Kontakt by Native Instruments is a powerful sampling platform. Other than the ability to build your own instruments, Kontakt powers the biggest selection of sampled instruments available, including a vast ocean of FREE ones.
Free Kontakt instruments fall into two categories:
- Community developed instruments
- Freebies by sampling companies
The best example for community developed instruments is Pianobook, a collective sampling project containing more than 600 instruments as of this writing. Others include Ivy Audio and the The Alpine Project. These libraries are really good and should be in the arsenal of every composer. However, the focus of this post is the latter type: free instruments developed by the big names in sampling.
They usually serve the purpose of giving users a feel for the company, inviting them to purchase their paid products (there may be exceptions, I’m just guessing). But what’s important is that they usually tend to be good and useful. Given below is a list of links to all such companies (and instruments) that I could find.
- 8dio (bongo, copperphone, angels, asmr, radicals, you, glass marimba, mini, post-apocalyptic guitar, propanium, smiley drum, songwriting guitar)
- Audio Imperia (deconstruct, epic trailer sounds)
- Bunker Samples (gongsters paradise, scary viola pizz)
- Cinematique Instruments (chimes, landscape, marble free)
- Cinematique KLANG series (mutant piano, berlin signal tone, plucked overdrive, lost in thoughts, drown, spiel uher, bambu bambu)
- Embertone (Ancient voices, intimate strings lite, gobbler, harmonette, atmoraffe, jug drum soprano, ivory wind, arcane, canjo, the keyboard, scorecast kitchen)
- Gothic Instruments (dronar free edition)
- Heavyocity (free production loops, play it forward)
- Impact Soundworks (heritage percussion, shreddage 3 precesion free, shreaddage free stratus free, super audio boy, the stroh violin, cinematic synthetic drums)
- keepforest (evolution devastator warzone, ferrum free edition)
- Native Instruments (komplete start — included in the kontakt factory selection)
- Output (signal free)
- Precisionsound (amore grand piano)
- ProjectSAM (the free orchestra)
- Red Room Audio (palette primary colors, snaps claps stomps and shouts)
- Sample Logic (taste the fury)
- Silence+Other Sounds (relict)
- Soniccouture (rocksichord, music boxes, tape choir, thunder drum)
- Sonuscore (free hd orchestra chords, sustained string chords)
- Strezov Sampling (jade ethnic orchestra xiao, bulkan ethnic orchestra duduk, thunder x3m taiko)
- Versilian Studios (chamber orchestra community edition, upright piano)
- Wavelet Audio (trailer ambient tools, hard drum loops)
- Wavesfactory (typewriter, freelodica, music box, old tape drums, clock, 1850 pipe organ, whispers)
Let me know if I missed anything!