In this article you’ll find the best plugins available for absolutely free. We’ll go through all the plugin categories to give you a complete overview of what's definitely worth downloading in 2024.
Let’s get started!
Part 1: Free Plugin Bundles
MeldaProduction Free FX Bundle
The MFreeFXBundle is a remarkable collection of 37 high quality free audio plugins. The bundle encompasses a diverse range of effects, including EQs, compressors, filters, autotuners, stereo wideners, waveshapers, and analyzers, providing a wealth of creative possibilities. Particularly noteworthy are Melda's modulation effects, featuring a ring modulator, flanger, tremolo and vibrato, each offering incredibly in-depth parameters.
Komplete Start Bundle
KOMPLETE START is a bundle that includes six virtual synthesizers, nine sample-based instruments, two effects, over 1,500 audio loops, and freeware Player editions of Kontakt and Reaktor. The included Band and World sound packs for Kontakt Player provide classic guitar, bass, ethnic percussion, and drum tones. The updated Komplete Start now introduces the Ozone 11 EQ, a brand-new plugin from iZotope's renowned mastering suite, allowing you to shape the finest details of your sound with intuitive features in a user-friendly interface.
Part 2: Synthesizers
This wavetable synth VST continues to be incredibly popular because of the fact that not only is it absolutely free, but also features no less features than Serum itself. There’s a growing number of preset packs being developed for Vital and the plugin is expected to become the most popular synth among EDM producers.
- A Roland-inspired synth from the makers of Diva.
The Roland Jupiter series was incredibly influential, with its prices currently reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Luckily, you're able to get very close to its sound completely for free! The developers of Diva (u-He) made a free plugin called Tyrell N6, which is inspired by the design of classic Roland synths like the Jupiter and Juno. It sounds incredibly realistic - it's like a free version of Diva! Definitely a must-have.
- Juno-style free synth with modern features.
The Juno-60, just like the Jupiter, is one of the absolute most sought-after vintage synths of all. The developers TAL, famous for their emulation of the Juno-60, offer also a free Juno-inspired synth called the Noisemaker. It's very similar in design to the Juno, and offers everything from huge bass sounds to soothing analog pads. It includes the signature Juno two-mode Chorus for the maximum lush effect.
- Most likely the best free vintage synth emulator.
The Oberheim OB-X became one of the most iconic synthesizers of all time. Its new, completely free emulator captures all of its magic in a VST form. It's really well designed from the very detailed, ultra-realistic, fat sound, up to the visual details. It comes with a huge selection of presets, so it's a must have!
It’s one of the most powerful free synthesizers. It features many synthesis techniques, a great selection of filters, a flexible modulation engine, a lot of effects and routing options, as well as modern features like MPE and microtuning. Surge is a digital synth which has wavetable oscillators, but also has analog-style features like filters. It's quite a complex synthesizer at first sight, but it has a lot of creative potential as well as a great set of presets.
It’s a digital subtractive synth with some simple-but-great features. It’s very visual, so it’s easy to program, and very pleasing visually. You also see all modulations with live visual feedback.
Yamaha’s DX7 was the world’s first FM synthesizer. FM synthesis works by modulating sinewaves with more sinewaves to create interesting timbres. Dexed is a free emulation of the famous DX7. It can be tricky to figure out, but sounds incredibly faithful to the original - and with the huge amount of free presets available online, it’s an incredible synth overall.
Zebralette is a spectral synth that serves as an introduction to Zebra 2. It includes one powerful oscillator and other essential features. With a 16-slot waveset and waveform editing capabilities, Zebralette provides a versatile and dynamic sound. The synth includes 24 spectral effects, polyphonic modes, stereo VCA, modulation options, and more, which makes it an interesting choice - it’s the only spectral synthesizer on our list.
Surrealistic MG-1 Plus
This plugin is a free emulation of the Realistic Concertmate MG-1 synth - which in fact was a Moog! It features ultra-accurate analog modeling, a dual oscillator monophonic plus polyphonic oscillator bank, and a super fat 24db "ladder" filter. With over 140 presets, "bell tone" ring modulation, tempo-syncable LFO, expanded octave ranges, and MIDI-assignable controls, it delivers fat analog tones and expands the capabiliites of the hardware model.
Part 3: Other Free Instruments
Momentum Sampler by Big Fish Audio
Momentum is a great free sampler VST with slicing, stretching, key changes, rearranging, and composition tools. Users can apply 18 slice-specific effects, employ smart BPM and key stretching features, and access Big Fish Audio's extensive loop libraries - all within this subscription-free plugin.
Ample Bass P & Guitar M Lite by Ample Sound
Ample Guitar M Lite II and Ample Bass P Lite II are virtual instrument designed by Ample Sound, focusing on delivering the sound of the Martin D-41 Acoustic Guitar and Fender Precision Bass. On top of sounding great, the guitar plugin includes features like "Capo Logic", a strummer function with real strum samples, and a Tab Player for loading and playing guitar tab files. Bass P Lite II, on the other hand, features function like Poly Legato, smooth sliding, and similarly to the guitar, a tab player. Both plugins offer a range of articulations, making them great choices for adding guitars to any track.
