Best Free Vst Instrument Plugins

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“What are the best free VST instrument plugins?”. VST plugins can be split into two main categories:. VST Instruments: These plugins generate audio and act as virtual instruments within the software.

They often emulate iconic, classic sounds of famous synthesizers and other instruments. VST effects: Instead of synthesizing audio, these plugins process and add effects to existing audio or MIDI sequences.

These effects include compression, delay and reverb. Without a doubt, VST instruments are the most effective method you can use to transform the way you create music.

u-he Zebralette

From authentic, vintage keys and other instruments to immensely powerful soft synthesizers, the creative possibilities of these virtual instruments are staggering.

I have been using VST instruments more or less since the first day I began making music 10 years ago. Using many different plugins over the years has allowed me to not only discover some pretty crazy sounds, but has given me a strong understanding of sound design and manipulation.

So if you’re just starting out in music production, downloading some high quality VST instrument plugins is absolutely essential. Many of the most popular VST instruments, such as Massive or Omnisphere, come with a fairly high price tag.

Synister

If you’re a music production beginner, you may not be ready to fork out hundreds of dollars on various production effects and plugins just yet, which is completely understandable.

So you’re probably wondering: are there any actual good quality FREE VST instruments out there?

The answer is undoubtedly yes. There is an enormous amount of incredibly powerful, free VST instruments out there, and many of them sound just as good as the commercial plugins. To save you the hassle of trawling the web for free VST instruments, I’ve put together this list of the best free VST instrument plugins that are a cut above the rest.

Click here for our guide to the top 100 FREE VST plugins of all time. In the video below we go through our top 10 picks for FREE VST plugins as of 2022.

You can either watch this video, or keep scrolling to read more!

Ample Sound Ample Guitar M Lite II

Native Instruments’ huge collection of virtual instruments and effects is the gold standard when it comes to music production plugins. Their VST instruments in particular are among the best, most beautifully designed synthesizers I have ever used.

Their Komplete collection was one of the first major purchases I made for music production software, and to this day I use their plugins religiously. Kontakt Start is an enormous free bundle of some of their synths and effects.

It is a fantastic way to get started with Native Instruments’ Kontakt plugins, as it includes a huge FREE collection of synthesizers, instruments, plugin effects and almost 1,500 loops and samples.

Personal highlights for me include the incredible TRK-01 bass synthesizer, and VINTAGE, their superb analog synthesizer. Finally, an easy way to get a Yamaha DX7 for free….

Well, not really, but close enough. Dexed is a highly versatile multi-platform, multi-format plugin synthesizer that is closely modelled on the iconic Yamaha DX7.

This plugin is a patch editor of the DX7, but also has it’s own in-built sound engine so it can be used to play real DX7 patches as well, and believe me, this thing sounds fantastic.

Spitfire LABS

The interface has 144 automatable parameters in the form of various sliders, buttons and knobs on one single panel. This makes it appear a little overwhelming for beginners, but after playing around a little with the software, it’s a very powerful piece of free software.

Dexed can also load any of the classic presets from Yamaha’s hardware synthesizers like the DX7 or the TX81Z, which can then be manipulated to a crazy extent. There are also a massive amount of patches available online that can easily be inputted into the plugin.

Here are the best April deals in 2022. Don’t miss out! (Click here for the full list). Surge is another example of an immensely powerful virtual instrument, available as a free download.

This is a subtractive, hybrid synthesizer plugin features two “scenes”; which can be used to create and edit two entirely separate instances of the synth.

The synth features many unique synthesis techniques, a great selection of filters, a flexible modulation engine, a wide range of on-board effects, and modern features like MPE and microtuning.

VST Instruments

It also comes packaged with a whopping 2285 patches and 614 wavetables! The interface is relatively beginner friendly, and for a free plugin this thing has an enormous amount of creative flexibility and is capable of creating a huge amount of professional-quality sounds.

To this day, I have absolutely no idea why Surge is free. In late 2020, Tytel released Vital, a freeware spectral warping wavetable synthesizer with a staggering list of features and on-board controls. This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting audio plugin releases in a long time, especially given the fact there’s a FREE version available.

The free edition of Vital includes all the core functionality of Vital, and comes with 75 presets and 25 wavetables. Vital features 3 powerful, high-quality wavetable oscillators, each with frequency warper and waveshaper controls.

An additional sample slot is also available, which can be used to add noise or other audio textures.

Vital also features an on-board wavetable editor, allowing you to warp and manipulate the wavetables to your hearts content.

Ample Sound Ample Bass P Lite II

The 3 oscillators and the sample slot can be individually routed to two filter modules, and you can also assign 3 envelopes, 4 audio-rate LFOs, 2 randomizers, and several other modulation options.

There is also an extensive effects rack, featuring phaser, reverb, delay and other audio effects. The one downside is that the CPU-usage is fairly high, so if you’re using a slower system, it may struggle with multiple loadings of the plugin.

However, a single instance should normally be okay. Overall, Vital is definitely the best free synth plugin in 2022, and no other free plugin matches it’s incredible design and creative flexibility.

Here are the best April deals in 2022. Don’t miss out!

(Click here for the full list).

