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I would place the sound of a harmonium somewhere between an accordion and an organ. This Hindustani classical instrument is usually heard in South Asian music.
But if you already know, I don’t need to tell you.
The harmonium is amazing, and if a virtual harmonium is what you seek, you’re in the right place at the right time. Here we’ll be exploring the best harmonium VST plugins.
Harmonium by 8Dio – Best Overall
8Dio’s Harmonium is one of the only dedicated, deep sampled, virtual harmonium out there. That automatically makes it our best overall pick, but this thing is no slouch.
Harmonium features three sustains (muted, semi muted, open), sharp staccato & sound effects (Crescendo and air), adjustable key artifacts, two stereo mic positions, as well as clean and dirty patches to suit different tastes.
We could talk at length about each of these features, but 8Dio does a much better job of that, and you might want to check out their website for additional information.
Either way, with a little reverb, 8Dio’s Harmonium can sound very sweet, organic, and authentic indeed. With the onboard controls, you can take the sound of the instrument well beyond conventional boundaries, making it a fun and adventurous choice for ambient, lo-fi, and cinematic music as well.
Given the scarcity of dedicated virtual harmoniums, this option is well worth a look.
Harmonium requires the full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or above.
Learn more: 8Dio
Essential Keyboard Collection by SONiVOX – Best Premium Option
It’s fair to say there are many virtual keyboard collections out there. But you’re unlikely to find many virtual instruments with the exact sounds SONiVOX’ Essential Keyboard Collection comes with.
Of course, you’re probably eager to find out exactly what 13 sounds this noisemaker ultimately features.
In addition to a harmonium (a must), Essential Keyboard Collection also comes with a Steinway grand piano, Yamaha grand piano, upright piano, pianet, toy piano, clavichord, harpsichord, Rhodes Mark I and Mark II, and multiple organs (electric, tonewheel, and church).
Equipped with the struQture audio engine (developed by Qubiq Audio), this collection also features multiple effects (reverb, delay, vibrato, chorus) along with multiple presets, and a few sound shaping parameters depending on the keyboard (usually with bass, mid, and treble EQ controls, but sometimes others like overdrive, sensitivity, frequency, and more).
So, does this thing sound any good? Yes, of course it does. I mean, you could maybe justify its cost based on the number of sounds included, but that simply wouldn’t help Essential Keyboard Collection become one of the top-rated plugins on Plugin Boutique.
You don’t need Kontakt for this one, and it works on Windows or Apple machines too.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Little Pump Reeds by Soundiron – Best Budget Option
While not exclusively a harmonium VST, Soundiron’s Little Pump Reeds does sound stellar, and offers up five instruments – Shruti box (like the harmonium), mini accordion, Plastisax (like the melodica), two-tone paper squeeze box, and a concertina – all at a moderate price.
Yep. This is an eclectic collection to be sure. Nowhere else are you going to find this exact set of virtual instruments in a Kontakt library. That was ultimately the intention of the developer. But like I said, it does sound good, and it’s very versatile too.
This Kontakt library comes with an array of sound shaping parameters, an LFO system, 12 filter types, glide, an arpeggiator, an FX rack panel (with 18 DSP effects and 10 assignable slots), and a myriad of convolution reverb settings as well (99 settings and 40 custom FX impulses).
Little Pump Reeds could work as a harmonium replacement. But I’m certainly not promising anything.
If, however, you’re interested in surprising and delighting your listeners with sounds they weren’t totally expecting, this might be down your alley, and at this price point, there really isn’t much to lose.
Altogether, this baby comes with one master NKI instrument bank, 20 custom sound designed FX and ambient presets, 1,222 stereo samples, multi-layer UI controls, and a full FX rack.
While it is our best budget option, Little Pump Reeds is more of a harmonium replacement than a harmonium. Check it out if you like, it could be of interest. Just don’t buy it thinking you’re getting a virtual harmonium, okay?
