Top 10 Sound Libraries For Producers In 2021!
Written By: Eric “Realistic” Michael
Whether you’re a producer, beat maker, composer, or film scorer - having a variety of high quality sounds is important to have in your collection. Your DAW already comes with a handful of instruments & sound selections - you can still make plenty of hits with those sounds - but after a while it may be time for an upgrade. When it comes down to it, nothing can beat a good melody & chord progression. We’re not saying these sound libraries can replace that, but these libraries do have some amazing sounds & the quality of these are professional & top notch.
For this list we’re going to talk about some VSTs, some sample packs, & some sound banks. None of these on our list are sponsored or paid advertisements; they’re just libraries that we’re big fans of & we use ourselves! This list is filled with sounds that are dominating the charts right now & for good reason; they all sound awesome! So let’s talk about our favorites!
We’re going to get this bad boy out of the way right away because it is a true beast! Possibly the instrument that dominates the airwaves more than any other instrument on the market, Omnisphere is filled with more sounds than you will ever need! Omnisphere literally has over 14,000 presets to choose from & each one of them allows you to tweak & change them. The possibilities are actually endless with this instrument. Omnisphere also has lots of useful features such as sound match, user rating, shuffle mode, & lock options that make browsing through patches an even better experience. Not only do you get an absurd amount of sounds, but they sound amazing & the quality is great.
Make sure you have plenty of room on your computer or an external hard drive that you can store this library on; you’re going to need it! Omnisphere weighs in at over 60GB! The price tag is a little steep, but the sound selection & quality truly is worth it. One tip we have to save money on this one though is sign up for Guitar Center’s newsletter. They offer 15% coupons quite frequently that you can use on several different products. Omnisphere is one of the items you can use the coupon on! That’s over $70 in savings!
We have a full video on our YouTube Channel on “5 Omnisphere Features Every Producer Should Know!”
Created by Initial Audio, Heat Up has the sounds of the modern industry packed inside of it. If you’re looking to make Trap, R&B, or Hip Hop records, this library is going to be a go to for you.
The standard version comes with over 800 factory instruments & 850 preset banks for a total of 13 GB worth of sounds. There are a bunch of expansion packs for around $30-$50 a pack that are mostly each genre base that you can purchase as well to add more to your arsenal of sounds.
Like most sound library VSTs, this one gives you controls for reverb, delay, filters, ADSR, & other special effects. If you make Trap or modern Hip Hop beats, this might be one of the libraries that you need in your collection.
Serum is a great choice whenever you need lush pads, exciting plucks, fat basses, or energetic synths. This instrument has 450 presets to choose from & 144 wavetables for you to manipulate & edit. The different types of sounds are conveniently broken up in different categories as well - making it easy to find plucks, pads, bass, or synth patches when you know that’s what you’re looking for. Serum has plenty of knobs to tweak & edit for endless creative options. Sound designers love the wavetable & editing ability to make their own unique patches. Serum even lets you import your own audio files to edit & manipulate with their wavetable & tools.
The price of Serum isn’t too bad compared to other instruments on this list & Splice.com even offers this as a rent-to-own option for only $9.99 a month. Once you’ve paid it off, you own it! You can cancel & start back up at any time too!
Nexus is easily the most expensive instrument on our list & this one might be best to hold off on until you’ve collected a few other instruments/sound libraries on this list. Nonetheless though, this instrument is powerful & filled with great sounds! Nexus has plenty of sounds to choose from on their website & you can keep expanding the size of this instrument. There are a lot of FX & editing tools inside the instrument for all your tweaking needs. After you hear the quality of the instruments inside of this plugin, you’ll know why many chart-topping producers use Nexus in a lot of their productions.
Sounds from SoundOracle.net
Price: $9.99 - $69.99
At SoundOracle.net we take pride in our quality & selection and we think you’ll notice it right away! All of our sounds are handcrafted to be original sounds & compositions that you won’t find anywhere else online. For our live instrument packs, we bring in real musicians to record brand new melodies specifically for you to sample, chop, & flip. For our drum packs, Oracle creates each individual sound himself. We always try & find high quality analog gear to process the sounds or unique hardware to add creative effects to our samples. Every sound found on the site is professionally mixed & mastered too - making them ready to go for all of your beats.
Producers find these libraries to be particularly useful because each loop is labeled with the key & BPM information - taking all the guesswork out. Our 808’s are tuned to the note “C natural” for easy playing & most of our melody packs come with the MIDI information as well. The MIDI info is clutch when you want to use your favorite VST patches to play along with the loops. We’re constantly adding new sample packs & drum kits to our collection too, so there’s always new sounds to choose from!
