The sound of an accordion is playful and whimsical. It can often be heard in polkas, country dances, and other native styles across the world. Sometimes, it is even used in jazz.
But one thing’s for certain – the sound of an accordion is recognizable, distinctive, and unforgettable. There are other instruments that sound a little like it (like the harmonium), but the accordion tends to hold its own in its category.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the best accordion VST plugins that will help you emulate the fun musical color of an accordion.
Le Parisien by Wavesfactory – Best Overall
Wavesfactory’s Le Parisien is a favorite accordion collection for Kontakt. It has earned a high rating among users, and Philip Dubnick even called it an “immediate joy.”
This sample library comes with three accordion types – Rouge (Chordbox), Blanc (Valetta), and Noir (Frontalini). Rouge has five registers (master, bandon, bassoon, musette, and violin) while Blanc and Noir have two registers – single reed and double reed.
The volume and variety of effects makes this Kontakt instrument a ton of fun to play with, including EQ, various compressors, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion, saturation, tape, algorithmic and convolutional reverb (more than 40 custom impulse responses), amp simulators, and more. Very convenient.
Le Parisien comes with a built-in chord recognizer that knows its way around major, minor, 7th, and diminished chords. You can create your own patterns using the built-in sequencer.
Controllable parameters include round robin, dynamic range, velocity curve, volumes, and sample start.
Overall, you get 3.55 GB worth of 6,198 samples, three instruments, one velocity layer, and six round robins.
Having listened to the included sounds, we have no choice but to make Le Parisien our best overall pick. There aren’t that many standalone accordion VST plugins available, and this one stands out even among the few there are.
Le Parisien simply sounds great, even without endless tweaking.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments – Best Premium Option
Vir2 Instruments’ VI.ONE is a Kotakt instrument with surprising versatility. If you’re looking for a standalone accordion VST, then look elsewhere on this list, but if your instrument library is a little scant, VI. ONE is worth considering, as it will give you access to a variety of sounds.
Sound On Sound Magazine thought it “worthy of an audition,” Computer Music Magazine called it a “one-stop patch ship,” and Future Music Magazine referred to it as a “workhorse.”
The highly rated VI.ONE promises to be an upgrade to your VST instrument library, especially if you’re still using your DAW’s stock virtual instruments. This massive, sample library comes with over 2,000 instruments, kits, and sound effects. Besides, these instruments are well-matched to a variety of genres.
With hundreds of drum kits, drum loops, basses (acoustic, upright, electric, synth), world and ethnic instruments, sound effects, guitars (acoustic and electric), keyboards, orchestral instruments, B3 organs, acoustic pianos, pop horns and brass, vintage synths, synth patches and more, there are sounds spanning the entire tonal palette.
And don’t worry – yes, there is a built-in accordion sound too.
VI.ONE features a 21 GB core sample library, optimized EQ and reverb controls, MIDI CC, multitimbral operation with 64 simultaneous instruments, up to 64 MIDI channels, MIDI compatibility, and more.
Now, if you were expecting every sound to be top notch, you might look elsewhere. But the tradeoff is more than fair. VI.ONE’s price point isn’t that high for everything that’s on offer. The piano and keyboard sounds are quite capable, the synths are good, brass and string instruments are so-so… we could go on, but you could also watch a few video demos.
Given that your options are a little scant, if a solid accordion sound is what you’re seeking, VI.ONE is worth considering. Of course, you’re going to get a lot of extras. And if there are a lot of “holes” in your instrument library, this Kontakt instrument is going to build it out for you.
If you have no need for other instrument sounds, then this is certainly more than you need right now.
On this list, VI.ONE is the premium option. That said, if you are looking for high quality instrument collections and libraries, there are better ones out there. This is a good middle of the road instrument collection.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Little Pump Reeds by Soundiron – Best Budget Option
Soundiron’s Little Pump Reeds is a hand-held air-driven reed-based instrument collection and Kontakt instrument. From traditional Indian Shurti Boxes to mini accordions to Plastisax, it’s nice to know that this Little Pump Reeds seeks to cover a few dimensions, as this extends its usability and versatility.
