What Are VST Plugins?
Virtual Studio Technology (aka VST's) are what producers and professional musicians use to add extra flair to their music. VST plugins are downloadable software that work inside of your DAW (Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic...etc) and give you access to new instruments, effects, and more!
Why Use VST Plugins?
While your Digital Audio Workstation may already have lots of samples and instruments included within it, eventually you are going to want more options and you may be looking for a specific sound that your DAW doesn't include. VST plugins give you instant access to thousands of highly professional effects, samples, and instruments that can level up your music production!
The Best Free VST Plugins in 2023
With thousands of choices for plugins and many applications such as Xfer Serum and Spectrasonics Omnisphere costing hundreds of dollars, it's easy to understand the appeal of free plugins! Here's our list of free plugins that you can start creating music with today!
1: LABS by Spitfire Audio (Collection of Instruments)
Spitfire LABS is an incredible plugin and if you are looking for an instrument plugin to download first, this is it.
As of the latest update, LABS has an impressive collection of 59 free instruments. From some of the best beautiful piano tones to its relaxing moon guitar, the plugin includes brass, choir, bass, drum, string, synth, and world presets, just to name a few.
Spitfire Audio creates an excellent tool that is easy to use and contains professional sounds for novices and seasoned producers alike.
2: Vital by Matt Tytel (Wavetable Synth)
Vital is a wavetable synth that can be incredibly valuable in your arsenal of plugins. To get started all you need to do is create an account with Vital and as soon as you have it downloaded you have access to 75 presets and 25 wavetables!
Vital is an excellent tool that allows you to fully customize your synth's sound with an easy-to-learn and appealing interface. The application does have a little bit of a learning curve but it is very much worth the effort and there are some well-made guides if you are struggling!
If you really enjoy Vital there are paid options that give access to more presets and wavetables, but if you don't have a large budget, the free version of Vital gives incredible value and is one of the most popular free synth plugins in the market today!
3: Komplete Start by Native Instruments (VST Bundle)
Komplete Start is aptly named, Native Instruments' free bundle is a perfect start to any musician's digital collection. The absolute powerhouse of a bundle contains over 2,000 sounds that are entirely customizable. Along with this, Komplete Start includes 16 synths/sampled instruments.
The Komplete Kontrol Software acts as a Library for all of your Native Instrument sounds while the Kontakt Player acts as a sample player that allows you to play the included samples and grow your library with even more purchasable Native Instruments samples.
The Komplete Start bundle is a collection of software that you do not want to miss out on and is definitely one of the essentials for any musician looking to grow their sound library.
4: Origin by Cymatics (Vintage Effects Plugin)
Origin is an effect plugin, it doesn't produce any sound of its own but will alter the sound of your current music.
Origin by Cymatics is a wonderful little plugin that is simple yet its quality is stunning. This one is more widely used in the pop and lofi genres but can be used in any genre to create a saturated "old" or "underwater" type of effect on your music.
If you want to create vintage lofi effects in your music, Origin is going to be perfect for you and we highly recommend you download it and try it out for yourself!
5: Ample Bass P Lite II by Ample Sound (Bass Plugin)
Ample Bass P Lite II is a simple bass plugin that's attraction is in its realistic sound. The instrument gives a natural classic bass tone that can be used for basically any genre of music.
If you are looking for an instantly usable classic bass sound, Ample Bass P Lite II will be a great addition to your collection.
6: BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover by Spitfire Audio (Orchestra Plugin)
Spitfire Audio strikes again, this time with an incredible Orchestra plugin that gives you access to 33 instruments and multiple instrumental techniques that simulate realistic orchestra sounds.
Even better, if you already have Spitfire LABS you will have their software "Spitfire Audio" installed and have an account, so downloading the BBC Symphony Orchestra will be very easy.
If you are looking for authentic classical orchestra instruments look no further than Spitfire Audio's BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover!
7: Supermassive by Valhalla DSP (Reverb/Delay Effects Plugin)
Valhalla delivers a plugin that as the name suggests, allows you to add Supermassive reverb and delay effects to your music. This plugin is an essential in many produces libraries and is worth just downloading and experimenting with.
Valhalla Supermassive is great for creating unique ambient and atmospheric reverb effects that can really add to the depth of your audio production.
8: MT Power Drumkit 2 by Manda Audio (Drum Plugin)
MT Power Drumkit 2 is an excellent drum plugin if you are looking for a realistic acoustic drum sound. It is ideal if you aren't able to record live drums but are looking to replicate the sound of a real drumkit.
Along with being able to program the exact drum patterns you are looking for, MT Power Drumkit 2 has an extensive collection of drum grooves (samples/loops) that you can use in a pinch!
Once you have downloaded all your VST Plugins it's time to start experimenting and creating music! When you have some music out there for the world to hear, check out our Music Social Media Marketing Guide!
What are your personal favorite plugins? Let us know!
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