Vst3 Plugins Free

Free VST plugins are the best way to upgrade your music production setup with exciting new virtual instruments and effects.

There are hundreds of free VSTs online, and finding good ones takes time. To help you focus on making music instead of testing audio plugins, we listed the best VST plugins for your digital audio workstation.

We picked the best free VST plugins in each category. This makes it easy to find a free plugin for a specific music production task, and the listings are updated multiple times per year.

We also selected the best free VST plugins for 2022.

These plugins are a great starting point for quickly upgrading your music setup.

Vintage Drum Elements

Be sure to check back regularly and keep your free VST plugins up to date!

Welcome to the internet’s most up-to-date directory of VST plugins. Select one of the free plugin categories below. Freeware effects in VST plugin format:.

Autotune – Free alternatives to Antares Auto-Tune. Bitcrusher – Freeware bitcrusher plugins.

TDR Nova

Chorus – The best free chorus effects. Compressor – The best compressors for mixing and mastering. Compressor (Multiband) – A collection of multi-band compressors.

Compressor (Sidechain) – A collection of sidechain compressors. Delay/Echo – Add space and depth to your mix with free delay effects.

Krush

Distortion – Distort your audio with these freeware plugins. EQ (Graphic) – Free graphic equalizers in VST format. EQ (Linear-Phase) – Linear-phase equalizers in the VST plugin format.

A1TriggerGate

EQ (Parametric) – Parametric EQ plugins for mixing and mastering. Filter – Filters for mixing and sound design. Flanger – Free flanger VST effects.

Best Free VST Plugins For Guitar

Gate (Noise Gate) – Freeware VST plugins for removing noise from recordings. Granulator – A collection of granular effects to really mess up your audio.

TAL Vocoder

Guitar Amp – Large collection of virtual guitar amplifier VST plugins. Limiter – Free limiter effects for mastering and mixing.

Best Free VST Effects For Mixing

Phaser – The best free phaser plugins. Reverb – Algorithmic reverb VST plugins. Reverb (Convolution) – Convolution reverb VSTs.

Best Free Virtual Instrument VST Plugins

Saturation – Free saturation VST plugins for that classic analog sound. Stereo Enhancer – Enhance the stereo width with these freeware effects. Transient Shaper – Make your drums snappy with these free transient shapers.

Synth1

Vocoder – Become the next Daft Punk with these free vocoder VST plugins. A selection of free virtual instruments in VST plugin format:.

OBXD

Drums – Instruments for playing drum sounds. Orchestral – Symphonic orchestra instruments. Piano (Acoustic) – Virtual acoustic pianos.

Make your home studio sound amazing

Piano (Electric) – Virtual electric piano instruments. ROMpler – A round-up of free ROMpler instruments. Sampler – Free VST plugins for playing audio samples.

Hypercyclic

SoundFont – Play your SoundFonts with these free plugins when you’re feeling old school. String Machine – A collection of string ensemble instruments.

PanCake2

Jean Michel Jarre will love these! Synthesizer – Free synthesizer VST plugins. Synthesizer (Retro) – Emulated vintage synthesizers.

Best Free VST Plugins For Trap Beats

Virtual Instruments – Must-have free instruments. Other helpful freeware VST plugins:. Arpeggiator – A collection of freeware arpeggiator VST plugins.

Best Free Synthesizer VST Plugins

Oscilloscope – Free oscilloscope tools. Spectrum Analyzer – Visualize your mix with these freeware spectrum analyzers.

Best free VST plugins (2022 update)

Step Sequencer – Sequence your virtual instruments with these freeware step sequencers. A selection of free audio editors, digital audio workstations, and other applications that host VST plugins:.

Any Other FREE VST Plugins I Should Grab?

Audio Editing Software – Audio editing programs that can host VST plugins. Beat Making Software – Make beats on your computer.

Free VST Plugins

Digital Audio Workstations – The best free DAW software. Free Recording Software – Record high-quality audio with these free tools. Mastering Software – Freely downloadable VST plugins for mastering.

MT Power DrumKit 2

Music Production Software – The best free music-making tools for beginners. Video Editing Software – Edit your music videos for free. VST Host Applications – Directory of VST plugin hosts for music production and live performance.

Best Free Drum VST Plugins

These are the best free VSTs available in 2022. If you’re building a music software setup from scratch, these are must-have tools.

Helix

The list below features the best free virtual instruments and effects for your studio.

SQ8L

Check out the categorized free VST plugin articles above for more options.

Top Free VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

Vital is a spectral warping wavetable synthesizer by Matt Tytel. It is the best free synthesizer at the moment and one of the finest free VST plugins ever released.

Dexed

With a feature set that matches the world’s most popular virtual instruments like Xfer Serum and NI Massive, Vital is a welcome addition to any music producer’s plugin arsenal.

Best Free VST Plugins For Vocals

One of Vital’s best features is its user interface. Despite its complex synthesis engine, the instrument is intuitive and easy to use.

Zebralette

More info:Vital. Surge is an open-source synthesizer for experienced sound designers. The plugin is versatile and complex, offering a wide selection of synthesis modes, a robust modulation engine, and numerous filter types.

At its core, Surge is a subtractive hybrid synthesizer. However, it features complex oscillators that utilize various synthesis techniques to generate sound.

Defacer (Free Trial) is a distortion and bit crusher audio plugin developed by Audio Assault. Available as VST/VST3/AU & AAX Plug-Ins for Windows & macOS.

There are twelve different algorithms to choose from, including frequency modulation, wavetables, S&H, and audio input.

The instrument comes with 2,285 presets, so there are plenty of sounds to get you started if you’re not interested in designing patches from scratch. Surge was recently ported to JUCE, delivering improved performance and other optimizations.

Best Free VST Plugins For Bass

If you’re producing any genre of electronic music, Surge is one of the free VST plugins you should definitely have in your arsenal.

Tunefish 4

More info:Surge. LABS is a free virtual instrument by Spitfire Audio. It is a sample-based instrument platform with an ever-growing collection of high-quality sound banks.

What are free VST plugins?

Since we already covered virtual synthesizers (Vital and Surge), it’s time to focus on sample-based instruments and acoustic sounds. Unlike virtual synths, LABS uses samples as the sound source.

Helm By Matt Tytel

You can use it to play virtual guitars, pianos, drums, and more. Spitfire Audio constantly releases new expansion libraries for LABS, and they all sound fantastic.

3. LABS by Spitfire Audio

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we highly recommend trying Soft Piano, Synth Strings, Bass Guitar, and Wurli. Komplete Start is a free VST plugin bundle by Native Instruments.

It contains several virtual instruments and effects, including the industry-standard Kontakt Player plugin.

