If you’re starting out with music production, after choosing your DAW, grabbing a bunch of free VST plugins is the next thing you should do.
There are so many free VSTs out there – so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best VST instruments, effects and utilities to use on your next music production project.
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE START PACKAGE
Native Instruments are one of the biggest names in the music industry and the free Komplete Start package has 8 VST synths, a few effects and 9 sampled instruments. You also get KONTAKT 6 and REAKTOR 6 in the package.
Valhalla DSP are known for awesome audio processing tools, and most recently they made their Valhalla Supermassive VST available for free. This is the best free delay / reverb VST you will find.
Spitfire LABS is a huge library of sounds and instruments to use that’s available on Mac and Windows PC. The interface is clean and easy to use too. If you’re looking to test out a bunch of free sounds at no cost – this is definitely worth the download.
SOUND MAGIC PIANO ONE
The Yamaha C7 grand piano is an iconic piece that makes some brilliant sounds. The Sound Magic Piano One samples the C7 piano and is available on Mac and Windows PC.
A useful FM synth engine that can load all the classic patches from the 80s including the Yamaha DX7 and TX81Z. There’s over 3000 presets to choose from – which is massive.
CABLE GUYS PANCAKE 2
PanCake is a free plugin for most flexible panning modulations.
You can construct your own modulation curves. They can be easily drawn using soft or hard control points, thus producing gentle transitions or sharp bends in the waveform.
VEMBER AUDIO SURGE
A once premium VST that is now available as an open source download. Vember Audio Surge includes over 1000 preset patches, 180 wavetables and plenty of effects for you to play around with.
Since this software is Open Source, it can be modified to your liking and is available on Linux, Mac and Windows PC.
AMPLE SOUND AMPLE BASS P LITE II
If you want a realistic sounding bass guitar in your track, then the free Ample Sound Ample Bass P Lite II should do the trick. It mimics the Fender P Bass and sounds brilliant.
U-HE TYRELL N6
While this virtual analog subtractive synth might feel a bit old-school, it’s got brilliant sound quality for a free synthesizer. Based on a design similar to Roland’s classic Juno 60, this free plugin for Linux, Mac and Windows PC is a great addition for leads, keys, bass and effects.
This virtual Eurorack modular system is open source and has a variety of modules to choose from. VCV Rack is used as a standalone piece of software – it’s not a plugin for your DAW. However, a third-party plugin called VeeSeeVSTRack makes this possible.
IGNITE AMPS PTEQ-X
This freeware emulation software mimics the legendary Pultec EQP-1A tube EQ. From my experience, it sounds warm and just like the Pultec EQ.
Hysteresis is a free glitch delay geared toward creating robotic artifacts and musical malfunctions. It’s a versatile effects processor geared toward electronic music production and sound designers.
Process anything from drums to synths, guitars, vocals and sound effects. On top of being able to create contorted signal mutations, it can also be tamed to generate classic delay effects.
TAL-Chorus-LX is a 1:1 standalone version of the chorus implemented in TAL-U-NO-LX. It has the same characteristics of the Juno-60 chorus, with 2 different modes, dry / wet control and a volume knob.