Kontakt is a powerful sampling software that allows you to create custom samples of your own, but what if you want to use a sample of an instrument you don’t already have access to? Or if you want to use a sample of an entire orchestra?
Well, luckily there are plenty of free kontakt libraries available to download for Kontakt, ranging from pianos, odd sound effects, hip-hop and trap beats, or even a full orchestra. Stick around and we’re going to go over a few of our favorites here for you.
Each of these libraries is completely free and has the link included so you can get right to work implementing the exact sounds that you’re looking for, to give your music that something extra.
(Please note: while the libraries listed here are free, not all of them work with the Free version of Kontakt)
Let’s start with the basics; a nice, clean grand piano. Amore Grand Piano is a sample library that was recorded from a Yamaha grand piano using a close mic stereo set up. EQ controls allow you to fine tune the sound from the source and the layout is simple and intuitive. Decay, IR Reverb, Delay and Keyboard response are all represented with controls, making it simple to dial in the specific piano tone you’re looking for. It’s amazing that all this is offered in a tiny 200MB package.
So it’s a trashy little tambourine, but believe me, it sounds amazing. A thin metal tambourine with only three pairs of rusted jingles sampled on a stereo-pair of large-diaphragm Neumann microphones, this library allows you to create the perfect tambourine loop for your project. No more looking for the right sound, the right rhythm or the right texture, this ‘toy’ tambourine will liven up your percussion and give that little something extra to your music. With such a dedicated sound, it’s no wonder that it takes up precious little space, just 27MB.
Moving on from pianos and organs, we go to the entire orchestra with Palette. Recorded in a dedicated hall with world renowned performers, Palette allows you to conduct an entire ensemble from your computer. Primary Colors is just a free taste of the entire library, but it gives you more than enough to sink your teeth into. Featuring strings, woodwinds and brass, it allows you to color your sound with true ensemble recording.
What this means is that each instrument plays in their own individual range, so when you play a note that overlaps with multiple instruments, you will hear each one, and when you move out of a particular instrument’s range, it will automatically drop out. This gives you an ease of use that not only makes your music sound more realistic, but it’s perfect for laying down ideas quickly and easily. Palette – Primary Colors comes in at 1.3 GB.
The Free Orchestra from Project SAM offers a slightly different approach to reproducing the sounds of an entire orchestra than Palette. More focused on different types of sounds created by the orchestra, Project SAM allows you to create less realistic samples that push the envelope into the dystopian. By giving options such as an Octaver and a Reverse Sample, you can not only generate beautiful string swells and brass stabs, but you can also create creepy ambiances that evoke mood and emotion more than traditional symphonic sounds. The Free Orchestra offers 1GB of free cinematic sounds.
Is a piano a little too small? Looking for something with more space to the sound, something large and full? You’re probably looking for The Leeds Town Hall Organ. Massive sounds and beautiful, rich tones are pouring from this instrument like a fine, aged wine. Exactly what it says, The Leeds Town Hall Organ library was created over months by meticulously sampling the authentic sonic character of an organ that is over 150 years old. Easy to use with six included presets, this virtual instrument will add weight and space to your music, but it will also take up as much space on your hard drive as it does to your sound, clocking in at 3.2 GB.
If you’re looking for a way to make truly amazing electric guitar sounds but can’t tear up a fretboard like Hendrix or SRV, Shreddage 3 Stratus has you covered. Packed with options, this free version allows you to tweak and edit your tone until it’s perfect to your ear. Sampled with sustains, palm mutes, chokes and more, this library gives you the ability to completely control the sound and emulate the way actual guitarists play. String noises, strumming patterns and poly note patterns are all supported and let you create powerful leads, churning rhythms and strumming parts all in one place. Shreddage 3 Stratus requires 1GB of space.
So, this is a bit of a cheat, as it isn’t one library, but three. They are all included together as a single download, and they are an incredible package. The first is Lead Guitar Jr, which is simple but powerful, adding a harmony at higher velocities to create gorgeous unison pitch bends. The second is StrumMaker III which is limited by not allowing user created patterns or chords, but still offers plenty of variety in itself.
Four chord variations per scale step allow you to create realistic sounding strumming for backing tracks or rhythm tracks. Finally, in the package you get DoubleTrack Ac; which combines two sampled acoustic guitars, hard panned, to simulate double-tracking, the recording technique of recording two version of the same part to add fullness to the sound.
Offering 66 high quality drum and instrument presets, Trap Gods comes loaded with everything you need to make beats, allowing you to create them entirely in the preset bank. 808s, kicks, snares, hats and leads are all here, laid out in an easy to understand and customizable interface. Tweak the EQ, envelope, chorus and more and let your creativity run wild. Coming in at a little more than 1 GB, everything offered is 100% royalty free.
Not all sound samples are for melodic compositions and Free Fall is a perfect example, as it is created for ambient sounds and background tracks. This free library is full of deep, evolving sounds that are massively customizable. Over four pages of parameters are offered, allowing you to shape the sound in ways that you might not even be able to imagine until you start playing with them. Free Fall is an incredible tool for creating that little extra something to give fullness and richness to anything you’re working on. While the samples sound full and large, the file size is not, coming in at only 173MB.
Where Free Fall is used to create ambiance and background layering to your sound, Whispers is intended more for cinematic scoring, especially horror. It gives you exactly what it says: whispering sounds of both male and female voices. Of course, they are not just whispering pleasantly, these sounds are creepy and not for the faint of heart. Different vowel sounds as well as options for attack, decay, sustain and release allow you to create truly terrifying samples. Don’t try to make ASMR from these whispers!
Hopefully, you’ve found something new in Kontakt that will help you take your music to the next level. From simple piano sounds, to orchestral powerhouses, there are an almost endless variety of samples to choose from in this powerful tool. We’ve listed just a few of our favorites here, but there are plenty more to be found.