So, you’re looking to incorporate the sound of a choir in your production. Only problem? You don’t have access to a choir.
You could sit in your studio all day multi-tracking your vocals (and maybe get a few friends in there). But that can be a long, laborious process.
Well, if ultra-realism isn’t too much of a concern, and you plan to use choral sounds in your mixes, you’ll be happy to know that you can take advantage of choir VSTs.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best free choir VSTs with a few paid ones thrown in towards the end. Let’s get into it!
Free Choir VST Plugins
One of the first types of plugins composers are likely to go looking for are choir plugins. Composers are often used to working with choirs and orchestras, so it’s no surprise they would lean in that direction.
But even as a music producer or engineer there will probably come times when a choir plugin would come in handy. Whether it’s thickening up the background vocals or using it as a devastating intro in a power metal tune, there are plenty of uses and possibilities.
In this section, we’ll be looking at the best free choir VSTs, and while there aren’t many, between the ones that are available, you can still do plenty of cool things. Have a look for yourself!
Spitfire Audio LABS – Choir
Spitfire Audio’s LABS – Choir is quite possibly the coolest free choir VST on the market. As the story goes, in June 2017, Eric Whitacre recorded the Eric Whitacre Singers at Air Studios. Whitacre stressed there’s nothing quite as expressive as the human voice, and that’s why he wanted to make this plugin free.
To that extent, we find this plugin can add a lot of mood to your mix and has been designed to do that very thing. The sounds are quite good, though you can hear a little inauthenticity in the decay. Still, within a mix with a few more instruments, it could easily fool many ears.
Its user interface is beautifully designed, with a clean, modern, minimal look. The controls aren’t overwhelming either.
This plugin is available for Windows and Mac, as a VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU for use with your favorite Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
This one is a must have.
Download: Spitfire Audio
ANGLE Studios Virgin Choir
Here we’ve got ANGLE Studios’ Virgin Choir. This plugin generates the sound of a female choir, and to be honest, it sounds not half bad! The only thing that makes it sound a little less than realistic is the vibrato. Aside from that, from all those times you need to evoke a little mood in your music, you’ve got Virgin Choir.
Fortunately, it is possible to achieve more than one sound with this plugin, and some sounds are better than others.
The great thing about plugins of this nature is that you can use them with your MIDI controller. Of course, you can always “draw in” what you want the choir to be singing as well.
With Virgin Choir, you get multiple articulations with easy key switching, velocity sensitivity, sequencer mode, and more. Considering you sometimes only get that with pro level plugins, that’s a killer deal.
The user interface is much nicer than you might expect, with a modern design and nice abstract backgrounds. It’s simple, beautiful, and not overwhelming.
Virgin Choir is available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms, as well as VST for Mac. Download links are below.
bigcat Instruments NST Vocal
Sometimes mistaken for “NST Choir,” bigcat Instrument’s NST Vocal offers a sampled choral library, with 30 acoustic choral patches in five instruments, arranged by Full, High, Mid, and Low.
Other reviewers have praised NST Vocal for its sounds, but we find most of them to be a little cheesy. Might want to load on the reverb and chorus for optimal tone! That said, you can get some sounds with this plugin that you might not be able to with others. To that extent, it’s worth experimenting.
We find the user interface quite basic. But design isn’t everything, and we’ve got to give this plugin credit for arranging the controls in a way that’s unintimidating. You will find the typical Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release controls as well as volume, pan, and reverb onboard. Don’t forget that you can also mess around with a ton of patches!
NST Vocal is available as a Windows 32- or 64-bit VST, or as a Mac OSX VST and AU.
Download: VST 4 FREE
Sonatina Choir comes with sampled male and female choirs, and it gives you the ability to switch between ladies and men. Some consider it one of the most well-known free VSTs but it is undoubtedly “old school” at this juncture.
With this plugin, you get a strong, punchy sound. And the sounds are not half bad. Sonatina Choir comes with relatively basic ADSR controls, as well as volume and pan. The user interface is also quite basic, but it works.
This plugin is available as a Windows 32- and 64-bit VST, as well as a Mac OSX VST and AU.
Download: VST 4 FREE
DSK Music DSK ChoirZ
DSK Music is well-recognized for their broad range of free VSTs, including synths, romplers, drums, samplers, and more. They aren’t necessarily known for the quality of their free VSTs, but we don’t mind, because most of the time you only get what you pay for anyway. And to be honest, even unrealistic sounding instruments sometimes have their place in a mix.
