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Best FREE KONTAKT Libraries (2024)- A Curated List of Reviewed & Recommended Sample Instruments


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Best FREE Kontakt Libraries - A Curated List of  More Than 100 Reviewed and Recommended Free Sample Instruments for the Full Version of Kontakt and Kontakt Player (Updated June 2024)

Why I Created This List of Best Free Sample Libraries for KONTAKT

I previously created a list of recommended free sample libraries that play on free sample player plugins to help those on a very limited budget that didn't own KONTAKT. 

After I created that list, a number of forum members requested via posts and PMs, if I could do a similar list for KONTAKT libraries. I put this thread together after @ralfrobert asked if I could create even a modest list of ten or so of my favorite KONTAKT freebie libraries. As KONTAKT is my go-to sampler, and I've been using it since its early days, and purchased a great deal of sample libraries and picked up a lot of freebies along the way, I thought I could do a pretty good job of creating a list others would find helpful, so I started on it. This list is regularly updated, If you find it useful, please give it a LIKE and make a comment to keep it alive (Cakewalk doesn't pin threads unless they're rules for the community). 

I invite others to comment with their own favorite free sample libraries for KONTAKT. My objective with this thread is to save people from having to sift through the ton of freebies out there to find the best free KONTAKT libraries available. If you add your favorites in this thread, it would be great if you could tell people the reasons why you like a library. I haven't done that perfectly below, but will come back and update this thread, as I wanted to get this out as soon as I could. Hopefully, all of us will end up learning about new, inspiring, totally free libraries for KONTAKT as a result. 

PIANO KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Man Makes Noise: The Lobby Piano
This is a very interesting, appealing and unique sounding piano sample library created using "sound design trickery" (the dev's own words).  The library deservedly has a lot of fans on Pianobook. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-lobby-piano-playable-techniques/

Sterzov Sampling: The Felt Seiler Free Edition
A very delicate sounding felt upright piano.  It's a free Kontakt Player library. 
https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-felt-seiler-free-edition.html

The Real Piano 
It took me a long time to decide if I wanted to include this piano library. Candidly, that's because I don't love the included presets. There's just something about the way it's EQ'ed that doesn't appeal to me. But I spent more time with the piano, tweaking the factory presets, creating my own presets, and using external EQ and I can now say that I might use this in a project where I'm looking for a very vintage sounding character piano. The sampled piano is a 1903 Chickering grand piano. It is a Kontakt Player library, so you don't need to own the full version of Kontakt to use this library. 
https://www.straightaheadsamples.com/the-real-piano

The Love Piano 
This is a sampled grand piano with  12 velocity layers "between the soft to moderately loud dynamic range (no loud or “fff” dynamics here!) and also included hammer sounds pedal sounds (both of which can be added/removed) to give it even more persona." It includes 18 reverb impulse responses.  It  sounds very nice. It's a free Kontakt Player library, so you don't need to own the paid (full) version of Kontakt to use it. 
https://vstbuzz.com/special/the-love-piano-kontakt-player-freebie/ 

Tatak Felt Piano (muted)
I really love the character to this muted felt piano. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/tatak-muted-felt-piano/

Westwood Instruments Alt Piano Lite
A very nice sounding upright felt piano. 
https://www.westwoodinstruments.com/alt-piano-lite-edition/

KeyPleezer Living Room Upright Piano
I have included some excellent grand pianos, but haven't had much in the way of upright pianos. This is a very imperfect upright piano that has a quirky character that I like. When you want more of an unsophisticated, bar room piano sound instead of a very polished, sophisticated grand piano. 
https://keypleezer.com/livingroom-upright-piano/free-edition/

Ivy Audio Piano in 162
A Steinway Model B grand piano was sampled for this library, made by a talented college student who also made Impact Soundworks Pearl Concert Grand library while in college. The Piano in 162 has two microphone positions (close & ambient), 5 dynamic levels, 2 round robins and sustain pedal on and off samples. I wouldn't put it in the same league as 8Dio's and SonicCoture's pianos, but it is very nice and has a different vibe to it. Listen to the demos on the page linked below and go to the last demo, which is a ragtime piece. This piano sounds really good for that style. 
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/piano-in-162/

8Dio 1928 Scoring Grand - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
There simply isn't another premium piano library with this quality and similar specifications for KONTAKT that is availabe for free anywhere else; the closest anyone comes is SonicCouture's Hammersmith FREE, below.  The 1928 Scoring Grand is a beautiful sounding, highly detailed sample library with extensive velocity layers, round-robin based sustains and round-robin based staccatos, two mic positions, some very nice convolution reverb IRs,  23 presets -- and the presets are really good and include other samples that it layers with the piano that sound excellent including a marimba, a Rhodes electric piano, glasses, glockenspiel and more. There's a sound design patch and a lite version patch too.  There's really not another piano library for free comparable to this one, and I suppose that's because 8Dio took a piano library they had priced at $249 US (but I've seen it on sale for as low as $49 prior to their making it free). Normally commercial sample developers free pianos are cut down versions of one for sale. That's not the case here. This library is also available for SoundPaint, but that version doesn't include the additional samples for layering and the sound design patch. If the piano takes a long time to load, I'd strongly recommend doing a batch re-save in Kontakt. 
https://8dio.com/products/1928-scoring-piano?variant=41309999792328

