The Best FREE VST Plugins for Music Producers in 2023
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VST is an acronym for Virtual Studio Technology plugins, which are digital tools used in audio production to manipulate sound and emulate traditional recording studio hardware.
The VST plugins come in two forms: VST instruments (VSTi), which generate sound, and VST effects, which process sound. VST instruments can emulate classic synthesizers, samplers, or drum machines, while VST effects can replicate analog effects like reverb, delay, and EQ or provide more unique digital sound manipulation capabilities.
These plugins operate within a digital audio workstation (DAW), which hosts the plugin, enabling users to create, record, and manipulate audio within a digital environment. This virtual approach affords a great deal of flexibility, allowing producers and musicians to build up a vast library of various plugin tools, from different developers, all within their DAW of choice.
VST plugins have been instrumental in the democratization of music production, providing creators access to a range of sounds and effects that were once exclusive to professional studios. The quality and diversity of VST plugins available today, whether premium or free, are truly remarkable and a testament to the advancement in digital music technology.
Start With These Free Vst Plugin Bundles
The MFreeFXBundle includes 37 different effects, ranging from an advanced spectral analyzer (MAnalyzer) to a powerful multi-comb filter plugin (MComb) and a smooth tube like saturator (MSaturator). Other notable plugins include MBitFun, a tool for extreme distortion lovers, and MFreeformPhase, which allows users to adjust the phase of individual frequencies.
The software is free of charge, but users are encouraged to upgrade to a professional version to access additional features such as changing the size and style of the plugins, accessing the sonogram feature in the analyzers and equalizers, manipulating presets, accessing the modulators, and using upsampling to improve sound quality.
The MFreeFXBundle has been praised by producers like Ill Gates and Mr. Bill for its utility and versatility in music production.
KiloHearts Essential Bundle (Lots Of Free Plugins)
The Kilohearts Essentials Bundle is a collection of effects. These are designed for sound design and mixing and include both basic and advanced effects. This ensures an optimal workflow for any project.
The Essentials Plugins can be used as regular plugins in your DAW or loaded as Snapins in any Kilohearts Snapin Host.
Some of the plugins include:
- 3-Band EQ
- Channel Mixer
- and many more
The Essentials Bundle also come with lifetime free updates. This ensures continuous improvement and compatibility with new features and operating systems.
Paid Plugins vs Free Plugins
Audio plugins have evolved tremendously over the years. In the past, high-quality plugins often came with a hefty price tag, serving as a roadblock for many aspiring music producers and mixing engineers. These tools were coveted for their ability to emulate the subtle nuances of studio gear, and their cost often reflected their high fidelity and intricate detail.
As for free plugins, they were often dismissed (and many still are) as inferior and subpar in quality. Most of the early free plugins were often cheap sounding and unimpressive when compared to their premium counterparts. Thus, they were often overlooked, with many associating “free” with “low quality”.
Today, the landscape of free vst plugins has undergone a significant transformation. The market is overflowing with an impressive array of free plugins that have managed to match and, in some cases, surpass the quality of their premium counterparts.
Audio engineers, musicians, and producers alike have access to a wealth of free resources that no longer compromise on quality. Everything from basic equalizers and transient shaping tools to intricate compressors and detailed synthesizers, and unique sound manipulation tools are available at zero cost, and they sound fantastic.
In fact, it’s possible to produce a professional sounding track using exclusively free plugins. This paradigm shift is democratizing music production, making it accessible to anyone with a computer and a passion for creating music.
To give you an insight into the quality and diversity of free plugins available today, here’s a list of 20 high quality Free Vst Plugins that you simply must try.
Best Free Vst Plugins: Download Them Before They Are Gone!
1. Voxengo Span
Voxengo Span is a free spectrum analyzer plugin that provides a high-quality display of the audio spectrum. It gives users a real-time look at the frequency content of their mix, helping them find problem areas in their mix that they might not be able to hear.
The plugin also allows users to customize the display and offers several modes, such as stereo, mid-side, and multichannel analysis.
2. Acustica Tan
Acustica Tan is a versatile compressor plugin that brings classic, warm analog sound to your digital recordings. Known for its beautifully rendered GUI and the superb sonic qualities, Tan is perfect for adding subtle compression or a more pronounced pumping effect. Its auto-release feature ensures you won’t miss a beat in fast-paced mixing scenarios.
3. TDR Kotelnikov
TDR Kotelnikov is a high-quality dynamics processor that specializes in mastering compression. It stands out with its exceptionally clean processing while still maintaining the flexibility and transparency to shape the dynamics with accuracy. It’s perfect for controlling and gluing your mix without sacrificing the natural sound.
