Native Instruments Kontakt is one of the most popular software samplers used by music producers and composers around the world. It provides a vast collection of virtual instruments, sound libraries, and effects that can enhance the quality and depth of your music productions.
However, with thousands of Kontakt libraries available on the market, choosing the right one for your music projects can be overwhelming. In this article, we will explore some of the best Kontakt libraries to enrich your music!
What Are Kontakt Libraries?
Kontakt libraries are sample libraries that are designed to be used with the Kontakt software sampler. Kontakt is probably one of the best software samplers on the market today, allowing musicians and producers to play and manipulate virtual instruments using MIDI controllers.
In the vast network of Kontakt libraries, you can find several high-quality audio samples of various instruments, such as pianos, guitars, drums, and orchestral instruments, which have been recorded and edited to provide a realistic and expressive playing experience.
Whether you're interested in sound design, scoring, or layering organic recordings with sampled instruments, there are plenty of great Kontakt libraries on the market to choose from.
Free vs. Paid Kontakt Libraries
Before we dive in, it's important to note that there are both free and paid Kontakt libraries available.
The difference between the two lies primarily in the quality and quantity of sounds they offer.
Free Kontakt libraries may provide a limited selection of sounds and lower quality samples, whereas paid libraries offer a broader range of high-quality samples with greater depth and realism.
For the most part, paid libraries may offer more advanced features, such as built-in effects and customizable interfaces. With that said, free Kontakt libraries can still be a great starting point for beginners or those on a tight budget, as they can still offer a solid variety of sounds for basic productions.
Ultimately, the choice between free and paid Kontakt libraries depends on your budget, your needs, and your level of expertise.
Best Paid Kontakt Libraries
1. Spitfire Studio Orchestra Professional
While the price tag might scare most amateur studio producers away, the sound quality of Studio Orchestra Professional is unmatched. Every sample in this orchestral VST was recorded in a beautiful hall using top-quality equipment, giving you a rich and detailed sound that is both realistic and expressive.
This Kontakt library provides a wide range of orchestral instruments, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and more, all within a well-designed interface with customizable controls. The included mixer gives you even more power, allowing you to adjust the levels and panning of each instrument or add effects and processing.
One major highlight of this Kontakt library is the "Swarm" feature, which allows composers to create complex and evolving textures by layering multiple instances of the same instrument with slight variations in timing and tuning. This unique feature creates a sense of movement and depth in the orchestration that is difficult to achieve with other libraries.
The only potential downside of Studio Orchestra Professional is that it can be quite heavy on CPU usage, particularly when using complex articulations and playing styles.
However, for the most part, Spitfire Audio's Studio Orchestra Professional is an outstanding orchestral library that is super versatile and capable of producing stunningly realistic orchestral arrangements.
2. Native Instruments Thrill
Native Instruments Thrill was designed to provide composers and producers with a powerful and unique set of cinematic sounds and textures. Thrill is based on a unique algorithmic synthesis engine that allows you to create complex and evolving soundscapes that can be used for a range of applications, including film scoring, sound design, and mainstream music production, though it's certainly geared more towards the first two.
The library includes over 200 presets that are designed to evoke different moods and emotions. Finding the right presets for your mix is easy with different categories, including Atmospheres, Clusters, Rhythmic, and Transitions, making it easy to find the right sound for a specific project.
The sounds themselves are out of this world, and with such a wide range of easy-to-manipulate textures and timbres, you can create suspenseful and dynamic compositions to THRILL your listeners.
The interface of Thrill is intuitive and user-friendly, with a range of controls and parameters that allow users to customize the sounds to their liking. The software also includes a range of effects, including reverb, delay, and distortion, which can be used to further shape and enhance the sounds.
The onboard XY controller is super powerful and versatile, making it almost impossible to create the same sound twice. From cinematic and evocative soundscapes to spine-tingling risers, Thrill is one of the most unique Kontakt libraries to date.
3. Spitfire Albion One
Finding a quality orchestral library that doesn't break the bank is almost impossible — keyword, "almost."
Let me introduce you to Spitfire Albion One .
Spitfire Albion One is a massive orchestral library for Kontakt that contains a vast collection of strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and synth sounds. The library is meticulously recorded with fantastic attention to detail, capturing the tiniest nuances of each instrument.
Beyond its fantastic sound, the interface is super intuitive and easy to navigate, giving you access to a variety of articulations and dynamic layers easily accessible through key switches and MIDI controllers. Though it was certainly made for dramatic film scores, epic video game soundtracks, and lush ambient textures, I've found myself using it in pop productions too.