SonicCoture Hammersmith Free (KONTAKT Player) - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
IMO, the Hammersmith Free is the other must have acoustic grand piano freebie (the only reason not to download and install this is if you own the full paid version). It's not as extensively sampled as the 8Dio Scoring Grand, for a free piano sample library, before 8Dio released the 1928 Scoring Grand, there was no other free piano sample library for KONTAKT -- or any other sampler -- at the same quality and detail level of the Hammersmith Free. The sampled piano is a Steinway Model D grand piano. It lacks real sustain pedal samples and multiple mic positions, but it sounds great, and if you're comparing it to other free piano libraries,  you really won't find any others except for 8Dio, with this level of detail. 21 velocity layers and 4.8 GB.
https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/p322-hammersmith-free/

Heaviocity Foundations: Piano* - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Like most free pianos, there aren’t many velocity layers, but it sounds good and what’s really good about this are the snapshots and the effects, like the built-in arpeggiator.  
https://heavyocity.com/product-category/foundations/ 

Strezov The Creative Toolbox Piano*
A lovely Steinway grand piano.
https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-creative-toolbox-piano.html 

Isolation Tubes and Tape Piano 
One of my favorite piano sample libraries on Pianobook. A Steinway Model O piano was sampled for this. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/isolation-piano-tubes-tape/ 

Quarantine Piano
A beautifully sampled Yamaha U3 upright piano. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/quarantine-piano/ 

The Woodland Piano 
A Yamaha Upright piano with 4 articulations: normal, felt, muted and plucked.
https://www.ockpii.com/instruments/woodland-piano 

Dan Keen The King’s Upright
A lovely, soft upright piano. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-kings-upright/ 

The Experience (Mason and Hamlin Grand Piano)
Dore Mark has made a series of detailed piano sample libraries available on Pianobook that are at a very high quality level.  But the character of this piano really just connects with me more than any of his others.   
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-experience/ 

PREPARED PIANO KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Preparato Piano Free - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is an amazing prepared piano sample library. A reflection of how talented this young developer is. Great work and it’s truly surprising this is free. Try it and you’ll understand why I’m so fond of this developer (FTR, I don’t know him, I’m just a paying customer who loves his libraries and read about him at his site). 
https://www.xperimentaproject.com/preparato-piano-free/ 

Production Voices Death Piano - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A superb prepared piano sample library. I really love this library, especially the reverse piano samples. 
https://www.productionvoices.com/death-piano-le/ 

ELECTRIC PIANO KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS 

Soniokinetic EMP Electromechanical Piano (KONTAKT PLAYER LIBRARY) 
A Rhodes Mark II Electric Piano. This is a decent sounding electric piano,  that definitely has a very lofi vibe to it. It's definitely not as pleasing as some of the other choices below, like my favorite free electric piano, Fracture Sounds: Blueprint Electric Keys, but that's a different model Rhodes, so if you want to have a larger palate of electric pianos, give this a try. It is compatible with the free Kontakt Player, so you don't even need to own the full version of Kontakt to enjoy it.  
https://www.sonokinetic.net/products/contemporary/emp/

Wavesynth Glow
Three Rhodes-like wavetable electric piano patches from a Sequential Prophet 6. 
https://karanyisounds.com/product/wavesynth-glow-free-edition/

Fracture Sounds: Blueprint Electric Keys (KONTAKT PLAYER LIBRARY)  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A beautiful, 1969 Rhodes Mark I Electric Piano library that's 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.   
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-electric-keys/

ETI Roads
A very detailed Rhodes MKII electric piano sample library.
https://eti-roads.com/ 

Lo-fi Wurly
Despite the name Lo-fi Wurly, this Wurltizer electric piano AKA Wurli/Wurly is a detailed sample library that sounds really nice, but unfortunately does have noise in it that a pro sample developer would have fixed.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/15U99DL5BJdPAwj3SDOYvI2EPJ1_eaL8K/edit

Premier Sound Factory Wurly G
I want to put a caveat on this one, as I don’t love this sample library straight from the factory, however, I made my own user presets that I like a lot. So, if you spend a little effort, I think you can get some nice sounds of this, but I’m not in love with the sound straight out of the box. 
https://premiersoundfactory.com/wurly-premier-g/ 

HARPSICHORD KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

The Blanchet Harpsichord and Small Italian Harpsichord
These harpsichord libraries are fairly old (in Kontakt 2 format), but they sound good and they work fine in the latest version of Kontakt.  
http://sonimusicae.free.fr/blanchet1-en.html
http://sonimusicae.free.fr/petititalien-en.html

 

ORGAN KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

 Samplephonics Leeds Towhall Organ  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A very huge sounding 3.2GB church pipe organ sample set with 7 patches.  
https://www.samplephonics.com/products/free/sampler-instruments/the-leeds-town-hall-organ

SoundIron Aquae Organ
https://soundiron.com/collections/free/products/aquae-organ

Sonokinetic Carousel (KONTAKT PLAYER LIBRARY)  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This library nails the carousel organ sound. If that's the sound you're after, this is a must have. Very well done.  
https://www.sonokinetic.net/products/instruments/carousel/

