra.

LABS offers top quality string samples, warm brass samples, and several other unique additions of the orchestra.

2. Orchestral Tools Layers

Orchestral Tools is a high quality orchestral library creator. It’s no surprise that their free offering packs some of the best free orchestral sounds you can get.

Layers’ packs 17 GB of orchestral samples. It includes four different microphone positions and a variety of articulations.

It allows you to generate full chords with one touch of a button. It’s also capable of MIDI keyswitching, which gives you tons of control to blend instrument sections and shift dynamics.

Layers’ was recorded on the Teldex Scoring Stage in Berlin. This recording environment gives it a professional sound with top quality acoustics. It’s one of the most realistic sounding free orchestral libraries available.

3. The Total Composure Orchestra

The Total Composure Orchestra is a full orchestral sample library. It was created by using samples that are in the public domain.

The public domain consists of creative work that has no exclusive intellectual property rights. All the 1500 samples in the total composure orchestra are pre-cleared for use in your music.

The public domain consists of creative work that has no exclusive intellectual property rights.

The Total Composure Orchestra uses Native Instruments Kontakt as a sample loader. That means you’ll get access to the advanced Kontakt scripting features that make samples sound even more realistic.

Kontakt isn’t free, but it’s a worthwhile tool to invest in if you plan on using more orchestral libraries in the future.

4. Project Sam’s The Free Orchestra

The Free Orchestra by Project Sam is a collection of samples from many of their paid products. It’s the high quality sample platter of orchestral libraries.

The Free Orchestra’s samples range from epic string staccatos to dystopian sound design.

Orchestral Music Maker

The Free Orchestra’s samples range from epic string staccatos to dystopian sound design.

The best thing about this orchestral VST is that it runs in the free version of Kontakt—the Kontakt Player. This is perfect if you want to get started with Kontakt libraries without the commitment of buying the full version.

The Free Orchestra features incredible options for sound design. Parameters such as envelope controls, effects, octaver, and reverse make it one of the most versatile plugins on this list.

The Free Orchestra is the perfect entry level orchestra for any genre.

5. BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover by Spitfire Audio

Create Orchestral Music Software

Beautiful orchestral music

BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover is another incredible offering from Spitfire Audio. Discover was designed to make orchestral scoring accessible to all music creators.

In the past, you would have to make an investment of hundreds of dollars or more to begin composing with an orchestra.

Discover includes 35 instruments and 47 techniques. All the instruments are premixed into one mix signal. This gives you a bit less control than a paid library, while still boasting a professional sound.

Discover includes “mode switching” which allows you to share your compositions with others. Composers that have different editions of the Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra can play and edit your music. This is also convenient if you plan on upgrading from Discover to one of Spitfire Audio’s paid offerings.

6. Versilian Chamber Orchestra Community


Versilian Chamber Orchestra Community is an open source version of Versilian Chamber Orchestra 2. It was created for musicians that want to create better sounding music using sample libraries without the cost.

The VSCO Community edition comes with 19 unique instruments, and 3000 individual samples. The library includes the basic articulations of the orchestra. It allows you to create realistic mockups right out of the box.

You’ll need a sample loader to run this library. Luckily, this library is compatible with the free sample loader Sforzando, which runs .sfz files.

This is a helpful non-proprietary format that stores instrument data for software synthesizers.

VSCO Community is also compatible with the full version of Kontakt.

Fork over the Orch

Composing Orchestral Music Software

Free orchestral libraries used to ‘sound’ like they were free. Now, you can get a pro orchestral sound in your DAW with no financial commitment.

Orchestral Music Software

These libraries are a dime a dozen. Try them out in your DAW and make an epic banger.

Orchestra Music software, free download

They’ll be a good indicator of what will come next on your shopping list.