The software used in music production is not the only thing that matters. Your knowledge of the instrument you are using is the main factor when it comes to a well-made production. However, if you want to gain more in-depth knowledge of the multitude of tools available, then you will need to go beyond just the basics and invest in some good VST instruments.

What Do VSTis Do?

A VST is a digital software interface designed to process audio and work with MIDI. Typical VST plug ins include Synthesizers, Samplers, Audio Effects such as Delay and reverb, and MIDI tools such as arpeggiators or chord databases.

VSTs take away the need for external or outbound synthesizers or effects. This makes audio tools cheaper and easier to obtain while giving more flexibility for instrument development and enhancement. The potential downside to this, is a digital only track. Although they make many VST plugins to simulate analogue warmth and character now anyway.

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 DAW's

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

2. Vital

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 characterful distortion. Based on Softube's analog sound and years of practical experience, the Saturation Knob plug-in 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 bus.

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 the work of experimental music legends such as Faust and Stockhausen, Granulator II is a free Ableton Live device for creating unpredictable, atmospheric textures and pads. With Granulator II you can create a constant stream of short crossfading samples from a sample source sound. This means it’s incredibly useful not just as an effect but also as an instrument in its own right.

Download Granulator II Here

7. Izotop Vinyl

Experience the nostalgia of vinyl noise, analogue and warm character with some unexpected warping and flutter effects. Described as the ultimate lofi production tool, iZotope Vinyl simulates the sound of playing a vinyl record 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 if going to be great. Vocal Doubler is designed to enhance your vocal with a natural doubling effect, add richness and depth and control the stereo separation with left and right variation for a great real and organic sound. It sounds great on vocals, but also can be used on guitars and other lead instruments. You can mix it in subtly, thickening up the vocals, or more pronounced to create a lush chorus effect.

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 or two. Just double-click on the interface, add nodes, drag them to the left or right, and PanCake will do all the heavy lifting for you. I'd recommend trying it on your reverbs to make them sound huge. Use it on drums or Pads or on anything else where you think a 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

Excellent for a visual representation of your mix with great detail. SPAN is a plugin that combines various metering methods (including RMS, peak, true peak, crest factor, spectrum analyzing and more), as well as a professional correlation meter for psychoacoustic analysis, which is perfect for stereo vocal analysis, for measuring stereo width - in short: It will tell you everything you need to know about your audio. It includes phase correlation indicators that tell you how coherent the phase of your mix is.

Download Voxengo Span Here