Taking the VST synth performance to the next level, Sylenth1 from Lennar Digital is a rich and beautiful addition. You will get to access well-thought modulation and effect for a rich, warm output. Sylenth1has a much similarity with current days plugins but what gives it an edge is ready to use presets, electro bass and smooth evolving pads.
VST plugins are virtual instruments and audio effects for your digital audio workstation.
There are literally hundreds of free VST plugins online nowadays, and finding good ones takes time. To help you focus on making music instead of testing audio plugins, we listed the best free VSTs for your music studio.
Scroll down to browse the VST plugins based on their category. Each category page features the best free virtual instruments and effects for a specific music production task. Welcome to the internet’s most up-to-date directory of freeware VST plugins.
The categories are updated with the latest free plugins multiple times per year. Be sure to check back from time to time and keep your free VST plugin collection up to date!
Free VST Plugins Directory
Free VST Effects
Freeware effects in VST plugin format:
- Autotune – Free alternatives to Antares Auto-Tune.
- Bitcrusher – An extensive collection of freeware bitcrushers.
- Chorus – A selection of the best free chorus effects.
- Compressor – Dynamic range compressor VST plugins.
- Compressor (Multiband) – A collection of multi-band compressor effects.
- Compressor (Sidechain) – A collection of compressor effects with sidechain input.
- Delay/Echo – Add depth to your mix with these excellent freeware delay effects.
- Distortion – Distort and saturate your audio with these freeware plugins.
- EQ (Graphic) – Free graphic equalizers in VST format.
- EQ (Linear-Phase) – Linear-phase equalizers in the VST plugin format.
- EQ (Parametric) – Standard parametric equalizers for mixing and mastering purposes.
- Filter – A collection of filtering effects.
- Flanger – Free flanger VST effects.
- Gate (Noise Gate) – Freeware VST plugins for removing noise from recordings.
- Granulator – A collection of granular effects to really mess up your audio.
- Guitar Amp – Large collection of virtual guitar amplifier VST plugins.
- Guitar Cab (coming soon)
- Limiter – Free limiter effects for mastering and mixing.
- Phaser – The best free phaser plugins.
- Reverb – Algorithmic reverb VST plugins.
- Reverb (Convolution) – Convolution reverb VSTs.
- Saturation (Console/Tape/Tube) – Get a warmer sound using free saturation tools.
- Stereo Enhancer – Enhance the stereo separation in your mix with these freeware effects.
- Transient Shaper – Make the drums more prominent in a mix with these free transient shapers.
- Vocoder – Become the next Daft Punk with these vocoder free VST plugins.
Free VST Instruments
A selection of free virtual instruments in VST plugin format:
- Drum Machine/Synth – Instruments for synthesizing and sequencing drum sounds.
- Organ – A collection of free organ instruments in VSTi plugin format.
- Piano (Acoustic) – Free VST plugins that emulate acoustic pianos.
- Piano (Electric) – Virtual instruments that emulate electric keyboards.
- Sampler – The best freeware VST plugins for audio samples.
- Sound Module/Workstation – A round-up of virtual instruments that function as romplers.
- SoundFont Player – If you’re feeling old school, load your old SF2 files with these free plugins.
- String Machine – A collection of string ensemble instruments. Jean Michel Jarre will love these!
- Synthesizer – Best free synthesizer VST plugins.
- Synthesizer (Retro) – Emulated vintage synthesizers.
Free VST Utilities
Other useful freeware VST plugins:
- Arpeggiator – A collection of freeware arpeggiator VST plugins.
- Oscilloscope – Free oscilloscope tools.
- Spectrum Analyzer – Visualize your mix with these freeware spectrum analyzers.
- Step Sequencer – Sequence your virtual instruments with these freeware step sequencers.
VST Host Applications
A selection of free audio editors, digital audio workstations, and other applications that host VST plugins:
- Audio Editing Software – Audio editing programs that can host VST plugins.
- Beat Making Software – Make beats on your computer.
- Digital Audio Workstations – The best free DAW software.
- Free Recording Software – Record high-quality audio with these free tools.
- Mastering Software – Freely downloadable VST plugins for mastering.
- Music Production Software – The best free music-making tools for beginners.
- Video Editing Software – Edit your music videos for free.
- VST Host Applications – Directory of VST plugin hosts for music production and live performance.
An archive of free VST plugins that are not supported anymore. These freeware plugins are hosted on BPB with the permission of their developers.
If you’re a software developer interested in hosting your VST plugins on Bedroom Producers Blog’s servers, feel free to get in touch!
What Are VST Plugins?
