The Best Orchestral Virtual Instruments (VSTs)

Published: February 22, 2014

This list includes some of the best Orchestral Virtual Instruments (VSTs) on the market. The items were picked based on usability and overall sound.

  1. Spitfire Audio - Albion I

    This is an OUTSTANDING orchestral library presented as tutti  / section recordings.  While expensive, it is a very good sounding library which was recorded on reel to reel tape within the famed Air Lyndhurst Studios giving it a very unique and warm sound.  The have included the ability to swiftly perform key switches between articulations for each instrument as well as mix each mic set (close, tree, ambient, etc) at will to dial in the specific sound you need / want.  More info and audio demos may be found here:

    http://www.spitfireaudio.com/albion

     

  2. Project Sam - Symphobia

    Once again, this was recorded and presented as tutti / sections making it very easy to quickly sketch out musical ideas without having to program each instrument section (eg, violins, violas, cellos, etc).  It also has a slew of pre recorded string and brass FX which are perfect for horror or suspense writing.  More information and audio demos may be found here:

    http://www.projectsam.com/Products/Symphobia-Series/#productmenubar

     

  3. Project Sam - Symphobia 2

    This is very similar to the first Symphobia release except that it now includes legato ensembles recorded in a way that instantly gives you "that" hollywood sound.  I consider this library "Jerry Goldsmith in a box" as it has done interesting things such as recorded horns and violins playing in unison, and sounds great doing so.  It also has a giant Orchestrator patch which is the full orchestra doing staccato notes.  This patch not only makes action writing a snap, but sounds HUGE and is instantly inspiring! This has been my goto library for some time and makes sketching out epic orchestral ideas very easy all around making ithe $1,000 entry price very much worth it!  More info and audio demos may be found here:

    http://www.projectsam.com/Products/Symphobia-Series/#productmenubar

     

     

  4. East West Symphonic Orchestra

    This orchestra library has been a staple of many game and film composers aresenals for many years and it still holds up rather well.  Regretfully, it has been over used in my opinion and is easy to spot because of this.  EWSO made this list though because it does sound quite good, is fairly easy to use, and has various product tiers making it cost effective.  More info and audio demos may be found here:

    http://www.soundsonline.com/Symphonic-Orchestra

     

     

  5. Spitfire Audio - Albion III - Iceni

    Recorded in the same manner and location as Albion I, Albion III - Iceni focuses on the huge and low end side of an orchestra.  This collection offers insanely cool low cello and bass sections as well as some "straight out of inception" low cimbasso brass which will rattle you to the core.  Each section has shorts, legatos, and longs making this set versatile and extremely useful for many different types of scoring.  The spitfire audio material is always pricey, but oh so worth it!  More info and audio demos may be found here:

    http://www.spitfireaudio.com/albion-volume-iii-iceni

     

In my opnion, the Spitfire Audio Albion series is the clear winner here.  It can sound huge and epic, or small and intimate making it extremely easy to achieve that classic Hollywood sound.  Also, recording to reel to reel tape was a nice touch that clearly adds a sense of warmth to the sound.  Read about their entire Albion line and other libraries via their website here:

http://www.spitfireaudio.com/