“What are the best free VST instrument plugins?”. VST plugins can be split into two main categories:. VST Instruments: These plugins generate audio and act as virtual instruments within the software. They often emulate iconic, classic sounds of famous synthesizers and other instruments. VST effects: Instead of synthesizing audio, these plugins process and add effects to existing audio or MIDI sequences. These effects include compression, delay and reverb. Without a doubt, VST instruments are the most effective method you can use to transform the way you create music.
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From authentic, vintage keys and other instruments to immensely powerful soft synthesizers, the creative possibilities of these virtual instruments are staggering.
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I have been using VST instruments more or less since the first day I began making music 10 years ago.
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Using many different plugins over the years has allowed me to not only discover some pretty crazy sounds, but has given me a strong understanding of sound design and manipulation.
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So if you’re just starting out in music production, downloading some high quality VST instrument plugins is absolutely essential.
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Many of the most popular VST instruments, such as Massive or Omnisphere, come with a fairly high price tag.
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If you’re a music production beginner, you may not be ready to fork out hundreds of dollars on various production effects and plugins just yet, which is completely understandable.
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So you’re probably wondering: are there any actual good quality FREE VST instruments out there?
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The answer is undoubtedly yes. There is an enormous amount of incredibly powerful, free VST instruments out there, and many of them sound just as good as the commercial plugins. To save you the hassle of trawling the web for free VST instruments, I’ve put together this list of the best free VST instrument plugins that are a cut above the rest. Click here for our guide to the top 100 FREE VST plugins of all time. In the video below we go through our top 10 picks for FREE VST plugins as of 2022. You can either watch this video, or keep scrolling to read more!
The Best Free VST Instrument Plugins in 2022 (+ Download Links)
Native Instruments’ huge collection of virtual instruments and effects is the gold standard when it comes to music production plugins. Their VST instruments in particular are among the best, most beautifully designed synthesizers I have ever used. Their Komplete collection was one of the first major purchases I made for music production software, and to this day I use their plugins religiously. Kontakt Start is an enormous free bundle of some of their synths and effects. It is a fantastic way to get started with Native Instruments’ Kontakt plugins, as it includes a huge FREE collection of synthesizers, instruments, plugin effects and almost 1,500 loops and samples.
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Personal highlights for me include the incredible TRK-01 bass synthesizer, and VINTAGE, their superb analog synthesizer. Finally, an easy way to get a Yamaha DX7 for free…. Well, not really, but close enough. Dexed is a highly versatile multi-platform, multi-format plugin synthesizer that is closely modelled on the iconic Yamaha DX7. This plugin is a patch editor of the DX7, but also has it’s own in-built sound engine so it can be used to play real DX7 patches as well, and believe me, this thing sounds fantastic. The interface has 144 automatable parameters in the form of various sliders, buttons and knobs on one single panel. This makes it appear a little overwhelming for beginners, but after playing around a little with the software, it’s a very powerful piece of free software. Dexed can also load any of the classic presets from Yamaha’s hardware synthesizers like the DX7 or the TX81Z, which can then be manipulated to a crazy extent.
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There are also a massive amount of patches available online that can easily be inputted into the plugin. Here are the best April deals in 2022. Don’t miss out! (Click here for the full list). Surge is another example of an immensely powerful virtual instrument, available as a free download. This is a subtractive, hybrid synthesizer plugin features two “scenes”; which can be used to create and edit two entirely separate instances of the synth.
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The synth features many unique synthesis techniques, a great selection of filters, a flexible modulation engine, a wide range of on-board effects, and modern features like MPE and microtuning. It also comes packaged with a whopping 2285 patches and 614 wavetables!
TSB-1 Tyrant Screamer By IGNITE AMPS
The interface is relatively beginner friendly, and for a free plugin this thing has an enormous amount of creative flexibility and is capable of creating a huge amount of professional-quality sounds. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why Surge is free. In late 2020, Tytel released Vital, a freeware spectral warping wavetable synthesizer with a staggering list of features and on-board controls. This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting audio plugin releases in a long time, especially given the fact there’s a FREE version available. The free edition of Vital includes all the core functionality of Vital, and comes with 75 presets and 25 wavetables. Vital features 3 powerful, high-quality wavetable oscillators, each with frequency warper and waveshaper controls.
Surge By Vember Audio
An additional sample slot is also available, which can be used to add noise or other audio textures. Vital also features an on-board wavetable editor, allowing you to warp and manipulate the wavetables to your hearts content.
Emissary By IGNITE AMPS
The 3 oscillators and the sample slot can be individually routed to two filter modules, and you can also assign 3 envelopes, 4 audio-rate LFOs, 2 randomizers, and several other modulation options.
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There is also an extensive effects rack, featuring phaser, reverb, delay and other audio effects.
Guitar Rig 6 Player By Native Instruments
The one downside is that the CPU-usage is fairly high, so if you’re using a slower system, it may struggle with multiple loadings of the plugin. However, a single instance should normally be okay. Overall, Vital is definitely the best free synth plugin in 2022, and no other free plugin matches it’s incredible design and creative flexibility.
Stereo Touch By Voxengo
Here are the best April deals in 2022. Don’t miss out! (Click here for the full list). M Lite II by Ample Guitar is easily the most versatile, gorgeous sounding FREE guitar VST plugins ever made.
1. Kontakt Start
With it’s realistic sound and endless customisation options, M Lite II bridges the gap between virtual and real guitar performances like no other plugin. The sound quality is absolutely stunning, and this free virtual instrument gives a rich, warm tone full of detail and clarity.
There is a noticeable amount of variation and expression in each note played, and these sonic “imperfections” (and I mean that in a good way!) create an effortless, realistic playing experience.