The only main downside to Albion One is the heavy CPU usage. Due to the high-quality samples and complex algorithms used, Albion One might require some additional optimization to avoid performance issues.
Overall, Spitfire Albion One is a must-have for any composer looking to add a world-class orchestral library to their arsenal.
4. Kirk Hunter - Front Row Violins
Finding a good violin VST can be challenging, as it can be difficult to capture the nuances and complexity of a real violin performance in a virtual instrument. Many virtual violin instruments I've played with in the past lacked the warmth, expressiveness, and realism of a live performance. If you've ever had the chance to play with early violin sample libraries, you probably noticed they sounded thin and artificial, or lacked dynamic range.
So, when Kirk Hunter released Front Row Violins and I started seeing tons of great reviews, I had to test out this "realistic and expressive virtual violin instrument" for myself.
I was truly blown away. It's one of the few violin sample libraries that manages to capture the range of articulations and nuances of a real violin performance.
The library of samples includes a variety of articulations and playing styles, including legato, staccato, pizzicato, spiccato, and tremolo, among others. The samples are super high-quality, giving you a warm and natural sound that captures the unique character of a recorded violin player.
As the cherry on top, Front Row Violins comes with a user-friendly range of parameters to customize your sound, including reverb, delay, and EQ.
When push comes to shove, Front Row Violins is one of the best Kontakt libraries on the market for those who want to add a realistic and emotional violin sound to their productions. Whether you are working on a film score, classical composition, or an electronic track that's screaming for some warm, organic goodness, Front Row Violins can be a valuable addition to your arsenal.
5. In Session Audio - Shimmer Shake Strike
Whenever I need to add some light percussion to emphasize or strengthen the overall rhythm of my track, one of my go-to Kontakt libraries is Shimmer Shake Strike.
This library comes loaded with a comprehensive range of bells, shakers, claves, woodblocks, tambourines, bottles, and other percussive instruments. The interface is comprised of three beautifully designed step sequencers that enable you to manipulate the velocity and rhythmic subdivisions for each step.
What I love most is that the interface displays images of all the instrument options, making it easy to find the right sound and audition them on the fly.
In Session Audio's Shimmer Shake Strike is a sample library designed for composers and producers looking to add unique and organic percussion sounds to their productions. This library features a range of shakers, tambourines, and other percussive instruments that have been recorded and processed to create a wide range of textures and tones.
Beyond the regular percussion, the library also includes a range of processed sounds, such as distorted and glitched textures, which can be used to add a modern and unique touch to you tracks.
You'll also find a range of effects, including EQ, compression, and reverb, which can be used to further shape and enhance the sound.
Overall, In Session Audio's Shimmer Shake Strike is one of the most powerful and versatile libraries of percussion instruments out there. With high-quality percussion samples, and extensive range of articulations and playing styles, and intuitive software interface, it's a must-try for anyone looking to add a touch of percussive magic to their productions.
6. Orange Tree Samples - Evolution Hollowbody Blues
Guitar libraries can be tough to find, as it's one of the few instruments that sample libraries have yet to master. However, Evolution Hollowbody Blues stands in a realm of its own as one of the most powerful and comprehensive virtual guitar instrument designed specifically for blues and jazz guitarists.
It's truly a complete solution for anyone looking to produce high-quality and authentic blues and jazz guitar sounds with ease.
The Kontakt library comes loaded with a wide variety of preset tones that are well-categorized and easy to navigate, making it easy to find the exact sound you're looking for. It also features a vast array of articulations for more realistic guitar sounds, such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and vibrato, all of which can be easily controlled via keyswitches or MIDI CCs.
However, one of the most impressive things about Evolution Hollowbody Blues is its sound quality. The team at Orange Tree Samples utilized a state-of-the-art sampling engine to capture the warm, woody tone of a hollowbody guitar with remarkable accuracy. The software also features a range of adjustable parameters, such as amp and effects settings, allowing you to customize your sound to your liking.
7. Orange Tree Samples - Evolution Flatwound Bass
What better to pair with a great guitar sample library than a bass guitar Kontakt library?
Evolution Flatwound Bass by Orange Tree Samples delivers professional-quality bass guitar sounds for a wide range of genres. More than any other bass guitar VST I've found, this one captures the warm, deep tones of a flatwound bass near perfectly.
