This post is about the best orchestral VST plugins. The list contains free and pro plugins and they can be used in every DAW.
Orchestral plugins are great tools to record different instruments. These VST plugins include various instruments such as strings, flutes, cellos, violins, and more.
They offer different sound libraries and features. All these plugins have great sound quality and control options. You can dial in a great sound to use in your mixes and create interesting songs.
Best Free Orchestral Plugins
Free orchestral VST plugins are a great starting point. You don’t have to pay anything and these free plugins offer great sound and features. Free plugins are for those who want to try how they work. Also, if you don’t use orchestral instruments frequently, free plugins are the best choice.
1. Orchestral Strings One
Orchestral Strings One is a great free VST plugin. Thanks to Berlin Hall, it has a great sound where the sample sounds were recorded. The plugin includes various instruments such as violins, violas, double basses, and cellos. Although it’s a free plugin it offers many options to tweak your sound. Also, it is lightweight and doesn’t require too much RAM or CPU power.
The Sound Magic plugins work great with MIDI controllers and you can play any part on the keyboard. And the amazing thing in Orchestral Strings One is the sound control options. You can choose variations, vibrato, attack, release, harmonics, volumes, and more. It has a legato system and also you can use different playing styles like staccato, pizzicato, tremolo, and more.
Orchestral Strings One Instruments:
- 14 Violins
- 10 Violas
- 8 Cellos
- 6 Double Basses
2. DSK Overture
DSK Overture is a complete orchestral plugin that is free. DSK is a well-known creator of other great plugins. And Overture orchestral VST is among them. Not only does it offer great sound and a huge collection of instruments but it has some amazing features you will love. It’s packed with features and controls. You can create beautiful music with this free plugin.
DSK Overture plugin includes 40 instruments, a drum kit, and 10 combos. It offers features such as envelope, filter, automation, FX, and more. But the amazing thing is the instrument layer system. You can use four different instruments at once which is a great option for a free plugin. This plugin is one of the best options if you want to have an all-in-one feature.
DSK Overture Instruments:
- French Horns
- and more
3. One Track Visual Orchestra
One Track Visual Orchestra offers cool features and sound. This is a small plugin and it’s great for creating demo songs. The instrument library is huge and also you can use various instruments simultaneously. Works great with MIDI controllers and any DAW. Has a built-in reverb effect and is touch-sensitive. The velocity is very important for virtual instruments.
The plugin’s library includes percussion, brass, strings, clarinet, flutes, and other instruments. Each instrument section is mapped on a different section of the MIDI keyboard. So, you can play them at the same time and play a complete music piece. A great free VST plugin for playing and creating demos.
One Track Visual Orchestra Instruments:
- and more
4. Sonatina Orchestra Module
Sonatina Orchestra Module is a complete orchestral instrument suite. It’s free, sounds great, and has a huge instrument library. Sonatina also has other plugins for different instruments. But this is a complete orchestral set. The plugin includes twenty different instruments and over fifty articulations. Has solo instruments and instrument sections too.
Sonatina also includes pianos, percussions, harp, and choir. For articulations, you get staccato and pizzicato which are great options. You can control volume and also panning. This is a great plugin if you need free virtual orchestra instruments. It offers great features and amazing sound.
Sonatina Orchestra Module Instruments:
- and more
Layers by Orchestral Tools is a unique VTS plugin. Although it’s free it has everything that you can find in the premium plugin. The sound quality is superb and it has tons of features. The Layers plugin allows you to dive deep into the instruments and sound. It’s hard to talk about all its features. This is one of my favorite free orchestral plugins.
It has four sections for instruments – full orchestra, woodwinds, brass, and strings. Each instrument comes with different articulations. And the sound library is huge. Its size is 17GB. And another great feature of the Layers plugin is its features. It has a built-in mixer where you can balance the sound. And also you can control your sound by tweaking dynamics, variations, expression, and more.
- Full Orchestra
6. Palette Primary Colors
Palette by Red Room Audio offers an amazing solution for recording virtual orchestral instruments. They have great premium plugins but this particular one is free. And it sounds great. It needs a full version of Kontakt in order to work. And Palette Primary colors offer great-sounding orchestral instruments and features to tweak your sound.
With Palette you get an instrument collection for woodwinds, strings, and brass. And the samples are recorded in a hall by great orchestral musicians. Also, the Palette plugin includes four types of articulations, three dynamic layers, and seven round robins. As you can see it can do a lot of things. In total, you get 1239 samples that are 1.3GB in size.