In case you’ve never used VST plugins before, chances are you’re facing a question. What are VST plugins?
A VST plugin is a software-based audio effect or a virtual instrument intended for use in a host program that supports Virtual Studio Technology. Most digital audio workstations nowadays can load VST and VST3 plugins.
VST plugins are used to expand a virtual music studio, much like how hardware effects and instruments are utilized in a real studio. There are literally thousands of VST plugins available for free download on the web.
In fact, there are so many free VST plugins on the market that one can waste hours downloading and testing them instead of making music. For this reason, we have created the free VST directory to help music producers find the right tools more quickly.
The acronym VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. Introduced by Steinberg in 1996, the Virtual Studio Technology and VST plugins made a massive impact on the way we produce music today. The technology allows music producers to expand their digital audio workstation with third-party audio effects and virtual instruments.
How To Use A VST Plugin?
Now you know what a VST plugin is. But how can you use VST plugins to make music?
You will need a VST plugin host. That is a software program capable of loading VST plugins.
Choosing the right audio software and learning to use it properly will ensure an efficient workflow when producing music. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with the software available in your VST plugin folder. No one wants to use a complex plugin for the first time during a critical mixing session.
Step 1: VST Host
First of all, you need to choose the right VST host or digital audio workstation. The decision to use freeware or commercial music production software is up to you and your budget.
The first thing to keep in mind when choosing your DAW is the workflow. Is the interface intuitive? Does the control layout seem logical to you? Does the application provide all the recording and mixing features you’ll require? And most importantly, can it host VST plugins?
The best free digital audio workstations right now are Tracktion 7 and Cakewalk by BandLab. Both applications can load VST plugins.
Step 2: Downloading Free VST plugins
Now that you’ve picked your DAW, you’re all set to start building your collection of free VST plugins.
Always go for quality instead of quantity. The biggest mistake people make when discovering the world of free VST plugins is to download hundreds of VSTs and to hoard them on the hard drive. This is bad for your workflow, and it will slow down your productivity.
Imagine that your DAW is a real-world studio. Would you be able to make music in a room cluttered with hundreds of dusty instruments, effects, broken tapes, disconnected audio cables, and other gear that no one will ever use? You don’t want such a mess in your virtual studio, either.
Stay organized when choosing your virtual instruments and effects. This page is a great place to start because we listed only the best freeware VST plugins in each category.
What you need is a small but versatile collection of audio software that will cover all of your music production needs.
Take the time to examine the plugins on offer and keep only the ones that you really need. Keep your mixing toolbox lightweight and efficient. Limit yourself to no more than three virtual compressors, equalizers, synthesizers, etc. Install only the tools that best suit your workflow and learn how to use them. Read the manuals, watch the video tutorials, and spend some time experimenting with your free VST plugins.
Step 3: Staying up to date
Finally, keep your plugins up to date. Developers often release updated versions of their freeware plugins, which include essential bug fixes and additional features. Keep an eye on our news section to stay informed about the latest updates of popular VST plugins. Also, consider subscribing to our email newsletter to receive the latest freeware news straight to your email inbox.
If you’re looking for even more freeware plugins for your DAW, check out the massive database over at KVR Audio.
Updated on November 13th, 2020.Having the right Chiptune VST plugins can be of huge help when you're making chiptune!
However, finding the Chiptune VST best suited for you and your needs can sometimes be a tough task...
The internet is full of information, and, while that’s a good thing, it can also be a little overwhelming when you try to find an amazing chiptune VST.
What you’ll soon realize in this search is that there are many factors to consider.
What starts off as a simple task can turn into one that stretches for days or even weeks.
So, to save you from sorting through them all, we’ve crafted a list of the top 10 Chiptune VST plugins to help you find the perfect one for you.
But before we get into it, what exactly makes a VST ‘the right’ one?
Features To Consider
In this modern day and age, computers are much faster than ever before, but processing power continues to be an issue.
One important thing to consider before purchasing or committing to any VST is what the processing power needs are. Can your computer handle the software that you’re using?
If yes, great! But if it can’t, no worries! You may instead want to look for a more lightweight VST that can do as good of a job as a heavier one.
Aside from processing power requirements, simplicity is another important factor when choosing a great VST to suit your needs.
Do you want to hit the ground running and make chiptune music right away? Or do you prefer to get neck deep in the settings and customize each and every last detail of your sound design process?
Some VSTs will be simple enough to allow you to ‘plug n play,’ whereas others will require a lot more education on your part in order to master chiptune sound design.