Soundiron meticulously sampled each included instrument, and you also get a 14-note concertina the developer sampled three dynamic layers and multiple articulations for.
Little Pump Reeds comes with a suite of automation-ready sound-shaping controls – swell, attack, release, offset, vibrato, filter, pitch (coarse and fine), articulation switching, crossfading, layering, and more. There are also 20 custom FX presets.
The adaptable LFO system comes with a selectable LFO shape, modulation target parameter, speed, intensity, tempo-syncing, and fade-in time. 12 low-pass, high-pass, and FX filters can also be applied with assignable modulation targets (velocity, modwheel, expression, after-touch, key position, step-sequencer table control).
You also get an arpeggiator with velocity table (with controls for arp direction, timing, swing, randomization, duration), key and scale lock system, modular FX rack panel with 18 DSP effect modules (10 assignable slots), including classic phaser, flanger, compressor, EQ, distortion, amp and cab simulators, rotator, and more.
Reverb is onboard too, with convolution impulse responses (99 rooms, halls, chambers, and outdoor environments), and 40 custom FX impulses.
In terms of instruments, you get a concertina, Shurti box, mini accordion, Plastisax (kind of like a melodica), and two-tone paper squeeze box.
The included sounds are quite delightful and could easily pass for the real thing in a mix. Are they the best sounds ever? Perhaps not, but at this price point, what you get is quite phenomenal.
And we also can’t deny that Little Pump Reeds is surprisingly feature rich. We really get the sense that they went all out on this! So, we’re not ashamed to make it our best budget pick.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Organetta by AudioThing
AudioThing’s Organetta isn’t quite a melodica and not quite like an accordion either. This Kotakt instrument is based on the small portable reed organ called The Organetta, originally created by Hohner.
This instrument had an electric fan that blew air into a set of brass reeds. This is how its sound was generated!
Developer AudioThing decided to sample this unique green instrument with two mics – a large diaphragm condenser, as well as a piezo attached to the chassis. They didn’t keep the fan noise in the samples, but it can be added in with the green keys, and there’s a dial for it too. To achieve as much realism as possible, they captured six round robin of key down and up noises as well.
Overall, Organetta features 144 samples (618 MB), 17 second note samples, 30+ second long fan samples, two intensity layers, and more.
Obviously, the Organetta is not an accordion exactly. But its sound is comparable in many ways. And it’s got a resonant, warm tone that’s pleasing to the ears.
So, if you can’t find anything else you like, you should give Organetta a try. It isn’t overly costly either.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
Shruti Box by Have Audio
Have Audio’s Shruti Box takes after the Indian instrument of the same name. It can produce a variety of timbres, ranging from accordion and pedal notes and drones to blues harp like sounds and near synthetic textures.
Developer Have Audio meticulously sampled the instrument to extend its natural range and potential using their “double espresso engine” and creative custom FX. Four instruments come in the collection, with Shruti Box Essentials, Shruti Box Extended, Shruti Box Harmonic, and Shruti Box Interval machine.
Shruti Box comes with 537 samples, and over 2.6 GB of uncompressed files across four instruments. Keyswitches / sound banks include short notes, long notes, movement, pedal tones (mantra), soft pedal tones, harsh, ominous textures, gentle pedal tones, pleasant textures, wah, major chords, minor chords, augmented chords, and diminished chords.
The FX include concert hall convolution reverb, accordion-verb, freeze reverb, reflection custom impulse response FX, and distortion. And that means ethereal sounds are but a click away.
Whether it’s for atmospheric flourishes or film composition, Shruti Box puts plenty of possibilities at your fingertips. Warm, resonant sounds are aplenty, but I don’t know if there are any tones that sound exactly like an accordion – only ones that kind of come close.
So, if you’re not desperate for sounds, this might not be your best option. That said, it is quite cool and might be nice for certain types of compositions. We couldn’t resist adding it here because it is awesome.
Learn more: Plugin Boutique
What Should I Look For In An Accordion VST Plugin?
As you’re probably starting to see, your options are kind of limited.
