17 Best Free VST Plugins You Should Try In 2020 [VST / AU]
Are you looking for the best free VST plugins for your music productions ?
Are you searching for a new synth, or maybe a specific effect, but you currently have 0 budget ?
Don’t worry, we have got you covered!
We have compiled a list of the 17 absolute best free VST plugins you can find in 2020, categorized by type of plugin. For each type (synth, delay, reverb, EQ, etc.) we have handpicked and featured the best plugin, but we will also give some honorable mentions here and there!
In order to make it onto our top list, each of these plugins must be:
- useful for electronic / dance music production / EDM
- available in the VST & AU formats (for Windows & OS X), so that they can work in all major DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Ableton Live, FL Studio, Cubase and Logic Pro
- widely accepted and used by the producer community
- currently available to download for free
Check out the list below and discover these great VST plugins that you can use every day in your productions, without spending a dime!
The Best Free VST Synth: Synth1
Synth1 is widely known as the best free VST synthesizer. It’s a substractive synth modeled on the Clavia Nord Lead 2. It’s actually capable of creating some really good sounds, comparable to that of premium (paid) VST synths. It is suitable for all genres of electronic music.
Some of its features include:
- 2 Oscillators, FM modulation, ring modulation, sync, modulation envelope.
- 4 types of filters, distortion.
- 2 LFOs (synchronized with host).
- Arpeggiator (synchronized with host).
- Tempo delay (synchronized with host), stereo chorus/flanger.
- Legato mode, portamento.
- 16 notes polyphony.
- 128 presets.
- Thoroughly optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions, etc.
You can download Synth1 here.
The Best Free Piano VST: 4Front Piano
4Front Piano is an extremely simple piano instrument that reproduces a timbre of a classic piano. It is available as VST & AU and is very useful for basic piano sounds.
This instrument is small on memory and CPU usage. Consequently, it was found useful by many users and software developers as a plug&play piano module, which does not require any configuration or adjustment.
You can download 4Front Piano here.
Honorable mentions go to Sweetcase (which has more of a vintage piano sound).
The Best Free VST Delay: Voxengo’s Tempo Delay
Tempo Delay is a multi-feature stereo delay AAX, AudioUnit and VST plugin for professional sound and music production applications. Tempo Delay is based on tempo, incorporating filter and tremolo sections with separate controls for each stereo channel. Instead of a single “delay length” control this plug-in features separate “delay”, “repetition period” and “delay panning” controls which allow you to create an evenly sounding “ping-pong” stereo echoes.
You can download Voxengo’s Tempo Delay here.
The Best Free VST Reverb: TAL-Reverb-4
Tal-Reverb-4 is the latest of TAL’s popular free reverb effect plug-ins series.
You can both reproduce very diffused sounds and a modulated vintage reverb sound. As a result, you will get a more realistic element to to your reverb.
Tal-Reverb-4’s lush and large reverb sound has proven itself to be a worthy addition to your plug-in arsenal and can definitely compete with commercial plug-ins.
We would recommend using this reverb on sounds that you want to take up a lot of space in your mix. For instance, sounds that have a large three-dimensional image, and give that large hall type feel. In other words, you can make background synths, FX, or leads sound great with this reverb.
You can download TAL-Reverb-4 here.
An honorable mention goes to Voxengo OldSkoolVerb (best suited as a reverb effect for non-percussive and soft-attack sounds like vocals, piano and pad sounds).
The Best Free VST Compressor: Rough Rider
Audio Damage’s Rough Rider is a top notch modern compressor with a vintage sound.
Rough Rider is really good for adding pump to rhythmic tracks. It’s not designed for transparency but gives great high impact bite. Drive it to get some extra crunch and warmth.
Adjust the Ratio, Attack, Release times, and Sensitivity and Makeup gain knobs to find your perfect ride.
Download Rough Rider for free here.
Honorable mentions go to popular plugin XFer OTT (OTT works great for aggressive style compression, particularly in EDM genres), and DCAM FreeComp (this one is particularly useful for adding “glue” to your mix and making your track elements fit better together).