Kontakt Player is one of the most widely-used sample players on the market.

LABS – Synth Pads By Spitfire Audio

It is the free version of Kontakt, the flagship sampler from Native Instruments.

OrilRiver By Denis Tihanov

To help you get started, we created a list of free Kontakt libraries for Kontakt Player.

The free Komplete Start collection also includes a set of NI Reaktor instruments (LazerBass, Carbon 2, and TRK-01) and the Supercharger compressor effect.

More info:Komplete Start. TDR Nova is a free parallel dynamic equalizer plugin developed by Tokyo Dawn Labs.

9. FerricTDS mkII by Variety Of Sound

It is the ultimate EQ and one of the best free VSTs for mixing. You can use TDR Nova as a basic parametric EQ or a super surgical dynamic EQ for dealing with complex audio signals.

LABS – Strings By Spitfire Audio

It works equally well for mixing and mastering. TDR Nova can handle parametric equalization, dynamic equalization, and even multi-band compression thanks to its robust feature set.

DC1A By Klanghelm

TDR Nova is the first pick if you’re looking for a go-to equalizer for your VST plugin collection.

It’s user-friendly, versatile, and freeware. More info:TDR Nova. Limiter №6 is the best free limiter plugin.

It features five stages (compressor, peak limiter, HF limiter, clipper, protection), each designed to slightly reduce the signal’s dynamic range.

10. Krush by Tritik

If you’re looking for a powerful mastering limiter, Limiter №6 is a freeware VST plugin worth downloading. It can handle the most complex of signals with ease.

Pendulate By Newfangled Audio

One of its best qualities is its transparent sound. Limiter №6 slightly compresses the signal in each stage, resulting in a natural-sounding signal on the output.

Step 3: Keeping your VSTs up to date

More info:Limiter №6. Frontier is a free compressor plugin by D16 Group. It excels as a tracking limiter and an easy-to-use compressor for boosting the loudness of individual tracks.

Odin 2 By TheWaveWarden

Unlike the Limiter №6 plugin, which we mentioned earlier, Frontier is a straightforward mixing tool. Adjust the Threshold knob to compress the signal and increase the Output Level control to get the desired loudness.

4. Komplete Start by Native Instruments

Download this VST plugin if you’re looking for a dependable compressor/limiter tool.

LABS – Wurli By Spitfire Audio

It will speed up your mixing workflow and help you compress the individual tracks in your mix. More info:Frontier. Valhalla SuperMassive is a free delay and reverb effect designed by Valhalla DSP.

NadIR By IGNITE AMPS

This is the best free VST to download if you’re looking for huge reverbs, massive delays, and endless echoes. Sound designers will appreciate Valhalla SuperMassive’s unique delay algorithms.

Vocal Doubler By iZotope

Each mode offers a massively different reverb character, ranging from abstract chambers to sci-fi atmospheres. For more info about each delay mode, visit the product page on the developer’s website.

LABS – Soft Piano By Spitfire Audio

However, this is one of those plugins that you’ll probably enjoy using even without reading the manual. Valhalla SuperMassive is one of the best-sounding reverb effects currently available.

1. Vital by Matt Tytel

Be sure to check out Valhalla DSP’s free Valhalla Space Modulator plugin, too. More info:Valhalla SuperMassive. FerricTDS mkII is the best free tape saturation effect.

TSE BOD By TSE Audio

It simulates the saturation and dynamic range reduction properties of analog tape. You can use FerricTDS to compress the signal, add analog-style saturation, and smooth out the transients.

Blue Cat’s Chorus By Blue Cat Audio

It is an essential free VST plugin for music producers who want a “more analog” sound in their DAW.

FerricTDS mkII sports a well-designed user interface with a simple control layout.

Adjust the Dynamics and Saturation knobs while monitoring the gain reduction meter. Once you’re happy with the result, fine-tune the Trim knob to add some volume.

Guitar Rig 6 Player By Native Instruments

There are two saturation modes to choose from (Modern and Classic), and the limiter module on the output prevents clipping.

For more saturation options, take a look at Tessla SE mkII. FerricTDS mkII is now compatible with all 64-bit plugin hosts on Windows.

Blue Cat’s Triple EQ By Blue Cat Audio

More info:FerricTDS mkII. Krush is a free distortion effect by Tritik. It combines several distortion types, including bit crushing, downsampling, and overdriving the audio signal.

Step 2: Downloading free VST plugins

In addition to distorting the signal, Krush can filter and modulate the incoming audio. There are four different modulation shapes to choose from, and the LFO can work in sync with the host application.

Proximity By Tokyo Dawn Records

If you’re looking for a versatile sound design tool, Krush should be one of the first free VST plugins on the list. It’s a multi-effect that works as a filter, a distortion box, and a modulator.

VST Utilities

More info:Krush. If you’ve never used audio plugins before, chances are you’re facing the following question.

What are VST plugins? A VST plugin is a software-based audio effect or a virtual instrument intended for use in a host program that supports Virtual Studio Technology.

ProF.E.T. By IGNITE AMPS

Introduced by Steinberg in 1996, the Virtual Studio Technology and VST plugins made a massive impact on the way we produce music today.

AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop By IK Multimedia

The technology allows music producers to expand their digital audio workstations with third-party audio effects and virtual instruments.

7. Frontier by D16 Group

Nowadays, most digital audio workstations can load plugins in VST2 and the more recent VST3 formats. VST plugins can expand a virtual music studio, much like how hardware effects and instruments are utilized in a real studio.

Emissary By IGNITE AMPS

The good news is that there are literally thousands of VST plugins available for free download on the web. In fact, there are so many free VSTs on the market that one can waste hours downloading and testing them instead of making music.

Voxengo

For this reason, a curated list like our free VST plugins page will help you find the right music production tools more quickly.

LABS – Drums By Spitfire Audio

Now that you know what a VST plugin is, here’s how you can use it to make music. First things first, you will need a VST plugin host.

Surge By Vember Audio

That is a software program capable of loading virtual instruments and effects in VST format. Choosing the right audio software and learning to use it properly are the most important steps for a new music producer.

Graillon 2 By Auburn Sounds

Therefore, go ahead and familiarize yourself with the software available in your VST plugin folder. You don’t want to use a complicated plugin for the first time during a critical mixing session.

MT Power Drum Kit 2 By Manda Audio

First of all, you need to choose a digital audio workstation. The decision to use freeware or commercial music production software is up to you and your budget. The workflow is the first thing to keep in mind when choosing your DAW.

5. TDR Nova by Tokyo Dawn Labs

Is the interface intuitive? Does the control layout seem logical to you? Does the application provide all the recording and mixing features you’ll require?