SoundIron: Aquae Organ HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Aquae Organ is not a regular pipe organ sample library. It's a sound design library and I really like it a lot. SoundIron created the library using a stereo pair of high-grade hydrophones recording two pipe organs in unison.  They then alterered the result using sound design techniques into something quite different and appealing in its own way. 
https://soundiron.com/collections/free/products/aquae-organ

Sonuscore Pipe Organ
“An  E.M. Skinner pipe organ.”
https://www.sonuscore.com/shop/free-pipe-organ/ 

Hunter’s Tonewheel Foundations - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A well-sampled and beautiful sounding Hammond organ with a controllable Leslie speaker (I grew up the son of a piano/organ/guitar teacher and played piano/organ/drums and we owned an organ and a Leslie along with a Wurli, piano and other instruments so I fell in love with these sounds very early on in life). 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/hunters-hammond-tonewheel-foundations/ 

The Leeds Town Hall Organ
Take me to church. 
https://www.samplephonics.com/products/free/sampler-instruments/the-leeds-town-hall-organ

Orange Tree Samples Melodica* (KONTAKT PLAYER LIBRARY)  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Okay, this developer has been a client and is a friend, but Orange Tree Samples’ is also one of the most talented sample developers on the planet. If you like the sound of the Melodica, which is pretty popular for indie rock, this is a must.  
https://www.orangetreesamples.com/products/indie-melodica 


GUITAR KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

If you're looking for the best quality free electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and electric bass available, it's not for Kontakt, they're Ample Sound's VST instruments, and they're on my other list (linked above). 

Fracture Sounds Blueprint: Feedback Guitar
A Gibson Les Paul based ambient pad with two articulations options. Sounds beautiful. Works with the free Kontakt Player too. 
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-feedback-guitar/

Jon Meyer Acoustic Guitar Plucks
This is a one trick pony library, but what it does, it does very well. I love the tone of the guitar. I'm struggling with giving this a recommendation. The only reason I'm not doing so is that it's only plucks, not a more complete collection featuring regular sustained guitar notes. But I think it's excellent for what it is. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/acoustic-guitar-plucks/

8Dio Songwriting Guitar
More than 1.3 GB of acoustic and electric guitar chord strums and licks. Very well recorded and eq'ed acoustic guitars, clean and distorted electric guitars. 
https://8dio.com/products/songwriting-guitar?variant=41309930815688

8Dio Ambient Guitar 
What it says on the tin. More than 2.8GB of multisampled, production ready ambient guitar and bass. 
https://8dio.com/products/the-new-ambient-guitar-vst-au-aax-kontakt-instruments-samples?variant=41309932257480

Various Free Acoustic and Electric Guitar Libraries
Pettinhouse has been making guitar libraries for Kontakt longer than most sample developers. The free libraries are pretty basic and older, but if you're looking for simple guitar chords and well recorded, easy to play libraries, this is worth your effort. Guitar libraries suitable for rock, funk, and R&B.   
https://www.pettinhouse.com/html/download.html

Klang: Guitar Harmonics 
Harmonics sampled from an electric guitar.  It sounds lovely and, like everything from Cinematique, it's well sampled. 
https://cinematique-instruments.com/pages_instr_KLANG/instr_gharm.php

Heavyocity Nylon Guitar*
A nylon stringed acoustic guitar. Very nice and delicate. 
https://heavyocity.com/product/foundations-nylon-guitar/ 


DRUMS & PERCUSSION KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Analogue Drums Big Mono- - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Analogue Drums is a developer that owns a recording studio out of New Zealand. They record drums using vintage analog hardware. They're libraries aren't ultra detailed, but they often are detailed enough. This is a small kit with a  60s/70s  vibe to it. The kit is somewhere between early Bonham, Motown, and blues. It has a great vibe to it. 
https://www.analoguedrums.com/drumkits/big-mono/

Darbuka
It sounds very good. If you're looking for a darbuka, you found it! 
https://soundprops.com/soundprops-darbuka/

Prism Drums Lite
This is geared towards modern pop, hip, synthwave, etc. It doesn't have a bunch of toms or a good acoustic drum kit. But it has some really good sounding kits for modern styles that I quite like. It's compatible with the free Kontakt Player, so you don't  need to own the full version of Kontakt to enjoy this library. 
https://avamusicgroup.com/products/free-kontakt-drum-library

Hunter's Percussion - World- - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A collection of high quality sampled percussion instruments -- djembe, conga, bongo, udu and the taiko family (o daiko, taiko, shime daiko). 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/hunters-percussion-world/

Hunter's Percussion - Orchestral- - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A collection of snares, toms, bass drum, and concert chimes that were deeply sampled with three mic positions from one of my favorite samplists on Pianobook.
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/hunters-percussion-orchestral/

Jon Meyer Soft Drums- - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A 1960s Beatles style Ludwig drum kit played with Promark Broomsticks -- similar to brushes but a little harder, so it sounds a bit different than brushes. The library sounds great. I only wish it was GM mapped. Other than that, I love it. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/soft-drums/

Noize Drumz 2 
918 analog drum samples recorded from a Nintendo Gameboy.  Useful for electronic genres. 
https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/55-Kontakt-Instrument/474-Noizedrumz-Vol-2

Sonuscore Dhol - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A collection of dhol drum samples (a double-sided barrel drum played with a bare hand). Beautifully recorded. It's a simple percussion instrument that sounds great.  
https://www.sonuscore.com/shop/free-dhol-ensemble/

