Concert percussion is abundant in film scores, trailers, and commercials. As a composer, it’s always a good idea to have many tools at your disposal.
Great-sounding percussion instrument libraries are often challenging to find. Look no further as I’ll be sharing five of the best xylophone VST plugins to use in your compositions.
Note: the issue with many percussion instrument plugins is they usually come packed in a larger library (for example, an orchestral percussion library). You may not be able to find a standalone xylophone VST outside of the free option I’ve listed below.
1) Vital Series: Mallets – Paid
Vital Series: Mallets from Big Fish Audio is not exclusive to the xylophone; instead, it covers a range of many different mallet instruments.
‘Vital Series: Mallets’ includes eight instruments in one patch. The GUI of Mallets allows for each pitched percussion instrument to be edited, played, blended, and recorded together.
All eight instruments included are:
- Tubular Bells (Chimes)
- Glass Marimba
- Song Bells
The samples themselves sound incredible; the level of detail is excellent for commercial film and TV productions. The recordings offer dry, stereo samples with four velocity layers and five round robins per instrument.
Each instrument comes with multiple mallet types, giving you more flexibility for quiet and louder sections of a piece.
Mallet types included are as follows:
- Medium Soft
- Medium Hard
We all know that rolls and drags typically give us an issue when sampling drums. Mallet rolls are made easy with the Rolls creator, and they sound quite realistic.
The major con of the library is the lack of multiple microphone positions. However, the samples sound excellent, and the instrument is worth a listen.
Vital Series: Mallets is available at Plugin Boutique.
2) Impact Soundworks Rhapsody Orchestral Colors and Percussion – Paid
Rhapsody Orchestral Colors and Percussion is a library made for the full version of KONTAKT. It boasts a collection of 50 traditional and extended instruments. The library has three separate microphone positions, giving more options with your production.
The samples aren’t overly hyped, like many “movie trailer” libraries.
Take a listen to some of the clips below:
The xylophone samples included sound great, which are heard in the clip “Attack of the Blue Monster” near the end.
3) Heavyocity AEON – Paid
While not necessarily a pitched-percussion library, AEON does contain many impressive-sounding samples, including those of the xylophone.
I am a massive fan of Heavyocity: I think they make some of the best virtual instruments for composers to date.
AEON covers synths, ethnic, orchestral, cinematic, sound design, and rhythm all in one.
Heavyocity AEON is available from Plugin Boutique.
4) eXylo from VST4Free – Free
We have arrived at a free plugin! The eXylo is a great xylophone VST that won’t cost a penny.
eXylo is a sampled xylophone that has 88 stereo samples from the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios public domain library.
The UI isn’t the most impressive looking, but if you’re looking for a free alternative to paid VSTs, look no further.
eXylo works for Windows in both 32-bit and 64-bit VST. Mac users need to use the Audio Unit download.
5) East-West Composer Cloud
My subscription to Composer Cloud from East-West has lasted for more than two years. That should say something about the samples included.
With East-West CC, you gain access to 40,000+ instruments for $19.99 a month. You can’t beat the value.
The percussion libraries are fantastic-sounding and are very useful for commercial and TV productions.
The only downside I’ve found is, again, the lack of different microphone positions. They are available, just not in the Composer Cloud plan. You have to purchase each library outright to gain access to different microphone positions.
Aside from that con, I love the libraries included with the plan, especially the pitched percussion.
Sign up: http://www.soundsonline.com/composercloud
What xylophone plugin do you use? Have you found a standalone one, or do you use one contained in a larger library? I’d love to hear from you down below in the comments. Thanks for reading once again.