8 Best Woodwind VST Plugins 2024

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Woodwinds are an absolute essential in classical and orchestral music. But they also add a whimsical vibe to jazz or folk.

If you’re trying to hunt down the right woodwind VST plugin, it means you’re probably looking for something specific. You might be interested in scoring a film, or you might even be looking to add some windy flavor to your acoustic singer-songwriter numbers.

No matter your project requirements, you can probably find a solution here, because in this guide, we look at the best woodwind VST plugins.

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS by Output – Best Overall

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS by Output – Best Overall

Output’s ANALOG BRASS & WINDS dares to break from tradition where others hold dearly to tried and true concepts. This virtual instrument fuses orchestral sounds with classic analog synths, bringing you the ultimate composer, scoring, and sound design tool featuring brass and winds.

For this creation, Output sampled an 18-piece wind section, an 18-piece brass section, as well as select soloists (great for isolating just the sounds you want). Sounds were captured in Budapest, at the BMC Hall.

The synthesizers were chosen for their high-quality brass and winds sounds.

As a user, you get to blend and fuse the two worlds to create new, innovative textures, palettes, and effects.

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS also comes with an arsenal of powerful features – a 28 GB sound library, over 500 presets with preset menu and smart tagging, a dual-layer engine, tempo sync, layer FX, global FX, four macro sliders, dual arpeggiators, advanced modulation routing, dual tape loopers, and more.

While this isn’t exclusively a woodwinds plugin, your options in this category are a little limited. And there’s no denying that ANALOG BRASS & WINDS is great at what it does. That’s what makes it our best overall selection.

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS can be used with the full and free versions of Kontakt.

See what it can do in the video below.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VENTO Modern Woodwinds by Heavyocity – Best Premium Option

VENTO Modern Woodwinds by Heavyocity – Best Premium Option

If you know anything about Heavyocity, then you can probably guess what the VENTO Modern Woodwinds VST plugin is about. This entry was created to bring the sound of modern woodwinds to your studio, instead of merely rehashing the same territory you’ve traversed before.

And Heavyocity has had some time to perfect this formula too. Before VENTO, they launched NOVO for strings and FORZO for brass, both long-standing orchestral gems. To that extent, they’ve learned from their past creations and have applied these discoveries to their newer developments, like VENTO.

VENTO features 160 organic articulations, 400 tempo-synced loops, and 100 hybrid snapshots you can use for your original scores.

VENTO is the meeting place of unique instruments, articulations, and ensembles. From the low end to the high end, VENTO really holds its own.

Altogether, VENTO comes with 27.2 GB of content, 11,213 samples, 163 articulations, 110 snapshot presets, seven NKIs, and five traditional sections (flutes, clarinets, high ensemble, low ensemble, and contrabass ensemble).

It also features a woodwind loop designer, hybrid woodwind designer, sample browser, CYCLE page (granular and rhythmic playback), and MACRO knob (dynamic multi-parameter control).

Its sound, flexibility, and design are what it makes it our best premium selection. To be fair, it isn’t cheap either.

VENTO is available for Windows and Mac. It requires Kontakt Player 6.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Zephyr by Capsule Audio – Best Budget Option

Zephyr by Capsule Audio – Best Budget Option

Capsule Audio’s Zephyr brings with it the sound of pure and emotional woodwinds. Zephyr gives you the option of working with a chamber quartet or a 12-piece woodwind section. Clarinets, flutes, oboes, and bassoons have all been captured in exquisite detail.

Zephyr comes with multiple articulations, two mixable mic positions, and dynamic layers.

This is a great sounding entry out of the box, especially for the price. It doesn’t require Kontakt, and it’s very beginner friendly. That easily makes it our best budget pick.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Vintage Big Band by Big Fish Audio

Vintage Big Band by Big Fish Audio

Big Fish Audio’s Vintage Big Band features the sound of 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s big band instruments. So, no matter the decade, there are era appropriate sounds onboard to suit your needs.

