Best Free Vst Instruments 2018

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There is a challenge with curating this list of best free VST synths, because, so far, many of the VST synths we have named can really be considered the “best” free synthesizers you can download. And discoDSP’s OB-Xd is constantly referred to as the “best” as well. And listening to its sounds, utilizing it’s interface, and working. Best Free Realistic Instrument VST Plugins So, if you're looking for free virtual instruments that can be used for composing orchestral or realistic music, these 5 plugins will help you do just that. And all but one will work on both Windows and Mac, but I do mention an alternative for the one that doesn't plus a bonus free sound library at the.

How’s it going, everyone?

It’s been almost three years since we published this article detailing our favorite violin plugins back in 2015. Well, it’s 2018, and it is time to improve this article with our updated recommendations.

VIrtual instruments have advanced dramatically over the years. People used to laugh at the idea of a computer producing sound the resembled that of a real instrument. Now, there are plugins that will blow you away with how realistic they sound.

For that reason, having an arsenal of VST plugins is very powerful for the electronic musician.

Plus, it’s like having an entire orchestra with you all the time! Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Today I am going to focus on the best virtual violin plugins.

We’ll cover both paid and free options and there will even be a bonus section at the end of this article!

Let’s begin, shall we?

For Most People: Orchestral Companion – Strings

Here’s why we recommend this plugin: It only costs $60 and it sounds great! You don’t have to give up a months rent to pay for this plugin and it gives you a lot of configuration with its stringed instruments.

Best free vst instruments 2018 free

Many of us like that rich strings sound – Soft and gentle, and in the next moment hard and brutal.

Of course, we all have different tastes, but, whatever you like, I can assure you that Orchestral Companion Strings can satisfy your taste.

The SONiVOX design team made over 90 outstanding string programs, which can give you best and the most accurate experience as possible.

Orchestral Companion Strings is compatible for Windows and Mac. You can download either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of it. It takes around 15GB of hard drive space.

If you have all of that or more this plugin will run very smoothly!

For the Professional: NOVO Modern Strings by Heavyocity

The kind of sound you can get out of NOVO Modern Strings is insane! The violin samples used to create this plugin were meticulously recorded at Warner Brothers Studios.

This plugin has a very justifiable price tag ($550) based on the quality of it and the amount of work they put into it. In total, this plugin is 40GB. That’s larger than most big-budget PC games!

What really seals the deal with the plugin is the immense control you have over your sound. For example, there is this one section of the plugin called CYCLE. Its interface looks almost like a sequencer and you can very easily tweak it to create rhythmic little pulses and glitch style sounds.

Whether you’re looking for a solo vieolin or a powerful string ensemble for use in an intense movie trailer, NOVO is a wonderful choice.

For Those Who Want an Entire Orchestra: Personal Orchestra 5

This awesome product from Garritan can give you not only a nice sounding violin but also an entire orchestra at your fingertips.

Personal Orchestra costs $150 which is a steal for all of the instruments (Including multiple violin variations) you get.

With so many different stringed instruments, you can be that one-man orchestra, creating a sound nobody can listen to without getting goosebumps!

Personal Orchestra is 64-bit compatible, with not very high system requirements (surprisingly).

It’s pretty easy to use yet very powerful. A new user can get really creative right out of the box.

Some of the included violins are:

Best free vst instruments 2018 download
  • Solo Stradivari Violin
  • Solo Gagliano Violin
  • Solo Guarneri Violin

And besides violins, there are lots of other instruments such as trumpets, trombones, French horns, keyboards, harps, violas, flutes, and clarinets!

With the current price of Personal Orchestra, it’s worth it alone for the violins. With all the added instruments, you can’t go wrong with this plugin!

And in case you’re worried about buying software that won’t get updated, keep in mind Personal Orchestra has been going since 2010 and are still chugging forward. Personal Orchestra has even been awarded by MusicRadar and MusicTech in 2010.

Other Noteworthy Choices

Orchestral Suite

Next on the list, Orchestral Suite, which with over 60 classical instruments and 15,000 samples in its library, is a pleasure to work with.

With additional instruments like the clarinet, flute, harp, guitar, and even different types of choirs, you can be a music virtuoso with only a small effort.

It features instrument-specific controls, as well as key switching and a pretty easy to use interface.
And it all comes in a small package, 4.6GB of an entire orchestra.

Most importantly, you get plenty of great violins!

It’s always great to have multiple choices. Different types of violins are ideal for different situations and different genres of music.

This high quality and sophisticated plugin is a joy to work with, which is exactly why a lot of today’s top producers use it.

Orchestral Suite is compatible with both Windows and Mac. It will work in every major DAW.