Drum Mic'A - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is an oldie but a goodie. A full acoustic drum kit with a mixer including built in EQ, transient designer, and compressor.   https://web.archive.org/web/20200116200208/https://ru-ru.sennheiser.com/drummica
For Windows :https://assets.sennheiser.com/software/drummica.iso or https://sennheiser-assets.nyc3.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/software/drummica.iso

Strezov The Creative Toolbox Drums and Percussion*
A full drum kit with cymbals, a drum machine and percussion samples. The drum kit is nice, but it sounds really small like a picollo snare. It would fit well for R&B and hip hop, but I wouldn't use it for most rock situations. 
https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/the-creative-toolbox-drums-and-percussion.html 

DS RCS Essential Demo - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
It’s called a demo, but it’s a complete drum kit with cymbals and it’s a very good rock drum kit. 
https://www.redpackdrums.com/dsdrum-kontakt 

8Dio Cajon and Bongo
Check out the bank labelled "Bongos 4." They sound really good. 
https://8dio.com/products/the-new-cajon 

Fruit Shake* - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Contains four shakers. Very nicely recorded.  Free Kontakt Player library. 
https://insessionaudio.com/products/fruit-shake/

Red Room Audio Snaps, Claps, Stomps and Shouts
I have a bunch of sample libraries of snaps, claps and stomps, but I most often use this one. It's epic!  
https://redroomaudio.com/product/snaps-claps-slaps-stomps-shouts/


ORCHESTRAL/STRINGS/BRASS KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Sonuscore The Orchestral Elements  
Thirty orchestral presets, with 4+ GB of "25 string-, 9 brass- and 12 wind-articulations, plus playable percussion and choir." This sounds great and is a lot of fun to play with sequenced string and horn / woodwind parts.  Compatible with the free Kontakt Player. 
https://www.sonuscore.com/shop/the-orchestra-elements/

Fracture Sounds Blueprint: Short Strings
Fracture Sounds makes some excellent freebies and this library is no exception,  a staccato string library. It sounds great and works in the free Kontakt Player. 
https://sites.fastspring.com/fracturesounds/product/blueprint-short-strings

Woven Strings
This is a beautiful sounding string library includes a collection ofarticiulations, drones and phrases of violin, viola, and octave viola.
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/woven-strings/

Sonuscore HD Orchestra Chords and HD Sustained String Chords  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Sonuscore's free HD Orchestra Chords and HD Sustained String Chords sound beautiful and allow you to immediately get the sound of a very lush, orchestra or string section. It's simply fun to play this and hear a beautiful sounding orchestra or string section. 
https://www.sonuscore.com/free-orchestra-chords/

Embertone Intimate Strings  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A string quartet playing in unison. It sounds beautiful. 
https://embertone.com/instruments/intstrings-lite.php

Carpenter Trombone
The developer captured a very nice sounding trombone for this library.  Features a legato patch. 
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/carpenter-trombone/

Musical Sampling: Solo Trumpet  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A very well done legato solo trumpet. It's 760 MB and sounds very, very good -- far better than I'd expect a free trumpet library to sound. 
https://musicalsampling.com/trumpet-freebie/

Westwood Instruments: Roots - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is a extremely lush strings -- specifically violas -- library that sounds gorgeous to my ears. Only 5 presets, but they sound wonderful.  Works in the free KONTAKT Player. 
https://www.westwoodinstruments.com/roots/

Pacific – Solo Cello Legato – Performance Samples - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A solo cello patch with slurred legato. This is a beautiful sounding cello library. "One dynamic with espressivo vibrato (the vibrato isn’t controllable)."  Three mic positions – CL (close), SC (section), and AB (spaced far pair). 48kHz / 24bit.  
https://www.performancesamples.com/pacific-solocellolegato/

Fracture Sounds: Gentle Strings - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A "chamber-sized string ensemble was captured in a large studio hall playing with mutes to produce a long con sordino articulation. The library includes three microphone signals and a bespoke atmosphere layer produced from the original samples." This developer has been putting out some beautiful free libraries. This is compatible with the FREE KONTAKT Player, so if you don't own KONTAKT, you can still enjoy this. 
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-gentle-strings/ 

Fractured Sounds: Textured Violin 

"There are four textural articulations alongside effects such as Delay and Reverbs which can be found in the full Trails library, allowing users to get a flavour of what Trails is about." It's lovely. 
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-textural-violin/

Project Sam: The Free Orchestra* and "The Free Orchestra Part Two* - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
From the developer:  "16 free cinematic instruments ranging from soft strings to thunderous drums; Includes sounds from our acclaimed Symphobia series." 
https://projectsam.com/libraries/the-free-orchestra/ 
https://projectsam.com/libraries/the-free-orchestra-2

Heavyocity: Staccato Strings*- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Love it and it has an arpeggiator that's lots of fun.  
https://heavyocity.com/product-category/foundations/ 

Red Room Audio Palette Primary Colors  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Strings, woodwind, and brass ensembles.  
https://redroomaudio.com/product/palette-primary-colors/

Dan Keen: Soft String Spurs- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Dan Keen creates some of my favorite sample libraries on Pianobook and this is probably my favorite of his. Really, it’s just beautiful. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/soft-string-spurs/ 

