November ’17 Staff Picks • Sample Libraries, Virtual Instruments and Plugins


Each month we ask around the (virtual) office to see what VSTs and sample libraries our contributors are currently working with on their own projects. Then we gather it all together at the end of the month to share them with you.

See past months picks here

Don (listed as “db” throughout SLR) is a composer who creates music for commercials, television, film and interactive media. He started SLR in 2015 at his kitchen table.

After draining my reserves over the Black Weekend sales, these are my picks that will cause no strain to your wallet and add delight to your music! – db

Epic Trailer Sounds  by Audio Imperia
A hard-hitting sample set from trailer composer extraordinaire, Joshua Crispin (Generdyn) for only $5.00 your wallet will thank you.

► Link to Product Page

The Drunken Upright
 at VSTbuzz
An old broken and battered upright piano full of character! This piano was recorded with a vintage mic and tube console to tape and at €4 is a no-brainer.

► Link to Product Page

The Planet 
by AtomHub
The Planet is an ambient guitar based sample library from Atom Hub which has me asking “Can a the creation of a sample library be art?” At €7 an absolute no-brainer.

► SLR First Look of The Planet
► Link to Product Page

Editor Brian Brylow (Composer, Sound Designer, and Producer) creates music as part of the electronic duos Parallaxe and Gorgon Nebula as well as Arpegiator. Brian probably owns more VIs than anyone I know! His Staff Picks are below:

Orchestral Swarm by Spitfire Audio
Truly amazing and unexpected results are possible by adding this as a layer to your existing orchestral score or surprisingly mixing them with synth.

► SLR First Look of Orchestral Swarm
► Link to Developer

Blue 3 by GG Sound
A new VST with a fresh take on the B3 Organ that offers some unique timbres beyond the expected Jimmy Smith and Deep Purple signatures. Quite a versatile organ.

► Link to Product Page

Zip by Unfiltered Audio
An effect but a new and unique sonic tool that masquerades as a compressor and indeed behaves more like a full blow sound design tool to transform your ordinary sounds into something on a much higher plane.

► Link to Product Page

Shaun is a Canadian composer for film, TV and video games who studied at University of Southern California’s Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television graduate program. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his cat Bogie.

Albion ONE by Spitfire Audio
We all have a huge collection of specialized instruments but sometimes we are all in need of a good trusty Swiss army knife. In this department, Albion delivers offering a large collection of orchestral content to fill many of that gaps you may have been unaware existed in your template.

► Link to Product Page

Glitch Hero by Soundiron
This glitchy powerhouse combines the very best from favourites such as crystal, drip, and tape into one monster library. This huge collection of unusual percussion sounds, each hand crafted by magical sound designer and producer JunoVHS is sure to add interest and spice to any electronic track.

► SLR First Look of Glitch Hero
► Link to Product Page

Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone
Once only in a blue moon, do we get lucky enough to find a library that is so realistic and fun to play that it’s difficult to put down. The Mountain Dulcimer is one of those instances. Quite simply, it’s a phenomenally realistic and deep sampled Appalachian Dulcimer that will blow you away.

► SLR Review coming soon
► Link to Product Page

Steven McDonald is a composer and producer working in the Television, Games, and Trailer fields. Digging into virtual instruments and sample libraries to get the absolute most out of them has been a specialty of his since the beginning of his career.

Vikings by Keepforest
There’s such a huge selection of sounds (pulses, booms, epic hits, braaams, signals, punches, etc.) and each one is magnificently designed and sculpted. And that doesn’t even mention the guitars and drum kits… This thing is a beast for modern cinematic composition.

► SLR Review Coming Soon
► Link to Product Page

Antidrum Machine by Soundiron
This thing contains the craziest samples that you never knew you wanted. PVC pipe buzzing? Flatulence? Shoes squeaking on hardwood floors?? The sheer variety and preference for unique sounds make this package a bottomless box of ideas.

► SLR Review of Antidrum Machine
► Link to Product Page

Next up is contributor AMM (Alexandria M. Mueller). She is an award-winning composer and violist based in St. Paul, Minnesota and active contributor.

Floppytron by Sampleso
I am a “bit” (pun intended) obsessed with this library. It a tremendously deep synth, easy to use, highly organized and customizable. Plus, it has patches with dinosaur names.

► SLR Review of Floppytron by Sampleso
► Link to Product Page

Cinematic Studio Piano by Cinematic Studio
I can be very picky in choosing the right instrument for the job in a mock-up, and this goes for pianos too. Sometimes I want a particular color out of a piano and Cinematic Studio Piano was the pick in a recent demo where I needed an intimate sound alongside a very small live string group.

► SLR Review of Cinematic Studio Piano
► Link to Product Page

Stormdrum by East West
We’re onto the third installment of Stormdrum and I always find great variety in this series. It includes a lot of instruments outside the standard orchestral arsenal, such as taiko, surdos, metal bowls, stomping tubes, and many more eclectic selections.

► Link to Product Page

Next are the picks from contributor T.M.K Davis. Tim has been playing keyboards and drums for 20 years and composing orchestral music for about 10 years. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in music production with a focus on video game scoring and commercial music.

Jubal Flute by Embertone
This flute has a great sound and a really nice portamento effect when you let the notes overlap a little. It has become my go to ethnic wind flute and it is only $15.

► Link to Product Page

EZKeys by Toontrack
Phenomenal sketch pad for generating ideas. The included piano sounds really good and the midi patterns were created by someone that definitely knows how to play piano. EZKeys has saved my neck on more than one occasion when writer’s block crept in and I had a deadline.

► Link to Product Page

Symphonic Orchestra by Eastwest /Sounds Online
This library contains a solid set of tools for your toolbox. It also contains some really good instrument effects that I couldn’t find in any of their other libraries; notably, the sting effects like the violin scratches.

► Link to Developer

Gary Hiebner is a sound designer and composer based in South Africa. He works on music productions for Film, TV and Games, and is also an online course creator for music tutorials.

Cymbals Rolls by Loops De La Créme
I am really enjoying this cymbal roll library and it has become a permanent feature in your cinematic orchestral template. I love how easy it is to do cymbal roll build with just a note and the Mod Wheel.

► SLR Review of Cymbals Rolls  
► Link to Product Page

Voxos by CineSamples
I haven’t used this library in awhile, but I tested out the Phrasing Builder and it worked really well to randomly build up a phrase for a Cinematic piece I was working on. Would have taken me a lot longer to build it up in other phrase choir libraries.

► Link to Product Page

Silk by EastWest /Sounds Online
I have made the jump back to Composer Cloud. I missed these EW libraries and my favorite is Silk. I love how deeply sampled some of those eastern instruments are. And some have so many articulations that you really can get a great realistic performance.

► Link to Product Page


Sam’s a songwriter, producer, composer and educator based in the UK. A former BMG/Sony Records/Universal Publishing artist, Sam now creates music as part of the duo Border Scout and for trailer houses. It has been a pleasure having Sam contribute reviews for the site as they are always thorough and well thought out.

Drum Drops 02 by Wave Alchemy
Wonderfully produced and huge selection of electronic drums that are inspiring to use. Sound banging right out the box!

► Link to Product Page

Reference 4 by Sonarworks
Ok it is not a library but we all need good monitoring to hear those lovely libraries right?! This awesome plugin will calibrate your cans to give you a totally balanced EQ response across a large range of headphones.

► Link to Product Page

Cloud Bass by Soundust
Total abuse of the double bass via garden twine! One of my fave small developers does it again, giving us something new for innovative bass sounds and also completing his string cloud series in the process.

► Link to Product Page

See all past months picks here