As with the Orange Tree Samples Hollowbody Blues library, this one has a range of articulations, such as slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, which are easy to control via keyswitches or MIDI CCs.
And, if you're looking for a brighter bass sound than what flatwound basses typically offer, you'll be happy to know that Evolution Flatwound offers plenty of unique ways to adjust the tone.
From amp adjustments to EQ settings, you can customize your sound however your heart desires.
8. Sample Logic - Morphestra 2
I have a great fondness for Sample Logic and all that they do for Sample Instrument s. Morphestra 2 is just one example of why.
This comprehensive virtual instrument library delivers over 25 GB of high-quality samples, including orchestral, percussive, vocal, and electronic sounds, allowing you to create a vast range of textures and tones.
One of the standout features of Morphestra 2 is its powerful sound engine, which uses more than 5,000 sound source and a combination of advanced synthesis and modulation capabilities. For example, you can combine up to eight distinct samples simultaneously or record the morph pad, giving you a near limitless range of unique sound possibilities.
It's hard to describe Morphestra 2 in a few words, as it's one of the most unconventional Kontakt libraries around. However, what I can say for sure is that this software's highly configurable randomization features make experimentation and sound design an absolute blast.
The minute you start using Morphestra 2, you'll have to refrain from getting lost in the endless possibilities it offers.
9. Heavyocity - Damage
Heavyocity was one of the most groundbreaking virtual instruments when it first came out, and it still remains so to this day. It was initially designed to provide a vast range of cinematic percussion sounds, perfect for film composers, game developers, and music producers looking to create impactful, high-quality percussion tracks.
I could go on forever about the quality of these sounds, though with over 30 GB of high-quality, meticulously recorded percussion samples, all of which can be easily accessed via a streamlined, user-friendly interface, I'll let Damage speak for itself.
You'll find just about any percussion instrument you could dream up, including drums, cymbals, gongs, and more, each of which can be combined and manipulated to create larger-than-life, out-of-this-world rhythms.
One of my favorite things about Damage is the dynamic playback engine, which features a range of articulations, such as rolls, flams, and swells. The word "dynamic" is key, as it truly feels like a performance, rather than something played on a cheap beat pad.
Whether you are a film composer, game developer, or music producer, Heavyocity is an excellent investment to get impactful and professional-sounding percussion tracks in your productions.
10. Native Instruments - Discovery Series
If you're in the market for a remarkable bundle of virtual instruments that offers a wealth of authentic and high-quality sounds from around the world, The Discovery Series from Native Instruments is it.
The diversity of instruments alone is a major selling point.
The Discovery Series features five different instrument categories from places around the world, including India, Cuba, Bali, West Africa, and the Middle East. From the haunting sounds of the Japanese Koto to the vibrant rhythms of the Middle Eastern Oud, the musical possibilities are seemingly endless.
Plus, each instrument in the Discovery Series Collection offers high levels of control and customization with adjustable key switches, scales, and effects. You'll also find a range of loops and phrases, making it easy to create authentic and dynamic performances.
What really hooked me to the Discover Series was the user-friendly design. Even though I was unfamiliar with some of these instruments before I started, I was able to get to grips with them and start creating authentic sounds fast.
Overall, the Discovery Series Collection by Native Instruments is one of the most exceptional bundle of virtual instruments out there. With its diverse range of instruments, intuitive interface, and customizable parameters, it's a solid investment for composers and producers looking to add a global touch to their music.
11. Soundiron - Requiem Light
If you're like most producers, you probably don't have the budget to rent out a massive cathedral with a fully-staffed choir.
Luckily, we have Requiem Light by Soundiron, one of the most powerful and expressive virtual choir instruments on the market.
Requiem Light is loaded with an extensive library of meticulously sampled choral voices, delivering beauty and emotion of a live choir at your fingertips.
While it's certainly perfect for large arrangements, it can be used in a wide range of genres, and styles including classical, film scores, and electronic music production. It's incredibly dynamic and gives you plenty of adjustable parameters to shape your sound, such as dynamic range and vibrato.
Overall, Requiem Light by Soundiron is an exceptional virtual instrument that delivers stunning sound quality, a user-friendly interface, and impressive versatility. Whether you are a professional musician or a hobbyist, this software instrument is an excellent investment that will help you achieve authentic and professional-sounding choral performances.
I love the fact that Soundiron gives you the option to use either Latin syllables or complete words to construct phrases. You can even crossfade between two distinct syllables for a more unique phrasing style. With these techniques at your disposal, it is possible to achieve seamless transitions between different sounds.
