10 Best Indian Instrument VST Plugins 2024

Music Industry How To is supported by readers. When you buy via a link on our site, we’ll possibly earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

There is a near unending supply of amazing instruments across the world. These instruments often represent the very esthetic of the culture from which they stem.

India is home to an array of instruments that define the sound of their traditional music – sitar, tabla, sarangi, tambura, vina, and more. These have become fast favorites among composers and are also viable instruments in a variety of musical styles and genres.

In this guide, we look at the best Indian instrument VST plugins.

Tablas by Soundiron – Best Overall

Tablas by Soundiron – Best Overall

Soundiron’s Tablas is a multi-sampled Kontakt percussion library. The developer brought this Indian hand drum sound to life with the help of tabla master Sameer Gupta.

The instruments were recorded close and dry, and every classical articulation, variants, and creative alternatives were captured for this creation.

This entry also features a customizable GUI, effects, ambient sounds, and more, you can easily bring into your scoring, composing, or production music ecosystem.

Tablas features four sound layers (each with its own parameters you can link, automate, and customize), ambience sounds (Layer 3), sub-synth layer with 10 shapes, per-layer LFO system, FX filters, arpeggiator, and key and scale lock system.

This baby also comes with over 1,350 loops with tempos from 70 to 165 bpm, loop browser, 3,703 stereo samples, 20 sound-designed FX and ambient presets, and more.

Tablas requires the full version of Kontakt 5.8 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Equator2 by ROLI – Best Premium Option

Equator2 by ROLI – Best Premium Option

ROLI’s Equator2 is a do it all hybrid synthesizer with insane customizability, a huge, 6 GB+ library of samples (acoustic, electric, and electronic instruments), an extensive modulation system, 15 effects, over 1,300 presets, multiple routing options, and more.

Equator2 doesn’t come with a huge set of Indian instruments, but it does include an Indian santoor. And there is a sizable collection of world instruments, from Japan, China, and more.

So, while this may not be your go-to option for the sounds you require, there is so much available within Equator2 that it merits a look, especially if you’re composing, scoring, or just looking for a powerhouse VST that can deliver just about any sound you can think of.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Bizarre Sitar by Soundiron – Best Budget Option

Bizarre Sitar by Soundiron – Best Budget Option

Soundiron obviously sensed a comedic opportunity in naming a plugin the Bizarre Sitar. Normally, your inclination might be to distance yourself from plugins with a word like “bizarre” in their name, but in this case, this might be the best (if not the only) virtual sitar available.

And, while it has all the conventional sitar elements built right in, Soundiron did inject a bit of weirdness into this creation by sampling a half-size sitar with fewer strings. They promise, though, that this instrument had been vastly underestimated, as they found it surprisingly lush and full bodied in tone.

Bizarre Sitar comes with both chromatic plucks and strummed articulations, including two main strumming tunings, speed slider, as well as unison and fifth articulations.

Since Bizzarre Sitar is a Kontakt instrument, you get access to a mix of automatable sound-shaping parameters, including attack, release, swell, offset, vibrato, filter, pitch (coarse & fine), articulation, crossfading, layering, and much more. 20 sound-designed FX presets were also loaded into this entry.

If you like modulation options, not to worry – Bizarre Sitar also features an adaptable LFO system, selectable LFO shape, modulation target parameter, speed, intensity, fade-in time, and tempo syncing.

You also get 12 high-pass, low-pass, and FX filters with assignable modulation targets (velocity, modwheel, expression, aftertouch, key position, step sequencer table control), and even an arpeggiator with velocity table, arp direction, timing, swing, randomization, and duration.

A key and scale lock system is available to help you with composing, and you’ll also find a modular FX rack. 18 DSP effects are onboard, and you can use them in any of the 10 slots available. You get amp and cab simulators, phaser, flanger, delay, distortion, compression, EQ, rotator, and more.

There is a reverb, too, of course, and it features a collection of convolution reverb impulse responses, with 99 rooms, chambers, halls, and even outdoor environments, as well as 40 custom FX impulses.

To round it all out, you’ll find multiple bowed, plucked, strummed, FX, and ambience articulations, and 603 stereo samples.

