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Best Marimba VSTs – Top 5 Greatest Marimba Plugins of 2023

The marimba is a beautiful, mellow-sounding instrument that blends into many different types of compositions. However, to pull off a great marimba sound in your productions, you need to use a VST that actually sounds like a marimba. This can be difficult because soft-toned instruments can be notoriously hard to capture and replicate.

Take a Look ↓↓↓

That said, there are some nice sounding marimba VSTs out there to experiment with. It always takes some work to find the best, most responsive sounds, but I’ve done the legwork for you. So here’s my list of the best marimba VST packages, both paid and free.

What is a Marimba?

What is a Marimba

A marimba is a type of xylophone; a pitched percussion instrument composed of tuned plates laid out in a similar way to a piano keyboard. The main feature that makes a marimba a marimba is that it has soft, mellow tones compared to the distinct, “harder” tones of a regular xylophone. 

Marimbas are usually made of tuned blocks of wood, although other materials can be used, too. To identify a marimba, peek underneath the bass end blocks, and you should see that they’re hollowed out.

This reduces the overall volume and hard edges of those bass tones when compared to a xylophone. A virtual marimba should replicate these softer tones and produce a level, somewhat ambient sound. So, let’s get started with the…

New Glass Marimba by 8dio (FREE) – Best Free Glass Marimba VST

New Glass Marimba VST

Let’s start with some free marimba VSTs. I don’t know about you, but when I think marimba, I think lovely warm wood tones. Glass is probably the last material I would think of hitting with mallets in the first place, let alone making a marimba from.

However, the free New Glass Marimba VST by 8dio doesn’t sound as high and pingy as I would have thought. Instead, it’s warm and even ethereal. 8dio has done an excellent job of bringing this VST instrument to life with beautiful, clear ringing samples – over 2,000 of them.

The samples are sampled in four different playing styles. You get hard mallet, soft mallet, and even ultra-light fingernail playing styles, plus a deep-sampled style. That’s all in one patch, while the other includes ambient and FX articulations like Ocean, Alien, Bleeding, and Droplet.

In the user interface

You get 30 custom presets, so you can jump right in and start recording. Or you can experiment with filter, gate, pitch, delay, and many more controls. You can also mess around with a huge array of filters like bit-crush, transform, degrader, and more on the built-in Chaos FX system.

While this VST is free, you do need a full retail version of Kontakt 5.7 to run it, either on Windows or Mac platforms. It’s also big at 1.7GB, so make sure you have the space. But I think it’s worth it because of the pure, almost angelic quality of the samples and the wide range of controls onboard.

Marimbaphonic by AlanViSTa (FREE) – Best Free Marimba VST

Marimbaphonic by AlanViSTa

Marimbaphonic by AlanViSTa is a decent-sounding free marimba VST that comes out of the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios public domain library. This instrument includes 122 samples that were recorded in a big 27,000 cubic foot sound-isolated room with three microphones. This provides a clear and accurate sound profile for the samples.

The samples here are mono and recorded in 24-bit. You get some basic controls on the VST as well, including release time control, amplitude dynamic range, reverb, and of course, main volume. They offer 32 and 64-bit versions for Windows and a Mac version as well.

The only real complaint here is that the samples are limited to just two velocity layers, meaning you’ll be limited in how expressive your sound can be. But then again, can you complain? Free is free!

Marimba by Frontline Producer – Best Marimba VST with Loops

Marimba by Frontline Producer

Next up, we look at some of the best paid marimba VSTs you can buy, starting with Marimba by Frontline Producer. This pack is only about $25, so it’s not going to break the bank by any means. You get a richly sampled instrument with samples of 24-bit at 44.1kHz. These sounds have a lot of resonance, and their warm, wooden quality comes through well.

But something different on offer here is the loops pack that’s included. You get a total of 343 loops played at 100, 110, 120, and 127bpm. As a result, you can immediately drop into your tracks or manipulate them to make them your own.

I think the best part of this VST package is that it comes with a sample patch that lets you play it right into your DAW directly. Meaning this is one of the easiest to use marimba VSTs around. Furthermore, the loops come in Rex2 format if that’s what you’re into.

Paradise Marimba by Orange Tree Samples – Best Sounding Marimba VST

Paradise Marimba by Orange Tree Samples

If you feel like dishing out some more cash, you can consider the Paradise Marimba VST by Orange Tree Samples. This pack will set you back about $100.

Is it worth it?

I think this is the most accurate marimba VST out there for the money. The sound is rich and warm, with a delicious mellowness. It makes the other VSTs I’ve mentioned sound bright and hard by comparison. If that’s what you’re looking for, you get 3.9GB of 24-bit samples compressed into about 1.4GB of memory space.

The samples are recorded at three mic distances which you can play with to get the perfect feel. And with 11x round robins included, you’re able to produce super-realistic rolls and quick patterns. They’ve also included special bass mallets and muted hits to offer you a truly full range of marimba sounds.

Unfortunately, this VST requires a full version of Kontakt (v4.2.4) to work. However, there is a sample version that you can download for free to test out before you make the purchase.

Looking to Make Some Sweet Beats?

Then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Drum VST Plugins, the Top Free Garageband Plug-Ins, the Best Timpani VST, the Best Beat Machines for Hip Hop, the Best Electronic Drum Pads, the Best Hardware Sequencers, and the Best Keyboard Synthesizer you can buy in 2023.

You might also enjoy our detailed reviews of the Best Percussion Stomp Boxes, the Best DJ Mixers, the Best Tambourines, the Best Electronic Drum Sets currently on the market.

Which is the Best Marimba VST?

In the end, that comes down to your needs. I love the sound of Paradise Marimba, but it’s by far the most expensive option. New Glass Marimba is a very different take on this instrument, but one that can be used in unique ways. And Marimbaphonic is a very adequate VST if you need something to use for free.

Just decide how much marimba you need and try out a few marimba VSTs. You’ll find a number of great ways to enhance your compositions to make them smooth like butter.

Until next time, let your music play.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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