Session Strings by Native Instruments

Sessions Strings is another popular choice among producers. It’s especially a good choice if you are already invested heavily into the Native Instruments ecosystem.

It weighs in at 2.5GB and costs $100. It’s a great plugin, but personally I would go with Personal Orchestra instead (mentioned earlier in this article).

Give it a listen and let your ears be the judge.

Free Violin Plugins

DSK Strings

I am super appreciative of the free instruments DSK Instruments has been able to provide the music production community.

DSK Strings is an awesome little instrument!

It sounds pretty good for a freebie and will be a newbie producer’s best friend.

Sonatina Violin

Sonatina is a solo-violin that can be a great help to you. It’s a little rough around the edges so might have to help it along with some effect plugin processing.

Bonus: The Non-VST Option

Before we conclude this article, I just wanted to open your mind to one more technique that could help you out with your string productions.

Good ol’ sampling!

Sampling has been shaping music since the 80s. We can use this technique to get realistic sounding violin pieces by…well…using violin samples!

There are many different ways we could go about this. It could be as simple as throwing a sustained violin note into a pitched sampler (Although it wouldn’t sound that realistic). We could even take little licks created by others and implement those.

I should also mention that as a musician who participates in sampling, it’s worth your time to educate yourself on the legal stuff. In our How to Get Permission to Remix Songs article, we talked about fair use and derivative work.

Getting royalty-free samples

There are many different places to get royalty-free samples. You could go on Audioblocks and be able to get really high quality samples, but it isn’t cheap – especially if you’re only a hobbyist.

A site I like is freesound.org. As the name suggests, everything they provide is free.

Here are some cool violin samples I found after a bit of searching:

Soundcloud Sampling

Another idea you could try out is to find some violin playing sessions on Soundcloud and use those to sample. Of course, if you decide to publish the work it would be advised to get permission from the original musician.

You’ll find a lot of small artists who just love playing the violin and uploading different compositions they make. Its a great opportunity for sampling.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d appreciate it more than ever if you could share it on social media!

In conclusion, each and every one of these plugins has something that makes them a unique and amazing product. They all have their own purposes and different producers can find different ones the most useful.

No matter what plugin you purchase, you can expect to have a great time spending hours enjoying some of the best quality violin sounds that exist.

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When it comes to VST synths, you can decide on whether you want to buy one, or you want to download one for free. Naturally, the best VST synths are really the one that you’re gonna have to buy. But there are a few gems out there that are for free.

However, there are so many “free VST synths” that downloading them all and installing them on your computer and DAW can be too time consuming.

So for this article, we’ve researched and compiled ten of the best free VST synths. That’ll eliminate a lot of trial and error for you.

Interested in seeing what they are? Keep reading…

The 10 Best Free VST Synths to Use

Check out these other studio and music production gear:

# 1 – Synth1 by Ichiro Toda

If there is one free VST synth that you want to get yourself familiar with, it is the Synth1 by Ichiro Toda. This synthesizer is actually a favorite among many music producers, and is often the one that’s most recommended.

Synth1 is an analog modeled subtractive synthesizer. It’s functions are modeled on the Clavia Nord Lead 2 Red Synth.

Best Free Vst Instruments 2018 2020

It features 2 oscillators, which can be modulated via FM, ring, synchronized, modulation envelopes. Using the 4 types of filters, you can sculpt some cool and interesting sounds, adding distortion for effects.

It has 2 LFOs, an arpeggiator, and tempo delay. These functions are synchronized with the host digital audio workstation’s BPM.

As far as effects goes, you get the ability to add stereo chorus and flangers.

In writing notes, you have legato mode as well as portamento for interesting slides, yet the ability to play up to 16 notes polyphony.

You have a total of 128 presets, and its controls can be automated.

Synth1 was optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions. Definitely the first choice in “freeware” soft synthesizers.

Demonstration
# 2 – FireBird 2 by Tone2

After Synth1 we have FireBird, a synthesizer that was actually premium synth you had to BUY until the developers at Tone2 decided to release it for the masses after 15 years of development.

Tone2 is responsible for some of the best VST synthesizers on the market, many of which are used to create chart topping hits, FireBird 2 is one of them. So this is definitely recommended for your collection.

FireBird 2 is a subtractive synthesizer with a very intuitive and easy to use interface to navigate its 437 preset sounds. That’s a lot of presets for a free VST synth…

FireBird 2 features Harmonic Content Morphing, which utilizes a large range of standard waveforms that can emulate the sound of many instruments, acoustic or synthetic (kind of like wavetable synthesis).

The synth comes with 38 types of filters, including your standard low-pass filters, comb-filtering, EQ, Phaser, Vocal filters, plus FM and AM modulation, to name a few. It also comes with an arpeggiator, so no need to use an external arpeggiator with this device.