DRUM PRO By Studio Linked

And most importantly, can it host VST plugins? The best free digital audio workstations are Waveform Free by Tracktion and Cakewalk by BandLab.

SHB-1 By IGNITE AMPS

Both applications can load VST plugins. Now that you’ve picked your DAW, you’re all set to start building your collection of free VST plugins.

8. Valhalla SuperMassive by Valhalla DSP

Always go for quality instead of quantity. A common beginner mistake is going on a download spree and hoarding hundreds of VSTs on your hard drive.

VladG Molot Compressor By Tokyo Dawn Records

This is bad for your workflow and will slow down your productivity. Imagine for a moment that your DAW is a real-world studio.

LABS – Choir By Spitfire Audio

Would you be able to make music in a room cluttered with hundreds of dusty instruments, effects, broken tapes, disconnected audio cables, and other gear that no one will ever use?

Libra By IGNITE AMPS

You don’t want such a mess in your virtual studio, either. Stay focused on workflow efficiency when choosing your virtual instruments and effects.

Stereo Touch By Voxengo

This page is a great place to start because we only include the best freeware VST plugins in each category. You need a small but versatile collection of audio production software that will cover all of your music production needs.

Frontier Self-Adaptive Versatile Limiter By D16 Group Audio Software

Take the time to examine the VST plugins on offer and keep only the ones you really need.

SPITFISH By Sascha Eversmeier

Keep your mixing toolbox lightweight and efficient. Limit yourself to no more than three virtual compressors, equalizers, synthesizers, etc.

Spitfire Audio

Many music producers spend more time collecting free software for music production than actually making music.

Don’t make this mistake. Install only the tools that best suit your workflow and learn how to use them.

VST Instruments

Read the manuals, watch the video tutorials, and spend some time experimenting with your free VST plugins.

Finally, always keep your VST plugins updated. Developers regularly release updated versions of the software. The updates often include essential bug fixes, optimizations, performance improvements, and additional features.

Keep an eye on our news section to stay informed about the latest version updates of popular free VST plugins.

OldSkoolVerb By Voxengo

Also, subscribe to our email newsletter to receive the latest freeware news straight to your email inbox.

If you’re looking for even more free VSTs for your DAW, check out the massive database over at KVR Audio. Last updated: March 30, 2022. This plugin is available in free trial!

Defacer is an all-purpose 2 channel audio mangler designed to destroy and rearrange any sound you throw at it.

VST Host Applications

Use it to make guitars sound like a broken synth or add a touch of robot-ness to vocals, when the sound calls for it, Defacer is there!

Featuring low-pass filters & distortions on each channel you are free to destroy audio to your heart’s content.

VST Effects

Every sound engineer, music producer, composer, and beatmaker needs access to powerful tools to be able to enhance and bring their music to life.

Step 1: Free VST plugin hosts

These days, recording is mostly done “in the box,” with VST plugins. And in recent times, even the free ones are starting to sound better and are quite versatile besides.

TyrellN6 By u-he

There are different categories of VST plugins you’re going to need to build out your library to handle the many things you want to be able to do.

IGNITE AMPS

So, whether you need to build from scratch, supplement, or augment your toolkit, you’ve come to the right place.

TSE R47 By TSE Audio

In this guide, we look at the best free VST plugins of all time – essential instruments and effects. Effects like EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, compression, de-essers, distortion, and others are essential for individual tracks, as well as your overall mix.

2. Surge by Surge Synth Team

Without these, you’re going to be quite limited in what you can do to your tracks (volume and pan, maybe?), and unless you’re 100% happy with what you’ve captured, you’re going to be severely limited in achieving a different result.

Saturation Knob By Softube

In this section, we’re going to be looking at several plugins in the categories already mentioned.

TSE 808 By TSE Audio

In addition to mixing and mastering, these can come in quite handy for shaping the tone and sound of individual tracks.

LABS – Electric Piano By Spitfire Audio

EQ is a must-have when it comes to mixing and mastering alike, and Blue Cat’s Triple EQ is considered one of the best free options available.

Valhalla Super Massive By Valhalla DSP

This is a three-band semi-parametric equalizer. It can be controlled with a single filter, with a customizable shape. Features also include dual mode (independent left and right or mid and side channels control), multiple channels linking modes, +-40 dB range per band, automatic gain compensation, no latency, real-time display of frequency response, and on-graph filter shape control.

TSB-1 Tyrant Screamer By IGNITE AMPS

Overall, Blue Cat’s Triple EQ is quite simple, and unlike some EQ VSTs, the effect is quite noticeable, letting you mold sounds to your heart’s content.

Tokyo Dawn Records

Download: Blue Cat Audio. Reverb is essential to most mixes, and unless you’re happy with your DAW’s built-in reverb (which in some cases can be quite good), you’ll probably want to supplement your plugin library.

6. Limiter №6 by Vladislav Goncharov

The OrilRiver reverb comes highly recommended by certain users. This is an algorithmic stereo reverb with 12 variations of early reflections, five variations of reverb tail, and three-band equalizer for wet signal.

Multiply By Acon Digital

Which means this – you can even shape the tone of your tracks with this plugin. With OrilRiver, you can add a natural sounding high-quality reverb to your tracks. I don’t think any producer should be embarrassed adding this plugin to their toolkit.

LABS – Dulcimer By Spitfire Audio

OrilRiver is compatible with Windows and Mac. Download: KVR Audio Software. The moment I heard OldSkoolVerb I fell in love with it.

Voxengo Boogex

I’d tried a few reverb VSTs to that point, but most of them were quite basic or mediocre sounding. OldSkoolVerb comes with a lot of great presets (bright studio, warm hall, drum room, etc.) that help you get up and running fast.

Shattered Glass Audio Ace Amp

Most of the time, I just start with a preset I like and tweak a little until I’m happy with the sound. In most cases, you will probably want to turn down the out gain on the reverb, though, because the presets can be quite intense.

Acustica Tan

A lot of reverb can be nice, but sometimes too much is too much! There are several reverbs on this list, and they’re all worth trying, but you probably won’t find me without this one.

Audio Damage Rough Rider 2

Download: Voxengo. I didn’t even know about stereo-widening/vocal doubling effects until my producer told me about them a couple of years ago.

Analog Obsession SPECOMP

I was already sold on Voxengo’s OldSkoolVerb, so when I found out they had Stereo Touch, I was quick to download it and test it out. Unsurprisingly, I was quite impressed with the results.

It’s capable of making your vocals stand out in a mix without boosting their volume. Again, there are several presets built in (vocal space, surround, stage, etc.), and they offer a great starting point for the sounds you’re looking to create.