I find the sitar sounds quite good, and it’s surprisingly versatile too (but would you expect any less from all those features?). With everything it comes with, it’s at a steal of a deal.

Bizarre Sitar requires the full version of Kontakt 5.5 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Little Wooden Flutes by Soundiron

Little Wooden Flutes by Soundiron

Little Wooden Flutes features an Indian Venu flute (recorded in a dry studio space) as well as multiple Native American Plain flutes (captured in a sanctuary hall). As is customary for Soundiron, they’ve also thrown in some sound designed ambient presets based on the source material.

For the Indian Venu flute, three styles of multi-sampled sustain and staccato notes were captured – normal, trilled, overtone bursts – with multiple round robin.

Both the Indian Venu flute as well as the Native American Plains flutes come with live performance phrases too.

Customization is the name of the game with Soundiron, and here you’ll get access to key transposition, tempo adjustment, an FX rack, and more.

Altogether, Little Wooden Flutes comes with two dry mic types, two hall mic positions, sustains and staccatos, live performance phrases, phrase sequencer, flute effects (like trills, breaths, chirps, overtones, and more), extended range sustain pad preset, and bonus ambiences.

You also get swell control, a multi-FX rack, reverb rack, automatable design, customizable key switch and GUI controls, real-time visual waveform display for each preset, 1,921 samples, and more.

Little Wooden Flutes requires Kontakt 5.1 or higher.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Ethnic String Phrases – Esraj & Erhu by Sonuscore

Ethnic String Phrases – Esraj & Erhu by Sonuscore

Sonuscore’s Ethnic String Phrases – Esraj & Erhu brings the sounds of India and China to the world of Kontakt.

The Esraj is a North Indian stringed instrument with smooth, gentle, and mellow tones. Meanwhile, the Erhu is a Chinese spike fiddle featuring two strings.

Sonuscore makes these two beautiful instruments available in a simple interface, with customizable speed and length, legato and sustain, and 45 phrases (15 starting, 15 middle, 15 ending).

Ethnic String Phrases – Esraj & Erhu also features over 670 matchless and live performed phrases, and 19 themes.

The full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or above is required for Ethnic String Phrases – Esraj & Erhu.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Noah Bells by Soundiron

Noah Bells by Soundiron

Soundiron’s Noah Bells features a collection of 21 authentic, hand-crafted Indian Khadki bells. Each bell was recorded with multiple velocities, round-robin variation, up close and dry in wide stereo as well as from a distance in a cathedral sanctuary.

You can customize the sounds using attack, release, swell, tightness, tuning, vibrato, articulations, an optional sub-synth waveform module, and even a step-sequencing arpeggiator. You’ll also find a full rack of effects, convolution reverb impulses, and textural ambiences (custom FX presets).

In terms of articulations, you can expect to find a mix of finger, mallet, brush, and slap articulations.

Noah Bells requires the full version of Kontakt 5.5 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Apocalypse Percussion Micro by Soundiron

Apocalypse Percussion Micro by Soundiron

Soundiron’s Apocalypse Percussion Micro is a cinematic drum library with 28 ensemble articulations – four Indian Dhol sets, six concert snare drum sets, five large tom sets, seven bass drum sets, three Turkish Doumbek sets, an Irish Bodhrán articulation, an Egyptian Riq articulation, and a Greek Daf articulation.

Within the interface, you’re given full control over articulations, modular kit building, dynamic arpeggiation, custom FX routing, 100 real world and special effect convolution spaces, arpeggiator, DSP effects rack, and some other great features.

Apocalypse Percussion Micro requires Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Shake by Soundiron

Shake by Soundiron

Soundiron’s Shake comes with a mix of Indian, African, Latin American, and world instruments. There are a total of 95 shakers, rattles, tambourines, and bells that are perfect for games, films, songwriting, and more.

It includes various sound shaping controls, an adaptable LFO system, FX filters, FX rack with 18 DSP effects, convolution reverb, and more.

Altogether, you should expect to find 10 multi-sample NKI instrument banks, 11 loop NKI instrument banks, 35 ambience patches, and 26,504 samples in 24-bit / 48 kHz stereo lossless NCW format.