Palette Primary Colors Instruments:
- and more
Best Premium Orchestral Plugins
Pro Orchestral plugins are advanced tools. These types of VST plugins are used in professional studios. Many film score is recorded with premium VST plugins. All the plugins offer amazing sound, and options, and work perfectly with modern digital audio workstations.
7. Garritan Personal Orchestra
Garritan Personal Orchestra is a popular plugin for virtual orchestral instruments. And the reason is that it’s great. The sound quality is excellent, the instrument collection is huge, and the features are great. This VST allows you to dive deep and create very realistic and beautiful sounds. You will never be short of instruments because it has over 500 different musical instruments.
Also, this plugin features different articulations, techniques, reverbs, resonances, and much more. It’s a very well-priced plugin and great for home recording studios. If you are on a budget and want to have a good instrument plugin, this might be the best choice. It comes with an ARIA player which has a very modern and intuitive interface. So, working with the plugin is very easy.
Garritan Personal Orchestra Instruments:
8. Spitfire Audio Discover
Spitfire Audio Discover may be the best choice for most of you. I can say that this is a go-to premium orchestral plugin for home recording. It sounds awesome and is very affordable. Spitfire Audio is a great company that makes awesome-sounding VST plugins and Discover is an affordable version of their BBC Symphony Orchestra VST plugin. It has everything you need to record beautiful melodies and songs.
The interface is beautiful, minimalistic, and easy to use. The sound quality is superb. It includes over 30 instruments and works perfectly with every DAW. Whether you use Reaper, Garage Band, or Pro Tools, it will work without issues. It allows you to control reverb and instrument articulations such as spiccato, pizzicato, tremolo, etc. Highly recommended plugin.
Spitfire Audio Discover Instruments:
9. UVI Orchestral Suite
Orchestral Suite by UVI has everything a good premium instruments plugin should have. The interface is gorgeous and easy to work with, the sound quality is great, and the instrument collection is big. It consists of sixty instruments and the size of sound samples is about 5GB. You have sound controlling options, key switching features, articulations, etc.
Other than orchestral instruments the UVI included classical guitar, harp, celesta, and harpsichord. And I love how easy it is to control sound. Features are divided into sections and you can control expression, EQ, articulations, envelope, etc. Also, this plugin has an amazing-sounding reverb. UVI Orchestral Suite is a professional plugin with all premium features.
UVI Orchestral Suite Instruments:
- Classical Guitar
- French Horn
- and more
10. Miroslav Philharmonik 2
Miroslav Philharmonik 2 is made by IK Multimedia. It’s a well-known company that makes one of the best guitar amp sims Amplitube. This plugin’s sample size is over 50GB and includes over 2000 instruments. A very high-quality sound, instruments, and features make it one of the best orchestral plugins. The interface is beautiful and easy to use.
You can choose the desired instrument from the library and control it as you wish. Add expression, attack, tweak the EQ, and more. It includes different effects and mixing tools such as EQ, filters, modulations, reverbs, and more. Also, you can choose different types of rooms and halls. Another great feature is the mixer where you can balance the sound. In a nutshell, IK Multimedia made a superb virtual instruments plugin.
Miroslav Philharmonik 2 Instruments:
- and more
11. NI Session Strings 2
Session Strings 2 is one of my favorite VST plugins for orchestral instruments. It is made by Native Instruments. It’s a professional plugin and is used by many famous composers. As always, NI offers a beautiful interface with easy-to-use navigation. The sound quality and features are there. You can’t go wrong with this plugin.
The plugin has the awesome sound of an 11-piece string ensemble. This plugin can work for film scores and also for simple songs. It has a dedicated section for effects. You can add delay, reverb, color, etc. Also, has features such as legato, smart voice split, and rhythm animator, to control the sound even more. An amazing product from an amazing company. And the price is very affordable. Great for home recording studios.
Session Strings 2 Instruments:
So, there are collections of great orchestral instrument plugins you can use. A great thing is that we as musicians, engineers, or producers have options to choose from. We can use free plugins or upgrade and use more advanced premium plugins. All of these virtual instrument plugins can record high-quality sounds. And they work great with all modern DAWs. The only thing you need to do is to try them out.
And if you like orchestral plugins you will definitely love exotic instrument plugins too.