6 Must-Try Virtual Instruments for Every Music Producer

If you’re a music producer, you know that having access to the right tools can make all the difference in the quality of your productions. While physical instruments certainly have their place, virtual instruments have become an increasingly popular option for music producers of all genres. In this post, we’ll take a look at six must-try virtual instruments that every music producer should consider adding to their toolbox.

6. Spitfire Audio LABS (Free)

An image of Spitfire Audio's LABS.
Figure 1: Spitrire Audio LABS.

Spitfire Audio’s LABS is a unique collection of free virtual instruments, which features some unusual and esoteric sounds that aren’t found in most other virtual instruments. The LABS series also includes sample libraries that are recorded from real-world instruments and sounds, adding a level of authenticity to your compositions.

One of the standout features of Spitfire Audio’s LABS is the simple and intuitive user interface, which makes it easy to access and tweak the various controls and parameters of the instruments. These virtual instruments are also lightweight, meaning that they don’t take up much space on your hard drive or use too much of your computer’s processing power. The LABS series also includes a variety of different instrument types, including pianos, strings, guitars, and more, each with its unique set of controls and sound-shaping options.

Spitfire Audio’s LABS is an excellent choice for music producers on a budget who are looking for a unique set of sounds and textures to add to their compositions. With its intuitive interface and wide range of instrument types, the LABS series is a great starting point for producers who want to experiment with new sounds and styles. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, Spitfire Audio’s LABS will be a solid addition to your virtual instrument collection.

5. Output Arcade ($14.99/Month+)

An image of Output's Arcade.
Figure 2: Output’s Arcade.

Output’s Arcade is a revolutionary virtual instrument that allows producers to access and manipulate a vast library of samples, loops, and sounds in a highly intuitive way. This virtual instrument features a sleek and modern user interface, which makes it easy to browse and manipulate sounds in real-time. Arcade is designed to inspire creativity and provide users with a huge pallet sonic possibilities, making it ideal for music producers of all skill levels.

One of the standout features of Arcade is its ability to transform loops and samples in real-time, using its built-in pitch, time-stretch, and modulation effects. The instrument also includes an assortment of creative tools, such as an arpeggiator, sequencer, and effects, which can be used to transform and manipulate sounds in new and exciting ways. Arcade’s advanced features and intuitive interface make it a go-to tool for many producers, especially those looking to add unique and modern sounds to their productions.

Arcade’s vast library of sounds and loops is constantly expanding, with new content being added regularly. This virtual instrument includes everything from classic analog synths and acoustic instruments to cutting-edge modern sounds and loops. Users can browse and download new sounds directly from the Arcade interface, which means that the instrument is always evolving and growing with the user’s needs. Output’s Arcade is a powerful and inspiring virtual instrument that provides music producers with endless creative possibilities.

4. Arturia V Collection ($599)

An image of Arturia's V Collection.
Figure 3: Arturia’s V Collection.

The Arturia V Collection is a comprehensive bundle of virtual instruments that faithfully recreates some of the most iconic synthesizers and keyboards of all time. With over 20 different instruments, the V Collection offers an extensive range of sounds that are essential to any producer or musician’s toolkit. Arturia is renowned for its commitment to creating software instruments that sound and feel just like the original hardware, and the V Collection is no exception. Each instrument is carefully modeled after the original, with attention to detail paid to every aspect of the sound and user interface.

One of the standout features of the Arturia V Collection is the Analog Lab software that comes with it. Analog Lab allows users to browse and access all of the sounds and presets from all of the instruments in the collection in one easy-to-use interface. With over 6,000 presets available, Analog Lab makes it easy to find the perfect sound for any project. The presets are organized by type, so users can quickly find the sounds they need, whether they’re looking for basses, leads, pads, or any other type of sound.

An image of Arturia's Analog Lab software.
Figure 4: Arturia’s Analog Lab software.

In addition to the Analog Lab software, the V Collection includes many individual virtual instruments, including classics like the Minimoog, the Prophet 5, and the ARP 2600. Each virtual instrument features a detailed user interface that is designed to look and feel like the original hardware. With its combination of faithful recreations of classic instruments and modern features, the Arturia V Collection is an essential tool for any producer or musician.

