Sample Library Review announce its Best of 2023 Awards List


Sample Library Review’s Best of 2023 Awards celebrates the virtual instruments that found their way into the hearts and scores of music composers.

December 18, 2023, Los Angeles California – Sample Library Review has announced its Best of 2023 short list. This annual celebration of music software is one of the better indicators of music production trends for composers and music makers working on scores and song for TV, films, games and trailers

“Collectively, our contributors and voting industry professionals test out over 200 new virtual instruments each year.  Staying on top of scoring trends and the latest technology is how many professional music makers can stay competitive in our music production,” said Sample Library Review host, composer Don Bodin. “It’s rewarding to share our experiences with the readers and viewers through posts and videos but the Best of Awards Show takes that to another level.”

The virtual instruments created by Orchestral Tools, Native Instruments, Vienna Symphonic Library, Spitfire Audio and many other developers received accolades in Sample Library Review’s “Best of” 2023 Awards list this year, the only annual awards show specifically devoted to the celebration of sample library and virtual instrument software.

The closely watched ‘Best String Virtual Instruments’ category honored Spitfire Audio with accolades going to their Abbey Road Orchestra: 1st Violin and Abbey Road Orchestra: Cellos releases along Vienna Symphonic Library’s Synchron Duality Strings with Orchestral Tools’ Peteris Vasks Strings taking the coveted top spot.

Native Instruments took a total of 5 spots with the developer’s Low End Strings receiving recognition for Sound Design,  Valves Pro for Brass, Fables for Best Toolkit / Cue Builder, Session Ukulele for Fretted Instrument / Guitar & Bass and Vocal Colors honored in the Vocal & Choir category.

There was no shortage of Piano/Keyboard Virtual Instruments on the list with Post Felt Piano by indy developer Jon Meyer, BBC Symphony Orchestra Piano by Spitfire Audio,  Virtual Pianist SCORE by UJAM,  EZKeys 2 by Toontrack and SRM Sounds for their flagship release Max Richter Piano.

The tallies were not all from reviewers and professionals as the Best of 2023 Awards highlighted a Viewer Choice polls. The hundreds of Viewers Choice entries very closely aligned with the official award winners with the “Best of 2023 Awards” bestowing Gravity 2 by Heavyocity with a spot on the “Best Sound Design Virtual Instrument” Viewers ranked it in the top spot for “Best Virtual instrument of the Year”. Westwood Instruments Novel Origins was a clear winner in the Toolkit / Cue Builder Category while it ranked second in the Viewers choice for best Virtual Instrument of the Year.

Sample Library Review’s “Best of” awards are determined by an advisory board and selection committee that includes music journalists, producers, songwriters, and media composers. 

Scroll down for a list of the Sample Library Review’s “Best of” Awards 2023 Award Winners or visit the official Best of 2023 Awards page here.



Best Ensemble Orchestral Virtual Instrument of 2023

British Drama Toolkit: Brass & Reeds

Best Service The Score, by Sonuscore

Synchron Smart Orchestra by Vienna Symphonic Library

Hollywood Fantasy Orchestrator

Salu by OrchestralTools


Best Sound Design Virtual Instrument of 2023

Polyscape 2 PRO by Karanyi Sounds

Nordic Spheres by Sonuscore

Low End Strings by Native Instruments

Gravity 2 by Heavyocity



Viewers Choice: Gravity 2 by Heavyocity



Best World/Ethnic Virtual Instrument of 2023

World Fury by Sample Logic

Malventum Pompeii

Sångara by Orchestral Tools

Best Brass Virtual Instrument of 2023

Valves Pro by Native Instruments


Best Piano / Keyboard Virtual Instrument of 2023

Post Felt Piano by Jon Meyer

BBCSO Piano by Spitfire Audio

Virutal Pianist SCORE by UJAM

Max Richter Piano by SRM Sounds

EZKeys 2 by Toontrack


Viewers Choice: Alt Piano by Westwood Instruments


Best Woodwinds Virtual Instrument of 2023

Shire Winds by Insanity Samples

Petrichor – Earthy Woodwinds by Fracture Sounds



Best Toolkit / Cue Builder Instrument of 2023

Sick Ultimate by Soundiron

Fables by Native Instruments

Handpan Machina by Pulsetter Sounds

Sounds from Beyond by Red Room Audio

Novella Origin by Westwood Instruments


Viewers Choice: Novella Origin by Westwood Instruments



Best Bass/Guitar Instrument of 2023

Hoard Picked Acoustic by MusicalSampling

Nylon Rustique by Musical Sampling

Hoard Mandolin by Musical Sampling

Session Ukulele by Native Instruments

Rosette Mandolin by Impact Soundworks

Evolution 10 String Stick by Orange Tree Samples



Best Loop / Phrase Instrument of 2023

Damage Guitars by Heavyocity

Fantasy by Sonokinetic

Indie 2 String Quartet by Sonokinetic



Best Solo Orchestral Virtual Instrument of 2023

Intimate Legato – Violin by Sonixinema

Lux Violin by David Forner



Best Drums & Percussion Virtual Instrument of 2023

Rhythmic Origins by Soundiron

PRISM Taped – Indie Pop Drums by AVA Music Group

Revelation Hybrid Mallets by Sound Yeti

Berserkr by Keepforest

Fragments by Sonuscore

Abbey Road High Percussion

Damage Uncharted 88 by Heavyocity

Best Vocal/Choir Instrument of 2023

Vocal Colors by Native Instruments

Eric Whitacre Contrast by Spitfire Audio

Ethera Gold Atlantis 3 -Zero-G

Best Orchestral Strings Virtual Instrument of 2023

Abbey Road Orchestra: 1st Violin by Spitfire Audio

Abbey Road Orchestra: Cellos by Spitfire Audio

Synchron Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

Peteris Vasks Strings by Orchestral Tools

Viewers Choice:

Synchron Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

Peteris Vasks Strings by Orchestral Tools