12. GetGood Drums - P IV Matt Halpern Signature Pack
Whether you're a fan of Matt Halpern's (Periphery) drumming or not, the GetGood Drums P IV Matt Halpern Signature Pack might be one of the most powerful and versatile drum sample libraries around.
I've been using this library for a while now, and I must say, it is truly one of the most expressive drum Kontakt libraries I've got my hands on.
The pack offers a wide range of drum sounds, from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle. As you could expect from Halpern, each drum was meticulously sampled and processed, resulting in a highly realistic and dynamic sound that blows cheap and plastic-sounding drum sample libraries out of the water.
You get everything you'd expect from a solid acoustic drum pack, including minimally processed kick, snare, and tom samples, as well as cymbals and percussion, all of which can be easily mixed and matched to create your own unique drum sounds.
Even though the pack was made by a metal drummer, it provides plenty of versatility. Whether you're working on a heavy rock track, a pop ballad, or an electronic dance tune, the endless tweakability helps you find the right tones to suit your needs.
It also comes packed with MIDI grooves and loops, allowing you to quickly and easily create drum tracks that fit your project perfectly.
Overall, I highly recommend the GetGood Drums P IV Matt Halpern Signature Pack to anyone looking for a powerful and versatile drum sample library.
13. Output Exhale
Taking a step outside the 'traditional' realm of orchestral sounds, Exhale from Output is an impressive Kontakt library that takes full advantage of the human voice.
Exhale offers a wide range of traditional and modern vocal sounds, including one-shots, vocal pads, and atmospheric textures. You get a whopping 500 presets to choose from, all of which are highly customizable with intuitive controls and effects.
Beyond your ability to shape the tone, timbre, pitch, and rhythm of Exhale's vocal samples, you can even create your own unique sounds using the built-in sequencer and arpeggiator.
The user-friendly interface might be one of Exhale's biggest selling points. The slider-like controls keep you in the production 'flow' state without ever feeling confused or lost.
Output Exhale is designed to meet the needs of modern hip-hop, pop, R&B, and electronic producers, making it an ideal tool for sparking creativity. If you're looking for Kontakt libraries that are out of the ordinary, Exhale is definitely worth considering. There is a reason people regard it as one of the top Kontakt libraries available.
14. Heavyocity - Mosaic Voices
Finding inspiring Kontakt libraries isn't hard but finding ones that send shivers down your spine when you first hear them is.
When I first played around with Heavyocity's Mosaic Voices , I honestly couldn't believe how incredible this vocal sample library was. It truly stands out from the crowd.
Mosaic Voices features an extensive collection of vocal phrases, pads, and effects that are perfect for use in a wide variety of musical genres, from cinematic soundscapes to modern pop and electronic music. In their words, it "reimagines the human voice."
The samples are rich, full-bodied, and deliver excellent clarity and detail, from the synthesized vocal pads to the co-ed choirs and beyond. What really caught my attention, however, was the vocal phrase module. The vocal phrases are wildly expressive, giving you a wide range of dynamics and emotional nuances that add depth and realism to your tracks.
From soulful to synthetic, Mosaic Voices can just about do it all.
Best of all, it's wrapped up in an intuitive, user-friendly interface, with a wide range of sound-shaping tools that allow you to control the pitch, timing, and effects on each sound with ease.
If you decide to download Mosaic Voices, spend a bit of time playing around with the snapshot presets. They offer the perfect jumping-off point to get you started creating Blockbuster sounds.
15. Cinesamples - Cinebrass Complete Bundle
If you are looking to expand your collection of high-quality brass samples, then the CineSymphony Brass Bundle is definitely worth considering. This bundle includes five libraries from the CineSymphony series, including CineBrass PRO, CineBrass Core, CineBrass Sonore, CineBrass Horns of the Deep, and CineBrass Descant Horn.
What sets this bundle apart is the exceptional sound quality of each library. The samples have been meticulously recorded and processed to capture the nuances and expressive qualities of each instrument. The sounds range from warm to heavy to, dare I say it, brassy, and beyond!
I've tried SO many brass libraries, and it always feel like there's a looming harshness or inauthenticity. With Cinesamples material, I'm blown away every time.
The bundle offers a wide range of brass sounds, including trumpets, trombones, horns, and tubas, all of which have been carefully sampled and recorded, giving you highly realistic and dynamic tones with a range of articulations and performance options, including legato, staccato, marcato, and more.