3. Spectrasonics Omnisphere ($479)

An image of Spectrasonics' Omnisphere.
Figure 5: Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere.

Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere is another popular and highly-regarded virtual instrument in the music production industry. This software synthesizer boasts over 14,000 sounds, making it one of the largest sound libraries available. It also includes multiple synthesis engines that allow for wavetable, granular, and sample-based synthesis, resulting in endless creative possibilities. With its advanced arpeggiator and effects processing capabilities, Omnisphere is a powerful tool for creating complex and unique sounds that can add depth and texture to any production.

One of the standout features of Omnisphere is its integration with hardware synthesizers, which allows users to easily incorporate their own hardware sounds into their projects. This feature is especially useful for musicians who have a collection of analog or digital synthesizers and want to use them in conjunction with Omnisphere. Additionally, the software’s intuitive user interface and extensive sound library make it easy to use for both beginner and advanced producers alike.

Another notable aspect of Omnisphere is its ability to import user-created audio and turn it into a unique instrument; this feature is known as the Soundsource Browser. The software also includes a variety of sound manipulation tools, such as harmonic filtering and time-stretching, allowing for even more creative experimentation. With its vast array of features and capabilities, Omnisphere is a versatile and powerful tool for music producers looking to create unique and innovative sounds.

2. Native Instruments Kontakt ($299)

An image of Native Instruments' Kontakt libraries.
Figure 6: Native Instruments’ Kontakt libraries.

Native Instruments’ Kontakt is a software sampler that has become a staple in the music production world. It is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and versatile samplers available, offering an extensive library of sounds and the ability to load custom samples. Kontakt has been used by producers and composers in a wide range of genres, from film scoring to electronic music and beyond.

One of the standout features of Kontakt is its user-friendly interface, which allows for intuitive navigation and easy customization of sounds. The software offers a handful of tools for shaping and processing samples, including EQ, filtering, modulation, and effects. Kontakt also includes a robust scripting engine, which enables users to create their own custom instruments and effects.

In addition to its built-in library of sounds, Kontakt is also known for its extensive range of third-party libraries. These libraries are created by professional sound designers and feature high-quality samples and presets for many different instruments and genres. Kontakt’s third-party libraries cover everything from orchestral instruments and world percussion to vintage synths and experimental soundscapes, making it a go-to choice for producers and composers looking to expand their sonic palette.

1. EastWest ComposerCloud ($19.99/Month)

An image of EastWest's ComposerCloud libraries.
Figure 7: EastWest’s ComposerCloud libraries.

The EastWest ComposerCloud is a cloud-based subscription service that provides music producers and composers with access to a vast collection of virtual instruments and sample libraries. It was created by EastWest, a renowned developer of high-quality sample libraries used by professional musicians and composers around the world. The ComposerCloud allows subscribers to use tons of virtual instruments, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, pianos, guitars, and many others.

One of the most significant advantages of the EastWest ComposerCloud is the vast selection of high-quality virtual instruments that are available to subscribers. The library contains over 40,000 samples, including 7 terabytes of data, covering a broad range of musical styles and genres. The quality of the sounds is exceptional, and they are recorded in top-notch recording studios using world-class equipment. The variety of instruments and sounds available in the ComposerCloud makes it a versatile tool for any music producer or composer.

Another benefit of the EastWest ComposerCloud is the ease of use and flexibility. The subscription service is cloud-based, which means that subscribers can access the virtual instruments from anywhere with an internet connection. The ComposerCloud is compatible with most digital audio workstations (DAWs), including Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live, among others. Additionally, subscribers can choose between different pricing plans, depending on their needs and budget. They can also cancel their subscription at any time, making it a cost-effective and flexible option for music producers and composers.

Virtual instruments have become increasingly popular among music producers in recent years, as they provide an affordable and convenient alternative to physical instruments. In this post, we explored some of the most popular virtual instruments that every music producer should consider adding to their toolbox. Spitfire Audio’s LABS, Output’s Arcade,  Arturia’s V Collection, Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere, Native Instruments’ Kontakt, and EastWest’s ComposerCloud are all versatile and powerful tools that offer a wide range of sounds and features to music producers of all genres. These virtual instruments have intuitive user interfaces and advanced sound-shaping options, making them ideal for both beginners and experienced producers looking to experiment with new sounds and styles.

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