With DSK ChoirZ, you get both male and female voices. And to be honest, they don’t sound half bad (some voices sound more like strings VSTs though). There are plenty of presets to choose from, and you can also tweak the layers using ADSR, fine, pan, and level controls.
Each layer also comes with filter and LFO controls. You get master controls for chorus, reverb, and master level too.
The user interface is basic, though it works for what it is, and it’s better designed than some. At first, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of controls, but you should get used to it relatively quickly.
Though you might not love it as a standalone plugin, I could see it working great with music that has more layers. Worth a try, especially for free.
Download: DSK Music
ProjectSAM The Free Orchestra
“Hold the phone! Is this even a choir plugin?”
To be fair, ProjectSAM’s The Free Orchestra comes with orchestral string staccatos, brass clusters, symphonic percussion, dystopian sound design, and more. But it also includes a choir preset called Luminous Choir. That’s what we’ll be focusing on here.
This preset sounds quite amazing, and it might even be one of the best free ones on this list. We couldn’t find anything inauthentic about the sound, including the decay.
Its user interface is professional and beautifully designed. The main controls sit right at the middle, and include attack, release, lowpass filter, vowel, reverb, limiter. Try finding another free plugin with vowel control. That’s not going to prove easy.
To be able to use this plugin, however, you will need Kontakt. Windows and Mac versions of the plugin are available.
Paid Choir VST Plugins
Now it’s time to look at premium choir VST plugins. Although premium plugins tend to range from about $40 all the way up to several hundred dollars, they tend to be more stable, sound better, offer more functionality, and feature a more professional user interface design.
Here we will look at several premium options that might strike your fancy.
EastWest Hollywood Choirs
Hollywood Choirs is an award-winning, highly praised choir virtual instrument. It was created by Doug Rogers and Nick Phoenix, the producers of Symphonic Choirs.
This plugin features female and male choir sounds with unprecedented dynamics, 781 editable pre-built WordBuilder phrases (it comes with WordBuilder 2), and if you upgrade to the Diamond Edition, you even get 13 microphone settings.
We could go on and on, but we’d probably be here all day. So, let’s talk about the sounds. Now, the fact that you can use the WordBuilder to define the lyrics the choir sings is a distinct advantage. The choir sounds amazing, though I do think the decay is slightly off.
Hollywood Choir’s user interface is pro through and through. I make no promises of it being “easy to use,” as there are many controls, and figuring out the WordBuilder function could take a while. But this is the quality you would expect from a premium plugin.
This is an excellent choice for cinematic music.
Strezov Sampling Choir Essentials
Strezov Sampling has multiple VST choir libraries. We couldn’t possibly cover all of them here, so we’ll be looking at Choir Essentials. That said, you may also want to look at their:
- STORM Choir Ultimate
- RHODOPE 2 Ethnic Bulgarian Choir
- ARVA Children Choir
- FREYJA Female Choir
- WOTAN Male Choir
Choir Essentials is just as it sounds. It gives you access to the most in-demand choir sounds, from full ensembles, all the way to children choirs. Whether you’re a composer or producer, Essentials can get you access to the most used techniques. And it’s perfect for anyone just getting started in music creation.
Choir Essentials comes with three mic positions, four performance patches, and six legato patches.
To us, the sounds are bright, floaty, and beautiful. But some sounds are certainly better than others, and the decay is where some of them just don’t sound as nice (mainly basses and tenors). Still, you get high quality sounds, and the women choir sounds are quite impressive.
The user interface is relatively simple, certainly professional, and it gives you full control over the sounds.
Purchase: Strezov Sampling
8dio Silka Choir
As with Strezov Sampling, 8dio has more than just one choir library. Here we’ll look at the premium Silka Choir, but you can also find the following on their website:
- Requiem Professional
- The New Studio Sopranos
- Insolidus Choir – Voices in Emotion
- Liberis Angelic Choir
- Lacrimosa 200 Person Epic Choir
Silka Choir gives you access to 63,600 samples (49.7GB worth of samples!), four hall microphones (mixed, decca, wide, far), four spot microphones (spot 1, spot 2, spot 3, spot 4), 40 polyphonic legato syllable arcs, five true legato (MW multiple dynamics), 12 staccato legato and 12 fast repeated staccato, 15 triplets/triplet loops, 19 sustains and sustain legato, as well as four trills (multiple tempos) and shorts.
Silka Choir requires full retail version of Kontakt 5.7 or later, so plan your purchase accordingly.
