Updated: Apr 02, 2020
These are the best free realistic instrument plugins for Windows and Mac!
So, if you're looking for free virtual instruments that can be used for composing orchestral or realistic music, these 5 plugins will help you do just that.
And all but one will work on both Windows and Mac, but I do mention an alternative for the one that doesn't plus a bonus free sound library at the end.
This table includes all of the free realistic instrument VST plugins that are mentioned in the article below.
|Plugin Name||Available Plugin Formats||Supported OS|
|LABS||64 & 32-bit VST, AAX, and AU||Windows & Mac|
|Cloudrum||64 & 32-bit VST, AAX (Mac only), and AU||Windows & Mac|
|Sonatina Orchestra||64 & 32-bit VST||Windows|
|SSD5 Free||64-bit VST, AAX, and AU||Windows & Mac|
|Virtual Playing Orchestra||WAVE & SFZ||Windows & Mac|
|(Bonus) Taiko Drum Samples||WAVE & SFZ||Windows & Mac|
The first one I want to mention is Spitfire LABS, a great resource to get free orchestral instruments and they add a new one every month, at least that's what they say.
So hey, save the article and check back in a couple of months, they might have a new one available.
From this, you can use an array of different instruments like strings, guitar, piano, and choir that all sound great.
Each instrument allows you to control expression, dynamics, and reverb. Some even come with more control.
The next instrument I'd like to highlight is Cloudrum by Ample Sound.
This one sounds pretty cool and is quite different from their regular approach to making plugins as they almost entirely stick to stringed instruments.
With this one being the only exception. Even though it's slightly out of their expertise, this one really hit the mark.
Now if you're looking for a robust library of orchestral instruments including percussion, strings, and brass, you might really like Sonatina Orchestra.
Unfortunately, this is the one that doesn't work for Mac. But, is very similar to one that does, called VSCO2.
These two plugins seem to have a lot of the same instrument samples and you can find the free download link for VSCO2 in this article.
Check it out, I also demo how it sounds in a video available on the article.
If you're looking for a fully functional deluxe drum kit, SSD5 FREE has many different drums for you to use.
With this plugin, you get more control compared to just using samples such as mixing directly in the plugin.
The last one is a bit of a process to get set up but it does sound good and I suggest that you at least listen to the demo I made before you decide not to give it a go.
Virtual Playing Orchestra does require you to download the wave files, sfz scripts and a separate sfz player such as sforzando made by Plogue.
And there are other orchestral libraries that have sfz format so it won’t be a waste of your time.
Finally, the bonus sound library. If you're looking for some free Taiko drum samples, you can get them from this pay-what-you-want resource.
If you feel that it's worth some money, the option is there for you but you can get them for free.
In this library, you'll find some nice drum one-shots to use in your music or even sound effects.
I hope these free plugins will help you make better orchestral music or just music in general.
Share it with someone so they don't miss out on these sweet freebies. As always, thanks for reading.
Everything you need. No Spam. A heads up before others do.