Free Orchestral Sample Libraries from Versilian Studios

The motivation behind Versilian Studios is simple: to provide high-quality and affordable sample libraries to students, hobbyists and professionals. Six years ago, VS founder to-be, Sam Gossner borrowed a friend’s fretless zither. He loved playing it, but had to give it back after a few weeks. Without the means to buy one, he decided to record the instrument and build up his own zither sample library. Gossner thought the process was fun, and figured he could help out others in the same situation.

Today there are more than 15 products available on the VS website. The bulk of Gossner’s libraries are based on orchestral, ethnic and rare instruments. And many of them are free. Things started to take off for VS in 2012, with the release of Tubular Bellswhich to date is still their most popular digital instrument. Gossner found that most commercial libraries had skimped on tubular bells, a sound which was once a staple of dance and film music—so he went ahead and created a library himself. After receiving messages from composers thanking him for Tubular Bells, Gossner felt he had found his place in the sample library market. 

VS's most arduous project to date is the VCSO 2. For the last two years, Gossner has been working on an affordable multi-instrument orchestral library capable of modern sound design. Over 40 musicians from the Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory and New England Conservatory contributed to the VSCO 2 to build 90 unique instruments, including chamber-sized string sections, woodwinds, percussion and even wine glasses.

The instruments were recorded in different locations, giving people a variety uncommon in even high-end libraries—i.e over 500 articulations and extended instrumental techniques. You can read more about Gossner’s mobile recording setup in his article “The Art of Guerilla Sampling”.

Recording session for the VSCO 2, Summer 2015 Session for VSCO 2, Summer 2015

Recording session for the VSCO 2, Summer 2015 Session for VSCO 2, Summer 2015

There are four editions of the library—the free version is an open-source system containing more than 3GB of orchestral samples designed for beginner composers and developers. The paid versions are available here.

The final cutting and processing of sounds (62,000 samples in total!) for the VSCO 2 was completed by Elan Hickler of Soundemote. All Kontakt instruments in the library were built by Simon Autenrieth.