Analog Obsession BusterSE

And while the tendency will be to add this effect to vocals, it can work quite nicely on guitar too!

Download: Voxengo. Valhalla Super Massive is kind of like a hybrid delay and reverb plugin. Which means you can get quite a bit of utility out of it.

Analog Obsession LALA

Its user interface and design? But sometimes that’s all you need.

It comes with controls for mix, width, delay, warp, feedback, density, mod rate and depth, and EQ high and low. It comes with a lot of presets, so if you aren’t sure where to start, you’ll appreciate that feature.

Beatskillz MAX1

Super Massive offers a great sounding delay and reverb, and as a creative tool for harmonic echoes, space sounds, and huge reverbs, it shines.

ADHD Audio Tools Levelling Tool

A good VST to keep your inspiration alive. Valhalla Super Massive is compatible with Windows and Mac. Download: Valhalla DSP. Klanghelm’s DC1A is a simple two-control compressor.

Eareckon FR-COMP 87

It’s got controls for input, output, deep, relaxed, dual mono, and negative. It also features a tasty, professional design.

Eareckon FR-LIMIT 87

While it looks quite straightforward, its versatility might just surprise you. It works on vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, or keyboards – just about anything!

Klanghelm DC1A

This compressor is quite possibly one of the most effective free ones I’ve seen. It makes it incredibly easy for you to alter the dynamics of your track without coloring it.

Klanghelm MJUC Jr.

You don’t even need presets to operate this baby – just work the input and output dials until you’re happy with the results, and experiment with the additional controls for full effect.

Melda MCompressor

DC1A is supported on Windows and Mac. Download: Klanghelm. While some will appreciate the simplicity of a compressor like the DC1A, others will want more control over the dynamics and sound of their tracks.

Vladg Molot Compressor

Tokyo Dawn Records’ VladG Molot compressor gives you superior control of your tone. That said, if you’re new to compressors, you might want to skip this one, because it’s hard to tune your tracks to perfection with this baby.

SAFE Compressor

The graphical user interface? I admit it’s a little intimidating even to me. Still, it is beautifully designed, in a vintage kind of way. You’ve got controls for filter, attack, release, ratio, threshold, knee, makeup, dry mix, limiter, mid scoop, mode, upsampling, on/off, alpha/sigma, and input/GR.

The VladG Molot, unlike certain compressors, will color the tone of your instruments. You will need to experiment yourself to get a better sense of what that means.

Thomas Mundt Loudmax

The point is – if you’re looking for a compressor that’s more transparent, this isn’t it. VladG Molot is available for Windows and Mac through Tokyo Dawn Records.

George Yohng W1 Limiter

Download: Tokyo Dawn Records. Chorus can add some shine and sparkle to your tracks. In effect, it adds voices (as if a choir) to the track, regardless of what it is.

Xfer OTT

Blue Cat’s Chorus is a vintage style single voice chorus effect that allows for a wide range of sounds, from light ensemble, all the way to a deep, destructive modulation effect.

Analog Obsession FIVER

Its main features include stereo spread control, sine or triangle LFO shapes, and in or out of phase mix control.

Included are multiple presets to help you get started. Just as advertised, I find it to be a highly usable vintage style effect that can work on just about any instrument you want to add some energy to.

Blue Cat’s Chorus is compatible with Mac and Windows. Download: Blue Cat Audio. We’ve covered a range of free de-esser effects on MIDINation before.

Analog Obsession CHANNEV

SPITFISH is just one among half a dozen or so you may find especially effective.

A de-esser can help remove harsh vocal sounds, also known as sibilants – “s,” “z,” “sh,” “teh,” ch,” and so forth. It’s a must-have, especially if you’re working with a variety of vocalists and clients.

In addition to removing unwanted noise and hiss, de-essers are also often used on mixes, to round off the corners and remove the harsher, high frequency sounds that can result from boosting those frequencies (it’s common practice to add some sparkle to vocal tracks).

Analog Obsession LOADED

The beautifully designed SPITFISH is simple, effective, and easy to use. It offers controls for sense, tune, depth, listen, bypass, stereo, and soft.

Be sure to add a de-esser to your toolkit. Most professionals find they use de-essers on 60 to 80% of the tracks they produce.

Analog Obsession MASBAX

Download: Sascha Eversmeier. If you’re planning to make electronic music of any kind, or pop, hip-hop, and in some cases even rock, you need synthesizers.

Synths tend to be quite versatile, and with them you can create leads, pads, bass, drums, effects, and more. So, whether you’re looking to add some atmosphere to your track, or want to play a blistering synth solo, having a few synth VSTs at the ready is best practice.

Analog Obsession NCAR

Break out that MIDI controller, because you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time having fun and experimenting with these.

There’s not a whole lot we can say about the free, open source, award-winning hybrid synthesizer known as Surge that we haven’t already said.

That’s because we’ve covered it in other guides, including the one on the best free synth VST plugins.

Analog Obsession LOVEND

Surge is known for its quality sounds, its versatility, its customizability, and more. It even comes with over 2,000 patches.

If you want to get a better feel for it yourself, have a listen to samples on their website, or watch the video below.

Analog Obsession STEQ

Fair warning – you’ll be watching and listening for a quite a while before you even start to get a sense of all this plugin is capable of!

Honestly, if you like synths, you’d be crazy not to download it and give it a whirl.

Analog Obsession MERICA

You can download it for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Download: GitHub. Pendulate is great because, quite honestly, it’s a little different from a lot of synths out there.

This free synth comes with a novel “chaotic oscillator” based on the double pendulum. That gives you access to a lot of unique sounds you may have never heard before (let’s face it – a lot of synths are emulating the same thing, so this is refreshing).

Bee-Happy 550

With Pendulate, you also get wavefolder based on the Buchla 259 Complex Waveform Generator with mix and cutoff, low pass gate with poles and resonance, 169 simultaneous modulation routings, MPE support, envelope and LFO, up to 221 modulation points, animations for the double pendulum, wavefolder, and low pass gate, three unique color schemes, 136 presets (including artist presets), and more.

Black Rooster VHL-3C

Classic synths are great, and they are often emulated for a reason. But if you’re looking for something new or different, you should give Pendulate a try. You can get Pendulate for Mac or Windows in exchange for your email address on the Eventide Audio website.

Download: Eventide Audio. Again, as with Surge, there’s not a whole lot we can say about Helm that we haven’t already said at one point or another. Helm is highly versatile and amazingly designed, with plenty of awesome, high-quality sounds reminiscent of video games in the 90s.

Blue Cat’s Triple EQ

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of video game music, which of course means Helm is right down my alley. This isn’t to say there aren’t synths that specialize in video game sounds, but with Helm you kind of get all that and more.

