Best Orchestral VST Plugins: The Definitive List  [2021]

 by 

Jay Von K   -  


Updated: December 23, 2020

Have you ever wished you could have an orchestra to record right at your feet?

Well, if you’ve tried selecting ideal VST orchestral instruments for your sound production needs, you may have noticed it’s no one-touch affair….

But here we will solve this issue, as we’ll take a look at the top picks, to make the selection process easier!

Best Orchestral VST Plugins

Before we jump right in, let’s consider some important factors for picking an orchestral plugin…

To start with, every plugin comes with a different selection of orchestral instruments. Not all of them include a full orchestra, while some of them allow you to use the instruments individually as well.

Secondly, an orchestral plugin can allow for a lot of tweaking and include many articulations, or it might have more limited capabilities. Most of the time, limited capabilities also make it much easier to use.

Finally, some of these VSTs are better for certain kinds of music: for instance, there are plug-ins that are focused on cinematic or classical music.

Whatever your needs might be, you’ll find a great plugin below!

So let’s take a closer look!

The 10 Best Orchestral VST Plugins of 2021 include:

1. Vienna Symphonic Library

Vienna Symphonic Library
General

Listen!

If you are in search of a plugin designed to play realistic orchestra music without any other add-on, this certainly makes the cut.

Why?

The Vienna Symphonic Library presents a wide array of fine-detailed articulations made better by an integrated sample player offering over three million samples.

Vienna Instruments Pro

The result is a seamless creation of the most realistic renditions of your musical ideas.

So, yes!

With this, you can work on anything from solo pieces to large cinematic orchestras to pop and dance, just to mention.

And as expected of such a vast library, its performance set is pace-setting.

Vienna Instruments Pro basic View

To this end, it avails elements such as real legato, numerous grace notes, runs, and repetitions.

In all, VSL delivers beyond expectations, essentially telling of a real virtual tool for producing authentic orchestral performances.

Vienna Symphonic Library


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2. UVI – IRCAM Solo Instruments

IRCAM Solo Instruments by UVI
General

Here's the thing, the UVI-IRCAM Solo Instruments is one incredible product.

A result of years of acoustics research and sound recording experimentation.

In reality, it is made by assembling some of the industry’s leading musicians, artistic directors, and sound engineers.

And it offers over 550 playing techniques across 1000+ presets from standard to advanced and experimental.

You can’t get a better blend of styles than it provides.

IRCAM Solo Instruments

Besides that, UVI presents a vivid expose of up to 16 orchestral instruments going way above the basics (of a standard library) with assorted instrumentation.

Talk of techniques such as multi-phonic, hit-on-body, buzz and crushed, and more, you get it all.

It doesn't end there because it features unique transitions too.

Are you looking for depth and scope?

Check!

Unique, fancy, and high-fidelity feel of each instrument in your orchestra?

Check! Check! And check!

In short, this plugin comes as a great source a wide-ranging sound from some of the most preferred orchestral instruments.

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3. UVI Orchestral Suite

UVI Orchestral Suite
General

By and large, this orchestral sample library comes as an all-out symphonic composer’s toolkit.

Here’s why.

Recorded with wide-ranging production needs in mind, the UVI Orchestral Suite presents full range color, articulations, playing styles, and alternates of over 60 instruments in the most excellent way.

UVI Orchestral Suite Browser

Not only do the instruments produce brilliant sound with all necessary dynamics, but they also offer complete control.

Whether it's the strings, brass, percussions, woodwinds, or any of the complementary instruments, you can choose different playing styles and fine-tune performances freely.

You will be stunned at the expressiveness of every sound beside the realism and playability.

Other than that, this Suite makes your work hassle-free regardless of the skill or experience.

UVI Orchestral Suite Strings

So you’ll enjoy a quick workflow.

All thanks to the customized UI coupled with intelligent controls, which make it easy to explore the most out of it.

For instance, the key switch will be handy for immediate articulation changes, so all performances remain a breeze.

And with the real-time streaming of more than a dozen samples and presets, you can enjoy fantastic performances pain-free.

Don’t forget; it also features advanced convolutions reverb to enable the quest for optimum realism for under settings.

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UVI Orchestral Suite:

4. EWQL Hollywood Orchestra

EastWest Quantum Leap Hollywood Orchestra
General

Ready?

The EastWest Quantum Leap Hollywood Orchestra is another pro-grade plugin suitable for classical and contemporary sound productions.

Although much can't be said of it offering unique and specific compositions, its strength lies in the massive orchestral instruments collection.

EW-Hollywood-Orchestra

And like the name hints, it brings together a collection of Hollywood Orchestral Strings, Brass, Woodwinds, Percussions, and several Hollywood Solo Instruments.

Similarly, each section features several instruments with multiple articulations and details.

EWQL Hollywood Orchestra Gold Edition

But, perhaps the best part is the custom play interface with a dedicated sampler.

Why?

It allows hassle-free and in-depth access to the sound library.

And that only means one thing, getting desired results is possible with less effort.

We could go on and on with no end in sight…

...So why not just check it out.



EWQL Hollywood Orchestra


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5. 8Dio–Majestica

8DIO Majestica
General

In all fairness, not many orchestral libraries offer the range, complexity, and power to the level of the 8-Dio Majestica.

Let me explain.

First, the Majestica features a massive array of stunning orchestral instruments.

Majestica Strings Articulations

From strings, brasses, woodwinds, not forgetting percussions, it delivers nothing but high-resolution samples.

Of course, given the imposing file size, it will take a massive bite off your hard drive, but the sonic possibilities it avails should be enough compensation.

Other notables include a variety of articulations such as bends, rips, legato, and more.

Majestica Effects

Speaking of which immensely enhances the dynamism and expressiveness of the instruments.

All things considered, Majestica is an excellent choice for composers and producers that prefer massive, loud, and dynamic orchestras.

8Dio–Majestica


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6. Spitfire Audio Albion Series

Spitfire Audio Albion
General

To be honest, the Albion Series affirms the spirit of excellence typical of Spitfire Audio.

Not convinced?

Fact is- this library is recorded by some of the industry's top talents using world-class instruments in a priceless studio.

So, it's safe to say it spares nothing in the quest to capture smooth cinematic sounds.

As you can already visualize, the Series comprises of multiple unique volumes, each taking a distinct approach.

Albion One GUI

Nonetheless, the whole range sums up everything you may need to create epic film tracks.

For instance, Albion one is characterized by a 109 piece orchestra, boisterous percussion section, and dynamically layered loops, and other ingenious features.

Albion One Edna Engine

Then again, you have the Albion III ICENI offering great celli, bass, brass, woodwind sections, cinematic percussion, not forgetting super-cool loops, and low-end hybrid synthesis.

Albion III GUI

If that isn’t enough, you’ll appreciate the over 800 unique atonal, aleatoric, and progressive articulations offered alongside about 200 warped orchestral hybrids by Albion IV-UIST.

Albion IV UIST

And guess what?

There is also the Albion V Tundra that presents a one of a kind 100-piece orchestra alongside bellows, percussion, and a characterful synth section.

Albion Tundra

All in all, given the intuitive UI equipped with inline help, thousands of samples, multiple mic positions, and dozens of styles, there’s no doubt your tracks will never be the same again with this product.

Spitfire Audio Albion Series


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7. Output Analog Brass & Winds

Output Analog Brass & Winds
General

Until now, the Analog Brass & Winds stands as Output’s most advanced and feature-filled virtual instrument.

If anything, it improves on the successes of its predecessor, the Analog Strings though it gives more attention to Brass and Wind instruments.

ABW Main Menu

The thing is- ABW deviates from the usual path by blending sampled musical staples with analog synth tones.

To this end, it makes use of inventive tricks, so it delivers more than the familiar brass hits and stabs.

As expected, it features many inspiring presets, so you always have something to start working on.

ABW Sources

Besides, each sound is based on two voices, and they can all be altered in several ways.

What else?

It has four automatic or MIDI-controllable macro-sliders, which help fix various aspects of sound.

To talk of editing, it features the Edit and FX tabs, which enable deeper sound shaping.

ABW FX

Other than that, ABW further features Rhythm and Arpeggio sections to give extra tweaks to the results.

Again, the simple UI tailored to streamlining workflow sums all the potential.

And there are a lot more surprises.

Output Analog Brass & Winds


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8. Garritan Personal Orchestra 5

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5
General

Ever imagined having an entire symphony orchestra right in your DAW?

Ooh, yeah!

The Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 delivers precisely that.

garritan-personal-orchestra-5-Browser

Being a major update, it brings together over 500 instruments, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, keyboards, and choir selections.

Even better, each set is topped up with a seemingly endless variety of instrument-specific articulations and styles, among other elements.

Want to know the catch?

The samples were recorded from professional orchestra performances, essentially taking in the much-needed realness.

GPO 5 ARIA player

No wonder it achieves standard-setting authenticity in the resulting sounds.

Another key selling point of the Orchestra 5 is its relatively light build despite including all the expected instruments.

Bottom line, the framework is relatively simple with normal controls and effects so you can achieve more in no time.

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5


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9. Garritan Instant Orchestra

Garritan Instant Orchestra
General

To say the least, the Garritan Instant Orchestra is one dynamic orchestral instrument worth a spot in any composers sound design space.

So why bother about it?

First, it is designed with all manner of users in mind.

Garritan Instant Orchestra Instruments

Whether you're a seasoned sound engineer or a novice composer, you can work your ways with the Instant Orchestra from the word go.

No complicated setups, mode selections, or technical details. Yeah, that's right.

Now what?

It means incorporating any orchestral parts in your productions is quite a piece of cake.

Also, you'll enjoy the extensive range of mood-based presets, which significantly save time and effort in the creative process.

Garritan Instant Orchestra Controls

And probably the best part…

It does offer not only premium orchestral instrument sections but also has everything conveniently categorized for one-touch use.

That, coupled with the fast and responsive interface, it only takes a little focus to create something magical.

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Garritan Instant Orchestra:

10. SONiVOX Film Score Companion

SONiVOX Film Score Companion
General

Now get this!

The SONiVOX Film Score Companion comprises of five orchestral plugins carefully assembled to provide a premium musical package.

Orchestral Companion Brass

To be clear, it has plugins dedicated to strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and a Steinway 9 foot grand.

Moreover, each section features key switch controls, which make it a breeze to work out desired articulations.

Orchestral Companion Woodwinds

For example, you could designate keys to activate certain controls on specific instruments.

Don’t forget; it comes with an intuitive user interface, which gives further control with the usual manipulation elements as well as filters, effects, and more.

Orchestral Companion Strings

Beyond that, there are multiple presets for each plugin, which interestingly will load up the techniques and key switch parameters depending on the ensemble you want to play.

Otherwise, you can also create new presets from scratch.

Above all, although it lacks certain advanced features such as drones and loops like some of its competitors, it makes the cut if you prefer a functional and straightforward orchestral product.

SONiVOX Film Score Companion


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SONiVOX Film Score Companion:
More Orchestral Plugins
Best Service The Orchestra Complete:
Best Service Chris Hein Orchestra Complete:
MOTU Symphonic Instruments:
IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2:
ProjectSAM Orchestral Essentials:
ProjectSAM Master Pack 2:
Project Sam Symphobia 1+2 Duo Pack:

Which is your favorite orchestral plugin?

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, the market is undoubtedly flooded with great orchestral plugins to say nothing of less than impressive ones.

You may have to test out a few to know what will suit you better.

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