Happy summer! The free instruments list has been freshly pruned and updated. I meant to do my list-trimming back in April, but time sort of got away from me (|||❛︵❛).
Let’s recap 2022’s free instrument news:
Vienna Symphonic Library has made the switch to iLok! VSL was previously known in this sphere for their Big Bang Orchestra, ostensibly free but locked behind a $29 “Vienna Key” dongle requirement, for use with eLicenser Control Center. Fortunately, they’ve finally converted to purely digital DRM and expanded their library of free offerings with the new “HELLO” series. There are still quite a few hoops to get through to get their instruments set up, but now none of those hoops are money!
Studiologic released a cross-platform rompler called Numa Player to promote their hardware line, Numa X Piano. The player works in any DAW though and has a very decent selection of virtual keyboard instruments — plus it’s non-gated, no-frills download, so it has a fair market share in my free pianos and keyboards list right now.
Performance Samples’ Solo Violin Legato freebie is back on the net. Like all free instruments on their site, it’s behind a FastSpring checkout with seven(!) different “agree to terms” checkboxes and Kontakt-only. However, this little violin has some powerful vibrato and is definitely worth the download. I use it alongside my paid violin libraries.
Thanks Matthijs for sending in a typo correction and the recommendation for Ample Bass P Lite. | ￣︶￣|d
Here’s what’s changed on my list:
- 18 new instruments: Mark II, Wurly 205, Philips Philicorda, Farfisa Matador, Farfisa Compact, floghera, bass talharpa, tanbur, bulbul tarang, ektara, diddley bow, toy whistle, Magnus Model 300 (pump organ/harmonium), metal bowl, prepared toy piano, daf, vuvuzela*, Koshi chimes
- 8 new articulations: flugelhorn improvisations, euphonium staccatos, bass flute overblown staccatos, violin glissandos and silent fingering, harp glissandos, viola portamentos, nylon guitar harmonics
- 25 instruments with new format options:
- VST/AU: Mark I, Yamaha CP, FM piano, harpsichord, clavinet, celesta, accordion, classical/nylon guitar, male choir
- AAX: male choir
- Decent Sampler: toy piano, solo piano harmonics/body percussion, classical/nylon guitar, guitar zither, prepared piano, celesta, tar
- Kontakt Player: double bass pizzicato, alto sax
- Kontakt Full: chord organ, tenor sax sustains, resonator guitar/Dobro, santur, violin legato
- SoundFont: ney, qanun, oud, bendir
- EXS: guitar zither
- 7 new glossary definitions: .dslibrary (in the .dspreset entry), dead note, roll, chop, gruppetto, slap, stopping
- 5 items renamed:
- “Chord organ” has been moved from Pianos to Woodwinds under the newly renamed “Pump organ” listing.
- “Dulcimer” is now “Hammered dulcimer,” in keeping with Wikipedia naming conventions.
- “Indian Harmonium” is just “Harmonium” now, and it is under “Pump organ” in the Woodwind section, as I don’t think the one I had listed included microtones or a swarmandal or anything else to distinguish it from a “generic” hand-pumped harmonium.
- “Glass dish” is now “Glass bowl” to match “Metal bowl.” Yes, I’m pedantic about the names of kitchenware too.
- “Middle East/Asia” percussion section has been separated into one for Central/West Asia/Middle East and one for East Asia.
- 11 instrument replacements: Numa Player for Darksichord 2, Nostalgic Chord Organ for Vintage Chord Organ, Jon Meyer’s Harmonium* for Crypto Cipher Free Sample Pack, The Wildmother’s Dulcimer for Charles’ Dulcimer, Woodencup’s Zither for Hugo Kant’s Zither, Rental Marimba for MSLP Marimba and Marimba Ripples, Strezov Diamond Jazz Trio alto sax for Alpine Project alto sax, ECHORDA for Weber Upright with Wooden Mallets, Spring Chimes for Hapi vs. Xylophone, VoxWave ALYS for Vocallective NATA.
- 12+ fixed links: 36play, Pulpo Audio, 8dio, Mark A. Galang, Jan Sutti, Smartelectronix, Claire Fitch cello
- Fixed missing shortcode end tags that caused several instruments and headings in the end-blown flutes section to disappear (꒪∀꒪;)
- 7 instruments lost to capitalism and/or the void: glass marimba, Cuban tres, jawbone/quijada, Rast Sound Didgeridoo, Waverunner Audio ML Brass, Varisha Lyric Trumpet, PocketBlakus spiccato ⎧ᴿᴵᴾ⎫
…and finally, two creators’ links are temporarily inaccessible. Instruments above marked with an asterisk will not actually be available until these issues are resolved:
- Atom Hub: Most downloads are temporarily offline and apparently only available by request. Hopefully, they’ll reappear on Loot Audio soon.
- Jon Meyer: Amazon acquired Selz in February and shut it down in May. As of this time of writing, Jon Meyer’s Selz-hosted instruments seem to be unavailable. Hopefully, he will move to a new platform soon.