Eareckon FR-EQUA 87

Helm works on GNU/Linux, Mac and Windows. Download: Matt Tytel. u-he’s TyrellN6 was originally going to be a hardware analog synth.

Ignite Amps PTeq-X

For a variety of reasons, it got turned into a VST instead. Clearly, a lot of love and care went into its “sporty,” quality design, with all the knobs and faders you’ve come to love as a synth aficionado.

lkjb Luftikus

If not, don’t be intimidated, because TyrellN6 comes with over 580 factory presets(!). That should be more than enough to get you started.

Melda MEqualizer

Besides, there are plenty of tutorials online. This VST is capable of just about anything, with plenty of classic and modern sounds.

Plugin Alliance SPL Free Ranger

TyrellN6 is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. If you love tweaking, then I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t enjoy Odin 2.

Plugin Alliance Elysia Niveau Filter

You can draw a multitude of sounds out of this baby, and it works on Windows, Mac, and Linux besides. But if you can’t see yourself spending all your time tweaking, that’s okay.

Shattered Glass Code Red Free

Odin 2 comes with a diverse preset library too. This 24-voice polyphonic synth comes with endless modulation capabilities and is quite possibly one of the best free plugins to come out in recent years.

TDR Nova

Download: TheWaveWarden. I’ve been getting into Spitfire Audio’s LABS series plugins as of late, as they are all quite high quality. LABS – Synth Pads is one of the first I tried, because I happened to have a song in which I wanted to use a great sounding synth pad.

TDR Slick EQ

And that’s exactly what I got with this VST. It sounded a little sparse and quiet to my ears, though, so I combined it with another synth, and that felt good to me. LABS – Synth Pads is a one trick pony, and a big download besides, but there’s no denying how great it sounds.

Voxengo Overtone GEQ

Download: Spitfire Audio. Although guitar isn’t utilized in every genre of music these days, it’s still a popular instrument, and let’s face it – you would be hard pressed to find a genre where guitar doesn’t work.

Audec Spread Delay Lite

Whether you play a bit of guitar yourself, or plan to have paying clients in to record at your home studio, you should be prepared for a variety of eventualities (even if you already have great guitar amps and microphones at your studio).

Here is some must-have free VST plugins for guitar. Emissary is near legendary in its status as a metal amp sim.

Dragonfly Reverb

And, as you would expect, it’s perfect for metal and other heavier genres. I would not call it a versatile amp by any means, but what it does, it does with authority.

And its user interface? It looks just like a real guitar amp head, so even guitarists should feel at home with this plugin. Glenn Fricker of Spectre Sound Studios even called the Emissary one of the best free amp sims for metal, and we don’t have any reason to disagree.

E-phonic Tape Delay

Just remember to use it alongside Impulse Responses (IRs) as Emissary and other amp sims mentioned here can sound kind of gnarly all on their own.

Giant Verb

We won’t be covering what IRs are or how they work in any detail here, but they are kind of essential for use with amp sims.

For some seriously heavy tones, give Emissary a try. Download: IGNITE AMPS. I’ve talked briefly about IRs already.

GSi Varispeed

Well, to use IRs, you generally need an IR loader of some kind. The thing about Libra is that it’s basically like the Porsche of IR loaders. It allows you to load up to eight cab types at a time and mix them together!

Once you’re up and running with Libra, you should never have to worry about thin sounding guitars in your mix ever again! Download: IGNITE AMPS. NadIR is another IR convolver that can be used as cab sim for both guitar and bass.

Glitchmachines Hysteresis

Meaning – it’s essential. Now, you could get Libra, you could get NadIR, you could get both. You’re not going to hurt our feelings. But you should have at least one.

Hotto Spring Reverb

NadIR is basically the simpler version of Libra, with two channels.

OrilRiver

You can load up to two IRs, use them simultaneously, and mix them how you want them to sound. Download: IGNITE AMPS. When it comes to guitar VSTs, there are a few different kinds – standalone effects and amp sims, IR loaders, effects suites, and virtual instruments.

falls under the category of standalone effect. But you can tell, from its appearance, that it’s basically a guitar pedal. It is, in fact, a digital emulation of a high gain distortion stomp box.

But it just so happens that it can be used as a preamp/amp sim as well.

Melda MConvolutionEZ

And just as its appearance suggests, this thing sounds mean. But it’s also got a nice balance of warmth and clarity.

Musical Entropy Spaceship Delay

Download: IGNITE AMPS. The TSB-1 Tyrant Screamer is like a more powerful Tube Screamer, and as any guitarist who’s used stomp boxes will know, this is a pedal that’s perfect for adding a bit of dirt to a clean tone (making it crunch), or for tightening up a high gain lead tone.

Puremagnetik Driftmaker

You wouldn’t necessarily want to use the TSB-1 as a preamp, but it can work perfectly alongside an amp sim or even the ProF.E.T. If you don’t already have a tube screamer pedal, this is a must-have for every guitarist.

TAL Reverb 2

Download: IGNITE AMPS. Speaking of Tube Screamer sims, we can’t ignore TSE Audio’s TSE 808, which more closely emulates the original.

TAL Reverb 4

Now, if you’ve got the Tyrant Screamer, you wouldn’t necessarily need this one too, but it can’t hurt to have alternatives (IGNITE AMPS, by the way, has another free standalone effect plugin that works a lot like the Tube Screamer – it’s called the TS-999 SubScreamer).

U-he Protoverb

As the video below will illustrate, the TSE 808 is perfect for tightening up all your favorite tones, especially high gain metal sounds.

Voxengo Tempo Delay

Plus, you just can’t argue with free. Download: TSE Audio. Here’s another standalone effect that I’m quite impressed with.

Voxengo Old Skool Reverb

It’s the TSE R47, and it’s emulating the famous RAT Distortion that so many guitarists swear by. It’s a go-to, just as the Tube Screamer is, but for different reasons.

SaschArt SweepDelay

Listening to the demo in the video should give you a good idea. It can turn a clean or half-distorted tone into high gain mayhem in a hurry.

That said, I find the TSE R47 usable for a variety of situations – blues, rock, metal, and more. It’s just a matter of messing around with the three knobs – drive, filter, and volume – to taste.

SuperDSP Flying Delay

I’m relatively certain the TSE R47 would work as a preamp too, assuming you use some quality IRs.

Again, for free? This is ridiculous. Download: TSE Audio. Before moving onto another category of free VSTs, we’re going to look at a couple of free guitar effects suites.

Smartelectronix Ambience

Typically, these are the “gimped” free versions that give you a taste of what the full effects suite is like to make you want to upgrade to the full version.

