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About Me

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  1. A Curated List of the Best Free Sample Libraries (for free sample players) and Free Soft Synths All libraries have been reviewed and a brief review is listed for each library. Finding free sample libraries is easy these days. Finding really high quality sample libraries that sound good and play well is a lot more challenging. It commonly means sorting through a lot of -- I'll be kind -- less than great sample libraries. That's why I thought it would be helpful to the community to create a curated list of RECOMMENDED free sample libraries that play in a free sample players. This list only includes libraries that I have used and find worthy of recommendation. Many of these libraries, while very good to excellent, often aren't meticulously detailed and ingeniously scripted like better paid sample libraries. But that level of detail may not even matter for your purposes. I invite others to post libraries that play in free sample players that they have used and can personally recommend. I'll update this list periodically and welcome suggestions for making it more convenient for people. I've also added free soft synths and invite others to add and discuss their favorites, likes and dislikes. Of course, my choices reflect my style, personal taste and the genres I play, so I hope we can get recommendations from others in order to represent a wide range of styles/genres. I mostly play rock, so if you play/produce other styles, we can especially use your input. ⭐ =Highly recommended favorites. ⭐ ⭐ =My highest recommendation. RECOMMENDED FREE SAMPLE LIBRARIES PIANOS SonicCouture Hammersmith Free ⭐⭐ A beautiful grand piano sample library. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/p322-hammersmith-free/ VSL Soft Imperial ⭐⭐ This is a gorgeous Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano sample library that I would have been happy with had I paid for it. It is an intimate piano meant for softer playing. FORMAT: FREE VSL Synchron Player https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Free_Instruments/Soft_Imperial SoundPaint 1928 Vintage Steinway Grand Piano and Sampler ⭐⭐ A high quality grand piano sample library with a nice variety of patches. The SoundPaint sample player enables you to easily create your own patches/programs and delve into sound design possibilities and arpeggiator patterns . FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/ The Creative Toolbox Piano ⭐⭐ A Steinway & Sons B-211 Grand Piano with 3 microphone positions. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-creative-toolbox-piano.html Estate Grand Piano from Production Voices(for the free Sforzando player) ⭐⭐ This is a high quality developer that I am a customer of and I find makes excellent piano sample libraries and this is a really nice piano. FREE/Donationware FORMAT; SFZ https://www.productionvoices.com/estate-grand-le-for-sforzando/ Heavyocity Foundations Piano ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful, soft grand piano with great effects. A must have, IMO. I recommend downloading every free library in the series. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://heavyocity.com/product/foundations-piano/ Sonic Atoms Novel Piano ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful warm sounding urpight piano with some great, very creative patches. It made me a fan of this developer and a customer. FORMAT: FREE HALION SONIC SE PLAYER https://sonicatoms.com/novel-piano/ The Experience Fazoli Piano ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful sounding, beautifully sampled Fazoli grand piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-experience-fazioli-f308/ The Experience Yamaha S6 Grand Piano ⭐ ⭐ One of the best piano libraries on Pianobook. A beautiful sounding, well sampled Yamaha S6 grand piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-experience-yamaha-s6/ Mason Hamlin Model A Piano ⭐ ⭐ A beautifully sounding, beautifully sampled Mason Hamlin grand piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/mason-hamlin-model-a/ Isolation Piano - Tubes and Tape ⭐ ⭐ I use the KONTAKT version and I love it and consider it one of the best pianos on Pianobook, arguably the best. It’s a sampled Model O Steinway grand piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/isolation-piano-tubes-tape/ Soft Piano (Spiifire Labs) ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful, gentle upright felt piano. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Reel to Reel Tape Piano ⭐ ⭐ This comes from David Hilowitz, the very generous artist and developer behind Decent sampler. It's a very lofi, retro piano sample library that captures that kind of Mellotron vibe that I love. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.decentsamples.com/product/reel-to-reel-tape-piano/ Triple Felt Experiment ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful sounding felt piano from Christian Henson. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/triple-felt-experiment/ Death Piano Prepared Piano from Production Voices (for the free Sforzando player) ⭐ ⭐ I love this library. It is a prepared grand piano and the KONTAKT version has a reverse patch that I really enjoy. FREE/Donationware FORMAT; SFZ https://www.productionvoices.com/death-piano-le/ Spring Piano by Christian Henson ⭐ An very nice intimate upright piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/spring-piano/ Manthey Klaviano (PIANO) ⭐ This is a very nice sounding basic upright piano. It sounds like your average piano you’d see in a middle class home or at a school. It’s not a sophisticated sounding piano. I really like its humble character. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER, SFZ https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/manthey-klaviano/ StraIght Ahead Samples: The Real Piano ⭐ A 1903 Chickering grand piano, 6 microphone positions w/ user-controlled interface. A character piano with a vintage vibe. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.straightaheadsamples.com/the-real-piano [Added 11/08/2023] Yamaha Grand Palm Mute ⭐ If you’re looking for grand piano palm mutes, you should enjoy these. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/yamaha-palm-mutes/ Claustrophobic Piano by Christian Henson ⭐ A very nice dark, intimate character piano. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/claustrophobic-piano/ Sterzov The Felt Seiler ⭐ A very nice felted piano library. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-felt-seiler-free-edition.html Prepared Staccota Cartoon Piano It's a one-trick pony that does what is says on the tin. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/prepared-staccato-cartoon-piano/ VOCALS / CHOIRS Orchestratools: Manifold ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful sample library of male and female singers singing oohs and aahs and some unusual vocal sounds too. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER, Sine Factory https://www.orchestraltools.com/sinefactory Micah's Choir ⭐ ⭐ I love this library. The samplist who made it has a great deal of talent. It's a male soloist, but you can play it polyphonically. The singer's tone is beautiful. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER (also available for Spitfire Labs) https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/micahs-choir/ SonicCouture Tape Choir ⭐ ⭐ A retro choir patch that sounds a lot like the choir pad sounds on the 70s 10CC song, "I'm Not In Love." If I had a good voice, I would use this to cover the song. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/18-exclusive-free-content/p170-tape-choir/ Spitfire Labs Choir ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful choir recorded at Air Studios in London. https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/choir Heavyocity Emotive Choir ⭐ ⭐ A beautifully sampled choir. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://heavyocity.com/product/emotive-choir New House Choir A lofi choir patch reminiscent of 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love” vocal pads but more church choir-ish. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/new-house-choir/ DRUMS Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Free ⭐ ⭐ A high quality, production ready rock drum kit. I think this is the best-sounding, deep sampled free acoustic drum plugin on the market. It includes a mixer and beats. It's a no-brainer to install and download, IMO. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://stevenslatedrums.com/ssd5/#SSD5FREE BFD Player ⭐ ⭐ I think this is easily one of the best FREE acoustic drum plugins on the market, but I don't really love the presets and I'm not in love with the sound of the snare drum samples, so I'm only giving this two stars as a freebie. Personally, I deleted it from my hard drive shortly after going through the sounds and trying it in a production. The snare drum sounds thin and the heavy effects on most of the presets overwhelm the snare, it just gets lost in the mix. Still, these are 5GB of deep sampled drums with a built in mixer -- it's not extensive, but you can always route the outputs to use your own effects and mix the drums exactly as you like, and that's a pretty nice option for a free deep sampled acoustic drum kit; but it's also a bit of work. BFD Player also works with a large number of electronic drum kits and features more than 300 beats. I don't think it sounds as good or as professional as Steven Slate Drums, but it has enough going for it for a free drum plugin, that I'm still giving it my highest rating. Download it and judge for yourself. https://www.bfddrums.com/drum-software/bfd-player.html The Creative Toolbox: Drums and Percussion ⭐ ⭐ An acoustic drum kit, two drum machines (Roland TR08 and Behringer RD6) and percussion (bongos, congas, castanets, shakers, agogo, clave, chimes, cowbell and rototoms. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-creative-toolbox-drums-and-percussion.html IK Modo Drum Kit 1.5 ⭐ ⭐ A realy nice sounding hybrid modeled/sampled drum kit. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/mododrum/#nl_form_area Spitfire Labs Drums and VIntage Drums ⭐ ⭐ I love the sound of this drum library. The only down side is that it only has two toms. The 1975 kit also sounds really good and has three toms. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Orange Tree Samples free Funk Drum Kit Sample Library ⭐ ⭐ A nice little jazz/funk drum kit. It sounds good. FORMAT; SFZ https://www.orangetreesamples.com/blog/free-jazz-funk-drum-sample-library Soft Drums ⭐ This is a really nice, very usable traditional drum kit sample library. The drums are hit softly using Promark Broomsticks, which gives a sound like when a rock drummer plays hard with brushes, giving the drums a thwack type sound! I think these would be very useful for indie or folk rock. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/soft-drums/ Lorenzo's Drums ⭐ I love this small drum kit. It just has a great sound to it. The caveat is that the hi hat doesn't close properly. If you can deal with that, I think the sound of this is really special. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/lorenzos-drums-v1/ ML Drums Free A complete drum kit using the developer's plugin. FORMAT: Developer's Proprietary Plugin https://ml-sound-lab.com/products/ml-drums-free Drum Gizmo This entry is the exception to the rest of the list. I haven't used this library. It was recommended to me by a very talented KONTAKT developer who uses it. Based on his recommendation, I am adding it to the list. Drum Giznmo is a drum sample player system and a series of acoustic drum sample libraries. I am told that they are good to very quality. Note that the kits are unprocessed, so you'll need to apply your own effects, which is desirable for some and less desirable for others. https://www.drumgizmo.org/wiki/doku.php?id=start ELECTRIC PIANOS Fracture Sounds: Blueprint Electric Keys ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful, and well-sampled 1969 Rhodes Mark I Electric Piano library that's, unquestionably, good enough to be a paid library. It allows you to adjust the key noise. It doesn't have a bunch of presets, but it lets you choose between direct input and amped and has controls for stereo spread, reverb, chorus, and atmosphere. It's pretty obvious to see the developer's rationale for giving this away free. Once you use it, you'll be interested in their other libraries. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT 7 Player https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-electric-keys/ The Electro-Acoustic ⭐⭐ Samples of an acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano layered. I love the sound! FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER (Also Available for the Full Version of KONTAKT) https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-electro-acoustic-piano/ Sonokinetic EMP Mark II ⭐ A Rhodes Mark II electric piano. Excellent quality sampling and it sounds very good. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT 7 Player https://www.sonokinetic.net/products/contemporary/emp/ Electric V LE from Production Voices (for the free Sforzando player ⭐ A very well-sampled Rhodes Mark V. FREE/Donationware FORMAT: SFZ https://www.productionvoices.com/product/electric-v-le/ Worlitzer ⭐ Anyone who knows me at this forum is probably aware of my love of Wurli / Wurlitzer electric pianos. For a free sample library, this is really nice done and contains several patches.The samplist that made this clearly put some heart into it and it shows. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/worlitzer/ Wurli A modest Wurli library. It really misses the dynamics that make a Wurli so special, but it otherwise, does have that trademark Wurli sound, but seems like a one velocity layer instrument. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Anne-Marie The Hohner T ⭐ A nice sampled Honer T, just try it. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/anne-marie-the-hohner-t/ GUITARS and BASS IK MODO Bass ⭐⭐ This isn't a sample library, it's a modeled bass plugin, but it sounds very good, and is lightweight. It emulates a 1960's Fender Precision Bass. For free, I think this is highest quality choice for an electric bass guitar. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PLUGIN https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/modobass2/?pkey=modo-bass-2-cs Heavyocity Foundations Nylon Guitar ⭐ A beautiful-sounding nylon guitar. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://heavyocity.com/product/foundations-nylon-guitar/ Ample Guitar M Lite ⭐ I don't actually use this, as I primarily use Orange Tree Samples libraries and sometimes supplement them with NI's Session Guitarist when I'm first working on a song. But I have tried it and can recommend it as a free instrument. It's an excellent quality free plugin/sample library and in my experience, it's the best quality free acoustic guitar library available. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.amplesound.net/en/pro-pd.asp?id=7 Ample Bass P Lite ⭐ For sampled electric and acoustic bass guitars, I'm completely set with Orange Tree Samples libraries, but I have tried this out and think for free, it's the best quality free electric bass library that I am aware of. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.amplesound.net/en/pro-pd.asp?id=19 RJS Electric Guitar ⭐ A sampled Stratocaster electric guitar with the following patches: long notes with vibrato, palm muted notes, dead notes and feedback. Impressive. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/rjs-guitar/ MELLOTRON Plogue Sforzatron (Mellotron Sample Library) ⭐ ⭐ Some of the most popular Mellotron samples including cello, celli, strings, flute, woodwind sections, string sections, choir, pads, koto, and steel drums. The sample libraries were taken from the fantastic and freely distributed Taji Guy Mellotron samples that have been available online for two decades. This is easily as good as a commercial Mellotron library. In fact, if this wasn't free and I paid, say $35 USD for the library, I would be extremely satisfied with my purchase. This is one of my all time favorite freebies. FORMAT: Sforzando https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando-banks.html ORCHESTRAL BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover ⭐ ⭐ A complete orchestra that sounds very good. It's not up to the level of a paid high end orchestral library, but it's amazingly good for a completely free orchestral library and it is pretty small in size in terms of data and won't tax on your computer resources. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.spitfireaudio.com/bbc-symphony-orchestra-discover The Free Orchestra by PROJECTSAM ⭐ ⭐ A collection of orchestral related libraries including a choir, strings, and organ. It all sounds beautiful. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://projectsam.com/libraries/the-free-orchestra/ The Free Orchestra 2 a by PROJECTSAM ⭐ ⭐ Project Sam's Free Orchestra series continues as each month, starting in late 2023, they've been releasing a new free library for their Free Orchestra 2 collection. As I write this, they're on month two and have strings and brass. Everything this developer puts out his very high quality. Their freebies, IMO, are must-haves. Great stuff. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://projectsam.com/libraries/the-free-orchestra-2 VSL Big Bang Orchestra ⭐ ⭐ Looking for large orchestrations with huge sounding tutti layers? Staccatos, sustains, marcatos, swells and runs -- if you're looking for the bombastic sound of a big orchestra, I think you're going to be pretty happy with this. FORMAT: Developer's FREE Propietary Player https://www.vsl.co.at/en/BBO_Map/BBO ORGANS Sonuscore Pipe Organ ⭐ ⭐ It contains several pipe organ patches that sound really nice. I love this freebie. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://sonuscore.com/shop/free-pipe-organ/ Sonokinetic Carousel Organ ⭐ ⭐ If you want a carousel organ, you're in luck! It sounds great and it's a lot of fun to play around with. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.sonokinetic.net/products/instruments/carousel/ Collab3 ⭐ This is a Hammond B3 emulation and I snuck this in because I picked this up a while back and just thought it was really good for a free B3 emulation with a Leslie rotary speaker effect. B3 perfectionists won't be satisfied, but it sounds really good and for the price (free), I don't think anything matches it. Listen to it yourself. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLUGIN https://sampleson.com/collab3-free-tonewheel-organ.html Cassette Tape Organ A lofi cassette recording of a Wurlitzer organ that has a very Mellotron type vibe to it. I absolutely love this library. A lot of samplists attempt to get that Mellotron lofi vibe and, IMO, most don't hit the mark. This one does. Very well executed. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/cassette-tape-organ/ PERCUSSION World Colors Clar-Duduk by Evolution Series ⭐ ⭐ A very well sampled clar-duduk library. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.evolutionseries.com/product/world-colors-clar-duduk SONIXENIMA Christmas Bells ⭐ ⭐ Three different-sized sleigh bells, multiple round robins, 3 preset rhythms; this is a nice little freebie. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://sonixinema.com/products/christmas-bells Orchestratools: Gearbox ⭐ ⭐ A collection of studio percussion instruments including various drums, tambourine, claps, congas, etc. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER, Sine Factory https://www.orchestraltools.com/sinefactory Hunter's Percussion - World ⭐ ⭐ A really nicely sampled set of percussion instruments. Djembe, conga, bongo, udu and various taiko drums. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER (also available for the full version of KONTAKT) https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/hunters-percussion-world/ VSL Small Percussion ⭐ ⭐ A nicely done library of various small percussion instruments including: boobams, tambourine, woodblocks, castanets, claves, caxixi, shaker, , splash, triangle, finger cymbals and crotales. FORMAT: FREE VSL Synchron Player https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Free_Instruments/Small_Percussion STRINGS Orchestratools: Helix ⭐ ⭐ A string ensemble library featuring sustains and spiccatos from combined solo violins with violas, celli, and basses. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER, Sine Factory https://www.orchestraltools.com/sinefactory Heavyocity Foundations Staccato Strings ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful, soft grand piano with great effects. A must have, IMO. I recommend downloading every free library in the series. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://heavyocity.com/product/foundations-staccato-strings/ STREZOV MINIMALIST VIOLIN LEGATO STRINGS ⭐ ⭐ A chamber string ensemble playing flautando with poco vibrato. Features auto divisi combined with Polyphonic True Legato. Sounds beautiful. https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/afflatus-freebie.html NFO CHAMBER STRING LONGS ⭐ ⭐ Chamber strings longs and drones. Excellent. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/nfo-alternative-chamber-strings/ NFO CHAMBER STRING SHORTS ⭐ ⭐ Short chamber string staccatos. Excellent. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/nfo-alternative-chamber-strings-shorts/ Spitfire Labs Strings and Strings 2 ⭐ ⭐ The first Strings libraries has soft, slow moving ensemble strings. Strings 2 features additional articulations, pizzicato, bartok pizz and swells ensembles. Spitfire really knows how to create quality string libraries and it's evident even in this free library. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Cello Moods ⭐⭐ While this library -- and none of the Spitfire Labs libraries -- have a bunch of velocity layers I would expect in a paid library, it sounds beautiful and for a free library, is well worth having. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?types=strings&sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Spitfire Labs Scary Strings, Frozen Strings, Amplified Cello Quartet, Artic Swells, Tape Orchestra, Harmonic Flights ⭐⭐ These are all interesting and worth downloading, IMO, I think I bought some of these back when they were selling for $5USD each and if they were back at $5 each, I would still recommend them. FORMAT: LABS PLAYER (SPITFIRE) https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest Soft String Spurs Dan Keen ⭐ ⭐ A collection of three beautiful viola libraries. I use the KONTAKT version. IMO, one of the best string libraries on Pianobook, if not the best. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/soft-string-spurs/ VSL Big Bang Orchestra, Celestial Strings and Violin Runs ⭐ ⭐ Very nice orchestral string libraries. FORMAT: FREE VSL Synchron Player https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Product_Overview/Free_Instruments Firefly Strings A thick analog strings sound that sounds like it was mixed with a pipe organ and I’m a sucker for pipe organs. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/firefly-strings/ SYNTHS (sampled) Arturia Analog Lab Play ⭐ ⭐ 100 patches from various Arturia plugins. Organs, synths, piano...This is a great, must have plugin. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.arturia.com/products/software-instruments/analoglab/free (added 11/06/23) Syntronik 2 CS ⭐ ⭐ 100 patches and 2.4 GB of vintage synth goodness. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/syntronik2/?pkey=syntronik-2-cs Native Instruments: Analog Dreams ⭐ ⭐ 3.6 GBs of vintage analog synth sounds. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/play-series/analog-dreams/ Heavyocity Foundations Synth Bass ⭐ ⭐ Good sounding analog synth bass with ARPs. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://heavyocity.com/product/foundations-synth-bass/ Asimov ⭐ ⭐ I love this collection of 15 Synthwave/Retrowave presets. As the samplist states, the presets have a "cinematic touch." FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/asimov/ Beat Zampler and Free Synth Libraries ⭐ From the publisher of the German magazine Beat (there’s an English version too), Zampler is a free sampler and contains several very nice free synth libraries that mostly have a 90s vibe to them. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.zampler.de/ Isometra Venus Theory ⭐ It comes from a talented patch maker and YouTuber and it’s a distorted analogy electric piano-ish library and I like it a lot and the GUI lets you easily modify the library and I have gotten good results very quickly. Well done. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.decentsamples.com/product/isometra-by-venus-theory/ Organic Orchestra Venus Theory ⭐ A slow attack pad with a sound that seems like rain. It basically sounds like you’re in a rain forest. It’s very new-age-ish. Dead serious, if you’re into ASMR or looking for the kinds of sounds that you here in the music while playing Minecraft, this would be a really good choice. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.decentsamples.com/product/organic-orchestra-free-edition-by-venus-theory/ Malevolence Venus Theory ⭐ Just my opinion, but I would recommend downloading everything Venus Theory uploads. He’s talented. This contains synth pads and basses and it’s good. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://venustheory.com/product/876165 TUNED PERCUSSION Cinematique Instruments Alto Glockenspiel ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful sounding, beautifully sampled instrument. FORMAT: FREE HALION SONIC SE PLAYER https://www.steinberg.net/vst-instruments/alto-glockenspiel/ Cinesamples Tongue Drum ⭐ ⭐ A beautiful sounding, beautifully sampled tongue drum that is a joy to play. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://cinesamples.com/product/tongue-drum Smiley Drum (Tongue Drum) ⭐ ⭐ An unusual-sounding tongue drum with a bright, crisp clank to it. It's quite different from the character of the Cinesamples Tongue Drum and the SoundPaint sampler gives you an arpeggiator and excellent effects to delve into sound design possibilities. FORMAT: FREE SOUNDPAINT PLAYER https://soundpaint.com/products/smiley-drum?variant=42680673173675 Cinesamples Create Series: Toy Xylo ⭐ A children's xylophone. Sounds great. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://cinesamples.com/product/create-series-toy-xylo Cinesamples Create Series: Kalimba ⭐ Sounds great. If you love the sound of the Kalimba, download it! FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://cinesamples.com/product/create-series-kalimba Cinesamples Mister Rogers Celeste ⭐⭐ A sweet celeste that was used on the American children television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood (1968-2001) FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://store.cinesamples.com/products/mister-rogers-celeste SoundPaint Polyphon ⭐⭐ I had no idea what the heck a Polyphon is. It turns out it's an ancient music box -- and I love music boxes. It sounds lovely and the sound design patches and possibilities for you to adjust this to whatever is in your imagination are virtually endless. https://soundpaint.com/products/polyphon?variant=42942318969003#specifications SonicCoture Music Boxes ⭐ ⭐ Two music boxes from a superb sample developer for free. If you like the sound of music boxes, just get it. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/p43-music-boxes/ Spring Chimes ⭐ ⭐ This glorious library takes 14 existing Pianobook bell and mallet libraries and layers them together and the result is absolutely wonderful. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/spring-chimes/ Gentle Vibes ⭐ ⭐ A well sampled vibraphone played softly with soft, medium and hard mallets. I am a sucker for a nice vibraphone or glockenspiel library and this is very nice. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/gentle-vibes/ SoundPaint Copperphone ⭐ ⭐ Somewhere in between bells and a marimba, this is a lovely-sounding tuned percussion instrument played hard mallets, soft mallets, wooden mallets, fingernails, and a distinct muted option. It's another instrument from SoundPaint where it's surprising it's free. SoundPaint always provides a great deal of patches with their instruments and the sound design patches and the ability to easily program your own creations. FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/products/copperphone?variant=42692692869291 Vintage Glockenspiel ⭐ A beautiful sounding, beautifully sampled instrument. I love the tone of this glockenspiel library. There are some imperfections with the library, but it's a keeper for me. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/vintage-glockenspiel/ Yamaha Glockenspiel ⭐ A nice sounding glockenspiel with every note sampled and two dynamic layers. It's well sampled, but, unfortunately, lacks round robins. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/yamaha-glockenspiel/ Schulmerich Handbells ⭐ A nicely sampled handbell lbrary made by Jon Meyer, a member of Pianobook who has produced some very good sample libraries. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/schulmerich-handbells/ Wineglass Tool Kit ⭐ This is much more than straight wine glass samples. The samplist created 5 patches from samples of wine glasses: melodic ‘ping’; a soft pad; a set of percussive sounds; a synth; and a textural pad. FORMAT: DECENT SAMPLER https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/wine-glass-tool-kit/ Mini African Xylophone True to its name. A nice little library. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/mini-african-xylophone-max/ Ample Sound Cloud Drum A beautiful sounding steel tongue drum sample library contained in Ample Sounds own plugin. https://www.amplesound.net/en/pro-pd.asp?id=27 Harpsimachord A 1970s two-manual, three-rank (8/8/4) Douglas Van Dyck Brown harpsichord sample library. The samples have noise that a pro samplist would have cleaned up and I hope someday the samplist denoises the samples, but I still love this library. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/harpsimachord/ BRASS / WOODWINDS Distant Brass This isn’t a realistic-sounding brass library, it’s very lofi and I think it’s pretty cool. I don’t do hip hop music, I sound bad enough singing rock, but if I did do hip hop, I think this could be especially useful. https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/distant-brass/ MULTIPLE INSTRUMENT PACKAGES These are multiple sample libraries from a developer that include different sampled instruments. Native Instruments KOMPLETE START ⭐⭐ If you’re on a tight budget or no budget, download this. If you don’t have anything from Native Instruments, you need to! These guys make argubly the best multisampler on the market. I own the full version of KOMPLETE, and outside of my DAW, it's the most important music-related software I own. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-start/ SoundPaint Sampler and Various Free Instruments ⭐⭐ The beauty of SoundPaint is that things load fast, its effects sound great, it's a lot of fun to use and you can easily create your own programs/patches. If KONTAKT, UVI or SampleTank have this level of capabilities to create your own presets, I'm not aware of it. I've heard developers compare it to Omnisphere. There's a grand piano, tuned percussion and a number of ambient libraries for free. You can easily layer the various libraries. It's a great sound design playground FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/ Spitfire Labs and Freebies ⭐ ⭐ If you haven’t already downloaded them, go do it… Guitars, bass, pianos, electric pianos, drum kits, strings, brass, woodwinds, synths, vocals/choris, orchestra instruments, percussion, tuned percussion… Get them all! FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.spitfireaudio.com/pages/free-instruments SampleTank 4 CS ⭐ ⭐ 50 sample libraries that all sound good and professional. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/st4cs/?pkey=sampletank-4-cs VSL HELLO Free Instruments ⭐ ⭐ Excellent strings and orchestral libraries and a gorgeous free piano that I love that quickly became one of my favorite sampled pianos, Soft Imperial. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Product_Overview/Free_Instruments Orchestral Tools Sine Player and Instruments ⭐ ⭐ Piano, bass, drums, strings… Some very nice, beautifully sampled libraries in the developer’s proprietary sampler plugin. FORMAT: DEVELOPER'S FREE PROPRIETARY PLAYER https://www.orchestraltools.com/store/get-sine Stezov Diamond Jazz ⭐ A free set of instruments including a free upright piano that sounds really nice, a nice upright bass and saxophone libraries. The sax libraries are meh. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/Diamond-jazz-trio.html Sonixinema Assorted freebies - vocals, cello, acoustic bass, violin, medicine drum... I like these taster libraries, they're high quality but you're only getting one articulation of a library and it really isn't enough to pull off a performance with the sampled instrument. FORMAT: FREE KONTAKT PLAYER https://sonixinema.com/collections/freebies AMBIENT SoundPaint Adastra Ambiences ⭐ ⭐ A gorgeous set of patches of string-based ambient sounds. Violins, violas, cellos and basses. With nearly 2GB, this is a library I easily would have paid for if it weren't free. FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/products/adastra-ambiences?variant=42905988366507 SoundPaint Free Angels ⭐ ⭐ Over 7GBs of ambient sounds including drones, vocals, marimba, guitar, piano, bells, synths, ukuleles, risers, etc. FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/products/free-angels?variant=39295526502571 Free ASMR ⭐ ⭐ Nearly 9GB of ASMR type sounds. This is really different and it's easy to find yourself playing around with this library. There are a good deal of synth sounds, human whispers, papery crunches, woody rattles, metallic scrapes and more. If you're looking for ASMR sounds, this is a no-brainer. FORMAT: SOUNDPAINT SAMPLE PLAYER (FREE) https://soundpaint.com/products/free-asmr?variant=39295531352235#parts FREE SAMPLE LIBRARIES FROM PIANOBOOK Pianobook has many KONTAKT (paid version) free mutisample libraries and Decent Sampler (free) mutisample sample libraries. I wanted to create a list of their free Decent Sampler libraries I find worth recommending. These are often smaller, simpler sample libraries than the ones made for KONTAKT. https://www.decentsamples.com/product-category/publishers/decent-samples/ Free Decent Sampler Formated Sample Libraries on Pianobook I made this list when going through each library opened in my DAW, so you’ll need to search Pianobook to find them. Simply use the site’s search function with the library name. I’ll try to update this later and add links in the future. Busy Bee Analog Oscilator A nice simple analog synth patch, actually two, one is lofi and I like it. Classic Dance Synth This is your classic 80s House Piano sound. If that’s what you’re looking for, download and