by Native Instruments

5 free Kontakt libraries for ambient music

free kontakt libraries for ambient music

Making good ambient music isn’t as simple as it seems. The ambient tracks you love might sound gentle and unobtrusive, drifting into the background rather than grabbing your attention. But their carefully chosen chords and melodies evoke complex emotions, and sonic details reward close listening. Good ambient music has emotional depth beneath its peaceful surface.

Fortunately, you don’t need complex or expensive tools to start refining your ambient craft. There are plenty of free music production tools that will help you to create soothing pads, gentle melodies, and engrossing textures perfect for ambient music. In this article, we’ll look at five free ambient sound libraries available for Native Instruments’ flagship sample player, Kontakt. These instruments cover every aspect of ambient music-making, offering a wealth of free ambient samples and loops, and giving you all the building blocks you’ll need to make ambient music like the pros.

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How do you add ambient sounds?

Adding ambient sounds to your music can be as simple as downloading one of these free Kontakt ambient libraries. Some of them need the full version of Kontakt 7, but others run on the Kontakt Player, which is completely free to download. Once you’ve installed these ambient sound libraries, you can use them to create affecting pads, melodies, and more. Just remember the golden rule of ambient: if in doubt, add reverb.

5 free Kontakt libraries for ambient music

1. Vapor Keys Sakura

Named after the famous Japanese cherry blossom, this free ambient sound library gives you three delicate synth patches ideal for pads and melodies.

Vapor Keys Sakura
Vapor Keys Sakura

It’s a sibling to Karanyi’s Vapor Keys, a more fully-featured collection designed for lo-fi production. But Sakura works equally well as an ambient dream machine. Each of the three synth sounds is instant gold, and can be refined with a few basic effects (including reverb, vintage phaser, and EQ). For extra potency, try adding additional effects in your DAW – such as hazy delay.

2. Play Series

The Play Series gives you everything you need to build ambient compositions from the ground up. Three of these powerful hybrid instruments are available as part of the free Komplete Start bundle, letting you quickly conjure ethereal pads, drifting melodies, and rich synthetic atmospheres.

Ethereal Earth from the Play Series
Ethereal Earth from the Play Series

Ethereal Earth combines acoustic world instruments with creative processing; Hybrid Keys blends together sampled pianos, mallets, and other keyboard instruments; and Analog Dreams offers juicy sounds captured from iconic vintage synths. All three feature deep libraries of free ambient samples and loops, perfect for creating those soft and otherworldly sounds.

3. EMP Mark II

When making ambient music, it’s useful to have a great-sounding keyboard instrument to hand. A few daubs of melody or some gentle chords can heighten and deepen the emotion. The EMP Mark II, from Sonokinetic, captures the sound of a vintage electro-mechanical piano that’s perfect for melancholic ambient keys.


This Kontakt ambient library sounds fantastic, and the extensive effects mean you can keep tweaking til you’re happy. For best results, add modulation such as chorus and dial up one of the six authentic spatial effects – spring reverb is our favorite.

4. Soniccouture Tape Choir

If your ambient pad sounds are getting a little stale, try giving them a twist with Soniccouture’s Tape Choir. This free Kontakt ambient library deploys an old-school recording trick in which multiple voice samples are layered to create an “infinite choir” effect. The result is a choral instrument with tons of emotion and a unique vintage sound.

Soniccouture Tape Choir
Soniccouture Tape Choir

Use it for swelling chords, unearthly melodies, and any time your ambient track could do with a touch of nostalgia. If you’re looking for more adventurous atmospheres, take a look at the impressive (and sometimes whacky) selection of reverbs.

5. Signal Free

Much ambient music floats free of rhythm rather than riding on a strong beat. But a gentle pulse can enhance the music’s effect. Use Signal Free to give your ambient tracks soothing, hypnotic movement.

Signal Free
Signal Free

This taster version of Output’s beloved “pulse engine” offers a palette of piano, guitar, and synth sounds that can be arranged into overlapping rhythmic loops. Extensive pattern controls and onboard effects let you turn simple sounds into mesmerizing repeats that will have listeners sinking deep into a meditative state.

Start incorporating these libraries into your ambient sound

In this article we’ve looked at five free ambient sound libraries that are great for crafting effective compositions. Whether it’s soothing keys, otherworldly pads, or pulsing rhythms, these instruments have the sounds you need. Now it’s time to start using them to enhance your ambient compositions.

Get Kontakt 7, Native Instruments’ flagship sample player, to explore these and a whole world of other sampled instruments – many of them available for free.

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