When factoring in simplicity, it’s also important to consider the user interface (known as UI). Simple VSTs often have an easy-to-use interface, while the more complex VSTs might be a lot harder to grasp.
This is crucial to keep in mind, because UI can affect creativity, which is extremely important to music production. This is because creativity is influenced by everything you hear, feel, do, or see (UI). So, if you don’t like how your VST looks, it could slow down your efficiency when producing chiptune music.
Lastly, emulation specificity is another big feature to consider. Chiptune music originally was created from gaming systems, such as the NES or Gameboy, with each of those systems producing different types of sounds.
With that in mind, chiptune VST plugins have been created with the capacity to emulate sounds created by certain systems. Knowing what type of sound you want to create will greatly speed up the VST selection process and ensure you use something that you’re happy with.
With these features in mind, let’s get started.
Option 01: Magical 8Bit Chiptune VST
- 5 waveforms - square, 2x pulse, pseudo-triangle, low-res noise
- ASDR envelope settings
- Pitch bend
- Velocity control
- Frequency sweeping
- 32 Voices
Note: For full specifications and download, visit YMCK.
Are you a fan of old, primitive 8 bit game consoles?
If you are, then the Magical 8bit Plug may be the perfect VST for you to make some old school electronic music!
This is because this VST allows for use of the pseudo-triangle or low-resolution noise, which are key when creating 8 bit or chiptune music.
Another important feature about the Magical 8bit Plug is that it focuses on simplicity, which makes creating great chiptune sounds quick and easy.
To top it off, the Magical 8bit Plug is lightweight and will work on both macOS as an audio unit and on Windows as a VSTi.
If you want to see what this VST can do for yourself, check out this awesome animated Youtube video featuring music made by Magical 8bit Plug. It’s set to what appears to be an old school video game.
Option 02: Chipsounds
- Hybrid synth/sampling synthesizer
- Control/Modulation/Effects/Mixer tabs
Best Free Vst Plugins 2018
- Wave Sequencer
- Pitch and Amplitude Modulation
- Emulates 15 vintage 8-bit era sound chips
Note: For full specifications and download, visit Plogue.
Looking for something a little more robust than Magical 8bit Plug? Then Chipsounds may be the VST for you.
Chipsounds is one of the more popular chiptune VST plugins this year, and we can definitely see why.
The first reason is because it gives you a lot of control over your sound design process, which is huge when trying to set yourself apart from other producers.
Another cool feature is that Chipsounds can run on both Windows and macOS as a standalone application.
Additionally, it can also run as a VST, AU, RTAS, or AAX plug-in allowing for flexible usage with different systems.
To see this VST in action, check out Plogue’s introductory Chipsounds video.
Option 03: ymVST
- Polyphony support
- 3 step arpeggiated chords
- Knobless UI
- Angel sync-buzzer effects
- SID effect
Note: For full specifications and download, visit preromanbritain.
If you’re a fan of the authentic Atari sound, then ymVST is a blast to the past…almost.
To the casual observer, the UI may look complicated. But it was actually made to replicate a traditional non-software music production setting with a more ‘authentic interface.’
This means there’s no knobs or sliders. Yet it also comes with all of the great chiptune quality sounds that can be made by the other more complex VSTs available on the internet today.
So, if you’re used to a more traditional method of chiptune production, ymVST may be right up your alley.
Unfortunately for Mac owners, ymVST is only available for PC users.
Option 04: basic 65
- Monophonic synth
- Double arpeggiator
- Mod envelope
- (2) LFOs
- (3) Oscillators
Note: For full specifications and download, visit vst4free.
Inspired by the Commodore 64, basic 65 is a monophonic synth which takes the legendary SID chip from its hardware predecessor and adds more features to ‘take a step further’.
With a clean interface, this VST should be relatively quick to pick up and allow you to get started programming in your favorite chiptune sounds with ease.
Making it even simpler, there are over 128 presets available for you to choose from.
And with the basic 65 being an update to the already popular basic 64, you’ll know that you’re using a VST that has had a lot of prior problems solved.
However, similar to ymVST, the basic 65 is only available for use on Windows which makes that one key detraction in a production world heavily Mac reliant.
Option 05: Super Audio Cart
- 5,500+ samples
- 1,200+ factory snapshots
- ‘Hold’ arp steps
- Modulate cutoff & pan with each step
- Use arp steps to modulate other parameters
- Free SNESVerb plugin
Note: For full specifications and download, visit impactsoundworks.
Super Audio Cart provides a revitalized take on an old-school chiptune production scene.
The interface looks modern which makes it similar to other software on the market today such as Omnisphere or iZotope Ozone. In other words, it’s easy to plug n play!