ValhallaDSP Supermassive

That said, these days, you get quite a bit even with the free effects suites. I’m quite impressed with AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop, which gives you access to 39 models including 10 stomp box FX and five amps with matching cabs.

That’s quite a bit of power you’re getting for free. Mixing and matching amp sims, IRs, and standalone effects can be fun, but with an effects suite, you get everything in one place.

Zynaptiq Audio Subspace

There are a lot of quality tones built right into this bundle. You’ve got to try it for yourself.

Download: IK Multimedia. Guitar Rig 6 Player is another quality guitar effects suite with 21 amps, 13 effects, 50 presets, along with Native Instruments’ KOMPLETE START bundle with 2,000 sounds and 6 GB of content.

Whether it’s clean, crunch, distortion, or solo, Guitar Rig 6 Player has got it all, and it all sounds great besides.

Audio Damage Fuzz Plus 3

If you’ve got a good selection of great amps in your studio, you probably don’t need this. That said, if you’re doing a lot of “in the box” recording (especially at home where you can’t crank up your amps to 10 without bothering your neighbors), this is a great VST to have at your disposal.

Analog Obession PEDALz

Download: Native Instruments. Bass is one of those instruments that can sound quite good direct or through a tube preamp.

That said, it’s hard to capture its full punch and warmth without amp sims or a pedal of some kind (unless you mic up a bass amp instead).

It just feels like it’s missing something when you don’t. In this section, we’ll look at a couple of VSTs you can use to enhance the sound of your bass, even if it’s already recorded.

Creative Intent Temper

IGNITE AMPS’ SHB-1 is based on its hardware counterpart, the SHB-1 “Extreme Bass Head.”. Its features include dynamic 12AX7/ECC83 coupled triode stages analog modeling, mono/stereo support, selectable oversampling rate (up to 8x), global input/output level controls, double precision (64-bit) floating point mathematical model, and fully automatable controls.

Klanghelm IVGI

Its controls are quite straightforward – gain, bass, mid, treble, balance, volume, as well as switches for deep, bright, and shape. With the SHB-1, you can get all those gnarly, raunchy bass tones you’ve heard on metal recordings.

Melda MSaturator

Download: IGNITE AMPS. TSE BOD is a SansAmp style DI in VST form, with controls for level, drive, low, high, blend, and presence.

Shattered Glass Audio SGA1566

This is an excellent choice for most applications, as it gives you more control over your bass’ tone. And you can dial in a variety of sounds suited to different styles of music.

SNFK Music DirtyPumper

Better still, you can add a bit of crunch to your bass if you so desire, by taking advantage of the drive control. This thing sounds quite authentic to the real thing, if a little “warmer” overall.

Download: TSE Audio. Want realistic sounding drums? The only problem is that there aren’t many free VSTs that give us that.

Softube Saturation Knob

Most of the time, you must pay for better drums. Fortunately, there are a couple of high-quality free drum plugins that can get you what you’re looking for.

TBProAudio GSat+

Give these a try. Spitfire Audio has been making some serious waves with their free LABS series VST plugins, and wow – LABS – Drums couldn’t sound more authentic to my ears.

While it is a big download, it’s worth the trouble given the realistic sound it can provide you with.

Voxengo Tube Amp

All LABS series plugins basically have the same user interface and are quite easy to use, so there’s no reason not to give this one a try.

Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage

Download: Spitfire Audio. Manda Audio’s MT Power Drum Kit 2 is basically everyone’s go-to when trying to get realistic drum sounds, because for a long time, it was about the only option available.

Analog Obsession SweetVox

This plugin is easy to use, it’s got a nice graphical user interface, and you can even mix the levels of individual drums and cymbals.

You can trigger the sounds using a MIDI controller, of course, but it’s probably far more practical to draw in your parts by creating a MIDI track and using your DAW’s piano roll.

Auburn Graillon Free

With a little mixing wizardry (you don’t need to know a lot), you can make these drums sound spectacular, and if you want the parts you create to sound less robotic and more human, you can program little imperfections into the playing too.

iZotope Vocal Doubler

Your options are a little limited for realistic sounding free drum VSTs, so you might as well snag this one.

Melda MAutoPitch

Download: Manda Audio. We’ve already covered several plugins that could be applied to vocals, especially in the mixing section. That said, it never hurts to have more tools at your fingertips.

TAL Vocoder

Even the best vocalists usually have three to five effects on their voices (if not more), as that’s how they sound best in a mix.

Voloco

Here you’ll find vocal doublers, pitch shifters, and other plugins that can help you enhance the sound of vocals.

Chorus is often an excellent effect for vocals. It can smooth the edges, and even hide some of the “roughness” and imperfections of takes.

AudioModern Filterstep

Depending on how you dial it in, it can even make your vocals stand out in the mix, in a positive way.

Acon Digital’s Multiply is an award-winning free VST, and excellent choice for a variety of applications. Multiply is kind of unique in that each simulated voice is processed with a phase randomizing filter to avoid unpleasant sounding comb filter effects.

Analog Obsession PreBox

Multiply can make one voice sound like many (like a choir), widen the spatial image, or create other types of effects depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your mix.

It can simulate up to six added voices and you can even modulate the pitch and loudness of these voices.

AudioThing FIlterjam

The integrated equalizer gives you access to low cut, low shelf, high shelf, and high cut filters to shape the effect signal. The pre-delay section allows you to create modulated and diffuse echo effects too.

Basically, it’s one of the more versatile choruses available, and it sounds great besides. This VST works well on vocals and instruments alike.

Multiply is compatible with Windows and Mac. Download: Acon Digital. Well, you can’t talk about vocal VSTs without getting into pitch shifting and autotune.

Caelum Audio Flux Mini

Auburn Sounds’ Graillon 2 does all that and a little more, and as you can see, its design is breathtaking, especially given that you can get it for free.

Though it should be noted that the plugin is “freemium,” and to get access to all the features, you will need to upgrade for $29. You can still do quite a bit with the free version.

Auburn Sounds describes this VST as a Vocal Live Changer. Its functionality includes pitch-tracking modulation, pitch shifting, and pitch correction, while also offering bitcrusher for unique “degraded” sounds.

BPB Dirty Filter

The pitch correction function can go from natural sounding to robotic. So, if T-Pain is your hero, well, you can achieve a similar effect here.

Bitcrusher is great for some flavor. Not necessarily something to use on the entire track, but in sections, it can be quite useful.

It can work on instruments too. So, with all this functionality, it’s hard not to recommend Graillon 2.

HY Filter3 Free

More than just an autotune, it can do just about anything you want to do with pitch.

