We are providing you with a compilation of the best and top free vst plugins to use for your music processing and productions. These plugins are compatible with the all musical softwares including Fl studio, reaper, ableton, etc on all pc windows (32 bit & 64 bit) and mac os.
Want to make high-quality music productions for nothing? We’ve created a comprehensive guide to the best free VST plugins 2018, best free VSTs for 2019 and 2020. I’ve included every effect you could ever need from vintage style EQ, Compressors, Classic Synths, Amp Simulators, Delays, Drum Kit, Reverbs, Autotune alternatives, Limiters, Bit Crushers, Nexus VST, Lo-fi FX and a ton more.
/surge-vst-plugin-free-download.html. Surge is a digital synth and makes no bones about it. If you have used it in the past, it will be like welcoming an old friend back into your life. If you are new to Surge. Vember Audio Surge Software Synthesizer Plugin Is Now Available for Free and is Open-Source From now on the software synthesizer plugin called Surge developed by Vember Audio is completely free for download and more than this is open-source for anyone who wants to participate in.
There are hundreds of free VST effects or music producers in this list, so take your time, you are going to need a large mug of coffee to after receiving a large volume of these beauties!
For ease, I’ve split up the list of free VST Plugins into categories in the following order: Classic Synths, VSTInstrument Bundles, EQ & Compressors, Channel Strips, Amp Simulators, Reverb, Delay and finally FX.
To get you started.
Virtual Studio Technology VST Plugins for short. It allows the person using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to install software from 3rd party companies. VSTs give you various audio FX (effects) and virtual instruments as plugins inside your DAW. This was first developed and introduced to the market by Steinberg with their DAW Cubase in 1996, it was a game changer for sure and gave huge flexibility and opportunity for software development and huge benefits to the music creators.
So without further ado, let’s get to it!
For me having a new synth or plugin inspires me to create new music. I’m constantly looking for new synths and FX to use in my own music productions. So, I’ve done the hard work for you to bring together, in my opinion, the best VST plugins available right now.
This compiled list is the best of the best and features everything from classic synth sounds to vintage compressors, fantastic delays and guitar amp simulators. I think if you downloaded all of these you could produce most genres of music to a pretty high standard.
The Dexed FM Synth is closely modelled on the sound quality of the classic Yamaha DX7. The DX7 was used on countless recordings in the ’80s. Everyone from Prince, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston to Brian Eno have used sounds from the DX7 in their chart-topping hits.
Many artists used the default presets the rom synthesizer had to offer at the time as it was very complicated to use. You can make use of the cartridge manager to load some of these iconic patches/sounds, thanks to Black Winny from KRV Audio, oh and check out spitfire audio as well!
Download the Dexed Synthhere (Mac / PC) – Check what is the best computer for music production.
This is an emulation of the classic Minimoog with a couple of extra features thrown in for good measure including a very nice user friendly audio interface.
This is a classic sound which you should ensure you have in your plugin folder. For me, some of my favourite artists and producers have used the Minimoog’s classic sounds in their audio productions.
From the bass lines of Parliament-Funkadelic to Dr Dre using the synth for lead lines on The Chronic album to J Dilla using the Minimoog Voyager on his legendary album cut, Donuts.
Download MiniMogue VA
TAL-Noisemaker is arguably one of the best free VST plugins for logic pro x you can download. The synth includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect. TAL-NoiseMaker includes new filter types as the self resonating 6dB low pass and a notch filter. Its improved amplitude ADSR is very suitable for slow pads as for really fast envelopes.
TAL-Noisemaker is arguably one of the best free VST plugins you can download. The synth includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect. TAL-NoiseMaker includes new filter types as the self resonating 6dB low pass and a notch filter. Its improved amplitude ADSR is very suitable for slow pads as for really fast envelopes.
This one is a great free VST synth. TAL used a Roland Juno 60 as a reference for the oscillators and filters. The classic Roland Juno 60 synth has been considered by many to be one of the most important synths in popular music. Artists such as Mac Demarco, Tiesto, Disclosure and many more are fans of this classic.
Download Tal U No 62
Crystal is a great free VST and it’s been around for a while. Nonetheless, it is still capable of generating some great sounds. It was created by Glen Olander who later went on to create Spectrasonics Omnisphere.
Download Crystal Synth
Synth 1 is an emulation of the classic Clavia Nord Lead 2 (Red Synth). The plugin has a huge range of useable sounds. I’ve seen so many session players that still use Nord Lead for live performances and in the recording studio. It’s another must-have addition to your plugin folder.