Whether you’re a producer, writer, arranger, or even songwriter, whether you’re a student, beginner, or teacher, this simple and easy to use plugin is versatile enough to cater to all types of demands.

Vintage Big Band comes with 75+ instruments (brass and woodwinds) that take after the sounds heard on legendary recordings by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mel Lewis, and Stan Kenton.

This virtual instrument also comes with multis for small and large ensembles, rhythm section instruments, loop patches, and even chord patches.

All in all, Vintage Big Band comes with 33 brass and woodwind instruments, four basses and guitars, nine keyboards and vibes, seven drum and percussion settings, seven arranger tools, 12 multi patches, and Komplete Kontrol and Maschine integration.

This plugin features a mix of brass and woodwind instruments. If you’re looking for plugins that handle woodwinds specifically (solo, ensembles, full sections, etc.) then this probably isn’t the right plugin for you. Plus, it’s intended for big band style applications, so it is quite niche.

But depending on what you’re looking for, it could be worth a look.

Vintage Big Band is available for Windows and Mac and requires Kontakt Player.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Vintage Horns 2 by Big Fish Audio

Vintage Horns 2 by Big Fish Audio

If you’re a fan of vintage funk, soul, cool jazz, soul jazz, 60s pop, rock & roll, roadhouse, film noir, and more, then Vintage Horns 2 is just what you need to funk up your jam.

This collection captures the essence of horn players from the 60s and 70s. Instead of opting for the cleanest, perfect, artifact-free sounds, Big Fish Audio set out to create a plugin with all the little details that made vintage horns so appealing – imperfections and all (even the tuning is slightly loose!).

In creating this entry, Big Fish Audio was inspired by the likes of Stan Getz, Maceo Parker, King Curtis, Miles Davis, Junior Walker, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, and more.

The developer meticulously studied what they liked most about their favorite players and playing styles, incorporating it into this virtual instrument. As a result, Vintage Horns 2 has got real vintage character.

Vintage Horns 2 requires Kontakt or Kontakt Player.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Ethnic Flute Phrases by Sonuscore

Ethnic Flute Phrases by Sonuscore

No question this is a bit of a niche entry, but for composers it could be of great interest.

Sonuscore’s Ethnic Flute Phrases features four Asian flutes with a beautiful, emotive quality, perfect for film scoring.

The phrases and techniques were all recorded live, and you’ll find plenty of variety on the inside, from simple to complex, rudimentary to virtuosic. The audio material can be adjusted to suit your needs, whether it’s speed, length, key, succession, or connection.

Ethnic Flute Phrases features a simple, intuitive interface, legato instruments, and 15 phrases (starting, middle, and ending phrases).

Altogether, you get over 900 live performed phrases, four Asian flutes, 17 themes, and three legato instruments. That ought to be enough to get your melodic ideas flowing.

Ethnic Flute Phrases requires the full version of Kontakt.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Balkan Clarinet by Have Audio

Balkan Clarinet by Have Audio

Have Audio’s Balkan Clarinet is a Bb clarinet performed by expert reed player Achille Succi, and it captures the spirit and detail of Balkan music to a tee.

Balkan Clarinet comes with 18 articulations (short glissandos up and down, sustained vibrato notes, normal-double and triple staccatos, and more), tempo sync, an easy to use interface, two reverb algorithms, delay, and pedal-like distortion.

This virtual instrument can be used on all types of music, and it comes with 1,625 samples.

Balkan Clarinet requires the full version of Kontakt.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

Vir2 Instruments’ VI.ONE is a “take what you can get” kind of plugin. For the price, it offers quite a bit, but by no means is it the best orchestral library in existence. In some ways, it’s hit and miss, because some sounds are quite good, while others leave something to be desired.

This workhorse of a library comes with a 21 GB sample library, over 2,000 instruments, EQ, reverb, MIDI CC, and multi-timbral operation (up to 64 simultaneous instruments).

VI.ONE features a ton of orchestral sounds, but in terms of woodwinds, you can expect to find clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, bass oboe, oboe D’Amore, bassoon, contrabassoon, English horn, flute, piccolo, and even recorder.

VI.ONE's greatest strength is its versatility.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Ancient Greek Winds by Soundiron

Ancient Greek Winds by Soundiron

Soundiron’s Ancient Greek Winds serves of nine traditional sampled Greek woodwind instruments. Inside, you’ll find a mix of conch shell horns, pan flute, brass salpinx horn, plagiaulos, and double-reeded aulos flutes (alto to bass).

Soundiron also delivers multiple articulations – staccatos, sustains, dynamic expressions, true legato, and even effects.

Greek-born composer, sound designer, and producer John Valasis recorded Ancient Greek Winds, adding some serious credibility to the product.

Altogether, Ancient Greek Winds comes with a master NKI instrument bank (in open Kontakt format), five aulos, pan flute, conch shells, plagiaulos, salpinx articulations and wind effects, 20 ambience patches, 3,517 stereo WAV files, LFO, filter, glide, arpeggiator, effects rack with convolution reverb, and more.

Ancient Greek Winds works on Windows and Mac and requires the full version of Kontakt.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Woodwind VST Plugin?

You may have already settled on a purchase, in which case, congratulations! We hope you enjoy your new virtual instrument.

If not, we know well how hard it can be to choose. No matter which plugin you end up selecting, there are usually compromises that need to be made. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the functionality of plugin A with plugin C?

Don’t worry, though, because we’ve already identified the key criteria you should be considering when shopping for a woodwind VST plugin. Here’s what they are:

  • Sound quality
  • Features
  • Budget

If you’re ready, let’s consider each in depth.

Sound Quality

Some producers are fussier about sound quality than others. That said, we know very few who would say the sound quality of the instrument doesn’t matter.

Sure, you can take an inorganic, synthesized, badly sampled sound and doctor it up or place it in the back of the mix, but unless you’re on a tight budget or deadline, it’s not the ideal solution.

The plugins featured here all sound quite excellent to our ears. VI.ONE is kind of inferior in that regard, but it’s a capable sketching / demoing / songwriting tool, so it’s not useless. And, depending on the instrument, you can still get a very organic, realistic sound.

If you haven’t listened to any of the VST plugins yet, that would be a great place to start. Most if not, all have video demos, reviews, and audio samples for you to peruse.

When you’re listening to the sound of each plugin, it’s recommended that you listen to a few different sources, as quality can differ from one audio sample or video to another.

If you think you have some idea of what you’re looking for in terms of sound already, great. Examine the other criteria referenced below.

Features

There’s no getting around the fact that the most feature rich (and best sounding) plugins are also the most expensive, at least in this category.

VENTO and ANALOG BRASS & WINDS offer a ton of features you’re simply not going to find anywhere else (arpeggiators, loop designers, tape loopers, etc.), and that’s well worth noting if you’re looking for libraries that can knock it out of the park for you.

But this certainly doesn’t make cheaper options lesser. It depends a lot on how you plan to make up the difference. If you’re starting with a great sound, you can always take advantage of your favorite effects and signal chains to process the signal to your liking.

Of course, there is something to be said for having everything in one place. It can help streamline CPU usage, and it’s simply more convenient.

While we can’t tell you exactly which plugin to get, we do suggest studying up on the features of each.

Budget

How much are you willing to spend on a woodwind VST plugin? They can cost anywhere from $20 to $450. It could end up being a significant purchase depending on the option you select.

We encourage you to use your budget as a filter for your purchase. There may be options you’re drooling over right now but simply can’t afford. If so, we don’t recommend going into debt for any VST plugin related purchase. Instead, save up for plugins that are a little out of reach.

There’s no need to hurry the purchase unless you’re struggling to meet a tight deadline. In that case, try to make do with free or budget options and learn to wield them to the best of your ability. Or call in a favor to a local session player.

Top Woodwind VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

Now you know everything you need to know about woodwind VST plugins, so get out there, get after it, try your new purchase, and let us know how it goes. It's all theory and speculation until you start creating music!

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!

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