The sounds are thick and full, and the syllable sequencer comes in incredibly handy. And as you can tell from the feature set, there are just so many possibilities with this plugin!
If you want to be able to customize endlessly, then you will absolutely love what Silka Choir has to offer.
Fluffy Audio – Dominus Choir
Here we have the ominous sounding Dominus, which requires the full version of Kontakt.
Dominus, by the way, is a Latin word meaning “Lord” or “Master,” a word that’s often heard in Christian music. The name of the VST, however, was inspired by the popular game Dominoes. The developers even say the way the library engine works resembles that of the game, because it intelligently connects different syllables.
Dominus comes with four stereo positions, true legato for all vowels, control over the duration of each syllable, 50 initial syllables, 150 middle and end syllables, three keyboard layouts, 200+ premade words, 13 reverb presets, velocity lock, and more.
The sounds are quite spectacular, and we find them warm and floaty.
The user interface is clearly professionally designed. Again, we make no claims about it being easy to learn, but there’s plenty to play with to get just the sounds you’re looking for.
Purchase: Fluffy Audio
Audiobro GENESIS Children’s Choir
Audiobro’s GENESIS Children’s Choir is a 64-piece multi-ensemble with 16 soprano girls, 16 alto girls, 16 soprano boys, and 16 alto boys. It comes with polyphonic real legato and melisma, auto divisi engine with all-in-one patches, programmable Latin based phrases, 3D stage planner, four microphone mixes (close, stage, far, full mix), and more.
Basically, it comes with all the features you’d expect from a premium choir VST library. GENESIS supports both Kontakt and NKS.
The sounds are quite spectacular. If you’re looking specifically for a children’s choir plugin, then there’s little doubt you’ll like this one.
Again, its interface is professionally designed and beautiful, just as you would expect. Getting a feel for the plugin may take a while, but you probably won’t mind.
GENESIS also comes with video tutorials to help you get set up. So, if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you’re lost, you can refer to these resources to help you in your production efforts.
Soundiron Requiem Light Symphonic Choir
The Requiem Light Symphonic Choir is a professional library that’s been designed with cinematic scoring and dramatic trailer composition in mind. It comes with mix-ready, rich, dynamic, cathedral choir sounds. The library is powered by Native Instruments Kontakt Player engine.
With Requiem Light Symphonic Choir, you get three true legato vowels, a variety of classic vowel sustains and staccatos, single-syllable Marcato words, long poly-syllabic Latin sustains, fast and aggressive Latin staccatos, classic and creative dynamic choral effects, solo soprano polysustains, as well as sound-designed atmospheric pads, drones, and choral atmospheres.
Requiem Light Symphonic Choir works on Mac OSX 10.9 or higher, and Windows 7 or later.
This is yet another great sounding choir plugin with plenty of knobs to fiddle with. Its design seems to evoke images of churches and is highly usable too.
Big Fish Audio Aeris: Hybrid Choir Designer
Big Fish Audio’s Aeris: Hybrid Choir Designer comes with six vocal groups (bass, tenor, male choir, female choir, alto, soprano), four vowel performances (Ah’s, Oh’s, Oo’s, and Hums), 146 custom pads, four customizable LFO slots, two step sequencer slots, full Komplete Kontrol and Maschine integration, and over 10GB of uncompressed content. The sounds were recorded with True Legato.
Basically, there’s a lot packed into a single library. With the ability to control every choir group and its respective sound (equalization, gain, presence, and more), you can edit to your heart’s content.
There are a lot of great sounds within in Aeris: Hybrid Choir Designer. Some of the vibrato sounds a tad inauthentic to us, but of course you can tweak until it sounds right to you. You aren’t pigeonholed.
Its interface is impeccably designed, and incredibly sophisticated to boot. So, it will probably take a while to learn. That said, with so many ways to customize the sound, you’ll probably love having this functionality.
Purchase: Big Fish Audio
Best Free Choir VST, Final Thoughts
Free and paid, there are plenty of choir VSTs to choose from.
If you’re just getting started, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a few free plugins just to get a feel. Premium plugins tend to be more sophisticated and therefore can take a little longer to learn. Plus, they can require a substantial financial commitment.
Even as a music producer or sound engineer free plugins can come in quite handy and can sometimes give you access to everything you need. But there may come a time when you’ll want to upgrade too.
Composers will probably favor premium options. Professional plugins sound considerably better than free ones, and sometimes even have mix-ready sounds. That can help you work faster, and when your living depends on it, that’s a good thing.
We hope you found what you were looking for and you’re now able to add some angelic voices to your mixes!