If you have already build your home recording studio, it’s time to look in the market for the best free VST plugins to start music production with the help of virtual instruments and audio effects.
Drum machines and synthesizers are in every recording studio and surely give a better feeling than making music with your keyboard and mouse.
However, VST plugins are now at the top of the list of most music producers around the world. Think of them as really affordable ways to make your home studio sound like you use really expensive professional equipment.
A cool free VST plugin is a great way to start making and editing music in your favorite DAW such as Ableton Live, Cubase, or FL studio. In fact, all plugins available in the market will run on every major music production software out there.
The 14+ Best Free VST Plugins for Music Production
Top 7 best free VST instrument plugins – Reviews
1. Dexed FM VST instrument by Digital Suburban
This free VST instrument plugin is available to download at kvraudio.com.
Dexed FM is the ideal free plugin to create lush, melodic pad sounds. It’s a multi-platform, synth emulation of the Yamaha DX7, and it captures the synth’s classic FM sound as well as a paid virtual instrument.
The 6 operators are all easily located on one single interface. It also offers 144 DAW automatable DX7 parameters to create your own daydreaming melodies. Dexed FM can be used for making bright keys and bold plucked sounds.
It fully supports MIDI and DX7 input and output Sysex messages which means that you can use a real DX7 or TX7 as a patch editor.
2. Tyrell N6 u-he VST instrument
It is available for MAC, WIN, or Linux users and you can download it for free at Amazona.de official website.
Tyrell N6 u-he is developed by the German online magazine Amazona.de. It was originally intended to be an affordable hardware synth inspired by Roland’s Juno-60, instead is a great free digital replica of this legendary instrument.
Tyrell N6 features 2 oscillators, noise, ring modulator, 2 LFOs with 8 waveforms, host-sync and over 580 presets for you to start with. You can create any type of sound for your EDM or hip-hop productions.
3. TAL Elek7ro VST instrument by Audio Line
TAL-Elek7ro is a virtual analog synth with some special features like hard sync oscillators (saw, rectangle, triangle, sine), effects, and LFOs. It is available only for Windows, while NoiseMaker is for Mac users only.
4. TAL Noisemaker VST instrument by Audio Line
Both are available to download at tal-software.com, along with a few more great free and commercial plugin instruments such as TAL Bassline, TAL Sampler, and many more.
TAL NoiseMaker is an improved version of Elek7ro and has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. The synth plugin offers 3 Oscillators with up to 6 voices. It also includes a filter section with a reverb, chorus, and a crusher effect.
Both virtual instruments by TAL software are very popular for EDM, Trap, and House music production.
5. Ample Guitar M Lite II VST instrument
You can download it for free at amplesound.net, and a trial version of their premium Guitar G/M and Bass P plugins.
Both free VST plugins are great to cover your basic bass and guitar needs. The sound quality is more realistic than any other free bass/guitar plugins out there and you can easily adjust all the parameters and settings on a user-friendly interface.
Ample Guitar M Lite II aims to bring the Martin D-41 Acoustic Guitar sound to your studio, while Bass P II is trying to imitate the Fender Precision Bass. You will also find elements, in both plugins, such as Sustain, Hammer On & Pull Off, Legato Slide, Palm Mute, Accent, Natural Harmonic, and many more.
6. Ample Bass P Lite II VST instrument
Compose, record, and edit your bassline on a simple and totally free instrument plugin.
The bundle guitar plugins are WIN and MAC compatible so you won’t have a problem running them in any DAW out there. You can import a midi track and just draw your chords, lines, arpeggios, or you can use a midi controller and route any parameter.
The above two are probably the best free guitar VST plugins available in the market.
7. Acoustica Nightlife VST instrument
You can download it at the official website of acoustica.com.
Nightlife is a virtual synthesizer by Acoustica. It offers three oscillators with editable waveforms, dual filters, and five modulation sequencers. As well, four LFOs and fifteen filter types (including lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and more), all on one user-friendly interface.
In this virtual instrument, you will be able to produce deep basses, soft pads, arpeggiated patterns, and more. Ideal for any kind of electronic music, but especially for dance, EDM, trap, and trance music genres.