You can also customize its look as it has several skins you can download or create to change the interface.

Overall, another very good synthesizer to use, which has been used commercially on chart topping hits.

Demonstration
# 3 – Crystal by GreenOak

If you want a synthesizer programmed by the same person that made Omnisphere, one of the titanic synths in existence today, look no further than the Crystal by GreenOak.

This synthesizer is unique also because it’s available for iPhone. There are many user reviews talking about how great this synth works as a possible free alternative to Omnisphere (there’s another alternative below as well). Of course, don’t expect the same power, nor does it come with any samples.

However, that less power means it won’t be a resource hog on your computer (something Omnisphere is known to be). And you can find free and paid for soundfonts (.sfz files) all over the internet.

In terms of features, it’s credited as utilizing both subtractive synthesis as well as FM synthesis technologies. It’s modulation controls offers 90 parameters, multi-stage envelopes, tempo sync, delays, built-in effects for chorus, flanger, filters, echoes. It has everything you’d need in a synthesizer, which is great for someone learning. You can also use automation, as MIDI controls.

Overall, another good option for a free synthesizer.

# 4 – TAL-NoiseMaker by TOGU Audio Line

Next on the list we have TAL-NoiseMaker by TOGU Audio Line. We came across this synth because it was actually recommended (along with Synth1) as one out of two best free vst synth to use by a professor on synthesis. Mainly because it consists of all the aspects of synthesis that you need to be familiar with, as a beginner, plus its ease of use.

Looking at this synth, you can see why. Everything is laid of clearly, you don’t have to searching around too much for controls that you need when designing a sound.

This actual version was designed as an improved version of TAL-Elek7ro, which comes with an entirely new synth engine, with a few effects like reverb, chorus, low pass filter, and a bit crusher. You also get ring modulation as a synch-able triangle.

The ADSR is very suitable for slow pads or fast envelops attacks. It comes with 128 factory presents, 80 of which were designed by Frank “Xenox” Neumann.

It total, you receive 3 Oscillators, which can each be programmed individually for phase modulation, frequency modulation, or to generate sawtooth, pulse, noise, triangle, sine, square, or rectangle waves.

You get up to 6 voices, which is not a lot but not bad, which can be played in legato, portamento, or polyphonic.

All knobs can be learned via MIDI and automated within your DAW.

Overall, considered an incredible synth, chock full of features, and won’t disappoint as freeware plugin device.

Demonstration
# 5 – Dexed by Digital Suburban

Dexed by Digital Suburban This is a dedicated FM synthesizer, which is excellent for those looking for a frequency modulation synthesizer either to learn, or to general specific sounds. It’s actually designed based on the Yamaha DX7.

This soft synth was created for the intention of being a tool or companion to the original Yamaha synthesizer, particularly for those studying FM synthesis. However, it can be the go-to free synthesizer for those wanting to make some vintage sound genres like Synthwave, which were created using the vintages synths of the day like Yamaha DX7.

Many have considered it an improvement on the actual Yamaha model, plus it being lightweight, it won’t be resource hog on your CPU.

Expect it to work with your digital audio workstation, and to find lots of patches and presets on the web for you to download and to use.

Demonstration
# 6 – MiniMogueVA by Voltkitchen

If you’re looking for a free alternative to Arturia’s Minimoog, or G-Media Minimonsta, then this MiniMogueVA is your choice!

The MiniMogueVA has so many good reviews that it had be on the list. As the name suggests, it’s modeled to match the original Minimoog synthesizers designed by the legendary Bob Moog. Expect the sounds it produces to be particularly rich and juicy, great for funk style music, electronic bass music, and the sub bass in dubstep wobbles.

It features 3 oscillators, one with tuning control, the other two with fine-tuning sliders, and the ability to turn the third oscillator into LFO with dedicated modulation knobs.

Though the original Minimoog had no noise generators, this one actually comes with a the ability to create pink and white noises from the third oscillator.

As to be expected, you get chorus, and delay effects among others, as well as the ability to use MIDI learn to control your software device.

Many people overwhelmingly consider this the absolute best free VST synth on the freeware market. The Minimoog sounds featured in Omnisphere are great, so it’d be awesome to give this a whirl.

Demonstration
# 7 – Proteus VX by E-MU Systems

E-MU systems is the maker of pro audio gear, from hardware synthesizers, audio interfaces, wireless audio transmitters, and digital-analog converters, software instruments, and even audio cables. They’re well known for their quality products, but they also have hidden gem in the “freeware” market: Proteus VX, a free VST synth.

