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There’s never been a better time for independent DIY musicians to mix, master and produce their own tracks, to avoid expensive studio fees. You can download a seemingly endless supply of free VST plugins for music production to add to your digital audio workstation, whether that’s Logic Pro, Ableton, Pro Tools or any other easily-accessible music production software.
Free VST plugins for music production. If you’re looking for an awesome free effects plugin to give. Xfer Records OTT. Xfer Records is notable for their brilliant generation programming, for example.
Here's a list of the very best. Try them out for yourself, it won't cost you a thing!
Free VST plugins for music production
If you’re looking for an awesome free effects plugin to give your track a boost when recording music at home, or a helpful tool to streamline your production, check out this comprehensive list and download the best free music production plugins for Mac or Windows from across the web.
Know of any great free plugins for music production not featured on this list?
Let us know in the comments section below!
Free creative effect plugins
If you're looking to give your tracks something extra, and make light work of creating unique sounds, take your pick from this collection of free creative effect plugins, sure to shake up your next production.
This fantastic free VST effect plugin allows you to mimic the dust, scratches, and warp of a worn record, as well as the electrical and mechanical sounds of the turntable it would be playing on. Download here.
Guitar Gadgets simulates a number of analog guitar pedals, including Delay Attack, Super Phazor, Crusher and more, and is perfect for using on electric guitars and guitar amp imitations. Download here.
Glitch is an audio effect plugin which can play multiple effects simultaneously. It features a sequencer and a collection of great effects, as well as the ability to randomize - or ‘glitch’ - effects for some off-the-cuff inspiration. Download here.
As the name suggests, the Head Crusher is not for the faint-hearted! But offers five different saturation modes to add something extra to a vocal track or make give your drums a heavier feel. Download here.
Ohm Force Frohmage
Frohmage by Ohm Force is a powerful filter with an easy-to-use interface, designed to provide warmth, dirt and many more unique effects more to produce a professional sound on any track. Download here.
Anarchy Rhythms is a cross between drum machine and an audio effect. It takes an audio input and applies a customisable mix of modulation, filtering, feedback loops, oscillation and compression to create a unique sound. Download here.
One of the ultimate free reverb plugins, OldSkoolVerb offers a broad range of options, allowing users to create many types of reverb. It is best to be used with softer instruments like piano and vocal tracks. Download here.
CamelCrusher is a popular free multi-effects plugin, featuring two different distortion tones which can be mixed together to develop multiple textures and sounds. It’s perfect for a wide range of instruments including drums, guitars, and more. Download here.
This glitch delay plugin can be used to create robotic-sounding abstract audio effects. It includes effects like delay, modulation and others, for processing percussion and much more. Download here.
Shattered Glass Audio Code Red
Inspired by the British consoles of the late 1960s, this plugin recreates the EQ and bold overdriven sounds of the Beatles, perfect for those nostalgic riffs. Download here.
Free plugin synths
To save you from sifting through the many, MANY free plugin synths across the internet, here are a few of the very best. Try them out and let us know what you think!
Tunefish 4 is a diverse free plugin synth with plenty of sound to play with. It has something for just about any situation, whether you're looking to create bass, leads, pads or anything else. Download here.
Ichiro Toda Synth1
Modelled on the Clavia Nord Lead 2 Red Synth, this plugin features a range of great tools, including 4 types of filters, tempo delay, 128 presets and much, much more. Download here.
u-he Tyrell N6
This incredible synth plugin is a truly powerful concept and offers plenty of great possibilities for your next track. And unbelievably, it’s available completely free, so check it out for yourself. Download here.
Helm not only features everything you could ever need from a synth plugin, but also runs pretty much anywhere and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Download here.
Siegfried Kulmann SQ8L
The SQ8L by Siegfried Kulmann features 3 lo-fi oscillators for each of its 8 voices, plus a wide range of other great features, and can produce lots of diverse and interesting sounds. Download here.
Free mixing effect plugins
So you're ready to get to work with your mixer, but you're looking for some extra inspiration to bring the best out of your track? Here are some of the best free mixing effect plugins for all of the creative DIY sound engineers out there.
Audio Plugins For Mac
IVGI not only provides very soft and subtle saturation effect, but is also able to produce a very dense and dirty sound with unmistakable distortion effects. Download here.
Download Free Plug-ins For Mac
NOVA is a parallel dynamic equalizer with the well-known format of a parametric equalizer. Each band also offers a thorough dynamics section, which means the processor can cover a wide range of applications. Download here.
Softtube Saturation Knob
This free Saturation Knob plugin is a modeled output distortion that can be used to fatten up bass lines, add harmonics and shimmer to vocal tracks, or simply kick your drum loop up a notch. Download here.
This effects bundle from Melda Productions contains 30 different audio effects and is completely free. Alternatively, you can pay to upgrade to the professional version for even more options. Download here.
Free Au Plugins For Mac
SonEQ is a digital equalizer that combines the best parts of some vintage gear in one great package. It has a 3 bands equalizer, 2 filters and a pre-amp section. Download here.
LFX-1310 is a multi-effector with 24 algorithms and 3 serial slots to play around with. Every unique algorithm on this free plugin offers an exciting new effect. Download here.
Free plugin tools
Creating a great track isn't all about adding effects. It's about being in control of your sound and getting the most out of your software. These free plugin tools and utilities can help you produce the perfect mix. Download them now and see for yourself!
Beyerdynamic Virtual Studio
This incredible free plugin tool simulates a selection of real speaker systems in different environments, so you can see what you track sounds like in a host of venues, from big concert hall to intimate stages, without even being there! Download here.
Download Free Plugins For Audacity
Circular Labs Mobius
Mobius is free software used for the real-time design of audio loops. Basically, it has 8 synchronized stereo loopers that can be used in any combination with extensive MIDI and computer keyboard control. Loops created can then be easily saved and loaded. Download here.
SPAN is a free real-time audio spectrum analyzer for music and audio production applications, featuring a wide range of powerful tools, compatible with just about every DAW out there. Download here.
Blue Cat Audio Gain Suite
Blue Cat’s Gain Suite offers a number of gain utilities, so you can control the levels of one or more tracks in real time, alongside a collection of other unique and exciting features. Download here.
There are hundreds of free VST plugins for music production available across the internet. These are just a selection of our favourites!
If you enjoyed using any of these plugins, make sure to share this list with your friends, or if you know of any great free effects or plugin tools not featured here, then please let us know in the comments!
Virtual instruments are software emulations of traditional instruments or hardware electronic musical instruments.
There is a staggering range of virtual instruments available nowadays, covering multi-timbral rompler modules to dedicated emulations of guitars, basses, drums, keyboards, and more.
Some of these VSTi plugins (as they’re also called) are free. So in this article we’ll take a look at some of the best free virtual instruments you can download today. Many of which are pro worthy.
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Intro: About Virtual Instruments
The benefits of virtual instruments are fairly obvious. They take up much less space than their hardware equivalents, they don’t overheat, and many of them have virtually unlimited polyphony. They are also much easier to edit and they almost never break down.
Here we run down some of the most intriguing virtual instruments currently available. Although some purists may scoff at the idea of these replacing their well-loved guitars or keyboards, there is no denying that they provide a surprising range of great sounds at a price that even professional musicians will appreciate.
Best Free VSTi Plugins
Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player is arguably the Don of all free virtual instrument plug-ins. Based on the company’s own hugely successful Kontakt sampler, Kontakt Player effectively hosts all sample-based instruments developed for its more fully-featured big brother.
The compatibility goes the other way as well. All free instruments developed specifically for Kontakt Player will load up and play in the full version of Kontakt. Between the two, there is a staggering assortment of free and paid instruments, all boasting of the trademark Native Instrument quality.