The five accordion VST plugins we looked at here are the best available, and some are part of larger instrument collections. Some aren’t even specific to the accordion and merely sound a little bit like an accordion!
Fortunately, there is one option that should satisfy most music producers, composers, and sound engineers – Le Parisien. This plugin exclusively specializes in various accordion sounds, and they are quite organic and authentic to my ears.
Admittedly, if authentic accordion sounds are what you’re looking for, then Le Parisien is your best bet. So, should we pack it in and call it a day?
Well, that depends on your needs. And, in case new products come along, there will always be certain relevant factors you should think about on your shopping journey.
- Sound quality
- Uniqueness / versatility
We consider these factors in greater depth below.
Sound quality is the top factor for anyone looking for a capable accordion VST plugin.
In a crowded market, like piano or synths, there is a greater spread in price, from budget options all the way up to premium options. So, depending on your budget, you might end up having to make certain tradeoffs. For instance, you might purchase a middle of the road piano now so you can also buy that premium compressor you’ve been holding off on.
The accordion VST market is admittedly less competitive, and so price range is also tighter than it would be in a more crowded market. You can’t spend several hundred dollars on an accordion VST, even if you wanted to!
Which is kind of fortunate because things easily can go in the opposite direction too. Sometimes, where there is less competition, you end up having to pay more!
Either way, we do recommend having a listen to each of the plugins before deciding on one. What matters most is that you’re satisfied with the results it can produce. If you can work with it, that’s what matters.
If you need an ultrarealistic sound, you shouldn’t spring for anything less. If all you need is a sound that will work in the context of a more layered mix, then you might not need a top-of-the-line VST. But regardless of which VST you choose from this list, it shouldn’t break the bank.
No VST plugin was created equally. Sure, some are quite like each other, but in most cases, no matter what you might be comparing, there are some differences.
And when it comes to accordion VSTs, there aren’t any that are exactly alike. Each brings something different to the table. And, as you’ve already seen, some of the solutions we’ve looked at aren’t even accordions (even if they sound similar)!
So, you need to ask yourself what you need. The best sound quality? More versatility? Effects, ADSR controls, and other parameters? More accordion models? More instruments? Although less helpful when choosing an accordion VST, this is usually a factor worth considering when comparison shopping for VST plugins.
As much as possible, we’ve laid out all the features for each of the VST plugins in this guide, so simply review the selection, and you should be able to make a level-headed decision.
But more features and parameters aren’t always better. Sometimes they’re just there to cover up the poor quality of the sample.
Uniqueness / Versatility
Something you might consider on your hunt is how unique or versatile a specific solution might be.
Obviously, you’re going to get the most out of the VI.ONE collection, given that it’s basically an instrument library. There are so many sounds built into it, and although they aren’t all great, there are some good ones in there.
And you’ve got to admit, the Organetta and Shruti Box are quite unique, even if they aren’t exactly accordions (they still offer accordion-like sounds).
We still think Le Parisien offers the best balance of everything, but that doesn’t mean other solutions don’t have something to offer, and depending on what you need, you may add them to your collection too. But it’s all up to you.
Budget can sometimes be used as a filter for determining which VST plugin to buy. And that holds true here, but like I said earlier, accordion VSTs don’t cost that much.
Not surprisingly, VI.ONE costs the most, but then again, you’re getting an entire arsenal of virtual instruments with VI.ONE. Since that is the case, the asking price isn’t astronomical.
Plugins in this guide range from about $10 to $100, and in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t too much.
But we can appreciate that you might be shopping for multiple solutions simultaneously, in which case you should certainly consult your budget.
And as always, we advise against spending money you don’t have. Don’t go into debt for musical gear. Always save up for what you need.
Top Accordion VST Plugins, Final Thoughts
There’s no denying that there are relatively few competent accordion VSTs out there. But if time is a factor, you should be able to make do with the solutions available.
Otherwise, one of the best things you can do is hire a session player and record them at your studio, if you have the resources, space, and equipment to be able to do so. You’re more likely to be able to capture the performances you need.
That said, there is no right or wrong in music production. So, experiment plenty and have fun!