When purchasing, you’ll be capable of replicating sounds from the NES, FC, SNES, GB, 2600, C64, SMS, and GEN console systems. Add in the fact that you’ll receive over 6,000 samples and 630 unique sound sources and that makes purchasing the Super Audio Cart even more appealing.
However, it’s currently priced at $149 through impactsoundworksand also requires Kontakt to run, which can be a problem if you’re on a budget.
Not sure if this is right for you? Take a listen to some chiptune created by Super Audio Cart here to get an understanding of its capabilities.
Option 06: Retro Boy
- Subtractive emulator
- Single oscillator
- Vibrato & decimation effects
- Polyphony: 1-4
Note: For full specifications and download, visit sbaud.
As you may be able to tell from the specs, Retro Boy brings you back to the past. For example, it’s extremely lightweight on the processor with only a single oscillator.
It’s a classic, subtractive chiptune VST synth with seven waveforms - 12.5% pulse, 25% pulse, square, saw, triangle, sine, and noise.
Because of its simplicity, most computers should be able to run Retro Boy easily enough making that one of the key highlights of this VST.
And although you could probably figure out Retro Boy’s capabilities quickly enough yourself…
You can also check out a demo before downloading by clicking here!
Option 07: ICECREAM
- Dual oscillators
- 4 Octaves per oscillator
- Amp/Filter ASDR
- Harmonics switch
- Glide and glide rate
Note: For full specifications and download, visit vstplanet.
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? If you are, you’ll understand how cool (pun intended) this VST looks.
It comes with a pretty standard set of features: two oscillators with volume and octave controls, filters, a sequencer, and EQ.
However, what makes this VST stand out is the colorful interface.The playfulness of this interface and color scheme will definitely take you back to the days of playing Super Nintendo as a child.
And even if you haven’t touched a Super Nintendo, you’ll still feel like a kid playing the newest gaming system.
This might jumpstart your creativity and bring your chiptune music to the next level.
To take a listen to all of the creative possibilities that can come about from using the ICECREAM VST, check out this Youtube video.
Option 08: Nintendo VST
- Simple UI
- Nintendo emulation
- Pitch bend
Note: For full specifications and download, visit mattmontag
If you want to create chiptune music in the vein of Nintendo using something simple, Nintendo VST may be what’s right for you.
Created by Matthew Montag, the Nintendo VST is lightweight and can quickly be picked up by anyone.
That’s because the volume, duty cycle, pitch, and fine pitch adjustments are easily made with a max of three knobs for each setting (LFO steps, loop point, step time, and tempo sync).
And if you want to understand how the Nintendo VST works, Matthew has you covered! He’s meticulously detailed much of his VST development process on his website.
To see how the Nintendo VST was created, click here.
Option 09: AdLibXRom
- Replicates Adlib Music Synthesizer Card
- Two oscillators
- 40 Multi-sampled sounds
Have you ever heard of the AdLib soundcard? If you have, you may find yourself in love with this VST.
The AdLibXRom replicates the sound of the AdLib Music Synthesizer Card which was famous in the early nineties.
Featured within the soundcard was the YM3812 synthesizer chip which utilized FM and additive synthesis.
Today, the AdLibXRom brings things back with the option of using the main or noise oscillator.
Additionally, it features over 40 multi-sampled sounds making usage even more interesting.
Note: For full specifications and download, visit samplescience.
Option 10: 38911 Bytes
- Single oscillator
- 4 Waveforms
- 3 LFOs
- 4x16 Step sequencers
To any producer not familiar with Chiptune production, this VST may look a little confusing.
However, if you’ve been around the Chiptune production scene, this may just make you feel at home.
The interface was designed to provide an old-school feel.
There is only a single oscillator, but it does come with multiple waveforms such as Saw, Triangle, Pulse, and Pitched Noise.
Another highlight is the 4x16 step sequencers which also come with 11 different BPM rates.
Has the visual design of 38911 Bytes caught your attention? If so, we’d recommend that you learn more here!
Finding the best chiptune VST to suit your needs depends on your situation and what you’re looking for.
We’ve highlighted some of the best chiptune VST plugins that we think you’ll find particularly useful, each with its own unique characteristics and features.
To reiterate, here are some of the most important features to be aware of when choosing the best chiptune VST for your music production needs:
- Processing power requirements
- UI (User Interface)
- Emulation specificity
We’ve compiled some amazing VSTs for you to try out and now we want to hear your thoughts!
Have you had any experience using any of these chiptune VST plugins?
Are there any others that we should have mentioned or replaced?
Let us know in the comment section below!