It's such an incredibly flexible piece of software perfect for just about anything, whether you're working on a film score, a TV commercial, or a video game soundtrack. It's a high-end library with samples played by world-class professionals.
What more could you want?
If you're a beginner, you may find the complex programming challenging. However, if you're an experienced composer or musician, you'll appreciate the CineBrass sample library's musicality, dynamic range, and sonic richness.
It's particularly well-suited for those looking to create the grand, powerful brass sounds found in contemporary film scores.
16. Heavyocity - Scoring Acoustic Guitars
While there's nothing quite like the warmth and nuance of a live acoustic guitar performance, the right VST can provide an excellent alternative for those who don't have access to a live player or recording studio.
With Heavyocity's Scoring Acoustic Guitars , you can easily add the rich, expressive sound of acoustic guitars to your tracks, whether you're creating folk-inspired cinematic ballads or pop-infused rock anthems.
However, Scoring Acoustic Guitars is different than most acoustic guitar VSTs, as it was designed with film scoring and contemporary music production in mind. The library, which is filled to the brim with acoustic guitarscapes, pads, rhythmic harmonies, and performance palettes, is an excellent choice for composers and producers looking to add the rich, expressive sound of acoustic guitars to their compositions.
The sound quality is absolutely exceptional. While some samples might feel a bit heavy on the baked-in reverb, it's clear that they were recorded and processed by expert sound designers, giving you a full, warm sound that'd be difficult to capture in an average home studio.
Thankfully, the library features a wide range of playing styles and techniques, including strummed chords, fingerpicked arpeggios, and muted plucks, making it easy to create a wide range of guitar-based compositions.
In addition, Scoring Acoustic Guitars also includes a wide variety of sound design and sound-shaping tools, including EQ, reverb, and modulation effects.
No matter your creative vision, you can dial in the right acoustic sounds.
17. Native Instruments - Action Strings 2
Nearly a decade ago, Native Instruments collaborated with Dynamedion to release Action Strings, which quickly became a popular sample-based string section instrument. One of the reasons for its success was its innovative performance engine, which made it easy to create realistic string parts without a deep knowledge of orchestration. Combining impressive samples with intuitive software, Action Strings quickly became a go-to tool for composers and producers looking to add high-quality string sounds to their tracks.
Then, came Action Strings 2 , a powerful collaboration between Native Instruments and Sonuscore.
I have to say, it's a truly impressive revamp of the classic VST.
This powerful and versatile string library that offers a wide range of realistic orchestral sounds suitable for a variety of genres, from film scoring to pop ballads to electronic music.
The library includes over 800 individual phrases and patterns, covering a wide range of musical styles and tempos, and can be easily arranged and customized to fit your specific needs. The 30GB engine is divided into high strings, including violins and violas, and low strings, including cellos and basses.
Both string libraries run through the versatile mixing engine, which enables you to blend four distinct microphone positions, including Spot, Close, Tree, and Far. No matter how much or how little room sound you want, this virtual instrument gives you seemingly endless possibilities.
Additionally, you can use the three-band EQ and convolution reverb to shape and enhance the sound further. With these tools, you can easily adjust the tonal balance and spatial characteristics of the instrument to achieve a variety of sonic possibilities.
Lastly, and most importantly, you get the performance engine, which enables you to trigger complete phrases with just one MIDI input note for both high and low strings. I'm not a composer by any means, and this is one of the few string libraries that makes me feel confident in arrangement choices.
Action Strings 2 also supports keyswitches, allowing you to quickly jump between different phrases as you go or individual string articulations, much like a traditional string library.
Each component has seen significant improvements from the first iteration of the plugin, contributing to a more seamless and expressive playing experience. Overall, it's one of the best Kontakt libraries for composers and producers looking to add convincing string performances to their projects.
18. Native Instruments - Session Guitarist
Although there are many sample-based virtual electric guitar sims available in the sampled instruments market, creating convincing guitar performances using MIDI can be difficult.
Luckily, more and more developers are addressing the issue by creating virtual guitars that not only sound great but also come with playback systems and onboard sequencing systems, allowing users to trigger pre-designed or user-made riffs, runs, and strumming patterns with custom chord progressions.
I won't lie. As a guitarist, the thought of software sounding this realistic terrifies me. However, for those of you who don't play, don't have access to guitarists, or don't have the ability to record, guitar libraries are magical.