Actually, it is rompler, meaning that it also utilizes samples as well synthesized sounds (like Omnisphere, hence, a worthy free alternative). It was base on the Proteus 2500, a vintage hardware synthesizer. It has the same sounds and factory bank as the original version, plus the ability to control it via 16 MIDI CC controls.

It features “High Voice Polyphony,” which is dependent upon the power of your system, and 54 different filter types, including multi-pole resonant filters, phasers, flangers, vocal filters and multi-parameter morphing filters.

Another cool thing about it is that it offer 24-bit 192kHz high quality audio playback. So you can expect an actual pro level audio quality from a synth that’s actually for free!

Being drag-and-drop based, you have select your presets easily, plus it can be used VSTi within your DAW, or as a stand-alone application.

Only downside… it isn’t supported anymore. Meaning that there aren’t anymore updates. But you can grab it and see it works on your system.

Demonstration
# 8 – Superwave P8 by Superwave

The Superwave P8 is a virtual analog subtractive synthesizer that’s considered the go-to emulator of the vintage synth Roland JP8000. This one perhaps one of the few if not only best free VST synth on this list that is more suitable for an advanced user than someone who is just starting out. It features many controls and parameters that can be overwhelming to a beginner, but satisfying to a pro.

Now, about its sound, which should be the primary reason to using a synthesizer. Considering that it’s loosely modeled off the Roland JP8000, its users have considered it one of the best sounding free VST synths on the freeware market. Expect it to have a fairly unique sound suitable for trance, new age, electronic music, house, or even pop. The pads are what many users consider its most attractive asset, because of the richness and thickness of the sounds that the P8 produces.

It features 2 oscillates that will producer sine, sawtooth, ramp, triangle, pulse waveforms, as well as white noise and pink noise. You can control the oscillators with using fine-tuning, detuning, and synchronized modulation. Its filters consist of 2 resonant filters, low pass, band pass, and high pass. It has 2 controlled amplifiers by level, pan, and on/off switch. The effects I see is simply a pair of mono delays, which can be controlled. You get up to 8 notes of polyphonic operation, portamento controls, and 64 high quality presents, all which can be controlled using MIDI CC control with “learn” capability.

If you aren’t familiar with it, and you already know your way around synthesizers, give it a try yourself. Chances are, from other reviews I’ve read, it is worth looking into.

Demonstration
# 9 – OB-Xd by discoDSP (prev. Datsounds)

There is a challenge with curating this list of best free VST synths, because, so far, many of the VST synths we have named can really be considered the “best” free synthesizers you can download. And discoDSP’s OB-Xd is constantly referred to as the “best” as well. And listening to its sounds, utilizing it’s interface, and working with its features, it’s hard to not see why this synth isn’t actually THE best. But, so are many of the others on the list…

Best Free Vst Instruments 2018

So, what makes this one unique?

For starters, it was modeled on the Oberheim OB-X, OB-Xa and OB-8 synthesizers. These classic vintage hardware synths were famous back in the day, and contributed to many hit records. Right now, they continue to enjoy their legacy in this freeware plugin.

The developers claim that they are not “copying” the originals, but rather take the same features and improve upon them. Whatever that means, it just sounds good to me.

Expect all the features you should find in a standard synthesizers, as well as some cool sounding features like the “continuous blendable multimode filter,” which is a filter allowing you to blending different filter types (such as high-pass, band-pass) in different dB modes. Also, it works on 32 bit or 64 bit versions of Windows OS, as well as Mac.

If you want the classic sounding vintage synth Oberheim for practically nothing, or at least to get yourself familiar with it, give it a trying and download it.

Demonstration
# 10 – 44 S by GTG

Finally we have a synthesizer crafted by someone who creates synths strictly for personal use. Yes, the 44 S by GTG is synthesizer created by a musician and synthesist, and offered to the public for free.

Actually, there are many synthesizers by this creator for free, so you can take a look at his entire collection, starting with this GTG 4 S.

Best Free Vst Instruments 2018 Free

This particular synth was design to give a flat sound that you can sculpt. You can use the filters for creating interesting and pleasing distortions in the resonance. It also feature filter modulation, pulse-width modulation, and the ability to track the LFO with the keyboard.

This definitely another synthesizer to consider to try using. It is free, and has a good sound. Check it out.

Demonstration

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several options for downloading and using free synthesizers. Compiling this list was not as not a simple task, as there are several options that are actually very good. But you can know that this list covers practically all the 10 best free synth plugins that you can download.

Best Free Vst Instruments 2019

We hope you enjoyed this post, and enjoyed discovering some possibly new free toys for your plugin collection.

If you have any thoughts, suggestion, or even question, please comment below in the comment box. We’ll be happy to know if you’ve ever tried one of these, or what you think is the best free synth plugin on the internet today.