Free VST Plugins
Welcome to the most current compendium of VST plugins on the internet.
We rigorously assessed thousands of free VST plugins, handpicking the most exceptional ones. Every plugin featured in our directory underwent a comprehensive evaluation to ensure an optimal user experience. We’ve exclusively included the finest VSTs in each category to aid you in augmenting your music production toolkit.
Choose a category from the list below to commence your exploration of free plugins.
Freeware effects available in VST plugin format:
- Autotune: A no-cost alternative to Antares Auto-Tune.
- Bitcrusher: Plugins offering free bitcrushing capabilities.
- Chorus: The foremost free chorus effects, continually updated with novel plugins.
- Compressor: Top compressors for both mixing and mastering.
- Multiband Compressor: A compilation of multiband compressors.
- Sidechain Compressor: A variety of sidechain compressors.
- Delay/Echo: Infuse space and depth into your mix with complimentary delay effects.
- Distortion: Distort your audio using these free plugins.
- Equalizer: Complimentary EQ plugins designed for mixing and mastering.
- EQ (Graphic): Graphic equalizers in VST format, available for free.
- EQ (Linear-Phase): Linear-phase equalizers in VST plugin format.
- Filter: Filters crafted for mixing and sound design.
- Flanger: No-cost flanger VST effects.
- Gate (Noise Gate): Freeware VST plugins tailored for noise reduction in recordings.
- Granulator: A collection of granular effects to creatively manipulate your audio.
- Guitar Amp: A diverse assortment of virtual guitar amplifier VST plugins.
- Limiter: Free limiter effects suitable for mastering and mixing.
- Phaser: The finest free phaser plugins.
- Reverb: Algorithmic reverb VST plugins.
- Convolution Reverb: Convolution reverb VSTs.
- Saturation: Free saturation VST plugins delivering a vintage analog sound.
- Stereo Enhancer: Amplify stereo width using these complimentary effects.
- Transient Shaper: Heighten the punchiness of your drums with these free transient shapers.
- Vocoder: Channel your inner Daft Punk with these free vocoder VST plugins.
A selection of no-cost virtual instruments in VST plugin format:
- Drums: Instruments tailored for playing drum sounds.
- 808: Free 808-inspired drum machines.
- Guitar: Complimentary guitar VST plugins.
- Orchestral: Instruments simulating a symphonic orchestra.
- Piano (Acoustic): Virtual acoustic pianos.
- Piano (Electric): Virtual electric piano instruments.
- ROMpler: A compilation of free ROMpler instruments.
- Sampler: Free VST plugins facilitating the playback of audio samples.
- SoundFont: Play your SoundFonts with these free plugins when you’re in an old-school mood.
- String Machine: A collection of string ensemble instruments that would resonate with Jean Michel Jarre.
- Synthesizer: Free synthesizer VST plugins.
- Vintage Synthesizer: Emulations of vintage synthesizers.
- Virtual Instruments: Essential free instruments.
Other helpful freeware VST plugins:
- Arpeggiator: A compilation of freeware arpeggiator VST plugins.
- Oscilloscope: Free oscilloscope tools.
- Spectrum Analyzer: Visualize your mix with these freeware spectrum analyzers.
- Step Sequencer: Sequence your virtual instruments with these freeware step sequencers.
VST Host Applications
A selection of free audio editors, digital audio workstations, and other applications hosting VST plugins:
- AI Music Generators: Employ AI for inspiration and music generation.
- Audio Editing Software: Programs for audio editing that support VST plugins.
- Beat Making Software: Craft beats on your computer.
- Digital Audio Workstations: The finest free DAW software.
- Free Recording Software: Record high-quality audio with these free tools.
- Mastering Software: Freely downloadable VST plugins for mastering.
- Music Production Software: The best free music-making tools for beginners.
- Video Editing Software: Edit your music videos at no cost.
- VST Host Applications: A directory of VST plugin hosts for music production and live performances.
Best Free VST plugins (2023 update)
These represent the paramount free VSTs available in 2023. If you’re establishing a music software setup from scratch, these are indispensable tools.
The list below showcases the finest free virtual instruments and effects for your studio. Explore the categorized free VST plugin articles above for additional options.
- Vital by Matt Tytel
- Vital stands out as a spectral warping wavetable synthesizer created by Matt Tytel. It currently holds the position as the premier free synthesizer, ranking among the best free VST plugins ever introduced.
- Featuring a feature set comparable to renowned virtual instruments like Xfer Serum and NI Massive, Vital seamlessly integrates into any music producer’s plugin arsenal.
- A standout quality of Vital is its user-friendly interface. Despite its intricate synthesis engine, the instrument remains intuitive and easily navigable.
