VSTs / Plug-ins / Samples / MIDI library - need your recommendation

Hi all

I am after the right software product(s) for my needs:

I’m limited in terms of being able to play instruments other than drums, but still would like to incorporate rich arrangements into my songs, anything from bass and guitars to strings and world instruments (oud especially).

I think the best type of product for me is a premium sounding library that has a large number of MIDI files and loops of a range of instruments that I can then freely customise in terms of chords, tempo …etc.

Can you please recommend such a product? I’m ok with getting individual instrument instruments if that’s the cost of having access to both quality sound and large customisable sample libraries.

Would I find that in Halion? Or should I go kontakt? Or is the answer something else entirely?

Thank you

I’d look at the East West composer cloud. It’s got some great sample libraries for world/pop/drums instruments and it’s subscription based so you wouldn’t have to buy everything.

The included sounds in Halion are more hybrid instruments and don’t excel at authentic and live sounding.

Kontakt has some really fantastic libraries but it will cost you. Ethno World is definitely worth taking a look at.

None of them come with midi loops other than halion which has its flex phraser.

Thank you Manike for the swift reply, the world spins because of people like you.

So if I may clarify:

  1. Between Halion and Kontakt, only Halion has midi loops, however kontakt’s library is more authentic, correct?
  2. Does kontakt not have samples that you can load into an arrangement (say an electric guitar bridge part) and customise by chord and tempo? I think you’re saying kontakt has the better sound but you have to actually “play” it on a controller, as opposed to just importing samples into mediabay.

Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll check them out, and I hope you won’t mind that I asked you further questions.

As far as I know kontakt doesn’t have a midi library, but it’s something I’ve not looked at for as a keys player. I think probably it’s dependent on the instrument. Kontakt is fantastic for authentic sounding instruments yes. I recently bought Halion 6 because it was reduced, and I’m loving it - but in terms of authentic sounding instruments it’s definitely not there. It’s more of a hybrid sampler, synth.

Kontakt is less about phrases and more about playing the instruments in.

If you’re looking for phrases that you can load in and alter then the Steinberg stuff like Groove Agent, and Halion are good at that.

I have both Halion 6 and Kontakt 5. Halion is nice for synths and fantasy sounds but not so much for orchestral and other acoustically authentic instruments. Kontakt doesn’t necessarily come with soundbanks there’s a factory content which in general sounds no better than Halion. To get the most out of Kontakt you need to purchase separate libraries. They come in all sorts and prices, from el cheapo synths to monster machines and from a picolo to epic orchestras and it can sound very convincing. Check out 8dio, Spifire and Native instruments itself for instance. Very impressive but also pretty expensive. There are also lots of third parties that offer all sorts of libraries. Check out Sample Logic or Soundiron for instance. For guitars check out Orange Tree and
The good news is that if you don’t plan to actively make sample libriaries yourself you can use the free Kontakt 5 player for a lot of libraries.
Some libraries offer midi like sequencer capabilities and some even have midi files but mostly not. Libraries are mainly created to play as an instrument. Some of the are based on wav files but most of them use a format you can’t just drag into Cubase. For electric and acoustic guitars the best libraries I know are from Musiclab and Orange Tree Samples. So the choice of libraries for Kontakt is hugely extensive. You just need some money to buy them :slight_smile:

Caution using the free Kontakt Player. A lot of 3rd party libraries require the full Kontakt version. Here is just one of many:
Read the red part.

So look around and determine if you really can get by with Player. If not, then wait until summer or Black Friday for full Kontakt, or even consider Komplete.

For a developer, the choice whether or not to make a product available for Kontakt Player depends on whether or not the developer wants to pay the additional licensing fees to Native Instruments for the Player. Last I read, they are quite expensive.

Look at the Sonokinetic website for the orchestral sounds and the ethic instruments, including oud, The videos clearly show the workflow.

KVR is a great resource for sorting through what is available from free to expensive.


Thank you all for your kind help