VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. There are three types of VST plug-ins:
- VST instruments: These plug-ins generate audio and are either virtual synthesizers or samplers. Many VST instruments emulate the appearance and sound of famous hardware synthesizers. Popular VSP instruments include Massive, FM8, Absynth, Sylenth 1, Reaktor, Gladiator, Vanguard, and Omnisphere.
- VST effects: Effects process audio instead of generating it. VST effects function like hardware audio processors, like reverbs and phasers.
- VST MIDI effects:MIDI plug-ins process MIDI messages and send MIDI data to other VST instruments and hardware.
Virtual studio technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates a software synthesizer and effects into digital audio workstations. It uses digital signal processing to simulate a traditional recording studio’s hardware in software. There are both commercial and freeware versions of VST plug-ins available in the market. The source folder for the VST plugin dll's needs to be configured in the Plugin preferences panel but the default is the normal VST location so should work without modification. The installed VST plugins should show and be selectable (the same as any winamp or MusicBee DSP plugin) in the Equaliser and DSP window. Steinberg (maker of Cubase) is the creator of VST and first introduced it with 'Cubase VST'. VST-Plugin = A piece of software that represents an effects unit and can be 'plugged into' the virtual studio. Typical examples are EQ, Compressors, Delays and Reverbs. VST-Instrument = A VST Plugin that can turn incoming MIDI data into audio. Some VST’s even emulate the characteristics and structure of well known or rare hardware equipment. The VST instruments produce audio, while the VST effect plugins will process audio data. In order to work, some VST effect plugins require MIDI. There is much to say about them, but I will not cover this topic here.
VST plug-ins can be used within a digital audio workstation, in programs like Pro Tools and Logic. They’re frequently used to emulate hardware outboard gear such as compressors, expanders, equalizers, and maximizers. You'll frequently find these distributed to emulate certain models of hardware; there's some for vintage compressors, and you'll frequently find effects that emulate vintage hardware (both in instrumental and stompbox-like effects).
Think of VST plug-ins as really affordable ways to make your home studio sound like a really expensive commercial operation.
Aside from VST plug-ins, you'll also find VST-instrument or VSTi plug-ins. These can emulate really cool, but expensive, hardware (like Hammond B3 and Nord Electro). The quality of these VSTi plug-ins can vary from acceptable to really poor; it all depends on the quality of your system resources (RAM and scratch space on your hard drive, for example), and how well-sampled the instrument is. You also want to make sure that your VSTi plug-in offers true polyphonic content, meaning you can make life-like chords that don’t sound too artificial.
There are thousands of plug-ins available. Some only take a few hours to produce and are free, but the quality is terrible. Some are made by huge companies and sound amazing, but are expensive. VST plug-in developers try to recreate the sound as closely as possible, but the original instrument is probably always going to sound better than the plug-in. You might be trying to get the rich, full-bodied sound of an organ, for example, but who owns an organ? No one has access to every type of instrument, so a plug-in will have to do. The good news is that VST plug-in technology is improving, so quality can only get better with time.
VST Plug-in Standard
Created by Steinberg, a German musical software and equipment company, the VST plug-in standard is the audio plug-in standard that allows third-party developers to make VST plug-ins. Users can download VST plug-ins on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. The vast majority of VST plug-ins are available on Windows. Apple’s Audio Units are standard on Mac OS X (it’s actually considered a competing technology), and Linux lacks commercial popularity, therefore few developers create VST plug-ins for the operating system.
Where to Find VST Plug-ins
There are thousands of VST plug-ins available, both commercially and as freeware. The Internet is flooded with free VST plug-ins. Home Music Production and Bedroom Producers Blog have robust lists of VST plug-in recommendations, and Splice and Plugin Boutique also offer a ton of free plug-ins.
Disclosure: When you buy through our links, we may get a commission at zero cost to you.
I guess you would have to agree with me that the best way to polish your vocal recording or a vocal sample is to sprinkle some effects, just like the way you would sprinkle a reasonable amount of ingredients on your food. If done right, it sounds delicious right, yum yum 😉
Vocal effects are no exception to the ingredient perspective, you need to add a reasonable amount of effects to make them sound lively, and enjoyable to the listeners.
Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t saying you should stack effects upon effects on your vocal samples, too much of everything is bad. That said, let us look at the best free awesome VST effects plugin in the music production scene.
