Orchestral Tools Salu review

If you’ve ever wondered how an eclectic selection of close-up acoustic samples might sound, you’re in luck!

  • €399 + VAT
Orchestral Tools Salu
(Image: © Orchestral Tools)

MusicRadar Verdict

Salu sits proud by providing some of the classiest acoustic samples we’ve heard, from a location which oozes creativity.


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    Stylish sampling suite.

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    Plenty of instrumental variance, across the library.

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    The purity of the instrumental/vocal tone is stunning.

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    The instrumentalists employed here are of the highest calibre.


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    Won’t be for everyone, but we’d recommend exploring.

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Orchestral Tools Salu: What is it?

Orchestral Tools has always strived for perfection, notably through its fine collection of orchestral libraries, recorded at the Teldex scoring stage in Berlin. 

With a change of location, their latest project is described as ‘Close-up soundscapes’, and what better way to deliver this than from a location that really gets away from it all...

Salu is a beautifully eclectic library, exclusively recorded at the Arvo Pärt Centre, which is set in the heart of a pine forest, 40 minutes away from Tallinn, in Estonia. 

Described as a cultural space and creative environment, this exceptional venue offers performance spaces, perfect for creating a contemporary sample library, employing a diverse collection of exemplary musicians. 

Orchestral Tools Salu

(Image credit: Orchestral Tools)

Orchestral Tools Salu: Performance and verdict

Installed within OT’s Sine Player, there are five distinct instrument groupings; String Quartet, Voices, Plucked & Keys, Percussion and Processed. In all instances, the acoustics are up-close, personal and relatively dry. We are talking about small groupings of instrumentation, which begins with a string quartet. 

There’s an abundant set of 24 different articulations, captured from the  M4gnet string quartet. While this includes two violins, it is the Viola and Cello that get the individual treatment, with a secondary-salvo of solo content, alongside the full ensemble.

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(Image credit: Cinematic Studio Series )

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This extensive library provides patching with an amazing amount of realism and expression.

Spitfire Audio Eric Whitacre Choir
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The sonic identity is impressive; the purity of sound is undeniably contemporary, stylish and focused. Apart from some very useable legato options, which include octaves, there is the usual set of shorts, longs, plucks et al, plus a batch of swells, repetitions and irregular articulations. 

Anyone au fait with current TV soundtrack trends will hear immediate inspiration from the more abstract selections. There are played arpeggios, in both major and minor tonalities, which tempo lock to the DAW, although the triplet incarnation of arpeggio can sound a little truncated at speedier tempi.

The next section focuses on voices, with samples drawn from the impressive Vox Clamentis choral ensemble. The previously mentioned purity continues here, with shorts and longs, the latter forming beautiful pads, using ‘Ehs’, ‘Ahs’ and ‘Uhs’. 

The Hummed Crescendos are also impressive, while the Sustained Legato patching is sublime, albeit sluggish in use, as is often the case with legato patching. There is a small amount of dynamic timbral control in this setting too, but in keeping with Salu’s ethos, it’s calm and subtle.

The up-close journey continues, with combined samples from Harp, Piano and an Estonian instrument called a Kannel. It looks much like a dulcimer but is played by plucking the strings. These three instruments are also combined in a sampling combo, or available as separate entities. 

Meanwhile, the Percussion section features 11 different instruments, from Tubular Bells and Glockenspiels to the Thundersheet and Wind Gong. There’s even a beautiful vibraphone sample, played with a string bow.

Orchestral Tools Salu

(Image credit: Orchestral Tools)

Final processing

While the content contained within this library is overtly acoustic in nature, the final section described as Processed, yields an amazing bounty of sounds, collated into adjective-inspired menus. 

The content remains acoustic, but the reproduction feels otherworldly, verging on electronic. Moreover, dicing with the modulation wheel will reveal layers of interest in timbre. States vary from dreamlike and icy, to tense, dark and brooding. 

As a library, this may not appeal to all; its acoustic calling card, adopting an intensely personal stance, provides some astonishingly high-class samples. 

There is much to call upon here, for the contemporary composer, anyone writing music with a media slant, or just producers looking for pure sounds, derived from interesting acoustic sources. 

Despite its traditional point-of-origin, it will go way further than you might think, in production terms.

MusicRadar verdict: Salu sits proud by providing some of the classiest acoustic samples we’ve heard, from a location which oozes creativity.

Orchestral Tools Salu: The web says

"Salu is an incredible collection of instruments, articulations, and patches. It’s hard to find fault with something so beautiful and unique."
Sample Library Review

Orchestral Tools Salu: Hands-on demos

Orchestral Tools

Christopher Siu

Simeon Amburgey

Jesse Haugen

Orchestral Tools Salu: Specifications

  • macOS 10.13 or higher, Intel Core i5 or similar, Apple M1 chipset supported, At least 8GB RAM (16GB+ recommended).
  • Windows 10, Intel Core i5 or similar, At least 8GB RAM (16 GB+ recommended).
  • Formats supported: Standalone, VST, VST3, AU, AAX.
  • Works with Orchestral Tools’ SINE Player – NOTE: Very latest version required.
  • 205GB of samples (89GB SINEarc compressed). 24-bit / 48KHz patches.
  • CONTACT: Orchestral Tools