The Best Drum Sampler: Grooove BPB
The Grooove BPB plugin is an excellent drum sampler. This fantastic freeware instrument is based on the commercial version of Grooove. It’s available as an exclusive download on Bedroom Producers Blog. To clarify, the free version does come with some limitations, but it’s fully functional and more than capable of handling most drum sampling tasks.
You can download Groove BPB here.
The Best Free VST EQ: Blue Cat’s Triple EQ
Blue Cat’s Triple EQ is a 3 bands semi-parametric free equalizer plugin that can be controlled as a single filter with customizable shape. It includes a low shelf filter, a high shelf filter and a boost/cut peak filter.
You can control Blue Cat’s Triple EQ in real time with MIDI or automation. It’s also capable of absolutely zipper-free clean and continuous time-varying equalization with no latency.
You can download Blue Cat’s Triple EQ here.
The Best Free Distortion Plugin: CamelCrusher
“CamelCrusher is a free ‘colouring’ multi-effect plugin. It offers two characteristically different distortion sounds. These can be blended together to create a wide variety of tones and textures.
As a result, it’s great for guitars, drums and plenty more! We have also had great results using this effect plugin on bass channels.
There’s also a warm, smooth analogue-style low-pass filter with buckets of resonance. Assign a MIDI controller and start tweaking!
Finally, let’s not forget the easiest-to-use compressor you’ll find anywhere. It can ‘phatten’ up your sound as quickly as you can turn up the ‘Amount’ knob!
Best of all, CamelCrusher is available free of charge!
- Two different distortion types.
- Warm, analogue-modelled resonant low-pass filter.
- High quality, easy-to-use compressor, with ‘Phat’ mode.
- Powerful ‘MIDI Learn’ function.
- A collection of useful Preset patches to get you started.
- Randomize for instant inspiration.”
Looking for the download link ? Grab CamelCrusher here.
The Best Free Vocal Enhancer Plugin: Roth-AIR
Roth-AIR is a mixing tool for easily adding airy, crispy presence to your audio.
This is achieved by a combination of multiband compression and gentle saturation of the highs. It enables for a stronger, more consistent presence of high frequency material and works particularly well with vocals, synths and strings.
The process is made easy by a simple user interface, automatic makeup gain and a combined function “AIR” knob.
Roth-AIR is available for free in 32-bit and 64-bit as VST and AU (OS X only) plugins for Windows and Mac.
We strongly suggest trying it out on vocal tracks, but also on certain instruments to make them pop out and add sparkle to them.
If this plugin sounds interesting to you, just download Roth-AIR here.
The Best Free Mastering Plugin: Voxengo Span
This plugin doesn’t actually do anything to your sound. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be useful!
It’s a metering plugin, and metering is a necessary step when mastering your track. SPAN allows you to perform spectral analysis, correlation metering and clipping detection. In addition, it displays RMS and max crest factor.
The interface is clear and the plugin is easy to work with. As a result, we feel it’s the best free tool out there to help with mastering!
You can download Voxengo Span here.
The Best Free Stereo Placement Plugin: A1StereoControl
This is a very useful (and free!) little plugin that will allow you to control the placement of your sound within the stereo field.
You will be able to expand or limit the stereo width of your channels with a very simple one-knob interface. You also get some more advanced features like “Safe Bass” and advanced channel settings.
You can download A1StereoControl here.
In conclusion, we hope you enjoyed our top list of the best VST / AU plugins currently available for free.
All of these plugins will be very useful for anyone producing electronic music / dance music / EDM. In addition, unless mentioned otherwise, they are all compatible with your favorite DAW (Ableton Live, FL Studio, Cubase & Logic Pro, etc.)
Did you already know all of the plugins on the list above ? Which one is your favorite ?
Finally, do you know any new FREE plugins that are even better than these ?
Let us know in the comments!
If you are looking for new sounds for your productions, you can check out our libraries of free samples for various genres :