Creating authentic sounding soul compositions can be a big challenge, especially, when you’re doing everything in the box. Having the right virtual instruments at your disposal, will make the process a lot easier and more fun. Here’s our five favorite virtual instruments to create an authentic sounding soul sample with:

Waterfall B3 Organ by UAD

The B3 organ is a legendary instrument in soul music, known for its rich, warm tones and distinctive sound. Musicians like Booker T. Jones and Billy Preston helped popularize the B3 organ in soul music during the 1960s, contributing to the genre's iconic sound. Its soulful, gospel-infused notes have made it a staple in the genre ever since.

Getting a real vintage one for our own headquarters remains a dream. For now, this plugin by UAD does an excellent job at recreating the iconic sound of the Hammond organ.

LA Scoring Strings 3

Artists like Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield incorporated string arrangements into their songs during the 1960s and 1970s, adding depth and sophistication to their soulful compositions. The role of a string orchestra in soul music is very diverse. Sometimes it’s just high-pitched sustained violin notes in the verse of a song, sometimes it’s complex runs and epic melodies.

If you want to add a cinematic quality to your soul composition, take a look at this plugin, as it is one of the best sounding string libraries for this kind of genre.

Pro Tip: some say that the LA Scoring Strings 2 library sounds even more authentic when compare to the recordings of the 60s and 70s

Mellotron V by Arturia

While the Mellotron was not commonly used in traditional US soul music, the instruments sampled on this iconic instrument were. However, there were exceptions, and some artists experimented with the Mellotron in their soul recordings.

We’ve found that using the Mellotron sounds to layer other virtual instruments can create beautiful textures. Try layering your LA Scoring Strings part with a Mellotron string patch or our next featured plugin, Session Horns, with a flute or trumpet.

Don’t miss out on our Mellotron Expansion Packs available on Minta Foundry. All patches were created from scratch using samples recorded by our team of sound designers. The expansions include sounds like bells, flutes, organs, guitars and many more.

Session Horns by Native Instruments

The horn section in soul music is known for its ability to punctuate rhythms, provide melodic embellishments, and create tight, harmonious arrangements. To be completely honest, it’s almost impossible to find a horn sample library able to reproduce the bright, punchy and brassy sound of a horn section in an authentic way. But this one gets really close.

Pro Tip: If you have access to a trombone, flute, saxophone or trumpet player, have them double any of the lines you composed and mix the real recording with the midi. The real-life performance will bring a level of expressiveness and nuance to your composition that the MIDI instruments may lack.

Percussions Rack by Minta Foundry

Now, last but not least. Our very own, first, virtual instrument plug-in: Percussions Rack by Minta Foundry.

The percussion instruments oftentimes play a crucial role in soul music. The parts typically feature a combination of instruments like bongos, congas, tambourines, and shakers, contributing to the genre's rhythmically rich and danceable sound.

Using percussion sounds instead of drums can be a wise decision, especially when creating compositions to be sampled later on.

Percussions Rack features many different sounds to choose from. Congas, bongos, triangle, wood blocks, claves, cymbals, cuica, cabasa, and many more. On top of that, you get an effect section which you can use to further shape your sounds. Are you working on a composition in the style of mid 60s soul music, then you should try using the spring and room reverb. Or are you more into late 70s soul music, then you should definitely give the delay section a go and add a touch of psychedelic tape delay to your composition.