The Philharmonia Orchestra, the UK’s National Orchestra, has released thousands of free, downloadable samples on its website. The library of recorded sounds is organized by instrument, with multiple dynamic, articulation and duration variables for each note.
The samples are released under a creative commons license, allowing producers to use them in commercial work without paying royalties. The entire range of orchestral instruments is available and each can be downloaded as a zip file. The samples are in MP3 format.
While there are other free samples available online, it’s exceptional to find ones recorded by world-class musicians in a professional orchestra without paying between $500 and thousands of dollars.
Since, 1945 the Philharmonia Orchestra has been one of the world’s premiere orchestras. In 2013, the orchestra performed over 160 concerts and recorded scores for films, CDs and video games. The free samples are part of Philharmonia’s long tradition of innovation and commitment to engaging new composers and musicians.
Samples are especially helpful for projects with multiple tracks, where textures can be mixed to blend together using eq and reverb. Many film score projects also using a blending of sampled orchestra instruments and recorded ones, to fill out the sound of the mix and save money on costly recording sessions.
Using sampled instruments has become increasingly prolific in recent years, thanks to breakthroughs in computer processing power and affordability. And as high quality samples like this become more and more accessible, it’s safe to assume that this trend will only continue.