You’ll need the full version of Kontakt 5.5 or higher to take advantage of this entry.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Newmello Collection by Wavesfactory
The sound of the mellotron came to epitomize the 60s, and ever since then it has been used in a variety of ways to recapture the magic of The Beatles, King Crimson, The Rolling Stones, and others. There’s just something about the sound of tape that’s delightfully vintage and charmingly imperfect.
Based on the Mellotron M400 but reimagined for the virtual world, Wavesfactory Newmello Collection set out to model how the original keyboard worked instead of sampling it. Then, they came up with a rather generous 75 presets.
There is a tape harmonium sound in there, of course, but there are a ton of other sounds too – flute, clarinet, soprano sax, French horn, string ensemble, electric bass, dulcimer, grand piano, Wurlitzer, harpsichord, marimba, bells, bagpipe, and many others.
You’ll need to grab the full version of Kontakt 5.7.3 or higher if you want to take advantage of the Newmello Collection.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Vertigo Strings by Cinematique Instruments
Cinematique Instruments’ Vertigo Strings combines 16 sound sources to create a rich layer of string textures that make for cinematic perfection.
These include a harmonium, of course, and four violins, one arco viola, two celli, two upright basses, bowed guitar, a psaltery, a synth string patch, resampled Zilhouette Strings, as well as tape machine string and bowing sounds.
But it doesn’t stop there. Vertigo Strings also comes with 15 ensemble presets, Fog and Retro FX, six reverb types, and a volume control.
For evocative, ambient textures, Vertigo Strings is an amazing choice. It will not do you much good as a standalone harmonium, though, so this is under the “special interest” category primarily for composers, but possibly for producers and songwriters as well.
Vertigo Strings requires the full version of Kontakt 5.6.8 or higher.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
What Should I Look For In A Harmonium VST Plugin?
As you’ve seen, harmonium VST plugins aren’t exactly in abundant supply. This is often the case for instruments a little off the beaten path. Of course, I’m not opposed to seeing more representation for instruments across the world! It’s just the way things are now.
We’ve highlighted what we feel are the best possible options. But if you’re still not entirely sure which plugin is best matched to your needs, it’s okay. Because in this section, we’ll be looking at the primary criteria you should be considering when hunting for a viable harmonium VST plugin.
Here’s what there is to explore:
- Sound quality
How does the virtual harmonium sound to you?
The opinions of others can be helpful in making a purchase decision, but ultimately, you should choose something you find utility in. And it doesn’t matter if it’s not the best overall option or the one everyone says you should get. The best plan is to make up your mind for yourself.
And that’s not too hard to do. There are video demos, video reviews, audio samples, and more you can explore. Watch. Listen. Get a sense of what each plugin can do.
We could talk about different aspects of sound quality, but at the end of the day, it’s mostly about what sounds feel right to you. It’s whatever you can see yourself making music with!
In this category of plugins, you basically get what you get. There aren’t many options out there. But you can still look at things like whether you want multiple sounds, or if you want a Kontakt library with multiple instruments, or do you need a composer tool?
Naturally, sound-shaping parameters and effects may also be of interest. You can build your own effects chains too, if the plugin doesn’t have any options. But if you want to make the most of your machine’s CPU power, it’s advisable to find a convenient all in one situation.
As with sound quality, the final decision maker is you, and if you can identify what features matter to you, you can arrive at a buying decision sooner.
When shopping for anything, always consider your budget. The VST plugins presented here are mostly moderately priced, but there is a more expensive option too. We don’t recommend going into debt, so please spend responsibly.
Top Harmonium VST Plugins, Final Thoughts
And now you know where to get a virtual harmonium as well as what to look for in one. And even if you don’t usually find yourself using a harmonium in your music, it could represent a good opportunity to experiment and try something new. You never know what you might come up with!
Happy recording and let us know how you get on with your new virtual harmonium!