Pocket Blakus Solo Cello - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I own a bunch of paid solo cello libraries, but end up using this freebie a lot. One of my all time favorite freebie sample libraries. 
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/pocketblakus-cello/ 

Dan Keen Solo Cello Spurs- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I’m a sucker for strings, especially the cello. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/solo-cello-spurs/ 

Strezov Afflatus Mimilist Violins - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A beautiful violins section sample library, Excellent. 
https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/afflatus-freebie.html


TUNED PERCUSSION KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Fractured Sounds Blueprint: Toy Piano - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
If you're looking for a toy piano, look no further. 
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-toy-piano/

Fractured Sounds Blueprint: Greenhead Chimes - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A beautiful set of chimes. 
https://fracturesounds.com/product/blueprint-greenhead-chimes/

Hunter Rogerson: The Wildmother's Dulcimer-Vol 1 and II   - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A beautiful sounding hammered dulcimer library.  And I'll just be candid, I usually don't love the sound of dulcimers, but LOVE the sound of this one and the sample libraries (there are two) are truly beautiful. If this were a paid library, I'd be very happy with it. Hunter didn't merely sample typical articulations, but included unusual articulations for a dulcimer, included bowing.  I find this sampelist is one of my favs on Pianobook. He's very talented and there's a magical vibe to many of his libraries.  The first volume features 12 patches and the second volume features 7 patches (Hammer and Trem Combo, Plucked, 
Plucked Harmonics, Bowed Tremolo, Cedar Splatterpaint, Meadow Chimes and Woodpecker).  
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-wildmothers-dulcimer/
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/the-wildmothers-dulcimer-vol-ii/

Jon Meyer Schlumerich Handbells
A very nice sounding set of handbells that I've used in a final production. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/schulmerich-handbells/

Klang Spiel Uher
A taped music box recorded on analog tape. 
https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/55-Kontakt-Instrument/6828-TAPED-Spiel-Uher

Klang: Bike Bells
Sampled bicycle bells that have been played around with until they sound like a glockenspiel. I really like it. 
https://cinematique-instruments.com/pages_instr_KLANG/instr_bikebells.php

Rosenspiel
I'm a sucker for glockenspiel libraries and this is a different approach. It's a glockenspiel played with a bow instead of a mallet. The developer said it pretty accurately, so I'll just quote him: "The staccato samples sound like a celeste with a softer attack, while the sustains sound like a glass harmonica with slight bow noise. Very nice.  
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/rosinspiel/

8Dio Copperphone -  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I'm a sucker for percussion, tuned percussion, metalophones...I love the way this custom instrument sounds. It's made from modified copper pipes and recorded struck with hard and soft mallets (some of the demos are gorgeous). This is a deep sampled, 1.36 GB library that easily would be worth paying for if they weren't giving away free. 
https://8dio.com/products/the-new-copperphone?variant=41310010278088

8Dio Polyphone (Music Box) - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
There are certain instruments that are just magical, the piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin, the Wurly, Hammond B3, Les Paul, celeste, Dulcitone, glockenspiel, hang drum...and music boxes.  I own A LOT of music box libraries and this one still brought something new to the table. 
https://8dio.com/products/polyphon?variant=41309927178440

Frozen Glock
A beautiful glockenspiel library. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/frozen-glock/ 

Mister Rogers Celeste* - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Yes, that trolly sound from Mister Rogers (if you’re an American and grew up in that era). But if you didn’t, it’s kind of a plain sounding celeste, but it has a certain charm. 
https://store.cinesamples.com/products/mister-rogers-celeste 

Toy Xylophone*
What can I say, I love glockenspiels, xylophones and all sorts of tuned percussion. 
https://store.cinesamples.com/products/createseriestoyxylo 

Create Series Kalimba*
There are a ton of free kalimba sample libraries on the interwebs. This is one of the good ones. 
https://store.cinesamples.com/products/createserieskalimba 

Tongue Drum*
Beautiful tone. But I do wish it was more than 1 octave. Still, I love it.  
https://store.cinesamples.com/products/tonguedrum 

SonicCouture Music Boxes*- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I’m a sucker for music boxes and this library contains two music boxes: one uses punched paper and the other an embossed metal cylinder.  https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/p43-music-boxes/ 

Soundiron Desk Bell- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Don’t let the fact that they sampled a desk bell fool you into thinking this library isn’t special, it is. 
https://soundiron.com/collections/free/products/desk-bell

Jonathan’s Glockenspiel 
A well sampled, very nice sounding one and half octave glockenspiel. 
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/jonathans-glockenspiel/ 

Dave Hilowitz Reonator Glockenspiel
It’s a different sounding glockenspiel that contains resonator bells, like orchestra bells and vibraphones have. 
https://www.decentsamples.com/product/resonator-glockenspiel-free/ 

8Dio Smiley Drum 
This sounds like a tongue drum, and I think,technically, that it is a tongue drum. Noice!
https://8dio.com/products/smiley-drum 

Deagan Vibraharp Vibraphone  
A beautiful sounding vibraphone that is nicely sampled by one of the most talented sample developers on Pianobook.  It is as good as a commercial (paid) vibraphone sample library and I even like it better than some of the vibraphone sample libraries I've bought. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/deagan-vibraharp-vibraphone/ 

Shulmerich Handbells
A really beautiful set of Schulmerich handbells from samplist Jon Myer. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/schulmerich-handbells/