Price: $199 Each
When it comes to amazing sounds & quality, look no further than Output! Their Kontakt libraries are seriously some of - if not the best - Kontakt libraries available. Each library has its own unique engine that has tweaking abilities for sound designing, arp parameters for rhythmic patterns, & FX knobs & sliders. Output has a clever tagging system as well that allows users to select tags to find the sounds they are looking for. For instance, if you’re looking for a dark wavy sound, you can literally click on those two tags & every sound patch that fits that description will populate. Output has a great reputation for pushing the envelope & developing sounds that you can’t get anywhere else!
There’s several different options to choose from on their site ranging from vocals, brass, strings, pads, arps, bass, etc.! They also have a subscription based plugin for $10 a month called Arcade. Arcade is a sample & loop based plugin that’s constantly being updated. It’s kind of like a streaming service for loops & samples. You can change the key & BPM to each sample too!
You’ll need to download the Kontakt Player in order to use these libraries, but that’s a free plugin & it can be downloaded at no cost here!
If you’re looking for unique & vintage sounds, Octave is a true hidden gem for a steal of a price! This VST is filled with sounds that you’ve never heard in any other VST before. The sounds will fit just about any genre, but where Octave really excels is with LoFi, Boom Bap, & Trap styles! There’s over 300 preset banks & controls for vinyl textures, reverb, glides, filters, & more.
Octave was created by producer My Best Friend Jacob & he’s worked with Kanye West, Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller, 21 Savage, & more! He spent a lot of time & detail finding the right sounds for this VST that would be a perfect fit for Hip Hop & have each sound stand out as it’s own unique texture that makes the listener want to know “what sound is that!?”
Arturia V Collection 7
If you’re in need of a mass collection of retro synths, then this sound library is perfect for you! Popular synth sounds from the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s flood this library with old school joy. From authentic mellotron sounds to fat & beefy synth sounds, the V Collection is a vintage lovers dream! There are plenty of sounds to choose from too! This collection comes with 24 classic software keyboards & over 8,000 sound patches for a total of 16GB!
Just like most of the libraries on this list, there are plenty of knobs & faders to tweak the sounds for you to make your own sounds & preset patches. If retro is your thing, this collection is a no brainer. Even if it’s not, you’ll be sure to find enough cool sounds in this collection to keep your beats sounding fresh & innovative!
If you need classic pianos & electric piano patches, then this is definitely the pack for you! Keyscape comes from the same company that makes Omnisphere - Spectrasonics - & their high quality beautiful sounds transfer over in this sound library. One of the things that makes this instrument so special is its custom control settings. Keyscape allows you to change the microphone positions, tone/color of the sound, & the effects like reverb, EQ, compression, & tremolo. The sounds in this library were brilliantly recorded & you’ll be able to hear subtle authentic tones like pedal & release sounds.
You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space on your computer or an external hard drive for this library. There are over 500 keyboard sounds taking up almost 77GB of storage space! Just like Omnisphere, you can use the Guitar Center coupon on Keyscape when they have their sales.
EastWest Sounds - Composer Cloud
Price: $199 per year or $19.99 per month (Annual Subscription)
When it comes to capturing the essence of real instruments, EastWest does an incredible job! They have some of the best libraries on the market for strings, piano, & brass instruments and most of them sound really close to the real thing! EastWest has an insane amount of virtual instruments to choose from too. There are close to 40,000 instruments to choose from all together.
A lot of their libraries allow you to have tons of control over the sounds including mic placement/volumes, articulation, stereo width, reverb, & more!
The price tag of $199 every year isn’t the most appealing, considering it’s an annual thing; however, $199 is relatively low compared to other sound libraries & it would most likely take several years of payments to cover the total worth of these libraries.
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SoundOracle - Owner
SoundOracle (Sound Designer for Timbaland, whose sounds have been heard in over 20 Grammy award-winning songs by artists like Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, and more)
Connect with Oracle:
Realistic Production - Engineer
Realistic is a Producer/Engineer located in Atlanta, GA specializing in Hip-Hop, R&B & Pop music. Realistic has been involved in the music industry for over 15 years. He has worked on projects for Talib Kweli, Just Blaze, Musiq Soulchild, Pharoahe Monch, NBA 2k, Skyzoo, BJ The Chicago Kid, Madlib, Ayo-N-Keyz, Billboard Hitmakers, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Rhymesayers, Hamburger Helper, & LoveOfPharaoh.
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Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, etc. - https://fanlink.to/bwW5
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