One of my favorites is the trio of electric guitar virtual instruments in Native Instruments’ Session Guitarist . The series includes:
- Session Guitarist – Electric Sunburst and Electric Sunburst Deluxe (Gibson Les Paul)
- Session Guitarist – Vintage Electric (1950s Fender Telecaster)
The creative team did a killer job of capturing the riffs, strums, chords, and arpeggios of a seasoned session player.
With a beautifully scripted Kontakt interface, it's a breeze to organize the patterns into key-switchable performance sets. Plus, the engine offers pitch, timing, articulation, swing, voicing, and humanizing controls, along with a range of options for amplification and mixing.
The multi-sample banks range from 6GB to 9GB, and each comes with hundreds of patterns to play with.
19. Zero-G - Ethera Gold Sahara Voices
If you're looking for a vocal library that can provide a unique and exotic musical touch, Sahara Voices is a great choice. This Kontakt library offers exceptional middle-eastern inspired vocal samples to give your music an entirely unique vibe.
It's arguably the most remarkable ethnic vocal collection on the market today.
The library features a wide range of expertly-recorded vocal samples, including choirs, solo vocalists, and vocal effects, perfect for crafting an ethereal and otherworldly sound.
What truly sets Ethera Gold Sahara Voices apart from other vocal sampled instruments is the versatility it offers. You get a massive range of vocal styles, including African, Arabic, and Indian, as well as a range of vocal effects, including breaths, whispers, and shouts, which are great for adding drama and tension to your productions.
Whether you are looking to create an epic film score or add some uniqueness to your next electronic track, Ethera Gold Sahara Voices has got you covered. Plus, it's a relatively inexpensive library for what you get.
20. Wave Alchemy - Triaz
Wave Alchemy's latest drum and percussion synthesizer offers a unique and versatile approach to beat-making. This three-fold instrument provides users with an excellent platform to craft high-quality drum patterns and create professional-sounding beats with ease.
One of the most impressive aspects of TRIAZ is the ability to manipulate and shape each sound in real-time. You get access to plenty of parameters, including pitch, filter, and envelope controls, allowing you to create intricate rhythms and percussive textures that are tailored to your rhythmic desires.
The VST comes with a massive sound library of over 4,000 professionally-crafted drum samples and an extensive selection of MIDI grooves. On top of that, you get a powerful synthesis engine that allows for seemingly endless sound design possibilities.
Overall, Triaz is an outstanding creative workstation that acts as a proficient sound design processor, a unique polyrhythmic generator, and a wonderful source for generating beat ideas when you're feeling stuck in a creative rut.
Moreover, Triaz offers an excellent collection of presets to get you started. While a majority of the sounds included in Triaz are electronic, the software also allows users to incorporate their own acoustic drum recordings or even non-musical sounds, like textures and ambiance. Basically, any sound can be expertly molded into a polished beat.
21. Native Instruments - Alicia's Keys
Native Instruments Alicia's Keys is based on a meticulously sampled Yamaha C3 grand piano that was played by the acclaimed musician Alicia Keys herself.
The sound quality of Alicia's Keys is absolutely exceptional, considering how inexpensive it is. You get a level of detail and nuance that is unmatched by many most other virtual piano instruments. You get every detail of the original instrument at your fingertips, including the resonance and character of each key, making it sound and feel like a real acoustic piano, especially when played with a weighted MIDI controller.
This is all thanks to the range of dynamic layers and articulations you can access with ease.
One of the most important parameters in this library is the "Feel" knob, which you can use to adjust the response of the keys to replicate the feel of different playing styles. It adds a unique level of realism to your performances.
Overall, Native Instruments Alicia's Keys is an exceptional software instrument that delivers an incredibly realistic and expressive piano sound. It's an excellent tool for music producers, composers, and songwriters looking for a high-quality virtual piano instrument that can add an extra level of depth and realism to their music. It's easy to see why this library has become a go-to choice for many industry professionals, and it's certainly one of the best virtual piano instruments available.
I strongly recommend trying out this library if you're creating music that requires a contemporary soul or emotional jazz vibe.
22. Output - Substance
The instruments manufactured by Output are renowned for their distinct interfaces and quality, otherworldly sounds. With Substance, they turned their concentration toward bass, resulting in a seismic shift in the world of the best Kontakt libraries.
Output Substance delivers a vast library of bass sounds for music producers, delivering innovative approach to bass synth sound design. If you want a tool to create complex and powerful basslines, this is it.