Music Box DLX
I'm a sucker for music box sample libraries and this is a very nice one that is as good as the paid music box sample libraries I own. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/music-box-dlx/

Splash Sound Music Box
The straight default music box sound on this is nice, but where this really shines is when you push the slider to double. 
https://splashsound.org/musicbox.html

Spring Chimes  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This library, which was created by combining 14 bells and metallophone libraries together (all free libraries from Pianobook) is pure magic. If playing this doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/spring-chimes/


VOCAL / CHOIR KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Splash Sound: Indie Voices
This isn't a very versatile library and it's uses are limited, but it's good for what it is. If you're looking for a pop choir enthusiastically singing "hey!,""wooh!," "oh!" you found your library. 
https://en.splashsound.org/products/indie-voices/

Clare Solo
A voice library with legato featuring an award winning female opera singer. 
https://vstbuzz.com/freebies/clare-solo/

Jacob Collier Audience Choir - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Jacob Collier recorded his audiences at various concerts singing (doing ahs, oohs, mmms, and various vowels, stomping, clapping.  it includes finger snaps as well. This is a must have, IMO. It's small, but fun. Works with the FREE KONTAKT Player. 
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/vocal/jacob-collier-audience-choir/

Heavyocity Emotive Choir*- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
“Evolving, sustained vowels and textures paired with a layer of our signature sound design.”
https://heavyocity.com/product/emotive-choir/ 

SonicCoture Tape Choir*- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
They nailed the choir sound from 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love.” Yes, you can buy the real thing, fairly inexpensively from SampleTekk, but this free version does the job well at no cost. 
https://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/18-exclusive-free-content/p170-tape-choir/ 

Micah’s Choir by Cordaro Rodriguez  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
A beautiful, soulful solo male vocalist that you can play chords to make into a choir. I wish there was a commercial version of this. The developer (and musician) and singer are very, very talented individuals. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/micahs-choir/ 

Embertone Arcane  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This contains 5 small sample libraries,  but the ones I like best are the vocal ones.
https://www.embertone.com/instruments/arcane.php 

ALSO SEE Project Sam: The Free Orchestra under Orchestral


SYNTH KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Moonlight CMX - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is the developer's attempt to imitate the Fairlight CMI. I wouldn't say they nailed it, but it is still pretty good in its own right -- especially when you start adjusting the controls. 
https://soundprops.com/moonlight_cmx/

Synimer
A very synthwave sounding patch that sounds straight out of the 80s. There's not much to it, but I like it and it's free. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/synimer-3/

Output: Signal  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I wasn't sure what category to put Output Signal under. It is a "pulse engine" that works in the full version of Kontakt, which is series of looped prases.  I find Output is a lot of fun to play around with. The free version contains 25 presets -- 2GB of samples -- that are designed to motivate you to buy the full, paid version.  
https://output.com/products/signal-free

Stephen O'Connell: Mellow Saw - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Analog 80s type synth brass and strings with a twist, retro sounds, tape effect -- I really like this.  The samplist said he was channeling a Rick Wright, Pink Floyd vibe, I think he attainted it. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/mellosaw/

Peter Flint: Dictaphone Loop Synth- - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is a lo fi synth library that captures a very Mellotron-esque vibe. The samplist made the recordings using an old dictaphone micro cassette recorder. I really love this library and it made me a fan, which turned me into a customer. 
https://www.musicbypeterflint.com/product-page/dictaphone-loop-synth-kontakt-version

Rhythmic Robot: Commodore 64 Sessions Deluxe - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
If you appreciate 8Bit sounds, Ryhtmic Robot's Commodore 64 Sessions Deluxe is going to be right up your alley. I find it pure fun. Thirty patches. 
https://www.rhythmicrobot.com/product/c64

Stephen O'Connell: Amalgam Analogue  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
If you love retro, lush layered analog synths, this should be right up your alley. 
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/amalgam-analogue/

Native Instruments: Analog Dreams - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
"Analog sounds from vintage synths of the ’70s, ’80s, and beyond." This sounds really good to my ears and a lot of it has a very synthwave vibe to it, although it's certainly not limited to that genre. 
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/play-series/analog-dreams/

Native Instruments: Etheral Earth
Great for very rich / lush pads. 
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/play-series/ethereal-earth/

Various Retro Synths from Hollow Sun
Like a lot of others, I suspect, I used to have these little friendly chats with Stephen Howell, the developer behind Hollow Sun. I was a customer, who sent him my bio and offered him free advice (not in exchange for NFRs, I just appreciated him as a developer I bought from and offered it completely free). Anyhow, we had a bunch of really nice chats and I thought he was a really nice guy who made some really nice synth libraries for KONTAKT back in the day. He gave away a series of synth libraries used by Gary Newman on  his song "Cars."
http://hollowsun.com/HS2/freepacks/index.htm


ETHNIC KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

World Color Clar Duduk*
A well sampled and beautiful sounding duduk. 
https://www.evolutionseries.com/product/world-colors-clar-duduk/#:~:text=Welcome to World Colors Clar,a bit of worldly magic. 