Download Synth 1
It is a synth capable of a wide variety of sounds from great bass tones to pads and lead synth.
Download Modulair Synth
Another synth we’d love to add to this list is the Xfer Serum VST plugin. You can read our in-depth guide about Xfer Serum!
Next up I have put together a number of fantastic bundles to download, which include a huge array of sounds and all the best free VST instruments 2018 has brought us.
This is an incredible set of free VST instrument plugins and sounds from our friends based out of Berlin, Germany. This bundle is available totally for free. It includes three virtual instruments with over 500 sounds to choose from. Komplete Players features everything from free piano, vintage Rhodes, Organ, Strings and some awesome inspiring sounds from Reaktor 6.
A version of Guitar Rig is also included which has a great AMP model and some really nice effects, delays, reverbs and modulation. Many engineers use guitar effects on a bus channel for vocals or drums. If you had to download one bundle, this would be the one I would recommend.
Download Komplete Start Players Bundle
Sampletank is another awesome bundle of high quality sounds for you to use entirely free. It includes 30 instruments from a free VST Piano, Violins, Flutes, Saxophones, Choirs, Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums and more.
This is another great VST that is a must-have. They have sampled 38 of the most desirable synths. This version includes 50 presets which all use different sample sets. The sounds of this analogue style synth are incredible from great Minimoog to Jupiter sounds.
The possibilities are endless with this Synth as you can layer up to 4 presets on top of each other to create a new sound and then alter the sound with a huge range of effects inside the instrument.
Download Syntronik Freehere
This is, in my opinion, one of the best free live drum VST plugins you can get. Steven Slate has created a name for himself producing some of the best live kits with world-class engineers like Chris Lord Alge. You only get one kit but you can tune it differently and use all the features of the SSD5.
Download Steve Slate Drums SSD5 Freehere
If you have a few dollars/pounds to spare a month or you are working on a specific project for a brief I’ve decided to include some great paid monthly services that I think you should check out:
This would be a great option if you are working onmusic for a film score or TV series. The quality of the recordings in these sample libraries is simply fantastic and has been used by many top composers.
This service includes over 40,000 audio recordings, which includes everything from orchestral music to world music instruments and rock sounds. The subscription cost is $19.99 per month (around £16 in the UK & Europe)
Over the years, Roland has created some of the greatest synths and drum machines known to mankind. They have influenced modern music culture and inspired so many top artists and producers, especially in early Hip Hop. So it’s no surprise that their cloud service is very popular, they have made available their most iconic synths and drum machines on a digital platform, meaning you can now gain access to them all for around £18.95 a month.
This is pretty good value if you can’t afford to buy a vintage original 808 drum machine, for example. I believe that Roland also has some of the top VST plugins for FL Studio all in all.
I think the updates and the overall quality of sound that Native provide is incredible. Komplete Select offer 7000 sounds and 45G of audio samples, all for the price of around £159. Which, if you work it out over the year you’re paying the same price as theEast West Composer Cloud, but you get to keep all the samples and instruments. Their FL Studio plugin expansion pack is especially neat.
Most DAWs that you will use have amazing built-in digital EQ and compression plugins. These are great tools for cutting out unwanted frequencies in a boxy sounding acoustic guitar track or levelling out the volume of a vocal recording with a high-quality compressor plugin.
I’ve put together a list of my favourite EQ, Compressors and Channel Strips that add character to your mixes and help colour the sound in a specific way. Most of them are emulations or inspired by top mixing consoles or outboard gear you would find in some of the best recording studios from around the world.
This plugin takes inspiration from an early British console from the ’60s. So if you’re looking to give some of your tracks a 60’s over-driven sound this is the plugin for you.
This EQ is also another take on a classic EQ from 1967 it’s a 10 band graphic precision equaliser. This plugin can be used on anything from heavy drum breaks to soft acoustic guitar tracks. It is also one of the best free VST Plugins for vocals.
This is another free product from ikmultimedia, this time in a 6 band EQ from T Racks. Its a nice sounding EQ on most audio material but I think it’s best suited to acoustic guitars and rock vocals. I would say it’s one of the best free vocal VST plugins 2018 brought us.
Ceil is based on a heavily modified British channel strip that we sampled at the end of 2017, during one of our official workshops held at a studio near the lake of Como.
This is a free plugin, but only until 14th February 2019. After this, it will be available at a price of $99 (around £79). So if you are reading this in time, sign up for an account to grab this channel strip for free. I’ve downloaded it, had a play and it sounds great on most audio recordings I’ve tried.