- More info: Vital
- Surge XT by Surge Synth Team
- Surge Synthesizer (Royal Surge Skin)
- Surge XT, an open-source synthesizer tailored for seasoned sound designers, is a plugin renowned for its versatility and complexity. Offering an extensive array of synthesis modes, a robust modulation engine, and a myriad of filter types, Surge XT has established itself as a subtractive hybrid synthesizer at its core.
- While fundamentally a subtractive hybrid synthesizer, Surge XT incorporates complex oscillators utilizing various synthesis techniques to generate sound. With twelve distinct algorithms, including frequency modulation, wavetables, S&H, and audio input, the instrument provides unparalleled sonic possibilities.
- The inclusion of 2,285 presets ensures a wealth of sounds to explore, making Surge XT a must-have for producers across all electronic music genres.
- Recently ported to JUCE, Surge XT delivers enhanced performance and optimizations, solidifying its status as a stable, intricate, and versatile virtual synthesizer that covers all fundamental aspects of synthesis.
- For anyone producing electronic music, Surge is an essential addition to your collection of free VST plugins.
- More info: Surge XT
- LABS by Spitfire Audio
- LABS by Spitfire Audio
- LABS, a virtual instrument developed by Spitfire Audio, stands as a sample-based platform with a continually expanding collection of top-tier sound banks.
- While we’ve covered virtual synthesizers with Vital and Surge, it’s time to shift focus to sample-based instruments and acoustic sounds.
- Unlike virtual synths, LABS employs samples as its sound source, allowing you to play virtual guitars, pianos, drums, and more.
- With Spitfire Audio regularly releasing new expansion libraries for LABS, all of which boast exceptional sound quality, it’s challenging to pick a favorite. However, notable recommendations include trying Soft Piano, Synth Strings, Bass Guitar, and Wurli.
- LABS should be your initial free plugin installation. It’s lightweight, user-friendly, and offers an impressive variety of sounds.
- More info: LABS
- Komplete Start by Native Instruments
- Komplete Start by Native Instruments
- Komplete Start stands as a comprehensive free VST plugin bundle from Native Instruments. Encompassing various virtual instruments and effects, including the renowned Kontakt Player plugin, Komplete Start provides a robust foundation for music creation.
- Kontakt Player, a widely-utilized sample player, serves as the free version of Kontakt, Native Instruments’ flagship sampler. To aid your initiation, we’ve compiled a list of free Kontakt libraries compatible with Kontakt Player.
- The free Komplete Start collection also features NI Reaktor instruments (LazerBass, Carbon 2, and TRK-01) and the Supercharger compressor effect. It represents one of the most valuable free plugin bundles for those eager to embark on music production.
- More info: Komplete Start
- TDR Nova by Tokyo Dawn Labs
- TDR Nova by Tokyo Dawn Labs
- TDR Nova emerges as a free parallel dynamic equalizer plugin developed by Tokyo Dawn Labs. It stands as the epitome of EQ excellence, securing its position as one of the premier free VSTs for mixing.
- Whether employed as a basic parametric EQ or a surgically precise dynamic EQ for managing intricate audio signals, TDR Nova excels in both mixing and mastering scenarios.
- Thanks to its robust feature set, TDR Nova facilitates parametric equalization, dynamic equalization, and even multiband compression.
- If you’re seeking a go-to equalizer for your VST plugin collection, TDR Nova should be your first choice. It seamlessly combines user-friendliness, versatility, and freeware accessibility.
- More info: TDR Nova
- Limiter №6 by Vladislav Goncharov
- Limiter №6 by Vladislav Goncharov
- Limiter №6 establishes itself as the premier free limiter plugin, boasting five stages (compressor, peak limiter, HF limiter, clipper, and protection) designed to subtly reduce the dynamic range of the signal.
- For those in search of a potent mastering limiter, Limiter №6 stands out as a freeware VST plugin of considerable merit. It effortlessly handles even the most intricate signals with finesse.
- One of its standout qualities lies in its transparent sound. Limiter №6 delicately compresses the signal at each stage, resulting in a natural and sonically pleasing output.
- More info: Limiter №6
- Decent Sampler
- Decent Sampler
- Decent Sampler emerges as a sample-based free VST plugin, providing an easily navigable sample player accompanied by an array of freely downloadable sound libraries.
- While the instrument features an acoustic piano patch by default, users can expand their sonic palette with hundreds of free sounds, covering violins, brass, drums, and more.
- For instance, over 100 free Panobook sample libraries are available for use with Decent Sampler, with new sound banks consistently released.
- Decent Sampler stands as one of the premier free VST plugins for musicians seeking a diverse selection of sampled acoustic instruments. It serves as an excellent starting point for those not yet ready to invest in a paid version of Native Instruments Kontakt.
- More info: Decent Sampler
- Valhalla SuperMassive by Valhalla DSP
- Valhalla SuperMassive
- Valhalla SuperMassive, crafted by Valhalla DSP, stands as a complimentary delay and reverb effect. This VST plugin is your go-to download for expansive reverbs, extensive delays, and limitless echoes.