To get budget-savvy musicians and producers started, NI offers a free Kontakt Factory Selection consisting of 50 premium instruments. Some of these are slightly cut-down versions of the instruments developed for Kontakt, while some are full versions developed specifically for Kontakt Player.
While Kontakt Player focuses mainly on standard instrument libraries, Native Instruments’ Reaktor Player is geared more towards the synthesis side of things.
Reaktor is of course the full-blown modular synthesis environment that gives users unparalleled and unlimited opportunity to design virtually any type of synthesizer, sequencer, or signal processor they could think of from scratch. With Reaktor Player, users are able to play back a wide variety of instruments and effects developed in and for Reaktor, with a more modest set of editing capabilities.
As with Kontakt Player, there is a huge range of ready-made instruments available for use in Reaktor Player. NI even offers two free devices to get you started: the Blocks Wired pre-patched modular synth and the Mikro Prism synthesizer.
Reaktor Player obviously doesn’t come close to providing the depth of power and customizability offered by the full version of Reaktor. Nevertheless, it is a good introduction to modular synthesis. Furthermore, the availability of hundreds of Reaktor instruments cover a board range of sound-crafting options.
Ample Guitar M Lite is the free version of Ample Sounds’ popular AGM guitar simulator. Emulating the warm, rich tones of the Martin D-41 acoustic guitar, Ample Guitar M Lite is now on its second version.
For the price of a free download, you get an enhanced set of features that now match the capabilities of the full version. The note range now spans E1 – C5, and the plug-in now works as a standalone instrument. Even if you do opt to use the instrument in your DAW, multiple instances will take up much less resources than before, and they will load up faster as well.
As you may have guessed from the name, Ample Bass P Lite is Ample Sound’s free bass guitar sample player plug-in. A cut-down version of the full Ample Bass P II component of the company’s Bass Series product line, this plug-in has fewer samples and fewer round robin variations than the full version. It also has a smaller note range than the paid product, covering D1 to F4. Nevertheless, the Ample Bass P Lite does a good job of cranking out the distinctive tones of the Fender Precision Bass, which it models.
Manda Audio’s MT Power Drum Kit is a free drum sampler that has a fairly wide selection of acoustic drum kit sounds. Great care has been taken to record and process the original samples, giving users a range of high-quality drum sounds perfectly suited for pop, rock, and even metal.
Those who wish to process their drum sounds with their own plug-ins might not appreciate the fact that the MT Power Drum’s sounds are already processed. Nevertheless, EQ and compression were applied quite tastefully, and the sounds should fit in well in most mixes.
Togu Audio Line has garnered quite a bit of acclaim for its excellent line of synthesizers and effects processors, a number of which are free. NoiseMaker is one of these, and it compares favorably to the company’s own paid emulation of the Roland Juno 106 analog synth, the TAL-U-NO-LX.
The NoiseMaker incorporates some of TAL’s more popular effects processors on board. There is the Juno-derived chorus with two modes for starters, along with a reverb, a delay, and a bitcrusher, all of which exist as free standalone plug-ins.
DistroCore’s DC Bazz::Murda is a bass and kick synthesizer that is capable of a surprisingly wide array of sounds. Although aggressive and distorted industrial sounds are its forte, it can be dialed back for more subdued tones as well. Even so, this is one plug-in that was obviously designed to get as loud and nasty as possible. For some users, that could be a good thing!
Free Vst Plugins For Mac
Best Mac Plugins
Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player and Reaktor Player are a couple of the best free virtual instruments that you can get, without a doubt. They provide a superb one-two punch that simply can’t be beat.
Between the two, you pretty much have all your bases covered, whether you need bread-and-butter rompler sounds, exotic World Music libraries, or synthetic sounds ranging from vintage to cutting-edge.
Video Plugins For Mac
Given the wide range of sounds they cover and the trademark NI quality, these two are neck-and-neck as our top picks for best virtual instrument plug-ins.