A new year, a new list of free VST plugins. Browse our top picks to find plugins like Kontakt Player, SampleTank, Vital synth, Freq Echo, 8×8, and more. All these plugins are worth adding to your collection and are 100% free.
Free VST Plugins
Are you looking for the best free VST plugins for your music production in 2023? You’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide will introduce you to the best free VST plugins you can use for your audio and music production.
These free VST plugins will provide you with all the features and sounds you need to take your music production to the next level.
These range from virtual instruments and synthesizers to effects processors and sound editors.
So, let’s dive in and explore the best free VST plugins for 2023!
Best Free VST Plugins Guitar
Ample Guitar – Great For Its Authentic Sound
Ample Guitar is a must-have for guitarists and producers looking for the best free VST plugins. It is a sample-based virtual instrument that offers an incredibly realistic and authentic guitar sound.
It comes with a vast library of samples. It includes built-in reverb, a guitar tab player, a riff editor, mechanical noises, and finger slides. It’s no wonder Ample Guitar is a favorite among many in the music production community.
Ample Guitar offers a massive collection of acoustic and electric guitars. However, most of them you will have to pay for. Luckily, they offer two plugins for free, an acoustic guitar and a bass guitar.
Ample Guitar is worth a try if you’re looking for the best free VST plugins for guitar. With its vast array of instruments and sound-shaping tools, you can produce great-sounding guitar tracks quickly and easily.
Best Free VST Plugins for Vocals
MAutoPitch – A Great Sounding Autotune
When it comes to vocal production, one of the best free VST plugins for 2023 is Mautopitch from Melda Productions. It’s a great way to quickly get professional-sounding to auto-tune results without losing a lot of cash.
Mautopitch is easy to use and works well with many needs thanks to advanced features like formant shifting.
Read more about it here.
Trap Tune – Great For Modern Vocals
Another great free VST plugin for vocals is Traptune Free Edition. This plugin is ideal for creating vocal melodies and harmonies with a simple but effective auto-tune function.
It’s great for quickly adding robotic effects to vocal performances and offers several modulation options.
When you download the plugin, you get an automatic free trial. Once the trial is over, the plugin will continue to work for free but with limited features.
Read more about TrapTune here.
Vocal Doubler – Great For Adding Depth To Vocals
Finally, if you’re looking for a more expansive vocal sound, consider Izotope Vocal Doubler.
This VST plugin is made for those who want to quickly create expansive vocal sounds and double tracks without going through a lengthy recording process.
With Izotope Vocal Doubler, you can quickly add depth and character to your vocal recordings with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Learn more about Vocal Doubler here.
Plugins can either be mono or stereo. With vocals, it cannot be obvious which to apply. Check out our article on using mono or stereo plugins on vocals.
Best Free Vst Plugins for Trap Beats
8×8 – Great For All Your Hip-hop Low-End Needs
8×8 by MadeforLife Music is a free VST synthesizer perfect for creating 808-style bass for trap beats. This powerful plugin combines a subtractive synth workflow with advanced features like multi-stage distortion and an analog-modeled filter.
The 8×8 plugin offers a great range of presets for creating any trap beat you can imagine. It is easy on CPU resources and has a simple, easy-to-use interface.
The 8×8 plugin is the perfect choice for those who want to start producing trap beats immediately. With its expansive range of sounds and tools, you’ll be able to create professional-quality music in no time.
Learn more about 8×8 here.
Best Free VST Delay Plugin
Supermassive – Great All-Around Delay
For producers and musicians looking to up their game in 2023, a few VST Plugins stand out in the competition.
One such plugin is Supermassive from ValhallaDSP.
It is mighty yet simple to use and offers a wealth of features.
Supermassive is a fantastic free VST delay plugin that offers unparalleled sonic control.
It features an intuitive user interface with many editable parameters to create unique sounds.
Supermassive mainly excels at long, “endless” delays and can borderline get into the territory of reverb if you’re not careful.
Supermassive has quickly become a favorite among producers due to its versatility and ability to create impressive soundscapes with minimal effort.
Learn more about Supermassive here.
Freq Echo – Great For Psychedelic Delay Effects
Freq Echo is a free VST echo plugin with a classic sound.
Like the last plugin, it is made by Valhalla DSP and features a frequency shifter with an analog delay emulation.
With Freq Echo, it is easy to create all kinds of delay effects, from subtle to crazy. There is virtually no limit!
Both Supermassive and Freq Echo are perfect for anyone looking for a free VST delay plugin that can produce high-quality results with minimal effort.
Learn more about Freq Echo here.
