10 best orchestral VSTs 2023: compose like a pro with these orchestral software instruments
It’s time to talk about the best VST orchestral VST instruments you can download for for Mac & PC today.
Every orchestral VST plugin in this list has its own unique character and reasons to download. We’re listing 9 free orchestral instruments and one paid one – but we’ll save that one for the end!
Soon you’ll be on your way to writing interesting compositions with professional software instruments. These orchestral software instruments provide you with every advantage you need to write music at home.
Rather than hire a musician or learn to play the instrument yourself, you can utilize a MIDI keyboard controller and write interesting music with the multitude of orchestral samples you’re about to discover.
- LABS Strings
- BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover
- One Track Visual Orchestra
- The Free Orchestra
- Chamber Orchestra 2 Community Edition
- Big Bang Orchestra
- Symphony Series
1. Spitfire Audio – LABS Strings
We’ve listed it before and we’ll list it again. Spitfire Audio’s LABS sample player is completely free and lets you access every LABS sound library by the developer. In fact, Spitfire Audio is a brand known for industry-leading orchestral software instruments, so they naturally offer a variety of high-quality orchestral VST plugins… for free!
Spitfire’s LABS Strings plugin is a free orchestral plugin that you need in your arsenal. It stands out from the crowd of free orchestral VST plugins because every sound is captured by a variety of London’s best string players.
Moreover, LABS Strings utilizes a variety of microphones that makes this free orchestral strings plugin pretty versatile. Unfortunately, LABS doesn’t give you much control over the sounds inside the sampler, but the quality of every sound towers over others available in free VST plugins.
Spitfire Audio’s huge array of orchestral software instruments will give you hours of fun, and the developer is constantly dropping new ones on its site. And if the LABS Strings instrument library isn’t your cup of tea then I can guarantee that Spitfire Audio will have something for you in their LABS library.
You’ll find a plethora of virtual instruments in the LABS sample libraries including drums, pianos, instruments from a variety of cultures, and even synthesized sounds too.
2. Orchestral Tools – SINEfactory
SINE Player by OrchestralTools is a free sampler plugin that behaves much like LABS and Kontakt by Native Instruments. You’ll find a number of orchestral sound libraries inside the Sinefactory sample library, with examples including “Ratio”, “Gearbox”, and “Helix”.
Inside them are instruments like strings, horns, percussion, piano sounds, and more. These free orchestral sounds are not to be slept on for those who want to compose with orchestral instruments freely.
Together, the orchestral sound libraries are enough for any budding composer to get started scoring music right now. But every library does require the SINE Player which is free and you won’t be able to play them in Kontakt, LABs, or any other sample player.
3. Spitfire Audio – BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover
The BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover orchestral VST plugin is the free version of Spitfire Audio’s flagship BBC Symphony Orchestra Professional. As I said – Spitfire Audio is at the top of the game.
This incredible orchestral plugin makes orchestral scoring so much more accessible to music creators everywhere. A total of 35 instruments and 47 playing & recording techniques await you – all premixed down into one final signal.
This free version of the orchestral plugin features a variety of orchestral instruments including strings, brass, and percussion too. While there’s less control than in the paid library, you still have access to the professional sound that this VST is known for.
The library has always been available always available for free, but once you had to fill in a questionnaire then and wait for 14 days. But now you can download the sound of one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras instantly.
4. Orchestral Tools – Layers
We have already mentioned their factory library, but Orchestral Tools are an orchestral sound library creator of the highest quality – so they’re on our list twice. And their free orchestral VST plugin offers some of the best free orchestral sounds you’ll find today.
Their orchestral samples have been recorded in Berlin’s Teldex Scoring Stage. This music hall is renowned for its great sound, so Layers being free is a blessing more than anything.
Anyway, Orchestral Tools Layers feature a huge array of orchestral instruments and you can change the microphone positions in numerous ways too.
Layers does rely on the developers’ sample player SINE Player which gives you a lot of musical control over the sound. For example, you can manipulate microphone positions with a choice of four different positions with a range of articulations too. Oh, and you can generate full chords with one button too!
Sine Player lets you utilize complex orchestral chords, make changes to the dynamics, play with the tonal character, and more in real-time! And the actual layering feature inside the VST plugin lets you blend multiple orchestral instruments together and control the dynamics with MIDI too!
5. DSK – Overture
DSK Overture offers you classic tastes of orchestral sounds that the world loves. This free orchestral VST offers you 40 instruments and you can play up to 4 instruments at once. In short, the large range of fantastic sounds coupled with an intuitive interface lets you create orchestral compositions easily.
