The Best Free VST Plugins for Music Production
October 31, 2016
There’s never been a better time for independent DIY musicians to mix, master and produce their own tracks, to avoid expensive studio fees. You can download a seemingly endless supply of free VST plugins for music production to add to your digital audio workstation, whether that’s Logic Pro, Ableton, Pro Tools or any other easily-accessible music production software.
Here's a list of the very best. Try them out for yourself, it won't cost you a thing!
Free VST plugins for music production
If you’re looking for an awesome free effects plugin to give your track a boost when recording music at home, or a helpful tool to streamline your production, check out this comprehensive list and download the best free music production plugins for Mac or Windows from across the web.
Know of any great free plugins for music production not featured on this list?
Let us know in the comments section below!
Free creative effect plugins
If you're looking to give your tracks something extra, and make light work of creating unique sounds, take your pick from this collection of free creative effect plugins, sure to shake up your next production.
This fantastic free VST effect plugin allows you to mimic the dust, scratches, and warp of a worn record, as well as the electrical and mechanical sounds of the turntable it would be playing on. Download here.
Guitar Gadgets simulates a number of analog guitar pedals, including Delay Attack, Super Phazor, Crusher and more, and is perfect for using on electric guitars and guitar amp imitations. Download here.
Glitch is an audio effect plugin which can play multiple effects simultaneously. It features a sequencer and a collection of great effects, as well as the ability to randomize - or ‘glitch’ - effects for some off-the-cuff inspiration. Download here.
As the name suggests, the Head Crusher is not for the faint-hearted! But offers five different saturation modes to add something extra to a vocal track or make give your drums a heavier feel. Download here.
Ohm Force Frohmage
Frohmage by Ohm Force is a powerful filter with an easy-to-use interface, designed to provide warmth, dirt and many more unique effects more to produce a professional sound on any track. Download here.
Anarchy Rhythms is a cross between drum machine and an audio effect. It takes an audio input and applies a customisable mix of modulation, filtering, feedback loops, oscillation and compression to create a unique sound. Download here.
One of the ultimate free reverb plugins, OldSkoolVerb offers a broad range of options, allowing users to create many types of reverb. It is best to be used with softer instruments like piano and vocal tracks. Download here.
CamelCrusher is a popular free multi-effects plugin, featuring two different distortion tones which can be mixed together to develop multiple textures and sounds. It’s perfect for a wide range of instruments including drums, guitars, and more. Download here.
This glitch delay plugin can be used to create robotic-sounding abstract audio effects. It includes effects like delay, modulation and others, for processing percussion and much more. Download here.
Shattered Glass Audio Code Red
Inspired by the British consoles of the late 1960s, this plugin recreates the EQ and bold overdriven sounds of the Beatles, perfect for those nostalgic riffs. Download here.
Free plugin synths
To save you from sifting through the many, MANY free plugin synths across the internet, here are a few of the very best. Try them out and let us know what you think!
Tunefish 4 is a diverse free plugin synth with plenty of sound to play with. It has something for just about any situation, whether you're looking to create bass, leads, pads or anything else. Download here.
Ichiro Toda Synth1
Modelled on the Clavia Nord Lead 2 Red Synth, this plugin features a range of great tools, including 4 types of filters, tempo delay, 128 presets and much, much more. Download here.
u-he Tyrell N6
This incredible synth plugin is a truly powerful concept and offers plenty of great possibilities for your next track. And unbelievably, it’s available completely free, so check it out for yourself. Download here.
Helm not only features everything you could ever need from a synth plugin, but also runs pretty much anywhere and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Download here.
Siegfried Kulmann SQ8L
The SQ8L by Siegfried Kulmann features 3 lo-fi oscillators for each of its 8 voices, plus a wide range of other great features, and can produce lots of diverse and interesting sounds. Download here.
Free mixing effect plugins
So you're ready to get to work with your mixer, but you're looking for some extra inspiration to bring the best out of your track? Here are some of the best free mixing effect plugins for all of the creative DIY sound engineers out there.
IVGI not only provides very soft and subtle saturation effect, but is also able to produce a very dense and dirty sound with unmistakable distortion effects. Download here.
NOVA is a parallel dynamic equalizer with the well-known format of a parametric equalizer. Each band also offers a thorough dynamics section, which means the processor can cover a wide range of applications. Download here.
Softtube Saturation Knob
This free Saturation Knob plugin is a modeled output distortion that can be used to fatten up bass lines, add harmonics and shimmer to vocal tracks, or simply kick your drum loop up a notch. Download here.
This effects bundle from Melda Productions contains 30 different audio effects and is completely free. Alternatively, you can pay to upgrade to the professional version for even more options. Download here.
SonEQ is a digital equalizer that combines the best parts of some vintage gear in one great package. It has a 3 bands equalizer, 2 filters and a pre-amp section. Download here.
LFX-1310 is a multi-effector with 24 algorithms and 3 serial slots to play around with. Every unique algorithm on this free plugin offers an exciting new effect. Download here.
Free plugin tools
Creating a great track isn't all about adding effects. It's about being in control of your sound and getting the most out of your software. These free plugin tools and utilities can help you produce the perfect mix. Download them now and see for yourself!
Beyerdynamic Virtual Studio
This incredible free plugin tool simulates a selection of real speaker systems in different environments, so you can see what you track sounds like in a host of venues, from big concert hall to intimate stages, without even being there! Download here.
Circular Labs Mobius
Mobius is free software used for the real-time design of audio loops. Basically, it has 8 synchronized stereo loopers that can be used in any combination with extensive MIDI and computer keyboard control. Loops created can then be easily saved and loaded. Download here.
SPAN is a free real-time audio spectrum analyzer for music and audio production applications, featuring a wide range of powerful tools, compatible with just about every DAW out there. Download here.
Blue Cat Audio Gain Suite
Blue Cat’s Gain Suite offers a number of gain utilities, so you can control the levels of one or more tracks in real time, alongside a collection of other unique and exciting features. Download here.
There are hundreds of free VST plugins for music production available across the internet. These are just a selection of our favourites!
If you enjoyed using any of these plugins, make sure to share this list with your friends, or if you know of any great free effects or plugin tools not featured here, then please let us know in the comments!
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