One thing I love about Output Substance is the ability to blend and layer different sounds to create entirely new and unique bass tones. Even though synthesis can sometimes be complicated, the interface is super straightforward. You get various controls for adjusting the character and tone of each sound layer, allowing you to craft rich and complex bass sounds to take your music to the next dimension.
One thing to note is that Substance goes way beyond synth bass tones. In fact, the library includes a wide range of acoustic, electric, and synthetic basses, as well as a range of sub-bass and low-end textures.
You also get access to a built-in arpeggiator and sequencer, which is particularly useful if you're making electronic music. It's a killer tool for creating driving, rhythmic basslines that you often hear in many styles of electronic music.
Overall, it's easy to see why Output Substance has become a go-to choice for many industry professionals. If you want a comprehensive bass library that can add an extra level of depth and dimension to your tracks, look no further.
Best Free Kontakt Libraries
1. Native Instruments - Kontakt Factory Selection
Native Instruments' Kontakt Factory Selection is one of the best VSTs for getting started in the world of sampling and virtual instruments. In fact, it's one of the first VSTs I started using when I got into music production.
This free Kontakt library comes packed with a wide range of high-quality sounds, including pianos, basses, drums, strings, and synths. The sounds are all expertly crafted and ready to be used in a variety of musical genres, making it a super versatile tool for any musician or producer.
The library also includes a range of effects and modulation options, giving you the ability to customize and shape their sounds to fit your specific needs. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, Kontakt Factory Selection is a must-have.
2. Native Instruments - Kontakt Play Series
Next up on the free list of Kontakt libraries from Native Instruments is Kontakt Play Selection .
This unique library features a collection of presets from three separate libraries, including Hybrid Keys, Ethereal Earth, and Analog Dreams.
It also includes ten presets from each of the three libraries.
Analog Dreams is one of my absolute favorites, as it includes a diverse range of presets inspired by classic synth sounds. As an avid fan of analog synths, I found the library to be surprisingly user-friendly and intuitive in terms of navigation, especially compared to more complicated synthesis options from Native Instruments.
3. Native Instruments - Kinetic Treats
If you're looking for a unique and playful Kontakt library to add a touch of whimsy to your music productions, look no further than Native Instruments' Kinetic Treats.
The library is based on a collection of vintage children's toys that have been expertly recorded and processed, resulting in a set of highly expressive and dynamic instruments.
With its intuitive interface and extensive modulation options, Kinetic Treats allows for a high degree of creative freedom, making it a great addition to any producer's toolkit. Whether you're looking to add some quirkiness to your tracks or simply need some childlike inspiration, Kinetic Treats is definitely worth checking out.
4. Impact Soundworks - The 88E
Having a decent piano VST is crucial for any producer, regardless of genre. Of course, high-quality piano VSTs can be expensive , which is why I often recommend The 88E .
The 88E by Impact Soundworks is an exceptional Kontakt library for piano lovers, delivering attention to detail in capturing the sound of a Steinway Model D grand piano.
The library offers three microphone positions and a range of controls, including pedal noise and sympathetic resonance, allowing for complete customization of your tone. The presets sound surprisingly realistic for a free piano, and the dynamics are responsive to the touch, making it an absolute joy to play.
I've used the 88E in both classical and modern productions, and I can't recommend it anymore as a fantastic addition to any music producer's toolkit.
5. Heavyocity - Foundations Piano
If Impact Soundworks' The 88E doesn't cut it for you, check out Foundations Piano from the team over at Heavyocity.
It's another top-notch piano VST that is perfect for those who want a realistic piano sound. Similar to the 88E, Foundations Piano is based on a Steinway Model D, which is one of the most iconic pianos in the world.
Overall, it has a very natural and organic sound. Plus, it's easy to play. You can tell from the second you start playing that the samples were recorded in high quality, and the piano has plenty of dynamic range compared to other free options.
It also comes with a variety of presets, including a number of different mics and mic positions, allowing you to find the perfect sound for your track. With this and The 88E, you truly don't need another free piano VST.
6. ProjectSAM - The Free Orchestra
Having a good orchestral VST library is essential for any composer or music producer who doesn't have access to a live orchestra. And, if you're like most home producers, you probably don't!
This is why I love ProjectSAM's The Free Orchestra , which offers an insanely impressive collection of orchestral samples and sounds, all of which are available for free.
The library includes over 1.2 GB of high-quality audio files that cover a wide range of instruments and ensembles, from strings and woodwinds to percussion and brass.
As the cherry on top, the sounds are well-organized and easy to navigate, making it easier than ever to find the right instrument or sound for your track.
