What Is A VST Plugin?
Virtual Studio Technology VST Plugins for short. It allows the person using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to install software from 3rd party companies. VSTs give you various audio FX (effects) and virtual instruments as plugins inside your DAW. This was first developed and introduced to the market by Steinberg with their DAW Cubase in 1996, it was a game changer for sure and gave huge flexibility and opportunity for software development and huge benefits to the music creators.
Here are my Top 10 Free VST Plugins. These definitely sets the standard of how good and thought-out a free VST can be.
I’ve included every effect you could ever need from vintage style EQ, Compressors, Classic Synths, Amp Simulators, Delays, Reverbs, Autotune alternatives, Limiters, Bit Crushers, Lo-fi FX and a ton more.
There are hundreds of free VST effects in this list, so take your time, you are going to need a large mug of coffee to get through this lot.
For ease, I’ve split up the list of free VST Plugins into categories in the following order: Classic Synths, VST Instrument Bundles, EQ & Compressors, Channel Strips, Amp Simulators, Reverb, Delayand finally FX.
Audjoo Helix is a full featured, crisp sounding subtractive synthesizer. It’s huge collection of waveshapes and the ability to use any of them in a “super saw” style makes it amazing for modern electronic sounds.
Dexed is a fantastic utilitarian FM synth engine that’s capable of loading any of the classic patches from Yamaha’s hardware FM synths like the DX7 and TX81Z.
DSK The Grand sounds very convincing for a free plugin. A great option for moody and dramatic grand piano sounds.
Ohm Force SymptOhm PE is the free version (“Performer’s Edition”) of Symptohm:Melohman. It contains all the presets of the paid version with a slimmed down control scheme.
Plogue Alter/Ego is a realtime voice synthesizer capable of creating incredibly interesting vocal sounds. It’s “voice banks” have colourful personalities brought to life with art and design.
Spitfire Audio LABS packs a huge amount of extremely creative sounds into a user-friendly interface. With unique libraries from modulated pianos to windswept strings to creative percussion, try LABS if you’re looking for something new.
Tunefish 4 is an extremely lightweight synth that can produce professional quality sounds. It generates its wavetables using a form of additive synthesis.
U-he Tyrell N6 is a compact, effective virtual analog subtractive synth that sounds just right. Its classic architecture feels familiar and its preset library has a diverse array of sounds.
VCV is an impressive free virtual Eurorack modular system. With emulations of many of the most popular modules supported, VCV rack is a creative powerhouse for synth tweakers.
Valhalla FreqEcho is a simple but flexible delay plugin capable of creating some truly otherworldly sounds using only modulation and pitch shifting.