Best Free VST Plugins Instruments
One of the best ways to take your production skills to the next level is by using Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plugins. With VST plugins, you can access various instruments and effects to add to your audio. But where do you start?
Spitfire Audio and Native Instruments are two leading companies in the music production industry. They offer some great free VST instruments for musicians of all levels.
Spitfire Labs – Great For Realistic Instruments
Spitfire Audio, a European production company, offers one of the most impressive collections of free Kontakt instruments on the market.
I’m talking about Spitfire Labs. a collection of innovative instruments that cover everything from piano to strings to percussion.
One of the best things about Labs is that you can rest assured that anything you download will be top quality.
Even the free instruments feature round-robin groups and velocity layers for realistic performances and natural articulations.
Learn more about Spitfire Labs here.
Kontakt Player / Komplete Start – Great For Its Wide Variety
If you thought Spitfire Labs was great, It wouldn’t even exist without Kontakt, the legendary sampler by Native Instruments.
And by legendary, I mean legendary. Kontakt powers the most prominent family of sample-based instruments available today.
And lucky for us, Native Instruments have released a free version called Kontakt Player. And that’s not all because it is also part of Komplete Start.
Komplete Start is a bundle of many different instrument and effect plugins that anyone can download for free from Native Instruments.
Learn more about Komplete Start and Kontakt Player here and here.
Vital – Greatest Free Wavetable Synth On The Internet
If you are into making electronic music like dubstep or trap, I’m willing to bet that you have heard about a lovely little synth called Serum.
What if I told you that you could get a free plugin with virtually identical capabilities?
You can, and it is called Vital, by vital audio.
It is more advanced than Serum in some regards, such as the modulation with custom LFO shapes and pseudo-random Perlin noise.
Learn more about Vital here.
Best Free VST Mastering Plugins
Analog Obsession – Great For Their Analog Emulations
If you’re looking for the best free VST mastering plugins of 2023, you can’t go wrong with Analog Obsession.
They have an abundance of free limiters and compressors that will give your tracks a professional edge. And they are all modeled after vintage analog gear that can give your music some extra character.
Learn more about Analog Obsession here.
Limiter No. 6 – Great Mastering Grade Limiter
One of the best free options in limiters is Limiter No6 by Tokyo Dawn Records.
Limiter No6 is a beautiful mastering tool for refining your mix. It is a highly versatile plugin with plenty of features to help you get the most out of your sound.
It has adjustable attack and release times, True inter-sample limiting, and an optional 4x oversampling module.
In the right hands, this limiter could do wonders for your tracks and is completely free.
Learn more about Limiter No 6 here.
Best Free VST Mixing Plugins
Analog Obsession – Still Great For Their Analog Emulations
One of the most beloved elements of any good mixing session is the use of EQs to shape the sounds of your mix and give it that unique flavor.
Analog Obsession is relatively new to the industry, so they have been on this list twice says a lot.
The reason is simple. They have a wide selection of analog-modeled plugins that, when I first tried them, honestly surprised me that they were free.
Analog EQs offer many options to dial the perfect sound, from punchy low-pass filters to smooth and silky highs. Analog Obsession has the next best thing if you’re on a zero-dollar budget.
Learn more about Analog Obsession here.
Best Free VST Saturation Plugins
Saturation Knob – Great For Its Simplicity
If you’re looking for the best free VST plugins for 2023, then you won’t want to miss out on Saturation Knob by Softube. This great plugin is a powerful tool for adding warmth and character to your tracks.
Saturation is one of the most under-utilized techniques in modern music.
With its easy-to-use interface, you can quickly dial in the perfect saturation level for your music and do it for free.
Learn more about Saturation Knob here.
Best Free VST Reverb Plugins
Spaceman – Great Convolution Reverb
Spaceman is not your average, everyday reverb. It uses an advanced convolution process to simulate highly accurate reverb based on an impulse response.
It has hidden tricks like a 5-band parametric eq on the output to sculpt the sound.
The biggest downside to this plugin is that since the developer isn’t making any money from it, he usually needs more time for extensive testing and debugging.
The plugins are tested to work on his machine, but sometimes they may not work well inside daws other than Ableton Live.
It’s provided as is, and you are on your own if you encounter problems.
Learn more about Freq Verb here.
Oril River – Great “Workhorse” Reverb
Oril River is a great, true stereo reverb ideal for most mixing situations. It’s the reverb you will find yourself reaching for when you need a generic high-quality reverb.
It sounds fantastic and even features a 3-band eq for fine-tuning your sound.
It gives you the choice of 5 algorithms for the reverb tail and 12 algorithms for the reverb early reflections.
This amazing free reverb plugin can even compete with higher-tier paid options.
Learn more about Oril River here.
Best Free EQ VST Plugins
TDR Nova – Great For Subtle Or Powerful EQing
TDR Nova is a great free EQ plugin that offers much flexibility and power.
It is a parallel dynamic equalizer from Tokyo Dawn Records. Each eq band is also a functional compressor and allows fine-grained dynamics control.
The layout looks similar to your average parametric equalizer, so if you have used one of those, you should feel right at home.
Learn more about TDR Nova here.
Grace – Greate For Its User-Friendly Design
Grace is an excellent free VST sampler plugin from One Small Clue.
It’s straightforward and great for creating unique sounds from samples. The plugin features all the standard options for working with samples, plus some nice add-ons like a pair of multimode filters and dual-step sequencers.
It lets you easily create drum kits and can even read .sfz files.
The most significant setback with Grace is that it is not compatible with Mac OS.
Learn more about Grace here.
SampleTank – Best For Multi-Purpose Sampling
SampleTank 4 from IK Multimedia is a fantastic free VST sampler plugin.
It’s incredibly versatile and can be used for various sampling tasks. The plugin includes a great selection of samples, from drums to pianos to strings.
A Lot of the instruments you will need to pay to unlock, but there is still plenty of value in what is provided for free.
Learn more about SampleTank here.
What Are VST Plugins?
Steinberg, in the mid-1990s, developed the Virtual Studio Technology (VST) standard. It was to integrate third-party digital audio effects and instruments into music production software, such as FL Studio and Pro Tools.
It has since become a popular choice for sound designers, producers, and musicians due to its versatility and wide array of plugins and virtual instrument choices.
VST plugins are typically used in recording, mixing, and mastering to enhance sounds with effects such as reverb, delay, compression, EQ, and chorus.
VST plugins can also be used to create sounds with virtual synthesizers, such as Softube’s Modular or Native Instruments Kontakt,
Kontakt Player, and Reaktor Player. Additionally, several hardware-inspired plugins are available from companies such as Spitfire Audio, Analog Obsessions, Vital Synth, Spitfire Labs, Ample Sound, and Ample Guitar.
VST plugins also offer a range of sound-shaping tools like saturation knobs, which can give your sound more presence and punch. With so many powerful tools available, VST plugins are essential for any modern music producer.
Of course, there is a tonne of paid plugins. Please read our article on the differences between two of the most prominent virtual instruments, Massive X and Serum.
What Makes A Good Free Plugin?
This is highly opinionated, but an excellent free plugin does what it claims it can and does well.
It also ideally has a well-thought-out user interface design allowing you to use it to its full potential quickly and easily.
Where Can You Get VST Plugins For Free?
There are many places where you can find free VST plugins. Some companies offer them on their website, such as madeforlifemusic.com or valhalladsp.com.
You might also get one as part of a special promotion or sale from a marketplace like Splice or Plugin Boutique.
Lastly, you can always find them in GitHub repositories. These will usually be from developers personally rather than from a larger corporate company.
Can Free VST Make Good Music?
The short answer is yes. Hands down, without a single doubt, yes.
For best results, you should be selective in which ones you use and when you use them.
Can You Use A VST Without A Daw?
Technically yes. However, you will need a VST host, at the very least. One good example that highlights what I mean is Steinberg Wavelab Elements.
Technically speaking, It is an audio editing software made by Steinberg, not a DAW, Yet it can act as a VST host.
Are Plugins And VST The Same?
Again technically speaking, no.
Vst is one of many plugin formats and one of a few audio plugin formats, to be more specific.
A plugin is just a type of program that is designed to expand upon an already existing program.
Adobe photoshop has “.plugin” plugins for adding new photo editing effects. DAWs have “.vst” plugins for adding new synthesizers and effects, and DAWs even have “.clap” plugins for new instruments and effects.
In other words, all VSTs are plugins, but not all plugins are VSTs
Is Kontakt A Good VST?
Yes. So much so that I am surprised that it is even a question.
What Does VST Stand For?
Virtual Studio Technology. Steinberg, the creator of the DAW Cubase, developed it.
For more in-depth info on VST plugins, check out this article about the best VST reverbs for Ableton Live.
No matter what kind of music you create, there are plenty of great free VST plugins to explore in 2023. With the right mix of creativity and technical know-how, you’ll be able to create unique sounds on a budget.
You will need a place to keep all these new plugins. Check out our article on how much SSD storage you need for music production.