4. Izotope Vinyl
Izotope Vinyl is a unique plugin that simulates the sound and imperfections of vinyl records. It’s great for adding warmth, grit, and character to your tracks. With features such as mechanical noise, wear, and even the year of the record, this plugin adds a nostalgic touch to your productions.
5. Cableguys Pancake
Cableguys Pancake is a creative panning effect that can help to bring life to your stereo image. With its custom shapes and flexible modulation options, you can create rhythmic movement in your mixes or sound design. Pancake allows for precise control and helps create a sense of depth and space in your tracks.
6. TDR Nova
TDR Nova is a parallel dynamic equalizer that offers both precision and musicality. It can be a simple parametric EQ or a full-fledged multi-band compressor, making it a Swiss army knife in your mixing toolkit. The display is intuitive and offers a great visual representation of the frequency spectrum.
7. Xfer DJM Filter
Xfer DJM Filter is a simple but powerful plugin, that replicates the filter on the DJM-900’s mixer. It can add a creative touch to your tracks with its high and low pass filter, smooth sweeps, and resonant bumps. A fantastic tool for both production and live performances.
8. Valhalla Freqecho
Valhalla Freqecho is a fantastic, free frequency shifter and analog echo emulation plugin. It’s great for psychedelic delay effects, dub sounds, and creating unique pitch-shifted textures. The intuitive interface and high-quality sound make it an excellent tool for any producer.
9. Acustica Coffee The Pun
Coffee The Pun is a versatile plugin providing a punchy and energetic sound, perfect for injecting life into a mix. It offers a unique flavor of saturation and compression derived from Acustica’s innovative sampling techniques. The plugin can be used subtly or pushed harder for more drastic sound shaping.
10. Tal Chrous-LX
The Tal Chrous-LX plugin is inspired by the Roland Juno-60 chorus, recreating its rich, lush chorus effects. The plugin adds depth and width to your sounds and is fantastic for enhancing synths, guitars, and even full mixes.
11. Audio Damage Rough Rider
Audio Damage’s Rough Rider is a modern compressor with a vintage vibe. Known for its aggressive, pumping compression, it is a go-to for adding energy to drums, bass, and rhythmic components. It offers a warm and characterful sound that can really make elements in your mix stand out.
12. Spitfire Labs
Spitfire Labs offers a range of high-quality, free software instruments. From pianos and strings to more experimental sounds, Labs has something for everyone.
Each plugin comes with a minimalistic interface and beautiful sound, offering a great starting point for composers on a budget.
13. Polyverse Wider
Polyverse Wider is a stereo enhancer plugin that expands the stereo image of your mix while maintaining mono compatibility. This means it can make your tracks sound wider without causing phase issues when the mix is collapsed to mono, an issue that often occurs with other stereo widening plugins.
14. Valhalla Supermassive
Valhalla Supermassive is a versatile plugin that creates a massive range of delay and reverb effects. It can be used to create everything from tight echoes to huge, galaxy-sized reverberations. This free plugin provides high-quality and rich spatial effects that can give your tracks a professional touch.
15. U-HE Tyrell
U-HE Tyrell is a powerful synthesizer plugin with a sleek interface and rich sound. This free plugin is loaded with features, including oscillators, filters, and modulation capabilities. It is an excellent tool for creating a wide variety of sounds, from deep basses to high singing leads.
16. Acustica Coral Baxter
Coral Baxter is an impressive EQ plugin, part of the larger Acustica Coral2 Suite. It offers a lush, smooth, and transparent sound that is ideal for mastering or adding a touch of shine to your tracks.
The intuitive design and superior sound quality make it a must-have for serious producers.
17. Softube Saturator
Softube Saturator is a versatile saturation plugin that can add harmonic distortion to your tracks, giving them warmth and depth. Whether you want subtle saturation for mastering or heavy distortion for a more aggressive sound, this plugin can handle it all with aplomb.
18. Xfer OTT
Xfer OTT is a multiband compressor that provides powerful upward and downward compression. It’s known for its characteristic sound, often used to add sharpness and brightness to synths and basses.
This free plugin has become a staple in electronic music production.
19. Youlean Loudness Meter
Youlean Loudness Meter is an essential tool for achieving optimal loudness levels in your mix. It helps you monitor the loudness of your tracks and ensures compliance with various broadcasting standards.
The plugin also provides detailed insights into the dynamic range of your mix, helping to achieve a balanced sound.
20. Klanghelm MJUC Jr
MJUC Jr is the little brother of Klanghelm’s flagship MJUC compressor. It’s a versatile compressor that can be smooth and transparent or aggressive and punchy, depending on the settings. It’s a go-to tool for adding punch to drums, taming dynamics, or gluing together a mix.
Free Plugins: Conclusion
Lots of plugins out there. So much it can be overwhelming. The ones listed above are a great starting point, have fun.