MELLOTRON KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

LT Mellotron  - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I love the Mellotron and Chamberlain vintage samplers and this has a bunch of excellent Tron patches. My favorite patches are the cello, 8 choir, M300A 2 viloins, mixed brass, MKII flute, and MKII violins,  The only patch I find not up to my expectations is the vibes. Otherwise, I love this library. 
https://soundprops.com/lt_mellotron/

Tronsonic Expressive Tron - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I'm a huge fan of the Mellotron M400, and that's what this developer sampled, originally recorded to analog tape with vintage gear, for this collection of libraries including flute, strings, cello, and male choir. 
https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/55-Kontakt-Instrument/996-Expressive-Tron 

Sinewavelab: Mellotron for KONTAKT - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I am a sucker for Tron sounds and I own the M-Tron Pro, Sonic Reality’s various Tron libraries (from Dave Kerzner), UVI Mello and a bunch of Tron KONTAKT libraries and this freebie is still worth having. It contains unlooped, 7 second samples of the following libraries: Combined Choir, GC3 Brass, M300A, M300B, MkII Brass, MkII Flute, MkII Violins, String Section, Woodwind 02 and Cello.
https://sinewavelab.com/products/free-mellotron-library-for-kontakt/ 

ASSORTED INSTRUMENTS - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

I don't know what inspired Audio Bros to put together a Tongue drum, electronic drums, synth pads, hand played bowls, and synth bass, but it's a nice collection of sample libraries, but they're all very well made sample libraries. It plays in the free Kontakt Player.   
https://audiobro.com/silver/


SOUND DESIGN KONTAKT INSTRUMENTS

Textures
The developer of this library created it by sampling his guitar picked and bowed as well as sampling air, water, AC, etc.  

https://www.pianobook.co.uk/packs/textures/

Pulsesetter Reverxis
I really enjoy reverse sounds. Reverxis is a collection of reverse electric guitar library multisamples. I especially enjoy the collection of pads and have used them on a couple of songs I have shared on SoundCloud. 
https://www.pulsesetter-sounds.com/product/reverxis/

Klang: Frozen Pan  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Some sound design on pan drum samples that sounds great to my ears. 
https://cinematique-instruments.com/pages_instr_KLANG/instr_frozenpan.php

Klang: Neon Buzz  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
This is a synth-type patch that I really love, made by sampling a buzzing neon light. 
https://cinematique-instruments.com/pages_instr_KLANG/instr_neontubebuzz.php

Sound Dust - Just get everything free  - - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
I'm a long time fan of Pendle / Sound Dust. Sound Dust makes really weird, wonderful libraries and they have a several little odd KONTAKT instruments for free that I think are pretty cool.  They're not for everyone, but I sure love their work and they've caught on with some big name artists / composers like .Trent Reznor and the folks at Spitfire. 
https://www.sound-dust.com/free-stuff

KLANG by Cimematique Samples 
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Everything. I’ve downloaded all of their freebies and bought numerous paid libraries from the series and they’re just small sound design sample libraries that I think sound really good. 
https://klang.cologne/ 

SOUND EFFECTS

99 Sounds: Sound Effects
From the developer: "...cinematic braams and drones designed for use in movies to modern cinematic impacts, complex sonic textures, and various purely digital noises that can be used in any audio or video project."
https://99sounds.org/free-sound-effects/


An asterisk (*) denotes that the library plays in the free KONTAKT Player and does not require the full version of KONTAKT. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
Added more libraries to the post.
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Oops! I accidentally made this post when trying to add some additional sample libraries to my original post. Oh well. For those who gave the original post a like, consider it a notification that I've added more libraries. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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1 hour ago, PavlovsCat said:

Oops! I accidentally made this when trying to add some additional sample libraries to my original post. Oh well. For those who gave the original post a like, consider it a notification that I've added more libraries. 

Don't worry
Is fine to have a new thread!

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4 minutes ago, PavlovsCat said:

...

(3) NI KOTO- This library was free for a limited time and not included in the above list because it's no longer available. 
...

About NI KOTO, I think that the instrument is integrated now in a collection of Melodic and Percussion Instruments

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/spotlight-collection/east-asia/melodic-instruments/

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On 8/30/2023 at 3:19 AM, audioschmaudio said:

No Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus Free in the guitars list? Is it not good?

I find Ample Sounds guitar libraries to be superior to Impact Soundworks guitar libraries. I personally didn't find this, but an audio expert friend of mine told me that one of the Impact Soundworks Shreddage libraries contains a television on in the background if you turn up the volume on the individual samples. Dead serious. In any event, the developer and his employees engage in practices I do not believe are ethical, like his employees talking up Impact Soundworks on VI Control without mentioning they work for Impact Soundworks or attacking an Impact Soundworks competitor without specifying they work for a competitor -- and having their boss participate in the same thread. Consequently, I cannot, in good conscience recommend Impact Soundworks libraries or Impact Soundworks as a developer. Besides, Ample Sounds are superior guitar libraries to Impact Soundworks libraries. While they're not in the Kontakt format, they do come with a free player and it installed flawlessly on my machine and for many other users. I've always found the rep from Ample Sounds who posts in this forum to be a decent person (I don't know him, but he behaves as a very good community member -- a class act). IMO, the two sample developers who make the most advanced guitar libraries are Orange Tree Samples and Ample Sounds. 

I've disclosed it a bunch of times, but I've given consulting advice to around 3 dozen sample developers, including developers who make guitar sample libraries including Orange Tree Samples, Pettinhouse, 8Dio and others. I'm merely stating my personal opinion as a sample library user. For a free sample based guitar library, Ample Sounds is the best there is and the quality for their free guitar plugins is at a level that is beyond many other developers paid guitar libraries. 

