The Best Violin VST Plugins of 2018 and Beyond (Free & Paid)
How’s it going, everyone?
It’s been almost three years since we published this article detailing our favorite violin plugins back in 2015. Well, it’s 2018, and it is time to improve this article with our updated recommendations.
VIrtual instruments have advanced dramatically over the years. People used to laugh at the idea of a computer producing sound the resembled that of a real instrument. Now, there are plugins that will blow you away with how realistic they sound.
For that reason, having an arsenal of VST plugins is very powerful for the electronic musician.
Plus, it’s like having an entire orchestra with you all the time! Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Today I am going to focus on the best virtual violin plugins.
We’ll cover both paid and free options and there will even be a bonus section at the end of this article!
Let’s begin, shall we?
For Most People: Orchestral Companion – Strings
Here’s why we recommend this plugin: It only costs $60 and it sounds great! You don’t have to give up a months rent to pay for this plugin and it gives you a lot of configuration with its stringed instruments.
Many of us like that rich strings sound – Soft and gentle, and in the next moment hard and brutal.
Of course, we all have different tastes, but, whatever you like, I can assure you that Orchestral Companion Strings can satisfy your taste.
The SONiVOX design team made over 90 outstanding string programs, which can give you best and the most accurate experience as possible.
Orchestral Companion Strings is compatible for Windows and Mac. You can download either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of it. It takes around 15GB of hard drive space.
If you have all of that or more this plugin will run very smoothly!
For the Professional: NOVO Modern Strings by Heavyocity
The kind of sound you can get out of NOVO Modern Strings is insane! The violin samples used to create this plugin were meticulously recorded at Warner Brothers Studios.
This plugin has a very justifiable price tag ($550) based on the quality of it and the amount of work they put into it. In total, this plugin is 40GB. That’s larger than most big-budget PC games!
What really seals the deal with the plugin is the immense control you have over your sound. For example, there is this one section of the plugin called CYCLE. Its interface looks almost like a sequencer and you can very easily tweak it to create rhythmic little pulses and glitch style sounds.
Whether you’re looking for a solo vieolin or a powerful string ensemble for use in an intense movie trailer, NOVO is a wonderful choice.
For Those Who Want an Entire Orchestra: Personal Orchestra 5
This awesome product from Garritan can give you not only a nice sounding violin but also an entire orchestra at your fingertips.
Personal Orchestra costs $150 which is a steal for all of the instruments (Including multiple violin variations) you get.
With so many different stringed instruments, you can be that one-man orchestra, creating a sound nobody can listen to without getting goosebumps!
Personal Orchestra is 64-bit compatible, with not very high system requirements (surprisingly).
It’s pretty easy to use yet very powerful. A new user can get really creative right out of the box.
Some of the included violins are:
- Solo Stradivari Violin
- Solo Gagliano Violin
- Solo Guarneri Violin
And besides violins, there are lots of other instruments such as trumpets, trombones, French horns, keyboards, harps, violas, flutes, and clarinets!
With the current price of Personal Orchestra, it’s worth it alone for the violins. With all the added instruments, you can’t go wrong with this plugin!
And in case you’re worried about buying software that won’t get updated, keep in mind Personal Orchestra has been going since 2010 and are still chugging forward. Personal Orchestra has even been awarded by MusicRadar and MusicTech in 2010.
Other Noteworthy Choices
Next on the list, Orchestral Suite, which with over 60 classical instruments and 15,000 samples in its library, is a pleasure to work with.
With additional instruments like the clarinet, flute, harp, guitar, and even different types of choirs, you can be a music virtuoso with only a small effort.
It features instrument-specific controls, as well as key switching and a pretty easy to use interface.
And it all comes in a small package, 4.6GB of an entire orchestra.
Most importantly, you get plenty of great
It’s always great to have multiple choices. Different types of violins are ideal for different situations and different genres of music.
This high quality and sophisticated plugin is a joy to work with, which is exactly why a lot of today’s top producers use it.
Orchestral Suite is compatible with both Windows and Mac. It will work in every major DAW.
Session Strings by Native Instruments
Sessions Strings is another popular choice among producers. It’s especially a good choice if you are already invested heavily into the Native Instruments ecosystem.
It weighs in at 2.5GB and costs $100. It’s a great plugin, but personally I would go with Personal Orchestra instead (mentioned earlier in this article).
Give it a listen and let your ears be the judge.
Free Violin Plugins
I am super appreciative of the free instruments DSK Instruments has been able to provide the music production community.
DSK Strings is an awesome little instrument!
It sounds pretty good for a freebie and will be a newbie producer’s best friend.
Bonus: The Non-VST Option
Before we conclude this article, I just wanted to open your mind to one more technique that could help you out with your string productions.
Good ol’ sampling!
Sampling has been shaping music since the 80s. We can use this technique to get realistic sounding violin pieces by…well…using violin samples!
There are many different ways we could go about this. It could be as simple as throwing a sustained violin note into a pitched sampler (Although it wouldn’t sound that realistic). We could even take little licks created by others and implement those.
I should also mention that as a musician who participates in sampling, it’s worth your time to educate yourself on the legal stuff. In our How to Get Permission to Remix Songs article, we talked about fair use and derivative work.
Getting royalty-free samples
There are many different places to get royalty-free samples. You could go on Audioblocks and be able to get really high quality samples, but it isn’t cheap – especially if you’re only a hobbyist.
A site I like is freesound.org. As the name suggests, everything they provide is free.
Here are some cool violin samples I found after a bit of searching:
Another idea you could try out is to find some violin playing sessions on Soundcloud and use those to sample. Of course, if you decide to publish the work it would be advised to get permission from the original musician.
You’ll find a lot of small artists who just love playing the violin and uploading different compositions they make. Its a great opportunity for sampling.
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In conclusion, each and every one of these plugins has something that makes them a unique and amazing product. They all have their own purposes and different producers can find different ones the most useful.
No matter what plugin you purchase, you can expect to have a great time spending hours enjoying some of the best quality violin sounds that exist.