Best Orchestral Percussion VST LibrariesBest Orchestral Percussion?

Are you looking for cinematic orchestral percussion for your music compositions?

Percussion is the essence of action and rhythm, of power and energy.

Anything from low majestic booms, to hard hitting and punchy drums, to driving high percussion.

In this quick guide I have compiled a list of great orchestral percussion VST libraries:

Orchestral Percussion VST libraries – Top List

  1. Damage (Heavyocity)
  2. CinePerc (Cinesamples)
  3. HZ Percussion (Spitfire Audio)
  4. Berlin Percussion (Orchestral Tools)
  5. StrikeForce (Laboratory Audio)
  6. Action Strikes (Native Instruments)
  7. Spitfire Percussion (Spitfire Audio)
  8. SAGA – Acoustic Trailer Percussion (Red Room Audio)
  9. Symphony Series Percussion (Native Instruments)
  10. Taiko Creator (In Session Audio)
  11. Cerberus (Audio Imperia)

Hello Composers! =)

My name is Mike, founder of professionalcomposers.com, music composer and sound designer since 1998, old school nerd, and coffee addict. So grab a cup of coffee, and let’s check out some Orchestral Percussion VST Libraries! =)

Damage (Heavyocity)

A very dark and processed overall sound, including 700+ loops, 500+ one-shots and 58 kits. Damage is not about natural orchestral percussion. The focus is rather on epic, loud and hard impacts.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Instant Trailer type Epic Percussion
  • The Punish Knob for even more “Heat”
  • Powerful User Interface
  • The Room Placement Mixer

CinePerc (Cinesamples)

CinePerc was recorded at the SONY Scoring Stage in Los Angeles, and mixed by master engineer Dennis Sands. This is the great “all-in-one” orchestral percussion package, with that instant “Hollywood Sound”.

My Favorite Highlights

  • 4 libraries in one (Core, Pro, Epic, Aux)
  • Great Hollywood Sound
  • The Microphone Mix Controls
  • Includes a Full Ensemble Patch (great for quick mockups)

HZ Percussion (Spitfire Audio)

Recorded at Air Studios via an impressive signal chain: 96 rarefied microphones into Neve Montserrat preamps, into the world’s biggest Neve 88R desk. And the selection of percussion included is extensive.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Great Selection of Percussion (especially in the low-range)
  • Many Powerful Soundshaping Features
  • Includes Ensembles and Solo Patches
  • The Interface is very Straightforward

Berlin Percussion (Orchestral Tools)

Gigantic percussion library (150GB sample set) recorded at the Teldex Scoring Stage in Germany. All instruments were recorded in their natural positions, which gives you a natural percussion mix.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Build your own percussion ensembles
  • True Damping Feature
  • Uniform mapping structure
  • Different Mallets for respective instruments

StrikeForce (Laboratory Audio)

StrikeForce was recorded at 192k in many various recording studios, halls, tunnels, rooms in Los Angeles. The focus is on a modern cinematic sound, compared to a natural orchestral sound. This library will give you big ensembles, anvils, sub boom, and “ticktocks” that simply works great for that big and modern sound.



My Favorite Highlights

  • Modern Cinematic Sound
  • The Sound Categories
  • 5 Different Drum Tunings
  • Lots of Round Robins

Action Strikes (Native Instruments)

Action strikes includes 12 full ensembles plus 65 single instruments and 12 carefully-compiled Hit Sets. Even though the main focus is on building percussion from phrases that you trigger with key switches, you can use the individual patches to play the sounds manually.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Great for Writing Percussion Parts fast (Ex: Mockups)
  • The Categorization of Low, Mid and High Parts
  • Adjust accent strength with the pitch wheel
  • Change Dynamics with the MOD-wheel

Spitfire Percussion (Spitfire Audio)

An orchestral percussion library with a great variation of low and high percussion instruments, as well as a set of mallet instruments. A very natural orchestral percussion sound, with amazing dynamics, recorded in the Hall at Air Lyndhurst.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Great true recorded dynamic range
  • Quick and Easy mapping
  • Great Sound Shaping Controls

SAGA (Red Room Audio)

SAGA, which has the subtitle “Acoustic Trailer Percussion” is of course focusing on trailer type percussion based on recorded sounds. It gives you a range of drum ensembles, dynamic metals, and even world instruments. Recorded in a fairly dry hall with 2 microphone positions. There are over 110 instruments in total, including special sounds like giant silos, metal doors, machinery etc.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Up to 7 dynamic layers and 10 round robin
  • Multiple articulations (rolls, rims, edges..)
  • Simple & Straightforward GUI
  • The Extra Field Recordings (Machinery, Tools etc.)

Symphony Series Percussion (Native Instruments)

55 orchestral percussion instruments, recorded at Studio 22, Budapest. It features a wide range of both classic and exotic percussive instruments, diverse articulations and powerful drum head resonance simulation.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Huge range (55 recorded instruments)
  • Tremolo, Crescendo Roll, Flam, Edge variations and FX articulations
  • 5 microphone mixes including spot microphone
  • Drum Head Resonance Simulation
  • Inspiring and simple interface

Taiko Creator (In Session Audio)

This library is based on one of the most used percussion instruments in cinematic music, the Japanese Taiko drums. Taiko Creator allows you to create, control and generate multiple solo and ensemble groups of your own, all playable from a single interface. From mega big, and low booming Taikos…to sharp stick hits.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Mapping system is brilliant
  • The Presets give you instant access to different ensembles
  • Custom creation of percussion groups
  • Extremely playable out of the box (all in one patch if you wish)

Cerberus (Audio Imperia)

Based on a hard-hitting drummer trio, thus the name “Cerberus”, this library has a very modern cinematic sound. It is also very customizable, including for example 7 microphone positions and a very nice user interface with sound shaping controls.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Modern Hard Hitting Cinematic Sound
  • Includes a Recorded Drum Kit
  • 7 microphone positions for the regular patches
  • True Stacking Engine, with additional round robin samples

Honorable Mentions

  • True Strike (Project Sam)
    Classic and highly celebrated, and still very much usable today.
  • LADD (Audiobro)
    LA Drama Drums (LADD), had many interesting features, and blends traditional and modern percussion.
  • StormDrum (EastWest)
    Another classic, which comes in 3 versions. All are based on high quality recordings in a great space, by professional percussionists.
  • Ensemble Drums Collection (Heavyocity)
    Great for that big ensemble sound, on several different types of orchestral percussion.
  • Rhapsody (Impact Soundworks)
    Covers a nice range (50+ instruments) of traditional orchestral percussion instruments.
  • Apocalypse Percussion (Soundiron)
    Amazing for big epic toms, hard hits and trailer type percussion.

Mikael Baggström - Composer and Sound DesignerMy name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist and educator.

PS. Do you want to LEVEL UP as a Composer? – Learn How here.