Inspired by the famous “nine thousand series” British console, the Logic Channel. Great sounding plugin it includes dynamics, EQ and gate. Sounds great on drums! Smack labs also do two other plugins inspired by the 5000 series British console.
This is a great sounding compressor taking huge influence from LA 2A compressor. If you are looking to add character and saturation to drum tracks, this compressor will do the trick. You can use this lots of different ways, from really driving the input to get an over-driven sound to using it on a bus for some parallel compression.
Download Levelling Tool Compressor from Audio Tools
This compressor is one of the most versatile compressors on the list. Again from Slate Digital, I’ve used these compressors in many projects and really like the sound of them. You can use them on drum tracks to get a really aggressive sound or on a vocal track and even on a master bus for a mix.
It can also work as a great free vocal mastering VST plugins. This is a must-have in my opinion. You need to sign up for an Ilok 2 account but its worth it.
Download Monster Extreme Dynamic Processor
I have a few bundles I’d like to point you towards.
The first is Guitar Rig Free which I mentioned earlier. It can be downloaded separately and the full version has been used by top recording bands such as Nine Inch Nails.
They are making some fantastic products for guitarists and bassists, from amp simulations to great sounding distortion pedals.
Download Ignite Amps
They offer a free version of Amplitube 4 which has 4 amp models and lots of effects.
This is a convolution reverb that can compete with some of the best reverbs in the market. It sounds great on strings and lovely using it on an upright piano that worked really well.
Download Smarteletronicx Ambience Reverb
This is a great vintage sounding reverb.
Download TAL Reverb 4
This one is fantastic for long reverbs and spacey soundscapes if you’re creating ambient music. It has 100 second reverb time which is mad! Great on long notes/drones.
Download Ambient Reverb Stone Voices
Natural sounding reverb with a variety of different room settings.
Download u-He Protoverb
This is another great vintage style reverb, very good on vocals, pads and piano.
Download Voxengo Old Skool Verb
Tempo delay is a good delay plugin for adding movement to synth or bass sounds and lines, percussive grooves and vocals. In fact, great when mixing vocals and create harmonies in conjunction with a pitch shifter. It’s one of the free vocal harmony VST plugins I would most recommend.
Download Voxengo Tempo Delay
If you’re a guitarist you will need to download this. It’s an emulation of the Wem Copy Cat tape Echo used by countless top guitarists. If you’re looking for a great 50’s rock n roll or rockabilly sound, this is a killer piece of software!
Download Wat Kat
They offer three delay plugins from vintage tap echo to classic delay.
Download Tal Dub
Tal has a great chorus, reverb and distortion fx that is worth adding to your collection.
Download Tal Dub Products
This includes everything; compressors, delays chorus etc.
Download Dead Duck 25 Effect Bundle
This is an interesting effect. It adds low end or high end to the signal. I know it sounds boring, but trust me it’s not. It warms up the signal as if it were running through an old tube preamp or tape. Great for acoustic guitars and drums!
This is an effect the emulates double tracking.
Download Vocal Doubler
This one is a great effect for adding a lo-fi vibe to your songs. It can make your song sound like it was created in the 1920s! I know that artist Just Blaze has used this plugin before!
This has everything from autotune, pitch corrects, reverbs, compression eq and analysers. Deadmau5 is a fan of these plugins so you can’t go wrong downloading this bundle.
Download Mfree FX Bundle
Last but not least some plugins from Xfer Records
Download Xfer Records Bundle
OTT Compressor and the Delta Modulator (a bit crusher)
Before I finish up here are my favourite plugins from each category:
– For Synths it has to be the Syntronik free, it’s incredible! I have lots of hardware synths in the studio and the guys at ikmultimedia have done a great job recreating classic synths.
– EQ wise it has to be the EQ 560 console emulation. This is very very close to many commercial plugin emulations.
– One of my favourite compressors is the Leveling Tool Compressor. I’ve always liked the sound of LA2A compressor on a drum bus or electric guitars. I believe they used this compressor on many of the red hot chilli peppers guitar tracks.
– In terms of bundled instruments, I’d go with the Komplete Players as it includes the fantastic Guitar Rig and tons of sounds. I’ve been a fan of Native instruments products for years and use everything from Maschine to Traktor in a career. I’ve even used Guitar Rig live in a DJ set and works well.
– In terms of the Reverb, I really like Ambience which I’ve been using for a long time.
– The Wat Kat delay is a great sound for guitarists so for me at the moment that’s the best for me in the list.
– FX wise it would have to be Mfree FX as it has so many tools from autotune to delays and much more besides.
