FREE VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS – ORCHESTRA II: BRASS

Haave you ever been in need of that heroic horn sound, or that uplifting  trumpet section in one of your tracks? And have you needed it while being poor? Lucky you (well, not for the poor part) there are some solution to still have that brass section in your track for free!

Same as for our article on free strings, we are going to divide the instruments on our list into two categories: one is the category of absolutely free instruments, the other is for instruments that are free if you already own Native Instrument’s Kontakt.

Already cited in our previous article, here are all the esemble patches as last time:

VIRTUAL PLAYING ORCHESTRA BY PAUL BATTERSBY

Virtual Playing Orchestra has a brass section too. Copy-pasting from the said article, VPO is a free collection of orchestral instruments made putting together all the best free orchestral samples. The library is in .sfz format, so it runs on Sforzando (also free) and offers all sort of articulations and dynamics controls (not on all the patches, but on all those for which matter).

VSCO2 COMMUNITY EDITION BY VERSILIAN STUDIOS

VSCO 2 Community Edition (CE) is an open-source, open-ended subset of the main VSCO 2 library. These samples have been widely used and you can find them in multiple formats, such as VSTi/AUi, NKI, sfz, RMI and more. 

I know it’s not much, but if you have Kontakt, you can up your game a little bit.

Again, let’s get the two full orchestras of last time first:

SKETCHING CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Sketching Chamber Orchestra is a collection of Kontakt instruments built by some big names in the Kontakt Scripting community using the samples from VSCO2. If you own Kontakt and nothing else, this will get you started, and bring you very far.

PALETTE PRIMARY COLORS BY RED ROOM AUDIO

Last on this list, Palette – Primary Colors is the free version of the bigger Palette Orchestral Series.  It features strings, woodwinds, and brass ensembles with a limited set of articulations, 3 dynamic layers and up to 7 round robins for a total of 1.3GB of samples. Even though this does not offer individual sections, this is a gorgeous tool, and a free one.

BRASS COLLECTION BY ALPINE PROJECT

This one is a decent alternative to VPO, has received a nice rework lately and features the instruments both in “normal” and muted versions. Especially useful if you plan to layer many different samples to get a bigger sound.

VAN HOUZEN TRUMPET BY KURT LANDRE

Get ready, this one is a treat. Van Houzen Trumpet is a delicious solo trumpet with plenty of character. Scripted vibrato, legato and articulations will allow it to sit naturally in many contexts and get a lot of fun out of it!

ANGRY BRASS BY PERFORMANCE SAMPLES

Last – but definitely not least – for today is Angry Brass by Performance Samples. Do you know complicated GUIs, knobs, buttons and switches? Forget all that, because the interface you will be presented with is the most simple and straight-forward you can think of, and an engine behind the scenes will take care of performance for you.

Brass are especially tough to sample and program, so it’s not surprising to see few freebies in this area. Nonetheless, I can personally vouch the instruments in this list are will serve you well if you know how to take the best out of them.

Nothing more to say at this point, see you soon with another freebie list!

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Free Virtual Instruments – Orchestra I: Strings

Many times in our Discord happens that someone is looking for a virtual instrument, and doesn’t want to break the bank. Therefore we thought of collecting all this useful resources into a series of articles everyone can always access to, starting by the most requested one: strings. Of course these are not going to be the list of all the existing virtual instruments on the internet, but it is a good place to start looking.

We are going to divide the instruments on our list into two categories: one is the category of absolutely free instruments, the other is for instruments that are free if you already own Native Instrument’s Kontakt.

So let’s begin!

Virtual Playing Orchestra by Paul Battersby

Virtual Playing Orchestra is a free collection of orchestral instruments made putting together all the best free orchestral samples. The library is in .sfz format, so it runs on Sforzando (also free) and offers all sort of articulations and dynamics controls (not on all the patches, but on all those for which matter).

LABS Strings by Spitfire

Spitfire LABS offer two different string patches, all for free:

  • Strings:  a 14-member ensemble with three articulations (Short, Ensemble and Long). This is not a huge bombastic trailer library, but rather the dry, close micing provides an intimate and warm character;
  • Frozen Strings: “six strings players, recorded dry on a cold day in January 2015”, and as such these sustained strings are cold and perfect for soundscapes.

Both this instruments run through the LABS player (free), and come with built-in reverb and expression controls.

Our friend Philip Aldous gave it a ride for us:

VSCO2 Community Edition by Versilian Studios

VSCO 2 Community Edition (CE) is an open-source, open-ended subset of the main VSCO 2 library. These samples have been widely used and you can find them in multiple formats, such as VSTi/AUi, NKI, sfz, RMI and more. 

SCC Expressive Strings by S. Christian Collins

SCC Expressive Strings a great string ensemble library including  Legato, Staccato, Legato/Tremolo crossfade and Pizzicato articulations controlled by keyswitches, as well as expression controls. Not much I can say about it could be clearer than S. Christian Collins’s video:

Let us now dive into the Kontakt realm.

PocketBlakus by Blakus (Blake Robinson)

If you are looking for a warm and beautifully expressive cello, your best bet is going to be PocketBlakus. It features a sustain patch and a spiccato one (with 7 Round Robins nonetheless!). Plenty can be said about this instrument, but I’ll let a song speak for it:

The Stroh Violin by Impact Soundworks

Impact Soundworks doesn’t really need our advertisement, but it would be criminal to exclude the Stroh Violin from this list. The Stroh violin is a self-amplified violin that folks at ISW have sampled in three articulations (pizzicato, spiccato, legato). This won’t be the instrument to play a warm, mellow solo in a full orchestra (lying, it probably will), but its dry and lively character can be amazing in a small ensemble, in a folk setting or even in experimental/electronic music.

Sketching Chamber Orchestra

Sketching Chamber Orchestra is a collection of Kontakt instruments built by some big names in the Kontakt Scripting community using the samples from VSCO2. If you own Kontakt and nothing else, this will get you started, and bring you very far.

Palette Primary Colors by Red Room Audio

Last on this list, Palette – Primary Colors is the free version of the bigger Palette Orchestral Series.  It features strings, woodwinds, and brass ensembles with a limited set of articulations, 3 dynamic layers and up to 7 round robins for a total of 1.3GB of samples. Even though this does not offer individual sections, this is a gorgeous tool, and a free one. So run grab it!

That’s it for strings now, see you soon with more cool freebies!