Let’s ride on…
- 5.) g200kg – KeroVee
- 10.) MGF – TimeWarp
1.) AegeanMusic – PitchProof
If you haven’t heard of PitchProof, then, you are definitely missing out, this is like the secret tool I use on Vocals but it wasn’t even developed for Vocal, it was actually designed to work on monophonic signals such as guitar solos, but I’ll give you a tip on how I have been using it:
You don’t want to apply it in realtime, what you should do instead is to first select the key of the harmony, then you turn the Blend knob all the way to the right; wet e.g:
Export the vocal result, add whatever effects plugins you gat on your toolbox (vocal, flangers, etc) to spice up the pitched vocal, and then stack it on top of the original vocal. Boom, you have something unique!
Note: You don’t have to always push it all through the wet side as this might cause artifacts, just experiment and stick with what works for you.
You can even export more vocal, and maybe this time, you can try by reducing the detune knob, anyways, experiment until you get your preferred test.
That said, let’s look at some of the features of PitchProof:
The Blend control knob would let you adjust the level of pitch shift, while the Pitch drop-down menu lets you select pitches like +7 or -7, or harmonies which are intelligent pitch-shift effects.
Moreover, there are also some options at the bottom of the PitchProof plugin which give you the option to switch between stereo and mono; mono could save your CPU, while the stereo option could cause a resource hog if used on multiple inserts.
Transient Fix can be switch on or off to spice things up a little!
|3rd||The Typical Major/minor Chord Harmony|
|4th||The same as the +5 semitones setting except a few notes are flat.|
|5th||The Same as The +7 Semitones Setting Except the Last Note of The Major Scale Is Flat Making It “diminished”.|
|6th||A nice-sounding alternative to typical harmony intervals.|
|7th||Dissonant 7th Chord Sounds.|
2.) Auburn Sounds – Graillon
This is an autotune VST plugins designed and developed by Auburnsounds. This plugin is superb in the way it handles pitch correction.
It not only supports pitch correction but supports the generation of throat sounds, making octave sounds, enriching, and enhancing vocal expressiveness.
Also, there is a pitch shift parameter that transposes vocals up and down in octaves and semitones.
- Pitch Shifter cleanly transposes a voice up and down and has been optimized for voice.
- Pitch Correction module brings an immediate robotic sound, while the Bitcrusher addition softly adds sparkles to the mix.
- Available as VST, VST2, AAX, and Audio Unit plugin for macOS and Windows platform.
Download Graillion Auto-Tune Plugin
3.) JHudStudio – Vocal King
Vocal King helps glue the vocal in a mix, and it comes preloaded cool parameters, that could help in customizing the audio signal of a vocal track.
The Pres Compressor knob helps in bringing out the clarity of a vocal, so, by turning up the gain of the Pres Comp brings out the presence in the vocal along with giving it a smooth compression. On the other hand, the Low cut, Tighten, and the Bass knob compliment the Pres Comp in taking out muddy frequencies without the vocal sounding too thin.
I also love playing with the Crispy knob as it sprinkles some sparkles to the audio signal.
- Help vocals to stand out in a mix by giving them amazing presence, clarity, and compression. Can easily work on any other content.
- Acts like are preamp giving the signal a strong boost.
- Easy to use interface for fast results.
- Easy to read meters
- Very CPU efficient compared to other types of plugins.
- It can be used on many other audio sources as well.
Vst Effects Plugins Free
- Vocal King supports MAC/Windows/32bit/64bit/VST2/VST3/AU. Supports MAC OS X 10.7 / Windows 7 and higher. Older systems may not work.
4.) Sonic Anomaly – Vola
Vola is a Voice Optimized Leveling Amplifier made for broadcast voice dynamics processing, it also works with different kinds of audio material, like drums, percussive instrument, and synth pads.
This fantastic tool is solely for cleaning up sound files but can be used for extreme compression effects as well.
- Real-time Visual Metering for changes in dynamics
- Upwards & downwards compression, each separately adjustable.
- Stats Display and more compression settings
Download Vola Vst (Windows)
Download Vola Jsfx (Windows and Mac)
5.) g200kg – KeroVee
This is a pitch correction VST plugin tool and has strengthened to support natural pitch correction.
This tool is handy and can perform different and various types of voice effects, for example, a conversion of the male voice to a female voice and vice versa.