If you are looking for free VST effects the chances are you might need a great free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
So in this regard, I would point you in the direction of the best free DAW available right now (In my opinion) Cakewalk by Bandlab.
Bandlab by Cakewalk is essentially Sonar Platinum minus some bundled fx. Sonar was around $600 for the platinum version and now it’s available free.
It includes some excellent FX and a wide range of VST instruments with unlimited audio tracks. I think if I was looking to create music on a budget this DAW, together with the best free VST plugins effects above would give me a dream starting point for a home recording studio and plenty of scope to create great recordings.
Of course, there are plenty of DAW options on the market to choose from, Reaper, FL Studio 12, Cubase, Logic Pro X, Garageband for example, so do your research before you decide what’s best for your set up.
I hope you enjoyed this list and found it helpful, please share this with fellow friends and musicians. Spread the word, as they say. Thanks, Mark
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In the jungle of free VST plugins, there are many gold nuggets to be found, if you know where to look. Some of the free plugins out there hold such a class that they could easily go for several hundred bucks. And there are a lot.
Firstly, we would like to give a big thanks to all the VST plugin creators out there, who are willing to give out their amazing work for free. If you see a donation button anywhere on their websites, buy’em a cup of coffee, will you? Given how advanced and thought-out some of these plugins are, they probably live on the stuff.
So, let’s dive in. Here are our Top 10 Free VST Plugins of 2019. These definitely sets the standard of how good and thought-out a free VST can be. Our collection features some newer and some older. But with all great classics, they hold the test of time.
Let’s dive in!
Modeled after Yamaha DX7, one of the best selling synths in history, this top 1 free FM-style VST synth is ready to get you cooking. Included are over a thousand classic DX7 presets, with sounds ranging from classic electronic pianos to powerful stabs and strings. You’ll probably recognize many of the sounds from your favorite 80’s tracks as this, again, was modeled after the go-to synth of that era.
Really, it started as a tool to be used with the original synth. However, this is such a good replica that stands on its’ own. With so many different knobs and options for customizability, this is a synth that you can tweak forever.
Easy, powerful and stable are three things that summarise this freeware goodie. Go get it.
Here we have another great emulation of a classic analog synth. This time, of the Minimoog. The Minimoog’s success was huge when it came out in the '70s. For starters, it was the first synthesizer created for the average consumer and the sound was just incredibly rich and powerful.
Used in tracks such as Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn”, Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, and Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”, it’s easy to see why this synth sound is loved by so many.
So, MinimogueVA. It’s an emulation but includes additional features not found in the original. To name a few, you now have a fully programmable digital delay, you can control the tuning of oscillator 1 (and fine tune oscillators 2 and 3) and have 3 overdrive sliders for each oscillator to make your sound even thicker.
This free synth sounds and behaves pretty much exactly like the original and is a must-have for every electronic producer. Deep, rich and yummy, and in our opinion best used for lead sounds and basses. Just beware that it might need some taming because of its’ power – the sounds take up a lot of space in the mix.
This powerful virtual analog synth has pretty much everything you’ll need as an electronic music producer. How about two oscillators (saw, pulse, triangle, and sine) with hardsync and PW/FM. One sub oscillator (saw and rectangle), one noise oscillator, wide-range LFO’s (0.1Hz up to 400 Hz) and a super user-friendly interface?
Users report a very analog sound from this synth, more than many of its’ competing virtual synths that comes with a price tag. So this free option will definitely satisfy you who wants to create rougher, analog, old school sounds.
The only thing really missing, in my opinion, is extra effects and an arpeggiator. But you can always use separate plugins for that, DAW-included or purchased.
All in all, a great, easy and powerful synth for electronic music production.
You know that crackly sound from old vinyl? Or the electrical hum in speakers, when an audio cable is not fully plugged in? Well, it’s funny. Turns out those audio distortions are in again.
Commonly heard in triphop and retro synthwave-style music, some cracks, and noises can really bring a track to life. We don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about the warm crackle of vinyl. Is it nostalgia? A sense of analog? Making digital sounds more “human”?
I don’t know. But for those of you who want to achieve this to your mix, look no further than iZotope Vinyl. Rather than layering different vinyl scratch samples, this plugin is fully customizable and does the job extremely well.
Apply it to certain instruments or your whole mix, and choose the amount of the following parameters:
The last option, warp depth sets the amount of spin down applied from the 'Spin-Down' button below. That effect mimics what would happen to the sound of vinyl if you slowed it down manually until it stops. You know what I mean. But damn that’s cool.
