Church Organ

Best free pipe organ VST plugins | Auditory Repository Kontakt, SFZ & Decent Sampler instruments

A comprehensive look at free pipe organs and virtual church organ instruments. From good-old VST workhorses to some fresher Kontakt Player sample libraries (and a few hidden gems).

Church Organ 2nd

The first in this curated list of free pipe organs is a long-time favorite of mine. Released all the way back in 2009 as a sequel to a previous edition from years before, the Church Organ 2nd VST plugin developed by C.Hackl (aka Mainstream Audio) is arguably one of the best virtual pipe organs available for free.

Church Organ 2nd by CHackl Mainstream Audio

This unique plugin instrument offers a synthesizer-based (yet realistic sounding) church style organ that has a very usable and workable sound thanks to an infinite number of tonal possibilities.

5 synth oscillators allow you to shape, harmonize and layer different organ elements with the ability to sculpt a very desirable, customizable pipe organ sound.

Also, due to the fact Church Organ 2nd is very CPU efficient, you can (and should) layer more than one plugin instance for an even richer sound.

The dry, bright characteristic of this finely-executed synthesized pipe organ also makes it a very pliable one. It may not sound top-notch convincing right away, but with a good reverb, the right spectral treatment and the appropriate audio processing the sky is the limit really.

Now, since it has a more of a Toccata kind of sound which is mostly suitable for fast playing and “dramatic” fast passages, it makes a softer sound a bit more challenging to achieve, so I wouldn’t go on and use it for that very purpose, for example (there are much better options in this list for that kind of sound, I promise).

The attached download link refers to the most recent version of the Church Organ 2nd VST which is provided directly by the plugin developer himself, C. Hackl (via Facebook and Dropbox).

The latest update (released in 2016) fixed some user-reported issues like the unwanted blow noise in the original plugin and also introduced a few more upgrades. Most importantly, it added compatibility with 64-bit Windows environments and also 4 additional synth OCS’s.

Soundiron Aquae Organ

From the oldest to the newest pipe organ freebie in this list – which comes from Soundiron. Aquae Organ, released only this January, features an experimental/acoustic sampled Kontakt Player pipe organ that involves waveform-based and digitally generated synth sounds for a more of an hybrid experience.

Aquae Organ by Soundiron

AQUAE ORGAN Kontakt library specs

Naturally, this library leans more towards the industrial, alternative and experimental kind of genres and is not much intended for classical type of works and similar.

Sonuscore Free Pipe Organ

The Sonuscore Free Pipe Organ is a very quality church organ instrument, made for the free Kontakt Player by Native Instruments.

Originally released by the end of 2022, this very decently sampled Sonuscore organ offers you with 3 basic rank modes or sound characteristics that you can pick, isolate or mix together. The first tonal mode out of the three ranks which are available to you is Principal, while the second is Pedal and the third being Toccata.

Sonuscore Free Pipe Organ

Each mode serves its own purpose, musically. For example, Toccata gives you that classic, intense, very notable and recognizable pipe organ sound while Pedal gives you the deeper bass qualities of the organ. Principal will provide a more soft, flute-like sound that is suitable for mellower type of compositions and slower-tempo applications.

Other than the three tonal registers which are available, a dedicated Mixer panel will allow you to balance the different signals and shape the sound to your artistic, musical preference. Additional sound design parameters include a 3-Band equalizer as well as FX parameters such as a saturation module, delay and reverb.

There are also some quite decently labeled, useful presets that can also help you get the sound that you’re after, like for example the “Dracula” patch that gives you that instant, eerie, old-film style / cinematic pipe organ vibe or “Cathedral Echoes” that is very soft and mellow, divine-like and ethereal sounding.

The Free Orchestra: Organ Mystique (ProjectSAM)

Organ Mystique is another free Kontakt Player pipe organ instrument which is part of The Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM.

This library/patch offers this very straight forward and quite flexible sampled pipe organ that is very production-ready in terms of sound quality and its overall direct approach. It doesn’t need much tweaking at all and is very usable right off the bat – a fact that also makes it great for the sole purpose of sketching.

Organ Mystique The Free Orchestra ProjectSAM

Similar to the Sonuscore pipe organ, The Free Orchestra Organ Mystique provides this isolated layer of pedal (bass) sound that you can mix with the main sound – which, tone-speaking, is somewhat between the softer sounding Principal and the more prominent Toccata (with a little more breath and body to it, to put it more precisely). There are also a few extra parameters such as ADSR envelope shapers, reverb and more.

The only downside of Organ Mystique is that you are forced to download The Free Orchestra library as a single unit, as it is not currently available as a sole instrument.

Eiersheimer Orgel & Neanderthal Pipe Organ (Pianobook)

Pianobook hosts quite a few decent church organs and pipe organs in its enormous catalog of free sample packs. One of them is the Kontakt Eiersheimer Orgel by Jonas Krug – which is probably the best that the platform has to offer when it comes to pipe organs – not much sound-wise but maybe more due to the fact it is also compatible with the free Decent Sampler player. But make no mistake, it is a very, very usable organ that I urge you to add to your arsenal.

Eiersheimer Orgel Jonas Krug Pianobook

And it’s not the only good Pianobook organ. The Neanderthal Pipe Organ by Daniel Werner is another quality option – yet it is only available for the full, retail edition of Native Instruments Kontakt.