Graillon 2 is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Download: Auburn Sounds. As with several developer names that have come up to this point (like Voxengo, Spitfire Audio, IGNITE AMPS, etc.), Tokyo Dawn Records offers a lot of great VSTs for free.

So, it’s a good place to go if there’s something you need. Just thought I would mention that.

Melda MBandPass

Anyway, Tokyo Dawn Records collaborated with Vladg Sound to create the award-winning Proximity, which is a simple distance “pan-pot” VST. This plugin gives you the ability to manipulate the depth of sound sources.

Melda MComb

It comes equipped to handle several models, including distance signal delay by speed of sound, distance gain loss, absorption of high frequencies in air, stereo width manipulation, proximity effect with virtual microphone, and distance based early reflections.

These models can be turned on and off depending on the desired effect. All that sounds well and good, but if I were to simplify what we’re talking about here, Proximity basically gives you the ability to bring your vocal tracks into the foreground or push them further into the background (which can be useful for backing vocals).

Proximity can be used on instrument tracks as well, helping you enhance your mix. Such a versatile tool should not be left out of your toolkit, so grab it now!

Download: Tokyo Dawn Records. We’ve already presented several stereo widening options, be it Stereo Touch or chorusing effects.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_cleansweep

But it certainly can’t hurt to have more options at the ready, especially when the developer is iZotope. Vocal Doubler can enhance your vocals with a natural doubling effect perfect for lead vocals.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_subfilter

This plugin is easy to use, and is light on CPU resources too. As the user interface would suggest, there isn’t much to this plugin. It truly is easy to use.

TAL Filter II

What’s cool is that you can have the doubled vocals slightly delayed and even varied in pitch by playing with the separation and variation controls.

Acon Digital Multiply

This is an excellent plugin for enhancing the sound of your vocals. Vocal Doubler works in Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, FL Studio, Studio One, Reason, Reaper, Audition, Premiere Pro, and Digital Performer.

Adam Monroe Tremolo

Download: iZotope. We’re not going to beat around the bush here – the plugins that follow are all the creations of Spitfire Audio.

Alex Hilton A1 Trigger Gate

But there is a reason for that. Their free VSTs far and exceed just about anything else that’s out there in terms of virtual instruments.

Aegean Music Doppler Dome

Sure, their plugins are kind of one trick ponies, but what they do, they do better than just about any other free VST available. If you’re looking for versatility, look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for quality, you’ve come to the right place.

Auburn Couture Free

Fair warning – you will need to create a free account, download the Spitfire Audio app, and install the VSTs individually to use them.

Analog Obsession CHOPA

Each VST is about 1 GB in size, so make sure you’ve got adequate hard drive storage available.

There probably isn’t much I need to say about Spitfire Audio plugins at this point.

Flux BitterSweet v3

Basically, it’s has amazing sound + one trick pony + huge free download = LABS.

Blue Cat’s Chorus

That said, this VST is best for instances where you specifically need a softer sounding piano.

Blue Cat’s Flanger

If you need aggressive piano, you should certainly look elsewhere. This VST is perfect for atmosphere, and quieter, softer melodies, making it excellent for composing work.

Blue Cat’s Phaser

Also have a listen to it in the video below. Download:Spitfire Audio. How good can an electric piano VST sound? For all those who dare ask, there’s LABS – Electric Piano.

Bob Perry Gate

Obviously, this VST doesn’t do it all, but what it does is quite extraordinary, especially for a virtual instrument.

Cable Guys Pancake 2

If you’re looking for the best free electric piano VST, look no further. The entire range, from the bass to the treble, sounds great.

Eareckon FR-GATE 87

Download: Spitfire Audio. Okay, an electric piano, sure. But not a Wurli, right? You can basically suspend all disbelief and skepticism with Spitfire Audio because everything they’ve created with LABS is great.

Eugene Yakshin Ribs

The Wurli is excellent for rock and jazz alike – anywhere you need its classic, groovy sound. Download: Spitfire Audio.

Fine Cut Bodies La Petite Excite

Strings are essential for composers, and incredibly useful for a variety of other purposes – hip-hop, rock, jazz, or otherwise.

Glitchmachines Fracture

They can add a lot of mood and atmosphere to your music. This VST isn’t velocity sensitive, so it will not respond to dynamics in your playing. It offers a relatively dry, gritty, direct sound of strings, which makes it excellent for layering.

HOFA SYSTEM Basic

That said, you can add some reverb and other effects to soften the sound of the strings if you so desire. Download: Spitfire Audio. Another sound a lot of composers (and others) might be looking for is that of a choir.

iZotope Vinyl

There’s nothing quite like recording a live choir, if you can, but that could easily blow your recording budget in one go.

Native Instruments Komplete Start

LABS – Choir is bar none the best free choir VST available. And although you might not be able to control what the singers are singing, if you’re looking for some “ooh” and “aah” sounds, LABS – Choir will do the trick.

LVC Audio ClipShifter

The sample quality of LABS – Choir is great, but it doesn’t work all that well for stabs and shots and stuff like that. It’s basically a “long build” the moment the sounds are triggered.

Melda MAutopan

Good for some things, not for others. Download: Spitfire Audio. I suppose you could say we’re getting into a little more obscure territory, but I just couldn’t resist featuring another LABS plugin, especially one that sounds so good.

Melda MBitFun

A dulcimer is kind of a niche, nuanced instrument, but it can work great in a variety of compositions, whether it’s for films or games.

MDSP Smart Elecontronix Livecut Beat Chopper

Check out the video below to get a better sense of what I’m talking about. You’ll be impressed. Download:Spitfire Audio. Trap beats are all the rage right now, and they appear in a lot in pop and hip-hop tracks.

Melda MFlanger

Love them or hate them, if you’re going to be working with clients in any capacity, you’ve got to be able to make them.

Melda MFreqShifter

In this section, you will find virtual drum machines, of course – but you will also find a couple of VSTs that can come in handy for mixing, mastering, and enhance the sound of your beats.

Metric Halo MH Thump

Let’s get into it. Obviously, you need to be able to make your trap beats, and a lot of beatmakers prefer the sound of old school drum machines to real, authentic sounding drums.

Melda MPhaser

This is a free drum machine VST, and it’s even marketed towards producers who make hip-hop, trap, and EDM.

Melda MRing Modulator

Some producers say DRUM PRO is all you need to produce any kind of beat. So, you know we’re on point. This VST comes with 20 kits, sampling nine vintage drum machines (like the BOSS DR-55, Roland TR-808, 909, Novation DrumStation, and others).

Melda MTremolo

DRUM PRO’s interface is simple and nicely designed, with ADSR, Vol, and Verb controls, 12 sliders and pan knobs to help you mix your drums exactly how you want them to sound.