KeroVee comes bundled with useful parameters for the effectiveness of the auto-tuning process, Parameter includes:
- Scale Button: This is for specifying the scale you want to tune. Setting a wrong scale would result in an awful result, in a simple sentence, Know your scale before you go into this one
- TuneSpeed: This will allow you to set the speed of correcting the pitch.
- Nuance: This is one of the best and lovely parameters, you can use this to set a fine vibrato of the original sound, use this to create all sorts of weird effects.
- Amount: Set to zero (0) if you want no correction, setting to 100 will result in full correction of the pitch
- and many more parameters like Transpose option, master volume, etc.
- A compatible host program that supports the VST formats
6.) Martin Eastwood – Duet
Have you heard those natural double effects in some tracks! Do you wonder how those are created? I guess yes 😉
Let me introduce to you – Duet, a double-tracking effect designed to enhance your audio sample be it vocal or even instruments, Duet is well capable of sparkling them up. The way Duet work is by pitch-shifting both the left and right inputs individually using a novel synchronous overlap and add technique, allowing pitch to be manipulated in real-time while still maintaining the time duration of the audio.
One thing I love about Duet is the way it can accurately create the illusion of multi-voices and adds varied texture to the mix. Experiment with Duet to see how it works.
Note: This is only available for Window
7.) MaxSynths – DSP-2
DSP-2 is designed with an intelligent Dynamic Processor, a 4-band equalizer fixed on vocal key frequencies, a saturator, and a room emulator based on the Schroeder reverberator. DSP is super simple to use and can serve basically all your vocal processing needs, again, experiment and keep experimenting to get the best settings that would soothe your need.
- Intelligent Dynamic Processor (IDP).
- 4 different automatic operative modes.
- Selectable compression ratio.
- Saturator with three different operation modes.
- EQ fixed on vocal key frequencies.
- Room emulator based on the Schroeder reverb model.
- Transparent increment of the perceived volume level.
- High precision input/output VU-meter.
- Low CPU usage.
8.) Distorque – Azurite
Azurite is a vocal effect by Distorque which is built for multi-voice chorus with a focus on rich sounds and versatile controls.
According To Distorque:
My goal in designing it was to make as flexible a chorus as possible without losing great tones and ease of use. The result is an effect that will be handy for producers, guitarists, and glitch lovers alike.
One of the great features of this plugin is the way you can create multiple simultaneous voices. Each of these voices can be further customized with their own delay line that is modulated by a separate LFO. Adding multiple voices leads to a thicker, smoother, and less wobbly tone. It also makes vivid stereo spreading possible with a mono signal.
The voice control helps you to choose how many voices you want for the chorus, e.g one, two, four, or eight.
- Stereo or mono operation.
- Colour control emulates vintage analog choruses.
- 2 band EQ.
- LFO tempo sync.
- Feedback control allows for flanger sounds.
- 27 built-in presets.
- Delay time from 0.2ms to 200ms.
- 7 LFO shapes: Sine, Triangle, Sawtooth, Ramp, Exponential, Inverse Exponential, and Random.
- Spread control for a stereo widening of a mono signal.
- Control randomizer.
- Other controls: Depth, Speed, Wet Mix, Output, Separation, Dry Delay.
Note: This is only available for Window
Download Azurite Win 32 VST / Win 64 VST
9.) TerryWest – EasyVox
EasyVox contains a bunch of tool for vocal processing, such as:
- Dynamic mono vocal compressor/limiter/enhancer
- Three bands equalizer
- Autogain and Pre-Limiter
- Auto Noisegate
- Auto Band-off
- Three EQ models
- Fine EQ option
- EQ activity/bypass LEDs
- Vocal Doubler effect
- Pre in/Post out gain
- In/out/reduction meters
Donate To The Developer, It helps him to build more exciting plugins
Note: This is only available for Window
10.) MGF – TimeWarp
Last on our list is Timewarp by MGF, which is a vibrato effect with 2 LFOs which can pan the pitch modulation amount for a stereo effect.
- Sine, Triangle, Saw and random waves with control over the shape and smoothing.
- Optional 4x upsampling and a smooth modulation algorithm ensure clean sound with minimal aliasing. Normal quality
- saves CPU and sounds brighter but less silky.
- 2 different interpolation algorithms are available (ALG).
- Fast modulation settings possible and encouraged
That is it, Good luck and have fun with music!