Neanderthal Pipe Organ by Daniel Werner

Both of these free pipe organ libraries offer an impressive amount of organ registers, ranks and stops which of course makes them highly versatile and tweakable. Out of all the organs in this list, these two are quite undoubtedly the most in-depth and comprehensive sampled pipe organs that you can download for free.

Crucible (Orchestral Tools SINEfactory)

When we talk about underrated VST plugins, and particularly free pipe organs, Crucible is definitely one of those instruments that fall into the category.

Originally part of a now discontinued series of freebies called SINEfactory, the Crucible church organ – one of several freely available instruments offered by Orchestral Tools – will provide the usual pipe organ long/sustain articulation but also sampled shorts (staccatos).

Crucible Orchestral Tools Pipe Organ SINEfactory

A true hidden gem, this impressive sampled pipe organ library was released by OT in 2021 straight to their dedicated free sampler, SINEplayer.

Now, the amount of dynamic depth and variance that you get with this particular library is far beyond sufficient. Although it doesn’t offer the same amount of organ ranks and registers that we see in the Pianobook libraries for example, it still packs some very generous high-end features and real quality pipe organ samples.

There is a total of 8 keyswitched articulations you could choose from – half being general articulations, while the remaining four represent the pedalboard / Pedal (bass register) sounds.

The main articulations, as well as the Pedal patches, are divided into “loud” and “soft” patches consisting of longs and shorts.
The loud patches (labeled as Full Sustains/Full Staccato) provide the seemingly standard Principal/Toccata-ish type of sound while the soft ones – which are labeled as Light Sustains and Light Staccato patches provide this sort of a warm sounding flute rank.

The most important part about the free Crucible pipe organ is that each individual articulation is paired with a set of 3 mixable stereo microphone positions, which is something that all of the above basically lack.

The three stereo mic signals offer you with Close, Room and Gallery perspectives – and you can enable, disable, mix or unmix them via the dedicated Mixer tab in the SINE Player interface.

As mentioned, there are 4 patches that are dedicated to the Pedal (bass) soundboard. The “loud” Pedal variations are named Pedals (8va) Sustains and Pedals (8va) Staccato. Then you get the regular Pedal Staccato along with an additional setting featuring the Pedal Soft Sustains. The same applies to the general articulations.

* 8va stands for higher octave.

As a bonus, I would like to take the opportunity to just go and quickly name drop a few more pipe organ VSTs and libraries that couldn’t make this list (but are still very good). The 1st is Rank Two – a pipe/portative organ-like synth created by independent plugin developer Quilcom. It is available as a 32/64 bit Windows VSTi through the creator’s Flowstone webpage.

My 2nd recommendation is the Pianobook Spooky Organ which is another Decent Sampler instrument submitted by the same developer of the Eiersheimer Orgel. This one is much more experimental sounding and more gimmicky-themed, as its name suggests, but it has a very nice and unique, distinct character to it.

My very last PB recommendation is the Little Organ Decent Sampler library by Kalen Smith – which is a sampled positive organ. It has a few pitch-oriented imperfections here and there but the sound is very malleable.

Now, just like the mentioned Kontakt libraries, it is important to note that all Decent Sampler player instruments are available in stand-alone mode as well as in VST, VST2 and VST3 plugin forms for Windows and macOS. In addition, the Decidedly Decent Sampler format also has support for Linux and iOS devices.

Before I sign this off, I want to mention another Kontakt-compatible organ that I like quite a lot which is the free Kontakt Player Carousel fairground organ by Sonokinetic. You may also want to try the Spitfire Audio LABS Pipe Organ and the more classic GrandOrgue virtual pipe organ software (which is a stand-alone only application).

My very last free pipe organ recommendations are based on the Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 Community Edition (aka VSCO 2 CE) orchestral sample collection.

Now, with the official VST version of the VSCO 2 CE orchestral library you can get these couple of bread-and-butter organs – one “soft” and another one which is “loud”. They are a decent pair of organs, no doubt about that, but none of them is particularly special or overly “exciting”, to be honest.

But there is also this one hidden gem, and you are not going to find it in the VST version – simply because it’s not part of it.

About a couple of years ago, I had first come across this NI Kontakt patch created by Bigcat Instruments, named “Ren Organ” (short for Renaissance Organ). Ren Organ is based on an old church organ, and it utilizes samples that were contributed to the Versilian Community Sample Library (VCSL) – which is an expansion to the original VSCO 2 CE orchestral/symphonic sound collection.

The expanded soundbank made additional instruments available to the public, and fortunately for all of us free-plugin-enthusiasts one of them is that very mentioned Renaissance Organ.

You can download the free Ren Organ Kontakt instrument via Bigcat’s own blog, or alternatively the free Renaissance Organ SFZ (Sforzando by Plogue) compatible instrument provided by Sam Gossner through GitHub.

Now, I want to get a little more specific and a bit more technical, and to specially highlight the 3rd Kontakt keyswitch (articulation) in particular. Hands down, it has one of the most beautifully sampled soft and percussive flute-like organ sounds I’ve ever heard and encountered – and this is no exaggeration. It really is that good.