Sennheiser DrumMic’a

M Lite II by Ample Guitar is easily the most versatile, gorgeous sounding FREE guitar VST plugins ever made. With it’s realistic sound and endless customisation options, M Lite II bridges the gap between virtual and real guitar performances like no other plugin.

The sound quality is absolutely stunning, and this free virtual instrument gives a rich, warm tone full of detail and clarity. There is a noticeable amount of variation and expression in each note played, and these sonic “imperfections” (and I mean that in a good way!) create an effortless, realistic playing experience.

The plugin engine is also PACKED with additional features, such as capo logic, doubling (separate samples for L and R), legato, slide, string tuner, and more. As far as free VST instruments go, this is easily one of the best sounding plugins out there. U-he Tyrell N6 is somewhat of a hidden gem in the VST instrument plugin world.

If I’m being honest, I have absolutely no idea why this plugin is free.

This free virtual instrument is a compact, extremely powerful subtractive soft-synth that is capable of producing and manipulating high quality sounds on an unimaginable scale.

How to use this guide

Tyrell N6 has 2 oscillators, noise, a ring modulator and 2 LFOs with 8 waveforms, as well as an audio source mixer with authentic overdrive and filter feedback.

It also comes for 580 high quality, fully customizable presets and many more can be found online, so if you’re in need of rapid sonic inspiration, this plugin will have something for you.

This free VST instrument is a no brainer for both beginner and advanced producers. Here are the best April deals in 2022. Don’t miss out! (Click here for the full list). VSCO 2 Community Edition is an open-source orchestral plugin that is perfect for composers and producers looking for authentic, professional sounding, FREE orchestral sounds.

This beautifully designed VST instrument plugin gives you endless sonic possibilities to create, explore and experiment with the sampled sounds of real musicians. The sampled instruments include various woodwind instruments, brass instruments, keys, complete string sections and a huge variety of orchestral percussion sounds.

The free download comes with a staggering 3.2 GB of content and 3,152 sampled sounds, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive free plugins you’ll find.

VK-1 Viking Synthesizer is a powerful plugin capable of creating rich, smooth, and creamy sounds.

Conclusion

This free virtual instrument plugin is an authentic emulation of a classic monophonic analog synthesizer. It has three continuously variable wave oscillators, two ladder filters with a dual lowpass or highpass/lowpass configuration, a multi-wave LFO, and two modulation busses.

VK-1 comes with 228 presets to play around with that will instantly spark your creativity. Plus, for a plugin with a fairly extensive range of on-board features and controls, this synth remains really low on CPU-usage.

TAL – Noisemaker is a great free VST instrument, capable of creating a range of high quality sounds for any genre. The plugin comes complete with three oscillators, along with several built-in effects such as reverb, delay, various filters, modulators, and a great sounding bit-crusher effect.

The NoiseMaker is capable of creating a huge variety of simple and complex sounds, from long, spacious, evolving pads as well as heavier, fast-envelope sounds.

This plugin is an improved, updated version of TAL-Elek7ro, with a completely new synth engine and several improvements in quality and functionality.

This plugin also has 256 factory presets included, designed by award-winning Frank “Xenox” Neumann who has made sounds and presets for Yamaha and Ableton.

Do you want to make money from your music?

Free VST Plugins are one of the most exciting things about mixing. In the past it was impossible to imagine that so many quality tools could be available at no cost.

Today there are more great free plugins than ever before, but the freeware scene is always changing. How can you know which free VSTs are worth installing? We scoured the internet for the absolute best of the best free VST plugins available.

There are a staggering 247 free plugins listed on this page. To make sense of it all, we divided them into categories: Synths, Drums, Guitar, Compressors, EQ, Reverb and Delay, Overdrive and Saturation, Vocals, Filters, Effects and Utilities.

Use the table of contents to see the lists of VSTs by category. Brought to you by the team that built LANDR Samples, Chromatic is a loop-based virtual instrument that turns sampled sounds into playable parts at the touch of a key.

Using a MIDI controller, Chromatic lets you go hands-on with exclusive, artist-approved loops and manipulate them with effects in real-time.

2getheraudio Cheeze Machine is a free VSTi inspired by vintage string synths like the ARP/Solina String Ensemble.

VCV Rack

It’s perfect for those phasey, vintage, lo-fi strings. Applied Acoustics Systems AAS Player is a free player for AAS library instruments.

It comes preloaded with some great sound banks to get you started. Ample Sound’s Guitar M LITE II is a realistic sounding acoustic guitar with impressive articulation and strumming options for a free plugin.

Ample Bass P LITE II, is another great instrument from Ample Sound that brings the sound of a studio P-Bass to your DAW. Ample Sound Cloudrum is a digital version of the extremely sought-after melodic handpans you might have heard on a moody film soundtrack.

Audjoo Helix is a full featured, crisp sounding subtractive synthesizer. It’s huge collection of waveshapes and the ability to use any of them in a “super saw” style makes it amazing for modern electronic sounds.

Native Instruments Komplete Start

Blamsoft VK-1 is a digital emulation of the sought after Moog Voyager hardware synth. All the classic flavour of the original is present in the excellent sounding VK-1.

Blaukraut Charlatan 2.0 is an uncomplicated, super fat sounding virtual analog synth.