You also have options for what decades you want to emulate, ranging from the 1930s up to 2000. There’s also an option for the number of RPM’s (of the “vinyl”).
Overall, a really cool plugin that can make the most digital sounds a bit more analog.
Looking for a great free alternative to the expensive tape saturators out there? Well, look no further. FerricTDS is it. Inspired to simulate the dynamics and warmth of high-end reel-to-reel tape recorders, this wonderful plugin does this in three steps.
Firstly, it controls the dynamics by gently shaping the overall dynamic response of the sound. Then it adds extra harmonics with its’ great sounding saturation and finally, the signal peak is controlled by its built-in limiter.
These three knobs are of course yours to play with as you wish, for a subtle or strong tape effect.
So, this plugin does a lot of wonderful things to your sound. Simply put, you can say that it warms up, controls and shapes. Like a compressor, saturation, limiting and a tape recorder emulator all in one neat package.
The plugin also won the KVR Developer Challenge of 2009. It’s ten years ago but its’ quality still holds with time.
Introducing the TAL-REVERB III, the top of the free plate reverbs. This little gem will wow you with its’ beautiful non-BS interface and brilliant sound.
To break it down, the plugin has 7 dials. The low- and high cut dials make for easy reverb mixing. The room size dial controls the duration of the reverb. A stereo width dial for easy stereo control (mono to full stereo) and a pre-delay dial which goes up to one second. The last two are simply dry and wet dials. Easy peasy.
With 10 factory presets to choose from it’s also good to go from the start.
The sound of the TAL is fantastic, and their goal of creating a colorless, maximal diffused plate reverb without digital artifacts is really heard. It’s smooth, shimmering and nice.
For a free reverb plugin, this is good stuff. Check it out.
Synth1 is another great synth that was made as a replica of the popular Nord Lead 2. The two actually sound quite similar, but being that the Nord Lead 2 is about $15,000, it’s not a great surprise that it beats a free plugin in sound quality.
But the Synth1 is totally free. It’s pretty cool that you can get at least half the quality of an expensive, top hardware synth just an easy, free download away.
So, what do we have in the Synth1?
For starters, we have 2 oscillators (sine, triangle, saw, and square) with FM and ring modulation, sync and a modulation envelope. 4 types of filters, 2 LFO’s and an arpeggiator. Included are also various effects, a tempo delay, and stereo chorus/flanger. You’ve got legato and portamento mode plus 16 notes polyphony. Not too shabby.
It’s optimized for extremely light CPU usage and is a fantastic starting point for any new producer who wants the learn the basics in sound synthesis. And the sound in this synth is great.
All in all, a great freeware synth that I think everyone should try at least once. It does have a few sound glitch bugs when changing the knobs sometimes. But generally, it's pretty stable and does the job. Very well.
BootEQ is another freebie who’s definitely up there competing with the big boys (top of the line, expensive plugins). It’s an SSL-style equalizer and pre-amp simulator, which “provides some nice and musical signal coloration effects” according to the product description.
The plugin is simple and easy to use with its’ four parametric and independent EQ bands and several classic sounding curves. You also have a drive-knob for saturation and two switches for vintage color and tube on or off. With a simple design, clear text and meter display, you can’t go wrong.
It colors the sound beautifully warm, but subtle and not over the top. To add some more life to dull life, or to fatten up sounds, this could easily be your go-to.
The ValhallaFreqEcho is many things, along with being a staple plugin you must have in your library. It's both frequency shifter and analog-style echo, which in combination makes for a very psychedelic, trippy delay effect that feels like it's going in and out of your head.
Frequency shifting the delay output makes for some very interesting results. Used subtly, it passes as your everyday light chorus/flanger or doubler but used in excess, you've created something entirely new and out of this world.
If you’re looking for an experimental effect to spice up your psychedelic production, or simply want something to get your creative juices flowing, get this. Right now.
The 4 voice polyphonic VB-1 is a plugin you either love or hate. It’s not the best sounding bass emulations out there, but it's not trying to be either. Its' strength comes from its' incredible ease of use. You basically have 4 knobs (release, shape, damper, and volume), a picture of a bass guitar and a pick you can drag left and right for different sounds.
On its' own, the VB-1 doesn't sound fantastic. But I've found great use for it in creating basses for trance music. It produces a nice, basic bass signal that is brought to life with the help of some extra plugins. Throw in some EQ, saturation and bass boost and it's suddenly kicking.
Definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re into creating rolling trance basses.
Thanks for reading!
|About the author|
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and freelance copywriter, currently active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psychedelic trance. When he's not producing music, he surfs, skates and chugs coffee.
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