Nightlife includes up to 140 evocative preset patches to get started and experiment to make your own sounds. It is however available only for Windows users and not for MacOS.
Top 7 best free VST effects plugins – Reviews
1. Xfer OTT VST effect
Xfer OTT is a Mac and Windows compatible sound effect plugin and you can download it for free at xferrecords.com.
The Xfer OTT is a free multiband compressor plugin, used by many electronic music producers and will work perfectly in your free VST effect library. A very useful compressor plugin for sound design and to increase the volume of your tracks.
It is ideal to edit your vocals, guitars, or synths, giving depth and character. Xfer OTT display gives you the opportunity to work with Low, Mid, and High frequencies to adjust, reduce or pump up the frequencies you want.
2. VOS SlickEQ VST effect by TDR
Available to download, for MAC and Windows environment, as well as a user manual, and video tutorials, at tokyodawn.net.
TDR VOS SlickEQ is a mixing/mastering equalizer designed for ease of use, musical flexibility, and flawless sound. It features a modern user interface with four filter bands arranged in a Low/Mid/High parametric EQ layout that offers extreme usability.
Four interesting presets (British, American, German, and Soviet) and Five output stages (Linear, Silky, Mellow, Deep, and Toasted) making it a useful audio plugin for those who want something a little different than the usual EQ plugin.
3. TAL-Filter-2 VST effect
Both are MAC and WIN compatible, and you won’t regret downloading them as these are VST effect plugins that will actually use. Available to download for free at tal-software.com.
TAL-Filter-2 is a host synced filter module that will give your tracks a nice vintage analog sounding. It offers 4 different TAL-NoiseMaker filter types and volume editing possibilities you cannot afford to miss especially when it’s free.
4. TAL-Reverb VST effect
TAL Reverb-II is a great free reverb effect that will work to create an ambient and atmospheric vibe to your sounds.
5. Vladg Molot VST effect
Both are available to download among other free plugins at vladgsounds.wordpress.com.
The Vadg Molot is a feature compressor, ideal to use for loud and punchy instruments, such as drum sounds. It is a bit aggressive but adds a lot of coloring to the sound. In the same interface, you can find Slick EQ and a mastering equalizer with soft saturation modes.
6. Vladg Limiter N.6 VST effect
If you cannot afford a paid compressor plugin, then the Vladg Limiter N.6 offers a lot of options. Including RMS compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, and true peak limiter. It is the perfect VST effect plugin out there to master your tracks.
7. Voxengo SPAN Analyzer VST effect
You can download and use it if you are working on MAC or WIN operating systems and you will find more info and a link to free access it at voxengo.com.
SPAN is a free real-time “fast Fourier transform” audio analyzer for professional sound editing and music production. This VST plugin offers a very flexible model system that you can use to set up your range analyzer preferences.
SPAN supports multi-channel analysis and can be set to display spectrums from two different channels or channel groups at the same time.
Guide & FAQs
Types of VST effects:
- Compressor (Multiband / Sidechain)
- Delay / Echo
Types of VST instruments:
- Drum Machine
- Sound Module
- Piano (acoustic / electric / organ)
- Guitar (acoustic / electric / bass)
- String Machine
Free VST plug-ins inside your DAW
Don’t forget that every music production software out there comes with a library of VST instruments and audio effects to start with.
Ableton Live plugins (Instruments / Audio effects / MIDI effects)
Ableton Live comes with over 200 totally free audio effects for instant sound manipulation. Some of the most useful Ableton effect racks are:
- Compressor (Multiband / Sidechain)
- Delay / Ping Pong Delay
- Auto Pan
- Beat Repeat
- Auto Filter
Discover all effects at the official Ableton site.
FL studio plugins
Some of the most popular FL studio effect plugins are:
- Fruity Multiband Compressor
- Fruity Delay
- Fruity Parametric EQ
- Fruity Flanger
- Fruity Chorus
- Fruity Peak Controller
- Fruity Limiter
Check out all effects of the FL studio.