- Sound designers will find Valhalla SuperMassive particularly appealing due to its distinctive delay algorithms. Each mode presents a different reverb character, spanning from abstract chambers to futuristic atmospheres.
- For additional details on each delay mode, visit the product page on the developer’s website. Nonetheless, Valhalla SuperMassive is one of those plugins that you’ll likely enjoy using even without delving into the manual.
- The most recent update to SuperMassive introduces two additional reverb algorithms, solidifying its position as one of the most versatile free VST plugins.
- Valhalla SuperMassive unquestionably ranks among the best-sounding reverb effects available. Also, be sure to explore Valhalla DSP’s free Valhalla Space Modulator plugin.
- More info: Valhalla SuperMassive
- FerricTDS mkII by Variety Of Sound
- FerricTDS by Variety Of Sound
- FerricTDS mkII emerges as the foremost free tape saturation effect, simulating the saturation and dynamic range reduction properties of analog tape.
- Utilize FerricTDS to compress the signal, infuse analog-style saturation, and smooth out transients. This freeware VST plugin is essential for music producers seeking a more analog sound in their digital audio workstation (DAW).
- Featuring a well-designed user interface with a straightforward control layout, FerricTDS mkII allows adjustments to the Dynamics and Saturation knobs while monitoring the gain reduction meter. Once satisfied with the outcome, fine-tune the Trim knob to add volume.
- Choose between two saturation modes (Modern and Classic), and benefit from the limiter module on the output to prevent clipping. For expanded saturation options, consider exploring Tessla SE mkII.
- FerricTDS mkII is now compatible with all 64-bit plugin hosts on Windows.
- More info: FerricTDS mkII
- Kilohearts Essentials
- Kilohearts Dual Delay
- Kilohearts Essentials constitutes a compilation of free VST plugins encompassing a wide range of mixing and sound design tasks. This bundle includes 32 distinct plugins featuring streamlined interfaces and fundamental yet carefully chosen features.
- Ideal for those establishing their plugin arsenal, Kilohearts Essentials covers delays, reverbs, compressors, limiters, as well as less common tools like pitch shifters and modulators.
- Originally designed for use in Kilohearts’ modular plugin hosts, these plugins function seamlessly in any DAW capable of hosting VST plugins. Despite their simplistic appearance, Kilohearts plugins incorporate high-quality DSP algorithms, delivering exceptional sonic results.
- For an all-encompassing effects suite with a single download, Kilohearts Essentials serves as an excellent starting point.
- More info: Kilohearts Essentials
What Are Free VST Plugins?
For the uninitiated, VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. In essence, a VST plugin is a software-based audio effect or virtual instrument designed to integrate seamlessly into a host program that supports Virtual Studio Technology. This revolutionary technology, introduced by Steinberg in 1996, has significantly shaped contemporary music production.
Picture your digital audio workstation (DAW) as a virtual music studio. Just as hardware effects and instruments enhance a physical studio, VST plugins expand the capabilities of your digital workspace. Most modern DAWs can load plugins in VST2 and the newer VST3 formats, offering a gateway to a plethora of sonic possibilities.
The good news? There’s an abundance of free VST plugins available for download. However, with the sheer volume out there, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options. That’s where curated lists, like our free VST plugins page, come in handy. These compilations guide you to the right tools, saving you from hours of aimless downloading and testing.
How to Use Free VST Plugins
Now that you grasp the concept of VST plugins, let’s delve into how you can leverage them to create music. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Step 1: Choose Your DAW
Selecting the right Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is crucial. Consider factors like workflow, user interface intuitiveness, and feature availability for recording and mixing. Two excellent free options that support VST plugins are Waveform Free by Tracktion and Cakewalk by BandLab.
Step 2: Build Your Plugin Collection
Quality triumphs over quantity when it comes to VST plugins. Avoid the common pitfall of hoarding numerous plugins that clutter your workspace. Envision your DAW as a real-world studio—would you create music in a cluttered room? Focus on efficiency by building a streamlined collection with only the essentials.
Start with our curated list of the best freeware VST plugins in various categories. This ensures you have a lightweight yet versatile toolkit covering your music production needs.
Step 3: Keep Your Plugins Updated
Regularly update your VST plugins. Developers release new versions with bug fixes, optimizations, performance improvements, and added features. Staying up-to-date ensures your DAW functions smoothly and efficiently.
By following these steps, you’ll harness the full potential of free VST plugins for your music production journey.
In the ever-evolving landscape of music creation, VST plugins stand as indispensable tools. Whether you’re sculpting sonic landscapes or fine-tuning intricate mixes, the world of free VST plugins awaits, ready to elevate your music production experience.