Melda MVibrato

If you aren’t happy with all that’s included, Studio Linked has expansion packs you can purchase on their website.

Melda MWaveFolder

DRUM PRO is available for Windows and Mac. Download: Studio Linked. Limiters aren’t just great for trap, they’re also amazing for mixing and mastering.

Melda MWaveShaper

Most music producers will probably want one in their toolkit. The Frontier Self-Adaptive Versatile Limiter, though, is highly usable in a variety of applications, be it single track, bus, or master out.

PechenegFX Tremolo

It comes with configurable control input, optional soft clip, and self-adaptive automatic gain make up. Its graphical user interface is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and includes controls for control input, release, threshold, output volume, and soft clip.

Flux Stereo Tool v3

Limiters are incredibly handy any time you need to set the threshold and output of any track, making them useful for bass, vocals, and more. Download: D16 Group Audio Software.

T-RackS 5 Custom Shop

Here’s another powerful multipurpose plugin every producer should consider adding to their VST folder. Softube’s Saturation Knob features three modes, and three kinds of distortion character (thus saturation).

TAL Chorus LX

That said, you’re probably going to find yourself using this baby on everything as a trap producer.

TDR Kotelnikov

It will fatten up the sound of drums and bass and add some harmonics to vocals too (you can do some of these things with the Frontier limiter as well).

TDR Proximity

Whenever you need to add some grit to a track, there’s always the Saturation Knob. Download: Softube. There are certain developers we’ve come to trust because of the quality of VST plugins they create.

Tritik Krush

They’ve demonstrated, through longevity, as well as through the applicability of their plugins that most if not all of what they create is worth a look.

Valhalla SpaceMod

Here are the main developers of free VST plugins we think are worth following. IGNITE AMPS has among the best free amp sims (for guitar and bass), standalone effects, IR convolvers, and even the TPA-1 (digital emulation of a class AB tube power amplifier for guitar).

If you’re not a hard rock or metal player, you probably won’t be using all their plugins. But you will still find value in the IR convolvers (Libra and NadIR), standalone effects (ProF.E.T., TSB-1 Tyrant Screamer, TS-999 SubScreamer), and the TPA-1.

Xenakios PaulXStretch

Honestly, even The Anvil amp sim’s clean and rhythm channels are great for a variety of purposes. The lead channel is mostly tuned for metal though.

Xfer 8BitShaper

IGNITE AMPS also has the PTEq-X plugin, which is a digital emulation of three famous vintage passive program equalizers.

Xfer DeltaModulator

We don’t know what else they’ll come up with, or if they’ll come up with anything, but they’re a good one to watch. One word – LABS. Their samples are just… so… good!

Xfer Dimension Expander

Sure, they’re a little limited in scope. But you can easily build out your virtual instrument library with a lot of the essentials on LABS alone.

Algae Software Tune it!

They don’t have everything, but they seem to keep adding more to their collection, so they’re worth bookmarking.

Voxengo AnSpec

In addition to the two plugins already introduced, Tokyo Dawn Records also has free EQ, wideband dynamic range controller, as well as mixing and mastering EQ plugins that are worth a try.

Blue Cat’s FreqAnalyst

I’ve used their dynamic equalizer plugin TDR NOVA quite a bit myself. It’s well-designed and easy to use, but I find the effect to be kind of subtle and will sometimes stack multiple NOVAs to achieve desired effect.

Voxengo SPAN

I have no idea whether they will continue to add free plugins to their site, but based on the quality of what’s available, they would be worth checking out occasionally.

Voxengo Latency Delay

Voxengo’s free VST plugins have been around for quite a while at this point, so they should not be mistaken for cutting-edge VSTs.

Melda MAnalyzer

That said, time and again, we’ve been impressed by what’s on offer. In addition to the effects mentioned above, they also have a tube graphic equalizer, guitar amp simulator, mastering graphic equalizer, tube overdrive, and other plugins that could prove quite useful for mixing and mastering.

Melda MChannelMatrix

These days, you can build out your VST library on free plugins alone. There are certain drums, specialty synths, autotune effects, orchestral and choral instruments, and others that are worth buying, simply because there’s nothing even comparable available for free.

Voxengo MSED

But in a variety of other categories, you can find awesome free VSTs. Don’t feel like you need to download all the above and add them to your library now.

Melda MLoudnessAnalyzer

Feel free to add a few at a time and experiment with them before adding more.

Melda MNoiseGenerator

This can help you get a better feel for all the new VSTs you’re adding to your DAW. Audio production can be expensive work, even if you go the virtual route with a digital audio workstation (DAW) and virtual instruments.

Melda MNotepad

Working with virtual studio technology (VST) plugins is tremendously convenient, but a lot of the best VST plugins out there are very expensive.

Melda MOscilloscope

If you're looking to expand your library of VST instrument (VSTi) plugins, or tweak your mixes with some great effects or MIDI effects VST plugins, you can do it for free.

Melda MTuner

You just need to know where to look. We've assembled the top 15 free VST plugins that can help elevate your music to the next level.

Voxengo Correlometer

Since they're free, you can grab them all, and see how they sound, without opening your wallet.

Melda MUtility

Every VST in this list will work regardless of your operating system, as long as your digital audio workstation supports VST plugins. Some of them include an installer, in which case you need to download the installer that works with your operating system.

Melda MStereoScope

Type of plugin: VSTi. What it does: This virtual analog synth was inspired by the Clavia Nord Lead 2 synthesizer.

Blue Cat’s Gain Suite

It's one of the most versatile free soft synths you'll find, and it's a great choice if you're looking to get started making retro music like synthwave without spending a bunch of money.

Plugin Alliance Brainworx Bx_solo

It includes a bunch of default presets, and there are also a ton of additional free soundbanks available. If you can't afford Sylenth1, then you could do a whole lot worse than Synth1 as a fallback option.

Puremagnetik Expanse

Type of plugin: VSTi. What it does: Dexed is a frequency modulation synth that's designed to look and sound a lot like the well-known Yamaha DX7.

Melda MAGC

It's the best freeware DX7 emulator that you'll find, which makes it an obvious choice. This synth also includes a ton of presets, which is good news if you don't quite have your head wrapped around creating your own synthesizer settings yet.

Melda MFreeformPhase

Type of plugin: VSTi. What it does: Helix is a synth that offers a tremendous amount of versatility, with four separate oscillators and a ton of utility.

Teragon ChaosChimp

The only downside of this VSTi is that it's more like shareware than freeware. You can download it for free, and there aren't any features locked out, so you can see what it's capable of first hand. What we don't like: The problem is that it's programmed to generate random noise every so often unless you pay to unlock the full version.

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