Its easy-to use interface makes it good for dialing up great sounds fast. Bruce Sutherland JuceOPLVSTi is a VST version of the Yamaha YMF262 FM synthesis chip used to create the soundtracks of classic video games like DOOM.

Is a 32-voice subtractive synth with powerful options beneath its simple exterior. Its comprehensive LFO controls and modulation matrix are perfect for creating evolving soundscapes. Dexed is a fantastic utilitarian FM synth engine that’s capable of loading any of the classic patches from Yamaha’s hardware FM synths like the DX7 and TX81Z.

discoDSP OB-Xd brings the enormous sound of the Oberheim OB-X to your DAW. The OB-Xd convincingly recreates the legendary pads and leads of the original.

DSK Dynamic Guitar is another realistic guitar sample plugin with convincing articulations for strumming.

Versilian Studios VSCO 2 Community Edition

DSK Saxophones offers modes for both alto and soprano saxophone with onboard tone shaping options like ADSR and reverb.

DSK The Grand sounds very convincing for a free plugin. A great option for moody and dramatic grand piano sounds. Subdvine is a sub-bass synth that’s mainly used for sub heavy 808 sound design. This a great free synth plugin if you’re looking to build a kick, a bass one-shot or subby bassline.

Extent of the Jam Digits 2 is a unique phase distortion synthesizer inspired by the Casio CZ series. Phase Distortion is a variant of FM synthesis that can produce some truly wild sounds. Full Bucket FB-3300 is an astounding VST reproduction of the rare Korg PS-3300 synthesizer from the late 70s. Full Bucket Modulair is a capable, fully modular synth plugin available generously for free.

HY-Plugins HY-Mono is an easy-to-use, fat sounding free monosynth. Ichiro Toda Synth1 is a well designed VST polysynth that models the Clavia Nord Lead 2 hardware.

IK Multimedia Syntronik FREE comes packed with 50 presents and 38 effects from the enormous library of the powerful paid version.

There’s a huge amount of classic synth tones to choose from.

u-he TyrellN6

Keyzone Classic gives you great sounding acoustic and electric pianos sounds in your DAW for free.

LANDR Samples now has an accompanying plugin that makes it easy to audition, time stretch and pitch shift any sample on our marketplace.

There’s so many possibilities, especially because you can make any sample you find fit any key or tempo. Get started with a big selection of free samples and free loops to try it out for yourself!

Linplug FreeAlpha 3 is based on the same powerful synth engine as the paid version.

Its slimmed down feature set is easier to use and sounds great.

Best Free VST Instrument Plugins – Similar Articles:

Matt Tytel’s Helm is an open-source VST synth. That means you’re free to install it anywhere on anything and tinker with the source code.

ML PG8X is a free emulation of the great sounding Roland JX-8P. Get all the classic sounds of this affordable vintage synth in your DAW. The Muon Tau Bassline is modelled after the Roland TB-303. This small but powerful VST synth gives you that sweet sweet 303 bass we all know and love.

NUSofting Sinnah is a unique VST synth based on a simple oscillator that can create complex waveforms.

It’s modulation and effects routing options are extremely extensive.

Ohm Force SymptOhm PE is the free version (“Performer’s Edition”) of Symptohm:Melohman.

Sampleson CollaB3

It contains all the presets of the paid version with a slimmed down control scheme. If you’re interested in getting into the stranger realms of FM synthesis, here’s an interesting synth from open-source synth maker OctaSine.

It comes with four operators with a flexible routing feature that makes it easy to build your own synth path.

OctaSine also features four assignable LFOs and an ADSR section for each operator. One Small Clue Grace is a handy and lightweight VST sampler.

Everyone needs a sampler!

Vember Audio Surge

If OctaSine isn’t weird and crazy enough for you, Pendulate should do the trick. Its waveforms are literally called “Chaos Shapes”.

The routable synth can send audio signals through a wave folder, a pitch mod section, ADSR and LFO. It comes with a clearly laid out mod matrix to bend your oscillator signal into any chaotic sound you desire.

Plogue Alter/Ego is a realtime voice synthesizer capable of creating incredibly interesting vocal sounds.

It’s “voice banks” have colourful personalities brought to life with art and design. Plogue Sforzando is a simple standalone player for the non-proprietary SoundFont format of sampled instruments.

Here’s a super warm and cozy sample-based synth that re-creates the nostalgic and vibey sound of the Fender Rhodes.

MiniSpillage

Sample Science did a great job of recording the instrument onto cassette to create this lo-fi inspiration machine. Definitely try this one out if you’re looking to add Rhodes keys to your track.

Fathom is a modular VST synth that excels at crafting original waveforms with advanced modulation. The mono version of Fathom is available completely free. Soca Labs PAPU emulates the sound hardware of the original Nintendo Gameboy for all your chiptune needs.

Sound Magic Piano One uses a hybrid modelling technique to deliver the sound of the workhorse Yamaha C7 grand piano.

The Best Free VST Instrument Plugins in 2022 (+ Download Links)

Spitfire Audio LABS packs a huge amount of extremely creative sounds into a user-friendly interface. With unique libraries from modulated pianos to windswept strings to creative percussion, try LABS if you’re looking for something new.

Steinberg Model E is a useful 3 oscillator bass station capable of pumping out great bass tones. Synister is a great VST synth designed with practicality and ease of use in mind. If you’re new to synthesis this might be a great place to start!

TAL-NoiseMaker is the new and improved version of the legacy Elek7ro plugin with many more options and effects. It’s great to use and sounds fantastic.

Tunefish 4 is an extremely lightweight synth that can produce professional quality sounds. It generates its wavetables using a form of additive synthesis. U-He Triple Cheese generates it’s sound with comb filters rather than oscillators, wavetables or FM.

This unique synth produces sounds that are a little on the cheesy side, but usable and inspiring nonetheless.

U-he Tyrell N6 is a compact, effective virtual analog subtractive synth that sounds just right.

Dream Vortex Studio DVS Saxophone

Its classic architecture feels familiar and its preset library has a diverse array of sounds. Another freeware winner from German manufacturer u-he, Zebralette is the free version of the powerful Zebra.

Zebralette features one of the same incredible sounding oscillators.

Light Pad is the lightweight edition of UhhYou’s Cubic Pad. Both are powered by Paul Nasca’s interesting PADSynth algorithm.

The best part is that you get to manipulate the waveshapes directly using a visual editor.

NoiseAsh Sweetcase Vintage Electric Piano

If you’re tired of endless emulations of old analog hardware, Light Pad could be the futuristic computer synth of your dreams.

Uhhyou is a relatively new developer that creates unique software instruments based on concepts from math and physics.

IterativeSinCluster is an additive synth that can combine up to 512 sine waves for each to create otherworldly clusters of sound.

VCV is an impressive free virtual Eurorack modular system.

Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra

With emulations of many of the most popular modules supported, VCV rack is a creative powerhouse for synth tweakers. Vember Audio Surge is an incredibly powerful open-source synthesizer.

Surge features multiple “scenes” that can be layered for expressive timbres. Like all open-source software the source code is available for you to explore.

Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 Community Edition is a sampled chamber orchestra that throws typical orchestral sampling traditions to the wind.

VSCO 2 focuses on the unique sound of real people playing real instruments in real spaces. The Nordic-themed Odin2 synthesizer from TheWaveWarden is a new contender for the most advanced free synth plugin.

With an editable wavetable oscillator, loopable envelopes, multiple filter models and extensive modulation matrix, Odin2 pushes the boundaries of freeware while sounding great!

Dexed

Wavosaur VST Speek models the old school speech synthesis engines of retro hardware like the Amiga 500, Commodore 64 and Atari ST for those classic robot voice tones. Alan Vista’s unique sampled VST instruments run the gamut of orchestral percussion from traditional hand crashes to this cinematic collection of Chinese gongs.

Alan Vista Cymbalistic continues in the same vein with a realistic set of common drum kit cymbals with articulations and variable release times.

Royotoms is a unique sampled instrument of pitched “rototoms” tuned to the notes used in the intro to Pink Floyd’s “Time.”.

AudioSpillage MiniSpillage is a compact drum synthesizer capable of creating big drum sounds using subtractive synthesis and physical modeling.

NuSofting Sinnah

Beat Skillz Beat Factory Drums is a simple VST packed with essential sounds from classic drum machines like the the TR-808 and 909.

Decomposer Sitala is a free drum plugin that focuses on simplicity and ease-of-use. With only six controls, Sitala let’s you dial in the sounds you need fast. Dub Turbo DrumTroop is a big sounding drum VST with 16 individual outputs and 20 free kits.

Each pad has options for volume, pan, attack and release. Melda MDrummer Small is the lite version of Melda’s comprehensive MDrummer plugin.

Mdrummer Small features the same excellent drum machine and virtual drummer capabilities with a more utilitarian feature set.

Mix Project T.REX 606 is a compact rompler modelled after the iconic Roland TR-606 drum machine.

Sound Magic Piano One

It’s interface is super simple to get you started with TR-606 sounds right away. MT Power Drumkit 2 is a reastlc sounding acoustic drum kit plugin with sounds that can be used in all genres.

Real Drum Samples Line of Legends is a single great sounding hip-hop drum kit in an unassuming package. Sample Science Vintage Drum Elements gives you the authentic sounds of the old school Yamaha RX5 drum machine for all your lofi vintage drum needs.

Sean Pandy’s Drums Multi is a quick and dirty way to get heavy drum samples onto your tracks. It’s great for metal or aggressive genres. Elektronic Sound Lab SL Drums 3 is drum rompler vst with 75 available drum kits and assignable outputs.

Steven Slate Drums SSD5 Free is the freeware edition of Steven Slate Drums flagship SSD5 plugin.

Everything about the popular drum tool is there, with a single great kit.

Studio Linked Drum Pro is a virtual drum machine that comes with 20 kits and built-in effects to get you started creating great drum sounds right away.

Teragon ChaosChimp

Teragon Kick Maker is a bass drum synth dedicated to sculpting unique and massive kick sounds.

SimpleRecorder DjinnDrum is a no-nonsense plugin version of the legendary Linndrum drum machine. Analog modelled processor for adding more life and energy to your drum tracks.

SweetDrums comes with controls for input, output and processing.

Put this on your drum and hear it come to life! Here’s a drum VST that focuses exclusively on one instrument—the snare drum. It’s capable of creating convincingly realistic snare sounds with a handful of parameters for very specific variables like stick tip hardness, snare tension and hit position.

If you’re struggling to get real sounding acoustic snares using digital plugins, give this one a try. Kabin is a guitar cabinet modeler that makes it possible to create the sound of any guitar cab in your DAW.

The plugin comes with options for setting speaker and cabinet size up to 1×12”, settings for character to adjust mid-response and dynamic response, and a tube mic placement option.

If you’re looking for a great way to model your dream amp and get better direct-in guitar tone give Kabin a try.

Melda MAnalyzer

This amp simulator is a high gain metal-inspired amp with a tube sound modeled after classic Soldano amplifiers. It also comes with some extra volume settings for adding extra drive before the master channel.

IK Multimedia Amplitube Custom Shop contains the several of the paid versions’s basic modules for free.

Get your hands on the sounds of this classic amp sim. Black Rooster Cypress TT-15 is an impressive freeware emulation of the popular Orange Tiny Terror amp head. Ignite Amps Emissary is a software version of Ignite Amps flagship gain machine.

Emissary brings bone crushing distortion to your DAW with style.

iZotope Vocal Doubler

Ignite Amps NadIR is a handy IR loader plugin for using speaker cabinet impulse response when recording an amp direct.

Ignite Amps Pro.F.E.T is a plugin version of a popular high gain stompbox that’s a great option from getting heavy distortion into your tracks. Ignite Amps SHB-1 is a plugin version of a custom “extreme bass head” built by Ignite Amps.

Try it if you’re looking for aggressive metal bass tones. LePou LeCab 2.0 is another fantastic free cab IR loader that lets you stack up to six virtual cabs at once.

U-he Protoverb

LePou Amp Suite is a collection of virtual amps that can cover a diverse range of guitar tones from vintage to modern.

Mercuriall Chorus WS-1 is a stompbox style chorus VST that can bring the classic shimmer of analog chorus to your DAW sessions. Mercuriall Greed Smasher is a digital model of the Mesa/Boogie Grid Smasher overdrive pedal.

It’s perfect for pushing a hot amp plugin into aggressive overdrive. Mercuriall Tubes Creamer 808 is a faithful adaptation of the Ibanez TS808 Tubescreamer in plugin form.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig Player comes bundled with NI’s free plugin suite.

This stripped down edition still packs a ton of functionality and the great tones Guitar Rig is known for.

Voloco

Nick Crow 8505 is a plugin version of the popular Peavey 6505 amp. Another fantastic option for virtual heavy tones.

Brainworx/Plugin Alliance entry into the guitar amp simulation scene is a fantastic option with 8 well emulated amps to choose from. The free V3 Player gives you a sample of some of the presets from the paid version.

Blue Cat’s Free Amp offers three distinct amp models inspired by legendary tones. You can even load your own IRs to take advantage of your favourite cab/mic models.

Voxengo Boogex is a guitar amp and speaker cabinet simulator with a versatile sound for realtime guitar processing.

Get anything from jazzy cleans to heavy crunch at almost zero latency.

Adam Monroe Tremolo

Shattered Glass Audio Ace Amp is a faithful recreation of the classic 1950’s low-wattage tweed amplifier used on thousands of records.

It includes emulation of common mods to the 5 watt tweed circuit and IR based speaker modelling.

Acustica Tan is a VST compressor based on Acustica’s unique and comprehensive modelling technology. Tan has a fat VCA compression sound and additional control for modulating the shape of the attack curve.

TheWaveWarden Odin2

Audio Damage Rough Rider 2 is a nice warm compressor that’s great for adding pump to rhythmic material. SPECOMP is an S-Type console compressor from Analog Obsession.

If you’re looking to re-create the sound and magic of classic spectral analog compressors in your mix definitely give this one a try.

The compressor has fairly simple settings but it’s a great tool for gluing everything together with a genuine re-creation of the original’s circuitry.

BusterSE is an excellent (and free) recreation of the classic SSL bus compressor on the G-series console.

Xfer Dimension Expander

BusterSE is a stereo compressor, meaning it can work on multiple sources at once. That’s why it works so well on the master bus and is known for gluing a mix together in the final stages.

LALA is Analog Obsession’s take on the classic LA2A compressor. It’s got all the trappings of the original compressor including an enhanced high frequency setting that will set the sensitivity of the compressor to act on high frequencies.

Beatskillz MAX1 is an “intelligent” automatic compressor with program dependent attack and release times. Try MAX1 if you’re looking for an extremely easy to use compressor.

ADHD Audio Tools Levelling Tool is an LA-2A style optical levelling amplifier with a warm analog sound. It sounds great on vocals or other compression duties. Eareckon FR-COMP 87 is a high quality analog-style compressor using the same engine as their award winning ANALOG87 series.

Eareckon FR-LIMIT 87 is a high quality analog-style limiter using the same engine as their award winning ANALOG87 series.

Klanghelm DC1A is an analog modelled compressor with two simple controls and a warm, vintage sound.

Melda MUtility

The little brother of the acclaimed DC8C. Klanghelm MJUC Jr. is a another two-knob wonder modelled on classic variable-mu tube compression.

Melda MCompressor is a versatile compressor with an adjustable compression shape. Vladg Molot Compressor is an analog style compressor plugin that doesn’t shy away from obvious colouration and distortion.

Molot is great option when clean just won’t do. Here’s a very unique way of thinking about compression from Semantic Audio.

Melda MEqualizer

SAFE compressor works by reading descriptive keyword entries by a user and adjusts compressor settings accordingly. For example, you could type in a command like “bright” or warm” and the compressor will adjust its settings to fit those semantic descriptions.

Thomas Mundt Loudmax is a freeware brickwall lookahead limiter designed to retain the source material’s original character as much as possible.

George Yohng W1 Limiter is a clone of the popular Waves L1 limiter that performs just as well as the original. W1 is a great choice for general limiter tasks.

Xfer OTT is a free version of the aggressive multiband upwards/downwards compression technique favoured by dubstep and EDM producers. Analog Obssession’s FIVER EQ is an excellent recreation of the classic SSL G-series console EQ.

This is definitely a go-to workhorse EQ you can reach for anytime you reach the EQ stage of a mix.

It’s remarkable that these convincing analog recreations are coming out completely free—unless you feel like supporting on Patreon! Analog Obsession is possibly one of the best new entrants into the free plugin scene.

Their model for getting pro-quality plugins to the masses is working and CHANNEV is just one example of their ever-growing free pro-audio tool collection.

Don’t skip this great jack-of-all-trades channel strip EQ that comes complete with a compressor, limiter, overdrive, de-esser and mic pre-amp.

Similar to CHANNEV, LOADED is a fully… err, loaded channel strip EQ that comes with a compressor, gate, de-esser and pre-amp,.

Steinberg Model E

This six-band EQ is super useful for many applications, especially given its added tools and functionality.

Here’s another great three-band, mono and stereo, mid-side processing EQ plugin from Analog Obsession. MASBAX comes with 6 frequency selections for low, mid and high EQing duties and adjacent high, mid and low boost and cut amounts to help you carve out the best sound.

NCAR is a really cool way to introduce classic analog workflows into your mixing practice. The summing analog mixer makes it possible to route different inputs through a master mix channel to add EQ cuts and boosts and level each input track in one area.

It sounds great and also looks great with its classic mixer-style interface. This EQ plugin focuses specifically on bass frequencies, making it a great option for adding extra thickness to any track with weak low-end.

Its simple interface makes it easy to choose a specific low-end frequency and add the appropriate amount of boost.

This smaller console format EQ is inspired by the EQ of an unnamed tape machine. It comes with three bands and interestingly an optical compressor to add extra crunch.

MERICA re-creates one the most famous hardware EQs of all time—the API 550. It’s been used on many classic records from the 70s.

Other re-creations of this EQ don’t come cheap, so definitely make sure to add this incredible freebie to your EQ folder.

Bee-Happy 550 is a freeware API-style console EQ.

Full Bucket ModulAir

It’s a great plugin to get you started with API style EQ. Black Rooster VHL-3C is a faithful emulation of the low and high filters of a renowned vintage EQ. These smooth, gentle, analog style filters are great for taming excess high and low energy with style.

Blindfold EQ is a freeware EQ plugin that has 4 bands (LowShelf, LowMid, HighMid, HighShelf), but each knob is blind. There are no indicators or numbers to show frequency values, gain values or Q values.

Blue Cat’s Triple EQ is a simple three band, semi-parametric EQ that can be controlled with a single mouse click. Triple EQ works like a single shapeable filter for your DAW. Eareckon FR-EQUA 87 is a high quality analog-style equalizer using the same engine as their award winning ANALOG87 series.

Ignite Amps PTeq-X is fantastic freeware emulation of legendary Pultec EQP-1A tube EQ.

It’s warm sound and gentle curves are great for broad tonal sculpting. lkjb Luftikus is an analog EQ modelled on the popular Maag EQ4 and featuring the unique 20 and 40 kHz “air bands” for boosting frequencies above the audible range.

Melda MEqualizer is a powerful 6-band equalizer with 7 different filter types, built-in tube saturation and for simulating a vintage tone.

Plugin Alliance SPL Free Ranger is an analog-modelled graphic EQ with boost/cut points at the most important frequencies for musical EQing.

Vladg Molot Compressor

Plugin Alliance Elysia Niveau Filter is an awesome sounding tilt-style EQ for balancing your frequencies smoothly and transparently. Shattered Glass Code Red 3 accurately emulates the legendary EMI REDD console channel used by the Beatles at Abbey Road.

TDR Nova is an insanely high quality dynamic equalizer available for free. TDR Nova can handle parametric EQ, dynamic EQ, multiband compression and more—it’s a must have!

TDR Slick EQ is another highly musical audio tool from TDR. This 3 band EQ is designed for useability and tone with 4 fantastic sounding subtle saturation options at the output stage. Another classic free plugin.

Voxengo Overtone GEQ is a 7-band harmonic graphic EQ with tube-style character that’s great for processing buses or entire mixes.

Spread delay gives you a high degree of control over the panning of your delay bursts. It comes with a visual interface that lets you control exactly how wide your delay will ping-pong.

For some interesting sound design applications this delay is a great free addition to your delay plugins.

IK Multimedia Amplitube Custom Shop

Dragonfly is a collection of plate, hall and room reverb plugins—each coming with their own unique set of parameters and controls. It’s a bit unique because the plugin interface comes with a spectral analyzer that helps with analyzing which frequencies are getting reflected most prominently.

E-phonic Tape Delay is a free delay plugin that emulates the warm and warbly sound of tape delay. Giant Verb is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a giant reverb that can go up to insanely long decay times, like up to an hour and longer.

t’s a bit ridiculous, but when dialed back it can be useful for creating slow-moving ambient sounds and huge spaces. Tape echo is one of the most beautiful delay effects out there. Vintage hardware like the Space Echo or the WEM IC-400 is still beloved for its nostalgic, saturated, lo-fi sound.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_cleansweep

The GSi Varispeed is a convincing re-creation of the WEM IC-400, it opens up many echoey sonic possibilities for adding a tinge of tape-infused lo-fi goodness to your tracks all for free.

Glitchmachines Hysteresis a free glitch delay for creating robotic artifacts and “musical malfunctions.” It can create everything from reverse delays to raw granulation.

Hotto Spring Reverb is a free physically modelled spring reverb for your DAW. OrilRiver is a pretty comprehensive algorithmic stereo rhythmic reverb that comes with a lot of functionality—it’s fairly competitive with higher tier paid plugins.

This plugin is great for simulating everything from a small room to a large hall with twelve options for early reflections and five options for reverb tails.

It also comes with gain and shelf EQ for controlling how much reflections get through.

Blue Cat’s Flanger

Melda MConvolutionEZ is an impressively easy to use convolution reverb for modelling realistic spaces.

Musical Entropy Spaceship Delay is a multimode delay plugin that can be used for adding a variety of time based effects to any aspect of your mix.

Bonus: engage the freeze function and you’ve got yourself a looper. Puremagnetik Driftmaker is a delay disintegration device with exceptional dimension and character, perfect for when you’re looking to invoke something extra from your track.

TAL Reverb 2 is a super diffuse and lush reverb effect that’s ideal for ambient reverb tones.

Tritik Krush

TAL Reverb 4 is a high quality plate reverb with a vintage 80s character and the signature TAL diffusion.

U-he Protoverb is a natural sounding room simulator plugin that builds up resonances to model the body of air in a room.

Voxengo Tempo Delay is a stereo delay plugin with deep DAW synchronization for creating rhythmic delays and unique panning, filter and tremolo effects.

Voxengo Old Skool Reverb is a plate style algorithmic reverb that uses a tried and true stereo reverb algorithm that sits well in a mix.

Valhalla SpaceMod

SaschArt SweepDelay is a creative delay effect with a pair of filters to sculpt the repeats. Its HPF and LPF filter types come with their own LFO rate and depth controls to animate your delay with stylish sweep effects.

Here’s a clean and simple delay plugin that’ll fill out your basic delay needs. Flying Delay comes with tempo-sync, saturation and high and low pass controls.

It’s a super easy-to-use plugin that gets uncomplicated delay tasks done right. Smartelectronix Ambience was one of the first quality free reverb plugins on the scene and it continues to be a great option for ambient algorithmic reverb.

Supermassive from Vahalla does what it says on the tin.

Melda MWaveFolder

This is a huge echo plugin that can create sprawling soundscapes, trailing echoes and much more. Don’t sleep on this incredible free offering from this well-respected plugin manufacturer.

Here’s a minimalistic reverb with some important applications that are totally worth adding to your reverb folder. Subspace uses re-synthesis technology to eliminate the harsher reflections commonly associated with most reverbs.

The reflectionless sound is almost haunting and makes for a great option when creating moody soundscapes and stylish ambience. Audio Damage Fuzz Plus 3 is an authentic model of a vintage fuzz pedal with tone-shaping filter and self-feedback.

Here’s a great overdrive plugin from Analog Obsession that mimics the construction of typical, high-end overdrive pedals for guitar.

Ample Sound Cloudrum

This plugin comes with five unique overdrive models each of which re-create the sound of classic pedals like the Big Muff, Guv’nor SD-1 and more.

For added tone control you get knobs to control bass, treble, pre tone, drive level and output. Creative Intent Temper is a saturation plugin that creates unique digital distortion effects using a rich saturation stage and a unique phase distortion effect.

Klanghelm IVGI is an excellent analog saturation plugin that can go from subtle harmonic enhancement to heavy colouration.

One of the best freeware saturators available!

Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage

Melda MSaturator is a smooth, tube-like saturation device with natural and pleasing sound. Shattered Glass Audio SGA1566 is a digital emulation of a classic single channel all-tube mic preamplifier.

SGA1566 is perfect for analog colouration and distortion. DirtyPumper is a saturation plugin that does what it says on the tin. It’ll pump dirt and grit into your mix or track to add extreme saturation.

Best used from drums to create extra punch and crunch, but definitely don’t shy away if you want to mangle and distort any audio source.

DSK Saxophones

Softube Saturation knob is an incredibly simple one-knob plugin for adding analog output stage warmth and colouration. Here’s a well engineered plugin from Germany based TBProAudio.

It’s based on the saturator used within their paid CS5501V2 channel strip plugin, but with some extra design features added. It comes with several different saturation modes, oversampling and a pretty cool old school VU interface.

Voxengo Tube Amp is a simple tube style distortion that emulates the triode tubes generally found in tube mic preamps.

Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage is a free reissue of the original Tube Saturator plugin that used circuit simulation to model a tube preamp.

The new version sounds just as good and is much easier on your CPU. This de-esser is a great option for cleaning up vocal takes and removing harsh high-end.

If you need to sweeten up a hissing vocal take, try this one out.

Auburn Graillon Free is a versatile pitch tracking and correction plugin with the power to transpose or robitify vocals.

Melda MAutopan

iZotope Vocal Doubler can create a natural double tracked vocal sound with human-like variation and controllable stereo separation.

Melda MAutoPitch is a simple automatic pitch correction plugin for vocals or monophonic instruments. MAutoPitch can also create formant shifting and robotic voice effects. TAL Vocoder is a vintage vocoder emulation with 11 bands that emulates the sound of vocoders from the early 80s.

Voloco is a free pitch correction plugin with options to set pitch correction strength, key and more. For an entry point into pitch correction on vocals, this is definitely worth giving a try.

Filiterstep is an interesting way of adding filters to your instruments to give them an evolving texture. The plugin uses a step sequencer that controls the amount of cutoff applied per step, making it easy to introduce evolving textures that change with every beat.

Here’s a great pre-amplifier emulation from Analog Obsession that makes it possible to model twelve classic analog preamps including Neve and SSL recreations.

Acustica Tan

PreBox also comes with controls for high pass and low pass filtering. Filterjam is a multiband resonant filter with some great sounding capabilities for adding everything from subtle filters to completely mangled audio to your signal.

It has multiple settings for summing each of its bands and you can control the cutoff resonance using its emphasis parameter.

It’s a great option for simple but effective filtering and with lightweight demand on the CPU. Flux Mini is a combination filter and VCA effect with a unique visual pattern interface. You can draw the shape of the wave to easily create complicated rhythmic curves not possible with a regular LFO–it’s great for creating unique tremolo and sweep effects.

It’s a refreshing alternative to painstakingly writing automating your synth parameters by hand.

Dirty Filter is a fairly standard filter with HPF and LPF options and a mix knob for blending filtered sound with the original signal.

Analog Obsession NCAR

What makes it unique is its included overdrive parameter that adds extra saturation and resonances that sound great when brought into focus by the filters. If you enjoy using sloping filters to sculpt squelching, chunky sounds this is a great free plugin to experiment with.

Here’s a powerful filter with a ton of capabilities, especially for a free plugin.

Analog Obsession AMPER

You get a lot of ability to customize each of its three bands, modulation parameters to add LFO, overdrive, attack and release and even an EQ section.

This is about as close to a fully fledged filter plugin as you can get without spending a dime. Melda MBandPass is a filter plugin with high and low pass filters capable of extreme slopes. Using it’s two modulators it can be follow a simple LFO, react to input levels, MIDI notes or incoming pitches.

Melda MComb is a powerful multi-comb filter for shaping sound. Using it’s two modulators it can be follow a simple LFO, react to input levels, MIDI notes or incoming pitches.

This is a beloved cheese themed plugin that you need to put in your plugins folder, even if just for its quirky design and sound.

The multiband, resonant filter comes with parameters for adding distortion and two routing schemes and delay stages to create unique phasing effects.

LANDR Chromatic

This plugin has a ton of sound design applications and easily qualifies as one of the weirder plugins on this list.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_cleansweep gives you high-end analog low and high pass filters for free. These incredible sounding filters are the perfect tools for cleaning up issues at the extreme ends of your mix.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_subfilter is a handy tool for dealing with low frequency sources like bass and kick drum.

Analog Obsession MASBAX

It’s simple controls make it easy to sculpt low-end punchiness and filtering. TAL Filter II is a versatile filter plugin with many different types of oversampled filters available.

It can be synced to the host tempo to create all kinds of rhythmic effects. Acon Digital Multiply is an expressive digital chorus that includes a phase randomizing filter on each voice.

The result is an incredibly natural chorus tone. Adam Monroe Tremolo is a simple but effective tremolo with stereo panning and wet/dry mixer built in.

Beatskillz MAX1

Alex Hilton A1 Trigger Gate is a plugin for creating rhythmic gating effects. It’s comprehensive options make it perfect for creating patterned stuttering.

Aegean Music Doppler Dome is a stereo effect based on its namesake, the Doppler effect. Expect a creative, flexible and fun auto-panner, spatializer, pitch shifter and modulator all in one. Auburn Couture Free is a free transient shaper plugin for level independent dynamics processing.

Eugene Yakshin Ribs

Transient shaping can be a great alternative to compression.

This is a very simple but great sounding tremolo plugin that works great with keys, vocals, guitars, bass and more. The rate, depth and intensity of the tremolo is controlled with two knobs labeled chop and fade.

Flux BitterSweet v3 is a freeware transient shaper with a simple control scheme and great sound. Blue Cat’s Chorus is a capable chorus that can go from a light shimmer to sound mangling modulation.

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