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9 hours ago, Lionel said:

Thanks so much for compiling this list @PavlovsCat

I've never heard of a lot of these products.  Can't wait to give them a go!

That's great to know! There's a bunch more I'll be adding in the future. I know there's a lot of more obscure free libraries I like that I didn't put in. I tried to start with the more bread and butter stuff and plan to add the more unusual libraries in the near future.  

I again want to invite others to post their own favorite freebies for KONTAKT and we may find even more free libraries we enjoy. There's a ton of freebies out there. There's a ton of talented people out there. It just takes time to sift through them to find the real gems. While I don't have the patience or talent to make a great sample library,  I do enjoy finding and using them and then sharing my experiences and what I've found inspires me with others.  It's like finding a new great band or musical artist and sharing them with friends. It's truly enjoyable to share libraries that have brought me joy and inspiration with others in the hope that they'll also find the same. 

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  • PavlovsCat changed the title to Best Free Sample Libraries for KONTAKT - A Curated List of Recommended Libraries
  • 2 months later...

There’s a new FREE old or honkey tonk like piano at Dragon Magic. It’s also probably the only free sample library available that was recorded in a mid side fashion to really make options for spatial mixing…… It’s here: https://dragonmagicsamples.com/b/Alvqe

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On 2/14/2024 at 4:18 AM, Scott F. Thompson said:

There’s a new FREE old or honkey tonk like piano at Dragon Magic. It’s also probably the only free sample library available that was recorded in a mid side fashion to really make options for spatial mixing…… It’s here: https://dragonmagicsamples.com/b/Alvqe

Hi, @Scott F. Thompson. I was listening to the demo on my phone and the piano sounded pretty good. There's not a lot of info about it. As you created the library,  can you tell us a little more about it and tell us what version of KONTAKT is required? I'll download it and try it out  when I can. 

Thanks,  Peter

 

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On 8/30/2023 at 9:06 AM, PavlovsCat said:

spending even 15 minutes to put together a realistic strumming pattern using an editor can really disrupt the creative flow

If you haven't tried the guitar strumming and picking patterns in Cakewalk's own arpeggiator, you should.

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15 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

If you haven't tried the guitar strumming and picking patterns in Cakewalk's own arpeggiator, you should.

I did use that a long time ago (literally probably 15 or so years ago). But I stopped using it after finding internal strummers in guitar VSTs -- first with RealGuitar and later with Orange Tree Samples Evolution libraries. I actually went to Greg (OTS founder) after he released his first guitar and bass libraries to share my thoughts on what I believe a virtual guitar plugin should do, greatly influenced from my experience with stuff like the Cakewalk CAL scripts, RealGuitar,  Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist -- because I thought he could build a better version of that stuff and I wanted as a user, but as marketing strategy pro experienced in bringing products to market, I thought my expertise could help him in his business (that is, it would kill two birds with one stone; I'd get what was basically the product I wanted and he'd get a product for his company that was an innovation; at the time, I later chatted with folks from most of his competitors who tried to duplicate the Evolution line like Impact SoundWorks,  Big Fish Audio and others that attempted to reverse engineer Evolution and privately acknowledged doing so to me.

Anyhow, so flash forward and you'll find the strummer in Evolution libraries is light years beyond that Cakewalk arpeggiator. You can set the timing on a strum, you can use standard sustained notes, mutes, palm mutes, harmonics,  chugs, scrapes... It's amazing,  but the downside is that it probably takes 15-30 minutes to really understand what you can do with it, so it's not dead simple like starting with a loop-based strum player like Native Instruments Session Guitarists, but, of course,  loop players are incredibly restrictive. That said, for someone where those libraries are out of their budget, I think the Cakewalk scripts are an option worth considering, although I still think the strummers connected to guitar libraries are far more realistic. I think the freebies from Ample Sounds include strumming. 

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I've had a chance to check out @Scott F. Thompson's sampled honky tonk piano and wanted to share my thoughts. 

I really like the character of the piano that was sampled. It definitely has charm. This isn't a pristine sample library.  There are some noises in some notes -- creaks (piano bench?), something mechanical -- but I don't really find that hurts the library for the intended style.  The biggest downside of the library, IMO, is the lack of dynamics.  I believe there are only two dynamic layers, so you can play this piano loud (forte) or really loud (fortissimo).  The compressed (Zip) file for the library is  346MB. It's for the full version of KONTAKT. I don't know what minimum version is required. Hopefully, Scott will return and tell us. 
 

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Posted (edited)

I just added several free KONTAKT libraries that I love to the original post (most of them have my highest recommendation). I put the newly added libraries at the top of their respective instrument categories. The newly added libraries include strings, synths, tuned percussion, vocals, and an organ. It's truly amazing how good some of these free libraries are. Some of these libraries were previously commercial / for sale libraries the developer has since made free. I hope you find this useful -- better yet, I hope you find a new sample instrument that you love.     

A reminder, if you have favorite free KONTAKT libraries you want to add, please share in a post. If I agree, I'll add it to my list too. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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  • PavlovsCat changed the title to Best FREE KONTAKT Libraries - A Curated List (Updated May 2024)

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