Shake is compatible with Kontakt Player and the full version of Kontakt 6.1 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Waterharp by Soundiron

Waterharp by Soundiron

Soundiron’s Waterharp is a deeply multi-sampled percussion and effects Kontakt library based around the waterphone, an instrument that was originally created by Richard Waters in the late 60s.

For this creation, the developers played the waterphone (or water harp) using a variety of sticks, mallets, metal rods, fingers and palms, bows, and voices. The instrument was also recorded empty and filled with water, with hydrophones, while filled with machine screws, and even being cooked over an open flame.

Various sound designed ambient textures were also created using the source material.

The UI includes automatable parameters like attack, release, filter, edge, and vibrato. There’s also a convolution reverb with over 30 custom rooms, halls, and special FX impulses. Additionally, you’ll find presets and a built-in arpeggiator.

You’ve probably figured out by now that this is not an Indian instrument per se. But within its articulations, you will find a hand made “metal tabla” sound, which could be a nice addition to your repertoire of exotic sounds.

Altogether, Waterharp comes with 2,927 samples, 18 NKI instrument presets, bonus ambiences, convolution reverbs, and more.

Waterharp requires the full version of Kontakt version 5.1 or higher.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

Vir2 Instruments’ VI.ONE may not be the most polished of Kontakt libraries you’ll find out there, but it’s a perfectly viable workhorse for sketching, demoing, arranging, and beyond.

What makes it valuable is its 21 GB sample library, featuring an array of drums, drum loops, bass, ethnic and world instruments (which includes India), guitars, keyboards, organs, pianos, orchestral (brass, harp, percussion, strings, woodwinds), horns and brass, synths (modern, vintage), and FX.

The quality of samples is not one of VI.ONE’s greatest strengths. Some sounds are better than others, though, and there are some usable instruments to be sure. If you need a quick fix for building out your virtual instrument collection, it’s worth a look.

VI.ONE requires the full version of Kontakt.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In An Indian Instrument VST Plugin?

In terms of Indian instrument VST plugins, your options are a little limited. In some ways, that may make your buying decision a little easier. But in other ways, it may make it a little harder.

If you’re still not sure which plugin is for you, though, don’t worry. We look at a few key buying factors everyone should consider:

  • Sound quality
  • Features
  • Budget

Here’s a look at each.

Sound Quality

Since we are primarily talking about sampled instruments in this category, sound quality is largely going to come down to the quality of the samples themselves. Developers generally do go the extra mile in capturing the best sounds possible these days, but there are bound be some differences in terms of realism and authenticity of tone.

There isn’t a lot of overlap in terms of instruments in this guide, so in most cases, even if you were looking for an alternative to Bizarre Sitar, for example, you’re probably not going to find much.

Sound quality is still a key deciding factor, but it’s a bit of a moot point if you don’t have much to compare each instrument to. It would still be wise, though, to listen to each instrument. You’ll find plenty of audio clips and video demos available.

Features

Most plugins featured here were developed by Soundiron. Soundiron always loads up their plugins with a ton of features, many of which are the same across the board. But since we’re looking at a wide range of instruments, there are no straight comparisons that make sense, at least in this category of plugins.

Of course, we’re not here to dissuade you from considering feature set. Generally, it’s a very important buying consideration, and one well worth observing as you’re shopping around.

If you know what you need in terms of features, great, you probably don’t need my help. But if in doubt, some extra research never hurt anyone.

Budget

You’ll be happy to know that most VST plugins featured here are available in the $39 to $99 range. That means your odds of being afflicted with post-purchase remorse are relatively slim. Of course, you will pay more for the most advanced options found above.

Since there’s only so much to consider in terms of sound quality and features, budget ends up being a rather important buying consideration in this category of plugins.

So, consider the resources available to you. What are you prepared to spend right now? And how can you avoid overextending yourself?

We recommend against going into debt for any VST plugin related purchases. Please spend responsibly.

Also keep in mind that most plugins we’ve looked at require the full version of Kontakt. If you don’t already have Kontakt, be sure to work it into your budget.

Top Indian Instrument VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

Our kudos goes out to Soundiron and the other developers who are committed to bringing the sound of Indian instruments to the world. Our hope is that there will be many more additions to the category in the years that follow.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *