Best Free Orchestral Plugins & Sample Libraries 2020

When you are a student or a hobbyist who aspires to become a working composer one day, you really struggle when starting out with your orchestral sample collection. Most of the time your budget if not limited is non-existing. That’s when you struggle to find usable free orchestra libraries or instruments. The good thing for you is that you’re not alone in this and we’ve all been there. So we have scouted for some really good and usable orchestral libraries and instruments that you can start with.

Vienna Symphonic Library Big Bang Orchestra FREE

The title line of this instrument is “Have a blast!”, and what a blast we’ve had. Vienna Symphonic Library has been there for quite a while and they are considered to be the pioneers of orchestral sampling. Now they have their own studio called Synchron scoring stage, and a lot of the who’s who in Hollywood are coming to record at VSL headquarters.

Bing Bang Orchestra is a vast collection of sampled instruments which are fairly affordable, but the free version offers a lot of fun with great Tutti orchestra sound at no cost at all. Don’t trust our word, just go and grab it from the VSL website! The only two things you will need are an eLicenser key to store your license and VSL Synchron Player (that is also free).

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra Sound Module by Mattias Westlund

The Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra Module contains the full SSO by Mattias Westlund, nicely wrapped up into one simple VST plugin (32 & 64bit). The SSO samples are stereo, 16 bit, 44kHz. Melodic instruments and chromatic percussion are sampled in minor 3rds. Staccato/pizzicato patches have 2x round-robin.

All samples have varying amounts of stage ambience, depending on their front-to-back placement, but in addition to that a good hall reverb is a must.

This library comes with its own sample player, no other software is required and includes all of the orchestral instruments section nicely separated as individual sections for maximum control.

ProjectSAM The Free Orchestra

This one comes to conversation a lot, and no wonder, since it is such an amazing free library for Kontakt. The sounds are derived from various instruments of the Symphobia range of products and this collection works with the free version of Kontakt Player. You get a lot of great sounds, from orchestral string staccatos and brass clusters to symphonic percussion and dystopian sound design, and it all comes nicely packed at 1GB.

ProjectSAM has updated this library since last time we’ve seen it, so now it also features some instruments from Symphobia 4 Pandora and Symphobia 3 Lumina.

Layers by Orchestral Tools

This is a free library derived of various products in Orchestral Tools’ vast collection and it’s not short from amazing. Orchestral Tools is a well-respected developer of orchestral sampled instruments, mostly famous for their Berlin series for Kontakt. But this time they decided to create their own free sample player called SINE Player and it comes with the Layers collection. You get strings, brass and woodwind sections with a couple of articulations and it is a perfect way to start diving into the world of Orchestral Tools.

BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover by Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Audio are one of the leading names in orchestral sampling today and their products are used by some really big names in the film and game industry.

Their latest product range is called BBC Symphony Orchestra and it comes in three versions, tailored for various pocket sizes, but Discover version of BBCSO comes for either 49 GBP or totally free. If you want it for free you just need to fill in a small survey and be patient for two weeks until you get your download link from them.

It does come at a very small size (roughly 200Mbs) but it has some really useful articulations for almost every instrument section in the orchestra. The sound is fairly decent, bearing in mind it features only 1 sample per note.