Best of 2019 – Sample Libraries, Virtual Instruments and Plugins Year in Review


This page is sponsored by our friends at Realitone. Realitone, best known for vocal libraries for Kontakt such as Realivox Ladies and Realivox Blue continue to push boundaries with their 2019 release, Hip Hop Creator, which functions as an entire Hip Hop production studio all inside of Kontakt.

This year we have taken our popular “Best of” post and expanded it! We reached out to our contributors and some of the most respected composers in our circle and asked what the best sample libraries, virtual instruments and software plugins released in 2019.

Sample Library Review’s Best of 2019 – Sample Libraries, Virtual Instruments and music software plugins.

Best Solo Orchestral Virtual Instrument Nominations

Spitfire Solo Cello by Spitfire Audio
Joshua Bell Essential by Embertone
► Winner: Taylor Davis Solo Violin by Cinesamples

Best Sampled Synth Virtual Instrument Nominations

UFO 61 by Soundiron
PX P-10 by UVI 
► Winner: Straylight by Native Instruments

Mentioned Realitone Libraries

Realivox Ladies, Realivox Blue by Realitone
All Bumper Cues Created with Hip Hop Creator by Realitone

Best World / Ethnic Virtual Instrument Nominations

Hopkin Instrumentarium: Rattltines by Soundiron
Celtic Fiddle by Red Room Audio
Ventus Wind Dudek by Impact Soundworks
► Winner: Dark Era by Eduardo Tarilonte

Best Sound Design in a Virtual Instrument Nominations

Oliver Patrice Weder – OPW by Spitfire Audio
Stringache by Silence+Other Sounds
Straylight by Native Instruments
► Winner: Elysion by Sonuscore

Best Loop/Phrase-Based Virtual Instrument Nominations

Riffendium 3 by Audiofier
Modal Runs by Sonokinetic
Cue Builder Cinematic Rhythms by Red Room Audio
► Winner: Indie by Sonokinetic

Best Piano / Keyboard Virtual Instrument Nominations

Midnight Grand by Fracture Sounds
Pripyat Pianos by Strix Instruments
Hauschka Composer Toolkit by Spitfire Audio
► Winner: Ascend Modern Grand by Heavyocity

Best Percussion Virtual Instrument Nominations

Orchestral Percussion SDX by Toontrack
Drum Fury by Sample Logic
PercX Pro by Auddict
► Winner: LA Modern Percussion by Audio Ollie

Best Bass / Guitar Virtual Instrument Nominations

Fingerpick 2 by Realitone (released 2018):
Shreddage 3 Stratus by Impact Soundworks
Evolution Flatwound Bass by Orange Tree Samples
Ample Semi Hollow III by Ample Sound
► Winner: Shreddage 3 Jupiter by Impact Soundworks

Best Woodwinds Virtual Instrument Nominations

Ventus Wind Dudek by Impact Soundworks
Monster Low Winds by Cinesamples
► Winner: Vento Modern Woodwinds by Heavyocity

Best Budget Buy Virtual Instrument Nominations

Stringache by Silence+Other Sounds
Hyperion Strings Elements by Soundiron
► Winner: Joshua Bell Essential by Embertone

Best Brass Virtual Instrument Nominations

Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio
Cinematic Studio Brass by Cinematic Studio Series
► Winner: Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples

Best Vocal / Choir Virtual Instrument Nominations

Dominus Choir Pro by Fluffy Audio
Voices of War – Men of the North by Cinesamples
► Winner: Ethera Gold by Zero-G

Best FREE Virtual Instrument Nominations

Scary Viola Pizz by Bunker Samples
Big Bang Orchestra by Vienna Symphonic Library
► Winner: The Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM
► Winner: LABS by Spitfire Audio

Best VST Preset Collection or Expansion Nominations 

► Winner:  Omnisphere Amara by The Unfinished
► Winner: PluginGuru Signs of Life

Best Ensemble Orchestral Virtual Instrument Nominations

BBC Symphony Orchestra by Spitfire Audio
Metropolis Ark 4 by Orchestral Tool
► Winner: Nucleus by Audio Imperia

Best String Virtual Instrument Nominations

Fluid Shorts 2 by Performance Samples
Bunker Strings Vol. I by Bunker Samples
► Winner: Tina Guo Cello Vol. 2 by Cinesamples

Best Budget String Virtual Instrument Nominations

► Winner: Hyperion Strings Elements by Soundiron

Best Mixing / Mastering Plugin Nominations

Reference 4.2 by Sonarworks
► Winner: Ozone 9 by Izotope

Game-Shaker Nominations

Modal Runs by Sonokinetic
► Winner: PercX Pro by Auddict


For this year’s “Best of” we expanded our search looking for the best strings, winds, brass, percussion and orchestral instruments as well as seeking nominations for the best sound design sample libraries, mixing and mastering effects plugins and VSTs and Omnisphere expansions. Nominations were presented by the contributors and select industry professionals and final selections were narrowed down by input from our readers and viewers.

We have included a playlist below of all the Best of 2019 nominees and winners that Sample Library Review had the pleasure of reviewing this year.

Video Reviews of SLR’s Best of 2019

Huge thanks to Sample Library Review Editor Brian Brylow and our contributors: Raborn Johnson, Sam Burt, Alexandria M. Mueller, T.M.K.Davis, Steve Blizin, Shaun Chasin, Michael Reinmuller, Raymond D Ricker, Andrea Federici, Kent Kercher, Benjamin Goldman, Brian Freeland, Dedric Terry, Nathan David Carlton and Pete Checkley.

Special thanks to our Guest Contributors who are not limited to but do include: Arn Andersson, Composer and Co-founder at Evenant, Dirk Ehlert, CEO & Founder at DE-Tune and CWVI, Karél Psota, Sound Designer,  Composer and author of Trailer Sound Design, Craig Peters, Guitarist/Composer/Producer at Destroying The Devoid and Press/Media Manager at Soundiron.
Alex Pfeffer, Composer at Epic Score, Dynamedion and owner of String Theories, Christopher Byrum Harris, Composer at Sample SpotlightLux Nox.

Music used in the Best of 2019 video includes demonstration tracks by the developers including:  “As The Years Pass” by Benjamin Botkin, “Admiral Benbow” by Andy Blaney, “SPIELDOSEN MUSIK” by OLIVER PATRICE WEDER, “The storming valkyrie” by Kaizad Patel & Firoze Patel, “Subterrenea” by Ian Dorsch, “Drifting (Dressed)” by Shaun Chasin, “ThePulse” by Ari Winters, “Portal To Epsilon Eridani” by Christian Wirtz

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