Instruments included in Overture consist of an acoustic piano, cellos, horns, violins, a drum kit, and trumpets. Furthermore, DSK Overture gives you a set of advanced effects and controls. As a result, you can implement the changes you need to make the elements in your virtual orchestra work together “on the stage”.
And Effects include panning controls, a multi-mode filter, and others like a reverb and delay effect. DSK Overture gives you numerous controls to alter and fine-tune your instruments, and so much more.
6. Make Some Music Now – One Track Visual Orchestra
One Track Orchestra is a free orchestral VST instrument that emulates the Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra CE.
Like the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plugin, the One Track Visual Orchestra gives you an entire orchestra on your computer. But the orchestra is sectioned into different MIDI key ranges, so you’ll need at least a 49-key MIDI keyboard to take full advantage of the virtual orchestra instrument.
One Track Orchestra’s simple yet intuitive interface, its playability, and the quality of its sounds separate this VST plugin from the crowd. In fact, OTVO is a plug-and-play orchestral software instrument that inserts directly into your DAW.
While the plugin is easy to use, OTO doesn’t offer much control over its sounds. However, One Track Visual Orchestra is a fantastic tool for inspiring yourself with new instruments and arrangements.
7. ProjectSAM – The Free Orchestra
Project Sam’s Free Orchestra VST is a collection of orchestral samples that you’ll find in many of their paid software instruments. Ultimately, it’s a variety of free orchestral sounds that you’d otherwise have to pay for.
You’ll find classic instruments in the Free Orchestra such as strings, brass, percussion, and more. But The Free Orchestra also utilizes sounds with unconventional timbres too. In fact, The Free Orchestra offers many tools for designing sounds that you won’t find on other orchestral plugins.
While some like envelope controls, effects, pitch shifting, and others are readily available, some settings like reverse can’t be found on all plugins – but you will find them on Project Sam’s The Free Orchestra.
Finally, Project Sam’s Free Orchestra runs in Kontakt Player!
8. Versilian Studio – Chamber Orchestra 2 Community Edition
Compared to many other orchestral VST plugins on our list, Versilian Studios utilizes a different approach other than featuring performances from world-class musicians in renowned recording spaces with their VSCO 2 Community Edition sound library.
The VSCO 2 Community Edition plugin offers recordings by music students, teachers, and collectors of rare and antique orchestral instruments. Furthermore, every sound has been recorded as transparently as possible, making Versilian Studio’s Chamber Orchestra 2 CE an orchestral VST plugin with a character like no other.
In fact, almost every patch is recorded by a different performer each time. And VSCO 2 CE gives you many microphone positions and articulations to play with, and plenty of control over individual orchestral sounds.
9. Vienna Symphonic Library – Big Bang Orchestra
The free version of The Big Band Orchestra from the Vienna Symphonic Library, The Big Bang Orchestra Free is crammed with articulations for different sections. You’ll find swells, sustains, runs, and numerous articulations for interesting musical compositions.
You’ll also get 5 different modes of reverb depending on how you set the microphones up too. Options include close, classic, wide, and ambient microphone setups that you can freely configure with the onboard mixer. Not to mention the many other settings and parameters available!
Big Bang Orchestra sound library runs in Vienna’s Synchron player software and it’s compatible with Komplete Kontrol keyboards and Maschine too!
10. Native Instruments – Symphony Series
Speaking of Native Instruments…
Okay, this one isn’t free. But the sounds are incredible, and if you use any Native Instruments hardware then you’ll want to check out their Symphony Series.
As we have alluded to, numerous orchestral sound libraries & VST plugins utilize Native Instrument’s Kontakt technology (NKS/ Native Kontakt Script) in order to offer you an easy-to-use interface for their sound.
Therefore, Native Instruments not only deserves a place on our list but the developer is in the sweetest position to deliver an ultra-usable VST plugin. In fact, the NI The Symphony Series is a portfolio of spectacular live performances from musicians recorded by some of the finest audio engineers there are.
Different packages have different prices, and the sounds are programmed to integrate seamlessly with the Kontakt interface and give you an ultra-intuitive experience. The Kontakt Player is clear, easy to use, and lets you utilize every small nuance of each sound.
You’ll find that the Symphony Series is split into four different sections. Percussion, Strings, Brass, and Woodwind are all self-explanatory, and each is recorded and mixed uniquely.
There were endless articulations, groups, solos, rich combinations, dynamic movements, and incidentals. All wrapped up in the easiest interface you can imagine.
These ten orchestral VST instruments will see you on your way to writing interesting compositions with professional sounds.
Whether you’re looking for creative control, professional recordings, low CPU usage, and hard drive space requirements – our list of the best VST orchestral instruments for Mac & PC has it all.
So, which orchestral VST will you download?
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