Each sample is highly customizable, allowing you to adjust parameters such as attack, decay, sustain, and release to achieve the perfect sound. It's like having access to a real orchestra at your fingertips!
7. Sonokinetic - Hurdy Gurdy
A hurdy-gurdy is an old-timey stringed instrument that produces sound using a hand-cranked wheel rubbing against the strings, similar to a violin bow. The player presses keys on the instrument to change the pitch of the strings and modifies the sound by using a set of drone strings and changing the tension of the strings. Overall, it provides a unique, distinct sound that can add a traditional or folk feel to a musical composition.
Naturally, when Sonokinetic put out the Hurdy Gurdy Kontakt library, I had to get it. With over 3,000 samples and a range of articulations, Hurdy Gurdy boasts an authentic sound and feel.
The interface is easy to navigate, making it a breeze to switch between articulations, adjust the key and tempo, and apply effects. Whether used for film scores, game soundtracks, or folk music, Sonokinetic's Hurdy Gurdy is a top-notch addition to any producer's toolkit.
8. Sonokinetic - EMP Mark II
Although the electro-mechanical piano has been extensively sampled in the past, there are still compelling reasons to revisit the instrument.
Firstly, each piano has a unique sound, and the Sonokinetic EMP Mark II is no exception. It does wonders in slow, soulful ballads and provides crisp articulation in upbeat music styles.
Secondly, despite the effort put into replicating this kind of instrument, there's still something special about playing the real thing that a sampled version can't replicate. The difference lies in the imperfections of a genuine instrument, and Sonokinetik has attempted to capture these nuances in their sampled EMP.
If electronic imperfection is your thing, get your hands on this free Kontakt library.
9. Sennheiser - DrumMic'a
The Sennheiser DrumMic'a is a killer free Kontakt library designed for realistic drum sounds. The library features 15 distinct drum kits and up to 24 different microphone positions, allowing for a great deal of customization.
What sets the Sennheiser DrumMic'a apart from other drum sampling libraries is its level of detail. As you could expect from Sennheiser, the library was recorded using the latest microphone technology to offer a level of realism that is hard to find elsewhere.
Plus, each sample was recorded in a professional studio environment, and the level of care taken in capturing every nuance of the drum sounds is evident in playing around with it.
With an intuitive interface, an included mixer for adjusting the levels of each microphone position, and a great sound library, Sennheiser DrumMic'a is an excellent drum sampling library that offers a level of realism and detail that is hard to find elsewhere.
10. Keepforest - Ferrum (Free Version)
Over the past few years, Ferrum from Keepforest has become a go-to for trailer music producers. This unique VST offers a collection of contemporary trailer percussion sounds, including cymbals, impacts, metal, and more.
Luckily for us budget-minded producers, Keepforest released a free version of this sound library, which is a scaled-down version of the full version.
Despite the limited number of samples, the Ferrum Free Edition is a great tool for producing cinematic percussion loops using six octaves of free sounds and plenty of user-friendly features.
The Ferrum step sequencer might be one of its most notable attributes. This feature enables you to modify the pan, filter, and pitch for each note, enhancing the generated loops with added groove and interest.
How to Install Kontakt Libraries
Installing Kontakt libraries is a straightforward process, though the steps may vary slightly depending on your operating system and Kontakt version. However, here are the general steps:
- Download the library from the developer's website or a third-party seller.
- Extract the downloaded file, which should contain a folder with the library name and files inside.
- Open Kontakt and click on the 'Files' tab.
- In the Files tab, navigate to the folder containing the library files, and click on the folder to display its contents.
- Drag the folder containing the library files to the left pane of the Kontakt window under 'Libraries.'
- Kontakt will then prompt you to activate the library. If the library requires a serial number, enter it in the activation window.
- Wait for Kontakt to scan and add the library to the database. Once it's added, you can start using the library in your projects.
It's important to note that some Kontakt libraries may require specific Kontakt versions or have unique installation instructions. Therefore, it's essential to read the documentation that comes with the library before installing it.
Unleashing the Magic of Kontakt
Kontakt libraries offer an unparalleled level of customization and realism for music producers and composers. With a vast array of high-quality instruments and soundscapes available, it's no wonder why Kontakt has become the go-to platform for many industry professionals.
Whether you're looking for orchestral instruments, cinematic percussion, or unique experimental sounds, there is a Kontakt library out there that can cater to your specific needs. So, take your pick from our list of the best Kontakt libraries, and start enhancing your music production today!