install this. Cream Soda Atmos Pad Antoher very pad that I like that has a very slow attac. Guffland Ukulele This isn’t an Orange Tree Samples kind of detailed sample library. It’s very simple. But the ukulele has a lovely tone. Ideal Bouzouki Nice, simple. Worth installing. Multiple articulations. I love the plucked and fingered patch. If you’re not concerned about emulating the sampled instrument, the plucked and fingered patch has a harpsichord like quality about it. Melodic Ping - Wine Glass Tool Kit Nicely sampled wine glass hits. Mixing Bowl ⭐ It sounds cool. It’s bold. It’s fun. I like it. Musical Stones It’s basically a xylophone featuring stones. It’s nice but the samples are a bit noisy. Still I like the character of the tone of the instrument and the noise doesn’t put me off as I see it as a bit lofi. Rob’s Andean Quena Flute Think lofi Mellotron flute. I really like this. Saraswati Vena Simple, nice. I like it. Shivering Keys A really interesting lofi analog piano that almost sounds like it could work in a horror soundtrack, but I think it’s slightly too sweet for that. Shivering Waves A lofi pad that sounds a bit like Shivering Keys in a pad. Signals Sound effects that are perfect for sci-fi. St Kathrin’s Bell It sounds great, like a church bell. But there’s a lot of noise in the samples. Synimer ⭐ A very 80s/synthwave-type pad that sounds very good. I don’t know the song, but it sounds a lot like the synth pad from one of the songs in the 80s movie, “Breakfast Club.” Timpani Hits Nicely sampled, good sounding timpani hits. RECOMMENDED FREE SOFT SYNTH PLUGINS Vital ⭐⭐ VItal is a free spectral warping wavetable synth and it is superb. I like it better than most of my paid synths. If you use soft synths, this is a must have, a total no-brainer. There is a paid version for $25 USD with 250 presets and another version for $80 USD with more than 400 presets. All of them are well recommended by the community. But the free version works with third-party presets that you can find at the site's forum and all over the interwebs. Just stop right now and get this! Also, see below for my link to site with tons of free patches / presets for VITAL and other soft synths. https://vital.audio/ Surge XT ⭐⭐ While Vital is my absolute favorite free soft synth, and maybe my favorite soft synth period, Surge is my second favorite free soft synth. It is a hybrid synthesizer. Roger Linn uses it -- and you can get it for free. Why are you still reading this??? Just get it!!! https://surge-synthesizer.github.io/ Helm ⭐⭐ A great sounding virtual analog synth. https://tytel.org/helm/ SynthMaster Player ⭐⭐ I love it! I started with Synthmaster Player and ended up buying their Synthmaster One and Synthmaster Two synths. https://www.kv331audio.com/synthmasterplayer.aspx Pendulate ⭐⭐ All things music related are subjective, but monosynth just sounds great to my ears and if you don't agree, you're clearly wrong. https://www.eventideaudio.com/plug-ins/pendulate/ Togu TAL-Noisemaker ⭐⭐ This free analog modeled soft synth has been around a long time, but it still sounds good to my ears. I'd call it a classic. There are a lot of really nice free presets for it. https://tal-software.com/ Synth 1 ⭐⭐ This is another classic virtual analog soft synth that's been around a long time, but is still worth having. There's a ton presets spread over the internet. https://daichilab.sakura.ne.jp/softsynth/index.html u-he Zebrelette ⭐⭐ u-he has a lot of hardcore fans of their soft synths showering praise on their soft synths, and they're worthy of that praise. https://u-he.com/products/zebralette/ Crystal ⭐⭐ Another older soft synth. It may not sound as modern as some of the others, but I still love it. https://www.greenoak.com/crystal/dnld2.html Dexed FM Plugin Synth ⭐ A soft synth closely modeled on the Yamaha DX7. If you like the sound of the DX7, you'll like this. https://asb2m10.github.io/dexed/ discoDSP - OB-Xd - An Oberheim Inspired Virtual Analog Synthesizer https://www.discodsp.com/obxd/ Cherry Audio Surrealistic MG-1 Plus | An emulation of a vintage Moog synth sold at Radio Shack. https://cherryaudio.com/products/surrealistic-mg-1-plus Voltage Modular Nucleus | Cherry Audio A free modular synth. It's not very intuitive, but what I've figured out sounds pretty good! https://store.cherryaudio.com/bundles/voltage-modular-nucleus kiloHearts One I bought this synth before they made it free. It's basic, but nice. https://kilohearts.com/docs/download_and_installation#khs_one BONUS: Free Presets / Patches for Vital and Other Soft Synths ⭐⭐ This site has a collection of presets / patches for Vital and many other soft synths and you'll find some very nice ones there that rival and even surpass the quality of patches in banks I've purchased. Warning though, this site has fresh patches for Vital up several times a week and it's easy to become addicted! https://presetshare.com/ This list will be regularly updated. I've also created a list of my favorite free sample libraries for KONTAKT:
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