Logic Pro plugins
Logic Pro offers all the basic effects (compressor, eq, reverb, etc.) with a high-quality sound and attention to detail. The effects provided by Logic will get the job done very well, so you won’t need to fill up your library with other free plugins.
If you are a DJ looking for plugins, pay attention. The unique Remix-FX plugin brings DJ-style effects and transitions to your tracks with a collection of stutters, echoes, filters, vinyl scratches, reverse playback sounds, bit crushes, and gating effects.
Q: What is the VST plugin?
A: Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an audio plugin that integrates software synthesizers, effects, and editors that your MIDI controller uses to create or edit music.
The VST plugins will run to your computer and favorite DAW such as Ableton Live, FL, Logic Pro, Reason, and many others. You can read more about music production softwares at the best DAWs in the market. They do not need any special setup, is just like any other regular software install in your MAC or Windows PC.
There are three types of VST plugins:
- Instrument plugins: Each VST has its own custom design and interface that displays controls similar to physical switches, keys, and knobs on audio hardware. In other words, VST plugins emulate the look and sound characteristics of the original hardware equipment. This lets producers and musicians use virtual versions of devices that otherwise might be difficult and very expensive to buy.
- Sound effects plugins: process audio instead of generating it. They function like hardware audio processors such as compressors, reverbs, limiters, etc.
- MIDI effect plugins: MIDI plugins process MIDI messages and send MIDI data to other VST instruments and hardware.
Q: Where can I get free VST plugins?
A: Besides the dozens of free VST plugins we suggested above, splice.com, pluginboutique.com, and native-instruments.com offer hundreds of free plugins to start music production.
Q: What to consider before downloading a free VST plugin?
A: In 2021 you can find hundreds of VSTs to purchase. Some might be for free, some very expensive and some will cost you just a few bucks.
Most music software has its own built-in instruments and effects, but if you properly learn how to use external VST plugins, it will provide you with thousands of tools to experiment and take your sound to the next level.
There are a few things to consider before buying any VST plugin, but as long as we do not spend any money, there is no point to dig deeper. You download, you use, you experiment, and if you don’t like you delete it.
Just remember the world of freeware plugins is tricky as you can end up with a hundred freebies that you don’t use. This is bad for your workflow and productivity.
Q: What are the best free VST plugins for music production?
A: 7 Best free VST instrument plugins:
- Dexed FM
- Tyrell N6 u-he
- TAL Noisemaker
- TAL Elek7ro
- Ample Guitar M Lite II
- Ample Bass P Lite II
- Nightlife Acoustica
7 Best free VST sound effect plugins:
- Xfer OTT
- TDR VOS SlickEQ
- Vladg Molot
- Vladg Limiter N.6
- Voxengo SPAN analyzer
Q: What you will need to use VST plugins?
A: For those who do not know yet what they will need, don’t worry, you most likely have it already.
- Computer – As long as your home computer is not a decade old, or 95% of its memory is full, then it will be able to run your favorite DAW and some free VST plugins. If however, you are in the search for a new PC or Laptop check the best computers for music production.
- DAW – As mentioned above, your VST plugins can open inside any DAW by going to the Devices menu and choosing Virtual Instruments. Whether you are working on FL Studio, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Reason, or Cubase, they will have no problem running your free plugins. You can always start with a free music-making app if you don’t want to spend a dime.
We often say that mostly you get what you pay for, but there is a difference between free or being bought. There exist paid plugins that definitely are not worth their price because of the sound, interface, etc., and there are also some pretty good free plugins with a sound or GUI, you could pay for.
Available for free download and easy install to your MAC or Windows PC. Once again, it doesn’t matter which music production software you use, as all VST plugins are compatible with Reason, Fruity Loops Studio, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, and more.
It does not matter if you are a beginner music producer or you have been a few years in the game, you shall not ignore free plugins as they can help you produce, finish and polish your music productions fair well. In case you are looking for a music production guide, check How to make music.
If you are not a newbie and you have read articles similar to “Build your home recording studio for under $600, you already know the basics to get started.
Feel free to drop your comments below and let us know what your favorite free Synth plugins are…
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