5 Free Orchestral VSTs You Can Download Right Now

best free orchestral vst

Orchestral plugins are notoriously expensive. Those price tags can be discouraging, especially if you’re a beginner or just low on funds.

But thankfully, there are some excellent alternatives out there that are a little more friendly on your wallet. Here are some of the best free orchestral VSTs you can download right now.

1. BBC Symphony Orchestra: Discover

BBC Symphony Orchestra puts the majestic sound of this renowned British orchestra right into your DAW! And even if you already own a premium string library, this free library is a great supplement to your existing toolbox.

There are three versions of BSO: Professional, Core, and Discover. The Discover edition is the most simplified version with fewer instruments and features. With that said, even the base version is incredible. 

BBC Symphony Orchestra works as a standalone VST plugin, so you won’t need Kontakt or another engine to run it. 

It’s a great introduction to the world of orchestral sample libraries. Discover features 33 orchestral instruments and sections, each with at least a long and short articulation.

BBC Symphony Orchestra: Discover

The full, beautiful sound of the BBC Symphony Orchestra - now for free!

Free Download
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2. Spitfire LABS: Strings & Strings 2

best free orchestral vst

The LABS series instruments are just too good to be free. And yet, here we are!

Strings and Strings 2 are complimentary sample libraries featuring a small group of 14 London musicians. The folks at Spitfire captured these players on various microphones, including a vintage BBC AXB1 microphone. These microphones give the ensemble a slightly different color than what you normally hear from big booming orchestras.

Spitfire LABS is also host to many other too-good-to-be-true free instruments, including strings, choirs, pianos, and other unique instruments. Do yourself a favor and go check them out.

Spitfire LABS Free Virtual Instruments

The LABS series instruments from Spitfire are just too good! You'll find plenty of unique and experimental sampled instruments and choirs - all for free!

Download Now

3. ProjectSAM: The Free Orchestra

Its name speaks for itself. 

The Free Orchestra is a collection of sounds from ProjectSAM’s extensive range of other orchestral VST libraries. It’s like a plate of free samples before buying your entree.

It includes over a gigabyte of orchestral sounds from various libraries, including the Symphobia, Colours, and True Strike series. Each of these libraries is highly regarded among composers.

The Free Orchestra also gets semi-regular updates as ProjectSAM adds new libraries to their product lineup.

This collection requires Kontakt Player to run. But the other good news is that it’s also completely free.

The Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM

The Free Orchestra gives you a taste of all the other ProjectSAM orchestral libraries.

Free Download
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4. Orchestral Tools: Layers

Made by Orchestral Tools, this is a wholly unique library that’s built from the ground up and completely free to use.

With over 17 GB of samples, Layers has one of the largest collections of string, woodwind, and brass sounds.

The biggest draw here is that it lets you build out full chords with the push of a button. Just choose the instrumentation, and go. Additionally, you can switch between different instruments and articulations using MIDI keyswitches. 

Layers by Orchestral Tools

This free sample library lets you quickly build rich-sounding chords played by a full orchestra.

Free Download
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5. DSK Overture

It’s an older plugin, but it still checks out. DSK Overture is a longtime favorite among freeware music enthusiasts. It’s a beginner-friendly VST that doesn’t fuss with any extended features. Just a basic, easy-to-use set of orchestral sounds.

There are over 40 instruments included with Overture. And given that a solo developer built this in his spare time, the quality is quite remarkable.

You can add up to four layers of instruments at a time. They can be played together or run through separate MIDI channels. Plus, you can tweak those sounds by adding effects, filters, envelopes, and more.

All that said, don’t expect any realism from this instrument. The samples in DSK Overture have a “General MIDI” type of sound. It’s perfect for some situations like writing video game soundtracks. But you probably won’t create any convincing mockups with it.

DSK Overture

A classic freeware instrument. DSK Overture gives you a full orchestral palette to play with.

Free Download

Want More? Check Out These Other Orchestral VSTs and Resources

The free orchestral VSTs on this list are a great starting point. But if you’re looking for more, you should check out these other resources: