What Do VSTis Do?
There are many free VST instruments available for download. But which one should you start with?
In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 free VST instruments - from synthesizers to samplers - that will help enhance your music production. All of the following are available for Windows and Mac and can be used in any DAW such as Cubase, Ableton, pro tools, and logic, and come in VST format. Some will give you a 32-bit option but most of the products are designed for 64-bit compatible DAWs
1. ValhallaDSP Supermassive
Valhalla DSP produces high-quality audio software. They have been around for over 10 years and have been able to produce some of the best reverbs on the market. Supermassive is a free reverb/delay VST plugin by Valhalla DSP and has been designed from the ground up to pump out BIG reverbs and delays. It uses a variety of feedback delay networks, with each delay in the structure capable of being up to 2 seconds long. Combined with the unique WARP control, you get echoes that slowly fade in, cascading harmonic echoes, lush reverbs, and everything in between!
Download Valhalla Supermassive Here
People have been calling it the serum killer, it’s a spectral warping wavetable synthesizer. This is a real high end sounding synth and the basic version is free, which is the same synthesizer as the paid version but with some of its features disabled but even the free version is capable of producing an unlimited diversity of sounds from huge atmospheric pads to screaming leads, dirty basses and glitchy soundscapes. Spectral Warping is a new synthesis method that gives you unprecedented control over spectral content. Taking its inspiration from the physics of waves and optics, you can excite your audio to create undulating, evolving sounds in a totally natural way. This is not granular nor frequency modulation. It's something different, exciting and new. Vital will take your sounds to uncharted territory.
Download Vital Here
3. Spitfire audio - Labs
Spitfire audio has launched the 'labs' - a collection of free and easy to use VST instruments, representing some of the best samples and synthesis talent in the world. Labs includes a wealth of free sample based instruments for you to use and abuse on your DAW of choice. The tools include all manner of synths, field recordings, drum loops, mallet and orchestral percussion plus a range of keys from mellow synth sounds to rock and roll organs and piano's. Spitfire audio are very well known for creating some of the highest quality sample libraries available today, including their revolutionary orchestral series and innovative rompler instruments. Only the highest quality of sounds from this company, you need to get this for anything orchestral, cinematic or just dramatic. again, Free!
Download Spitfire Audio Labs here
4. U-He Tyrell N6
Tyrell N6 is U-He's software emulation of an analogue style synthesizer, its full sounding with a vintage synth feel that can be used in any genre of music production, from deep basses to high screaming leads, from thick pads to ear piercing digital sounds. The N6 is the synth that replace your old hardware synths. It may not have the real knobs and buttons of an analogue box, but I love how easy it is to configure and program, even from the sofa or on holiday. The sound quality is excellent, too and all this for free!
Download U-He Tyrell N6 Here
5. Softube Saturation Knob
The Softube Saturation Knob is an endless source of warmth, grit and all-round characterful distortion. Based on Softube's analog sound and years of experience, the Saturation Knob offers three modes: Keep High, Neutral and Keep Low. Each mode provides a distinct character that can be applied to a broad range of musical sources. With just the turn of a knob, Softube’s Saturation Knob will add color and analog warmth to your sounds. You can easily create different sounding distortions and add extra harmonics to fatten up your drums tracks, add extra grit to your instruments or adding some character to your master channel.
Download Softube Saturation Know Here
6. Granulator II
Ableton's Max for Live offer a great range of excellent and innovative tools. Granulator II is Inspired by experimental music legends such as Faust and Stockhausen, Granulator II is a free Ableton Live device for creating interesting and atmospheric textures and pads. Granulator II will allow you to create a constant stream of short crossfading samples from a sample source sound. This makes it incredibly useful, not just as an effect but also as an instrument in its own right.
Download Granulator II Here
7. Izotop Vinyl
This VST will give you the nostalgia of vinyl noise, along with analogue vibes and a warm character with some unexpected warping and flutter effects. Described as the ultimate LoFi production tool, iZotope Vinyl simulates the sound of playing vinyl on a turntable. You can set the age of the equipment to add and control scratches, skips, needle jumps, warps, fades, and more. iZotope Vinyl is an unbelievably realistic software plugin.
Download IZotop Vinyl Here
8. iZotope Vocal Doubler
A lot of the companies on this list are worth mentioning multiple times, but I couldn't leave this nifty tool out, its from Izotope, so you know its going to be great. The Vocal Doubler is designed to enhance your vocal with a natural doubling effect, it will add richness and depth, and control the stereo separation with left and right modulation for a great real and organic doubling sound. It sounds great on vocals, but it can also be used on guitars and other lead instruments. You can mix it in subtly, thickening up the vocals, or making parts more pronounced in your mix and arrangement, creating a lush chorus effect for example.
Download Izotope Vocal Doubler Here
9. Cableguys PanCake 2
PanCake 2 enables you to automate the stereo panning of your sound with the click of a mouse. Double-click on the interface, add nodes, drag them to the left or right side of the stereo image, and PanCake will do the work for you. I'd recommend trying it on your reverbs which can make them sound huge. Use it on drums, or Pads, or on anything else where you think a huge lush panning effect would sound great. It's simple, extremely useful, creates massive space in your mix and it works in real time.
Download Cableguys Pancake 2 Here
10. Voxengo SPAN
Voxengo Span is excellent for a visual representation of your mix with great detail. This plugin combines various metering methods (including RMS, peak, true peak, crest factor, spectrum analyzing, and more), as well as a professional correlation meter for psycho acoustic analysis, which is perfect for stereo analysis as it will tell you everything you need to know about the stereo image and how coherent the phase of your mix is.
Download Voxengo Span Here