Spitfire Symphony Orchestra Discover
The Spitfire Symphony Orchestra Discover is a completely free full-size orchestral plugin! It includes 34 instruments in total (Strings, Brass, Woodwinds and Percussion) and a very user-friendly interface. With Spitfire Audio’s quality samples, this VST is a great starting point for orchestral scoring, soundtrack production or for infusing any other genre with orchestral parts.
Part 4: Free Effects Plugins
CamelCrusher by Camel Audio is a completely free, legendary distortion VST. It features four modules: Distortion, Filter, Compressor, and Master, each with very simple controls. Its two distortion algorithms, Tube and Mech, offer a range from smooth analog-like textures to grittier, dirtier tones. The plugin also includes an analog-style low-pass filter and a one-knob compressor with a Phat Mode for a fatter sound.
Saturation Knob from Softube is an incredibly simple plugin which offers three modes – Keep High, Neutral, and Keep Low – making it versatile for various applications like enhancing drums, bass, vocals, and more.
Xfer Records OTT is a free plugin re-creation of an Ableton Live preset in the Multiband Compressor effect. It's an upwards/downwards compressor set-up used by many dubstep and electro producers. The sound of OTT is incredibly popular, and using the effect is one of the top techniques for making powerful sounding synth sounds.
Polyverse Wider 2
Polyverse Wider 2 is a unique stereo widener plug-in is able to expand a fully mono signal to full stereo. It maintains mono compatibility, ensuring the widened signal remains in phase even when summed back to mono. The new version introduces features like the ability to exclude low frequencies from the widening effect and a mono button to check compatibility.
Youlean Loudness Meter
Youlean Loudness Meter is a reliable tool for accurately measuring the perceived loudness of your audio (in LUFS), providing tested and calibrated results to enhance your mixdowns. This plugin is very lightweight, so it won't contribute to overloading your CPU. It's a very popular choice for tracking loudness on the master chain.
Tal Filter 2
TAL-Filter-2 is a host-synced filter module with different filter types, panorama and volume modulation possibilities. It can be used for tremolo, trance gate effects, or sidechaining. Panorama modulation options are useful to pan your percussion, hats or sound effects in the stereo room for more interesting rhythms and sounds.
Chow Tape Model
Chow Tape is an analog tape machine physical model, based on the Sony TC-260. Useful for that vintage, top-of-the-line 1967 consumer audio sound. The current version can be used to emulate a wide variety of reel-to-reel tape machines.
PaulXStretch is an application and VST plugin for doing extreme time stretching. It's primarily used for creating ambient music and soundscapes, seamlessly turning any audio into extended hours or days of mesmerizing ambient sounds.
Acon Digital Multiply
Multiply by Acon Digital is a free chorus plugin with up to 6 voices. It features unique phase randomizing filters to avoid unwanted phasing artifacts, and a range of creative effects, like an integrated equalizer and pre-delay section for creating modulated and diffused echo effects.
Slate Digital Fresh Air
Fresh Air is a dynamic high-frequency processor that effortlessly adds the smoothest high end to your mix, eliminating any hint of harshness. The plugin combines vintage exciter circuits and advanced dynamics processing. With only two knobs it’s also incredibly simple to use.
TDR Nova is a parallel dynamic equalizer with a great visual layout for a wide range of applications. Its user-friendly interface provides quick and smooth access to various parameters. With four dynamic EQ bands, high-pass and low-pass filter sections, and equal loudness functions is an incredibly capable equalizer.
Ozone Imager offers a versatile approach to spatial imaging. It allows you to control the width of any track, making pianos, synths, and cymbals fill up your stereo image or tightening your low end. Its Stereoize mode turns mono into stereo without the need for reverb or doubling.
Tal Chorus LX
TAL-Chorus-LX is a VST version of the iconic Roland Juno 60 chorus. It includes its two distinct modes, a Dry/Wet control and a Volume knob.
Blue Cat Flanger/Phaser
Blue Cat Flanger and Phaser are great freeware audio plugins inspired by classic analog units from the 70s and 80s. The Flanger effect is capable of delivering both harsh metallic and smooth soft filtering effects. Blue Cat Phaser offers up to 32 phasing stages for both intense and subtle phasing effects. Both plugins feature a customizable user interface and a full-featured integrated presets manager.
Izotope Vocal Doubler
iZotope Vocal Doubler offers a quick and efficient way to breathe life into vocal recordings effortlessly. Vocal Doubler is designed for unparalleled ease of use, enabling you to craft a full, wide vocal mix efficiently. It's also very lightweight, giving you optimal performance even in complex productions.