The best free Kontakt instruments I've came across
This is one of those rare cases when you’re going through a free Kontakt library and keep asking yourself: how can this be free? And, unfortunately, it isn’t anymore. The developer of Clara’s Vocal Library had quickly realized its potential and made once free library commercial at the version 2.0. This also isn’t on the market for quite some time now. Beautiful vocals of Clara Sorace in Kontakt form are now available as the line of libraries entitled “Ethera”, distributed by the company Zero-G. Although the price is somewhat lower than competitive products, it is still quite high. Personally, I don’t use vocal libraries for Kontakt very often, so the free Clara’s library which I’ve managed to download when it was still available, cover my needs for now.
Like similar libraries, Clara’s Vocal Library features a number of long and short performances sung in different vowels. There are also a few legato patches, which I assume use scripted legato, but are quite convincing and usable. The icing on a cake is definitely a collection of recorded phrases which cover styles such as celtic, mid-eastern, african, cinematic etc. Those are performed with so much passion and authenticity one would think they’ve came straight from blockbuster movie soundtrack. There is also a small selection of FX patches.
This was probably the very first free Kontakt instrument I’ve ever came across. It was created by cellist and composer Blake Robinson and was subsequently turned into commercial product “Blakus Cello”, available from Embertone. But you can still download the free version on the Internet. Although Pocket Blakus was recorded in rather humble conditions, the samples were performed with much passion and energy. The library features scripted but beautiful sounding legato. It is also recorded completely dry so one can easily fit Pocket Blakus in any project by using the preferred reverb. The author has also added an energetic spiccato patch at the later stage, but unfortunately it sometimes has problems with loading of its GUI.
This is just one of many great freebies available from Embertone, but in my opinion the best and the most useful one. Its concept is a bit unusual, however. This is a string quartet recorded playing in unison. There is a wonderful legato patch that uses true legato, which is quite rare thing in Kontakt freebies, but it also has an useful option for polyphonic use. The only downside is that the playing range is rather small, but I’m guessing this was deliberate due to the natural range of the real instruments used.
Again, one of the rare examples of a free Kontakt instrument that could easily be quite expensive otherwise. Carpenter Trombone is a product of small Kontakt developer Ivy Audio that releases only free products, at least for the time being. This is probably their best outing, a tenor trombone recorded in a professional studio with state-of-the-art equipment and also with every legato transition painstakingly recorded. The sound is rich and mellow and it’s a very expressive Kontakt instrument. The only real downside is that the sound of the captured instrument isn’t something I need very often.
This library was recorded by composer Bengt Nilsson in Headroom Recording Studio in Karlstadt, Sweden. It was originally created for use in certain projects of its creator and it was also kindly made available for free. The piano is a very popular Yamaha C3 grand, recorded in a quite large room, but rather dry sounding. The main patch has multiple dynamic layers and microphone positions. It also has a very small footprint and handles various FX very well, so it’s very easy to fit it into a particular project.